Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Creating Opportunities

Congrats to Nicola landing a gig on Birds and Prey and to Chris Burns on his new book.

What I've noticed about the guys getting work is not their talent (which is great and quality) but the ability to make opportunities. They've taken what they've got (skills, passion, networks) and created work for themselves, chased opportunities which they've used to create more opportunities. They haven't sat next to their humming PCs waiting for someone to give them work. I think Chris' project was a ballsy move and one i suspect that needed a lot of selling and negotiating - but its paid off. Suggesting that Nicola's success is borne from her going over to New York for a year is selling her short; every pin up thread or anthology project at Millarworld has had Ms Scott offering up work, getting her work and name out there.

Holgate hasn't left his apartment in 5 years, but through his internet connection and his dedication he's gotten gigs. It seems to me, Talent (besides 'that's nice' compliments) get you fuck all; presence, risk taking, innovation and dedication seperates the artists from the wannabes.

so well done guys


Anonymous said...

You speak the truth, Mark.
I can only speak as a toydesigner/illustrator now - but If I didnt spend at least 200$ a month on phone bills and going out of my way to keep in contact with my clients even during slow times, and take any networking opportunity, there would be no way I could support myself as an artist. I can ONLY IMAGINE how hard it is in comics to make a living or become a success. I really love both Nicola's and Chris' work. Not only is the talent there, but the professionalism too. I met Nicola only recently and found her to not only be personable, but when she speaks, people listen. This is not a wilting flower who sits alone waiting for opportunity to come a knockin'.

Yes, no one is going to just throw work at you if dont do something about getting your name and work out there. Even if you have a couple of successes, just like in any creative endeavor, people forget or the next big someone comes along and POOF, you find yourself starting from square one. You have to be willing to sell yourself, a lot.

There is also something to mention about maintaining a positive and gracious manner and a professional attitude when dealing with clients, publishers and your fans. Especially on this small island we live on here. Many people are incredibly close here - to burn a bridge here, consistently not make deadlines, or laziness will come back to haunt you worse ten times worse here then anywhere else in the world - 2 degrees of separation between you and almost anyone else! It freaks me all the time and Im nearly a nobody!

- Tee

The Frase said...

I can't really speak about Chris- as I don't really know him, but I would echo both T-birds and marks words about the dedication of both Nic and Doug.
Both are not only dedicated to their craft but also their careers. Both busting their arses to always get better and both are ALSO very professional people with advanced social skills.

Lord knows I'm not the best artist there is, but I have remained in pretty constant employ making art. I contribute this to networking and carrying myself in a professional and well mannered way (except when I'm in a bad mood or had one too many cocktails!!)

But a HUGE congrats to both Nic and Chris- Both projects sound like they're each artists dream projects!

Mark Selan said...

Thanks guys; its not even just the networking/socialising aspect of it thats so cool and important. look at Stikman offering comics to anyone printing; the law journal thing, the various magazines. Sure he isn't getting paid for it, but he must be on the cusp when some editor is willing to pay for his work. Or the cliche example of dillon; starts of with the show bags - showbag company goes out of business, so he uses his built up audience and goes to the news stands - gordon and gotch get retarded and cancel comics - dillon creates comics for kids magazines. he used existing mediums and audiences and created something for them when the other stuff didn't work out.
Dean using Christian Bookshops to sell his stuff.

Creating opportunities with what's at hand is the road to success.

Ian T. said...

presence, risk taking, innovation and dedication seperates the artists from the wannabes

Mark, up to this point, I agree with a lot of what you've said, but the finest artists in the world could still be complete commercial failures and still be great artists. In fact, throughout history, that's been the case all too often.

Mark Selan said...

I think we could be on the verge of talking Art vs art.

i'm mainly concerned in art in commercial sense. Artists getting paid for their work and not necessarily creating great Art (though of course this isn't mutually exclusive).

and sure, there are great artists out there but unless they have presence then its a matter of 'if an artist draws a tree in a forest and no one sees it - is it great art?'

Liz/Azahru said...

'if an artist draws a tree in a forest and no one sees it - is it great art?'

I would say yes, but he or she probably won't make a living from it. It depends on what you're happy with. Some people have a small audience but touch someone's soul in a profound way, makes a ripple, it's important, to be celebrated. Art is not a commodity that needs to be sold to become real.

But sitting around winging about not being a famous yet when you've done a few drawings but haven't shown them to anyone, that's certainly being a wannabe.

Mark Selan said...

Nice and succinct Liz,
- lets start naming names!

Ian T. said...

and sure, there are great artists out there but unless they have presence then its a matter of 'if an artist draws a tree in a forest and no one sees it - is it great art?'

Not necessarily, but it may well be! As a good example, all down through history women have suffered from having their creativity and art (in whatever form) actively suppressed - being denied access to resources, education and opportunities, etc.

Then there are those who aren't working in the current milieu at all and have moved on to some other paradigm that society, and the commercially appreciative world, will need quite some time to catch up with and comprehend. I don't only mean "Art" either - this can happen just as easily with rock music (watch as the really great bands of the '80s are vindicated and the trash is finally put out).

On a sidenote though, it's great to see some of our best artists getting recognition overseas!