Some say New Year’s Day is an arbitrary date, requiring no special observance (big fibbers). Yet, so many of us use it as an opportunity for both reflection and forward thinking. Wishing to set out on the right foot, we take stock, we aim to detour bad habits and cultivate better ones.
Today I am thinking about the Emerging Artist – I meet so many – young ones courageous enough to aim directly for a life pursuing their passion; elders who, after decades devoted to raising families, building businesses, and answering untold obligations, are at last rekindling a passion that never died. It’s a jump off the high-dive, a time for wings, and time for some very good, hard-core, professional input.
So for you, dear Emerging Artist, I have called upon the wisdom of Stars in the Arts to share their very best advice/warning/encouragement to help you reach the potential you harbor.
Elaine Hamilton, Executive Director of the United Arts Council of Collier County. “My advice to an emerging artist would be to follow yourpassion. It’s difficult to sustain a career in this business if you’re not doing something that you love. Also, if you’re planning to support yourself as an artist, take as many business classes as you can. The more you can learn about the business side of the arts, the better.”
JoAnn Sanborn, internationally-collected Everglades artist, member of City of Marco Island’s Arts Advisory Board, Instructor. “Do the hard work. Learn to see. Never stop learning. But in those magical moments when the art spirit takes you, follow it to the place ideas are born.”
Christie Marcoplos, owner Blue Mangrove Gallery. “When contacting a Gallery, be organized. Have a bio & jpegs of your work (with size, pricing, etc.). I’ll seldom handle art work without jpegs. This is becoming increasingly important in the world of retail sales; website inclusion, email blasts, and advertisements, always require high to low resolution jpegs. Having them readily available gives a positive edge.
“Be sure your art is finished, titled & hand signed. If sleeved, be sure sleeves fit perfectly. Presentation isa huge part of selling your work.
“Visit the Gallery you wish to represent you to be sure you understand their objective. Then e-mail them for a convenient time to give a presentation.
“Lastly, when dropping off accepted artwork, have a typed sheet with titles, sizes & prices with you; consider offering display-aids. After installation, if checking on your work, always be discreet.”
Theodore Morris, artist, author of “Florida’s Lost Tribes.” “The first thing is to find the subject matter you’re passionate about. My passion is Florida Indians and that’s what I painted without worrying about sales. Eventually it worked out very well for my lifestyle and for sales.
“Starting out, the main focus (after you are satisfied with what you’ve done) is marketing your work as well as yourself. Collectors sometimes buy just images, but mostly they buy the artist and the image together.”
J. Robert Houghtaling, musician, producer, owner of Mangrove Music Studio. “The one thing I’ve learned from observing commonalities among the most successful restaurant waitresses, bartenders, general managers, sales personnel, ministers, and medical professionalsas well as a great musical artist, they always ask. ‘How may I serve you?’”
“I trust their talent, creative genius, and their many years of hits and misses. I am confident they share with me the best service experience they have to offer. Accordingly, with every audience, I try to extend the same enthusiasm and respect.
So when I say, ‘Well, folks, what would you like to hear tonight?’ …I’m humbly asking, ‘How may I serve you?’… and that’s when the magic begins!
I respectfully thank all my responders with taking time from their busy schedules to answer my query so thoughtfully, so helpfully, and so honestly.”
And now for my two-bits: 1) It is important to learn the rules in order to break them properly. 2) Please keep the faith. Please.
Happy New Year to All.
Tara O’Neill, a lifelong artist, has been an area resident since 1967. She holds Bachelors’ Degrees in Fine Arts and English from the University of South Florida, and currently has a studio-gallery at the Artist Colony at the Esplanade on Marco Island. Contact her through www.tarao gallery.com