Advice to Emerging Natural History Artists – Interview with Jackson’s Art Supplies, UK
Whilst preparing for, and on the trail to my recent Everest Base Camp travels, I managed to complete a simple article based on my advice to emerging natural history artists for Jackson’s Art Supplies in the UK. It is a short, sweet and straight to the point guide to my best tips on starting out as a natural history artist… or in fact working in any creative field.
I think itd be fair to say, a career in the arts is never an easy path to take, but for those consumed, it is also a very hard calling to ignore! This I know, and have certainly known my share of battles along the way too. What Ive learned and eventually come to my own peace with in my life, its just within you somehow and there is no peace without its pursuit either. Its real ‘damned if you do damned if you dont’ situation a lot of the time which can create a great amount of conflict and challenge to us as driven creators. I know how challenging it can be to find that initial direction and some traction when youre just starting out. It can be overwhelming, disorienting and defeating at times if you let it in at all, so when Jackson’s Art Supplies asked for my advice on the topic, I felt it was an extremely important topic to extend myself to others on.
So youve decided, were doing this thing right? Then let’s take a look at a few of the ‘little big things’ as I like to say, that I have found in my own experience can really make a difference to your career, work and ultimately your own success as natural history artists, starting with the first which really sums it all up for me in one hit. It is my own mantra.
‘Aim high and work hard. Practice your craft. Love your craft. Do it so well that the world will simply not be able to ignore you’
Speak your truest voice when creating. When we talk about creating an elusive, but all-important unique identity in our work, we really need to learn to trust ourselves, to listen to our own truth and to be able to harness these things so our own uniqueness is reflected in all we do. Reflecting ‘unique self’ in our work is the best way to find a genuine point of difference as artists.
Have a speciality. This is perhaps the single most important advice I can give you. Having a speciality allows you to drill down into specific knowledge and skills of your craft to excel. It also provides you with a clear marketable identity and direction to start establishing a reputation and demand for your work.
Don’t be afraid to go against the crowd. To be unique, you’ll often need to work against the flow of everyone else around you… but don’t be afraid of that. Understand that if you are drifting in that sameness, you are simply not being unique. It is not something you need to force, but just be aware of it. Pursue the truth of your own path no matter how against the crowd it may feel, and finally, don’t expect it to be easily done!
Have goals to work towards. Sometimes we tend to feel a little disoriented in our direction and we can find ourselves floundering about a little too easily, so set yourself goals to strive for to help keep your balance. This keeps you moving and focused with some clear direction along the way and can also bring great satisfaction to your journey. Aim for something achievable, but that sits right on the cusp of your comfort zone so that you are always striving for new growth, heights and achievements.
I know that many of you have already contacted me expressing how helpful you found these simple points to consider, so I wanted to share it here as well as on the Jackson’s Art Supplies blog because its all about knowledge sharing and feeding others with common loves as well as we can. I hope that my advice will continue to assist and inspire other emerging natural history artists.