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Unraveling the List

Original Photograph by Jessica Wascak

The dreamy world of being an artist. It goes something like this: sleep in, wake up slowly, drink coffee and get inspired, lounge around making work in the studio all day, have an amazing dinner, lots of wine and great conversation before drifting off to sleep - only to do it all again the next day. How many of us live out this fantasy?

Well, this sounds like a residency, not a day to day thing. However, there are some out there that residency hop or are independently wealthy or both and have this adventure every day. I am not one of those lucky individuals. Even though I don't have that dream - I have plenty of others to be thankful for. With that said, the dream of being an artist and the actuality of being an artist can be two totally different things if one wants to do more than shove their amazing work in a closet. It's great to sit around making work all day (or five minutes each day - depending on your reality!) but if you spend all of your time making work then that means you are spending zero time telling people about said work. And then where does that get you? That gets you to the aforementioned work in the closet.

While it may not be the romantic part of the job - being an artist really is a job if you want to try to make a living off of it. Some suggest hitting the pavement. Laying the groundwork by physically getting yourself out there - to every opening, gathering, or event that you can get to. While I totally agree that this type of face to face networking is priceless, it is not always an option. So if you are limited on time and still want to market your work, what do you do? Better yet, what do you do to get results? If time is money than you best make the most of it, right?

This is something I've been grappling with over the last year. For me, time is of the essence and I'm finding it difficult to simply be everywhere that I would like to be in person. There are other options - which of course you should ideally combine with getting out there if you can. I thought I'd share what I've learned over the last year for what it's worth and stress the importance of doing something when it comes to marketing instead of pulling a deer in the headlights thing. Don't freeze when it becomes steps! Remember every step has the potential to get you somewhere.

After I decided to resign from academia and focus my energy on my artwork and my photography business full-time (as full-time as I can get with two beautiful small children) I made what I refer to as The List. It is a list of potential ways that I want to stay professionally connected to the art world. In the following weeks I am going to share a series of posts outlining the info I've found useful in my research and experiences because I'm sure I'm not the only one out there doing this and it would be great if I could help someone else along their journey. However, keep in mind that each of us has our own individual journey and there is no one way to feel good about your professional artistic trajectory. So while I do think that we learn a lot from sharing experiences please don't use my List as a master blueprint! Use it as a starting point or addition to your own and I'm sure it will work out much better for you.

Let's start with my List (in no particular order): gallery representation, working with an art consultant, social media presence, teaching workshops, speaking engagements, blogging, online sales, public art commissions, private commissions, building a mailing list, monthly newsletter, prominent exhibitions (juried, group, solo), curating, online interviews and features and I'm sure others that organically found their way on that I haven't written down.

These are all areas I've put my energy into over the last year and I feel that I've seen results in many of them (monetary and otherwise). Unraveling The List...follow along on my professional journey over the last year. If marketing is a mystery to you then you are not alone - it's a wonderfully organic thing that just needs the right conditions (planning, authenticity, and believing that the universe won't let you down) to make it grow.

These will be weekly posts so if you think this is something that you might be into then check in tomorrow and follow along...

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