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Becoming an Artist: A 20 Year Evolution

By Edited Feb 13, 2014 0 0

Online Exposure For Artists

Art comes in many forms from paintings and photography to writing and acting. However, whatever your medium of choice is, the life of a successful artist is an idyllic dream for any creative individual. For many aspiring artists the dream will never become reality, not for lack of trying but rather a despondent attitude after facing the highly competitive environment. There are thousands of budding artists entering the workforce every day and trying to stay ahead of the growing masses is incredibly difficult, even for published authors and painters. Twenty years ago in 1993 it was simpler to keep your name and head above water, but today it is far more difficult to make a name and keep it.

Do we need an education?

In 1993 individuals were required to have either completed their training at an arts school or completed an arts related degree at University, or both! This education would not only provide you with the necessary technical skills required to enter the field of music, drama or art, but would also provide you with some academic references. Furthermore, many schools and universities required their students to create showcase pieces which are displayed at student presentations. These not only provided one with some exposure but also contributed to the beginnings of a portfolio. In 1993 it was essential to undergo all this if you were to be taken seriously.

Nowadays, it is not altogether necessary to have any formal education when entering the artistic world. Writers, painters and photographers can create online portfolios to showcase any short stories, personal paintings or random photographs they have available making the Internet a virtual student showcase. While technical skills are important, the majority of writers choose to follow online advice and hone their skills through constant reading and blogging instead of completing writing courses. Of course, there are different online courses available for those who wish to gain a more formal education in grammar, syntax and article structure. These courses can be found via different online search engines and range from short three day programmes to six month options.

How can I gain exposure?

One of the most important aspects of being an artist is gaining exposure. Being able to express your creativity in the most intricate manner is a wonderful gift, but it means nothing without exposure.

In 1993, before the explosion of email and blogging platforms, artistic exposure required one to send samples of your work to various publishing houses and art studios. The actors and singers had to create impressive press kits that included professional photographs and detailed listings of their work in a descriptive and eye-catching way. Of course the kit must include some CD presenting their acting and singing skills. These press kits were sent to different agents, theatres, radio stations and anywhere else that might provide them with a little bit of exposure. As can be imagined these artists, particularly the new names, experienced many rejection letters which led to many aspiring artists giving up.

In 2013, gaining exposure is simpler but the ease of it has created a boom in the artistic competition. Self-exposure is highly accessible nowadays with the introduction of different blogging platforms, especially the more professional ones like WordPress that present with more professional themes. Writers, photographers and painters will usually use these blogging sites as online portfolios showcasing their different pieces in the hope of being noticed. Actors and musicians have the option of different free music sites which act as online press kits such as SoundCloud and YouTube.

While self-exposure via these online sites is an effective means of exposure, the blog is useless if it receives no visitors. This requires the artist to not only understand their creative techniques but also become a master of social media marketing and networking. It is not just about having the best broadband; it is about have the right processes and commitment to promotion. The artist is required to interact with different bloggers and set up various social networking sites which must be linked to this online portfolio. He/she must also send different posts to various agents within their relevant industries to make a connection and gain some industry exposure. It seems while 1993 was more expensive regarding the expense of postage and press kits, it was less stressful. 2013 may be cheaper but the amount of work outside of the artistic domain makes up for the expenditure.

What about internships?

The life of the artist is not a well paid one and to become a successful artist you must be willing to make many sacrifices, such as sleep. One fact that has not altered in the past 20 years is that one will require experience before employers will consider your job application. Unfortunately this means you will be required to undergo an unpaid internship or several unpaid internships, it is only the lucky few who find paid options.

In 1993 internships were only heard about through friends, via newspapers or by cold calling from company to company seeking potential work. Of course you would be required to have a mass of resumes or CVs on hand when conducting these 'on foot' searches as the employer would ask for samples of your work immediately.

Nowadays, the search for internships is much easier with online sites offering volunteer opportunities continuously. Another advantage of the technological age is that one can send a CV or resume and samples of your work via email instead of carrying massive portfolios from place to place. The online internship option also allows one to gain experience at a variety of agencies or magazines simultaneously, while an 'on site' internship restricts you to only one experience. However, many writers have combined on site internships with online ones diversifying their experiences and portfolio. One great disadvantage of the online internship is that you are among thousands of applicants and the employer will exploit your skills.

Final words for the new artist

As can be seen the pathway to becoming an artist has changed greatly over the past 20 years. In 1993 it was far more tedious and expensive to gain exposure and find employment, whereas in 2013 this is a great deal simpler. However the ease of self-exposure and speedy applications provide an immense amount of competition and heightened anxiety levels. 

Get Your Art Work Online

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