I was having dinner with a friend who follows this blog regularly. He said he really enjoys reading it, but he felt that he had to ask: “What do you get out of it?” Specifically he meant, what reward do I get out of it in terms of my career?
It’s true that when I started this blog, at the end of 2009, I did so as part of an overhaul of how I marketed myself and my art. I had bought a book by art consultant Alyson Stanfield, ‘I’d Rather Be In the Studio’, and one of the many useful things she included in her book was a lot of convincing advice on why artists should start a blog, and use other social media such as Facebook and Twitter. So, after reading blogs online for years but somewhat disdaining the idea of the personal artist’s blog, I dipped a toe in the water, setting up this blog and vowing to write just a few posts a week.
After a couple of months, I decided that if I was going to do this, I might as well put some effort into it. So I started posting daily. I bought a book about how to write, update, and improve a blog. But I didn’t set it up as a pure marketing vehicle at all – in fact, most of the time I was talking about other art, and other artists, living and dead. I posted interviews that I conducted with other artists. I started the ‘Meditations’ series of weekly videos on art. When I had something of my own to talk about, such as the public art project that ran from July to November last year, I wrote posts about that. A few opportunities have come about as a result of some of the things on this blog, but generally what I get out of writing this blog is not counted in terms of direct career opportunities or financial rewards.
Writing a daily post is something that keeps my mind engaged with art, even when I’m not in the studio. It’s a way of making mental connections between the things and people that interest me, that may or may not lead to artistic opportunities for me. It’s a way of broadcasting my work to an audience, of course. It keeps me writing. It connects to the teaching that I am doing more of, year by year, as I talk about ideas that have come up in the classroom, or I share pictures of great student work. Ultimately, it would be nice if my blog led to a gallery or collector giving me a big pay-day. But until then, I hope to use it as a reasonably well-written and well-presented journal/diary, which just happens to be read by a hundred people or so each day.
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