Marketing Mondays: The Turning Point


At some point in your career, something happens that changes the game for you. Let's call it a turning point. I'm opening with the graphic of a roadmap, which suggests that an alternative route is available, but in reality it's probably more like a stock graph in which a sharp upward climb is preceded and followed by endless fluctuations in either direction.  

A turning point might be an award early in your career or an acquisition by a museum later, or it might be a stretch of small successes during which which you realize that you can pursue your career in a different way. For instance, after a decade of entering juried shows, you may find yourself seeing more exhibition opportunities come your way via invitation. Or after untold grant rejections you receive a grant which then leads to others. Maybe you got a review that brought welcome attention to you and your work. Maybe you undertook a big DIY project that now returns dividends in the form of gallery or curatorial interest. The examples are endless, but you get the picture.
Was there a turning point in your career? If so, what did it do? (I've had several, but one that I always acknowledge is the call I got from Ivan Karp.)
You don't have a turning point, you say? Well, let me ask you this: How is your career different now from five years ago—or even last year? What made that difference?


Philip Koch said...

A big turning point in my career came when I sent out postcard announcements to a whole bunch of art galleries around the country. I looked up where some of the painters who I admired showed their work and assembled my mailing list painstakingly.

Got a response from Meredith Long & Co. in Houston (one of the major galleries in the southwest) that led to four solo shows there and lots of good sales.

From that experience I learned that if you do good work and just keep getting images of it out there, good things will happen. And to this day I'm a believer in printed postcard announcements.

annell4 said...

I have been working at it for a long time,,,and would say, there have been lots of turning points...haven't had the "big one" yet.

Ann Trainor Domingue said...

When trying to find my way into the art world it was tough to know when an event is one of these "turning points." Takes some hindsight to see them especially when working in another business. After a painting degree, and a career as an ad agency art director, I was encouraged to try doing some paintings as fine art--and I really loved it. I am still finding those small successes and look forward to moving into painting full time very soon.

Eva said...

My diary for years was full of "I need a break." Now I can see that there are no big breaks - at least for me. It's one long steady climb. A lot of wonderful meetings and memories and inching along, piece after piece, exhibition after exhibition, conversation after conversation.

Recently I heard of an artist who had a heady whirlwind of turning points. Then they landed an NYC gallery. But the gallery failed to sell and dumped them. They were, I understand, really pissed. But I have learned that there is no one event which makes you. And if there is, work it! Don't just expect the gallery to take care of you.

Allen C. Smith said...

New York Foundation for the Arts: MARK Program

Allen C. Smith said...

New York Foundation for the Arts: MARK Program

Fiona the Artist said...

A turning point for me, in many ways, was being selected for an international painting residency, last September. It was the first big thing I had been accepted for, after years of rejections, and enabled me to work with 14 other artists who were selected internationally, (we were given studios) and to make connections. Being selected also gave me some more confidence, and as part of the residency I made 4 paintings, which will now be part of the collection at the new Mark Rothko Center, in Daugavpils, Latvia. Since this residency, my painting has, I believe, evolved and grown, and I have been accepted for other exhibitions, and have confidence to try for more opportunities.