I had a studio visit from a college student who asked a very powerful question that inspired this blog post. He asked, “What are some good goals to have for me at this stage in my career?”
As an emerging artist, these are my top 5 recommendations of things to do during this early stage of your career. Remember this is a time of growth and learning.
1. Design a Business Card
A business card doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You will probably feel the pressure to make the perfect business card so you appear like you know what you are doing. Don’t sweat it. It’s better to make and have the card than to fret about the design. Companies like Moo and Vistaprint allow for easy and on-demand printing.
Getting a business card is more important than the look. Over the years you will learn what information you want on it and repeatedly redesign it.
2. Create Internet Presence
A website is one of the toughest things to create as an artist who isn’t familiar with web coding, hosting, and SEO. While you’re developing your artist’s voice and style of work, it’s difficult to design and implement a website about a portfolio that doesn’t exist or work you’re unsure about.
Instead of focusing on a website as a goal, think about other ways you can effectively manage your digital image. Buy the domain name you are interested in for your work if you know what that will be (for most artists, this will be their name). Sign up for social networking accounts and build your following. Consider other creative platforms also, such as MNartists.org. Their platform is a great place to set up a digital space to share your work without committing to a website.
As you continue to grow and evolve, you will want to develop a website, but it’s best to start somewhere easy like social media or a blog.
3. Business Arts Support
There are so many resources and books out there to help with managing your art career. Find a workshop, mentor, consultant, class, book, or blog to help you with some of the business parts of being an artist. Most art schools and universities don’t teach the business curriculum in school or briefly touch on it in a final senior class. Absorb many business tools and tips early.
4. Make Art
Making art seems like a no-brainer, but this means so much more than the physical product you create. You learn more about yourself, your work habits, communications styles, and how to work through issues. This is the time of development and the creation of a foundation for style, work habits, content, and more. Making art teaches patience, encourages healing, and challenges your problem-solving. It’s not always about the art, it is about the creation of yourself as a young professional.
5. Artist Support
Reach out to other artists and build a support network. Learn as much as you can, copy, try, experiment, challenge, and question.