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3 Skills that Take Artists Farther than Talent

1 Flourishing

Talent is a wonderful gift. I believe everyone excels in some area. It’s outwardly obvious in some people like athletes, actors and artists. While talent is quieter in mathematicians, literary types and scientists. But everyone has a special area of interest where they shine.

You might be the most talented glass artist in the world. But if you’re creating art alone in a closet, you’ll never be recognized for your incredible work beyond your front door. If you’re content creating for yourself, hurray for you. Carry on. Enjoy!

But if you crave a wider audience for your creations, it takes more than talent to be successful in today’s marketplace. You must bring the whole package.

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  1. Soft Skills

Soft skills are your personality in action. They’re the dynamic energy and presence you bring to the room.

Are you happy, friendly and outgoing? Do you engage others with the intention of making them feel comfortable? Do you include everyone? Do you treat everyone, from the trash collector to the CEO, with the same courtesy and respect? Do you openly smile and offer a handshake? These traits make you a person, more than just a contact, co-worker or hired help.

Soft skills will take your farther than anything else. This is not to say you don’t need to know your craft and your business, you do. But your ability to engage, get along and communicate with others is paramount. How you treat others, how you work with others and how you handle unexpected problems all contribute to becoming a valuable, sought after artist.

No one wants to work with a prima donna artist for long. Sure, she’s entertaining for a while, but the unpredictability is exhausting and unprofessional.

If you’re shy, you can develop a stronger presence. Start with eye contact and a sincere smile.

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  1. Patience and Perseverance

You may not know this, but my glass roots are grounded in stained glass. This year I celebrate 36 years of glass crafting. My husband and I owned and operated two art glass studios for 20 years. At that time, we sold 500 different pattern book titles in our stores. I wanted to be a pattern book author, so I approached a publisher. I was rejected because my drawings were immature.

At first, I was disappointed, then angry. And then I was driven to prove to myself I had what it took to be published, and to sell. It took a few years before I tried again, this time with a different publisher. My first book, Tropical Teasers came out in 1999. I was basking in the glow of my first title when a customer told me, anyone can be a flash in the pan. Over the next 12 years I went on to publish 14 books. This flash is still sizzling!

The biggest dream killer is stagnant waters.

I make a plan, then outline the steps needed to accomplish my objective. I try to make tiny steps toward my goal every week. Any forward momentum is better than no progress at all. When I’m overwhelmed and frustrated that nothing is getting done, I make a list of recently completed projects. I’m always amazed how much actually has been accomplished. Don’t give up. The journey is part of the adventure.

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  1. Self-Promotion

Don’t run away screaming. This is not an evil topic and it’s easier to implement a strategy than you think.

Invest time in an artist website. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive to be effective. There are free host sites that work well. Simple, clean, and clear is powerful. The point is to be easily accessible. Include an artist’s bio with your picture, contact info, pictures of your artwork, and any other relevant information. Make the site as unique and colorful as you are.

Have professional quality pictures taken of your art. Or invest in a camera, photo cube, and lights to take your own. Quality images sell your art. This is not the place to skimp.

Participate in one or two social media venues. Think quality over quantity. You’ll be more effective and enjoy the conversation more if you keep a tight rein on your online commitment. Contribute to topics, share ideas, help others when possible.

Get out there. It’s not easy to promote ourselves or our art. We’re artists not salespeople. But it’s important to be able to sell when appropriate. Put yourself in a position that makes you comfortable to talk about your art.

I was invited to be a guest on a local cable show. It terrified me. I went anyway, not knowing what to expect. It was a cheesy late-night show no one watched. It would be good experience if I was ever asked to be on a “real” show. Just before I went on stage my legs froze from the knees down. I couldn’t feel my feet. I was afraid I’d topple over like a bowling pin. I always thought that was just a stage fright myth. Nope. It really happens.

This is what I learned. It’s the host’s show. It’s all about the host, and 15 seconds about them talking about you. They only ask you questions about what you’re passionate about. For me it’s glass. I can talk about glass all day, comfortably and confidently. That was easy. If you’re slow to reply or stumble the host jumps in because dead air is lethal. And as we now know, it’s all about them.

The takeaway here is this: a very scary situation is not scary at all if you’re sharing your expertise and your love of your art. This is how I prime myself for public speaking engagements. I remind myself I’m talking about glass. That’s easy and fun. Take chances and put yourself out there.

I’ve been interviewed on live TV several times since. My legs don’t freeze anymore.

Wherever you are in your artistic journey you’re doing great. Keep learning and pushing forward. You have talent. I believe in you!

Happy fusing!

Lisa

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Artist Website www.LisaVogt.net
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Are you a lifelong learner?

As a life-long learner myself, I know it sometimes takes a change of scenery, a challenging new educational experience and the encouragement of an experienced instructor to advance my skills and help me grow.

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Back by popular demand! Join me for my upcoming Creative Slumping Webinar. In this detailed Webinar, I’ll reshape the way you slump and drape glass. See how thinking outside the box and using readymade molds in new ways offers numerous and exciting opportunities to produce unique forms. You’ll also learn how to make your own graceful, free-form shaped molds from readily available materials with no laborious measuring or messy mixes needed.

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We’ll take it one step further, I’ll show you how to use these different approaches, in combination, to transform ordinary projects into inspiring, sculptural pieces of art!

 

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In this in-depth webinar, you’ll learn pro tips and tricks for better glass cutting. See how to mix different fusible materials to make more elaborate designs.

You’ll be amazed how using standard slumping molds in unique ways can drastically improve the shape of your art. You’ll be inspired by the innovative combination of ordinary techniques Lisa shares.

You’ll be confident to fuse glass after seeing how easy it is to load, program and fire a kiln. Best of all, you’ll have an exclusive technical advantage with the advanced understanding of Lisa’s dependable firing programs. And you’ll love the stunning three-dimensional results you can achieve by fusing all of these concepts together.

Beginner and advanced students alike will find inspiration, motivation and renewed artistic freedom from seeing the step-by-step construction of more than 5 sculptural projects in this webinar.

After this exciting webinar you’ll have the professional knowledge and increased confidence to incorporate these innovative methods in your new work. In addition, you’ll have a working knowledge of kiln operation, custom firing guides, and a deeper understanding of sculptural glass fusing fabrication.

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Meet me in Vegas! I’m teaching the following classes.

Fired Up! Fusing for the Adventurous

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Breaking Through – Making Exhibition Quality Art

Sculptural Fused Glass Art

NEW Sculptural Fused Glass DESIGN Made Easy

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Downloadable instructional videos for every skill level.

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 Check out my eBooks for elegant patterns and detailed fusing instructions. 

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2 thoughts on “3 Skills that Take Artists Farther than Talent

  1. Dear Lisa, thank you so much for this article. In my email I already told you a bit about the situation I am in. You replied then already with a ‘pep-email’!
    I am not a quitter – never have been ons – so I am not quitting now too. But an article like this, does help once in a while!
    Thank you, Michaela de Vries

    1. Thank you for your input. I’m glad you found the article helpful. Keep up the great work! Lisa

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