Earlier this month over Easter weekend I traveled to Perth, Western Australia for the Swancon 2018 Australian National Science Fiction Convention. I was thrilled to be shortlisted to second place for the Ditmar Awards (Best Artwork) -- and then discovered on my way home that I had also won the People's Choice Award and First Place in my category for the Swancon Art Show! It was a friendly event and I wished that some of my art students had known about the event.
I thought I would make a post about this here for my art students. When people come in to art classes, they are often looking to take the next step in their creative career and are looking for exposure -- exhibiting at a gallery can be daunting if you don't yet know the protocol for professional presentation. I am always happy to talk about preparing portfolios and I feel as though many creative people need that extra push to get their work out there (YES, it is worth it and my experience is that the most creative people I teach are often unaware of how well received their work is, and how saleable it might be).
Outlined here are a few recommendations for getting started:
Make a Website to display your work. Platform services give great value for money and are incredibly easy to use and fast to set up. I recommend Squarespace for artists.
Take high quality photographs when displaying your art. The pride you take in the display of your work is a reflection of how valued it is. And sometimes artwork can even be made to look better with a professional photographer's eye.
Consider your local joint art show opportunities and conventions. These are excellent places to showcase your work without the formalities of an official gallery space. I find that artwork always sells at these events, and often to really interesting people who may also work in the creative fields. These are great places to network and find paid creative work in your field.
Consider smaller projects and collaborating with others. I find time and time again when students make a start in their creative field, they have a project of gargantuan proportions they want to achieve and will inevitably give up on once fully overwhelmed by pressure and expectation (I also made this error with my first big project and I wish I had taken the advice to break it down into chapters). Working with a photographer, writer or editor on your project can also be liberating and can help you manage time more efficiently. It is also good practice for taking on paid work, as you will inevitably need to collaborate with others.
Finally! I learned through years of teaching that you should always break your projects into clear, achievable time segments. This goes for projects as well as one off drawings. I have found over and over again, that students often draw their best work, paradoxically, when given a time limit -- even if it's only 3 minutes or so. Sometimes this can be the best way to break out of a creative block. After all, there's no harm in losing 3 minutes of work :).
It's always brings a bit of pride to me when I can get a student to start valuing their work enough to get it out into the world. There are so many more things I could say on this topic, but here's a start. As always I'm so happy to give tips here and forward advice and links to good sources -- please feel free to get in touch via this website or during class for more info here.
Hope you have a great weekend!