Jumping To Conclusions - You Never Know Where You Will Land

I read something the other day and it really stuck in my head. Never jump to conclusions because you never know where you might land. I believe that saying to be so true. You could be walking down the street and see someone and completely dismiss them because of how they look or how you perceive them. Meanwhile, they could be one of the nicest people in the world you just never know.
How about when we haven’t heard from someone for a long time? Could be someone we may know but not very well and all of a sudden they reach out. Most of the time this may result in us jumping to the conclusion that person is looking for something or wanting something from us. I am guilty of this misnomer.
In some cases we can be very quick to dismiss a person as we may think they are only reaching out because they want or need something from us, so why bother. Speaking from my own experience, you shouldn’t immediately dismiss a person because of a hunch you may have.
I had a former co-worker reach out to me recently. He was asking me for a favor. He was wanting me to connect him with one of my LinkedIn connections. Now, we weren’t great friends at work however we were acquaintances and we would exchange pleasantries and minor chit chat when we did see each other so I thought sure why wouldn’t I help someone if I am able.
In messaging back and forth, I learned his wife works and has worked at art galleries in the area and he asked me if I would like to be connected with his wife as he knew I was a photographer. He told me the art gallery she works for is looking for a photographer to do some pro bono work for them as they are a not for profit gallery. I gladly accepted his offer and in doing so he had also stated he would speak to his wife about the possibility of getting my art work into some galleries or at the very least she could provide me with info and guidance on how to go about doing so in the proper way.
I guess my point is, we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss people in any situation. One, it’s always nice to help someone out who is in need and two, you just never know who this person might know that could perhaps not only return the favor and but may be able to help you out when you need it. There is not cost for kindness, share it!

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Mentorship - It Has It's Priveleges

Mentorship has got to be one of the greatest things ever. What else allows you to pick the brains of experts in your particular field of work or interest for FREE?

I mean first things first, you have to find someone willing to mentor you and secondly someone that has the time. The latter is probably the most difficult part as it would seem to me that everyone appears to be getting busier and busier in their lives which doesn’t allow for much time to mentor someone. That being said, it’s not a free ride, you have to work at it just like anything else you want to succeed at in life. It certainly is great, not to mention incredibly helpful to have someone to turn to with questions, inquiries or advice.

I have had a little bit of experience in this particular area with regards to my own photography career in the past year. It has been great having a couple of different people that I can reach out to in order to obtain knowledge through their expertise. Now I wouldn’t call it full on mentorship by these two gentlemen but they have given me access to their individual wealth of knowledge on photography and business when they are able to make the time for me. Believe me, I appreciate this help more than any words could ever express. The knowledge I have gained from these mentor sessions has been extremely invaluable to me.

With regards to my particular situation when it comes to mentorship, well, let’s just say it is a little unorthodox. In describing it that way, I mean we usually do quarterly phone calls or skype meetings because that is what works for my mentors and me. Not ideal by any means yet still effective and it works for all involved parties so it’s a win win for everyone.

Whatever your career choice, interest, hobbies or aspirations may be, if the opportunity should present itself or you wish to seek out a mentor, I highly recommend and advise it. You will be that much wiser for making that choice and to be honest, it doesn’t cost you a dime for mentorship!

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Shows, Contests and Magazines - Is It About The Money or The Art?

I am sure that many artists alike can relate to this post as this has probably happened to quite a few of you, at one time or another.

What I am referring to is being contacted through e-mail or by phone by art show organizers, magazines or people running art contests. Now I realize that all of these people mentioned are trying to run a business just as we all are. They need to make money to sustain said business and this is where we the artists come in.

It can be mutually beneficial for the artist as well as the people pursuing the artists. The contests and magazines which are out there are on a similar plane in terms of whether or not the cost to enter these contests or have your images grace the pages of magazines are worth the possible exposure you gain from it. For the artists, if the show they are being asked to participate in is a well known event in the art world, this presents ample opportunity to showcase work, make connections and network. The flipside to it is these shows can be costly to participate in, therefore the trade off of cost vs. exposure had better be worth it for the artist. A lot of this exposure comes at a cost, which isn’t cheap.

The first thought that enters my head EVERY time I receive one of these e-mails is “are these people just looking for money to fill their booth space, or page layouts?” I then have to take a step back, do some investigating in terms of researching the company or magazine or person contacting me. I need to gather all the information possible, perhaps even reach out to other artists to find out if they have heard of or participated in the contest, show or magazine. Then and only then can I make an informed decision on how to proceed. Of course let’s not forget about the bank account which will also dictate whether the opportunity is feasible.

I only have a limited amount of experience with this type of thing but I do know this though, it pays off to do your research so you don’t end up in a situation where you have shelled out money for this type of venture and you end up with a bad taste in your mouth because it didn’t work out the way you had thought or planned.

As I stated in the beginning of my post, these shows, contests and magazines can be incredibly lucrative for an artist in terms of financial gain and more importantly, exposure. I cannot stress to you all enough, the importance of being diligent in doing your research before you hand over your hard earned money or sign anything!

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