New Times Require New Skills
The skills you need to succeed in 2018 are probably very different from those you needed say 20 years ago. Yet, there are skills such as the ability to work with others that still remain as important regardless of time. Assuming your studio time is priority, I consider the following skills essential in the context of today. If you don’t think you have these skills or you think you need to get better at any of them, you can’t miss my tips below.
1. Contextualize your story.
Story telling is as old as people have been around. There is no surprise story telling is today as important as ever before. Why? Because artists need to tell their story to connect with the public. Telling your story is much more than taking a picture in your phone and sharing it on Facebook. Contextualizing your story is about who you are, what you do and why you do it.
Regardless of what art medium or style you prefer to work with, the story behind it is as much powerful as the art itself. In a time when it seems all we do is swipe a tiny screen in our hands, story telling is still the one thing that keeps us engaged with each other.
Here is a en exercise to develop this skill. Write a post on Facebook with an interesting story behind one of your works. You will be surprised at the number of people engaged with it vs if you had only shared a picture alone.
2. Capitalize on your network.
I have said many times in webinars and during talks that network is king. In 2018 network is still at the throne. The good news is that network is not a skill only reserved for the extroverts. The ability to make significant connections over a period of time is something you have to master.
We also called this Relational Capital around here because it requires and investment of your time, energy and effort to grow a significant network around you. Let me be clear. Networking is not about how many followers you have in Instagram or how many comments you get on your posts. Relational Capital is building relationships, one person and one conversation at a time. When I look back at each of the projects I have lined up for 2018, they all come down to a handful of people in my circle.
Here is one way to improve this skill. Send to one or two persons you highly respect in your network a well throughout thank you note by email, text or a letter. Then send a thoughtful congratulatory comment to two other people who have recently accomplished something of significance like a solo show, a commission, an award or whatever. I am sure you will read about it in your social network.
3. Organize your studio practice.
Although 2018 is around the corner, I still meet so many artists who organize their studio practice like if it was 1989. I mean, their images are stored in folders, info about their art in spread sheets and shows info in word documents. Hello! The time capsule has left the building.
There is no reason why artists shouldn’t be well organized when it comes to managing their inventory, sales, exhibitions and all aspects of their studio practice. There are tools out there to help you manage your life in and out of the studio. Why is this more important than ever? Because every minute you spend looking for files, images, details and other info counts. Why should I spend 30 minutes creating an exhibition report when it can be done in 5 minutes by using modern tools available to artists?
If that’s you and don’t have an up to date management system, here is a way to master that skill. Sign up for Artwork Archive. An online platform helping artists organize their inventory, manage their work, keep track of sales, reminders and much more. Artwork Archive is a must for the professional artist. Try it for 30 days and use this link to get a 20% discount for life on their already affordable plans.
4. Document. Not just share.
Artists trade for attention. We trade time in order to be seen and heard. We do it everyday in social media. This is how you probably got the link to read this post. There is a big shift between sharing and documenting. Too many people worry about the perfect photo, the perfect angle, the perfect post and the perfect piece of content. And often times, very little is accomplished.
What is going to win in the future is authenticity. Think of it as reality TV. What you see is what you get. That is why people are so hooked to it. How artists can do this? By sharing in whatever medium comes natural to you. If you love writing, then write. If you love video, start a video blog and just share it as is. Don’t look for perfection. If you love talking, then do a podcast. For me, besides writing, I love podcasts.
My Artists Next Level podcast is a polished professional audio production that does very well and takes long time to produce each weekly episode. Recently, I decided I wanted a more raw option so I turned to Anchor.fm. A mobile app that records podcasts and publishes them with the push of a couple buttons. I started the Sergio Gomez Art Talk podcast as a daily audio journal. Simple, unedited and uncut.
You should try it too or maybe something else. Don’t worry if you only have one person reading your posts or listening to your audio, continue documenting what you do for your own legacy and people will eventually follow. Check out my daily audio journal podcast for a sample of what you can easily do with Anchor.fm.
5. Pitch your ideas correctly.
If you didn’t get enough opportunities in 2017, it may not be because you had bad luck or were cursed. Maybe it was because you didn’t know how to pitch them. Yep! Many times we missed opportunities because we aren’t ready, don’t feel confident about our work or lack the skill to propose our ideas for projects or exhibitions.
The saying “If you don’t ask, you will not receive” is as true as “if you ask the wrong way is almost as if you didn’t ask at all.” This I have learned over the years. In 2017, I had to write high level exhibition proposals for museums using the skills I have gathered over the years. The results were amazing and my proposals were accepted.
This could happen to you too. How? Learn the skill of writing killer exhibition or project proposals and make 2018 an amazing year of opportunities. Is this something you’re interested in doing? I have one recommendation for you. Sign up for my free online training hundreds of artists have taken: Seven Steps to Creating a Killer Exhibition Proposal. In this webinar I teach in easy steps how to create an exhibition proposal that is well written, direct, and professional. I will be running this webinar live just about once a week in 2018 and you can ask questions on the spot during the webinar.
There you have it, five skills to succeed in 2018. Let me know what you thought about these. Add your very own to the comments below. If you found this post useful, consider sharing it with others in your social network.
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