empowering women artists - Montreal based

The Blues of a Gallery Owner

Posted by Camille Cazin on

Today, I wanted to share my experience as a new entrepreneur after my first exhibition. All the positives but also what’s might be less visible on social networks: Stress, questioning… Feedback on what I learned as a woman and as a gallery owner.  

When I talked with Dominique about the idea of an exhibition, I did not underestimate the amount of work to do. I did not overestimate our capabilities either, Thus, I carefully managed my expectations vis a vis the potential success of this new adventure.  

Preparing this exhibition took about nine months, a pregnancy in a way! Organization, financing, communication, public relations: we did it all.  We shared the tasks, faced all unexpected issues, we worked hard, again and again, all the way to the “delivery”.

Result: A great exhibition in a great location, 13 talented female artists, 150 Attendees at the opening, 4 press articles, several sales of pieces of art, and multiple opportunities.

We had a lot to be proud of but … A few weeks later, what was floating in our minds was: SO WHAT?

I did only see the improvement opportunities, and I could not just be happy about what we accomplished. I was questioning our choices; I was losing faith when looking at all this work still in front of us. Even worse, I doubted about the overall lifestyle I’d chosen for myself.

WHY had I become so pessimistic? 

For months long, I lived with an permanent sense of urgency, and suddenly, everything stopped, all at once! 

First of all, the adrenaline drops!

This adrenaline which helps you facing those intense periods; This adrenaline which keeps you going despite roadblocks and fatigue… This new best friend leaves just like this, without notice! My body and my head had to learn dealing with this.

Then, the notion of time changes …

During several months, I lived with a permanent sense of urgency: addressing the questions of our artists, managing communication, getting to be known by this person I wanted to invite for the opening. All at once, everything stops and all the questioning I had put aside reappear. All this questioning is healthy in a way, however moving from action to introspection is quite sensitive.

Last, losing sight of the difference between my business and myself.

I am the co-founder of Fatale Art : I also have a creative job in the media and advertising business, I am a friend, a lover, a daughter and a sister, but first of all I am Camille Cazin, and I was about to forget all that. During all these months of excitement, I had forgotten to preserve and enjoy a bit of time for myself, to feed myself spiritually in other means than through Fatale Art or work.

Though finding the right balance is difficult, it is even tougher to maintain. 

Being an entrepreneur requires a lot of energy and effort, and though finding the right balance is difficult, it is even tougher to maintain. Just common-sense concepts, such as « caring for yourself is also caring for your business » get easily forgotten during those high-pressure times.

Well, how do we do now? 

It really took all the help of my loved ones and quite a bit of reflection to begin recognizing what I had accomplished.

Enjoy life (not feeling guilty about it!)

I had to learn again to do things I liked, just for myself: reading, taking a walk to work, dancing tango…, and all of that without feeling guilty about it (between us, that is the toughest part of it). 

Celebrate … often!

Entrepreneurial life is full of obstacles, and it is critical to maintain a positive mindset in all circumstances. I learned how to congratulate myself, as well as Dominique. I was not used to this, and it seemed a bit weird and artificial to start with, but well, I got used to it. Well, let’s face it, it is always enjoyable to celebrate great achievements with a few bubbles, right?

Be nice with myself

I also work on being less tough on me. Not answering an e mail as quickly as I wanted, of not completing a task “by tonight” is not the end of the world, after all !

Routine is good, sometimes.  

Don’t take me wrong: I did not adopt Buddhism or deep meditation, but some habits (routines, one would say) have greatly helped me relaxing:

  • 15 minutes of physical activity or yoga in the morning (I’d like to say every morning, but well, indeed it is after frequently as I can).
  • A sexy app, called « water consumption reminder » helps me stay properly hydrated all day.
  • PBA sessions (Psy Bio Accupressure) helping me to relax and put my muscles back in order. 
  • Reading a few pages of a novel before bedtime, so that I forget about my numerous TO DO lists.

For sure, I Might still run in all directions from time to time, forget drinking enough water, feel stressed for self-imposed pressure…, but well, less and less. I’ve got a lifetime left to do better 

Camille Cazin

art gallery

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