Call for Entries and The Digital Divide

I thought That I would write to you all about something that has been currently occupying my time as of late, Calls for Entries and other submissions to Regional and National competitions where there is the opportunities to see where we all are in the life of Creative Souls and what the reactions is to the our work that we put out for artist calls for entry.

Not just in you neighborhood or local places but reaching out , to new venues that are done through the calls for submission of work, based on a specialized theme and the possibilities of getting into a group or solo shows that is not on your home turf…

As many galleries and creative venues are beginning to open and the hope that a return of a “New Normal” ,the various Art Spaces are having events to attract back the crowd that disappeared during the Covid Lockdowndue to restrictions. During that time, under the COVID lockdown, I focused my thoughts and energy more to the online reality and promised myself to apply to at least 3 calls during the year, regardless whether I get accepted or not.

It is really important that we all discipline ourselves to put our work out there and see how we measure up to the rest of the art communities. Depending on your medium, there are a lot of sites out there that are dedicated to the open calls, the fees, the image formats and how things need to be named and size restriction. and shipping back and forth, commissions taken by the organizations and the list goes on and on…..

We as Creatives need to grow a thick skin and put ourselves out there with the best. Painters, Fiber Artist or Potter/Illustrator like myself. The challenge of wading into” the unknown” is frightening and exciting at the same time. For those of you that are not exactly tech savvy, this is the opportunity to better your skills to the practical sides of the creative process, and Learn to do it better than before. Take pictures , re-size images, pay the fees and read the fine print is actually an important part of the Creative process. I especially am speaking to the generation of mid-life artists that are not so tech oriented. For them and all of you I want to say that with the advancement in technology and the internet. THIS is now part of the game. Everything is done online and we all need to get accustomed to it as it will not go away. We need to change with the times and adapt and learn the new ways that Calls for Submissions are done now and not 20 years ago.

Knowing that many of the older artists and some newbies too, do not know what to do….I will give you an example .Case in point, working in front of the public, I encounter many “wannabe artists” that want to show me their work on their phones, sometimes it can be actually decent, but most times it is mediocre…. Not to be mean, but this represents a lot of wannabe artists that are in mid-life, and have no idea how these things are done in regards to getting their work out there, where to take classes, the venues etc…. This happens to me quite frequently and am amazed that some people regardless of age , have seemed to miss the boat about the internet, social media and how things are done in the real world, especially during COVID and the lockdowns The virtual reality became very important to us as it was our escape from isolation….. Still I see many that have missed the boat…. As an artist we all need to be informed and it is ALL out there at the reach of you smartphone.

Where are you in this moment?

How many artists calls have you done during the COVID lockdown?

How many virtual shows or gallery submissions have you done that are OUT of State and not local?

Do you have someone help you to do the technical things associated with an artist calls for submission?

Do you fear of being rejected from these calls, because you feel others are better, so you continue to do the same things you know and do only this every year?Or some other excuse?

TOUGH questions, I know but this is what is called “growing” and “growing a thick skin” which we all need to do when, we put ourselves out there. Never easy, always difficult and time to stop making excuses and get on board. Many of my fellow artists are great people, but they only want to do the things they know…The reality is that if you do not put yourself out there, you will never know of all the possibilities of new venues tops your work, or grow a bigger audience that is attracted to your work, followers and perspective clients…

Do yourself a favor, look in the mirror and be honest with yourself and see where you fall in the TOUGH questions above, and do something about it. My blogging is not here to nag you, but INSPIRE you about all the possibilities out there….

Until next time, peace out….

Inspiring Others and Growing The Art Community

I have a lot of visitors and art enthusiasts that walk into my studio at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, and often strike up conversations with a diverse group of students, Part-time artists and returning art enthusiasts and always, when possible try to speak truthfully and to the point about “the life of an artist and the challenges that many of us face during these times of getting use to the” New Normal” post-pandemic.

As more individuals get vaccinated, and we begin to return to our lives and our businesses. But the things have changed, and we need to adjust to a new way of doing things, both in person and online.

Many people speak to me about opening an online store to sell their work and I alway try to tell them the following things:

1 Do you use social media to show your work?

2 Who are the artists online that inspire you because you do similar work?

3 Do you follow these artists?

4 What is the profile for your personal Target Consumer for your  artwork

5 Are you a member of any art organization local or online?

6 What are your objectives when selling online?

These questions, sometimes stops them dead in their tracks, and our conversations take off from there. Due to the pandemic, most of us have found that the isolation has made us alter the way we do things, in order to promote our work. I have had to shift to a more online platforms, due to the requests of my galleries and concentrated on social media to inform and get feedback from my followers and loyal friends about “what I am up to and my creative day2day”. Remember, there is no set formula to put yourself out there, and what works for some, might not work for you. Each venture is a road to growth about the business of Art, the response to your creative output and most of all a learning experience about selling your Art and increasing your audience of followers and hopefully clients.

My checklist above is a good guideline to consider when thinking about launching yourself into the digital world of Art & Social Media. The internet has changed the way we work and promote to ourselves and it is important to look at this list to give yourself an idea of WHO and What is out there…. If it becomes your business or side gig, it comes with costs of domains, websites, forums and servers, online shops & communities and more, It is vital that you are well informed because everything comes at a price. Nothing is free…..

Whether you are an Art Student out of school or a mid-life Artist that is trying to catch up on the internet and social media, BE PREPARED. And look and observe those that inspire you and analyze what platforms they use, what artist communities the are part of, how much do they sell their work for, etc.etc.etc.

Look into forums where you can get information about topics that interest you.

Creativity can be a way to make money, but it is a business and most people do not realize it is one thing to create it, It is another job to promote and move it onto online channels and venues

And most of all. Get feedback of your work from friends and other artist communities. Learning to go online you will learn that you will need to”Grow a Thick Skin” take feedback, critiques and criticism from those you respect and use it to help yourself grow…

Many people create art or music because it is a passion or a pipe dream, we all have different reasons for why we create. Learn to open up about your experiences and exchange those ideas with others. It helps us as a community of artists become more informed and stronger about what is out there.

Encourage others by sharing your experiences with the Art community and remember that each person’s journey is a bit different. Share that experience on online forums when possible. Regardless, of the stage of your Art career, share information that will help other artists that will come after you.

I could blog about this forever but the bullet points is a good place to get you thinking.. When helping others be positive and encouraging but put no silver lining on things Truth sometimes is hard to take , but it also saves time and creative energy.

Most of all FOLLOW your passion and create. 

Until next time, think about it….

thehornypotter

Social Conscience While Returning to the Studio

Been a bit since my last entry and as we are cautious getting back to work, I have spent many sleepless nights thinking and about what it means to getting back to work. Things will not be like they were before.I work in a studio that is open to the public where visitors can wander in and out of our studios as we work on our artisan crafts ,and even though we are ALL starting to go back to our workplaces,many of the other artists raise concerns about safety and measures to protect those of us, working with the Public.

There are many sectors that I am observing as the reopening go through the various phases, mask protection,hand sanitizers and deep cleaning of areas in and around our structure, but Alarmingly I still observe too many people on the streets without masks,even children that seem oblivious to the health concerns that effect all of us and it causes me to pause about opening up my studio to the general public.

I look for feedback from other artists that may, to some degree be in the same/similar situations.I know all to well that we all have taken a serious bit to our financial situations but also fear, like many the right balance between financial security and health risks while dealing with the public. Please give me your opinions on how you are starting up your businesses and what the precautions you are taking. In some way or another whether going back to the office, restaurants even drinks with friends are all now subject to new ways of getting together while remaining safe. Your opinions on this subject and I will be open to input or advice in how to structure the re-opening to my workspace as we weave in and out of the various Phases…Guys ,The “new normal” of doing things.

What will be the precautions are we going to take when our studios open up to the public, for our protection and the protection of those visitors and arts supporters. How do we implement these personal protection techniques to our business and studios?  A lot of questions to think about and ponder as the various Phases of re-opening  during this Pandemic.

Creativity &the New Normal

picture for online store

Since my last entry and still today , many artists and creative professionals have had to adapt to the closures of business due to this pandemic. It is essential at this time, that we continue to create and find other methods to move our work online which is slowly becoming the new norm. Our Creative Community is one of the many places that due to lock downs & social distancing, We have to use this time to alter our game plans of ways to create in our spaces,if possible, and find new platforms on which to participate to let your followers, public and patrons can Be aware that “Yes” we are still hear, and the online presence is more important than before.

I work in one of the few artist community where, due to the Pandemic, Our studios, (usually open to the public) are still closed even though were are still able to work from our spaces and finding new ways to sell our work is imperative to pay rent and the bills just like everyone else. Some artists have closed up studios and look for a new place to work, others have been concentrating on opening online shops and revising their websites and most importantly, many have continued to apply to VIRTUAL shows to get a bit more traffic and interest in their work and exposure.

We have to realize that things will never be like it was before, and a return to a “New Normal” is going to take a longer time than most realize. Galleries,Museums and Art spaces all have to create a new way on how to do openings in a Safe and Social Distancing manner.

We have not experience this before, The Creative community needs to observe the other sectors that are also being effected by this crisis,Restaurants,Hotel&Travel Industries are all looking a new ways to serve the community while keeping everyone safe. We need to watch what is happening in those sectors and use the good ideas,that will effect all to our advantage.

Remember, we are all in this together. We need to help our fellow artists in their endeavors, regardless of their own personal choices. Share our thoughts when asked, and most importantly, Do not be scared to try new things in order to continue to making your art. It is so important to not get discouraged from all the isolation we have experienced in the past weeks. Share with your artists community and support them in any way that you can. Be nice, but also be open to change. It might not feel comfortable but it is necessary.

I would love to have some feedback or links to creative ways that are out there or that you have tried or experienced. Till the next time , Be calm, take a deep breath and continue to create.

thehornypotter