Earlier this spring I was browsing my social media feed when I came a cross a Crowdfunding campaign to support Fabrica, Brighton's Centre for Contemporary Art. Over the last five years Fabrica's name has popped up on a regular basis as other artists recommended them to me for events, exhibitions, and artist opportunities in the Brighton area. So as soon as I saw the Crowdfunding page I knew I wanted to be involved ... even though I have yet to actually make it through the door yet.
(Sometimes honesty can be so embarrassing. On the plus side, this is something I plan to change this May as I have made definite plans to visit Fabrica's Artists Open House installation by David Shrigley!)
If you've never participated in a Crowdfunding campaign the basics are simple: someone puts out a call for fundraising online, often offering a range of 'rewards' for donating (from products to experiences), the campaign gets shared on social media so that the organisation can extend beyond their usual support network, and everyone who's involved gets to feel part of a larger community. The other thing you should know is that participating in Crowdfunding campaigns can be addictive. There is an undeniable dopamine rush of pleasure when buying into something - an idea, a community, an activity, an experience, a dream - rather than just buying a thing to sit on a shelf.
Initially thinking I would only donate a small amount, my budget was ignored as soon as I saw that one of the rewards on offer was a 1 to 1 portfolio review / artist consultation with Jehane of Brighton-based artist and licencing agency Jehane Ltd. I recommend you look at her website, and follow her on Instagram too ... and if you're in Brighton over the Open Houses in May, you really ought to stop in to visit her Open House too. Full disclosure, this isn't a paid for advertisement and she has no idea I'm writing this right now. It is simply me gushing about a new connection because I love what she and her agency do, the artists she represents, and her own gorgeous work. Also she has renovated her house and installed a special garden shed-based installation especially for this open house, and with all that going on I think she deserves to have as many visitors and as much attention as possible.
Anyways, despite never having been into Fabrica (remember: I'm changing that this month!) and only just discovering Jehane through Fabrica's campaign, I was actually (yes, really!) in the market for a portfolio review and discussion of licensing my work going forward. And, with a little bit more research, it turned out I was already aware of and following the social media accounts of many of the artists she represents. Always a good sign when looking for people to give feedback and advice. So that extra bit of budget spend? That was a best-value, follow your instincts, investment if you ask me. An investment that would benefit me, raise the profile of a local business, and help to secure the financial future of a community arts centre all in one go - demonstrating how Crowdfunding can work to everyone's advantage.
While much of what Jehane and I discussed in my consultation was not new news to me, it has been very helpful to have a new perspective - both on my work and on how I might get my art working a little bit harder for me.
I am a slow-burn kind of a girl of course, so nothing major is happening overnight - but with Jehane's insight and encouragement I have begun exploring some new options and refining my social media approach. You'll see it most directly if you follow me @MJHodgeArt on Instagram. Here I have trialled and errored my way through a number of apps to help me organise and curate my posts more efficiently, finally finding Preview. It's not entirely perfect, but it does what I need on the budget I wanted to spend (£0) within a no ad environment. And after a month's use I'm discovering the benefits. For example:
a) I have a new way to while away endless hours ... sliding images around, changing my mind, adding more images, deleting some images, sliding images around (you get the idea ;) ... and
b) I have a more visual way of developing my posts into better storytelling formats and structuring them over time.
I like visual storytelling so I really, really like b.
Currently I am exploring my process through a 9 piece puzzle, which will eventually recreate My Magic Money Tree within my Instagram gallery.
I hope you'll go and check it out, follow me along the way, and leave me some comments too! I have recently asked followers if they like their artwork to be dated or not, and why? If you have a view on that I'd really love to hear it!
For now though ...
... a sneak peak of what my Instagram feed will look like in another week or so. That is, what it might look like if the cheetah doesn't slide up and away into future postings ;)