My humble advice to emerging artists:
The word “emerging” means nothing, as others who you cannot control place it upon you. You are an artist, or you are not. Your career stage depends entirely upon you and how you see yourself as an artist.
These are the very best times to be an artist. The democratization of the medium through the digital realm and the Internet are both your friends, and your worst enemies.
As all artists have done before you, you are the voice of your culture. You speak for the human condition as you experience it; you declare your position on the natural habitat and your personal concerns or admiration. You propose ideas that others may not speak of; you are the voice of reason within the craziness of the world. You are the modern equivalent of the oracle at Delphi; your communications are important and crucial to the world.
Find a great mentor, one that does not look down upon you, or comes from an uninformed and biased point of view. Beware of people’s hidden agendas, beware of their jealousy, and find a beautiful giver with an extensive knowledge of art, not a taker or one trying to fulfill their own failures by proxy.
Do not rely solely on social media. Nobody of importance cares about how many likes you have on Instagram. It can be useful to promote a brand, but you are an artist with a message, first and foremost. Don’t waste your time with people that are simply bored, shallow or just ignorant.
Never listen to negative feedback, it maybe relevant at times but ultimately it is your voice, your declarations; constructive feedback is what you seek but a thick skin is also absolutely required if you declare yourself to be an artist.
Always be true to yourself, continue with due haste into your own deep introspection that leads to your work and voice. Resist becoming a consumer through photo exhibition calls and competitions. These are just a revenue business model for most venues; you become the consumer instead of the provider; some are useful to gain exposure, such as highly validated venues or museums, but most commercial concerns are not.
Remember that your followers must fall in love with you first, and your work second. It is about your voice and art, but your communications are what the viewers want to know. It is about you, always, remember the oracle of Delphi.
Always show your work, to as many people as you can. Many will not get it, but a few will. If your work only stays in your studio it is akin to self-gratification, okay but not as much fun as the real thing.
If you have a substantial trust fund, or are financially fortunate, get a book professionally published, preferably in Italy, and get an art rep together with a PR firm. You will get there as an artist, quickly. If you don’t have these precepts, as most mortals do, be prepared for a slow long walk, which is what it should be in the first place. Good art is not microwaved, just saying.
Be at peace with your journey, it will have many roadblocks, many disappointments and misunderstandings. The end result is the journey, for yourself. Everything else is rather irrelevant; you only live once, but if that was a great adventure, once is enough.
Check out the dictionary definition of “emerging” and you will find that it does not apply to you, so let it go. Besides, every new body of work you create, regardless of your career level is automatically classified as an “emergence”.
~ Pierre Dutertre, President, Curator, Co-founder UPA Gallery