Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Whitney Smith is an American ceramicist and has a fascinating blog called "This Artist's Life" Recently Whitney has been blogging about the progress of a "Five figure order" with all it's trails and tribulations. This is interesting reading for anyone who is, or wants to become a professional artist.
For a long time I felt that being an artist wasn't a "Real" job, and needed to justify my profession to myself and others when I was asked about it. Once I quit the last of my part-time jobs and decided I had to make a weekly wage with art I began to pay attention to all the parts of the artist job that I had previously let slide.
My least favourite part of being an artist is publicity but I realized that without being good at this I would not make it as an artist. So.... I picked my lovely sister's brains about how to present myself to galleries and what direction to take within the esoteric area of art pottery. I learnt how to use Photoshop and paid for professional photos. And did the nerve-wracking horrible business of approaching people I didn't know by e-mail or in person with my photos and seeing if they were interested in my work. Every time I steel myself to walk into a gallery, feeling like a total dag, I remind myself that there are parts of every job that are horrible and being professional means that you become good at all parts of your job.
The top three things I have learnt over the years are....
1. Don't go banging your head against a brick wall or always go through the door that's open. - No matter how good a gallery is or how much you want your work to be there it is no use persevering with things that are a bad fit.
2.Excellent photographs are the best money you will ever spend. -More than anything else it is good photos that have got me more work.
3.Make your work for yourself. I took a while to learn this as time after time I took commissions to make items I really didn't like so I could be in a show or gallery that offered me a spot. Now I only make things that I like, they are better works and easier to make, things go more smoothly when you are inspired.
This is a commission that I recenly loved doing. I based the shape on a 1930's shape that I saw in a photo of Virginia Woolf's house "Charleston".