outflows and inflows of creativity

Saturday, July 14, 2007

How To Set Youself Apart From The Pack

How do you set yourself apart from the pack? Here's some suggestions:

1. Constantly hone your skills. Buy a small notebook, doesn't have to be anything fancy, doesn't even have to be from an art supply store, and sketch at every opportunity. Buy one small enough to fit in your purse or pocket, and when waiting at the doctor's office, or for the bus or subway, or just waiting at a grocery store, pull it out and start sketching something or someone you see around you. You will be amazed how much faster the time will go when doing something productive. That being said . . .

2. It ain't all about talent, baby. In these days of global connectivity, you must have a bit more. Educate yourself in marketing of some sort. It has been said creating art takes about 40% of your time, promotion takes the other 60%. Go to events and gallery shows in your area, no matter how insignificant you may think they are. Have good quality business cards printed (no, DO NOT print them yourself on your desktop printer!) and pass them out. When going out to a restaurant, leave one with your tip. You never know who will see it. Post them on any bulletin board that will let you ( I've posted mine at my vet's office and doctor's office).

3.Use the resources of the Internet. This is a wealth of information right at your fingertips. If you need to know how to do encaustic, or even what encaustic is, all you have to do is look it up. Never before in the history of the world has there been such a wealth of information so available to so many people. If you don't have Internet access available in your home, most libraries readily do. And speaking of libraries . . .

4. Use your library. There are so many books, all for free! They're books with fantastic color plates on many major artists and their works. How to books on watercolor, drawing, oil. They're books on marketing, finances, how to write a resume - on and on. All good tools to further your career.

5. Get to know other artists. I know as an artist myself, we have to have a certain amount of time alone to create and to think about creating. But we must not overlook the value in getting to know our peers. We need to bounce ideas around, expand our knowledge and deepen our connections with each other. Don't be afraid someone will "steal your idea" - that's simply not possible. If 10 artists paint the same apple, it will have 10 different looks. Don't let jealousy and other negative emotions rob you of enriching yourself. Social connections make us better artists.

6. Get out of your comfort zone. Try a different medium from time to time. If you are an oil painter, try acrylics. If you are a fabric artist, try pottery. It's good to keep your brain constantly stimulated, and your creativity flowing in different directions.
(photo courtesy of Mirko Tobias Schaefer)

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