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Brush It Up: An Artist Workshop Series

· Writing,Artist Services,graphic design,Support Artists,Artist Statements

If you’ve hung around the Porter Loves Creative accounts at all, you know I’m all about getting your shit together as an artist and being a professional with a professional image. Hell, some days I just settle for being an adult, but do as I say, not as I do and don’t settle, especially as an artist. You strive to make your work the best; the same courtesy should be extended to your marketing collateral, portfolio, website, and so on.

As a professional artist, you have to be ready to go at a moment’s notice. You’re like a firefighter, without the fear of what repeated smoke inhalation will do to your lungs. Or the coast guard. Whoever is always ready.
The point is: you can’t afford to settle. Starting out with the right marketing tools will make all the difference when it comes time to apply for a dream residency or show your work to a big-deal gallery owner.
I’m not trying to scare you off from being a professional artist, oh no! I’m just sharing “what not to do” that I’ve learned from years of helping artists. You have to wear all the hats, from maker to marketer to cheering crew to custodian. While I’m a huge proponent of outsourcing to the pros and taking some of that pressure off your plate, I also know there are times when that just isn’t feasible. And when that happens, you have to do the best you can with what you have.
But doing the best you can with what you have won’t make a difference if what you have is half-assed! Staying up all night pulling together your artist statement, portfolio, and business cards will not present a professional image and one that a gallery wants to work with.
So, what can you do when you can’t afford to hire a professional team and/or you’re just starting out? Take a lesson from the pros. Literally! As they say, you don’t know what you don’t know. But we do!

I’m teaming up with Casey Droege for a series of workshops that will help you get your shit together. This is a series of three workshops addressing organization and brushing up the presentation of your work.

Here’s What You’ll Learn

These workshops are designed to give you insight into what gallery owners, festival jurors, and other decision makers in the artist space are looking for so you can come out of the gates with polished material. Each workshop will focus on a different area of marketing yourself as an artist. You can pick and choose the area with which you most need help or attend all three for a holistic view of how you present yourself as an artist.

Brush It Up Workshop 1: Collateral Materials

After working with many different artists at various stages, we can say with confidence: you’re making mistakes (#sorrynotsorry). It’s okay, everyone does, especially when you’re just starting out or you have been on autopilot and tend to keep doing things as they’ve always been done.
The good news is that you can fix them! We’ll share examples of what works and what doesn’t with your collateral material so you can walk out of this workshop with a clear idea of why you need this and what works best.
In case you don’t know, collateral material refers to the elements out in the world representing you and your work: think business cards, websites, inventory lists, etc.

Monday, May 7, 6-7:30pm. Check out the Facebook event to get updates and invite your friends! Find tickets for Workshop 1 here.

Brush It Up Workshop 2: Images + Graphics

Clear and concise visuals are key to presenting yourself as a professional visual artist. Your graphic elements don’t need to be fancy, but they should be clean, consistent, and easy to understand. These visual components are what connect your collateral materials to your work and to you.
While we’re talking about graphic elements here, we’ll also discuss the why/what/how behind getting high-quality images of your work. These not only document your work, but act as your currency in the art world when applying to exhibits, grants, and residencies. The quality of your graphic elements and images directly impacts your collateral materials and professional pathway.

Wednesday, May 16, 6-7:30pm. Check out the Facebook event to get updates and invite your friends! Find tickets for Workshop 2 here.

Brush It Up Workshop 3: Writing

Information about yourself is imperative when representing you and your work. But the specifics of your wording and tone depend on a variety of factors. How you speak about your work will vary from how you write about it in a blog post, which will, in turn, differ from how you write about it in a grant application, social media post, exhibition catalog, and so on.
Why are words so important for a visual artist? Getting the story behind the work increases the understanding of you and your art, the likelihood of a patron purchasing it and the probability of them sharing it with others. When you tie an artist statement to your work, it humanizes the creator. And when people understand that a human person made this thing they are interested in, it increases the perceived value of the work.
As with other workshops, there will be examples of great writing and writing that is...not so great. You’ll go home with a writing exercise to practice what you learned, plus strict instructions not to use the online artist statement generator.

Saturday, May 26th, 10:30am-12pm. Check out the Facebook event to get updates and invite your friends! Find tickets for Workshop 3 here.

Where and When, Again

Workshops will be held at Casey Droege Cultural Productions on the 2nd floor of 937 Liberty Ave, a project of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. Tickets are available for a sliding scale of $15 - 30, or attend all three for $40 - 85.

Workshop 1: Marketing Collateral
Monday, May 7, 6-7:30pm
Facebook Event | Tickets

Workshop 2: Images + Graphics
Wednesday, May 16, 6-7:30pm
Facebook Event | Tickets

Workshop 3: Writing
Saturday, May 26th, 10:30am-12pm

Facebook Event | Tickets

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