Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Networking & human courtesies.

Wow hasn’t this opened a can of worms.
I have been doing an online class with Alyson Stanfield and it has been a good wake up call.
Even the things I already knew have now been pushed into action by my commitment to doing this class..
This week had been enormous for me. The realization of all the possible avenues is incredible. Once you start thinking about who you know, who you don’t and who you should or could, the world seems so much bigger.
Just being aware of opportunities to expose what I do have somehow created many more opportunities to do just that. When it is in the back of our mind then we are not blinded to so many possible leads. I cannot tell you how man times someone had asked me what I do and wanted to know more this week. I didn’t seek it – I noticed it.
It also brought into my busy mind so many follow ups whether it be people I really should help out and keep in touch or new people who needed an email or phone call or a bit of help. I can see how easy it is now to think of a few every week. Yes time consuming at first but I have really enjoyed it, as I love people and socializing.
I liked the point Alyson made on the Network audio about “Reciprocal relationships” because the word “Networking” does have a negative stereotype association with me. As a Christian I believe in giving and loving others first and working through our material lives second. Effective and honourable networking is really based around your standard human courtesies. Be polite, friendly, compassionate and generous toward others. Artists love to share so are usually very generous. We are just learning to extend that to a broader network.
This is going to be an easy asks and loads of fun for me because I don’t see it as work. I see this part of the business as a chance to meet and make more friends who will now be in a wider economic and social environment than my existing network of friends. It is about helping one another and supporting our careers. We as artists do have to step beyond our art friends to a wider audience and create relationships.
People natural want to help someone they like. Well most do. Just be a good and generous person and the rewards will follow. We are blessed for loving thy neighbour” so it is fool proof really.
I would have disagreed with the statement about smoosing being more important than quality of our work but I realise that was a slip of the tongue. The quality of our work is the most important thing. It is our product and then we need to sell and promote it. If we want to be paid according to our work and be paid well – our work has to be worth the asking price. Most long-standing businesses are still there because they are GOOD!
When we are intimidated by meeting who we consider to be important or famous people we need to remember that God made us all equals and no one is more important than anyone else. If you believe this then it is much easier. I remember meeting the Logie winning actor John Wood the first time for a large portrait I was doing. I was so nervous but when I met him he was so “normal and so accommodating” He even gave me all his personal photo and keepsake albums to pore over at home. I was so worried about their irreplaceable value that I couldn’t get the back to him fast enough. His stature did affect my painting and I swore I would always remember how we are all equal after that. He asked me if he could read his script while I painted and I said yes when I needed him to sit still. My painting suffered as a result. This generous man like me enough to deliberately promotes me in the Australian Woman’s weekly (one of our most popular magazines). He also mentioned me on a radio interview. The magazine rang me and offered a big article on my portrait work and possibly double page spread. Can you believe it –I was intimidated and wanted to do it just right and so lives events and self-doubt let it pass me by. Can I kick myself hard now? – YES
WE also get caught up with what people will think because their will always be people who are drawn to our work and repelled from it. There will be different reactions. When it boils down to it is all an OPINION only not TRUTH. You do need to consider who is advising you but ultimately you must believe in your ability before anyone else will.
I hope my long posts are not irritating. I like to look deeply into things and really absorb the ideas. This sets in motion and in concrete for me and I always hope it helps others too.
When I reflected on this audio I thought “Sincerity / reciprocal relationships” I added a sentence at the bottom of my notes “Christian first – Artist Second” This is to remind myself while I am throwing myself out there in full force to be all of those human courtesies while remembering to tell people what I do.


Belinda Lindhardt said...

Great post Kayleen, it is inspiring to read someone else is inspired and you are so right on your comments.

Cynthia said...

I'm following the link from your email to the Promote Your Art class...I haven't listened to the audio yet, but have saved it to my computer. Your post makes me want to listen to it now.

I agree, the world does seem like a larger place if we only open our eyes and ears.

Mary said...

Hi Kayleen ~

I just wanted to tell you that I really enjoyed your blog entry. I love how you incorporated Christianity into it . . . it helped shift the focus for me.

Speaking of God and Christianity ~ do you belong to any Christian based artist groups? I'm wondering if there's anything out there . . . or if we should take the opportunity to start something to network with other Christian artists?


Alyson B. Stanfield said...

Kayleen, I love your thoughtful process here. You've really taken what I've said and made it work for you--noting the good, tweaking the not-so-good. You're a model student!

michelle giacobello said...

Marvellous post Kayleen. Moving and inspiring, and exciting to see how your life is about to change, change, change!

So happy I get to watch :)

Kayleen West.- Stewart said...

Thank you Belinda, Cynthia, Mary & Michelle

No I don’t belong to any Christian art group as my work has only recently evolved spiritually as I am what you would call a baby Christian. New to the faith and blown away by the power of God. When He moves He rally moves. I am considering using my web skills to form some group in the near future though. I will contact you and anyone who wished to be involved.

The class has been very informative. Sometimes a lack of information can inhibit your life tremendously. This is one of the reasons I blog. In the hope I can empower someone with something of use.

Yes it is changing. Some changes are difficult to handle and some are exciting. Although my personal life has been more than challenging lately I look forward to exciting things in the future with my painting, meeting new people and making new friends.


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