One of the biggest secrets to success must definitely be to surround yourself with people who support your ambitions and who also push you to evolve into your greatest potential. Obviously your greatest supporter should be your partner in life but it is also equally important to establish a strong support system among like minded colleagues. I am blessed to have many artist friends who are my advisors and who continually inspire me. However there are two in particular that I turn to most often for advice, Elizabeth Floyd and Jonathan Linton.
So how does this brain trust work? Well it all begins by being in frequent contact with one another in support of each other’s work. I text or call Elizabeth and Jonathan regularly with my thoughts, questions or WIPs (work in progress photos). Elizabeth and I text daily and have regular FaceTime chats to go over our goals and projects. We plot the course of our individual careers by making suggestions to each other in the areas of commissions, competitions, technique and thematic ideas. Liz and I read ALOT and we are constantly referring books to each other to help us grow. Many of the books I am currently reading are those that Liz has given me including this Hammershoi book she sent me for my birthday to help inspire a series of paintings I am currently working on (thanks again Liz 🙂 ).
Jonathan is a hugely successful portrait artist with many years of experience and a former instructor of mine. You may remember Jonathan from this post. He is the guy I turn to with my nuts and bolts questions on anything having to do with the field of portraiture. And he fortunately lives nearby (or unfortunately for him?) and has yet to lock the door on me when I come by his studio practically unannounced. Jonathan will give me honest feedback on my work and has a keen eye for anatomy and painting/drawing technique. He can always diagnosis what is “wrong” with a painting and if I get his seal of approval on something I know the client will love it.
So who makes up your Brain Trust? If you don’t have one in place now I would seriously suggest you think about putting one together because positive relationships like these can add a whole other dimension to your artmaking. But think carefully about who you will let into your circle of trust. You should feel safe and respected with the personalities you surround yourself with so that you can freely share your innermost creative thoughts to them–and likewise, they to you. The right partnership will be obvious and will leave you feeling inspired every time you connect with them.
I plan on interviewing other artists and creatives for future blog posts on this subject. Do you have a remarkable brain trust? If so please drop me a line and tell me about them and how you work together; firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!