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  • AUP Students' Union

Top Tips from a Freelance Artist

Beth Evans, Student Union President

Friday, 8th March, 2024


Using Social Media


Using social media can be a great way to not only get your work seen by people who otherwise wouldn't get a chance to, but to also keep track of how consistently you're creating work. It can be useful to have set routine for posting, so that your audience knows when they're likely to see you in their feed, but also to keep you producing new work consistently.


Scheduling content is handy too. Take one day a month to pull together some content and schedule it all in one go. This way the process of constantly uploading is done and dusted in one sitting and you can crack on with the fun part - making. This is also a handy tip if you're quite forgetful, like me. Another option is to set a reminder on your phone for the same time every day and/or week to remind you to upload.


Everyone's relationship with social media is different though, so try out a few things and see what works best for you. There are also completely offline ways to expand your audience (we'll get to these later!) so you don't have to post at all if it's not good for your mental health.


Getting Paid


Easily my biggest top tip for trading is to have a card reader. This Square Reader is only £9.60 in Argos - I've used it for a year now and it's brilliant. You can accept cards, contactless and even apple pay. You can offer receipts, automatic discounts and keep track of your income super easily. Square is a popular choice among freelance artists but there are, of course, other brands and solutions, so have a Google and see what sounds good to you.


If you can't get a card reader, it's a not a bad shout to set up a PayPal account. That way, if people don't have cash on them, they'll still be able to pick up your awesome work.


Guerrilla Exhibiting


Social media can be a brilliant space to exhibit your work but nothing beats the real world. As artists, we can face a lot of rejection for exhibitions, open calls, commission work - the lot. So, one way to get your foot in the door is by picking a door that nobody has any interest in closing.


For me, those are phone box doors. I leave zines in phone boxes through the winter months either with funny doodles or poetry inside. I make sure to add my social media and contact details, then it's like an interactive business card that demonstrates much more literally what I do as an artist. I also leave them in stores that I think my target audience might frequent and, in the summer months, I'll leave them in more random but secure outdoor spots.


There are people almost everywhere, so you don't need to only be in a gallery to have your work seen. Think outside of the box, have fun (whilst be respectful of where you are) and you can't go wrong!


Avoiding Burn Out


Burn out is real so managing your time is key. You don't have to assign yourself strict office hours if that's not how you work. It's about finding a pace and a work style that works for you not the other way around. Imagine that you are an athlete; if you pull a muscle, you would slow down and recover. We use our brains a lot and our brains are muscles so we have to slow down mentally sometimes too. If you're really not sporty, then I have another analogy for you - pretend you're a cartoon instead: TV shows have seasons, you can too.


Networking


Making money isn't all there is, thank goodness! There are so many awesome artists to meet and trade with at fairs, to exhibit work alongside, and to perform at open mics with. A lot of the time, this is the most rewarding part! So, put yourself out there, introduce yourself, say hi and just enjoy the company of the people you're surrounded by.

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