Your mission, that’s about now. What skills do you have now? Who are you now? What are you doing and how does it fit into your long-term vision? What therefore should you not be doing? And, what goals can you achieve with those capabilities? For that, you need self-knowledge.
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Tell your story
Art tells a story. What story are you telling? Can you put your passion and your dream into words? Not as a sales pitch, but to be able to base your choices on them later, professionally and substantively. And to attract the right partners.
“My art speaks for itself”? Maybe, but not always. Sometimes it’s an excuse not to put into words what you actually want to say and where you want to go in the long term. Nevertheless, this can help. You help an interested audience to understand your work more in-depth, and you help potential investors, (fellow) artists, curators, programmers and critics to better assess your work.
Kunst vertelt een verhaal. Welk verhaal vertel jij? Kun je je passie en je droom onder woorden brengen? Niet als verkooppraatje maar om er later je keuzes op te kunnen baseren, zakelijk en inhoudelijk. En om de juiste partners aan te trekken.
“Mijn kunst spreekt voor zichzelf”? Misschien, maar niet altijd. Soms is het een excuus om niet onder woorden te moeten brengen wat je eigenlijk wil vertellen en waar je op termijn naartoe wilt. Nochtans kan dat helpen. Je helpt een geïnteresseerd publiek je werk meer in de diepte te begrijpen, en je helpt mogelijke investeerders, (collega-) kunstenaars, curatoren, programmatoren en critici jouw werk beter in te schatten.
Ask yourself the right questions
These questions can help you formulate your artistic story:
- Who are you today?
- What characterises you/your work?
- What drives you? Norms, beliefs?
- Who/what inspires you?
- What message do you want to communicate?
- What value do you want to offer?
- What gap do you want to fill?
- Who do you want to collaborate with?
- Who do you want to reach?
- What do you want to achieve now?
- How do you define success?
Thinking about these questions is focusing on yourself and the life you want to lead.
And it is mainly learning by doing. Keep adding to your story, your mission and your vision throughout your career. Try to put it into words, if that’s your thing. This way you develop more self-confidence. Your artistic plan is a living document, especially if you want to build a sustainable career. Keep versions of it: in this way it will also become a valuable archive.
And don’t let anything force itself on you. It’s about making professional choices that are an extension of your artistic/substantive DNA. And that’s super personal.