As this extraordinary year draws to a close, every artist I know is looking forward in hopes that 2021 will bring happier surprises than 2020.
But I want to take this moment to cast my gaze back, and I invite you to do the same.
Because no artist stands alone.
Instead, we stand on the shoulders of other artists; the teachers we’ve had, the colleagues we admire, the institutions and collectors who support us. The list goes on and on.
It’s important to honor them.
If you’ve been reading my messages for awhile, you know that I am exhibiting my photographs at a virtual art fair as part of (what is normally) Art Basel Miami. You can see my show here.
But like every artist, I didn’t do it alone.
I want to introduce you a few of the people who helped me get this work into the world.
I’m sure you know that each time an artist feels the birthing pangs of creating a new body of work, it’s a sign to reach out.
This is where it’s important to have an arts community, other artists who can ask the right questions. They give us the confidence and direction to stay committed.
So I reached out to photographer Anthony Epes.
Anthony’s stunning images really speak to me. I’d been followed him online forever, never imagining that we would ever meet in person.
But last year, I sent a message to Anthony when he was leading a workshop near my home in France. I invited him to lunch and was thrilled when he accepted.
We talked all things photography. I used my expertise as an artist coach to discuss his marketing. He shared his expertise as a photographer to critique my work.
It was a huge honor to have such an exchange with someone whose work I admire so much. We continued to stay in touch.
Anthony teaches online photography courses. So as I created my photographs for the art fair, I asked Anthony to help. After all, he’s the master.
But I must admit, I was nervous about showing my own stuff publicly. I’m much more comfortable in the supportive role, serving other artists, rather than flying my Artist Flag.
So I called my own Artist Coach, Deborah Henry-Pollard. Talking with Debs about my fears helped immeasurably. Debs helped me to identify the changes I would have to embrace within in order to succeed in this new role as an exhibiting artist. She gave me confidence.
Once the project started to take its final form, I showed the work to my friend, cultural critic and art curator Robrt Pela. We had a wonderful conversation that helped me to see this project with a new perspective. His advice was invaluable. He even suggested a gallery who he thought would love the work.
And so I reached out to Tilt Gallery. And they did indeed love the work, and are now representing it.
Do you see how it works?
These lovely people who supported my exhibition, are all members of my creative tribe. We’ve been talking about art and being an artist for years now. Reaching out to them was a natural extension of those conversations.
No successful artist achieves in a bubble of solitude.
So as this year comes to an end, I encourage you to look back and note the shoulders you’re standing on. If you can take a moment to reach out and say ‘thank you’ to someone, do.
And I wish to end this message by saying ‘thank you’ to you.
It’s through writing this, sharing what I’m learning on my creative journey and the journeys of other artists that I’m able to continue the work I do.
You inspire me and I am so grateful for you.
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Working in the international world of contemporary art, Crista Cloutier has spent her career selling art and marketing art to art galleries, museums and private collections.
Using her professional experiences, Crista has created The Working Artist Masterclass, where she’s developed a global reputation as an artist’s coach. Crista can teach you how to be an artist; including how to sell your art, how to sell art online, how to sell photographs, how to price your art, how to succeed at art fairs, and even how to find your art style.
Crista has worked with established, blue-chip artists to raise their profile and attract greater opportunities. And she’s also helped thousands of emerging artists to build a professional art practice. To learn more, visit https://theworkingartist.com