ABOUT MICHAEL PETERSON:
Michael Peterson is from Saskatoon here in Canada, where he runs his own gallery, the only printmaking studio in the city, and a radio show about art and artists. He is also on the boards of many art organizations including Saskatoon’s Nuit Blanche. And he recently spearheaded a provincially funded professional development program for artists. Michael Peterson studied printmaking and initially started organizing art initiatives in order to fill his own needs and those of his peers. Starting businesses, organizations, and initiatives has mainly taken over at this point and we talk about many of his projects. We talk about the importance of building up your fellow artists and your art community. He also shares his super relatable and useful take on networking, or relationship building as he more aptly calls it. There are tons of behind the scenes art world insights in here so listen up!
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HERE:
CHECK OUT SOME OF MICHAEL’S MANY PROJECTS:
MY TOP TAKEAWAYS:
-Creating time flexibility in your life allows you to take advantage of interesting opportunities that come up.
-If your city doesn’t have it, thats your opportunity to create it.
-Think about your own problems, when you try to solve them, maybe you can help other people in the process too.
-Galleries are looking for you as an artist to ideally have some sales history so think about how you can start to build that if you aren’t getting accepted by galleries yet.
-If you are trying to build a c.v. with the aim of becoming more appealing to galleries, consider how different options will be perceived by the kind of galleries you want to get into.
-If you are starting a gallery or building a career as an artist, consider who your customers will be and what the price point and the work should be (or go at it in the reverse order).
-Most galleries stay in business by selling a few high priced works of art to a few wealthy collectors a year.
-Consider the barriers to entry for potential customers. Many people are easily intimidated by art or ‘the art world’.
-It’s important to be able to communicate the value of art in general and your art in particular because not everyone understands innately.
-In art organizing, a major question is how to create entry points for people to engage with art-pro-podcast.
-If you make things simple to get involved in, often people will get involved.
-If you don’t get accepted by a gallery it doesn’t necessarily mean they reject your work but consider the possibility that they might not be able to sell your work. Could that be true? Why?
-It’s important to build a community of peers who can help you by giving honest critical but kind feedback on your work.
-The more experience you have looking at art, the better you become at judging your own work.
-Starting or getting involved in an art organization can be really rewarding but know that it will likely consume more time and energy than you expect. On the other hand it could be something as simple as organizing a weekly meet-up or a one time workshop.
-Any kind of work will fill the time you give it. So set limits or risk a project taking over your life.
-Keep your ear to the ground for opportunities and take advantage when you can.
-Not all opportunities will be financially beneficial but consider other advantages there may be.
-You may have a lot of negative associations with the term ‘networking’ but those are the what-not-to-do examples! Networking should really be thought of as relationship building. Making friends, getting to know your neighbors, finding out about the needs in your community.
-Networking: get to know people, keep in touch. When you hear about an opportunity, refer the appropriate people you know, spread the love, go to peoples exhibitions, its not transactional just do what you can for others whenever you get the chance. Set an example and other people will do the same.
-The first step is showing up and doing it without any expectation.
-You will develop a reputation eventually, make sure its a reputation for being helpful, pleasant, and easy to work with along with whatever you want to define you (masterful, knowledgeable, creative, hardworking, unique, etc).
-Professional practices skills to learn:
- -grant writing
- -writing artists statements
- -writing proposals
- -thinking and writing about your process
- -how to approach galleries
- -how to hang an exhibition
- -how to identify and participate in different art markets
- -identifying different opportunities
- -designing your website
- -social media
- -building an online presence