How To Grow Your Professional Art Career

How To Grow Your Professional Art Career

Following My Own Advice
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The Best Advice and Resources for Growing Your Professional Art Career

First, you have to ask yourself these questions:

What are your goals?

What are you doing to achieve them?

What openings are happening in your area?

Are you going to them?

What free resources are available to you online?

Are you utilizing them?

What books can help you grow and establish yourself professionally?

Are you keeping yourself informed?

Is art a regular part of your day?

When was the last time you worked at your studio?

Are you exhibiting your work?

Are you taking the time to apply to exhibitions?


Now that you're being honest with yourself, here are some tools to help improve your work ethic and keep you informed on Chicago Art Happenings:


Chicago Artist Resource

An artist-curated directory of professional resources, job postings, and calls for artists. (Serving artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians, dancers and actors). Chicago Artist Resource (CAR) is the perfect place to find grants, fellowships, art-related jobs and exhibition opportunities. And using it is totally free!


ART/WORK

An overview of one of my favorite texts; ART/WORK:

"Everything you need to know (and do) as you pursue your art career." - This is text book is just that, the most comprehensive guide of its kind. It offers helpful advice to artists of every level from art school grads, mid-career artists, professional artists and other creative professionals. This book is the perfect tool to guide artists through the competitive art world and find success in their practice. Heather Darcy Bhandari, a gallery director, and Johnathan Melber, an arts lawyer, walk you through the important business end of being an artist so that you can essentially "act as your own manager and agent." From business basics like inventory and expense sheets, to preparing invoices; taking legal precautions like copyright and drafting consignment forms or utilizing social media as a promotional tool - this is the perfect handbook to tackle each important career decision, large or small. Perhaps one of the most unique assets to this text is the combined interviews of nearly one hundred curators, dealers and other arts professionals in cities across the country, offering valuable insights about what they expect from and look for in artists. "The book is full of their interesting anecdotes and advice." Following the advice in this book could easily be the key to success. (Seriously, buy it TODAY.)


American Alliance of Museums

American Alliance of Museums will change your life if you are a museum-goer and art enthusiast! This incredible membership is easy to apply for online with a one-time payment of $50 for students, and $100 for non-students. The museum card allows year-round access to nearly all art museums in the United States! It is an amazing deal, well-worth the $$$.


Bad At Sports

Bad At Sports is the Midwest's largest independent contemporary art podcast and blog. The podcast has included approximately 400 interviewees/co-conspirators including Kerry JamesMarshall, Jeff Wall, Larry Rinder, Peter Saul, Liam Gillick, Mary JaneJacob, Chris Ware, Tania Bruguera, Jeffrey Deitch, James Elkins, MegCranston, Carol Becker, and Polly Apfelbaum. Founded in 2005 by Duncan MacKenzie, Richard Holland, and Amanda Browder, Bad at Sports (B@S) now features over 20 principal collaborators and is a weekly podcast, a series of objects, events, and a daily blog produced in Chicago, San Francisco, Detroit and New York City that features artists and art worlders talking about art and the community that makes, reviews and participates in it.


It is a highly recommended podcast but may be inappropriate for children under 14, so please be aware of who is in the room while you enjoy this funny and informative podcast. The offshoot of Bad At Sports, Bad at Sports Center can also be found on iTunes and is the same great podcast without the crude commentary and cursing.


Recommended Blogs & Magazines

Follow these blogs for updates in the art world:

Hyperallergic

Juxtapoz

Hi-Fructose

Contemporary Art Daily

Other great resources include art magazines such as:

Art in America

Artforum

Frieze


Word Press / Wix

Do you have a website? Have you established a web presence? If the answer is no, now is the time to start! It's easy! Get your work out there with a website or blog. Word Press and Wix are both free easy to use website-builders. The beautiful templates are perfect for setting up an online presence. Once you have your site up and running, get networking with Wix Shout Outs, a simple and sleek newsletter you can share with all of your creative connections! Going one step further, I recommend making a business card for your new site - Moo.com is by far my favorite print source for the job!


The Visualist / Chicago Gallery News

These platforms are excellent for staying in the loop when it comes to Chicago gallery openings, artist talks, and special events. The Visualist is Chicago's very own visual art calendar, marking each week's biggest events and openings so you don't have to! Similarly, Chicago Gallery News is an excellent source for Chicago art gallery news, events and listings.

Here are some upcoming shows in this month to check out:

Saturday, July 1st:

  • Roots & Culture (Between the Sky and Earth Group Show curated by Sharmyn Cruz)

Friday, July 7th :

  • Rhona Hoffman Gallery (Anne Willson)
  • ACRE (Group Show) 1913 W. 17th St., 6-9 pm
  • Carrie Secrist Gallery (Amy Krouse Rosenthal, A Beauty Salon)

Thursday, July 13th:

  • Western Exhibitions (Group Exhibitions)
  • Rhona Hoffman (Martha Tuttle + Henry Chapman, Cimarron)
  • Shane Campbell (Natsuno Tobira) *Lincoln Park
  • Intuit (Henry Darger)
  • Zg Gallery (George Jacobsen)
  • Corbett vs. Dempsey (Shana Lutker, Nicola Tyson, Nicole Eisenman)
  • Shane Campbell (Yui Yaegashi) *South Loop
  • 65Grand (Autumn, Elizabeth Clark, David Kaiser, Harry Sidebotham, Erin Smego)

Saturday, July 29th:

  • LVL3 Gallery (Katie Bell, Hannah Carr, Jenn Smith)
  • ACRE (Group Show) 1345 W. 19th St.




These are the tools, now remember to ask yourself the important questions...

'Have I Worked Toward My Dream Today?'

For as long as I can remember, my dad would ask me "What have you done to work towards your dream today?" He would address this question to me as a pre-teen with high hopes of becoming a rockstar, then again as I grew older and more fond of poetry and art. He keeps a paper with this quote from, Alan Bean, Astronaut, (Apollo 12 and Skylab 2) on his desk:


"The most important quality I have noticed in successful people is that they have a dream. They want to be someone or something. They want to have something. They want to go somewhere.

They think and work toward that dream every day.

I often ask people who tell me their dream, 'What did you do today to move closer to your dream? Eighty-five percent didn't do anything. They are planning to do something next week; they're just too busy today. These eighty-five percent will probably never see their dream come true.

Ask yourself the same question - ' What have I done today to make my dream come true?' If the answer is nothing specific, then you will never make it unless you change your ways."


Equip yourself with these tools and get to work on your dream today!

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

Popular Right Now

37 Drake Lyrics From 'Scorpion' That Will Make Your Next Instagram Caption Go Double Platinum

Side A makes you want to be single, Side B make you want to be boo'd up.

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We all knew Scorpion was going to be the summer banger we wanted. However, Drake surprised us with two sides of an album and two sides of himself. Mixing rap and R&B; was genius on his part, so why not dedicate 37 of his lyrics to our Instagram captions?

1. "Don't tell me how knew it would be like this all along" — Emotionless

Definitely a "I'm too good" for you vibe.

2. "My mentions are jokes, but they never give me the facts" — Talk Up

This one's for my haters.

3. "I wanna thank God for workin' way harder than Satan" — Elevate

For when you're feeling blessed.

4. "I promise if I'm not dead then I'm dedicated" — March 14

In Drake's story about his son the world knows about now, we get a lyric of true love and dedication

5. "My Mount Rushmore is me with four different expressions" — Survival

6. "Pinky ring 'til I get a wedding ring" — Nonstop

7. "I gotta breathe in real deep when I catch an attitude" — 8 Out of 10

This first line of the song is about to be spread on the gram like a wildfire

8. "Heard all of the talkin', now it's quiet, now it's shush" — Mob Ties

9. "California girls sweeter than pieces of candy" — Sandra's Rose

This is gonna have every girl who has ever stayed in Cali all hot and heavy, watch it.

10. "I think you're changing your mind, starting to see it in your eyes" — Summer Games

Y'all know how these summer games go

11. "Look the new me is really still the real me" — In My Feelings

When you've got to profess that you've changed 200%

12. "Only beggin' that I do is me beggin' your pardon" — Is There More

13. "Shifted your focus, lens lookin' jaded" — Jaded

14. "Back and forth to Italy, my comment section killin' me" — Can't Take a Joke

Necessary for when you've got people hyping you up already

15. "People are only as tough as they phone allows them to be" — Peak

Y'all can't have this one, I'm stealing it

16. "Work all winter, shine all summer" — That's How You Feel

Put in the work so you can flex on 'em, summer 18

17. "Blue faces, I got blue diamonds, blue tint, yeah" — Blue Tint


18. "I stay busy workin' on me" — Elevate

19. "Ten of us, we movin' as one" — Talk Up

The perfect reason to get the largest group picture you've had on your gram

20. "October baby for irony sake, of course" — March 14

This statistically applies to 1/12 of y'all reading this, so take that as you will (we October babies are the best)

21. "She had an attitude in the summer but now she nice again" — Blue Tint

22. "I know you special girl 'cause I know too many" — In My Feelings


23. "Gotta hit the club like you hit them, hit them, hit them angles" — Nice for What

24. "She said 'Do you love me?' I tell her, 'Only partly,' I only love my ____ and my ____ I'm sorry" — God's Plan

If you haven't used this one yet, get to it

25. "But I'm blessed I just checked, hate me never met me in the flesh" — I'm Upset

26. "It's only good in my city because I said so" — 8 Out of 10

Follow this up with a location and shoutout your hometown

27. "My haters either on they way to work or they arrived" — Can't Take a Joke

28. "I always need a glass of wine by sundown" — Final Fantasy

Has Drake ever been more relatable?

29. "It's your f***in' birthday. Happy birthday" — Ratchet Happy Birthday

Let's go get kicked out of an Applebee's

30. "I move through London with the Eurostep" — Nonstop


31. "I stopped askin' myself and I started feelin' myself" — Survival

Mood all summer 18

32. "They keep tryna' get me for my soul" — I'm Upset

33. "I'm tryna see who's there on the other end of the shade" — Emotionless

34. "Only obligation is to tell it straight" — Elevate

35. "It don't matter to me what you say" — Don't Matter to Me


This line from the King of Pop (MJ) will give you chills. R.I.P.

36. "I'm the chosen one, flowers never pick themselves" — Sandra's Rose

37. "Say you'll never ever leave from beside me" — In My Feelings

Couple goals, amirite?

Cover Image Credit:

@champagnepapi / Instagram

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It Is Pointless To Pity The Homeless

Guilt is the silent killer of political action.

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Two summers ago, when I was an intern at The Father McKenna Center in Washington DC, I met Jason, who was homeless. I had just finished closing the shelter's computer lab for the evening, and the attendees of the AA meeting in the shelter's cafeteria had started to say their goodbyes and disperse until next week. As I was leaving to take the subway home, and as he was leaving to walk back to his encampment, wherever it may have been, Jason and I converged with each other at the front door of the shelter, and we introduced ourselves to each other.

Jason had two children, aged four and six, both of whom were protected from him under custody by his former wife. She had made the decision to divorce him because of his drug use, which posed a danger to the couple's children. (Jason did not hesitate to admit to this.) Shortly after the separation from his family, he became homeless. He had a high school degree and some former experience doing construction work. Aged into his mid 30's with minimal employment, Jason had been struggling to find a job for years.

As we walked, he told me about his kids, and how sometimes he hears about them during occasional phone calls with his wife. For a moment, he turned his head to look at me in my eyes, and he quietly told me about how proud he was of his daughters for completing the first and third grades of elementary school.

If you are homeless, it takes an immense amount of courage to make the commitment to go to a homeless shelter. I believe that the one thing that most people struggle with, homeless or not, is the challenge of confronting one's own demons. Jason had demons, luggage, regrets, and so on - I had those too. Jason had first stepped at The Father McKenna Center shortly before I began my internship. As I performed the duties of my internship, Jason and I, together, experienced a great turbulence in our individual missions to confront our demons; and with that turbulence came sobriety. Not relief or improvement, but sobriety. True self-improvement is a year-long commitment, but self-awareness is a skill which can be utilized at any time.

Jason and I spoke several times throughout my internship. One of the last interactions I had with his before I completed my term happened again at the front entrance of the shelter. He told me that after years of searching, he had found the initiative to apply for a job. "Even though she and I needed to go our own ways," he said, "I still want to show my wife that I care about her. We're not married, but I still want to provide for her and the kids. I don't know how they feel about me, but I want to show my daughters that I am still their father, and that I love them."

When I started my internship at the shelter, I genuinely believed that I would come out of it depressed and disillusioned. But I learned to look beyond the misfortune and suffering, and with that perspective, I started to find more and more inspiration in the facets of life by which I had previously felt discouraged and depressed. I have not seen Jason in two summers, but I think about him every day, for strength.

Say, for instance, that you start to feel as though the daily grind of your summer job is starting to become too monotonous. Us undergrads are tirelessly told by our advisors that the best possible use of our time during the summer, outside of college and other than working for pay, is time spent volunteering and building up our resumes. After some online research and phone calls, you break down your volunteering options to three different nonprofit organizations in your area: Your first option is to spend 3-5 hours once a week helping a local community center care for its flower garden, fresh herb greenhouse, and wildlife sanctuary. Your second option is to spend Tuesday and Thursday evenings bathing, petting, and reading storybooks to all the dogs and cats at a nonprofit rescue shelter. Your third option is to spend 5 hours on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at an inner-city homeless shelter and rehabilitation center for men who have been recently released from prison.

This where the conflict begins. Deep inside, you know that volunteering at the men's shelter is, in your opinion, the most valuable kind of work you can do. Human beings require more attention than plants and pets. Humans beings need to be kind to each other, and so, you may want to volunteer at the shelter.

The problem is certainly not that nobody wants to volunteer at homeless shelters. I consider myself an optimist, and I still think that the majority of people living in the United States wish to care for and support each other. The true problem is that even when a good-minded, empathetic, caring person wants to offer their kindness to the homeless, there are layers upon layers of illusions, false impressions, misconceptions, misunderstandings, and (most importantly), miscommunications which prevent them from doing so. What must truly be addressed is not how much attention is being paid to homelessness, but how attention is paid. There are many kinds of layers of illusion; the majority of them are certainly racial illusion. A vast number are economic. Others, however, are emotional. A lot are just flat-out moral as well.

The growing epidemic of homelessness, as an affliction, is the product of political injustice, racist systems, and greed. But the homeless lifestyle itself, however, is not political in nature. Homeless people are not statistics in a study, neither are they variables in a social equation. Homelessness is a daily struggle for a human life, and those who are homeless suffer. They are as emotional and as sentient as the well-off office workers who pelt them with quarters as though they're fountains.

Understanding homelessness is especially hard for people on the polar opposite side of the social/economic spectrum from the homeless. It is somehow harder for a wealthy and educated person to understand homelessness than it is for someone from lower-class origins to do so. As I said before, I genuinely believe that the vast majority of people on this Earth have the moral initiative to help those less fortunate - but this initiative is excessively overridden by the reflexive tendency most people have to compare and juxtapose themselves. This act of reflexive juxtaposition is what scares most people away from homeless shelters.

Call it what you want - "juxtaposition" is not the only word one can use to describe this feeling. Some people might call themselves "overqualified." From a political perspective, some have referred to it as "white guilt." Regardless of what you call it, it is reflexive. Homeless people, just upon sight, are registered with labels and false truths. The visceral, instinctive reaction to a homeless person is "Look forward, walk firm, and don't make eye contact." This is what needs to change.

In western society, people who grow up privileged - with parents, shelter, an education, and relationships - are subconsciously taught, unintentionally encouraged, and silently conditioned by the people around them to treat the homeless with, above all else, pity. The etiquette of reacting to a homeless person suggests something of a "passive melancholy." Like I mentioned before, under this mannerism of avoidant sorrow, homelessness is not a condition of life. It is a political symbol. The stumbling beggar in the subway and the raggedy busker on the street corner are effectively dehumanized by default; as long as they are evidently homeless, their role in the social dynamic of these public places is automatically different from yours and mine. The status of homelessness completely nullifies - no, prevents - a person's worthiness and rightful entitlement to human attribution, and without mercy, they are turned into something which is not human: a figure which is nothing but a representation of itself.

After years of riding the bus and subway, I have become aware of several different categories in which the people around me fit; I see the day laborers, who are categorized by being older men, clad in paint-stained construction pants, functioning in close-knit groups of six or seven. I see the government employees, who are categorized by the loudness of their gazes of exhaustion, directionless and unfixed, garbed in outdated albeit notably well-fitted suits, bland floral blouses, sky-blue button downs, the incredible pant suits, and khakis, and khakis, and khakis. I see the college-aged summertime interns running coffee for politicians who never remember their names, and they, too, are categorized; specifically by their calculated movements, blatantly artificial exteriors, and the endearing aura of simultaneous youthful naivety and capitalistic millennial-themed ambition (they also act like they know where they're going, when really, they don't, but they never stop to ask for directions). I see the mothers, the trust-fund white kids from Gonzaga, the beatniks from Howard, the Reagan-bound luggage-bearing vagabonds, the punks, the academics, the racists, the anarchists, the activists, the drunks, the wandering, the sleeping, and of course, the emblematic tourists in their MAGA hats, graphic tees, and jorts.

What kind of a response is demanded of those who choose to protect the weak? How are the wounded addressed by the healers? How should I talk to someone who suffers? The photographers, the journalists, and the volunteers cannot hope to rile a revolution alone. Neither can the teachers hope to raise a generation freed from toxicity alone, nor can the young politicians on the Hill hope to deliver their country to safety and stability alone. The problem of homelessness can be addressed, as can it be confronted, observed, studied, and journalized. Don't get me wrong, though - this type of action is deeply important: The awareness of a problem creates an opportunity for its solution. But the raising of awareness is not enough. The confrontation of our reality is not enough. To take the first step beyond awareness is to give attention to those who are in need of it; to attend to the weak and the wounded, and to act for their protection and their healing. In the words of the French revolutionary Simone Weil: "Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity."


Song suggestion: LCD Soundsystem - American Dream

Cover Image Credit:

Paul J. RIchards/Getty Images

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