Ask #ArtistHotline: Tips for Emerging Artists

Ask #ArtistHotline: Tips for Emerging Artists

With each milestone, self-reflection becomes an increasingly important part of the process.

Ask #ArtistHotline returns with new advice from our Artist Professional Development Day on August 19, 2015. This time around the online discussion began with a rather simple question: 


Together our #ArtistHotline community – art organizations, visual, performing, literary artists, and more – answered the question. Each person offered unique insight and overall encouragement. (If you missed the conversation, visit our Storify recap here!) Below we break down the career tips beyond the 140-character limit on Twitter. 

Tip 1: Find your Community

As an artist it’s important to collaborate and engage with like-minded creatives. By fostering meaningful exchanges with fellow artists you build community, camaraderie and expand your professional network. This can happen a multitude of ways.

You can decide to join the local arts scene, participate in artist retreats or become more active on social media platforms. Each activity helps you invest in the communities you want to be a part of. @artslifecoach recommends:


Ultimately, opening yourself to new people and experiences is necessary for you to grow as an artist. With a strong sense of community, you can fully express yourself, ask questions, and develop genuine connections with others.

Tip 2: Determine Your Goals

As you grow in your artistic practice, take the time to revisit your overall goals. Your artwork and ambitions will shift over time, but it’s good to have an clear idea of how you’d like your career to develop. Set clear, realistic goals that provide you with a foundation.

Planning can help you become more career-driven and sharpen your focus. Perhaps you want to exhibit at a local gallery or apply to a prestigious artist-in-residency program. During our 1st #ArtistHotline discussion, Andrew Simonet, founder of Artists U, recommends the following planning assignment:


By reviewing your professional goals strategically, you can determine what steps are required to advance your career. Small achievements can provide you with the confidence to work towards greater goals. Our article, “The Business of Practicing Your Art” offers specific goal- setting strategies:

What You Want – Write out your goal(s). It is nice to have things floating around in your head, but make it tangible and allow it to be someplace that you can physically revisit as you move along your path towards success. It could be on a vision board, in a journal, the background image of your computer screen…wherever suits you. Write it out and revisit it daily, weekly, monthly. This will remind you in a concrete way, what you are looking to achieve. Additionally, it can function as a great motivator, when you have lost sight of your goals or have become discouraged.

What You Need – Fact check your wants against your needs. Meaning, can you afford (financially, emotionally, physically) to really do what it takes to reach and maintain your goal? If not, maybe you need to reassess and adjust your goals.

Read the full article on  here and visit NYFA’s “The Business of Art“ archive to access a wide variety of helpful online resources, including articles and interviews.

Tip 3: Look for opportunities to grow your practice


You have the unique  ability to grow your career as an artist. Unlike some career paths, there is no “one way” to become an artist. As @ArtsDelawares notes, you have to actively seek out artist opportunities. Use artist directories and online databases like NYFA Source and NYFA Classifieds to find grants, artist residencies, fellowships and apply for call for entries.

NYFA Fellow, Golnar Adili, has this simple advice for emerging artists. “Apply. Apply. Apply. Work on your art with one hand and apply with the other. Don’t let rejections stop you.”

Tip 4: Seek out Mentors

Seek out artistic mentors and cultivate positive relationships with them. Mentors are an invaluable resources for emerging artists. 


Mentors help artists develop, acknowledge their artistic and nurture their areas of development. In addition, mentors can provide insight and consistency when you experience setbacks in your career. 

Tip 5: Stay Persistent  (and pat yourself on the back!)

Creating your artwork, building your career and feeling successful all takes significant time. You’ll have good days. You’ll have absolutely horrible ones too. With each milestone, self-reflection becomes an increasingly important part of the process.  


Finally, take time to honor your hard work and accomplishments throughout the process. Learn from your failures as well. Your artistic career is a long term commitment. Consistent reflection will help you generate new ideas and remain steadfast on your journey.

As an emerging artist, you’re continually developing your style and artistic craft. In the beginning of your career, you may find yourself experimenting and ultimately, making mistakes. Over time and with lots of practice, your signature style will become more present. Your artistry will stand out because of YOU. With focused planning, passion, and perspective you’ll develop an exceptional career.

Inspired by the NYFA Source Hotline, #ArtistHotline is a new initiative dedicated to creating an ongoing online conversation around the professional side of artistic practice. #ArtistHotline occurs on the third Wednesday of each month on Twitter. Our goal is to help artists discover the resources needed, online and off, to develop sustainable careers. Please join us for the next one on September 16!

This initiative is supported by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation.

– Glory Edim, Program Associate, Online Resources

Image: Jaime Warren (Fellow in Interdisciplinary Arts 15’), Self-portrait as woman in Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Pablo Picasso

Amy Aronoff
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