Artwork by Connie Sabo
You want to be connected to your local art community, artists and dealers. Artists help you keep your ear to the ground, give you grass-roots support that is unparalleled and introduce you to new ideas. Arts organizers, buyers, fans and administrators are some of your greatest assets for business connections. They understand the lay of the land and buy your work or facilitate sales.
I propose that you take a two-tier approach to connecting with your local arts community: go to arts related events and visit other artist's studios. Please, for the love of god, have fun while you are at it. This is not a chore, it's a bonus of your artist life! I often try to do a studio visit exchange with other artists because it make for a great experience of sharing that goes both ways. Art openings are an easy way to start to get to know your art community better. Artists will really appreciate your presence at their opening - it's a show of support and respect- and they know how busy you are because they are doing it too.
Above is a photo I took of an art show I recently attended where all of the art was made out of paper. The piece in the photograph is an installation of nets that was hung in a small room so you could walk through them/under them. It is the work of Connie Sabo and it reminded me of how important lighting is for artwork. The shadows cast all over the room in combination with the warm lighting created a space that was strangely mellow.. people were sitting there for ages just hanging out and being mellow. I got to say hi to most of the artists which was wonderful.
Recently I had a chance to exchange studio visits with a local artist, Kuh Del Rosario, who creates sculptures from industrial materials. It had a great effect on me creatively and I'm still thinking about it. Here's the photo I took of one of her pieces in her studio. We had a mind meld- it was awesome.
I urge you to try a studio exchange with some artists in your community. You'll be surprised about what you might learn in the process. I always find out about art opportunities by talking to other artists. The amount of information that two artists can share about open calls for art and insider info about less known opportunities for artist is astounding.
Artwork by Kuh Del Rosario