Friday, November 6, 2009

Professionalism in Practice

Aside from avoiding excuses, not being afraid to ask questions, and remembering to say thank you, you need to think about how you're representing yourself and your art. This is a continuation of my last post on the importance of having good images of your art, but here I will focus more on how we present ourselves. This is a topic I have touched on many times, but I haven't devoted a blog post entirely to it, so I hope to consolidate some of my thoughts here, in no particular order.

- You will be remembered by how you present yourself. First impressions stick, so make sure to make a good one.

- Present your work professionally. Shoot good images of your work to show to people.

- Keep business cards on hand so people you meet can contact you and can be directed someplace where they can see your artwork. If you use an image of your art on your business cards, make sure it is a good one and reflects your current work.

- It is a good idea to maintain a professional website, keep it up to date, and apply for a domain name. This reflects better on you than directing people to your MySpace or Facebook page which can be seen as amateurish. Blogs do not make up for websites and typically serve a different function.

- Always always always check submissions packets for spelling, typos and grammatical errors. Mistakes are much more forgivable in some formats than others (a lot of blog posts are rife with errors, but that is the nature of putting your thoughts out there quickly), but if you're applying for a show or a grant you want to show off. You don't want to be remembered for what you did wrong. Have as many other people as possible proof your work.

- Be courteous and polite.

- Abide by whatever rules are set up by those whom you're working with and don't expect that rules will be changed to suit your needs, especially not at the last minute. If you have any complications regarding your ability to meet requirements, check with the gallery or organization with whom you will be working to negotiate an alternative plan of action - don't wait and spring it on them last minute.

- Communication is important. Don't bother people and abide by their rules deadlines in regards to contacting them, but don't be afraid to ask questions if you need to.

- Say thank you.

- Attitude is everything. Convey a positive image of yourself. Try not to engage in gossip or complain, especially to those whom you don't know well. Negativity can do a lot to perpetuate itself by fostering more negativity, so try not to bring others down or come across as unappreciative as you can be remembered for that.

- Attend receptions for your work if at all possible. These are great opportunities to network, to show your commitment to yourself as an artist and to talk to others about your work. Think about what you're wearing to your show and how it reflects upon you.

- Stay respectful. Don't backstab or undermine others because they didn't treat you professionally - doing so won't reflect well on you either.

- Be responsible for yourself. Follow through on what you commit to. Try not to overextend yourself or double-book your work.

- Above all else, abide by the Golden Rule and treat others as you would like them to treat you.

I'm gearing up for a busy week next week with drop offs and pick ups, so this will likely be my last blog post on this topic, at least for awhile. I hope that you've found these at least somewhat informative. It has been good for me to get my thoughts down someplace where I can refer to them.

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