Posts in Creative Entrepreneurs
Women Working in the Arts: Liza from @curatoronthego

For the next installment of our Women Working in the Arts series we are excited to share the story of Liza, founder of @curatoronthego. She is a Toronto based independent art curator and fine art agent who we recently connected with via PxP Contemporary. After reading about her business, her background in curating, and the exciting projects she has been working on, make sure to check out her top picks from our gallery on Instagram or Facebook!

Tell us a bit about your background as a curator. What kind of work interests you?

Art has always been my passion; as a young girl, I attended art classes, and any time my family travelled, I was excited to visit local museums and art galleries. When I moved to Canada in 2010, I chose Art History as one of my majors and decided that I wanted to work professionally in the art world.

After working in a few local art institutions, I completed my MFA in Criticism and Curatorial Practice. The program gave me the opportunity to work on larger curatorial projects and meet many amazing local artists, which was perfect for me. My thesis exhibition focused on themes of storytelling and community engagement. When there is a story behind the artwork, it brings value to the piece, and creates a conversation between the artist, collector, and their respective friends and family. I believe that people love art that challenges them and makes them think.

Now, I work directly with artists and help them thrive as art entrepreneurs. This year I helped ten artists who were stuck in their careers and were seeking artistic direction. I mentor artists on how to build a prosperous and thriving art business, and educate them on how to work with art dealers, pricing and market their works, organize exhibition, conduct sales, and more.

Name one woman artist - either contemporary or from history - who has had an impact on you.

I try not to have role models. People tend to copy those who are more successful, and I believe having my own unique story and voice is what is important to me and what I value most in other people. However, I’ve been working with one local artist for the last five years, and she has inspired me to believe in myself, dream big and work smart. Her name is Jessica Gorlicky; she is a Toronto-based fine art and performance artist and has toured around the world speed painting, and making outstanding emotional art, including an international street art movement. Not only is she a talented artist, but also a skilled businesswoman, entertainer, and inspiration for many emerging artists.

What is one piece of advice you would give to emerging artists?

Invest in yourself.

Artists need to invest in their careers. That includes supplies, studio space, and if they work from home, they should make sure to eliminate any distractions. Artists should invest in their career development, like traveling to other countries, exhibiting at international art fairs and shows, and using helpful technology, such as mailing lists, to grow their network. As well, do not be afraid to rely on professionals like accountants, lawyers, and mentors to help you with behind-the-scenes tasks; it will help you to dedicate as much time as possible on art production. Lastly, it’s important to have a clear mindset, and a set of goals for a successful career. If you are not willing to invest in your career, who will?

Do you have any exciting projects, collaborations or exhibitions coming up that you’d like to share? 

In August, I hosted my first Career Recharge Seminar Event for local artists as a platform to get advice and learn from art and non-art professionals, and also as a place to network and share their stories. The event has inspired me to host more art seminars in the future, and to build new platforms for artists, such as online courses to share tips and tools, and guide artists to create profitable art businesses when they are unable to hire an agent or curator, and do what they love. 

In October, I am curating a solo show of one of the artists I currently represent Matt Pine (www.mattpineart.com) in Toronto.

You can find me at www.curatoronthego.com or on Instagram @curatoronthego.

By Alicia Puig

Women Working in the Arts: Alexis Yuen
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Create! Magazine is pleased to introduce you to Alexis Yuen of The Art Diplomat for the next installment of our ‘Women Working in the Arts’ series! Our Director, Alicia, was excited to connect with Alexis to learn more about her newly launched art advisory as well as which woman artist has had a major impact on her career.

She describes her business, The Art Diplomat, as follows:

“I connect brands and individuals with artists who do socially-engaged artworks. Because of my previous work at Christie's and Art Basel, I often get approached by corporations, hotels, properties, and individuals to buy or commission artists. However, instead of looking for big artists represented by galleries, I would direct them to emerging artists who are doing socially-engaged works. I speak with my clients about what values matter to them (e.g. climate change, migrant crisis, gender inequality) and I look for artists and walk them through the buying and commissioning process, sort of like a curator or project manager depending on the client. On the artist side, I travel extensively to meet with women artists and often coach them through their careers. So far, all the artists I've worked with are women of color like myself. Having worked in the commercial art world and been an activist artist, I see there's a huge gap between the two worlds. I hope to empower activist artists by bringing more capital, organization, and attention to the art x activism field.”

Alexis has been previously featured by Marie Claire Hong Kong and was recently profiled by Kno. For more information on The Art Diplomat, please visit her website or follow along on Instagram here.

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Choose one woman artist from history or who is working today and tell us about why she inspires you.

This is easy. Dorathea Lange’s Migrant Mother changed my career as an artist and now an art advisor working with socially-engaged artists. When I first started in art school, my focus was initially in fashion photography but I ended up switching to documentary photography. One of the reasons for my decision was seeing Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother (1936), which humanized the cost of the Great Depression and gave a face to a suffering nation, in my photography history class in freshman year. I remember thinking how the photo was so beautiful, yet so incredibly sad. The photographed 32-year-old mother, Frances Owens Thompson, had wrinkles beyond her age, most probably from the sun she endured in the pea-pickers camp; her worried look and crouching body make the viewers feel the kind of stress and burden she must be experiencing raising three hungry children. And despite the sad subject, Lange managed to capture Thompson in a strikingly beautiful and respectful composition that draws you in and begs you to find out the story behind this woman. When I discovered how Lange’s report and photos from the encampment incentivized authorities to send 20,000 pounds of food, I was overwhelmed by the power of art in calling for actions in social change. I followed Lange’s footsteps and used my photography to capture migrants’ stories in Boston Chinatown and facilitated community conversations on the topic of belonging and identity in a gentrifying part of the city. Granted, with the proliferation of photography, the effects images have on us may not be as significant as in 1936, but I will always be inspired by how one powerful image got people to notice, talk about suffering, and take action.

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15 Smart Ways to Invest in Your Art Career (Plus 3 More That are Free!)
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Our Director, Alicia Puig, recently wrote a guest post for Empty Easel on ways to invest in your art career! If you haven’t heard her podcast on the 10 FREE ways to invest in your art career, check out that first on Art & Cocktails then read her full article on Empty Easel’s website.

Excerpt:

“You’ve probably heard the saying “you have to spend money to make money,” right? That’s not always easy to hear when you’re just starting out, having slower than normal art sales, or trying to find work, but if you are able to allocate some funds to professional development it can (and often does!) end up rewarding you with more than what you put in.

The good news is, investing in your art career doesn’t always require you to spend money. Setting aside some time to work specifically on business and administrative tasks can be incredibly helpful and yield great results.” Read the rest of the post here.

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Interview with Pamela Rounis from SAD Mag
Portrait by Lauren D Zbarsky.

Portrait by Lauren D Zbarsky.

We here at Create! always love hearing about creative women entrepreneurs and especially enjoy connecting with those who work alongside us in indie publishing! After the lovely ladies from Thrive Art Studio in Canada suggested that we reach out to SAD Mag, I got in touch with one of their co-publishers, Pamela Rounis, to interview her about the Vancouver based art and design publication. Read on for her candid responses on topics including an early career pivot, establishing priorities when you have a multitude of work commitments, and what the future holds for SAD Magazine as well as the podcast she hosts, called the SADCAST.

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What sparked your initial interest in art and design?

I was a creative kid, I always drew or made movies or plays, and that led me to the only logical conclusion I could think of, art school. There was no one really guiding me so I wasn’t sure what careers were available, i just figured I’d try to get into Emily Carr because that seemed like the “best” school. After graduating from Emily Carr I was faced with the stark reality of making a living in the art world. I ended up working as a gallery director for a small gallery and truly the best part of that job was creating the exhibition graphics. I didn’t have any formal design training and I did everything in photoshop! After 3 years, and no more ladder to climb in the gallery, I had to make the tough decision to go back to school for design. I went through the IDEA program at Capilano University and it changed my life. I finally felt like I was in the right place creatively. Design turned out to be a much better fit for me than fine art. I still appreciate fine art of course, and draw immense inspiration from it daily. 

What was the vision behind creating a niche art and design publication like SAD Mag? How and when did you first become involved with the publication?

SAD Mag is an independent Vancouver publication featuring stories, art, and design. Founded in 2009, we publish local contemporary and emerging artists and writers with a focus on inclusivity of voices and views. We are a non-profit and volunteer run. Our main mission is to elevate the creative scene here in Vancouver and give emerging creatives a place to get published and noticed. I started doing design for SAD around 2012 and eventually became creative director and co-publisher. When Katie Stewart (co-publisher) asked me to join SAD it seemed like mostly everyone there was a writer or photographer and none of these folks’ primary interest was design so it was a real opportunity for me to be able to change everything from the logo to the size of the magazine itself. This July, after nearly ten years, Katie, Michelle Cyca, and I stepped down as co-publishers to give a new generation the reigns. We will all remain on the board of directors, however, and I will continue to host our podcast, SADCAST. Syd Danger has taken over for me as the new creative director and co-publisher along with Madeline Barber as editor and co-publisher. 

What about your volunteer work with SAD Mag kept you engaged and excited for a decade? Can you speak to some of the challenges that you faced in the role of co-publisher?

The most exciting aspect is working with the artists, illustrators, and photographers on the creative for the magazine. It’s a lot of fun reading the pieces and matching them with the right person and briefing them on how to bring the piece to life. Each issue is themed which also brings a unique challenge, finding ways to stretch that theme across an entire issue in a way that keeps a reader’s interest. Our biggest challenge is the same as any magazine, gaining and retaining subscribers. It’s funny how many people will come to our parties and spend $30 on drinks, but don’t buy the magazine! We do have many loyal subscribers though it’s always a challenge to get the word out, especially since we’re volunteer run and sales are no one’s passion project. 

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In addition to your work with SAD Mag and hosting the SADCAST, you are also a full-time Associate Creative Director at an advertising agency. How do you maintain a sustainable work/life balance?

It’s been challenging to balance everything which is what led me to the ultimate decision to step down from most of my duties at SAD after 7 years. I think there was a lot of sacrifice that went into my being able to do everything. Certainly my husband thinks I’m a workaholic and I work most weekends. It’s not a lifestyle I would recommend and I think that’s the harsh truth about a lot of successful people. This past year I had my first panic attack and I said to myself that something needs to give, I can’t do it all even though I want to. Being promoted to ACD at Rethink came with a lot of new responsibilities also, so it just became overwhelming. I think for a lot of the time my motto was "better done than perfect". And that's really the only way things kept rolling.

Are there exciting things in store for the magazine or with your personal projects for the rest of the year that we should look forward to?

I am very excited to see what Syd and Maddy do with the magazine. The next issue, their first as co-pubs, is appropriately themed Future and it’s definitely one to watch out for. Meanwhile, I’m going to try to make the SADCAST better than ever, and take it a bit easier!

By Alicia Puig

Portrait by Lauren D Zbarsky.

Women Working in the Arts: Marie-Odile
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For our first-ever women’s issue this past spring (which is still available for purchase here) I profiled four young and entrepreneurial women working in the arts to highlight those not only creating work, but also those who are supporting artists as curators, gallerists, educators, writers, and more! I’ve kept this series going on our blog and am excited to share this interview with gallery manager and art influencer Marie-Odile, or @imagine_moi on Instagram.

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Bio

My name is Marie-Odile (it’s a peculiar name, I admit!) and I was born after 1990 in France. It feels like I’ve always been passionate about art. After a few years away from what I believe is my path, I dropped out of HEC Montréal Business School to go study art history and earn a master’s degree at la Sorbonne in Paris. Now, I am a gallery manager in Paris with the background of an art historian.

I am half French and half Brazilian so ethnic mix and hybridization run through my veins. During my time at la Sorbonne, I saw the opportunity to study the history of Brazil through an art historical lens. I wrote two theses related to Brazilian art history and contemporary art. My first essay focused on the study of religious syncretism present in the art of Thiago Martins de Melo. My second one was a critique of the itinerant exhibition Imagine Brazil. I consider art to be a window to important matters such as feminism, history, the LGBTQI+ rights movements, inclusivity, and even geopolitics!

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Choose one woman in the arts from history or who is working today and tell us about why she inspires you or has had an impact on you.

I was always amazed by Peggy Guggenheim and the fact that she had a significant role in art history. Everywhere she went, she left something to be remembered. She built strong friendships that encouraged her to open her horizons. Peggy started an art gallery at 39! She supported Surrealism and Abstraction and took part in the writing of American art history with the Abstract Expressionist movement. For her, collecting artworks was both a way to support artists and to share them with the world. Her ambition to open a museum was realized with the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, which was later donated to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in the late 70’s. She had the guts and the desire to share her passion for the arts and to take part in its modern history.

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I would love to hear a bit more about your Instagram account too. When did you start it and was it always focused on art?

By the end of 2017, I started to think about my own “personal branding” and how I could carve out a place for myself in the art world. I had no contacts to begin with, only my personality and passion, so I decided that Instagram appeared to be the perfect social media channel with which I could connect to art lovers around the world. I imagined what I could do with my profile and then I worked to create the account and grow it to what is now.

No, it wasn't focused on art first because it took me a little while to understand how it works. I go to exhibitions, museums, and galleries on a regular basis. This is a habit I kept from my art history student years, when I had moved to Paris and got struck by the possibility of seeing art anywhere all the time. I started to share my experiences through my stories and I received messages like: "Thank you, I can visit and see art through your Instagram" from people far away. It kind of moved me. So then I started to read every article I could to understand Instagram algorithms and how to hashtag, for example.

What kind of content do you feature?

On @imagine_moi you will see pictures of my museum, gallery, and sometimes art fair visits, enlivened by funny art selfies. I curate little imaginary collections of artworks, mixing styles and periods according to a theme. Among the art pictures, you will encounter some selfies and casual life moments too. I am a woman and so not choosing between strictly posting art culture or casual selfies and life moments is kind of a feminist committed position of mine. I think it’s important for me to stop thinking that I have to chose in order to avoid being discredited.

My goal is not to show off with culture and knowledge. Not at all. Instead, I want to spread a desire for and curiosity about art. I’d like to see interest in art blossom in people’s minds, even more for those who think it’s not for them. I love thinking that I made someone want to go see an art show, visit a museum, or see art anytime, anywhere. Very often, in museums, I hear people saying  “ Well, I could have done that”... and I think, hmm, in reality no. Before saying this, one must think about what the mainstream art of that period was like. If you were told the context of creation for the Malevich’s Black Square painting, maybe you wouldn’t think he is a con artist!

What do you love about the platform or dislike?

What I love about this platform is that I can use it to interact with people from across the world. I even started a discussion group with women from Cologne, London, San Diego, and Milan who work in the arts as well. We share art every day and it allows me to have a sneak peek into what they see at art fairs and biennales when I can't go because, let's be honest, it wouldn't really be environmentally friendly nor cheap to go to all those events. I love the idea of spotting artists that are not yet in galleries or very well known. I sometimes buy artworks from them to start my own collection. It's my way of being supportive.

I have to admit that I find it sad when people come to exhibitions only to have an artwork as a proper Instagrammable background. A lot of people do not credit the artists nor the location of the museum or gallery because it gives a ‘cool vibe’ to be arty. It's great to see more visitors, but it's very disappointing to use an artist's work only to make people believe you are interested and part of an art intelligentsia when you are only looking to be perceived in a certain way or gain likes and followers.

Also, we’re interested to hear what are your plans for your profile going forward?

In March 2019, the Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report by Clare McAndrews revealed that 10% of the more than 3,000 galleries surveyed did not represent any women artists. Among these galleries, 48% have only a quarter or less of women on their rosters. Last but not least, regarding auctions, 96% of the works sold are by male artists. I mention it because we write art history every day and I would not like to see a new article like Linda Nochlin’s 1971 piece “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” with twists like black artists instead of women, published a decade from now.

@imagine_moi is imagining all these little things I can do and everything that we can do today that will have a positive impact on tomorrow’s art world. Moving forward, I would love to serve as an ambassador or as an art influencer for museums and art fairs. We have to keep in mind that the young people of today are already buying art and will be the art collectors of tomorrow!

Article by Alicia Puig

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Studio Sunday: Lizz Berry
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Create! Magazine is pleased to present a new Studio Sunday feature with Portland-based artist Lizz Berry. Learn more about what inspired her interest in fiber and textile art, the multiple reasons that she keeps a small forest of plants in her home studio, and what will be keeping her busy for the rest of the summer!

Bio

Lizz Berry is the founder, maker, and innovator behind The Wild Textile. All of the products she creates are hand crafted in her home studio in Portland, Maine.  She is a hand-weaver, natural dyer, quilter, and all around fiber enthusiast. 

Her love for cloth began at an early age, when she was exposed to family heirlooms from India - some over a century old. Colorful antique silk saris and other complex weavings were a part of her childhood - whether it be forts, canopies, or costumes. These fueled her love not only for textiles, but also for the color and textures that enliven them. Today you can still find her home adorned with some of the very same pieces that inspired her as a child. 

Lizz received her B.F.A. from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, where she concentrated in Textiles. She spent her undergraduate years studying hand weaving, color application, and surface design via dyeing techniques.

More recently, she has integrated her fibers studio with her other life-long passion, the outdoors. She loves the simplicity of color in nature, and it never ceases to inspire her. Environmental conservation is also important to her, and she represents this value in her practices as often as possible. Color, the natural world, and fibers are the core elements of her creativity, and the unified embodiment of The Wild Textile.

When did you first become interested in art?

My interest in textile design has evolved from a variety of influences with one commonality: three dimensional, visual design. In grade school I wanted to be an architect, which later shifted to interior design and decorating. I experimented with every artistic medium that was available, both inside and outside the classroom. Throughout high school I took every single art class that was offered, except for Weaving. Ironically, I thought it sounded boring!  However, as a crafts major in college, my attitude quickly changed. I developed a passion for textiles after taking my first class. My focus began to gravitate towards functional pieces - scarves, blankets, linens, tableware and various items of home decor.  Throughout and following my college years, I worked in a sewing studio and fabrics store. This experience supplemented my passion for textiles with exciting new disciplines - sewing and quilting! On weekends and after work I also taught myself to forage for natural dyes and use my kitchen scraps for free sustainable colors that told a story. All of these practices have become key elements of The Wild Textile, and I suspect that my artistic interests will only grow more diverse in the years to come.  

Tell us about what inspires you creatively.

Plant life, abundant light, and nature in every form. Whether it’s the ever-expanding urban jungle in my home studio,  the rocky coasts and sandy beaches of Maine, or the alpine zones of my favorite mountains - I constantly integrate the textures and colors of my natural surroundings with my work. Exploring the outdoors inspires me to build lively color palettes that facilitate unique combinations of surface designs. It is always an extra special day when I come across natural dyes to be foraged in my travels! Another key source of my textiles inspiration emanates from my family heirlooms. My grandmother was a missionary surgeon in Assam, India, and she bestowed to my family a variety of handwoven Indian saris, tapestries and fabrics. The standards of craftsmanship upheld by prior generations never ceases to astound me. I find myself connecting with these textiles more than ever, as I approach reading the end of her diary entries on life in India during the 1950’s. 

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What is your process like? 

I often find my process fluctuates between meticulously planning and complete improvisation. In some instances, I plan each weaving in precise detail to make sure they will work logistically. In these cases, I create multiple scales of drawings with different colorways, pattern options, and sizes. On other projects, I allow my process to depend solely on my instincts. This approach involves designing my pieces while simultaneously crafting them, and has created some of my most interesting weavings to date. I love making up patterns on the loom that have never existed, and perhaps never will again. I often find myself in a meditative state where my feet move across the foot pedals while barely looking down at what I am creating. Some weavers may find this odd, but I think this technique can create truly authentic combinations of texture and color. I am always anticipating the next weave structure to be accidentally discovered!

Describe your current studio space. What is most important about it or one thing that you can’t live without in your work area?

I work out of my home studio in Portland, Maine. I have A LOT of house plants (over 70) scattered throughout my small apartment, which has abundant natural light. The plants are therapeutic to me, and also very functional in the photography process. I use them as backdrops in an effort to help the viewer visualize my products in a livable space. As an added bonus, it allows me to hide the nicks and bumps in my not-so-perfect wall from the early 1900’s.

What is one piece of advice that has stuck with you or a quote that you think is especially meaningful?

If you want to keep it, so will someone else! That’s how the majority of my products have developed. Create something for yourself - something that embodies the colors, textures, and emotions that inspire you - and before long you will have orders for more. 

Are there any exciting exhibitions, projects, or collaborations going on this year that you’re currently working on or will be soon?

I have recently signed on as Show Coordinator for the Maine Crafts Guild, which puts me in charge of organizing four large fine craft shows throughout the summer. This will keep me pretty busy over the next few months, but in my spare time I have been experimenting with a slew of great new materials for product prototypes. I am currently working on a brand new Fall line for the The Wild Textile, including more home decor items than ever, zipper pouches, sling bags, backpacks and more. Keep an eye out for this exciting release!

Check out The Wild Textile online or follow along on Instagram!

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Kat & Alicia Interviewed for the THRIVE Talks Podcast!
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We were so honored to be invited to be guests on the THRIVE Talks Podcast hosted by Jamie and Tara of Thrive Art Studio! Here’s a description and link to the episode:

Starting where you are with Ekaterina Popova and Alicia Puig from Create! Magazine

Do you read Create! Magazine? Today we talk with Ekaterina Popova and Alicia Puig about the ups and downs of running an independent contemporary art magazine and working in the arts! We loved talking to another creative duo about starting where you are, failure and they offer awesome tips on getting your work featured!

Listen here.

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Create! Magazine x Art Girl Rising Collaboration

THEY ARE FINALLY HERE! We’re so excited to bring you a side project that we’ve been working on for a few months with Liezel Strauss, founder of Art Girl Rising. You’ve likely seen us sharing our obsession with her now Insta-famous t-shirts that each list a set of five iconic women artists. We couldn’t resist being a part of her incredible project to support the National Museum of Women in the Arts as well as their #5womenartists campaign so we created a special edition t-shirt (in gray & pink) with five women artists who we love. A portion of the proceeds from each shirt sold will be donated to the museum. As an all female team, we here at Create! Magazine want to do the most that we can to both provide more opportunities for contemporary women artists and also to be educators and champions for all of the women in the art world today!

You can purchase these special edition shirts directly from our webshop! *We only made a limited amount of them so make sure to get yours before they sell out.

Learn more about Art Girl Rising in an interview with Liezel from our 2018 Miami Edition.

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Who are Hilma, Mickalene, Marina, Shirin, and Judy?

Hilma

When Swedish artist Hilma af Klint began creating radically abstract paintings in 1906, they were like little that had been seen before: bold, colorful, and untethered from any recognizable references to the physical world. It was years before Kandinsky, Malevich, Mondrian, and others would take similar strides to rid their own artwork of representational content. Yet while many of her contemporaries published manifestos and exhibited widely, af Klint kept her paintings largely private. She rarely exhibited them and, convinced the world was not yet ready to understand her work, stipulated that it not be shown for twenty years following her death. Ultimately, her work was all but unseen until 1986, and only over the subsequent three decades has it begun to receive serious attention.

Read more: https://www.guggenheim.org/exhibition/hilma-af-klint

Mickalene

Mickalene Thomas, who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, is best known for her elaborate paintings composed of rhinestones, acrylic and enamel. She draws on art history and popular culture to create a contemporary vision of female sexuality, beauty, and power. Blurring the distinction between object and subject, concrete and abstract, real and imaginary, Thomas constructs complex portraits, landscapes, and interiors in order to examine how identity, gender, and sense-of-self are informed by the ways women (and “feminine” spaces) are represented in art and popular culture.

Read more: https://www.mickalenethomas.com/about

Marina

Marina Abramović, born November 30, 1946, is a Serbian performance artist, writer, and art filmmaker. Her work explores body art, endurance art and feminist art, the relationship between performer and audience, the limits of the body, and the possibilities of the mind. Being active for over four decades, Abramović refers to herself as the "grandmother of performance art". She pioneered a new notion of identity by bringing in the participation of observers, focusing on "confronting pain, blood, and physical limits of the body".

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marina_Abramovi%C4%87

Shirin

Shirin Neshat is a contemporary Iranian artist best known for films such as Rapture (1999), which explore the relationship between women and the religious and cultural value systems of Islam. Born on March 26, 1957 in Qazin, Iran, she left to study in the United States at the University of California at Berkeley before her the Iranian Revolution in 1979. While her early photographs were overtly political, her film narratives tend to be more abstract, focusing around themes of gender, identity, and society. The split-screened video Turbulent (1998) won Neshat the First International Prize at the Venice Biennale in 1999.

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirin_Neshat

Judy

Born July 20, 1939 in Chicago, IL, Judy Chicago is an artist, author, feminist, educator, and intellectual whose career now spans five decades. In 1974, Chicago turned her attention to the subject of women’s history to create her most well-known work, The Dinner Party, which was executed between 1974 and 1979 with the participation of hundreds of volunteers. This monumental multimedia project, a symbolic history of women in Western Civilization, has been seen by more than one million viewers during its sixteen exhibitions held at venues spanning six countries.

Read more: http://www.judychicago.com/about/biography/

It's Not Luck (& Other Reasons Why Creatives Need to be More Vocal About Their Accomplishments)
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You’ve been accepted to a juried show, received a prestigious award, had an incredible review written about your work, or made a major sale. Congrats! It’s one of the best feelings in the world to know that others are supporting what you do. So why are we often hesitant to share the joy that we’re experiencing? Perhaps you’re shy and don’t want a lot of extra attention or think that going on about your accomplishments is boastful. While there is certainly a line between updating your community with exciting things that are happening and oversharing, there are a few key reasons why creatives, and especially women artists, need to be more vocal about their achievements.

I’m sure many of us have fallen into the trap of brushing away compliments. Rather than thanking someone for congratulating us on selling a painting or landing a gallery to represent our work, we’ll come up with an excuse to make the accomplishment sound like less than it is. “Oh, I got lucky” or “It’s not really a big deal” you might say, but that’s not true! Too many of us operate under the strange, outdated notion that it is more polite to negate a compliment than accept it. Even if the circumstances surrounding a particular moment of success seem serendipitous, you likely played an active role in making it happen for yourself. You made great work that was recognized by the juror (or curator, gallery, collector, etc) and you put yourself out there by applying to the opportunity or perhaps through networking and being active online. So stop giving anyone or anything else the credit. It’s not luck, it’s you.

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Always remember that it is important for your peers to know about your achievements. Why? Because you never know who can introduce you to your next, big opportunity and it may only take one new connection to catapult your career to the next level. Success in the arts often occurs like a domino effect, where one person will find your work and from that perhaps another will share it, and then another, and it keeps going from there. It’s almost as if the tastemakers in the industry have ‘FOMO’ and if one magazine or curator is featuring a certain artist, then others feel they should be too. Yes, they want to try and find the ‘next big name’ first, but once one influencer has identified a great new talent, others often follow soon after. You can help this process along for yourself by making sure that your community knows when you’ve been featured in a magazine or exhibition so that they can help share it too and potentially build buzz and momentum.

Making others aware of recent accomplishments also helps with name recognition. I’ll share a story here to help illustrate about a friend who recently went to an awards ceremony in the advertising industry. When his team was honored with their first trophy of the evening, he opted not to join the group onstage and when his colleagues asked why, he cited the same feelings of not needing the attention or wanting to look too proud. But then he realized, it’s not just an opportunity to celebrate with his team, it’s a chance for everyone else in the room to see that they produce high quality work for their clients. If you see the same person going up to accept multiple awards, then you’ll start to remember them and likely associate that person with being great at what they do (and maybe want to work with them in the future!). Therefore, try not to be shy about sharing that you’ve won awards or been given other important recognition. You should want your personal and especially your professional contacts to remember you for all of the great things you’ve done!

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Most importantly, however, you need to be vocalizing your successes because if you don’t then nobody will know about them. It sounds obvious that you need to be your biggest cheerleader, but we often don’t fully realize the consequences of not sharing good news. I once had a boss who started giving me fewer shifts than my two other peers. Confused, I confronted her about what I might be doing wrong or what I could be doing better. She didn’t have anything negative to say. Instead, she simply told me that the other two girls spoke up more often about the projects they were completing on a daily basis or the sales they had made and I didn’t. I was so surprised to hear that I wasn’t actually doing anything wrong. Even though I was selling just as much (or more!), keeping up with all of my work, and often staying late to do a little extra cleaning or to take on additional tasks, this one thing was holding me back.

I also read an article around that time which stated that believing you’ll get recognized just from keeping your head down and working hard unfortunately isn’t true and it’s women who tend to suffer the most from this misconception. With that in mind, it made more sense. As my employer usually worked from home rather than in the office, how was she supposed to differentiate my sales and projects from what the other girls were doing if I didn’t tell her specifically? So now, even if I still sometimes feel a bit reserved about ‘tooting my own horn’, I try to think of it as an integral part of promoting myself and push myself to do it in order to keep my career moving forward instead of stuck in the same place.

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Finally, even though it might feel a bit awkward at first, it’s very likely that your artist community really wants to celebrate your successes with you. There will always be negative people and those who struggle with jealousy, but your core support group will stand by your side. Just like they will be there for you when you’ve been rejected or are having a slow period, they also want to be a part of your high moments, especially if you’re going to pop that champagne ;) Cheers!

Of course, none of this is to say that there aren’t instances where a bit of good fortune plays a part in our lives. Some people have parents or other role models who supported their careers while some don’t and certain cities or countries provide more opportunities for working artists than others. Instead of focusing on things that can’t be changed, however, remember that there are so many examples of people who have overcome difficult circumstances and achieved success anyway, despite their obstacles or limited resources. This is about cherishing exactly those people and those moments. I’ll bet you can think of several examples of when you had to ‘make it work’ too. Be proud of those efforts, show how grateful you are for what you have, and perhaps even try to pay it forward to other artists you know who may need help or guidance.

We all go through highs and lows and it’s a powerful thing that more artists and people in general are being authentic about when they’re not having their best day. We don’t always need to see perfect lattes and curated travel photos. But part of being real is sharing when good things happen too, even when they are little victories. If you’re starting out, having a small show at a local cafe or selling your first work are totally worthy and incredible accomplishments. Share them! Not because it’s bragging or trying to make others think that you’re this great, successful artist (you already are one and don’t need anyone else’s opinion to prove it). Rather, it’s the chance for you to share something that you’re genuinely proud of and that excites you, which your followers and those who support your work will truly appreciate and celebrate too!

-Alicia
alicia@createmagazine.com
@puigypics

Community Over Competition: Jamie Smith, founder of THRIVE
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On this episode, Kat talks with Jamie Smith about her journey, starting THRIVE and the importance of community and accountability for artists. 

ABOUT THRIVE

Being artists is very important and often lonely work and it’s our belief that to be thriving artists we must make art, meet our people and do the work. THRIVE is a membership community of worldwide visual artists! Our Mastermind program welcomes trans and cis women, as well as those who are genderqueer, femme-identifying and non-binary.  

MASTERMIND BY BRITNEY BERRNER CREATIVE

MASTERMIND BY BRITNEY BERRNER CREATIVE

DETAILS

  • THRIVE Mastermind starts in June. The deadline to apply is May 15th!

  • Meet for a year once a month online with other working artists all over the world. 

  • You can be based anywhere in the world and they have different meeting times for all the time zones. 

  • Visit www.thriveartstudio.com to learn more, watch their info video and apply. 


Jamie’s recent work and process

Why I Started Create! Magazine
Photo by Emily Grace Photography

Photo by Emily Grace Photography

I started my first magazine from a tiny studio apartment six years ago out of a desperate need for a creative community. I had no idea what I was doing at the time, and since I didn’t have the funding to start a physical gallery space, this was the next best thing I could come up with, and I am so thankful that I did. This desire to connect with other artists and empower them on their journey has been a constant over the years, and continues to inspire me to grow Create! as well as venture into exciting new projects that will support the growth of the emerging artist community. While I was developing my painting practice, there was a missing component of human connection and support on this unpredictable journey.

Back then, I had no money, no design experience, and all I had was a random idea that I decided to execute after working numerous minimum wage jobs. It took lots of Google searches, studying every publication I could get my hands on in Barnes and Noble on my lunch break, and teaching myself how to build websites, design magazines, and do basic business. I was discovering how to find artists and took lots of trips to galleries and museums to promote my humble publication. There was a period of time where I even walked into galleries in person to introduce myself and handed out free copies of the magazine. As you can imagine, some were super supportive and kind, while some were suspicious or disinterested.

It took many years to build a strong community. Over time I became more and more brave and started partnering with galleries and organizations that were so out of my league, it wasn’t even funny. This forced me to level up, increase the quality of the publication and stick to my commitments. Years and years later, the magazine became my actual job. I am now proud to work with a small team of four incredible women. We work together virtually, so we don’t get to see each other very often in person, but I know each one of us is driven by the love of art and the desire to support fellow creatives, especially those new on their journey.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from starting a creative business so far is that we are so much more powerful than we think. Taking responsibility for our own luck will speed up our success rate faster than waiting on some “expert” to come validate us. From my experiences, being bold and starting something will bring support faster than by wishing for it. We are definitely not meant to do this alone and there will be people on this journey that will help push your career forward, but remember that they also human and had to start somewhere just like you at one point in their life.

I used to approach influential figures in the arts with the notion that they surely must have something I don’t. I used to give myself excuses such as “I don't have rich parents, “I didn’t go to a fancy private art school,” “I don’t know how to do business” or even “I am not attractive or cool enough.” But when I took a chance on myself and got started, things began to shift, and the right people showed up with support.

The entrepreneurial path is not easy, but at the same time it’s open to anyone willing to find missing information, to fail over and over again, to have days where they have no idea what theу are doing and to try again and again until something sticks.

Building a business may not be for everyone, but I encourage you to contribute to a cause that you often think about. Maybe you found a way to do things better in the art world and want to make improvements by launching a better version of what already exists. There is more than enough room for new contributions, and I am excited to see what you create.

More than anything I want you to know that this magazine is for you. I may not get to work directly with each artist, but please know that you are always at the forefront of my mind with every new launch, article, or podcast episode.

Thank you for being a vital part of our community.

Cheers,

Kat

P.S. If you enjoy this content check out my podcast Art & Cocktails or subscribe to our glossy, colorful publication.

If you are an artist looking to get your work published, we always welcome submissions to our free blog and open calls.

Women Working in the Arts: Alana Voldman
Image courtesy of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London

Image courtesy of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London

For our first-ever women’s issue (available for purchase here) I profiled four young and entrepreneurial women working in the arts to highlight those not only creating work, but also those who are supporting artists as curators, gallerists, educators, writers, and more! I’m keeping this series going on our blog with this mini-interview with art consultant Alana Voldman.

Image courtesy of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London

Image courtesy of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London

Alana Voldman is an independent art consultant currently based in Antwerp, Belgium. Originally from southern California, she first relocated to Chicago to study art history at DePaul University, after which she began working with several Asian art galleries in the city. She eventually relocated to London to pursue a Master's Degree in Art Business at Sotheby's Institute of Art, with an emphasis on 20th-century art and modern design. In 2017, she relocated to Antwerp, first working as a curatorial assistant at the MoMu Fashion Museum, and now as a freelance advisory consultant and art writer for several companies and institutions. 

Choose one woman artist from history or who is working today and tell us about why she inspires you or has had an impact on you.

I have always been drawn to German-born artist Anni Albers, both for her amazing textile works and her personal story. Forced into weaving, the only workshop available to women during the early years of her art education at the Bauhaus school, she was able to transcend the medium from craft to a recognized and functional art form. In line with the Bauhaus approach to form meeting function, Albers at first explored the limitations of her materials, making objects that not only looked nice but also served a purpose.  Eventually, she became known for her distinct use of color, and 'pictorial weavings', which were essentially modernist artworks made through the process of weaving. What I really admire is her sense of persistence - she mastered something despite it not being her first choice - during a war and in a male-dominated industry no less. It is very easy to be discouraged in the art industry, especially because it can feel quite oversaturated and as if (money-making) opportunities are rare. I often remind myself of people like Albers who had to persevere under even harsher limitations.

Image courtesy of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London . Photo is by Tim Nighswander/Imaging4Art

Image courtesy of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London . Photo is by Tim Nighswander/Imaging4Art

Overcoming Creative Burnout 

By Ekaterina Popova

Header image by Lauren Zaknoun

Creative burnout is real. Have you been struggling to start that new painting, or even show up to the studio? Does the thought of making new work drain you and fill you with dread? I recently went through a very intense burnout, which manifested itself as physical illness, emotional breakdown and just a general inability to work. I was out of commission for nearly two weeks.

You see, I have been running on empty for over two years without fully realizing it. From leaving my day job at a call center in 2016 to juggling my painting career and the magazine, I unknowingly replaced breaks, fun and time off with generating new ideas, networking and more to do's. I forgot what it means to be truly inspired, actually have fun and enjoy simple and free pleasures in life whether or not they contribute to my art practice or career. 

It's easy for creatives to feel guilty about taking breaks because we either feel extremely lucky to be able to do it as our job or are dying to make art after working a demanding day job 40+ hours a week. Art can be an escape, but in some cases, it becomes a burden and we need to give ourselves time to heal and replenish our energy and creativity. 

When art, the love of your life, becomes an impossible task, it's time for a little intervention with yourself. Of course, we want to design our lives in a way that would prevent these breakdowns by following a healthy schedule and practicing saying no, but when a burnout happens, here are some steps to help you get back on your feet and back to the flow of life and creativity. 

Slow down to speed up

When I first started experiencing my setback, I shared the situation with my mentor, Bridgette Mayer, who suggested scheduling time off, even for fun activities. Make your time off just as important as your assignments and projects. Try to incorporate a day a week where you indulge in guilt-free activities such as reading, spending time with loved ones or making art just for you (if you are up for it of course). 

Check your engine

Sometimes we forget that we are living, breathing humans and not machines pumping out ideas, art and inspiration. Even if you exercise and eat well, stress and fatigue may have devastating effects on your overall health. When I was going through my burnout, I felt like I had the flu and could not stop sleeping, even though my medical report was flawless. Make sure you are conscious of your breathing, are sleeping enough and taking the time to laugh and enjoy your day. 

On a recent episode of our podcast Art & Cocktails, I interviewed one of my favorite painters Andrew Salgado, an incredible and prolific figurative artist. Andrew shared that he takes a complete break after each exhibition and travels. Coming from such a successful figure, this made me realize how my nonstop schedule is probably hindering my growth in some ways. 

We simply cannot expect to make good art if we continue to abuse our body and mind. I am guilty of this and am learning to listen when enough is enough, no matter what is expected of me that day. 

Release the pressure

The good news is, if we take care of ourselves and temporarily stop making art, no-one is going to be severely affected. I remember, back when I worked at Macy's, my manager used to tell me on a particularly bad sales day "we are not saving lives, it's just lipstick.", and that little saying stuck with me. No matter what's going on, your health and mental well being are way more important than artwork. Plus your gallery and collector need you just as much as you need them and would totally understand if you needed an extra day, week or month (only you know how much time you need). If you are generally a responsible, reliable and pleasant person to work with, people will understand and will give you grace. Release the fear and take the time that you need to be the best artist and person you can be.

Prioritize

Of course, sometimes we have projects and deadlines that determine the course of our career or if we will be able to pay for our bills that month. Highlight the immediate tasks at hand and complete them as well as you can and practice saying no to anything that comes after. If you have things due in the future but are not pressing at the moment, use this time to recover fully. Don't look at, think about or talk about upcoming deadlines that aren't an emergency and focus on your health as much as possible. If you need help saying no, here is a great resource by Marie Forleo to help you get started, another great book I read on this subject is Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown.


Say it out loud

Sometimes, we get stuck in our own head and need to someone to give us permission to take the break we desperately need. Calling a friend or someone you trust and expressing your condition can help you view yourself from a third party perspective and give you compassion. If you don't have someone to call, here is your permission slip. You are worthy of feeling your best, no matter how much time you need. 

When you are ready to start creating again, start slow and shorten your workday from what you are used to, in order to not fall back into the trap of overwhelming. Work on multiple projects at a time in bite-size pieces. Set a timer and take a five-minute break for every 30 you work. Make sure to step outside once in a while and breathe. 

Our art is about expressing our true selves, and if we are completely worn out it is difficult to share our passion with others. After my recent experience, I want to still be painting and feeling great when I am in my 80's, therefore I will treat my life and career as a marathon and not a sprint.

Give yourself permission to rest. I promise you and your work will be better for it. I can't wait to see what you create when you come out on the other side!

Share your thoughts below or send us an email at info@createmagazine.com

Like what we do? Support us by subscribing to the print magazine.

So You Want to Leave Your Day Job

Ekaterina Popova

If you are an artist or creative who dreams about leaving your grueling day job and making it on your own, I wrote this for you. I have been self-employed for the past two years and wanted to take a moment to share my experiences, the good, bad, and the ugly to hopefully help you take the leap when you are ready.

This article is not meant to sound  discouraging or like a typical ad from a "laptop lifestyle" guru telling you to instantly quit your job and make millions while traveling the world. The path is challenging, exciting, and I welcome anyone who feels that they are meant to follow it to join me, but I also want to be completely transparent and helpful in preparing you for what may be ahead.

So should you simply hope for the best, be positive, and put in your two weeks in order to pursue your dreams? Not at all, at least not yet. Hear me out. I’ve been there and I know what it takes. You have to be strong mentally, financially, and emotionally to do this, and while I love to encourage everyone I meet to chase after their dreams, I want to empower you and help you make an informed decision by sharing my journey first. 

If you already have a job or career, aside from making art, that allows you the time and freedom to create, while giving you security and an income and you enjoy it, good for you! This was my original plan and it did not work for me, which is why I am here. I think any way you can support your lifestyle while making art is honorable and you should be proud of it, even if it's not related to your passion. If you happen to enjoy what you do at your day job, I applaud you! This article is for those who dream of being their own boss or are deeply dissatisfied with their current employment. 

I promised myself that once I started making headway in my own career as an artist, I would "send the elevator back down to someone who needs a lift". I do not have all the answers or solutions to your unique situation, but I'm hoping my experiences, both good and bad, can give you some ideas and perspective on what life is like and how I got here. These are the things I wish I knew when preparing to leave my job, graduating college, and trying to learn about who I wanted to become. 

I was worried about all the wrong things, such as experience, level of education and other nonsense that played essentially zero role in my career. I had a lot of insecurities, which held me back. I had a negative mindset that was probably a plug on many great opportunities I missed. I was resistant to change; I was expecting someone or some job to come save me. I now look back and find comfort in these mistakes and try not to slip back into negative patterns of thinking when hard times arise. 

Now that you read through that little disclosure, here are some helpful tips that will prepare you, empower you, and build you up to the person you want to be when you are crazy enough to take your art/venture out into the world. As always, you are capable, strong, and talented, and I am rooting for your success. 

Visiting Create! Magazine at McNally Jackson Books in NYC:

1. Be Your Own Investor

When you start working for yourself as an artist or creative, you will have to think of yourself as a business. I was resistant to this for a long time, but once it all clicked, my life changed. You are the CEO of your art career. You have to take full responsibility for your success. This means making wise choices about your money, your time, and how you present yourself to the world.

If you are still working your day job, USE it as your "angel investor". I know a lot of times day jobs don't pay nearly enough even to cover the bills or student loan payments, but do your absolute best to save as much as you possibly can, and you will thank yourself later. Nickname your bank account "dream art career" or "studio fund" and put away any extra dollars after your bills and living expenses are covered. Save up for the time when you will leave, envision your life as a self employed person, and also use any extra money for building a website, photographing your work with a quality camera or hiring a photographer, covering application fees, and buying the materials you need to create your next body of work. 

Even when I was suffering through my waitressing days, I would use the extra $100-$200 I had for canvases, visiting exhibitions in bigger cities, and applying to dream opportunities. I also always had a budget for art books and magazines so on my breaks my mind would constantly be filled with things that I aspired to be around.

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2. Use Your Free Time to Build Your Career. 

Right after I graduated, I was so discouraged that I couldn't find an art related career that I would sulk, binge on Netflix, and cry about how miserable I was and how unfair it was that I had a college education and had to work minimum wage jobs. I dreamed of being hired by a gallery or museum and basically waited for someone to come save me. No one came, and I had to figure it out on my own. 

One day, after a year of rejections from every single art job I applied to, I said, "Fine. I will figure this out on my own." I remember I got a job at Macys in the makeup department (the most creative gig, as of yet) and decided to just make the best of my situation. I aggressively painted in the mornings before my shift and on weekends. I even snuck my phone under the counter to research calls for art and get ideas for future paintings. On my lunch break, I sprinted to Barnes and Noble and hungrily consumed every new magazine while sipping on a cappuccino. I started to enjoy my life, even though my employment wasn't ideal. I started to be happier and even more motivated. 

Not surprisingly, the good energy that was radiating from the new determined me eventually landed me more opportunities than I ever had before. I got an exhibition in Philadelphia and sold my first large painting to a stranger. The small exhibitions and opportunities gave me the encouragement I needed and field my positivity. 

Around this time I also got the idea to start my first magazine, FreshPaintMagazine. I remember having a "lightbulb" moment and I excitedly began researching how to make it happen. The first publication was scrappy to say the least, but I'm so glad I was inspired and bold enough to do it. At this point, I was building an online community, getting deeper into my own work, while balancing the world of retail and the often catty cosmetic department (a bunch of bored women standing around all day :)). I don't remember how this happened, but I started meditating and practicing affirmations to protect my passion and positive attitude, especially in an often-depressing work environment that could easily bring me down. I was getting somewhere and I kept pushing through as much as possible. 

My first magazine, which I founded in 2013 while working at Macys:

The first copy is here! Official launch is next week! So excited!

A post shared by Ekaterina Popova (@katerinaspopova) on

Painting during a day off on our kitchen table while living in a studio apartment:

The start of something new #paint #instaartist #artliving #art #love #wine

A post shared by Ekaterina Popova (@katerinaspopova) on

3. Always Learning

As I mentioned earlier, I spent a lot of time at the bookstore, but I also started getting into business literature and self-development books. I was so motivated to make my dream a reality (though I really didn't know what it would look like). I started consuming as much knowledge and education as possible. I remember first dabbling in art career books, but later stumbling across Girl Boss by Sophia Amoruso.  

A new world began to open itself up to me. I realized I could learn how others did it and apply any relevant aspects to my life. I started to see patterns and how others from similar backgrounds made it happen. It gave me hope; it made me feel closer to my dream. I slowly began diving into the world of social media and using it to market my art and new magazine. It was a steep learning curve and I had no idea how to write captions or what to even post, but it all came with time and experience. I remember the first time I sold something through Facebook and Instagram and how amazing it was to me. At first, I thought it wasn't legitimate and that I was a fraudulent artist because I didn’t have a fancy gallery representing me (but boy, I am glad I kept doing it, because that is how I mostly make my living now). As my social platforms began to grow, my community started to emerge as well. 

I recommend for you to take time each week, or even each day, to learn something new that you know you need help with. It can be business, art techniques, social media or anything else. Libraries are still a thing, and there are millions of free articles and YouTube videos. We live in an incredible time where anything we need for success is at our fingertips. I never thought of myself as a business-person, but I am thankful to the past me for keeping an open mind and taking the time to educate myself so that I could later support myself as an artist. 

Download podcasts, get books on audible, read an old-fashioned paperback, or search YouTube and online courses to get you to the next level. 

4. Get Involved. 

Around this time I was volunteering at art openings and writing free articles for an online art magazine in exchange for free admission to museums. This forced me to upgrade the caliber of people I interacted with, to be around other artists and creatives, build new friendships, and even improve my own art. I got new ideas and was around high level exhibitions and impressive work that challenged and excited me. Though I am naturally an introvert, and sitting at home was my favorite, I knew it wasn't the person I dreamed of becoming. I hated it at first, even got massive social anxiety before any art opening, but pushed through it until it became second nature. 

I also like to remind myself that even though I did not take a traditional career path (whatever that even means) all my experiences, which I thought were negative at the time, shaped who I am today. A lot of exhibitions and opportunities came from meeting people at events that I attended or volunteered at.

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5. Celebrate and take notes. 

So when do you know when to go out on your own? When you start consistently selling your artwork or creative product, start taking down your sales and numbers to see how much you need in order to make a healthy income that supports your lifestyle. Mine has always been a combination of art sales, magazine sales, commissions, and curation. The mix of all of these things helped me make a decision over time. I would take notes and be familiar with your numbers and check them for overall consistency so you can confidently leave your job. 

Each time I had a breakthrough or figured out something new that worked financially, I would take notes, feel the excitement, and feel one step closer to my goal. 

Before I quit my job, I had only 6 months of living expenses, which I frankly regret because it wasn’t enough and I had some massive setbacks in the first few months and ended up having to use most of the money unexpectedly. Always have a little more than you think you need. Trust me, it's worth staying at your job for an extra few months if it means you can be comfortably focusing on your work instead of having a meltdown like me. Give yourself a nice cushion, because it's really hard to be inspired when you are having a panic attack over not being able to pay your bills. Test your side income for at least a year before taking the leap. 

I had an unfortunate business partnership breakup with my first magazine, which slowed down my growth, and while this is unlikely to happen to you, life gets in the way sometimes, so just be prepared as much as you can. Don't think of it as a rainy day fund, but think of it as an investment you can use to grow your career if everything goes great (which it will!). 

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6. You Are Your Personal Brand.

The last job I had at the Capital One call center taught me about the importance of being your own brand. This means that you are representing yourself everywhere you go and it's your job to show up, work hard, and have the best attitude possible (even if you eventually want to move in to another job). I am happy I had the sense to take this advice to heart. By being the best I can be, even at a job I wasn't excited about, I was able to build amazing relationships with my team members and managers. I did my best and pushed myself as a salesperson and customer service representative, no matter how frustrating it was. My managers rewarded my efforts with extra days off to paint, eventually let me transition to part time, and then finally let me to leave on good terms with the ability to come back "in case things don't work out".

I know life can get aggravating, but by being the best you can, no matter where you are, you will create a support system that may end up helping you land your dream position or help you smoothly transition to self-employment. There is something empowering about having a group of people rooting for your success and knowing that you will always have the option of going back to a day job. Not that you will have to do that, but it will help give you peace and certainty when taking the plunge. 

I hope this brief summary of my experiences will help you make a plan, if it is your dream to make it on your own one day. As I mentioned earlier, if you enjoy multiple streams of income, and they don't all have to be creative, more power to you! I struggled to figure out in the beginning and had to go the roundabout way. I have so much respect for educators, art therapists, designers, consultants, and multitudes of other professions that are creative and demanding. I also love hearing about how artists support themselves while working in finance, engineering, and love their second career outside of the arts. Don't feel pressured to make your entire income from art sales alone. It's rarely the case for self-employed artists and usually we all have to hustle, teach, and offer services to make ends meet in between those big painting sales. I wish you all the best on your journey. 

If this was helpful or you have questions, feel free to email me at info@createmagazine.com

Cheers!

Me at my home studio/office (p hoto by Emily Grace Photography)

Me at my home studio/office (photo by Emily Grace Photography)

Photo by Emily Grace Photography

Photo by Emily Grace Photography

Embracing The Weird, Wild and Wonderful (Podcast Interview with Shelby McFadden)

On this episode of Art and Cocktails, Kat chats with graphic designer Shelby McFadden about her creative journey, falling in love with design, and eventually leaving her 9-5 to pursue her dreams. Shelby is a designer, founder and editor of Pikchur Magazine and the designer for Create! Magazine. Shelby also talks about the inspiration behind her new magazine, what inspires her and offers branding tips for creatives.

Shelby McFadden is a graphic designer, illustrator, and entrepeneur who resides in a small town located between Baltimore, Annapolis, and Washington D.C. She graduated from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in 2011 with a BFA in Communication Design with a concentration in Graphic Design and Advertising Design. She has a passion for art and design, and she feels imagination and creativity are what feeds the soul. With her mom’s influence, she grew up loving all things weird, nerdy and... “old.” Movies like Star Wars, Fright Night and Labyrinth are her top favorite movies to watch on repeat. You can often find her listening to David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, or 80’s artists like The Cure and Echo & the Bunnymen. Her favorite time of year is fall and Halloween season, and she is a big collector in Halloween antiques. For fun, she browses antique shops and yard sales, reads tarot cards to her friends, and plays Super Nintendo. She finds her interests influence her work and her love for everything weird, wild, and wonderful.