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Weekly Blog

Don't forget the footwork!

Hi. My name is Stacey Camp and I have been a practising artist for over ten years. I spent my formal education split between two schools, The Ontario College of Art and Design and then flew out west to finish my degree at The Alberta College of art and Design. Although formal education is not a necessity as an artist, it was the path I chose, and I would like to share with you what followed! Everybody’s journey is different so here is the advice I was given and what I have experienced so far on my own.

I started as a painter working on canvas and now have branched out and have started a line of clothing called Peach Head. The clothing items are made from fabric custom designed from my paintings. My studio is located in the Cotton Factory in Hamilton if you feel like stopping by!

The goal was to leave school be able to ‘hit the ground running’ with a skill set that would lead us to success. I was at that age right before smart phones blew up, things have evolved, so my tools have as well.

Something just as important as keeping up with changing technology and internet networking, is the REAL LIFE foot work necessary for an artist. After you build you portfolio, and make it readily available to be seen online, with clear good quality photos, go and do some research. In person. The internet is great but it can’t do everything for you. I see this more and more, artists who are just starting out are relying solely on the internet. Do more. Get your face AND your art out there! This might sound old fashion but I still believe in making personal connections with anyone that is going to be involved with your art, selling it and showing it. It shows that you care and are interested in farthing your career as an artist. If you aren’t %100 invested in yourself why should anyone else be? So take the train in, grab a coffee and go meet the gallery owners. Not every gallery is for every piece of art, go and find somewhere you think your work will fit in. Start attending the gallery’s openings. Meet the other artists, have a business card to hand out. Ask them questions about how they feel about being part of that gallery. A lot of galleries have their submission info on their website but think about how many emails they see and art they look at. Showing up a few times and getting to know the people who work there can’t hurt. Something that I learned quickly was how expensive it is to have a gallery, rent only goes up. Gallery owners only have so much wall space and so many shows a year. I know being rejected is never the goal, but you will eventually find the right place for your art, just don’t give up. Always be open to advice people offer you along this journey. You may find out how to edit your portfolio to make it stronger. Start to collect people who you can ask questions to and use as a resource when you need some help. I have been asked to join galleries, kicked out of them, done a ton of shows, dealt with a nasty agent, if you keep it up you will get into many different situations and it doesn’t hurt to have someone to ask for advice!

In the mean time, there are a lot of different opportunities to take advantage of as an emerging artist. Some galleries are collectives or artist run centres. These are usually membership driven and provide a chance to show you work in group shows that include everyone or are involved in fundraisers and events like auctions. You usually must pay a yearly membership fee but it is a good way to build your CV and meet other artist. Go join some! I started out being a part of these in Toronto and they helped me gain experience and I started to grow a following. That’s what you are looking for, people to get to know your art and who will return to see future art. The internet is a great place for people to check in on what you have been making and follow your career and where having a Facebook page, and Instagram come in quite handy.

Outdoor shows and markets are also quite popular ways to show your art. There are many kids, ones that you can rent a booth all season and run every weekend, holiday based shows and summer art in the parks kind of events. Remember, take baby steps. Only do what you can afford. Show by show people will start to invest more into as an artist and the work you make.

Cafes and small businesses are great places to display art. Never be scared to ask someone if you can display your art, be prepared to hang it yourself, and label everything accordingly. I keep a small hanging kit in my car with a hammer, nails and some wire. Just in case.

Now, feel free to use the heck out of the internet. There are a lot of free platforms to use to build a blog or website. If there is a planform that you struggle with or just can’t figure out, look for a someone who teaches a workshop and is an expert on it. I recently took a workshop on Instagram and how to use hashtags. Codes and alga rhythms constantly change. It is a great place to communicate the business part of your practise, available hours, prices and sizes of art and where it can be purchased.

People are not only investing in your art, but they are interested in who made it and the story behind it. I feel that being social, networking and making personal connections is still an important part of being a successful artist!

Stacey Camp

Website www.

Instagram @stanelycamp


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