Today I bring you an interview with Eva McGill Oliver an artist currently based in Atlanta Georgia and working in abstract painting and paper collage. We talked about collaborations, galleries, Instagram, and the long road to finding your voice and making a living.
FIND AND FOLLOW EVA MAGILL-OLIVER:
On instagram @eva_magill_oliver
On her website www.evamagill-oliver.com
And check out the collaborators she mentions in the interview (some images are included here too)
MY TOP TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS EPISODE:
-Getting an MFA is a great way to create space to focus on your art for a couple of years but it’s not the only way, it’s only really necessary if you want to teach at the college or university level
-Having an art related day job can be helpful but sometimes it can also use up a lot of your creative energy
-You have to be bold enough to push your work out into the world where it can be judged.
-It takes a lot to push yourself to abstraction. It takes as much skill as painting realisticly even if its not as easy to see or judge the skill. Don’t be afraid that people will brush it off.
-It takes time to find your own artistic voice! Just keep going. Eventually you start to care about your own opinions more than other peoples opinions.
-Getting some alone time in your life can spur your creativity.
-It can be hard to build an art career and raise a family but at least for Eva having an infant son granted her the drive to focus on her own artwork.
-On instagram enter calls to try and get your work featured on bigger accounts. The people who see your work there may become your new followers.
-Be consistent on instagram. Use an app like VSCO to help.
-Consider batching your instagram posts and scheduling them ahead of time so you don’t have to be on there all day.
-Don’t be a salesperson all the time on line. You’re there as the artist just sharing what you do and when you do remind people that they can buy they’ll be glad to hear it.
-If you want to get gallery representation, get a body of work together and find some galleries where your work will fit in.
-Budgeting an irregular income can be tough. If you can make enough from selling originals then great but if not, diversifying your income and adding extra income streams can help.
-Reaching out to brands you like and proposing collaborations can be an income stream
-Larger companies might never respond to your e-mail but it still doesn’t hurt to try.
-The creative directors of smaller companies might be happy to brainstorm with you if you send them a friendly proposal.
-Know that collaborations with a brand might take a year or more to come to fruition.
-You could even start out by collaborating with fellow artists in other mediums (think potters, jewelery makers, writers, photographers…) Cross promote your project to gain exposure to each others following and find new customers.
-licensing might be another income stream.
-Just having cards or posters of your work printed might not be worth your time and might lower the perceived value of your work.
-If you don’t have a lot of time to devote to your art set aside whatever little block you can find on a regular basis to avoid all distractions and focus as much as you can.
-Eva gets up early before the rest of her family, and or works while her son is in pre-school 3 days a week to have totally focused uninterrupted time.
-Don’t spread yourself too thin! Theres a point of diminishing returns in the number of galleries youre in, the number of collaborations you do and the number of social media platforms you maintain a presence on.
-Remember that galleries will want some form of exclusive rights to sell your work, so if you want to sell your work in more galleries or online think about how you can still create exclusivity (different regions, different series of work, different size categories).
-Galleries can provide access to collectors, marketing and selling services, and local exposure, but they do tend to charge you 50% of all sales in exchange.
-Remember with selling work yourself online you’ll be responsible for customer support and packing and shipping the work. You’ll need to figure out an efficient system to make sure you’ll be able to do those things reliably.
-At different points in your career working with galleries might be more or less advantageous vs selling your work yourself online.