Simple Reasons Why You Should Share Your Artwork

Photo credit: superstitionreview.asu.edu

Photo credit: superstitionreview.asu.edu  Painting: John Sonsini

Ever since I became more focused on being visible and sharing my work, I realized that there is a lot that I have to know about myself as an artist. I thought knowing myself as a person was more than enough, but there’s really another level to it. Something that is more acute and focused.  What inspires me, what motivates me, what I like, what I don’t like…what do I even do? People who are interested in you and your work are going to be asking you those kind of questions, and you better know the answers if you want to be taken seriously. Otherwise you may be creating an unnecessary barrier between yourself and viewers. I can’t tell you how often I talk to other artists who really can’t explain why they do what they love and can’t have an extensive conversation about their work. It’s interesting to me because it’s something that no one else can tell you, YOU have to know it. Why do you create what you do? I think that knowing the answers to these deeper questions can strengthen your work and keep you grounded throughout your artistic journey, maybe even build your confidence. And that’s something we can all use.

I’ve found that if you don’t know the deep-seated reasons for your motivation to create your art, a good way of discovering this is by actually sharing your work. When putting your work out into the world, even if you only end up showing just a few friends, you’re almost forced to actually say something about it. That reason alone will get you thinking about some deeper points about your creations. It’s scary, I know. We put ourselves in a vulnerable position once our work is out there for viewing. However, if your goal is to build an art career it’s necessary to start sharing! The more that you do it, the easier it becomes.

With the rise of social media and the ever-growing emphasis on using it to make connections, I don’t think we artists can afford to be so shy or reclusive all the time. If you can do all of your marketing or networking offline and still amass followers, then I applaud you (and please share your tips on this blog!). But to me it seems that if you’re in the beginning stages of your art career, it might not be the best idea to be mum about your work. People want to know who you are. Collectors want to know who you are. People need to feel some sort of personal connection to you. People want access to you. They want good reasons to follow you. If you are one of those people that is opposed to social media, then I’m sorry you’ll have to get over that! At least create an artist facebook page or instagram account and start allowing your work to be findable. Use the tools and resources that are out there, many of which are free by the way, and connect with other artists and potential followers.

You don’t have to reveal intimate details about your life, unless that’s your thing, but whatever you’d like to share is better than doing nothing and continuing to go unseen. People love pictures and video, so start there. Sharing progress pictures or your thoughts about a particular piece of work can go a long way. These are the types of things that non-artists usually don’t get to see, and typically it’s non-artists who are most likely to buy your work. So give ’em something to see! Build relationships with other artists by commenting on their posts and share each other’s work. If you’re REALLY brave, post your mistakes or discuss your struggles through a piece. I did just that for the last painting I worked on, check out the post on my personal blog.

The more opportunities that you can give people to connect with you or understand what you’re about, the more valuable you become to your followers and the more in touch you will be with your own work. Below is a screenshot of artist John Wentz’s instagram page. I think he does a good job of managing his page by sharing interesting pictures of his artwork and promoting upcoming shows. And every now and then you get a cute picture of his sweet dog. It may not seem like a lot, but I wanted to show an example of just how easy it is to get the ball rolling for yourself.

JohnWentz_Instagram

Artist John Wentz’s instagram. @johnwentz

Trust me, I know it can be daunting to put yourself out there and subject your artwork to judgment. It’s a tough thing to do, but if you want to embark on a path of a professional artist in this day and age it’s a necessary evil. I encourage you to challenge yourself, get over that fear by starting small. Share some things with your friends or supporters. Tell them what you like about your piece and what’s important about it. Then when you’re ready, move it to your social media spaces. It really is that simple. The more eyes you can get on your work, the better. No one will know what you do unless you show them!

Thoughts? What has been your experience with sharing your work? What holds you back from putting yourself out there?

Advertisements

Checking in!

officesteez

Yes, these are office selfies.

Hi Readers!

I apologize for my lack of posts, I promise it’s for a legit reason! Over the last couple of months I’ve been preoccupied with my own work and building up my “brand” as an artist. I’m very happy to announce that I will be having my very first solo art show this summer! It’s certainly an exciting, busy and occasionally stressful time, but I fully enjoy it. Hoping that I’ll be able to share some posts about this process soon enough!

For now I just wanted to pop back on here to check-in and share some of the new places to find me. Spots that I more frequently update and are a little more personal than this space:

Instagram: TraciLTurner

My official website (finally sat down and completed it!): Traci L. Turner

My Tumblr (some posts are NSFW): Trace, your ace

My Facebook page: Traci L. Turner

All of these and other ways to connect with or contact me can be found in the Contact page on this site. New posts (hopefully) coming soon! Have fun, be you, and keep going!

~~<3 Trace

A Bit of Inspiration: Frida Kahlo

FridaPaintingInBed

This is a photo I saw in person at an exhibition about a year or two ago that really inspired me. It’s Mexican artist Frida Kahlo strapped up and bed-ridden sometime after the trolley accident that left her dealing with physical pain and treatment for much of her life. When I saw it, immediately I thought, “Well damn, I really have no excuse! Nobody does!” To see her rigged up the way that she was, most likely in quite a bit of pain, yet still pushing herself to create left me awe-struck. Even if she was doing this just to pass the time, it’s still quite remarkable. This is an image that I think back on whenever I realize that I’m making excuses about my own lack of production. It’s an image that gave me a jolt of motivation at a time when I was in a deep creative slump and didn’t prioritize much time for expelling any creative energy.

I don’t claim to know a whole lot about Frida Kahlo, but I will say that the photo above told me so much about her spirit and passion. A fire that I think artists (or perhaps anyone, really) need to harness and apply to life in order to stand a good chance at attaining a bit of personal fulfillment. To be honest I wouldn’t even say that Kahlo’s painting skills were technically perfect (sorry!). A lot of us may have seen artwork that we would deem more precise and dynamic than hers, that just comes down to personal opinion obviously. But looking back at her body of work, to me it was clear that she put her heart and soul into whatever she created; losing herself in the meaning and the act of expressing her inner self regardless of how it looked next to anyone else’s art.

The Broken Column by Frida Kahlo OSA164

“The Broken Column”, 1944. Oil on canvas.

That’s what I take away from her legacy and that’s what has pushed me to take risks with my own work this year, and hopefully beyond. Thinking about that woman’s tenacity deeply inspired me to finally start to care a lot less about any external factors, just create whatever the hell I wanted to express, and keep pushing forward in my own way. And maybe that’s all it’s really about.

These things I share in the hope that you Artists out there reading this will either renew or maintain momentum with your work. It’s a constant struggle, I know, but it’s not impossible! Even if Frida Kahlo’s work has never moved you before, I ask that you take another look. At the very least “right click” and “save as” the image of her in bed above, use it as a reminder to refuse to roadblock yourself.

Your thoughts?

My Fears as an Artist

Braaaaainssss!!

Braaaaainssss!!

Happy Halloween!

With all scares and shares going on all day today, I thought I’d take a different approach and talk about some real fears that hit closer to home. As artists living and finding our way in this world, we come across some pretty scary challenges and thoughts. Today I’m going to share some of mine:

– I’m afraid of my own potential
I don’t mean that in a whiny-brag kind of way! I know it sounds ridiculous, but think about it. As long as I keep finding ways to push myself and put my work out there, it’s inevitable that I’ll achieve some kind of progress. More recognition and accolades means more pressure and responsibilities. The decisions that one has to make begin to get tougher and tougher. The balancing act of work, pleasure, and progress can be overwhelming. Will that be me? Can I handle all of that? What things will I have to sacrifice? How can I best avoid missteps and lulls in my artistic career? I can be rather lazy at times and I do love a certain amount of leisure, thinking about all the work I would have to do to maintain some momentum makes my brain hurt.

– I’m afraid that I’m not as good as I think I am
I’m admitting this, realizing that I’m contradicting my previous point. However I think that this is a thought that many artists have from time to time. If you don’t, then show me how you do it! Every time I start feeling proud about something I’ve done, I’ll see someone else’s stellar work and throw my hands up in defeat. “Why do I even bother!?” is the thought that often runs through my mind when that happens. Luckily it’s not something that paralyzes me, I still do what I want and move forward. But, I still have those moments…

– I fear that I won’t nail down my artistic voice
This is a real thing I’m facing right now! This has been taking years for me to develop and figure out and I still don’t think it’s any clearer to me. I’m realizing that there are at least two aspects to my artistic vision or voice, and they have nothing to do with each other whatsoever. Personally I prefer the more traditional side of my skills. Portraiture is definitely my strength and I want to start putting a lot more focus on that. However I think there’s something to some of the more abstract pieces I’ve made this year. I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out how I can possibly marry the two sides and really create some dynamic and memorable pieces. I think when I finally get a grip on what that is, then I will experience a serious level up.

scott_p_level_up

For now, I still feel a bit stuck.

These are just a few things that scare me about pursuing my creative goals. I share these in the hope to show you that you’re not alone! It’s normal and so many of us out here can relate, even the well-known artists. The thing to remember is that even though your fears are valid, they’ll only set you back if you let them! Instead, use your fears to push you forward. Yes I may be afraid that I might not be “good enough,” but I’ve combated that by taking classes and reading about the business of art to help build my skills and confidence. I challenge you to turn your fears around in the same way. Over time you will develop the habit of working with your fears instead of letting them hold you back, keeping yourself on the track to artistic progress and achievement.

Jumped Ship

It’s been a long time since my last post, but I’m finally ready to start posting and sharing this year. Since this is my first entry of 2013 and it’s been so long since I last wrote, I thought I’d make this a more personal entry and take the time to get you caught up to speed with what’s going on with me. It’s ’bout to get real.

PhotoGrid_1363387479415

I still miss my little friend. “Puddin” 05/1997-10/2012

The reason it’s been so long since my last entry was that I made a sudden decision back in November to move from the east coast to the west coast. With my cat passing away in October 2012, the hustle and bustle of the holidays, back to back trips around the country including a stop at Art Basel 2012 in December, and the exhausting tasks of preparing for a long-distance move, blogging was the last thing on my mind for the last few months. I had been wanting to make a move out west for a while and finally started saving up last year, but even when circumstances had cleared up for me to move I was still reluctant to pull the trigger for many reasons. Too many to get into in this post so you’ll have to ask me yourself! The increasing feelings of stagnancy, disappointment, and being uninspired became the main catalysts to making this move. So in mid-January I finally jumped that sinking ship and moved from the DC/MD/VA area to Reno, Nevada. Definitely wasn’t my first choice, I must admit! But basically I was able to make a job transfer so Reno was a compromise I had to make just to get the hell outta there at that point. Probably the most impulsive decision I made in a long time, but I was steadily feeling out of place where I was so this needed to happen. When it came down to it, I was more than ready to go. The move was low-risk but high-change and even though that plan wasn’t really what I envisioned, ultimately it was the right balance for me.

Here's a chunk of my life, didn't seem like a lot once it all arrived to the new place.

Here’s a chunk of my life, didn’t seem like a lot once it all arrived to the new place.

The first month or so was difficult! This is a new kind of isolation that I’m feeling. Continue reading