RSS

Tag Archives: Creativity

The Plight of the Emerging Artist

Emerging ArtistIt’s tough starting out in the world of the arts if you’re a Visual Artist, Singer, Writer or any creative for that matter, and many learn the hard way when they venture out after their studies and discover it’s really not what they teach you at college.

Just as the song “Video Kills the Radio Star” of the 80’s suggests, times change as technology changes. The old makes way for the new. The Art business and the Publishing Business are changing – just as the Music Business did a short while ago.

In the past a creative person with an idea for a book or a screenplay, a collection of paintings or sculptures, artistic photographs or a written song would approach the appropriate business directly (if they were allowed to do so without an Agent) or seek representation through an Agent in the hope of signing a deal and starting a career. It was a tough enough road even then, but now that there are so much more artistic people seeking to earn a living from their talents, this industry is changing in so many ways. One would think the markets would be saturated but instead it is just transforming – and not necessarily all negatively either!

So What’s Changing Nowadays?

I understand that traditional Art Galleries are taking on fewer emerging artists these days, preferring to spend time and money on established artists who are guaranteed to make them money. This is partly due to the recession perhaps, where the wealthy can still invest in art and yet the person of more modest means shall not extend his or her budget considering there are more vital expenses to handle first.

Emerging artists are hence advised to have a strong sales record and client base before a gallery will consider taking them on and yet there’s an irony at work here because if they have a strong client base and making a success of their career, one wonders if they really need the gallery at all? Especially a small one in their local area that may bring a few sales and serve as extra exposure but isn’t really going to “Make your career” as in days of old. Yes, in the past galleries could take on an emerging artist and market them in all the right places, introduce the artist to new collectors and establish a liaison with the press, but it appears this is not happening as much any more. In most cases, emerging artists are basically on their own until they have established some value that will appeal to the gallery. This value is essentially work that sells consistently, a strong online presence and collectors and followers of their own.

Similarly, I understand that authors are expected to assist the publishers in marketing their book too and yet they can simply upload their own book to Amazon and a multitude of other sites (as well as their own websites) to publish it themselves, put some effort into marketing this work and make sales without the publishing house behind them. We’ve all read amazing success stories of authors who have made a million Dollars on Amazon and then been approached and signed by a traditional publishing house. The author must have been delighted because of the prestige factor we associate with “being signed” as it enforces the merit of the work, (because we trust it has been validated according to the traditional methods of the past,) but the author had really done the groundwork alone.

Likewise, Singers and Bands upload their music to SoundCloud, You Tube and other sites where they can also be shared, recommended and ultimately go viral. Again, some of the most unlikely musicians have been discovered this way.

However, the emerging creative need not despair – there are other ways of developing a successful career and it need not be the “plight” it appears on first glance.

Social media has certainly done a lot to change how we live or communicate and even promote ourselves and our businesses. Marketing ourselves has become a new trend on its own.

New Gateways and Avenues To Pursue

In the days of van Gogh, the artists had the Salon as a credible gateway for getting seen and known, and in the past an artist represented by an Agent or a Gallery was esteemed more prestigious than one who exhibited at fairs and markets for example. This is still true to a certain extent now, only Artists have so many other avenues to explore and a phletora of opportunities available to them as well.

Because Artists, Writers, Singers and other creative people are avidly taking advantage of the social media networks available, such as Facebook, they are actively building his or her own presence online – sometimes a very strong presence too – and are simultaneously establishing themselves in the eye of the public and creating a name for themselves.

In so doing, they are also slowly gathering what marketing guru, Seth Godin, calls “The Tribe,” as they attract an increasing number of followers interested in these talented people and their products. Among these followers can be Collectors and Buyers or Curators, Music and Film Producers, Gallery Owners, Publishers, Art Organisations, Associations and a host of other potential business – who, let us bear in mind, have Art Critics, Reviewers, Journalists and Marketers and everybody else concerned in all these industries busy themselves promoting their services and companies on their own pages on social media at the same time , as well as also on the lookout for who is making a buzz in their industries on the web!

General Advice Regarding A Positive Strategy

The Work Itself

My advice to you today from one artist to another, and whether you Write songs or books, Sculpt, Paint or Weave, is to always try and follow these few pointers:

  • Be yourself in every way – let your own personality and who you really are shine through in your work and in your promotions I.e. Be Distinctive – tell your own story! (Show this in your corporate image, your blog and the work itself)
  • Set realistic prices according to the value of your work
  • Make Good Art! – always strive to be better than your last creation
  • Associate with people who do the same or similar work as you do but who are better at it than you are – you are bound to improve and learn from them – but do not endeavour to replicate their style or you are just promoting them and you want to be unique and promote yourself!
  • Set a short-term and a long-term plan and look for ways to achieve this.

Promotion

  • Engage fully in creating your career – get involved in every opening that arises.
  • Don’t scoff at the most unlikely avenues – these sometimes lead to great new opportunities and you never know who you may meet!
  • On Average, aim at devoting 30% of your time to creating your craft and 70% of your time to marketing it – unless you can afford to employ someone to help you!

Create a Promotion Strategy Using These Outlets

1) Social Networks like Facebook (Your own wall and a Fan Page) and Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram

2) Distribution Platforms especially for specific creative activities as follows:

  • Artists – Sell originals and prints through sites like Saachi, Fine Art America, Deviant Art, Daily Painters etc
  • Musicians – Upload your songs and promote yourself or your band through sites like Soundcloud etc
  • Writers – Self-publish your books through Amazon (CreateSpace), Lulu, Bookbaby etc

3) Competitions – Research and enter as many competitions as possible to keep abreast with what’s happening and obtain more exposure in the art world. An award will look good on your CV! There are free competitions and some you need to pay to enter, but be careful as some of the take your money and you have no way of knowing if there really is a competition or whether you were selected or not.

Competitions can be found online on specific sites and ezines and also in art/publishing magazines and newspapers.

Enter Talent shows if you are a singer, like Idols, UK Has Talent etc

4) Web Campaigns:Emerging Artists can also take advantage of platforms offering a variety of ways to launch ideas and create a buzz to attract some attention to your work. You can really get creative!

  1. Crowdfunding campaigns can be really innovative ways to raise funds for Indie Projects. Kickstarter and Indiegogo, to mention but a couple, are sites that favour film, the arts and creative projects. Depending on the effort put into the networking of one’s campaign, these too can go viral sometimes and some people have been really fortunate and received millions to really set them on their way.
  2. Marketing Apps – Anybody can drive traffic to their products, boost sales or generate engagement online through creating a campaign themselves, using sites such as Shortstack for example, who or even Facebook itself. They offer a range of very good and easy to use apps, which offer a host of different ideas such as:
    • Photo-Vote Competitions
    • Giveaways
    • Promotions
    • Webinars

5) Video Creation – it is easy these days to create a video and upload to sites such as You Tube. You can create a series of shots of your artworks in a slideshow format or a demonstration of you actually creating the work. Share your video on other social networks.

6) Create a Blog – Use Blogger or WordPress and build an audience to subsequently boost sales of your work through your Blog. It’s a good place to display your work, impart your knowledge and engage with readers. Draw traffic by promoting your blog on other social networks too and share it on Tumblr, Google +, Stumble Upon, LinkedIn etc

Get with it!

So although you’re presently an emerging artist and up against a lot of competition, take heart that you have so much potential of many new outlets to distribute and market your work and drive an audience and sales. Take advantage of these opportunities and try your hand at all of them! Think up some of your own too or ways you can implement them in getting your work seen in as many places as possible, both online and in your local area or nation.

Watch this video for extra inspiration and let me know if you have any other great ideas to assist emerging artists.

Advertisements
 
2 Comments

Posted by on July 25, 2014 in Creating Art, Creative Inspiration

 

Tags: , ,

Creativity Weekend Workshop in Paternoster

Paternoster header  Creativity

All-Inclusive Luxurious & Inspiring 5* Winter Weekend Getaway. 

A Perfect Blend of Relaxation & Stimulation!

4 – 6 July 2014

At Abalone House Boutique Guesthouse & Spa

Abalone trio of logos

Come and join Artist and Author Karen Longden-Sarron on this Unique Creativity Workshop and Awaken the Creative Genius Within to Recreate Your World!

Pamper yourself with excellent food and indulgent spa treatments while also igniting your creativity as a means to shape your future by learning how to transform your life on this creativity workshop.

This Unique and Inspiring event will take place in the quaint seaside village of Paternoster on the Cape West Coast at the Opulent five-star Abalone House Boutique Guesthouse, renowned for its effortless blends of old world elegance with eclectic decadence and now the new home to another famous Reuben’s Restaurant and Healing Earth Spa.

The Venue

Abalone House is a stylish Boutique guesthouse on the West Coast offering sophistication, glamour and style in the charming, historic fisherman’s village of Paternoster. Antiques, art, orchids and vistas of pristine white beaches and the ocean set the scene. Bold colours and decadent touches decorate bedrooms designed around an idyllic, tranquil courtyard with lap pool, some with sea views and private relaxation spaces. Be cocooned in air-conditioned comfort with the luxury of flat screen TV, iPod docking station, CD and DVD player, espresso machine, mini-bar and laptop safe. Enjoy sumptuous breakfasts and lunches, as well as High Tea on the day of arrival. Feast at the famous Reuben’s Restaurant now in the Hotel. Indulge yourself with a Spa treatment in the Healing Earth Spa or sip a single malt or bubbly in front of a crackling fire in the Africa Bar. Only 1½ hours from Cape Town.

The Workshop

Wizard in my Heart Book Front Cover JPGIgnite your imagination and learn to transform your life using the magic of Creativity! This unique workshop is based on the guidelines of the author’s soon-to-be published book, ‘The Wizard In My Heart”  – a journey of self-discovery with a difference – an inspired journey offering a triad of results using creativity to transform your life as follows:

      • Life-changing modifications through a process known as “Heartscaping”
      • Discover the Path to your Soul and your Life’s Purpose
      • Learn how to live and work from the Heart in Creative Self-expression

The Creativity Workshop will help participants to unleash and develop their Creative Potential in a Nurturing, Non-competitive and Inspiring environment at a Beautiful Location. Participants will Learn How To:

  • Awaken their Creative Genius Within to Recreate their World
  • Explore Creativity as an Enlightening New way of life for a Happy & Healthy Mind, Body & Spirit
  • Stimulate Creativity in Problem Solving, Innovative Thinking, New Perceptions and heightened Imagination
  • How to Overcome Creative Blocks and Express their Unique Personal Style, Ideas and Talents

This Creativity Workshop offers an opportunity to get in touch with yourself in Exciting and Unexpected ways, so come and enrich your soul and meet like-minded and inspiring people – who knows, they could become lifelong friends.

The Package

Accommodation

Abalone Boutique Guesthouse & Spa reflects an elegant opulence, with French-style doors and richly hued Persian rugs adorning stone floors and boasts ten luxury ground and first-floor suites, built around a tranquil sheltered garden courtyard.The signature Tretchikoff wall prints make a playfully eccentric style statement amid a flurry of jewel coloured fabrics, furnishings and African ornaments.   All Suites are equipped with:

  • Air Conditioning
  • Extra length King sized or twin beds with white cotton linen. 
  • En-suite bathrooms with bath, shower, under tile heating and heated towel rails. 
  • A fully stocked bar fridge and top of the range Italian coffee machine. 
  • Flat screen TV, iPod docking station, CD and DVD player make lazing in the privacy of your suite a pleasure. 
  • Built-in electronic safes.

Meals

All meals will be completely catered for during your Creativity Retreat, including Breakfast, a tasty light Lunch, Morning and Afternoon Tea/Coffee and a delicious 2-course Dinner. Non-participating partners are welcome to join you for meals at the Reuben’s Restaurant in the evenings as well as the lunches on Saturday and Sunday, including the picnic lunch on the beach, but these are for his/her own account.

Any other refreshments or alcoholic beverages and speciality Teas or Coffees are for your account.

Vegetarians Welcome.

Non-Participating Partners

If you have a partner who would like to accompany you on the getaway and share your Suite but not participate in the workshop, he or she is welcome to do so at a cost of only R350 per night, including breakfast. All other meals and refreshments are for their account, although they are welcome to join you in the meals with the participants.

What’s Included

  • 2 Night’s Accommodation in a luxurious Suite or small groups could also opt to select a 2 or 3 bedroomed cottage nearby.
  • 2 Full English & Continental Breakfasts
  • 2 Lunches (one being an exclusive Beach Picnic – weather permitting)
  • 2 x 2-Course Dinners at the famous Reuben’s Restaurant (Now situated in the Hotel)
  • 2 Spa Treatments at the Healing Earth Spa (Choice of Back & Neck Massage /Facial/ Pedicure or Manicure)
  • Morning & Afternoon Tea/Coffee
  • Welcome Drink
  • Workshop Instruction & Guidance from Karen
  • Artistic Materials & Notes (You will be requested however to bring along a few photocopies of photos of yourself)

Additional Activities Included

  • Participants in this Retreat shall also get to enjoy the following activities offered on this getaway:
    • Inspiring Presentation during Welcome Drink on Workshop Opening
    • 1 Picnic Lunch on the Beach (Weather permitting)
    • High Tea on Day of Arrival

What’s Not Included

  • Transport to/from the venue
  • Mini Bar in Rooms
  • Refreshments & Alcoholic Beverages other than 1 morning and 1 afternoon tea/coffee per day
  • Speciality Teas or Coffees
  • Gratuities

ALL IN A LIGHT-HEARTED, NON-COMPETITIVE AND JOYFUL ATMOSPHERE!

The Cost

Take Advantage of this Exclusive WINTER PACKAGE Offer All-inclusive Package Deal Price of R3,690 per participant (Sharing or Single) Supplement for Non-participating partners sharing is R350 per night, including breakfast, but all other meals and refreshments are for his/her account.  

The rooms are issued on a first-come-first-served-basis.

Limited Spaces. Booking is Essential.

Last Winter Karen held a Workshop with fellow Artist Line’ Ryan du Preez in Riebeek Kasteel which was great. The people that met on that event have become the best of friends!

Come and join in the fun this winter in another great hideaway and get inspired!

Getting There

Paternoster is 160 km from Cape Town, approximately a 1-hour 45 minute drive. Directions will be sent to you on registration confirmation.

Payment

We require a 50% deposit (R200 of which is non-refundable) to secure your place, due on confirmation of your booking. The balance is due 7 days prior to the event at the latest. (You may of course pay in full on confirmation.)

Booking

Rooms are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. Book early to avoid disappointment! You can book your place now by downloading the Registration Form here Paternoster Creativity Workshop Registration Form and emailing it back. Once we have received your registration form we shall return a confirmation email with our banking details, directions with maps, scheduled itinerary and recommendations of what to bring. See the Cancellation Policy HERE

We Look Forward to meeting You There!

Paternoster Creativity Workshop Flyer

 

 

Tags: , , , ,

Novelty Is Seldom The Essential

“In our time there are many artists who do something because it is new; they see their value and their justification in this newness. They are deceiving themselves; novelty is seldom the essential. This has to do with one thing only; making a subject better from its intrinsic nature.” Henri de Toulouse Lautrec

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec 063

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec 063 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How true are these words from the famous French artist Henri de Toulouse Lautrec? We artistic people are always trying to find that one thing – that elusive single thing that will make us stand out from the rest. We strive to be novel and so original that we sometimes end up doing nothing at all.

I’ve said it in other posts, but it’s better to just do what you love, in your own way – that’s as original as it needs to be!

Recently I have been painting still life scenes and they too can tell a story, in their glorious simplicity, through choice of colour etc, and as Lautrec says “Making a subject better from its intrinsic nature’ is the actual challenge for the artist painting realism – a pot, or a watering can, or even an ironing board has a beauty and a personality and portraying that essence is what resonates with the viewer.

So do it in your style. Capture the essence of anything in your own way and stop worrying about finding something that has not been done before and stop worrying also about who will like it. That’s being truly original. Even Picasso painted all sorts of things beautifully and realistically before he painted in the style of cubism. Who knows what you may stumble upon too on your creative journey!

I also love these words from Andy Warhol which sums it all up perfectly.

Don’t think about making art, just get it done.  Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it.  While they are deciding, make even more art.” Andy Warhol

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 28, 2013 in Creative Inspiration

 

Tags: , ,

A Collection of Inspirational Videos About Creativity

Whilst watching a few videos on the Internet about Art I have stumbled across a few inspiring ones, which I thought I’d share with you today. This collection are not on technique or showing skill, but rather inspirational talks on art and creativity and are often humorous too.

So, grab a coffee and settle down for an interesting moment all about the subject you creative people love most!

The first is more of a serious video, but I found it very interesting, called” Genius or Madness,” an interesting discussion by Professor Glen Wilson on the psychology of creativity, where he delves into the craziness and the genius reported about creators of the past.

Secondly, is a video on Mr Vik Muniz, who makes art from pretty much anything, be it shredded paper, wire, clouds or diamonds. Here he describes the thinking behind his work and takes us on a tour of his incredible images. He’s a great character too!

Thirdly, Radio host Julie Burstein talks with creative people for a living — and shares four lessons about how to create in the face of challenge, self-doubt and loss, called “4 Lessons in Creativity”

Lastly, “Creativity as a Life Skill” by Gerard Puccio, is a video portraying a fast changing and increasingly more complex world as humans became more creative and control their thinking.

 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on August 13, 2013 in Creative Inspiration

 

Tags: ,

Where Do Good Ideas For Art Come From?

Contemplation

“Contemplation” Oil on Canvas. K Longden-Sarron

“What to do? What to do?” is a question any painter or photographer, or creator of any kind, surely asks sometimes. While its normal for any creative person to experience ‘voids’ or ‘blocks,’ I think it’s often the catalyst to an extraordinary breakthrough – because the brain processes the problem/s and simplifies them and the results can be spectacular!

I’m not going to repeat Steven Johnson’s explanation of this key question “Where do ideas come from” in his amazing video I’ve posted below, but to first offer my take on how artists, specifically, can reap ideas for their projects.

The innovative process is sometimes daunting. We wonder “How can I be original?” or “How could my work stand out from the rest?”

I too have spent hours viewing other artists’ work seeking inspiration and making lists of subjects I could paint, but at the end of it I land up with a zillion ideas and notions to try them all. The result – not much gets done. Whilst I incubate this phletora of visuals of all I’ve seen I end up more confused than ever! At the end of it I realize that whoever inspires me and whatever subjects I could paint, I need to paint what’s true to ME. That’s what being original means! That’s how my work could stand out from the rest! And to do that I need to paint what interests me, the things in life that brings me joy. In short – things that I love and make my soul sing.

So, that been said, I’m back at square one aren’t I? Where do I begin?

  • Everything starts with what we know – our visual library. Everything we remember, or from our cultural beliefs, or from events we have experienced, joyful or tragic alike.
  • It also comes from our present environment; what we see around us, or from the sounds we hear. It comes from images we see and words we read.
  • It also comes from our imagination.
  • It’s true that ideas come from observation, but they also come from seeing things differently. Exciting art can be achieved from trying new things to offer a new perspective on that subject, or to arrange things in a new, unusual and interesting way.
  • Making new connections between different, even sometimes unlikely things, also lends itself to interesting compositions and subject matter.
  • Artists who portray the beauty in everyday things or situations don’t seem to have had any particular “lightbulb” moment in making their photo or painting, but they are telling a story all the same, and sometimes to the viewer that image strikes a deeper chord than ever imagined by its creator.

“Stop sometimes and look into the stains of walls, or ashes of a fire, or clouds, or mud or like places–you may find marvellous ideas.” Leonardo da Vinci

“I Hear You My Brother” Oil on Canvas. K Longden-Sarron

Ideas are all around us. I was motivated to paint this canvas from a picture I saw when viewing old photos one evening with some friends and knew it just had to be a painting!

 

 

 

 

"Gladiola!"

“Gladiola!” Oil on Canvas. K LOngden-Sarron

 

And this one was painted from a silly photo of myself singing into a gladiola. I even titled it “Gladiola!” The idea to paint it was sparked simply because it makes me giggle! Nothing wrong with adding a little humour into your work! I believe that’s what being true to yourself is – portraying all the facets that make up YOU. Quirky, silly, sympathetic, activist or whatever you may be.

 

 

Don’t over think things, be willing to take risks and perhaps prepare to accept a few failures. The truer you are to yourself through your work, the easier it will be for you and the more fulfilling in the long run. Don’t let society quasher your zest for innovation and originality. Let your soul sing! Because it is this that develops a following. And not always because what you produce has such major appeal alone, but because you do as an individual. And it’s from you, the individual, where the good ideas for art come from!

“Art is an adventure into an unknown world which can be explored only by those willing to take the risks”            Mark Rothko 

Watch and enjoy Steven Johnson’s innovative video, and then please comment and let me know where your good ideas for art come from!

 

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

John Cleese on Creativity

John Cleese tries to explain creativity and how to become more creative. The background of his lecture is scientific, the guide based on his own experience. This is really spot on and any creative professional will agree. Plus, it is really funny at the same time!

Enjoy and be inspired!

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 12, 2013 in Creative Inspiration

 

Tags: , , , , ,

What I Learnt From Teaching A Student

Although I have been painting and selling my work for many years, I also give workshops, and these have always run in a similar way, and usually with people who can already paint, so they know the bare essentials of design, composition and technique. These classes have always been fun and have generally resulted in inspiring and stimulating me in my own work, and I have enjoyed the delight of sharing what I know in assisting others in becoming better artists.

Recently, I received an enquiry from a young woman who wanted private lessons to prepare a portfolio of the required material for an application submission to university. Although she is applying for a course in architecture, she needed to submit a portrait and other drawings, as well as a poster design.

My heart sank on the first day she arrived when she told me she had never drawn or painted before, so I knew I had to start at the beginning – so much to teach in such a short time – and we still had to get the pieces ready for the portfolio by the deadline.

Little did I know that it was I who was perhaps going to learn the most!

Naturally, she was overwhelmed and like everyone who hasn’t tried before, she was assured she was not able to draw or paint. My first step was getting her to conquer the fears and dispel the notion she was useless and to urge her to delve right in with confidence – even if she made a few mistakes.

After simplifying the scary concept of the human face into elementary lines of placement, she was already more at ease and her first drawing was amazing!

Now that we are nearing the end of her classes, and her portfolio is almost ready, I realize that I am actually going to miss these lessons and the reason for that is because these sessions are fun! I have tried to instill being loose in her work, being lateral in her thinking, being free with her painting, to try new things fearlessly, to stop before she overworks something and to leave what she thinks is a mistake. I have taught her what I am not good at doing myself – namely to PLAY!

These classes have taught me – in fact having such an inexperienced student has taught me, to experiment more and to lose myself in pure creation – whatever the result. I had become too stuck in my method and style, and too concerned about selling the piece. The work I have been “playing” with since meeting her is fresh and different. It’s free and vibrant. It’s looser and generally more creative!

I now understand the saying “To be a student you need to become a teacher.” I thank her for coming into my life and bringing to the fore what I had forgotten.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 13, 2012 in Creative Inspiration

 

Tags: , , , ,