What’s the importance of showing your work, whether it’s in a gallery, café or similar?
I had other people encourage me to start showing work and I was anxious about that. I didn’t know how it would be received and I didn’t know how I would feel about it if it wasn’t received well. I’d always done graphic design for clients which was more private, but for this I was throwing it out into the public.
Jack Sprat was one of my first places I put art up back in 2010 and it was all over the place. I had everything from snowflakes to wildflowers to ravens — and everything sold. Probably priced super low, but I didn’t know how to price anything.
It worked really well. It made me feel good and it was encouraging. I suppose that was the support I needed mentally to know I could keep going.
Showing is important. I would say as an artist you have to show. Getting shows can be difficult if you’re starting out, so ask friends if you can put a few pieces in their show. Then you can say you showed at that gallery, even if it’s one piece. It helps build your résumé. That really helped me because my first shows were not solo shows, it was one piece with a group of people.
So I think for folks who are just trying to get their foot in the door creating a network is important. Then you just grow and you can start intentionally planning ahead with these folks to do specific themes for shows or creating work specifically for the show instead of just entering what you already have into a show.
I think it’s partly recognizing opportunity and having put in the hard work in advance, then having an opportunity come by and the ability to seize the moment because you already have all the groundwork in place. Sometimes good opportunities can come by but if you’re not ready, they’re just going to keep going.[I’ve gotten opportunities] kind of through other connections I’ve had. Or sometimes I have a project I think is really cool and I need to find an outlet for it. So I’ll apply for festivals, grants or stuff like that. [One opportunity] I heard about through a friend from Salt Lake who grew up here. He saw it and he’s like, Dude, you’ll be perfect for this, you’ve got to try and apply for it.
I still feel like word of mouth is great and I’m a big proponent of going to events in person and meeting other artists. For so many years, I remember back in the day you’d have to mail stuff to galleries and I never heard anything back. But then I learned if you go there in person, meet them, it’ll open so many more doors. There had been so many galleries I had applied to back in the day and never got in.
I was never on a plane until I was 25 but once I started traveling a bunch and going in person and meeting people it’s helped a ton because they remember you and your work.