In the world according to social media, your personal narrative matters most. Instagram calls your profile “your story”; TikTok’s most popular videos document a-day-in-your-life; Facebook constantly connects you with “friends” you don’t remember; YouTube’s name tells you what it’s all about.
As an artist, when do you resist this pressure and when might it be a good idea to let down the barriers between your art and your life?
There are many reasons to keep the barriers high. When you are juggling a day job and a family with an art career and barely have time to go to your studio in the garage, your best instinct is to keep your art practice separate from the rest of your life. But sometimes you might want to peek over the fence to see what opportunities might be lurking in your own back yard.
Some artists have unusual stories that attract people to their art. Davis Perkins’ remarkable landscape paintings become even more interesting when you know he started life as a smokejumper. When Kevin Keaney’s art was taken from his storage locker and auctioned off, serious art dealers discovered his talent. His gritty urban collages became more valuable, even to himself.
While you may not have such a compelling story, your personal connections can create greater visibility for your art. Does your school or college have an alumni magazine that might publish an article about artist graduates? Does your church or club or library offer art talks for the public? Do you have neighbors who ought to be invited to your art events?
Your first buyers are often friends and family because they know you personally. Think about creating a similar bridge between your art and the rest of your world. It’s all part of your story.
Mary Edwards, Ph.D
Career & Life Coach for Artists
“Left Brain Skills for Right Brained People”
As an artist coach, I bring a unique combination of business knowledge, art world experience, and professional coaching skill to my practice.