"A New World, Global Power Leaders in the Arts" by
It is indeed a new world.
Although artists may not come immediately to mind when one thinks of global power leaders, the community of artists play a definitive role as conduits to put into form and substance the essence of their time. An artist should task seriously their ability to influence local and global communities with their work. In light of the current economic depression, everyone is re-defining the way and means by which they operate. For many its a scary time, but when one stops, breathes and considers it, now is the perfect opportunity to: visualize, strategize and position oneself to reap the prosperity to come. This philosophy is especially true and neccessary in the worlds of theater, music, fashion and fine arts.
The first step in the process of re-defining your position as an artist, is to stop and breathe. Its easy to feel overwhelmed by change, but change is necessary for progress. Artists like most, tend to become complacent in their processes, which is deadly. Art is a moving, evolving force that needs nurturing, challenge and action in order to grow and remain poignant. I live and work in the Mecca of West Coast creativity, the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles
, and have an extensive network of artist friends and associates that are extremely successful and recognized for their work, and while some are fleeing the city to explore smaller markets, where the cost of living is substantially less, most are taking this time to re-visualize their mission and goals as an artist. Take the time to look at what you're doing, be honest and determine if you are on the path and in the direction of creating the work you truly want. If so, congratulations, immediately proceed to the next paragraph. If not, get to work! Like any business, you must have a product to sell to consumers. Your product is your work.
The next step in the process, strategizing, is dangerous and requires persistence and dedication. Strategizing is dangerous, because some become so immersed and mired by the details of planning, developing and producing, that they can loose steam before a project or idea is underway. Although I don't suggest you be hasty, don't drag your feet. Make a move! It's okay if it doesn't turn out as you anticipated. The fact of manifesting an idea or concept from inception to realization is in itself a character and skill building benefit. Buddhist philosophy teaches that there is no failing, that it is all a matter of how one preceives things. If a project doesn't turn out how you planned, consider the contacts and network created from your engagement; the act of simply taking the first step will eventually lead to success, and more often than not one gets much more than initially expected.
One important aspect of strategizing is network building. The business of building a network of individuals and organizations that are alined with your philosophy and vision is a necessary part of being an artist. If you're too shy or lack the social graces to converse and discuss your work, identify and utilize a representative, who's task it is to promote and identify markets for your work. Explore places that might not necessarily be a place where people typically go to see art ( i.e. plazas, business centers, malls) and find out about installing or demostrating your work. Reach out to organizations and discuss how they might benefit from having art or performance become displayed in or sponsored by their place of business. Networking creates the opportunity to cross-market, and expand your consumer base. Access to the internet and multi-media technology evens the playing field amongst all. Explore how you can best use these tools to develop and exhillirate your audience.
Finally, you need to show. Talk is cheap, there has to be a time and place where you show your stuff, allow an audience to experience what you do. After you identify what, with whom and where your work will be, arrange an event that will attract the attention and exsposure you want. There are many cost effective ways to produce events to get exposure. Its the perfect time to utilize the network you've built to identify venues, programming and guests. If you can't identify individuals, organizations or places that fit you, then do one of two things, re-evaluate what you are creating and if there is a market for what you do; or, create a space and time to attract who you think would benefit and find value in your work.
Its important for each of us evaluate our path and mission in the new world that we are on the cusp of living in. I encourage you all to consider this time as an opportunity to challenge yourself, your vision and ability to effect global change. Next month, I will draw your attention to three artists whose work puts them in the vanguard of effecting global change with their creative voices.