I’d always had visions of living the life of an artist. You know the cliché. Days filled with reading, research, drinking coffee and producing Art... Boy was in for a surprise.
Whilst I have always felt I had talent for Art and creating imagery, I was literally nowhere Spring 2016. No sketches, no Art, next to zero Art-World know-how and definitely no friends as described in the previous blog… Step 1?... make some friends and quick.
I had been active on some prominent art Facebook groups, which was invaluable to me as it gave me exposure to lots of people who are dedicated to exactly what I produce. Expressive African art and portraiture using ball-point pen and acrylic paint. This was my mode of operation for the first few months, in fact I didn’t post on my actual Facebook page for the first six months as the traction gained within the groups was so overwhelming. Through this method I had a good and growing number of followers, which had been essential because as every artist knows, getting others to see and understand the beauty of your art is why we do it and also incredibly difficult to achieve. Although the numbers in terms of likes, we were clearing several thousand per month, received some incredible comments from art lovers, I knew I wasn’t ready to exhibit alone, so I decided to reach out to other local artists…
Throughout my adult life I had worked in the social care arena as a service manager. This role, whilst having as little to do with art as can be, it gave me a wealth of other skills, attributes and knowledge that I have found invaluable and I’m sure I will continue to do so. Chief among these is the Art of networking… if there is one thing that the business world had taught me it’s that having a friend in the right places can open up doors that would otherwise be closed or a lot slower to open. Ok, so it’s all well and good knowing that, but making it happen is a whole new ballgame. Where do I start? Who should I approach and when? What do I say when I get there and why would they help a guy they don’t know. Each unanswered question led to another, until the confusion led to the biggest breakthrough a person can have… I just said to myself ‘fuck it… just jump! This is a huge lesson that id previously learned, but sometimes we need reminding. Sometimes we get to the cross roads in our lives and its either make or break, turn and run or continue to fight. I chose to fight. I reached out to another London artist with a similar status, but larger following than I, in the hope that they might be interested in collaborating. I also reached out to two other artists who were mutual acquaintances, also looking to exhibit. And our quartet was formed, comprised of Kirzart, Mr J, Catherine Mwase and myself.
None of us knew each other, everyone had exhibited before apart from me and we only had three months to organise it, so we had it all to do... choosing a date, venue, event name and everything else that comes with putting on an exhibition was fun and challenging in equal measure. Be sure to check in soon for the full run down on the planning and execution of the event in my next blog!