I have always felt that Artists are stronger when we work together. Let’s face it, whether you went to Art School or not, there is no one size fits all training course that you can go on that will teach you how to navigate the world as an Artist, the courses that are out there vary in quality and, generally, you get what you pay for.
But here’s a brilliant piece of news…
You don’t necessarily have to pay at all.
As Artists we are all finding our way, testing out ideas in our work and in the market place. Some of us show in galleries, some of us don’t. Some sell work online, some don’t. Some teach, some don’t. There are a million other scenarios I could list here. The point is I can guarantee you that the wisdom learned from trying and failing a number of times before succeeding is worth more than it’s weight in gold, and it is often available for free simply by reaching out. I truly believe this applies whatever your career stage.
Go to Art Fairs, speak to artists, gallerists, and curators when you can. Join local Artist groups online via social media channels. Follow your favourite Artists, and actually like and, even better, comment on their posts. Get involved in art shows in your local community. Don’t be afraid to join in a conversation. People know people. Making a friend often leads to further introductions and friendships. Friendships often lead to opportunities you never could have imagined as an individual.
Artists are often happy to share their experiences. Spending a lot of time working alone, as many artists do, means it is often nice to have the opportunity to talk about ourselves and our work. It is important to listen, share, and exchange tips and tricks where we can. We are all at different stages on our journeys, but we have all taken different routes, and it just isn’t possible for anyone to know it all. Teachers often learn as much from students as students do from teachers, so maybe do some courses with Artists you love and don’t be afraid to speak up and share what YOU know. People learn from each other all the time, and bouncing ideas around in a creative environment can be truly joyful when done constructively with like-minded people. You might surprise yourself with just how much YOU have to offer, or even how much there is still to learn!
Building relationships might take a little bravery in the beginning, but it almost always reaps rewards. Be fearless in connecting with your heroes and contemporaries alike. Be kind to others when talking about work, but also to yourself. Help others, as others have helped you along your journey. Be an active participant on whatever level you can. But most important of all…
Be an Artist.