I have been following the work of Kesha Bruce for a couple of years now. In the past year or so she has started offering coaching classes for artists looking to enhance their professional careers and for artists just starting out. I follow her blog, which has many articles on how to take charge of your own career and not be dependent on the so called “lucky break,” or “getting discovered,” or “getting your work into a gallery.” She encourages you to take hold of the reins and create your own opportunities rather than waiting for some outside force to intervene on your behalf. This resonates strongly for me as an artist without much in the way of formal training who does not have the contacts, mentors, and encouragement that formal training provides. If I am going to be an artist, I am going to have to make my own way. Kesha Bruce is doing that now and is sharing what she has learned along the way with her fellow artists.
The Queen and the Dancer Act III #1 by Kesha Bruce
She invited artists to submit interview questions for her annual blog tour and I decided to do so. As someone who is just starting out and trying to find my place in the art world, my questions are quite basic, but she was gracious enough to answer them anyway.
I am just starting out and there is so much to do I that I feel overwhelmed. Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter - where should I begin? What is most important?
If I had to pick just two from this list, I would definitely advise an artists to spend time building a really good website as an on-line portfolio and a way to really showcase their work, and then in addition I would have a blog. These two things used together can be really powerful tools to building a following and collector base. You can’t introduce yourself to possible new collectors if they have nowhere to go and see your work. Your art blog will be a place where not only can they see your work, but you can explain your process, give them a peek into your studio, and share ideas about work in progress. A blog is a great way to start conversations and build relationships.
2. I have a lot of work finished and ready for sale, but how do I organize it into a "body of work?"
The biggest mistake I see beginning artists make is trying to produce as much work as possible in as many styles as possible in order to show off their technical skills as an artist. Instead an artist should spend time working on developing their own style or for lack of a better term, their own “voice.
Creating a body of work isn’t about versatility. It’s about creating a cohesive group of works that clearly show your own vision and way of working. My friend and artist Martha Marshal wrote a really fantastic article on creating a body of work. You can read the article here: http://painting.about.com/od/careerdevelopment/a/MMarshall_Work.htm
3. How can I meet other artists who are serious about advancing their careers? Most of the artists I know seem resigned to doing art as a hobby and are not interested in taking the next step or taking responsibility for their careers.
A great way to meet other artists is to start visiting and exploring art blogs. The added advantage of course is that you can do this no matter where you’re physically located. You can reach out and connect with anyone who makes work that interests you.
Start reading art blogs. Get to know different artists. And then jump into the conversation by commenting. Participate in discussions with the other commenters who share similar ideas. It’s a fantastic way to meet people and really build up an on-line community that can act as your support system. Your greatest resource is other artists!
I will be taking her advice to heart, so if you see me on your website, just wave.
To read Kesha’s weekly articles on art, art marketing, and creativity and to download a free copy of her guide “The 5 Step Art Career Make-Over” visit www.KeshaBrucestudio.com.
If You Want Something Done Right, Do It Yourself: Click Here.