During the pandemic I was at home a great deal like most people and so I joined a lot of online classes and groups for art. I learnt the importance of having a ‘art community’ and in this blog I would like to explain why I think this is really important for anyone creating art.
No Man is An Island
The truth of the matter is that creating art can be a lonely business. I think one of the reasons why I really liked art as a child was the solitude, I was never happier to shut the door on the world and have art time alone but as an adult I recognise the need to share my art with others and what that gives me.
After a while creating art on your own becomes much harder, you don’t get any feedback and you might be surrounded by people who don’t share your interest or passion. You begin to doubt yourself and if your work is any good or even if there is any point making it.
When I graduated from art school, the hardest thing of all was being out of the art community I was in once I left. I was surrounded with people in my life who didn’t create anything and didn’t see the value of art.
For me art was always more than a hobby I wanted to be an illustrator and make money from my art but it was always so hard to explain what illustration was and why I needed to work on on my portfolio and skills after I had graduated.
Finding Your Tribe
One of the difficulties for me was finding a ‘tribe’, I found it much easier when I began working in the creative industry and met others who shared similar passions but outside of that environment it was hard to find like-minded people. Some of the art groups in my area were snobby and had a long list of criteria to join their exclusive club and others were full of retired people who met in the week, which I could never do around my jobs.
One or Two Will Do
Eventually I started selling some of my designs as greeting cards in the local art cafe, which was also a co-operative of a group of local artists. A few visits led to some informal chats with the resident artists there and before long I had made one or two casual acquaintances.
As small as this was it was reassurance that there were other people in the world who wanted to do what I was doing, making art and selling it. I got to find out about Etsy from one of the acquaintances and set up my first online shop. This is an example of how one small contact can lead to useful information other things.
I was a lot happier just knowing informally a few ‘artist friends’ and it seemed to make all the difference. One lesson I learnt is that sometimes you have to reach out to make art friends, rather than expecting them to come to you.
Since those days there has been lots of forums, groups online as well as social media networks where you can connect with like-minded people and share your art. It is so much easier now to connect with other artists across the globe and I would encourage you to do so. A simple group on Facebook is better than nothing and it will make you feel more connected with others.
Do you have an art community? Share your experiences below…