Iranian Visual Artist Farshido operates under Behnoode Foundation where he donates a portion of all his artwork revenues to help children in Nepal. One of his passions is to support aspiring artists by sharing his advice and experience.
He says: “I believe that the best ideas will come at the right time, with the right material and match up in a perfect outcome. I do not believe in tying oneself as an artist to one specific art style or material. For me, concept and material follow inspiration and ideas, not the other way around.”
Here he presents twelve useful tips and practical advice to making art, making connections, making sales and making money for a struggling, emerging or any sort of artist.
1. TAKE THE JOB
Don’t be one of those cliché art school kids who consider themselves above the idea of art as a commodity. Take commercial work. Take the design work. Do the band’s poster for $20 and a six-pack. Do whatever it takes to be able to call yourself a working artist. It’s a noble title, regardless of the particulars.
2. BE PATIENT
To come to the ‘perfect outcome’, I use fine techniques and patience. Patience for finding the right materials and collecting the objects that are special or useful like wandering around flea markets and collecting old knick-knacks to make use of them later on. However, up until there is no specific idea in mind I put them aside and wait for an idea or an inspiration or a magical sparkle of the moment that an idea begins to form. Then, I opt for a collage, assemblage, drawing, conceptual art, installation, video or whatever my medium suits the idea best.
3. STAY CONNECTED
Your best connections are your peers. Stay in contact with them. Be curious. Visit other artist’s studios and add like-minded people to your mailing list.
4. GAIN NEW PERSPECTIVE
Gaining perspective by observing your practice amongst a field of others, and the culture and time in which it is done, is a career goal that follows a wide arc. It is not the sole responsibility of your art dealer, for example, to place your work in cultural context, nor should you allow this without your input.
5. HAVE AN IDENTITY
Aim to have people recognize your work in a crowded room… to know immediately that it’s undeniably yours is the best compliment you will ever receive
6. IT IS A JOB
When I’m talking to younger artists I stress that making, exhibiting and selling art in a commercial gallery is just like any other job one hopes to be successful at. It means working hard, honouring deadlines and trusting your co-workers to do their jobs well too.
7. SURPRISE YOURSELF
My inspiration comes from daily life and all the surprises that it brings along. Personally, I like surprises… That’s why I like to keep surprising myself and others with my artworks.
8. DO NOT RUSH
Don’t raise your prices too fast because once they are up, you should not lower them.
9. ALWAYS BE INSPIRED
Feed your output with as much input (books, lectures, films, leisure, rest) as you can handle, and in some cases, more than you can manage.
10. KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE AND YOUR INSPIRATIONS CLOSER
Now there are endless images at your fingertips, but you need to find the ones that awaken your creativity and keep them near to you. Sometimes it can be something blurry and vague … I have this one little scrap of paper with a very low-res image of a kitten’s face on it, and something about it makes me come back to it again and again, trying to capture something elusive about it. When you find an image like that, hold onto it like it was gold.
You don’t need business cards. You do need a website and a social media account.
12. GO OUTSIDE
Stay deeply connected to what’s going on in your own art world. Under no circumstances isolate yourself in the studio with a solitary practice, thinking you’re some kind of lone wolf or Van Gogh.