Don’t worry about rejection, and stay in touch with people who have successfully applied for funding, advises contemporary artist Olivier Jamin.
#IfIwere22: I’d take opportunities to travel and explore different cultures and artforms
It is important to meet different people and to travel. If you can’t go with another person who has the same passions and interests, use your contacts in other countries and they will look after you.
I was able to go to Kenya for two months, where I worked in a big team and lived with the family who own the business at Kitengela Hot Glass studio. That’s when I realised I could have taken a year to travel and take part in different art activities. My advice if you are taking a gap year is to do the research before you travel; look at where you want to go and how this will broaden your sources of inspiration to develop your skills and knowledge.
#IfIwere22: I’d set up a website and build my own profile
It is important to think broadly about how you can use your website and who will see it. A good website can explain your work and save you time.
Mine has helped me to meet new partners and to showcase my work at venues. Without an online presence, this may not have happened. A website is an important part of being visible to a wide range of people and potential customers.
#IfIwere22: I’d develop my network and working relationships
It is important that a wide range of people know about you, from galleries to businesses and people in the public sector.
At first I only concentrated on showing my work in galleries and having a stall at art and craft fairs. This was too narrow. Building relationships takes time, but it is great when people start to show they are aware of your work.
#IfIwere22: I’d research different sources of financial support
For a long time, I was not aware that I could apply for grants from Arts Council England because no one told me you can apply for access support to help complete the application. Now I have been successful in applying for grants and I am grateful to the Arts Council for the support.
Seek out people who have applied to grants and keep contacting advisors – they are very helpful. Look for different grants or loans you can apply for.
#IfIwere22: I’d be prepared for failure or mistakes
Not all your applications or submissions will be accepted, and not all your work presented at exhibitions, stalls or online will lead to successful sales. I submitted my work to the Royal Society of Arts in London a couple of times and didn’t get a place, despite the fact my work was selling well.
Use any mistakes or failures as an opportunity to learn and develop new ideas or ways of working. Keep going, continue and remain positive. Things will come to you.
Olivier Jamin is a contemporary artist.