New artists and those who have experience in doing art shows and custom work for clients have one thing in common: No matter how experienced you are, you’re your own support. Family, friends, spouses, imaginary friends, etc. are there to tell you your awesome and all, but at the end of the day, it’s just you and your art. Being an working artist, or illustrator as I am, can feel isolating at times. Every show, or even application into a festival can feel nerve-wracking and overwhelming. It’s really an oxymoronic lifestyle. Most artists that I know or have met through my journey have been 2 parts dreamer with a dash of awkward, one part go getter. Each show feels a little like a cathartic expression or snapshot of yourself in that point in time. You’re putting it all out there and let’s face it – EVERYONE’S A CRITIC.
The difference between a seasoned artist, and a fledgeling one is the way in which you handle these situations. This has led me to an exciting new path in my journey as a freelance illustrator, part time artist.
“Hey there – it’s me!”
Well, who am I? I have a background in Fashion Design. I studied and received my Bachelor of Design, Specializing in Fashion from Ryerson University. Every job and freelance project from the time I moved to Toronto until recently has been fashion related. Making the switch over into exploring my own creativity without the boundaries of a client’s wishes hasn’t been smooth. I have had the opportunity to meet some great people by participating in shows throughout Windsor. However, as I am a full time illustrator, I have never really had the opportunity to build that portfolio of work which allows one to pursue an independent show.
Fast track to my introduction and initial experiences in working with a co-op. I am not going to lie and say that joining a co-op brimming with remarkable talent isn’t intimidating. At first I questioned whether or not I was really up to par with my fellow artists. However, over the past few months and with having the opportunity to meet with new people I have found it an amazing experience which has been totally welcoming.
Starting a co-op with fellow artists in your area gives you an exciting edge over being independent. Here are just some great characteristics of participating in a co-op:
- opportunities to do more shows in different areas
- sharing of tools and experience
- stimulating conversations which helps one grow into a better artist
- learning how to plan a dynamic show and promote your show to more people than your personal inner circle
- meeting new people who are like-minded and inspiring
- making lasting friendships
- opening doors to retail opportunities
I really could go on and on, but I am sure you get the gist. So, I encourage all readers near or far off in internet-land to start networking! Put yourself out there, and meet people who will inspire you to be better and to love where you are at this time. Start a co-op today!