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  • Helen English Artist

Arty Friends

Updated: Jul 19, 2020




Practising art full time is usually a lone business. I use all of those words carefully because I don’t necessarily think that doing something alone makes you lonely. Even if you have other occasional work, as I do, there needs to be a good deal of time set aside for simply creating your personal brand of art. If you are wondering how to cope with that, my answer is finding people who are also in the same space.


I know some artists who solve the issue by working in studio spaces together. They do not necessarily always spend the same time or days there but the space provides a connection with someone else who has a similar mindset. I have learned that I cope well, and am more motivated, by working alone because I need to be inside of my own head when I pick up my paintbrush. However, I do also have to spend time exchanging ideas with people who have dreams much like mine. There are two ways which work for me.


I have a couple of friends, each of whom I meet for coffee on a fairly regular basis, or go out for dinner with on occasion. We live in the same city and so have access to the same resources, either in town or online. This means that if we have found the ideal place to frame artwork beautifully, or who make prints of good quality at a reasonable price, we can swap ideas. We can also point each other towards opportunities which either suit both of us or the other person, if we know that it is perfect for them. We intersperse these gems with a lot of chat about our lives outside of art and what is going on, and we can also support each other’s ventures. For instance, this week, one of my friends, Claire Delaney, is launching her new book “The Isolated Illustrator” and I am going along to her book launch. Exciting!


The other place to find arty friends is through online forums. I spend a lot of my time on Instagram but this aspect is usually through Facebook for me. I have two main forums which I interact with. One is a group who meet once a week on a mission to create a portrait of the same subject, which is a great place to learn and compare with other people, and the other is a group of artists in all manner of categories (sculpture, painting and collage to name a few) from all over the world who exchange ideas and provide comment on other people’s work. Social media is an incredible device to widen your ideas about what art is and see what people are up to in different places, as well as simply giving artists a place to meet other artists.


I hope that this has given you an insight into the social world of art, and perhaps some ideas about how you might find similar minds if art is your thing. I also have to emphasise that I believe that everyone has an artist lurking inside, and that these ideas are for beginning artists as well as emerging ones who are finding their way through the jungle!


Have a good week everyone, and please feel free to contact me with your comments.It helps me to know what you think and I also take suggestions on topics to blog about.

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