Mirrors and Mentors

 

I’ve interviewed a lot of artists and makers for one of my final courses in this master of entrepreneurship program. There are a few things that really touch my heart as I speak with these vibrant and creative individuals. They each have an inspiring passion for creating something. Painters, fiber artists, jewelers, every artist I’ve spoken with talked at length about their ideas for new creations, their collection of art materials, and the exciting journey of innovation they’ve taken as artists and entrepreneurs. When I inquired about who they ask for help in their creative endeavors, most artists told me they look to other creatives for support. One artist told me that although there is business help available to her, most of the time she has to translate traditional business advice to the specialized needs of a creative business. All of the artists I spoke with are interested in some form of arts business mentoring. The overwhelming answer to my question about their creative business strengths and weaknesses was they felt most confident in creating their products and least confident managing their business in the fast-paced world of internet search engines and social media presence. A lot has changed (and very quickly) for artists since the internet became a more accessible and acceptable place to sell and purchase art. Art schools have not adequately addressed the entrpreneurial needs of artists during this technological disruption of the art world.

What I have enjoyed so much about interviewing such a range of artists, is that I see myself and my artistic journey reflected in their stories. This mirror lets me see that the struggles I faced just out of art school, the disorientation I felt having to navigate the technology that changed as quickly as I learned it, they were not signs of my failure as an artist, but more a lack of understanding the process of building a business around my talents. I went back to school thinking I wanted to understand the business side of selling my work, and have come out the other side hoping to mentor other creatives based on what I’ve learned in this program. Creating art will always be my first passion, but seeing other artists succeed by doing what they love has taken a close second.

6 thoughts on “Mirrors and Mentors

  1. I hate that so many art business owners feel disconnected from each other and from the rest of the business world. In spite of that disconnect, you have uncovered both a real problem for your peers and an amazing niche that you can help fill. Through your interviews, it seems more imperative than ever that mentorship be a significant piece of your studio business model. I’m so glad things are coming together for you.

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  2. It is such a beautiful thing to find your place and that is an extension of helping others. We all have purpose and that purpose is solving a problem. You found yourself in what you thought was your failure. You only fail if you quit. Much success to you in being the mentor that you did’nt have.

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  3. As you further your artistic journey and reflect where you’ve been with where others have been, you will continue to grow your understanding like you stated. That was definitely insightful to see how your passion has geared towards not just art but helping others artists succeed. I certainly am excited to continue to keep reading your posts.

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  4. It is so great that you have found a space you can happily exist in with a foot in art and business. I truly think your education and journey will help a lot of other artists.

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  5. I think it is interesting that we are in this new sift in thinking about artist supporting other artists. It used to be that artists were in the sames social circles but did little to support, mentor, and help cultivate creativity in one another. In fact 13 years ago I remember the seasoned artists in my community had a nose up approach to interacting with other artists as if they did not want ti engage with the competition. Now there is a whole industry growing that encourages interaction, support, and mentorship. I think the result leads to creatives becoming more creative.

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  6. Joy it is clear that your potential client base has a wide range of needs that can be addressed in multiple ways. That makes it tough to determine the best course of action. I really am intrigued to see which direction you go in and why. I think it is fair that artists want to focus on their art. We are all want to do just enjoy the things we are good at and skip the other headaches. I was telling my accountant today how thankful I was for her, so I don’t have to deal with taxes. Your idea has so much promise and potential. There is definitely a market for it. Good luck!

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