3 CHALLENGES — Surviving as an Independent Artist With Health Issues, Unapologetic Self-Promotion, and Dealing with Arrogant Artists!

※ If you read this post all the way to the end, you will get a virtual Gold Star! Well, it’s more like a black & white star—but hey, good enough…Right! 🙂 ” ☆ “

Challenge 1※If Life itself wasn’t difficult enough, it becomes especially more difficult if you are an Artist or Photographer with Many Health Concerns, as I am.

“Many Independent Artists and Photographers have big challenges today, as we wish to thrive at what we do, but to get there, we sometimes have to suffer and struggle a lot—Perhaps that is what makes us stronger.” (I said that)

Title: “Egg Reflections, v6, Edit D, 2018”.

Creation Date for Edit D: 20 September 2018.


Collection Years: 2007 to Present (On-Going).

Copyright 2018 Nawfal Johnson.

All Rights Reserved.

Penang, Malaysia.

No Unauthorized Use!


☆ Buy My Fine Art Photography Prints at the following link :


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Artists and Photographers with Health Problems and Challenges:

IF, you add on to your daily struggles your health problems, then, well, you know how that adds to your daily challenges. It can magnify the amount of energy it takes to get things done, and I suppose, it really depends on what diseases you own.

☆ My Own Experiences with Disease Ownership:

I’m dealing with four different types of Arthritis, three of them are incurable, included in that is Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), Osteoporosis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis, and the fourth one may also have no solution—Cervical and upper Thoracic Spondylosis. Of course, there are medications, and some exercises, which can help alleviate/reduce the pain, and help with mobility, but it is not foolproof or a permanent solution. And before you say, “But hey, you can take biological medications to help with the AS”! I’ll stop you right there: Biological medications only work on Newbee AS patients—the damage AS has caused me over these MANY YEARS, is irreversible.

Besides Arthritic problems, I also own Ménière’s Disease: it is an Inner Ear disease that causes hearing loss, inner ear pain and pressure, dizziness, imbalance, CONSTANT LOUD Tinnitus, AND for some, spells of Vertigo.

And…NOW, I am suffering from continuous Neuropathy pain in my face and eye, due to an episode of a horrible viral disease.

THUS, I have a few painful and persistent health problems to deal with, DAILY, besides the many occasional pains of being an Independent Freelance Photographer / Photographist-Artist.

● My point is this: It is not easy to be an Artist or Art Photographer—For many—Unless I am totally confused and ALL Artists and Photographers are doing just Smashing and Fantastically and have no business concerns! I honestly don’t think that is the case. Therefore, when Health Problems are added into the mixture of art/photography business challenges, the effort multiplies by many times! Artists and Photographers with “great normal health” probably cannot comprehend the extra physical and mental strength one must have to do what it takes to be a working Artist or Photographer who also deals with challenging and painful diseases.

One good example of these extra challenges for someome with health problems, are Transportation Concerns. Getting from one place to another for someone with Certain Health Issues, Compared to Someone with “Normal” Health, is a totally different experience.

You are an Artist or Photographer with normal health, and you need to go somewhere, maybe an appointment, and you need to get there quickly and safely. You get in your car, probably, and you drive to your appointment. Perhaps, you have a huge amount of materials, portfolios, or equipment to take with you…no problem, because it fits in your trunk and back seat. You have your meeting and you drive home, or to another appointment, and success. Does that sound somewhat familiar to you Artists and Photographers who have been blessed with pretty good health?

I can’t speak for other Artists and Photographers who own various diseases and struggle with pain, impairments, and disabilities, because I only know how my body deals with owning many füçķęď-űp diseases.

I Own Contradictory Diseases:

I don’t drive Now! Owning Ménière’s Disease can cause unplanned episodes of dizziness and Vertigo: My personal belief is that it is very irresponsible for anyone with Ménière’s Disease to drive…You risk killing yourself or others if you have an attack! Driving at 30 or 40 MPH in a 2 ton weapon, like a car, and having a dizzy attack is purely irresponsible in my opinion!


This leaves me with a very difficult transportation problem. How the hell do I get around easily; well, it is not so easy to get around—that is the main point! I am left with options that are not convenient, and not always reliable, and certainly, not always economical.

Yeah, great, what now Sherlock!

■ The answer is, take the Bus, or, take a Grab / Uber…Worst case is that I have to walk…within distance limits.

The Bus is most economical, but very unpredictable, long waits, can’t count on getting anywhere on time, may have to take more than one bus to get near my destinations, and I have to walk long distances from bus stops to my destinations. And, the same problems exist on the return trips home. I also cannot take very much material with me, mainly because of the pain I feel from the various types of Arthritis I own. Plus, I only have two hands.

What you don’t realize, because most of you drive, I assume, is the great distance I have to walk just to get anywhere: I may have to walk anywhere from 3KM to 7KM in one trip, and that is Pure-Pain-Hell for anyone with AS and Osteoporosis. If you don’t believe me, well, that is your prerogative. However, if you have a mother or grandmother with Osteoporosis, just ask them how they feel after walking 2KM in 90F degrees weather with mega-amounts of humidity. They may slap you!

Taking a Grab can be much more convenient, but it can get expensive if taking it very often. The need for using this mode of transport depends on the necessity, the urgency, and the condition of my health on any one day.

In my locality, those are my two most reasonable transport options.

So How do You Contend and Progress as an Independent Artist with Health Concerns (This is not a complete list, but it may be helpful as a start)?

  1. You need as much information about your old and new diseases, and what treatments are available to you.
  2. You need to honestly know and accept any physical limitations you have because of your diseases.
  3. You need to adapt and accept working differently than people with “normal health”.
  4. You need to plan your day knowing what time constraints may be added to your available time, due to your diseases.
  5. Get help from people when you need it (i.e. Helping you with transportation.)
  6. ALWAYS keep creating new work, even it is just for personal projects.
  7. Have a strong Web Presence!
  8. Have Hope, or, find people who can help you have better feelings so you retain your feelings of Hope! When you lose Hope, you are truly Fucķëď!
  9. Just take care of yourself so you can continue to have momentum, “Because, an object at rest will continue to remain at rest unless acted upon by an external force!” And, you can’t always predict if, or when, any external forces are going to help get you moving again.

Challenge 2※That covers my health and transport issues; and thus, the next question is, “How do I promote myself as an Art Photographist especially when concerning my health challenges and transportation issues?”

In short, the answer is, the Interweb, I mean, the Internet.

Most of my Art Photography is stored on several photography art websites, and, on several Stock Photography websites. Some of these web businesses are in business to offer Photographers and Artists work as professionally printed art prints and gallery-quality canvas prints. The Photo Stock Libraries sell image usage rights of Photographers’ works, for editorial, commercial, and private usages.

☆ So, I have the mechanisms in place to offer and sell my work; however it does NO GOOD to have all of this work online and available IF NO KNOWS about my work! Correct!

Therefore, I have always believed in the old idiom, “To blow your own horn (because no one else will!)”: “To blow your own horn (or Trumpet)” is a very old saying from the Medieval Times:

To blow your own horn is to be a braggart or “blowhard.” This expression, arising in the American West about the middle of the 19th century, derives from an earlier expression, blow your own trumpet, dating back to at least 1576 and probably originating in medieval times, when heralds blew trumpets to announce the arrival of the king. Of course, any merchant or other commoner who wanted to announce his arrival had to blow his own horn. (Source: https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/67397/origin-of-to-blow-your-own-horn)

That idiom appears to point a finger at a braggart, but that is only if you see it that way — (Again, see Challenge 3 to see that I had a personal experience with someone who believed I had no right to Self-Promote).

● Do you have representation through an Art Representative? I don’t.

● Do you have a gallery pushing your artwork? I don’t.

No one is tooting my horn, but me! I am not a braggart — Far from it!

I only toot my own horn by including my Online Print Sales Galleries URLs (like Imagekind, FineArtAmerica, and PicFair), in my Photography Blogs, my Social Media, and I do so, so people can go see my work.

■ If I don’t guide people to my work, I will NEVER have a chance of being seen!

Just consider this fact: People upload a billion new photos a day to these three social media sites—Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! That’s a BILLION photos EVERYDAY! And that is just three of the many social media websites on the Internet.

“It is very difficult to be seen in so much digital static nowadays—you MUST let people know where to see your work. In addition, you must “toot” your horn often! That is what I believe, because no one else gives one god-damned farthing about advertising your work, unless if someone personally has a stake in representing you, or selling your work in a gallery!” (I said that).

I am not the originator of this idea of self-promotion, it is an idea shared by any good sales people, and professional international motivational speakers, such as Debbie Allen.

“In business we understand that if we don’t promote and market we can’t be successful. Right? No matter how great your product or service is or what amazing value you offer, if prospects don’t know about you, you’re not going to win the opportunity to do business with them. Therefore, if you don’t promote yourself it goes against the grain of all sales and marketing success! Right?” By Debbie Allen. (Source : https://debbieallen.com/toot-your-own-horn-2/ )

So there! I guess anyone who believes differently can stick it in their pipe and smoke it!

CHALLENGE 3※Dealing with Arrogant Artists (a true story, but identities have been omitted to protect the idiot, I mean, the innocent):

As you can see already from what I have expressed in this post, I am a firm believer in that Artists and Photographers need to Self-Promote.

I wholeheartedly believe what Debbie Allen says about Self-Promotion:

“Self-promotion, when done effectively, works for ANY business or career. Once you begin to implement the proven marketing strategies behind it, it’s much easier to be successful in anything you set your mind to. In fact, when you become good at promoting yourself and your services, you will also begin to enjoy it more. Self-promotion can become very rewarding.

When I was writing by book, Confessions of Shameless Self Promoters, I shockingly discovered that an average of 85% of the thousands of business owners, entrepreneurs and experts I’ve surveyed around the world did NOT feel comfortable promoting themselves and avoided it MOST of the time.

Yet, in business we understand that if we don’t promote and market we can’t be successful. Right? No matter how great your product or service is or what amazing value you offer, if prospects don’t know about you, you’re not going to win the opportunity to do business with them. Therefore, if you don’t promote yourself it goes against the grain of all sales and marketing success! Right?”

~Debbie Allen ~

Source: ( https://debbieallen.com/toot-your-own-horn-2/ )

◎ Debbie Allen is a genius marketer, and you would be well-informed to take her good advice.

Here is what I do to Promote Myself, and which APPARENTLY rubbed one Artist the really wrong way, for which caused some unimaginable and unreasonable, reaction:

First, when I use any social media and communicate with anyone, of any size, of any shape, of any colour, or, of any species, at the end of my communique, I UNABASHEDLY, put my Print Sales Site URL, http://nawfalnur.imagekind.com/ , and I put my main Photography / Art Blog URL, https://smokephotographist.wordpress.com at the end of my communication. This allows people to find my artwork, and consider buying my work. As a person who needs to do business, the whole idea is to get your work in front of the eyes of potential buyers, or people who will recommend my work to others who might have an interest to buy.

Well, when I did this with one specific artist at one social media website, they were EXTREMELY offended that a lowly Photographer would DARE to Self-Promote himself to an “Internationally acclaimed artist”. They were truly offended by my use of Purposeful Self-Promotion. Therefore, in one of my interactions with this person, I explained nicely and clearly, how IMPORTANT SELF-PROMOTION IS FOR INDEPENDENT ARTISTS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS. This person was even more OFFENDED that I was so serious about Self-Promotion and how important I felt that it was for Independent Artists and Photographers.

⊙ This Arrogant International Artist basically told me that it is NEVER OK to use my Self-Promotion, by telling others where to go to buy my “lowly Photographic Prints”, when communicating on social media with Wonderful Artists who create Original works of art.

And then, this person “blocked” me on that social media platform. LMAOBMFT!

It was truly, one of those “WTF!” moments.

I was baffled by the horrible behaviour of this person just because I NEED to advertise to people so they can find my art photography, especially when considering that the major social media websites clutter the Interwebs with a shit-ton of digital images each day!

It became quite clear to me that this person believed that Photography is NOT an art-form (WoW! Ansel Adams would be turning in his grave!) And it was VERY ABUNDANTLY CLEAR, that this person thought that Photographs, no matter how skilled they are produced (and #Imagekind does AMAZING PRINTING), were considered like “Red-Headed Ugly Step-Children” when compared to Original Paintings. (PLEASE NOTE, I HAVE NOTHING AGAINST RED HAIRED PEOPLE! That is just one of those idioms, or sayings, that Americans often use, which is quite prejudiced really; NEVERTHELESS, I will just use it this one time, Okey-Dokey!)

My First Response to anyone like that, would probably be:

“Oh—Go Fúçķ yourself , and have a nice day!”

However, that may not be so diplomatic, but I have no real other good response to people who have such arrogant attitudes toward the photography art medium.

I have the belief that ALL Artists, of any medium, should support each other to thrive in this very difficult market. And that includes supporting each other to improve their efforts of Self-Promoting—Marketing!

BUT ONE THING IS QUITE CLEAR TO ME NOW, that there are Artists out there with such big egos, and seem so successful, that they definitely do not remember how difficult it is to be a struggling artist without brick-and-mortar gallery representation.

So, as for dealing with Arrogant Artists, that’s about all I need to say.

Thank you so much for being here with me at my blog(s), and reading this long-winded post. I hope it was helpful in some way.

☆And Oops! Here’s some more Unapologetic Self-Promotion!☆

You can Purchase my Art Photography at Imagekind, and they do GALLERY QUALITY PRINT WORK. SERIOUSLY! IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE ME, BUY ONE OF MY ART PHOTOGRAPHS, AND SEE FOR YOURSELF! (You see what I did there? I’m daring you to buy my work.)

Here is the link:


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Thanks so much!


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