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Studio Work

Update From The Studio: Oil and Watercolour Videos (Continued)

For the past few months I’ve been busy filming, editing and pieces together clips of the oil and watercolour footage in order to fit it to music. I’ve learned a lot about the editing process and the speed at which I can create them has improved drastically. With our degree show coming up, this third year project is drawing to a close and for the degree show I will be projecting a selection of my videos inside of a peep-hole box. The idea is for it to become as immersive as possible and due to issues with lighting, space and feasibility the smaller scale is far more practical even though it’s not 100% ideal. Anyway, here is the latest video that I’ve made, with a more sinister vibe and aesthetic than the rest:

independent research

Writing a Fine Art CV

As a part of my course we’re required to submit a CV. As I’ve already got a standard working CV I thought it would be useful for me to have a fine art CV as well that relates to my practice and creative projects. It was around this point that I realised I had no idea how to actually write an art CV, especially considering that I’m only a student and have relatively little experience.

So I decided that some research was in order.

What should be in a fine art CV:

  • Your personal details. ie/ name, date of birth (optional), your country and/or county and contact details (professional contact details – so your official website, professional email address and work phone number if you have one). Include a short bio/statement about your practice
  • Education. ie/ Education relating specifically to art that occurs after high school so A-Levels, BTECs and degrees go here. Include the institution, year that you graduated/achieved the award. Don’t include qualifications that aren’t related to art here. You could include classes and courses you’ve attended and the names of tutors/artists you’ve studied under
  • Exhibitions. List them with the most recent first (you can also put your upcoming exhibitions on). Put the year, title of the show (in italics), the institution and where it is if it is not included in the institution title. If appropriate, split them into categories of solo or group exhibitions. Often artists who both happen to have a very large number of exhibitions have them under the title of ‘selected exhibitions’ (so that the list isn’t too long and not that relevant) and artists, like me, who haven’t had a large number of exhibitions also do this to give the impression that list is a selection and not simply all you have. You can be opportunistic and list some not 100% official exhibitions if you include things like site-specific installations in this section.
  • Collections. Here you include institutions that own your artwork like museums, city councils, galleries, agencies corporate collections… If you’re listing private collections don’t write the name of the owner unless they’re either a very well known collector or have agreed to be on your CV – just write ‘private collection’ and the city.  Don’t put the same city twice.  You can be opportunistic and include friends/family you’ve given your artwork to as long as you don’t make it obvious and don’t include their names. If you have loads then don’t list them all, just put a small selection of them on.
  • Commissions. They show someone has trusted you with their money to create artwork that adheres to a brief.
  • Other headings eg/:
  1. Teaching eg/ guest lecturer, instructor, workshop leader, technician…
  2. Curation. List the date, title and where it was at.
  3. Awards/grants/competitions (if placed)
  4. Residencies. Include the year and name of residency, maybe a short outlining sentence about it
  5. Related work experience/volunteering/arts projects
  6. Professional groups. If you’re a member of any related professional groups they can go here, including social networks
  7. Freelance work/self-employment
  8. Texts. This is where your published writing about your practice/art goes if you have any.
  9. Publications. Any articles/books/media where you/your art has been written about.

It should all be black with a sensible font. It should consist of headings and bullet point style information – try to keep the layout simple yet aesthetically pleasing. The length should be between 1-2 pages but for those of us who have less experience and are just graduating a full two page length fine art CV may be expecting a little ambitious at this stage.

This information has been complied from thepracticalartworld as well as pages here, here and here.

An example of a fine art CV is here.

Lecture

Mike Bennett Lecture

Today’s lecture was given to us from Mike Bennett (no relation) who is a musician/graphic designer/curator/artist/business man from Liverpool. His talk was lively and interesting and he’s had a huge variety of roles. Unlike the other lectures, his was more focused on getting yourself motivated to achieve what you want rather than specific information about how to do that. The main things I took away from the lecture have been:

  • Put your logo/brand everywhere. On your social media, in every picture you upload, on your walls, outside your building, on all your handouts, business cards and so on
  • Go the extra mile to get people’s attention and participation. For example, when he owned with a group of creatives they’d hang fabric with writing on outside of the window so people would know what was going on in that building and where it was. In the same building they’d throw elaborate parties which led to a career and owning a business planning parties, festivals and so on
  • Pay your business rates/taxes. His company got shut down because of not doing this. It’s just a good idea
  • Find you collective. Identify your strengths, your role within a group (eg/ are you a leader, a follower, an ideas person…) and try to pick other people whose strengths are your weaknesses 
  • Make yourself indispensable
  • Instead of looking for a job create one
  • Network well
  • Research thoroughly
  • Educate yourself
  • Focus on what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. It should be because you’re enjoying it
  • Make sure you are doing what you want to. If you are, you should be a whole lot happier. Don’t be afraid of being too ambitious
independent research, Uncategorized

Advice on Getting Illustration Work

My notes are taken from Will Terry’s video here.

  • It’s rare for art directors to actually see you in person – generally they have less time than ever now. Occasionally there’s policies to leave samples or portfolios with them but unless you live in the same city there’s not much point as there’s other things you can do to get a better ratio of time to success
  • Art directors are always looking for new work – postcards are actually quite big
  • https://svslearn.com/   – careers advice for illustration and so on (requires a paid subscription though)
  • Advices against portfolio sites. Sees them as a ‘deadzone’ and only got 1 opportunity after a year that costed around $300. They tend to be avoided by art directors because they’re no where near as constantly updated as sites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. Not target rich environments
  • Art directors are afraid of artists. They’ll find an artist they think is perfect for the job but they’ll worry you won’t deliver – the quality might not be up to your portfolio, you might not stick to the brief, you might be resistant to changing your ideas
  • Often your work will be pitched but you’ll never find out
  • Your job is to make them comfortable with your portfolio
  • You need to start from lower level projects if you’ve just graduated – otherwise art directors aren’t going to stake their reputation on suggesting you as a potential illustrator
  • Sometimes working for free or for a low amount means that you’re being taken advantage of but it also could lead to more opportunities. Sometimes you might be able to say that if you’re working for such a low amount or free you can add terms like you get to make the final decisions for that project. The person who says they’re never being taken advantage of is often the person that never does anything at all
  • Make projects not just portfolios. If you spend your time creating a project you might pay for it, Kickstart it, sell it somehow that makes it out there and more exposed than just an online portfolio. So it generates more leads, contacts and opportunities that you wouldn’t normally get with a portfolio
  • The longer you are out there making art, the more opportunities you will stumble across and the more contacts you will make
  • You have to learn by doing and learn by failing
  • Some people keep a spreadsheet of their mailing list – with every person they meet at a show and show on. When they’re put in the database they’ll be coded and details like what they’re interested in will be put in. So if they make a painting and find contact who’s interested in that kind of painting they can contact them
Lecture

Exhibiting Fine Artist Lecture

We had a lecture from Rosalind Davis who is a well established fine artist, curator, writer, teacher and consultant and has also written a book called ‘What Uni Didn’t Teach You About Art’. This lecture would be useful for me to refer back to if I ever change my mind and decide that I want to become an exhibiting artist but there are still lots of elements and advice that can be applied to careers in art instead of just being a gallery artist.

Here are some of my notes:

  • ‘Being picked/chosen’ is generally not a thing that happens. You have to find the opportunities, build the relations etc
  • Even in galleries there are still different world between them eg/ The Tate, local galleries, galleries that are in people’s houses, studio spaces and so on
  • Don’t aim to sustain your practice completely alone. Build networks, be ambitious, meet other artists
  • Research the galleries and curators who would probably be interested in your work. Contact them, invite them to your shows (she invited some to her degree show and a few actually turned up), send them postcards with your work on but don’t spam them
  • You can engage in competitions, residencies, art fairs, site-specific projects, commissions and so on as well to sustain your practice and become more established
  • Some sites with opportunities are artquest, artsadmin, artsjobs, ukyoungartists and artistsnetwork
  • Just having a website and Instagram isn’t enough. You have to do other things along side them too

Ways of getting opportunities and exhibitions:

  • Do your research – on companies, on curators, on galleries and so on
  • Do promotional material and press
  • Network well and build relationships as often as you can. Talk to gallery staff, owners, curators, engage in artist groups and societies, other people at competitions, support fellow artists and curators, remember to use manners…
  • Be organised, reliable, professional and responsible
  • Holding your own competition is a good way of meeting other artists
  • When you send images name them properly. Put your name, the title, media, size and date. This is so if people download them they can still see who it’s by and won’t get it mixed up with others and it won’t be an ordeal trying to find out who made it
  • Make sure pictures of your work are high quality

Things not to do:

  • Don’t approach a gallery at an art fair
  • Don’t send generic spam emails that begin with Dear Sir/Madam
  • Don’t make cold calls/cold emails
  • Don’t just add someone to your mailing list without their consent
  • Don’t be pushy/needy

Advantages of exhibiting:

  • It gives you an intensive to create work
  • Gain new audiences
  • Expand your network
  • Builds your professional reputation
  • You get to learn, teach and maybe even sell work
  • Receiving reviews about your work

Things that you need to be taken seriously:

  • A CV
  • Artist statement – avoid cliches like ‘it explores’, ‘the juxtaposition of’, ‘inspired by’, ‘interested in the micro and macro’. Use synonyms instead
  • Images of your work
  • Promotional material – like business cards, postcards and your site. Make the business card aesthetically pleasing, a snapshot of your work with your contact details and social medias. Exhibition postcards are basically adverts and they contain mostly images but also sponsors. Your site should have a home page, CV, artist statement, blog, images, news (optional), other social media links and a contact page. Put personality in your bios on social media, like on Twitter (which is more spreadable for news than Instagram) don’t just leave it as ‘an artist from…’
  • Biography
  • A professional email and signature. Put your website, social media and exhibition dates in at the end of the signature
  • A history of selling work (before applying to a gallery)

Selling work and limited editions:

  • Using the method of calculating how much income you need and using the number of hours you spent on a piece isn’t enough to calculate the cost it should sell for. It doesn’t take into account that fact that you get quicker the more experienced you are, your years of expertise and that you should be earning more once you’re more well established. Research what cost other similar works have sold for with both well established and not so well established artists. Take into consideration the cost of the material and the size of the piece too
  • If you’re selling limited editions you need to number each one (the number in the edition also dictates the price), decide on an odd number of editions (for some reason this is common practice eg/25 prints of…) and once this is decided it is the final decision and you can’t do the exact same limited edition thing again
independent research

Advice on Getting Noticed as an Illustrator

These notes of from Will Terry’s video on How to Get Noticed as an Illustrator:

  • Except to make mistakes. They’ll eventually lead to successes
  • Some people make fanart to gain a following as well as freelancing and painting – fanart isn’t something you’d have on a professional portfolio but it tends to exist because the creators enjoy making it (and it’s possible to sell prints at events like Comic Con). It’s not really a way of making much of an income, it tends to just be for fun although it can bring you more attention from the group of fans from the thing that you’re making fanart for
  • If you make art that you’re passionate about, are enjoying and are interested in then it’s much likelier to stand out
  • Consider having an agent/representative
  • He claims that as long as you make the best art you can and put it somewhere where it can be seen eventually it will be noticed
  • Recommends a ‘jab jab punch’ for social media – the punch being about something that you can buy (eg/ prints) and the jabs being other things
  • He claims how much you post/the frequency of how much you post on social media doesn’t really make that much difference compared to the quality of your art
  • Assume when you’re starting out that your work isn’t as good as it going to be and that’s why it takes a long time to establish yourself
  • Try having a network of artists that you see as better than you are as a motivator for your improvement. You can see their skills, techniques, a glimpse into how they market themselves, their portfolios and so on
independent research

Advice on How to Become an Illustrator

This information has been gathered from a couple of Will Terry’s videos on careers as an illustrator. His YouTube channel is here:

  • It’s rare for art directors to actually see you in person – generally they have less time than ever now. Occasionally there’s policies to leave samples or portfolios with them but unless you live in the same city there’s not much point as there’s other things you can do to get a better ratio of time to success
  • Art directors are always looking for new work – postcards are actually quite successful or pursuing people to look at your work
  • https://svslearn.com/   – careers advice for illustration and so on
  • He advices against portfolio sites. He sees them as a ‘deadzone’ and only got 1 opportunity after a year that costed around $300. They tend to be avoided by art directors because they’re no where near as constantly updated as sites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. Basically, they’re not ‘target rich environments’
  • Don’t be too afraid of art directors – art directors might actually be more afraid of artists. They’ll find an artist they think is perfect for the job but they’ll worry you won’t deliver – the quality might not be up to your portfolio, you might not stick to the brief, you might be resistant to changing your ideas
  • Often your work will be pitched but you’ll never find out so try not to be too discouraged if it seems that you’re not getting much consideration
  • Your job is to make the art directors comfortable with your portfolio
  • You need to start from lower level projects if you’ve just graduated – otherwise art directors aren’t going to stake their reputation on suggesting you as a potential illustrator
  • Sometimes working for free or for a low amount means that you’re being taken advantage of but it also could lead to more opportunities. Sometimes you might be able to say that if you’re working for such a low amount or free you can add terms like you get to make the final decisions for that project. The person who says they’re never being taken advantage of is often the person that never does anything at all