Updated: Sep 3, 2019
If you follow me on social media, you will know that I just announced my first solo exhibit, coming in the spring of 2021! As an emerging artist, this is a really big deal. It essentially means that someone is taking a leap and trusting that you, as an artist. can create an interesting and conceptual body of work that will fill an entire gallery space and attract people who will find it interesting and engaging (no pressure right! gulp).
It may seem like a long ways away, but the amount of planning and work that will go into this exhibit means that I need to get moving in order to make the exhibit what I want it to be...nothing short of amazing.
The concept for my exhibit is "Coexistence", and I would like to challenge the viewers to really examine their own perceptions and biases that they bring to certain wildlife species that tend to often be in conflict with humans. What social factors give you a visceral response to that porcupine hanging out in your backyard, or the skunk walking across the pathway? There are many rural and urban wildlife species that I will be exploring through this project.
I will be going into more detail in future blog posts around the concept and some of the reasons why I feel so passionate about this particular topic and I will go more in depth into some of the stories I have around human-wildlife conflict. However I have had a few artists ask me how I secured a solo exhibit so I thought I'd share some thoughts.
First of all, it has really come down to relationships. I have worked hard to be professional and engage in an artistic community since I first picked up a paintbrush. I volunteer, I engage, and I consistently take classes and go to events or exhibits in a few places I support and that have in turn supported me. I follow the rules when I participate in sales (packaging, dropping off, deadlines etc.), I am professional and I do not speak negatively of others. I now have a network of people willing to not only allow me to do an exhibit, but to support me in figuring out how to do the exhibit and to mentor me in key areas I need to learn (grant writing, conceptual planning, new artistic skills, etc.).
Secondly, I did my homework. I initially decided to do a body of work to apply for a grant, however now I will do this exhibit regardless of whether or not the grant comes in. Before I approached the gallery, I knew what I needed for the grant, what were eligible expenses, what I needed from them, I had a very detailed concept and I had already begun talking to key partners and potential mentors. I had ideas on programming that could be available over the course of the exhibit and I knew from talking to many friends and family that the concept was one that many people would be interested in.
And finally, I am willing to take advice. I have been seeking out some key artists and wildlife specialists and keeping my ears (and mind) open and my pen handy. I am not caught up in thinking I know it all, and I am not only open minded but humbled by how many people are willing to come on board and be a part of this.
I am anxiously diving into this journey that I know will grow me as an artist and a person, and I look forward to sharing with you as I meander along this path!
Please leave any questions below and I will be happy to answer them!