Interview: How to Get Started as an Artist

An art student reached out to me with some questions, and I thought that maybe sharing my answers with you all would also give you some insight into my process and who I am as an artist. So here goes…

1) What was your first step in starting your journey in the art world?
After leaving my job in the tech world and writing my fantasy novel, The Shapeshifter of Kayenta, I began painting as a way of healing.
2) Do you plan on having your own gallery space, and if so, how do you plan on doing this?
I hope to have my artwork displayed in art galleries, and part of my year’s goal is to apply to such galleries, but I also understand that it can be very challenging to find the right gallery for the type of artwork I do. I do not yet have any plans for having my own gallery.
3) What advice would you give to a small artist like myself who doesn’t have many links in the art world?
I consider myself a new artist too 🙂 I think the one thing that has worked for me so far is this: have the courage to put yourself out there, even if you aren’t confident in your art. Develop thicker skin and try to take all feedback graciously, whether you agree with it or not – and you most definitely don’t have to agree with it all. Just take feedback from other artists as often as you can, and try to learn from it. Push yourself to contact as many places as possible and show at as many shows as possible – you’ll learn a lot from it, even when sales don’t cut it.
4) What careers could you suggest to me, as an abstract painter? 
I’m not sure I understand this question. Abstract painter is a career! 🙂
5) What advice would you give to someone who is shy that wants to get their work out also?
I would say social media is a fairly safe way to get your work out there without having to push yourself to go out and meet random people – which I imagine if you’re shy might be harder than posting regularly on Instagram/Facebook.
6) What places can you suggest that I can buy the best paint/materials at a good price?
I shop for deals whenever I can. I personally prefer to use archival grade materials whenever possible, so I like the better, professional grade paints such as Daniel Smith oil paints, Liquitex soft body acrylic paints and golden fluid acrylics for my fluid art. I buy the acrylic paints from Michael’s when they have a good deal available (such as 40% off or higher), I buy GAC 800 and Liquitex Pouring Medium also from Michael’s when they have their 60% off online coupon (extremely rare – they may have stopped it altogether actually), I buy Daniel Smith paints from the source – their physical store (unfortunately they don’t really run sales much). Finally, I buy some supplies from Amazon when I can’t find them elsewhere cheaper. This tends to be the case for things like studio supplies, rather than art supplies. At the end of the day, supplies are a huge part of your expenses if you decide to pursue professional grade materials – which I do recommend if you want to make this your career and can afford it.
7) Where do you find your best inspiration for your ideas? 
That’s a tough one. When I am feeling uninspired, I like to watch YouTube videos of artists I love and that fires me up to get back into painting. Going to art museums also has the same effect on me – it makes me want to go home and paint up a storm! Most of the time, though, my mood and emotions give me all I need to paint how I feel.
8) Can you suggest any artists studios that I am able to visit? If you know of any.
I’ve only been to one other artist’s studio and it was genuinely an amazing experience. I wouldn’t have known how to see it by myself, but I took a class at a community college nearby and the teacher arranged for the visit to his friend’s art studio. His friend is a premier Pacific Northwest artist so it was a great honor. Taking local small classes can sometimes open up doors like that.
9) How did you personally get your work out there?
I do as many art shows as I possibly can, I post regularly on social media, I join facebook groups to look for opportunities (such as call for artists) for events, and try to take advantage of all such events if possible. Through that I’ve also managed to get my artwork into a business in Seattle on a commission basis.
10) What is the most unusual technique you know with paint/mixing mediums?
I really enjoy acrylic pouring with the funnel technique. You can check out my YouTube channel to see some examples.

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