Tips and Tricks for Artists: Part 2

Last week, I wrote about websites and social media. This week, I’m going to talk about creating a portfolio, and submitting to juries. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.

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ABOVE: David McDonough, Nightwatch, mixed media, 16 x 20 x 2.5 inches

Creating a Portfolio

  • Your images are important. If you can’t shoot them properly, hire someone who can.
  • If you do shoot your own work, make sure you always do so with a tripod.
  • Shoot in natural light if you can. Play around with other light sources if you can’t.
  • If possible, shoot with an external flash. Your camera’s built in flash will not do.
  • Shoot each piece many times with many (if not all) your camera’s settings. Pick the best ones.
  • Get Photoshop (or an equivalent) and learn how to use it.
  • The order in which you place your images matters.

Submitting to Juries

  • Juried shows and fairs are a great way to build your resume. When starting out, they are obligatory.
  • You should apply to many, but be weary of online competitions. I only apply to them if they’re free.
  • Pay close attention to a show’s theme/subject matter (if they have one).
  • A standard application includes: bio, statement, resume and 5-10 images. Have someone proof-read your written materials, and make sure your images are sized according to the juries’ requirements.
  • Artistry is subjective, consistency is not. Ten good images of a similar theme are better then ten excellent images of different themes.
  • Accept rejection. It will happen.
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Tips and Tricks for Artists: Part 1

I have been producing and promoting my art for a few years now and in doing so, I’ve learned a lot. Here are a few tips and tricks I thought I’d share. More to come.

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ABOVE: The home page of my website, www.david-mcdonough.com

Website

  • Have a website. This is obligatory.
  • Make your name your address (e.g. sarahsmith.com).
  • Keep it simple. It’s best to assume everyone visiting has ADD.
  • Pages to include: bio, artist statement (optional), resume, gallery and contact page.
  • Don’t show everything in your gallery. Include your 20 best images and add and subtract as you produce more work.
  • Include prices or at least a range. Would you contact anyone to ask?
  • Include links to various social networks. These will help your search engine results.
  • Embed your blog (if you have one).
  • Provide some contact information (at a minimum, your city and email address, but preferably your phone number too). You’ll appear shady otherwise.
  • View everything on multiple browsers and devices. They’re not all the same.

Social Media

  • Research each network. Pick the right ones for you.
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Take your time and do it right.
  • Post your passion.
  • No one likes a complainer.
  • Be social. You need to engage with others in order for them to engage with you.
  • Set a posting schedule and stick to it.
  • Don’t buy followers

Next week: Creating a Portfolio & Submitting to Juries’