5 Things Emerging Artists Need to Know

So, I was talking to a friend of mind about the inevitable post-grad school grapplings with success or lack thereof.  The struggle to define a path in the infinite array of possibilities and to even be distinguished amongst the backdrop of millions just like us.  I've long since lost track of the hoards of chipper, yet carefully grounded letters I have sent off for grants, scholarships, positions, residencies, etc. attached to exactingly cultivated resumes designed to present my most impressive version of myself.  You can see it here (shameless plug and all).  There are classes that teach artists professional practice: I've taken them.  But artists know we trade heavily on emotion and personality in a way that doesn't translate through times new roman 1.5 spaced on while letter paper.  And my friend asked me, "How do we get to be the person everyone wants to have involved?"  So I started listing things every successful contemporary ceramic artist that I can immediately identify does:

1. A line you can pitch as a unique, instantly recognizable look.
2. A technique that can be associated with that look.  Something accessible enough to build workshops on, but impressive enough to spark interest.
3. A personal narrative that people can see in the work based on a quirk: humor, sensuality, modesty, etc.
4. A theme that translates to the academic and the everyman.
5. Inspiration for others.  Your give-back to the community.

And to really cut to the heart: each should be able to be summed up in one uncomplicated (read: 2 clause max) sentence.

It seems so simple.  5 points. 5 sentences. Can it build the total package?  That's the hard thing about academia.  We dump out everything, the crap included, hoping there is at least one thing worth holding onto amongst a sea of turds.  We write and write and write (and write), trying desperately to put words to things that we have made specifically because words have failed us.  And there are hands paid to hold ours as we flail around in our turd ocean and pluck the right words as they stream forth.  But that lovely, smelly, cocoon is an illusion.  And those masses of text and images we use to pin down exactly what it is we are doing are not only never going to be seen, they are fatal in the swipe-left world.