Its has been quite a while since I posted in my ‘Artist’s Life’ blog series …. so here it goes! One thing I often think about and chat about with other artists is all of the different skills an artist must possess in order to be successful that actually have nothing to do with creating art. Many people think that artists live a dreamy life of sleep ins, sipping tea, and quietly working all day in their large lofty studios. Au contraire, there are many other ‘hats’ artists wear that have nothing to do with throwing paint at a canvas. In fact there are so many other roles that I often find myself overwhelmed and struggling to find time to actually PAINT! Also, these are often skills that artists are just expected to have or need to struggle to pick up along that way.
Here are ’10 Job Titles Artist Possess That Have Nothing to Do With Creating Art’
- Marketer / Social Media Guru – These days many artists are choosing to omit the gallery route and represent themselves. With the development of the internet more and more artists are promoting themselves through websites and social media. I find these things can work brilliantly BUT its takes time and consistency to really work = time away from the easel. Now a days artists MUST have a website. This means having the ability to create or at least update and maintain a website. Also, artists are expected to not only have a website but also a social media presence. This means consistent posts on Facebook, instagram, twitter ect… fweff!
- Photographer- In order to be able to share their work online artists must have awesome photos of their work. This requires not only the skills to be able to use a high quality camera and properly light their work but also the ability to edit and resize photos usually using programs such a photoshop. Its also becoming apparent that artists need to have the ability to take artful and interesting photos that show studio activity, inspirations and images that help social media followers get to know them better as a person and works to build their personal brand.
- Book Keeper- Invoicing, collecting and submitting pst/gst, keeping track of income and expenses and paying income tax. Sure you can hire someone to do this but most artists especially starting out are on a tight budget and thus need to learn these skills themselves which requires learning to use some sort of book keeping software.
- Customer Service Representative- Answering emails and customer inquires, doing quotes, taking orders, meeting customers face to face or by phone. I believe customer service in any business including selling art is very important and takes time and commitment.
- Shipping and Receiving Expert- Artists need to know how to package their artwork safely for shipping and be aware of what shipping options exist. Mastering the use of tape gun and the ability to custom size a box are skills I am still working on !
- Handyman/builder- Once an artist has created their work they must find a way to display it at shows. Many artists will struggle trying to find a functional and easy way to hang their art. This often requires building walls of some kind requiring use of hand tools and dare I say POWER tools !
- Laborer- Loading art and display materials in and out of the car (and trying to make it FIT in the car! eek), hauling art from the car to the display area, setting up tables, walls, lights. Setting it up, taking it down, setting it up, taking it down. I call it ‘The Artist Workout’.. not for the faint of heart!
- Lighting Expert- Lighting for both creating art and showing art is super important and can be incredibly frustrating. It a real skill for artists to be able to understand and create the best lighting for their art. This is something I continue to try to improve on!
- Organizational Specialist- keeping stock organized, being on top of ordering supplies, keeping on top of commission deadlines, meeting deadlines for show applications, organizing meetings ect ect ect.
- Human Resource manager- Being an artist means being self employed. This means having to arrange our own Health Insurance, EI, CPP ect. Its a big job in itself just to understand how all this stuff works! oh and by the way there is not holiday or sick pay with this job.
Fellow Artists… did I miss anything?
As an artist many of these things I have had to learn on my own and many of these things skills I am still developing. I love being a self-employed, self-promoting artist but I often struggle with balancing all of the hats. I am always working on trying to find more efficient uses of time and ways of outsourcing some of these jobs so that I have more time in front of the easel. If any one has any tips or techniques for better balance and time management I welcome them!
Until next time, happy creating!