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!
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:
Other great resources include art magazines such as:
Art in America
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!