Art is an universal instrument of interpreting reality through feelings, and not through logic of mind. Every artist though finds its own way and set of tools to be an interpreter between the reality and human emotions. However apart from creation process, there are lots of issues, points of attention that are not obvious, not directly art related, not taught at the art schools but essential for every professional artist. In the first part I want to summarise some of my observations regarding artist’s digital presence.
There is no doubt that a website is (or should be) an essential part of any artist’s self-presentation package. Yes, majority of people use Facebook, Twitter or youtube etc., and it may be a very good idea to have your digital footprint on those mediums too, but your own website is an ultimate space where you can tell about yourself and products or services you offer in a form or colour or intensity that suits you and your audience/clients best. It’s a place where you and your art are available any time, from any location and time zone, where your audience, customers and possible partners can get to know you, your history, your experience, your works. Convinced?
Then check among your friends, possibly there is someone who knows programming and web design to help you to create or update your existing one and won’t charge you too much for services.
Another strategy is to get in touch with a local computer science department at the university. Your website can be someone’s course assignment or an example of portfolio they will use to promote their services later. Could be win win.
If none of this is an option, and learning coding doesn’t sound like a good idea (even though i’m very sure that it is a good idea), then there are different online services to help you.
- WordPress is a huge platform to create blogs and personal websites. It’s an open source platform, so there are lots of templates and extra plugins added by community, but here comes a problem: familiarising yourself with it can be a challenge. Alternatively there are several platforms that offer drag and drop website building solutions.
- Wix and Weebly are among the most popular ones: they have hundreds of beautiful templates that are very easy to fill with your content, support service, tutorials, SEO assistance. One can use all the features to create and publish a website without paying anything.
- Squarespace is another variant. It doesn’t offer free options at all, but one can play around with 14 days trial. Pros and cons of all these solutions are summarised for example here.
YOUR "ABOUT ME"
How many times friends or even some random people asked to get access into the time and space when you are creating….a rehearsal video? a picture from a coffee shop where you write your blog posts or ebooks? a description of set of tools you use for digital editing? your music playlist for when you paint? etc.etc.etc.
- NO, wast majority of them are not stalkers and will never become one.
- NO, they are not trying to steal or copy your technique (and even if they do… your photoshop set of brushes or fonts, your technique of stretching or using a stage does NOT equal you or your art. no one can copy the very essence of you).
- NO, you are not going to spoil all the magic and you won’t be seen as a less unique person if people know that you edit your work million of times or you listen to Justin Bibber. Actually those who don’t care about Justin Bibber will skip that part, those who like him will feel even more connected with you.
- And NO, you don’t need to expose your every breath on social media, your privacy should never be jeopardised.
This preamble serves a little different purpose.
Imagine someone (who doesn’t know you yet) is looking for collaboration. They visit your website readyour "born-studied-worked" description.. AND? There is a chance they’ll contact you anyway (because they liked your stylish website or your professionally made pictures), but if you think about other people who graduated from the same school, worked at the same places as you...
Why you and not others should be chosen for collaboration?
Right, it’s about your values, your energy, your work or life motto… So let people know, that you are the right person to share their creative ideas with or to bring the right energy to the play or event they are planning.
- Write a bit more than simple born-study-work (for example this tutorial)
- Make an artist statement, how you are trying to change the world with your art, why it is important for you to contribute as an artist and not switch to astrophysics or medicine
- Tell them things they don’t know about you. (questions for inspiration)
- Make a list of things you do the best (remember those “wows” your friends or audience or clients gave you? it was surely followed by some more precise description after the “wow”, so include it here)
- Try to make a summary or typology of issues/tasks people come to you with. Even if all they vocalise is “a beautiful wedding picture” or “a dancing in a music video” or “a painting for an office” what they actually mean is a certain type of story, set of values they want to feel when experiencing your art. (for example like here)
Indeed let’s not forget a formal part of “about me”. Think about the fact that people who search for artists for collaboration are not necessarily artists themselves (they could be assistants or interns or HR people).
Seeing that other big names worked with you and were satisfied may become a decision making factor. So include testimonials (and don’t hesitate to ask for them) or a list of big names or companies you worked with.
Concerning the most formal way of presenting yourself… Your CV should be updated and presented and ideally you should have several versions of your CV (to apply for jobs, to apply for funding, to apply for residencies etc.). Even applying for jobs in business sector and art sector will require different styles.
VisualCV can help with creating fancy looking, different styles and versions of your CVs
NOW, what about your LinkedIn profile?
Let me guess: registerd - not interested - not updated?
Meantime simple 10 minutes search by keywords shows that in Romania LinkedIn has 4244 artists, 159 dancers, 98 choreographers, 3441 producers, 222 light designers, 647 composers, 285 theatre directors. (Indeed those were keywords, not professions. so amount of professionals is smaller, but i’m sure you get the message). When you want to go beyond your network for collaboration this could be a handy option to search right people in your proximity.