I have given myself one year to have 100 studio visitors come through the studio. This challenge started back at the beginning of March, I had this idea to actively encourage studio visits from friends, patrons or anyone interested in my work. My invitation was pretty open! Who came? Artists, photographers, writers, designers, curators and gallery directors. Amazing discussions were had by all! I received great feedback, hot tips, not to mention lots of love and encouragement!
So you might be wondering - how and why did I end up setting this challenge for myself? I had been burning the candle at both ends for some time and I wasn't finding the time or energy to get out to events and meet new people who are involved in the arts. There is a great arts community in Vancouver and I felt like I was missing out : ( I am working on managing my time better so that I will be able to get out there and meet new people but in the meantime I'm creating stronger relationships with my existing clients and supporters by having this 100 studio visit challenge. Since I am always in the studio working this challenge has ended up being a very convenient way to connect with inspiring people, discuss important art matters and I can get right back to work as soon as the visit is finished.
Here's the other important benefit of this challenge, I get a chance to practice talking about my work in a relaxed setting. These visits offer me a chance to hone a skill that I am constantly working on - introducing people to my work in a direct and interesting way that isn't too stiff. I have the opportunity to understand what makes people connect and buy the work as well. Good to know that right? A great question to ask people in these visits is "Which one is your faourite?" which often starts the dialogue of what they are responding to in the work, what they like.
I've been considering that I need to work on my public speaking skills. Public speaking fills me with butterflies just thinking about it and yet I love to hear people speak about their work and I recognize that it is a very beneficial tool for artists. Introducing your art to a huge crowd of people, though terrifying, is one of the most direct kinds of exposure you can get for your art. My 100 studio visits will help me on my path toward that goal.
I have until March 2014 to complete the challenge I have set for myself and I'm currently ahead of schedule. At my current rate of visitors I should be closing in on my 50th studio visit by end of July.
All my studio visitors have a chance to sign my 100 Studio Visit white board - it's getting nice and full too!