Starting out as an artist? How do we network? Not quite sure how to get your feet off the ground? Or maybe you have been thinking about becoming an artist full-time? In this post, we shall discuss useful tips that can support and benefit you in becoming a successful artist.
10 Useful Tips On Networking As An Artist
- Meet other artists; by doing this you will create new relationships that could eventually lead to collaborations or introducing you to new groups of people.
- Give support to fellow creatives; go to exhibitions, help out in projects or join local networking groups.
- Go on social media; by creating accounts through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest – this will allow you to build a wider audience and interact with more people.
- Go to exhibition openings and artist talks; this follows on from supporting other peers, create casual conversations and create good relationships.
- Don’t brag about yourself; be humble and don’t try to sell yourself to others, you are there to connect.
- Get your business cards ready; make sure to have your card ready to hand out and collect them as well!
- Always follow up; once you have made connections, make sure to contact them and follow up.
- Be a familiar face; by attending events regularly and being in constant contact whether that be face-to-face or via online, make sure you have presence.
- Explore Around; see if there any opportunities available and just go for it. Such as, artist residencies, helping out at a studio or local/international art projects.
- Be yourself; show your true colours and be honest with who you are.
In this next section, we are delighted to have Paloma Tendero, a visual artist, to share her tips on the importance of networking and the 4 different stages of it.
Paloma Tendero, Visual Artist
Networking is a really important part of being an artist. I always find that talking with people can be really inspiring and part of your creative process. It is also a great way of learning about the experience of other artists, hearing about opportunities or new exhibitions and talking about your work to find your audience.
I moved to London in 2011, most people already had friends from school, childhood, work colleagues or tutors. However, one of the challenges of moving to another country is that you have to start from the beginning to make a safety net by yourself.
My first networking experience was at university. Talking with people interested in the same things as me was not only a great way of making new friends but also a good way of collaborating with other artists.
Building a career as an artist it’s tough as it is, and unfortunately you will always find competitive and jealous attitudes on the way. But remember, success comes and goes…and someone else’s success doesn’t stop you from having your own. Art is not a competition, it is about celebrating each other success and helping one another in this long term career.
3. Talks and Exhibitions
Another way of networking is attending and participating in talks, events and exhibitions. Supporting other artists is also a good way to get to know curators. It is a great opportunity to connect with people and make new friends who have similar interests. You don’t have to attend every single art show but ones most related to your art practice, for example.
Also, try to make genuine connections, don’t talk to people only because you want something. Try not to sell or stress about making contacts, instead, talk naturally with people you might feel connected with. Even if they work in other industries or have different interests, you never know where those conversations are going to take you.
These kind of events are a good opportunity to exchange business cards or grow your online presence. Many artists ended connecting through Instagram, not because of the likes but because of the accessibility.
Soon after graduating I started looking for talks and events related to arts and health, and I found an arts charity based in a NHS Health Centre. One of the artists in residency at the Free Space Project had the initiative to start meeting every month to talk and share work, and it’s been 4 years since I first joined!
I have met many interesting people working in health and well-being through their arts projects. Many opportunities came up, including having a 2 months artist residency at Free Space myself. Also being selected for the Peer Forum program between ArtQuest and The Photographer’s Gallery this year.
I will highly recommend exploring your interests and talking with other people who are also involved with similar themes. Personal and professional growth comes from having caring and constructive feedback.
By sharing ideas, talking and listening to other artists about work in progress, you will often find the encouragement and support to keep going.