Monday, November 22, 2010

Keep on pluggin'

There's something to be said for consistency.....

"Scituate Harbor"
5"x7" watercolor & colored pencil
This art "career" of mine, it's like a swing. When I finished Open Studios, lugging all my stuff back into the freight elevator, well, it's just kind of depressing when you don't sell anything. All kinds of questions start going through your head. As in:
"Why do I do this?"
"What can I do different to make people notice my work?"
"Why don't you just take up guitar?"
and you go home and all your pieces are still in the big tupperware bin that you just through your back out lugging up to your 3rd floor condo..... sigh.......
then this happened:
I went to the reception for the New England Arts for Animals show. I had a hair appointment right after work so I was only able to get there for the later half of the reception (but I looked freakin' fabulous!) So while wondering around looking at the art work and sipping on wine I struck up a conversation with a woman who was by herself as well. * So we started chatting.. turns out she was a friend of Jill, the organizer of NEAFA. Told her that I was one of the artists exhibiting and when I told her my name, well, her eyes lit up with excitement and said,
"Oh, You're Christine??? You're work is beautiful! I love everything you do!" and went on to mention specific piece that she had seen of mine. And all I'm thinking is "woah! I have an actual fan!!" We ended up chatting some more telling her how I got started and all that. She was very nice and wants me to do a portrait of her caramel colored poodle once the holidays are over.
Needless to say I walked out of that reception feeling Pretty Damn Good. Doesn't take much, really. But I needed that. I follow Seth Godin's blog. If you're in marketing you should too. But one thing he said recently really hit home:
"Does your project depend on a miracle, a bolt of lightning, on being chosen by some arbiter of who will succeed? I think your work is too important for you to depend on a lottery ticket. In some ways, this is the work of the Resistance, an insurance policy that gives you deniability if the project doesn't succeed. 'Oh, it didn't work because it didn't get featured in that blog, didn't get distribution in the right store, didn't get the right endorsement........'
There's nothing wrong with leverage, no problem at all with an unexpected lift that changes everything. But why would you build that as the foundation for your plan?
The magic of the tribe is that you can build it incrementally, that day by day you can earn the asset that will allow you to bring your work to people who want it. Or you can skip that and wait to get picked. Picked to be on Oprah or American Idol or at the cash register at Border's.
Getting picked is great, but building a tribe is reliable. It's hard work and it's worth doing."
So I will keep plugging and building my tribe.

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