Inspiration

Artists, let’s talk about money.

Artists can have a lot of hangups around money. Money can be a sensitive subject regardless of industry, but it especially seems to be in the arts. It can be hard to put a number on an idea, a talent, or a piece of art that has no comparison.

The relationship between money and art is complicated. Common thoughts are:

  • How does one put a monetary value on fine art?
  • If I sell products, does that devalue my art work?
  • If I want to be paid for my work, does that change the reason I am making it?
  • I do other things besides sell my art. Does that mean I am not a real artist or art business?

But guess what? All artists deserve to be paid fairly for their work.

“We’re trained to feel that it’s impolite to discuss money. In the art world, [often] the person we are dealing with, be it a gallery director or curator, has a broad view of a whole bunch of different artists and [can see] where we fit in among them. But if we as artists are not talking to each other about money, we are not operating with as much information as they are. So I think that artists should to talk to each other about money. They should be open and transparent. And the more we promote the culture of transparency around money the more it helps everybody. Sharing this information with each other IS artist empowerment.”

- Hannah Cole of Sunlight Tax, from the course The Ultimate, Honest Guide to Understanding Artist Taxes

Many of us have the goal of selling our work, but remember that sales are usually not the only way an artist makes money–even the most well-known and successful artists often do more than just sell their work to survive. Thinking nimbly and branching out about how you earn money to support your practice will help you to achieve success.

Ways to earn money that aren’t sales of work include:
Grants, residencies, teaching, speaking fees, public art commissions, private commissions, commercial art (maybe you are a painter who sometimes sells illustrations to magazines and websites), sales of editions or multiples, writing, design work, and the list goes on and on.

The good news is, that if you are doing any of these things already, they bolster your business and support your practice! Artists should be honest with each other about what all they do to support themselves and their work. It’s revealing, but also super inspiring, to learn that our peers have various gigs and structures in place. Everyone’s path is different and unique, and we can all learn from each other. It also might remind us that choosing our own path will lead to our own versions of success.

So, what is your story? Take some time to list all of the ways you support your art business and how these experiences have shaped your practice, expanded your network, and influenced how you spend your time. We are in the same boat as many of you and do lots of things to support our individual art practices: creating blog posts, helping artists by leading classes, workshops and individual coaching, and selling our services. Sara also teaches, and Andrea does commercial photography. We seek out grants and residencies. We’re busy, yes. But this stuff fuels our connection with our art-making and our community at large.

Check out our videos from DELVE: Comedy + Art, a networking event where artists Alex Gingrow and Michael Scoggins share their unique stories.

We’ve seen that if you can harness the storytelling potential of your experiences to share your practice, then you are well on your way to an effective marketing campaign to grow your audience! And once your audience grows even further, you have even more ammunition in support of yourself not only as a professional artist in the eyes of the world, but also as a viable business.

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Consider your accomplishments.

It's that end of the year time: busy, overindulgent, full of coughs and colds, and self-reflective. In a short time, we'll be sharing a new online class with you to help you plan for and achieve your biggest goals. In the meantime, we are asking you to do one thing this weekend:

 

It could be as big as a solo show or as small as a new idea. It could be as exciting as a new child to as mundane as cleaning out your closet. Everything counts. Congratulations, we are sure it's a really long list.

Sara & Andrea

ps. If you want to be the first to know when our new online course is launched, sign up here and you'll get a special discount.

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Announcing the DELVE Action Guide for Artists & Creatives.

We've started compiling a list of resources and inspiration called the
DELVE Action Guide for Artists & Creatives. We need you to add to it. Tell us what you and your friends are doing to make the world better, more informed, educated, and kinder. What are you doing to take action?

November was tough. Our job and mission is to make your lives easier. We want you to feel confident sharing your work and story with the right people, get organized and get the professional side of your careers in order so you can do the amazing things you are destined to do. But the 2016 presidential election happened, and we were blindsided by the Trump victory. We have been struggling with how to take action, how to make positive change in light of something so daunting. We are smart women, but not overly outspoken and we don't consider ourselves political activists. But we believe that truthful information is power, education is key and that artists and creatives are needed now more than ever. We know that many of you are in the same boat.

As we started to talk with clients and friends over the past few weeks, we are seeing so many powerful projects and small actions happening. We view them as a point of inspiration, a resource, something to participate in; especially if you've been feeling like us: confused and frustrated at the state of affairs in the United States. Each small action, each local action, each silent action counts.

So far, we've put together a curated list of projects and resources that have organically crossed our paths. But we want it to be more. Comment on the page and tell us what you are doing. Email us at hello@kindaesthetic.com with projects and images. We will share as much as we can. Thank you for being part of our community.

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

I am an artist.

We need artists now more than ever as the dawn of a new presidential term is upon us. Remember to own your profession – this important identity – since your job is to process your world for your audience. Your job is to bring us the opportunity to experience something outside of our everyday lives. Your job is to give us something to think about. Your job is very important.

Your work does not necessarily have to be political to make an impact. Nor does it have to be your full-time profession. If you identify as an artist, say it.

I am an artist.

Change, compassion, awareness, beauty, cathartic experiences, togetherness, anger, confusion, meditation... all of this and more is our job to convey. Thank you, artists. Let's get to work.

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

50+ interviews to inspire you to take action

Did you know that we have a beautiful archive full of over 50 interviews with inspiring artists and creatives? We couldn't believe it, either.

Our series of DELVE interviews explore the unique paths of artistic and creative individuals. How did they get to where they are? What did they do before? What does a day or week in their professional lives look like? Check out our whole series of DELVE Interviews here.

Five Alive is an interview series where we ask creative people we admire five questions about their practice. They are short, powerful glimpses into the worlds of talented people, just like you. See our growing Five Alive series here.

Enjoy and be inspired! XO, Sara and Andrea

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Your Unique Story: tips for figuring it out and getting it out there

Happy September!
Whether it's back to school time for you or not, this time of year never-the-less makes it feel like it's time for a fresh start. We are feeling it, and are excited to dive in with you and help you refresh your story and your materials. This month we'll be sharing advice and ideas on how to hone in on how you tell your story, both in writing and verbally. Once you have that down, you'll find that it'll be easier to pursue and get opportunities and reach your goals!

Fact: you are the only person in the world who does exactly what you do in your unique way. As artists and creatives, we all occupy so many different roles in our lives that sometimes we need a boost in seeing the big picture. We need to assure that we stand out in our vibrant, saturated, creative communities. So, how do you let your audience know who you are, tell your story in a compelling way, and genuinely show that your artwork or creative products are so incredibly unique? We’ll cover a step-by-step process below.

Sharing your unique story in a professional, genuine way is undoubtedly important because potential customers and patrons want to know who you are and where you come from; it gives them confidence to know about you, makes them comfortable and interested, and they can connect with you and your work in a profound way. Your story is part of your identity, whether that’s a brand identity for your product or who you are as an artist.

By confidently conveying your professional creative self, you will be able to reach several goals that come along with having a strong story and identity:

  • You will sell work. If there’s a strong story behind your work, it’s going to be a lot easier for people to hold on to it, remember it, and want it.
  • People will be more inclined to follow you on social media if they can connect with you and recognize themselves in your story. You want to form a bond with your audience and the best way to do that is by sharing.
  • With your story loud and clear on your website, people will feel comfortable reaching out to you for commissions, purchases, or to collaborate on projects.

The first step in feeling confident in telling your unique story is to set aside quality time to write. Set aside one uninterrupted hour on a timer and answer these questions:

  • Who are you and how do you want to be defined? For example, you might work a day job as an accountant, but make jewelry in your spare time, with the hopes of eventually launching a jewelry business. So you would state that you are indeed a jewelry maker.
  • Write out your professional bio as a creative. Look back at the work you’ve made, where you’ve showed it, who has purchased it, and any press you’ve received and sing your own praises. Just starting out? Don’t worry about it. Definitely touch on any education, workshops, and experiences you have along with your passion for the work.
  • Write out a detailed description of your work or project. What does it look like, how is it made, what kind of materials do you use, what does it feel like? Be as specific as possible.
  • What is the inspiration behind your work? This can be anything and everything, don’t hold back.

Next, after a short break, read over what you’ve written and highlight the parts that are unique to you. Make a separate list of these unique traits and translate these facts into a written story about yourself in the first-person. For example, you might have started out by describing yourself as a jewelry maker (of which there are thousands), but now you are able to describe yourself as a jewelry maker who uses brass fittings and rope from the hardware store to make bold, sculptural statement necklaces inspired by your life growing up on the New England coast helping your grandfather repair his boats. It’s pretty likely that no one else can claim that exact story, and this specificity will make your audience want to learn and see more.

The added bonus of adding specific details to your story is that they can also help shape your logo and the look of your website if you are getting ready to launch an online store. The jewelry maker in the above example might be inspired to incorporate nautical elements into her logo or decide that she wants all the product photography to be taken on a weathered dock to reference her story.

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

You're doing it right.

You are the expert on your business: whether it is your art practice, architecture firm, or if you are writing a novel. Your projects, your approach, your accounting techniques, your communication style, your social media accounts, your ideas, they belong to you. Working alone in your studio or in a small business can mean a lot of second-guessing of yourself and a lot of feeling isolated. It can all feel like too much, or like you're not doing something right. Right?

We get it. But remember that you ARE doing it right by doing it. By showing up and working hard and translating your creative vision to the world. That is your job and only you can do it.

We've gotten hung up on a lot of things that we feel like we should be doing because that is what the "work world" does. But it just doesn't work for us. We are both working moms and artists and we are damn busy, and just like for you, life can feel like too much sometimes. So, this is what we remind ourselves of everyday:

  • We don't have to follow a normal 9-5 schedule. We are excellent communicators and pretty good at managing our time (both within and outside of a normal workday schedule), and we will get things done and be productive.
  • It's better to experiment and fail than not to try.
  • Being present for our families and our clients is the biggest priority. Sometimes momentum can stall when life gets in the way. We love what we do, and therefore have the energy to pick it back up again.
  • We have the job of helping amazing people get the opportunities they want by verbalizing and focusing on why they are so unique. And it works and it rocks.

You are the only one who really knows how you spend your time. In our last post we offered some advice to open up time to get more done. Make your own strides to be as productive as you can. You don't have to stick to a traditional schedule.

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Overcoming Fear: 3 things to consider

ideal relaxing end-of-summer scenario...

ideal relaxing end-of-summer scenario...

Happy August!  We hope you're out enjoying the end of summer and getting some relaxing time in before the Fall kicks into gear. 

Since this month is a slower one for many people, we decided to use the downtime for some introspection, so that we can move forward with intention once the busy season of Fall kicks in. For us, the upcoming season means teaching lots of workshops and classes, going to as many openings as we can muster, while also launching a whole new suite of products (stay tuned—it's about to get exciting around here!) So before we do all of that, we wanted to spend a few quiet moments pondering a subject that we know haunts a lot of us: FEAR. 

Fear of what? Of taking the next step in your career, of trying something new in the studio, of talking to a stranger at an opening, of doing your taxes, of reaching out to your idol, of putting your work out into the world? And why are we fearful of that? Because of failure. It boils down to the fact that we're all afraid of failing. But what does that mean, exactly? For each of the examples mentioned above, the stakes are of course a bit different. Do any of your fears make you stop in your tracks and feel unable to move forward?

This month, we'll talk about steps to take to push through your fears, but before we go there, let's first all acknowledge that failure is part of the process. And sometimes failure is the best thing that can happen, because it allows you to reassess your situation, your point of view, and your approach. It often leads to new ideas, new ways of working, and new relationships. It is why great things happen, which is why you have to at least try. Nothing happens without trying, and that's the stasis we want to avoid! 

Here are three things to think about when you feel fear creeping in and preventing you from taking a next step:

1) What exactly is it that is making your fearful? Get specific and identify what aspect of the task is preventing you from moving forward. 

2) Talk or write it out. Find someone to confide in, or write it out in your journal. Chances are, once you've listed your specific fears, they will no longer seem so scary or daunting. 

3) If you are feeling fear, switch over to feeling gratitude instead. For example, if you are at an opening and afraid to introduce yourself to the curator, instead take a fresh look at the situation and feel grateful to be able to be in the position to make this connection/be part of this artist community/to have seen the great show this person has curated. Chances are, it will change your attitude and point of view, and you'll no longer be afraid to say hi.  

Let us know what fears are holding you back. We want to start a conversation and help you move forward! 

 

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

They don't love you. Who cares? Love yourself.

This month, we are exploring how to develop online content about yourself and your work so that it is easy, and feels genuine and exciting to share your unique story as as artist or creative entrepreneur with your ideal audience. We completely understand the feeling that marketing your own work can feel difficult, uncomfortable, and well... icky. We are artists, too, and we understand that hesitation. Over time, we have helped ourselves and other artists realize that it really shouldn't feel uncomfortable because a) you are sharing your work, which is interesting and inherently unique b) you don't have to be "salesy" to be heard and c) if you care, then others will, too.


Last month, Andrea got the chance to be in the audience for an intimate Q+A with artist Mark Bradford, who recently installed a beautiful show at the Albright Knox in Buffalo, NY. He had worked on a collaborative mural project with local high school students and was fielding questions about his practice after a talk that chronicled his path into the art world. A father in the audience asked him how he could guide his daughter to be a successful artist, since he had the understanding that most artists could not make a living from their work. Mark Bradford answered generously. He said that, yes, he had achieved a high level of fame and success as a visual contemporary artist, but even if he hadn't, he would still be an artist. He would still be an artist even if he was still working at the beauty shop where he worked after finishing his MFA at Cal Arts. He would still feel successful as an artist because it was what he had to do. At the end of the day, it didn't matter to him what accolades he received because he loved himself enough as an artist and identified with that role. "They [the art world] don't love you. Who cares. Love yourself."

A glimpse of a Mark Bradford piece at the Albright Knox in Buffalo, NY, part of the exhibition  Shade: Clyfford Still / Mark Bradford.  Photo by Sara Jones.

A glimpse of a Mark Bradford piece at the Albright Knox in Buffalo, NY, part of the exhibition Shade: Clyfford Still / Mark Bradford. Photo by Sara Jones.

Bradford's answers struck a chord with me because he had simply and honestly told us why making art work was important to him and why he chose to start the foundation, Art + Practice, though it was not a traditional path of an artist to found a project that "encourages education and culture by providing life-skills training for foster youth in the 90008 ZIP code as well as free, museum-curated art exhibitions and moderated art lectures to the community of Leimert Park." He followed his gut, revealed his unique story as an artist, and no one was confused. We get it. We are inspired by it. We love his work.

The moral of this post is dual:

  • Clearly share what is important to you, what you are passionate about and what drives you. You will build an audience and a conversation around your work.
  • Stay tuned for future posts this month for practical ideas to share your unique story with the world through social media, your website and in person.

Please be sure to sign up for our newsletter to receive posts and other opportunities mailed straight to your inbox.

 

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Stay true to your work despite criticism.

If you've ever clicked on our home page we state the following:

FACT: You are the only person in your world who does what you do in your unique way.

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 1.26.16 PM.png

We truly believe in that statement.

During meetings with a recent 1:1 DELVE Toolkit client, when talking about why she has trouble talking about her art work in an effective way, she opened up and told us that she can feel extremely swayed and distracted by comments about her work. A gallery owner or fellow artist would make an off-hand comment, and it would confuse her and make her feel insecure. Why weren't the choices she was making valid?

She couldn't remember the good things they had to say about her work because she was focused on the negative aspect, the part that made her feel uncomfortable. We can venture to say that most of us have done that over and over again when in conversation about something that is extremely important to us: our work.

Staying true to her work was difficult because she, at that point, could not achieve clarity in communicating her work in person or in writing. She couldn't walk into a room and state exactly what kind of artist she is since she worked in different mediums and was coming back to a serious art practice after some time away from it due to life circumstances. Throughout the first four weeks of the DELVE Toolkit, she got a true sense of how to speak and write about her work in an effective way. It gave her confidence and motivation.

This is how she achieved clarity in writing and talking about her work:

  • Through a series of questions via the 1:1 DELVE Toolkit, we took a deep dive into her process, history as an artist, what motivates and inspires her work and why she makes it. Like most artists, her work comes from a very personal place but didn't feel comfortable sharing every nitty gritty detail. She didn't have to. The key to getting the best artist statement and verbal pitch is to get every detail out, write it all out, then pare it back from there. We achieved that.
  • It turns out that she has a lot of trouble writing and found it easier to have a friend ask her the questions, and she recorded her verbal answers, then transcribed them.
  • She found two other artists whose work she admired and whose work resonated with hers and read everything they write and has been written about them.
  • Over again, we practiced answering the question: what kind of work do you make?

When you put yourself and your work out there, you are opening yourself up to comments and criticism. Stick to your unique vision and decisions. Make the mistakes that you will make. Because that vision and those mistakes are what will make the best work.

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Stand out by defining your visual style.

This post is updated and adapted from one originally posted on February 24, 2015. 

Fact: you are the only person in the world who does exactly what you do in your unique way.

As artists and creatives, we all occupy so many different roles in our lives that sometimes we need a boost in seeing the big picture. We need to assure that we stand out in this vibrant, saturated, creative world. So, how do you let your audience know who you are, tell your story in a compelling way, and genuinely show that your art work or creative product and services are so incredibly unique? Sharing your story with words and visuals that support your work are the best way to stand out, but how?

Here are three steps to get you started:

Collect images with colors that appeal to you to help you create a new color palette.

Collect images with colors that appeal to you to help you create a new color palette.

1. Write a list of words and phrases that describe: 
a) the actual work you make or do
b) your personal professional history
c) the motivation behind your work.
We guarantee that the more specific you get, the more exciting your story will become. These words serve as the framework for writing your statement and pitch, but can also be used to shape the visual support for your story. For example, if you describe your work as geometric, vibrant and strong, those words provide a guide for the kind of colors, typefaces and layouts you might want to consider for your website. 

2. Research your competition. Have fun making a giant spreadsheet of who else does work similar to yours. And remember, you and they are inherently unique. So the question to ask yourself when you are looking around is: "How am I different?"

3. Collect visuals. Words are your tool to telling your story in person and on your website, but don't forget about the visuals! What kind of materials, processes, and inspiration do you use to do what you do? Document all of these in a beautiful way–for example, if you are a printmaker, create a video that shows your process! Another helpful way to start developing a visual story is by creating mood boards that reflect how you want to represent your work, the kinds of color palettes you like, the typefaces you are drawn to, and anything else that inspires you visually. You can organize your boards into categories and start developing your personal visual style that will help support your story and your work and make you stand out from the crowd!

Good luck! Be in touch with us if you need an expert team by your side in helping you create the powerful visual and written story behind the work you do! 

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

DELVE Interview: Katerina Lanfranco

WELCOME TO DELVE INTERVIEWS, A LOOK INTO THE UNIQUE PATHS OF ARTISTIC AND CREATIVE INDIVIDUALS. THESE CONVERSATIONS ARE A BRANCH OF OUR DELVE WORKSHOPS AND EVENTS, WHERE WE CELEBRATE EVERYONE'S UNIQUE PATHS AS ARTISTIC AND CREATIVE FORCES AND SHARE THE TOOLS AND ADVICE WE ALL NEED TO MEET OUR GOALS.


This month we're talking about finding focusstaying motivated, and building confidence so that your creative work stays at the forefront of your mind and at the top of your priority list, and wanted to introduce you to Katerina Lanfranco, an inspiring artist who embodies this topic in her daily interdisciplinary practice. 

Below a Sea of Stars, installation view

Below a Sea of Stars, installation view

Katerina Lanfranco is a Brooklyn-based artist whose body of work includes paintings, drawings, sculptures, and mixed media installations. She earned her BA from UC Santa Cruz and her MFA from Hunter College, City University of New York. Her work is represented by the Nancy Hoffman Gallery, and is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings) in Berlin, and the Corning Museum of Glass. She teaches studio art at the MOMA, among other institutions for higher learning throughout New York. Lanfranco is the founder and director of Rhombus Space, an exhibition space in Brooklyn where she curates concept-driven group and solo shows. She is also Chief Curator at Brooklyn’s Trestle Gallery.

Can you describe your path as an artist – from where and when you began, until now?

Katerina in her studio

Katerina in her studio

I was very artistic as a child, though I didn't think of myself as such. I really began my formal path as an artist when I decided to study Studio Art, along with an independent major entitled “Visual Theory and Museum Studies” at the University of California at Santa Cruz for my undergrad. Prior to that, I was pretty invested in playing the cello (10 years), and was interested in areas of physics and the arts within a social context. In high school, I wrote a long research paper on Chaos Theory, and competed in regional physics competitions. My early interests in music and science still impact and inform my artwork today. I describe my work as a combination of science, art, and fantasy. 

What does a day or week in your professional life look like?

My professional life is pretty multifaceted. I balance my own studio practice with curatorial work and teaching. I try to maintain a type of fluidity in my daily professional life, while staying very much in touch with my authentic creative self and ideas with a clear course and direction. It’s an amalgam of intuition, pragmatism, and hard work. I feel lucky that as an artist there is no retirement age, since there is still so much I want to contribute through my work. In a typical week I teach 3 days, and try to be in studio the other days. Periodically I also teach at the Museum of Modern Art; the American Folk Art Museum; and at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Depending on the exhibition schedule at Trestle Gallery, where I am the Chief Curator, I may also be installing exhibitions before a show opens. My studio is sort of a haven. I've gotten to a point where I can't run everything myself, but my experience of doing so has been extremely useful in understanding all of the aspects of a professional artist's life and the logistics of running an art gallery. I have two interns this year, and I work with assistants at the gallery. I love organizing, and I find delegating work to be a more socially engaged form of organizing.

Tomorrow Dreams of Neon, site specific painting at Andrew Edlin Gallery, NYC

Tomorrow Dreams of Neon, site specific painting at Andrew Edlin Gallery, NYC

What is a major goal you have set for yourself in the past year that you accomplished? How did you do it?

A major goal this past year was to get a new studio. I journaled about it, daydreamed about it, and discussed it often with my studio manager. When I really commit to something, people have described me as “having a bee in my bonnet". I find that this type of tenacity is essential though, since my life requires perpetual multitasking, and it enables me to focus very clearly on whatever the task is at hand so that I can be totally present and engaged.

I started doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in the fall, in part for physical exercise to balance out those sedentary studio days, but also to be present in myself - body and mind. Generally my approach to a project is to research first, set achievable expectations, and then execute those goals. I'm a big fan of visualization as well. If I can see it in my mind, then I am pretty sure I can manifest it in reality - or at I least I give it a wholehearted try!

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from managing all your projects?

I have learned so many valuable lessons:
To know my limits by testing them.
To be fearless.
To say yes more often than no.
To be open to intuitive ideas.
To embrace seriousness and playfulness simultaneously.

What advice do you often find yourself giving to the artists that you work with?

Don't be so hard on yourself. Self-criticism can be so harmful and unproductive.

Draw it out. It’s the first step to bring a visual idea into being.

Where is one of your favorite places to go to be inspired?

I love spontaneous day trips and visiting other people's studios. Traveling reminds me that there are so many other realities that exist. Travel also helps put things into perspective and opens up my understanding of the world. And of course I find inspiration in museums – both the art and non-art kinds. I also love being immersed in the natural world, but I think anyone could guess this from looking at my art.

Can you tell us about an upcoming project?

Coming up, Rhia Hurt and I are co-curating an exhibition at Trestle Gallery entitled “Laughing Out Loud” feature work by Nadine Beauharnois, Todd Bienvenu, Caroline Chandler, Ari Eshoo, Seth Kaufman, Christina Kelly, Jen Nista, Archie Rand, Emilie Selden, Michael Scoggins, Petra Valentova, Daniel Wiener, and Crys Yin.

 

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Finding Focus for the stuff you really want to be doing

Happy March! This month we're tackling a topic that goes hand-in-hand with last month's time management theme. We're going to be talking about finding focus, staying motivated, and building confidence so that your creative work stays at the forefront of your mind and at the top of your priority list. Follow along and participate in the conversation with us on Instagram and Facebook, as well as here on our blog, and by using the hashtag #KAfocus!

To be creative, we need to have time and space to allow our minds to wander, expand, and go off in random directions. Of course, that's a hard thing to do these days, as we have so many things constantly vying for our attention (studio, jobs, family, email, appointments, social media, netflix). What that means is that we have to learn to be really strict with ourselves. If creative time is indeed important to us, and something that we'd like to bring to the forefront in our lives, than we have to make time for it. Last month, we talked about figuring out ways to find that time. This month, we're going to talk about what to do with that time once you've blocked it off for yourself. Blocking it off is the first and most important thing you can do. Write it in your calendar and treat it like you would any other meeting or appointment. It is arguably the most important appointment of your day. 

Hopefully the time you have found for yourself is also your most creative time of the day--for example, many of us think most clearly and have the most energy first thing in the morning. If that's the case, then grab your cup of coffee and head straight to your work area. Do not check your email, do not scroll through Instagram. This time is blocked off for your mind to focus, for your creativity to have a chance to flow in. If you check your email, chances are you'll get distracted and think that confirming your dentist appointment is most important thing you could do. It's not. Almost all of your emails can wait until you take your lunch break. 

In the book Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build your Routine, Find Your Focus and Sharpen Your Creative Mind, Cal Newport suggests starting with small blocks of focused creative time (an hour at first), and building those up incrementally by 15 minutes every week or two. The key is never to allow distraction. Once you give in to checking your phone, you should cancel the whole block and start over. It's a great way to build discipline. 

Another tip he suggests is having one focused task to do during that time. If you are writing an article, do all your research ahead of time so that when you sit down, all you have to do is write. Same thing goes for starting a new painting or designing a poster. Gather all your research, source material, visual inspiration, and tools ahead of time so that when you sit down you can dive right in.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to learning how to focus and letting your creativity in. We'll have many more posts over the course of the month, and stayed tuned for more information about an upcoming free Webinar on the topic, as well! Also, please let us know what you do to stay focused! We'd love to share your advice with the community!


If you're interested in a sure way to find accountability and want help making sure that you are working towards your professional goals with all you've got, then you should consider the DELVE Toolkit. It's a one-on-one consulting program that will definitely help you make bigger strides than you though possible! Get in touch with us to set up a 20 minute call.

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Emerging from a hazy forest to find productivity

This month on our blog and social media, we are talking about time management and productivity. Without fail, every client we have worked with faces issues with time. When you have a lot of it, it can be hard to manage. When you don’t have enough, it’s challenging to find the energy to be productive within it. What we will be sharing this month will resonate with all of you. The thing is, there is no magic answer to being more productive and finding more time; it just takes commitment and a new approach to your energy and focus.  Use the hashtag #KAtime to share thoughts, successes and failures about your productivity. It’s all fair game and we’re all in the same boat.

Today, Andrea is sharing her story about her struggle with time and productivity, and the tough choices she made this past year in order to do what she needed to stay focused on immediate priorities.


I emerged from that hazy forest of first-time new mothering feeling more powerful and vital than before, more wild and instinctive… less insecure and therefore less encumbered by my own shit.
— a quote from artist Zoe Buckman from How We Do Both, Art and Motherhood, edited and writing by Michi Jigarjian and Qiana Mastrich

When I look at my adorable daughter, toddling Frankenstein-like in my new home in Buffalo, NY, I marvel at how much my life has changed over the past twelve months. See, last year at this time I was living in a Brooklyn high-rise apartment, pregnant, and waddling to our studio to make artwork.  Fast-forward to now, with a big move behind me and a walking (!) toddler, and I am so grateful that these two changes have me very excited and definitely happy.

When I had my daughter in Brooklyn last year, I knew I would have to temporarily let go of part of my life, in addition to permanently letting go aspects of my body, because I would not have the neck strength to wear all of these hats: being a mother, being a wife, sustaining an art practice, staying healthy, running a business and earning money, and doing photography work. It all seemed incredibly impossible, and unfortunately it was for me. I envy the women that have had more focus—or at least make it seem that way.

When we decided to move to a new city, I knew that I needed to to press pause on my art practice for one year. It felt painful, but it was the only thing I could remove from the list above that would not directly affect my family or take away from making a living. I couldn’t do it all.

A year will be up in March and I am filled with excitement and apprehension. A huge part of me has been dormant and it has, quite frankly, sucked. It’s uncomfortable. All of my projects that I pressed pause on are uneasily gurgling within me in fits and starts. It might be worse than the last throes of pregnancy.

I picked up this book recently, it's inspiring and interesting to see how everyone has different circumstances but the sense of urgency is all the same

I picked up this book recently, it's inspiring and interesting to see how everyone has different circumstances but the sense of urgency is all the same

I am ready to come back to my practice. Like so many of the amazing artists and creative entrepreneurs we have worked with, I am returning to my practice after a big life change, and it’s daunting. I, too, am struggling with when and how I will do this, because I am still wearing all of those hats I mentioned earlier. But this month I am making the place for it in my everyday again.

Like Sara’s post last month huge life changes and being in transition lead to clarity. And for both of us, we want our daughters to know we are artists as well as moms. And I want our clients to continue to receive my full attention. And I still want to have time with my family, and a sense of social well-being.

This post doesn’t have much of an inspirational ending (yet), but what I do know is that I am not alone in this. 

Reader, please tell me what you do to find the energy? Do you have a similar story? Please comment below. 

 

 

 

 

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

The power of side projects, the passion of doing

As a culture, we work a lot. Or we think we do. But are you working on the stuff that really matters to you?

We have the privilege of working with amazingly talented artists, creatives and small business owners who are, more often than not, strapped for time. We help you better message what you are doing to your ideal audience so that you can save time, be more effective in achieving your goals, and feel super confident about your work.

Sometimes, though, what you are truly passionate about takes the back burner because life gets in the way: day jobs, family, holidays, general busy-ness. At the end of the day, it's easier not to work on the passion project (the thing that gets you so excited you might burst) because it has no guarantees of success, it may not bring in cash right now and maybe it's something new– unchartered waters. But just because it's easier not to do it doesn't mean that you shouldn't. In fact, you probably should burn that midnight oil and wake up knowing that the next morning you have moved towards achieving the goal. 

Sideprojects_KA.jpg

"From a psychological perspective, it would be better if people engaged in activities in which they sought challenges and tried to match them with their skills...However, in our society leisure is used as an “escape” from work. “Escapism” in this respect means that people do not seek meaningful leisure activities for their own growth and development, but instead resort to passive activities to escape from everyday strains and problems. Such behavior is frequently associated with a passive lifestyle and boredom, which in turn might feed into apathy and depression," we came across from this article

We can help you find that time to work on the projects that excite you so you can break the passive habits and change them to active creation. We believe that it will influence you and your work for the better and will impress your ideal audience even more. Just because no one else is telling you to do it doesn't mean that it's not important. You're the boss.


Kind Aesthetic helps creative entrepreneurs and small businesses tell their unique stories through developing beautiful and compelling marketing materials. We also help visual and performing artists and creatives hone their own communication skills to achieve their goals through DELVE, a suite of effective consulting services, workshops and events.

Our process focuses solely on you and your work and requires a collaborative dedication. In the end, our work together will create more confidence in and attention on your work, help you stand out from your peers, and can lead to achieving your professional goals because it’s based on an individualized strategy designed to allow your unique way of working to shine through and reach your target audience. Contact us to set up a free twenty minute call to see how we might work together to set you on your way to success.

 

This post was originally published on 12/22/15.

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.