Mood: Spirited and Ambitious ..but slow..
So welcome to another A-N blog post! I actually started this post several days ago and have had a very busy week, with no real time to sit down and think for a while. And there has been some great highlights over the past few weeks. In following on from my last post – I did create a list of ideas for what my life would look like if my art practice and business were running the way I’d like them to – this really helped. I wrote things like ‘I am working in a 100% more directed way’ and ‘I am creating collections and series of works rather than random pieces’ ‘I am comfortable pricing my work’ etc. When you write things like this – it helps you realise all the aspects you’re still NOT sure of that you have to work through.
The other great thing that happened a short while back is I went to visit the studio of my mentor/coach and we had some great discussions. This post is going to be about what I learned during these conversations, how it affected my thinking and current plans created for my work from this. I came away feeling extremely positive about my new work.
The first thing we spoke about was getting out and seeing some art; because my aim is to become more of a commercial artist (not tacky, but pieces and paintings I can make a living from that also have meaning and serves people in some way). But also to try and make some connections and meet with potential galleries that could offer feedback on my work so far and for possible representation in the future. So it was suggested I visit places like the Affordable Art Fair in London (there is one coming up held in Battersea 8-12 March 2018). Also to look at who is exhibiting, galleries/artists and pick out ones that I most identify with. You need to have an agenda when walking around art fairs; to have art that you want to see, but also an idea in mind of galleries and people that you potentially want to make a connection with.
This said, it is also important for myself and other emerging artists to get out and see general exhibitions, as well as ‘feed yourself’ art in other ways – for instance I’m planning to regularly visit our University Library to research for my new work. I graduated from university around 5 years ago now, and I left with a whole framework of ideas, thoughts and themes surrounding my then practice. I would love to build that again around my new work.
The other important aspect about people seeing my new work is having a website for that new work – the pieces I have made so far. My current website really only displays the work I still sell as prints and cards on Etsy; however in moving forward it has been suggested to change my site so that it is more simply a landing page. Rather a ‘business card’ style single page displaying a selection of new works and contact information. This I am very happy to do, and will post the link on this blog when the site has been remade.
Also we discussed aspects of what to focus on in terms of making art. One of the things that I have noticed about contemporary artists is that they very often work in series. This is something I’ve noted above and in my own planning, however not something I am necessarily used to doing! I think in my older work and realistic drawings I tended to create things randomly; there were always attempts at series and collections, however I always set myself too much work – too many things to work on at once – and could never keep up. This is one of my downfalls! So for this new work it was suggested I start by creating some women themed portrait series’ i.e. ‘Women In My Life Who..’ etc. My work has always been mainly feminine inspired however I would also like to include men in the new work. I generally draw women because they’re easier – but it will be extremely beneficial to learn new skills and adopt new approaches in this new work.
Finally, an important and shaky subject we discussed was getting part time work. I currently exhibit in a local handmade shop – mainly stocking items from designer-makers local to the West Midlands, such as jewellery and ceramics etc. There is art; however not much and art prints etc really aren’t very popular, the only things I really sell are cards. My rent there is £20 a month however I only make just over my rent every month – sometimes less – and commission is also taken off. It isn’t really helping – and I also work there two days a month. We discussed that it would be much easier to get a part time job and leave, which I am happy to do – although I have been part of the shop for 3 years now, never really selling a lot but always trying very hard. And having tried to work full time with not much coming in has been very challenging. However I feel it is the right thing to do if I ever want to get on my own path and find the right market for myself and my work.
This was a very long post! As always thank you for reading, and feedback, advice and comments are always welcome. This blog is very therapeutic in jotting down and ordering my thoughts about making new art and this new journey – and if it can help others in any way, that would be amazing. Join me over the next few weeks where I will be posting new updates, thoughts and progress!