Let me introduce you to… me: The Young Artist

Day of the Young Artist - Schrijfbureau Vos

Voor Kunstpodium T schreef ik deze reportage over de Day of the Young Artist, een dag georganiseerd door Museum de Pont en Kunstpodium T, speciaal voor jonge kunstenaars. Hieronder is het resultaat te lezen en het artikel wordt binnenkort gepubliceerd op

Hello. I am me. Nice to meet you. Pleased to meet you. What a surprise. Take a look in the mirror and it can help you to get to the next step of your career. When you know who you are, what you stand for, what you want to tell the world with your work, then you’re an artist with a goal. In her column at the end of the day, host Esther Porcelijn looks back on a day full of inspiration, food for thought and discussions: The Day of the Young Artist in Museum de Pont.  As an artist, she says, you have to find yourself in order to make a great statement.

But, that’s a difficult point. If it was so easy to know what your goal is and how you can achieve it, then this day would probably be less worthwhile for all these young artists. So, how do you know who you are? As an artist, but also as a human being? Maybe this gets too philosophical, so let’s go back to the subject ‘how to be a young artist who knows what he or she wants.’

Personal Branding

For The Day of the Young Artist, Kunstpodium T and Museum de Pont invited experts on the subject ‘how to place yourself as an artist in this world’. In his workshop Personal Branding coach Ralph Kolen gave the youngsters a little advice about throwing yourself into the world with your work. According to Kolen you have to know what your story is. Why do people want to buy your art or your product? It’s a pretty tough question to answer, because you have to distinguish yourself from others. You have to make yourself unique. It’s all about you. You as an artist, you as your own product (when you are an actor or a musician for example), you as.. YOU!

Then there’s another important way of personal branding. You have to make a good story behind your product, so people will actually buy it, Kolen said. And ask yourself  ‘Do I deliver a good value for the price I’m asking?’ Kolen states that as an artist you have to see what the problem of the costumer is and how you want to solve it. When you know that, you’re in.

Education or self-teached branding

So Kolen gave some advice about developing a personal brand. In the Panel Discussion ‘Who is the young artist’ three artists argue about the way you distinguish yourself in a world in which a lot of artists try to make it. Do you have to go to art school to become an artist? The answer is not simple. But according to Sarah Bachour, a fashion designer and now art student, you have to go to art school to get to know people. “In the past there were ateliers of big artists who taught their students and now you have to go to art school to get to know the right people. It‘s a closed world.”

Seen in the scene

The big question in this discussion is: how do people know you and your work? Do you have to work really hard and make beautiful art to get attention, or is it more about knowing the right people who can help you and about being seen in the scene? Artist Jonas Wijtenburg states: “If you’re seen, you’re maybe picked up, if you’re not, you will definitely not be picked up. Tactics can help. Go work in a museum as volunteer, create opportunities for yourself, because there are a lot of talented people out there. Although it may sound a little frustrating: you have to be seen. You have to put yourself out there.”  Beautiful work that stays unnoticed is really a waist.

Making money

Even though making art is expressing a way of seeing things, expressing yourself and showing the world what your ideas are, in the world of young, upcoming artists, earning money is also a part of the deal. There are artists who work part-time as a bartender and part-time as an artist, but hopefully they all want to make money with their artwork. In her lecture Making Money Making Art: From Rembrandt to relational aesthetics Art historian Kathryn Brown talks about art and money.

Making money with art, goes way back to the mid seventeenth century, when the anonymous market changed into a more individual market with art on demand. Rembrandt, tells Brown, distinguished himself from the market. He made self-portraits and showed that he was an unique individual. He created his own brand, just as Kolen said the young artists nowadays should do. Increase the rarity and people will buy it. At first, making money with art was a taboo, but later in the nineteenth century art got more market value and it became more normal.

The impressionists invented a new way of creating spaces and through commercialisation they created ‘art in your home’ feeling, so art became something for everybody. Paintings and other art works became visible for the world and not only for the elite in some salons. So, the economic value of art is something that played already a role for a long time. Even in the past painters realised that money making is in the end pretty important.

Good idea, new idea!

This Day of the Young Artist gave some inspiring stuff to think about. Personal branding is pretty important nowadays. You have to think about yourself and your work and how to show the world you are there. In his Keynote Speech ‘Dying Young or Living for Ever: Artistic Life in the Creative Industries’, art critic Pascal Gielen talks about the shift in perception of careers of young artists. It is not only necessary to have a good idea, but it also has to be a new idea. You have to relate your work to the context in which you’re working. Look at the social and economic state of the place where you show your work and relate your work to it. Then, you will be seen in the scene. And that’s what it’s all about. You, being seen in the scene. You as yourself. You as an artist. Hopefully, when you look in the mirror, you will see yourself as you. Get to know yourself and make the best of yourself and your art.

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