Monday, October 13, 2008

Slightly Famous

If nothing else, blogging has so far, opened up my mind to a whole host of interesting and potentially useful theories. I think I’m fairly open-minded and quite alternative in my way of thinking as it is – I love finding solutions to things and often see possibilities others don’t. I’ve come to realize by experience that it is a genuine talent I have, not just my vivid imagination. But I realize that a lament I had during my years at ‘A’ Level College (Sir Arthur Lewis Community College now) still runs somewhat true. I seem better at figuring out systems, solutions, possibilities for anything or anybody other than myself. 

Now that may be because for other situations I don’t actually have to work at making the solution I figured out work - it’s always easier to theorize than to put theory into action. I know I can be unfocused, easily distracted and yes, spend much time working hard instead of working smart. It’s a form of laziness I think – doing all these little things that keep me busy, busy, busy so I don’t have time to face up to the REAL work.

And on that train of thought, writing this blog (now blogs) has been making me very nervous because I am not entirely sure it’s not just one of those sidetracks. But like I said, I am finding a lot of writing out there that I think can help me find the road I have identified, but not yet quite gotten mapped. So reading blogs that explain various people’s ideas on alternative ways to work and be successful at it, is proving to be very encouraging for me because I am anything but sure that what I am doing now is going to succeed where other avenues have failed.

Since I do like writing, I’d be happy to make some part of my living off blogging but I don’t see that quite yet, not in any significant direct way. I think the idea with blogging is to reach people you otherwise wouldn’t have – and those connections help build your ‘fan’ base. In the meantime, I know I have to write more on my art book and the idea is that my newer blog is meant to help make the very long road of writing an art book seem more immediate. I’m hoping to put up one tutorial a week – and I want them to not be missing anything as I find so many ‘tutorials’ out there don’t give enough steps or info – I want to be different, that’s how I plan my book - make sure the reader leaves equipped to do the project and feeling like they can immediately adapt the technique and ideas to other things.

One blog I already mentioned here, Lateral Action, is feeding me with good concepts; a couple posts ago the guy who writes it – an English poet Mark McGuinness (must be a bit of Irish in him with a name like that…) mentioned a theory that you only really need to become slightly famous in order to be very successful. Now that I’ve had time to think about it and I’ve talked to my husband about it, it makes complete sense.

I know some of my fellow artists are like we were when we were producing – you have 10 or 12 reliable clients. They just about keep you afloat but you’re constantly looking for a training job, a show, a commission, a few more wholesale buyers. In reality, while one of the proponents of this ‘slightly famous’ idea (Kevin Kelly) suggests 1000 true fans, for us in the Caribbean, if we had 100 regular fans – people who bought from us repeatedly – a bunch wholesale at least once a quarter, another bunch retail 3-6 times a year, several hired you as a consultant, 2 or 3 jobs a year - wouldn’t that be enough? Is that do-able? I think it is. To break it down like the author of the quoted article does; add 1 fan a week and in two years, you have your 100 fans. Is it sounding do-able now?

I’m only just starting out on this leg of my journey but I am sure if I work assiduously to put myself out there – well marketed, in a variety of quarters – online retailers – etsy etc, online consultancy registers (Caribbean Export – if they’ll still talk to me after I pick apart the Gift & Craft Show in my coming posts!) regional cultural organizations, art fairs (Barbados is a good place for them) shops of people I met at CGCS, local shops here and in St. Lucia, my own website - and make sure in there is some passive income (the art book for instance) in there…you get the picture – it’s got to be possible.

There are a lot of real challenges to this, but I don’t believe they are insurmountable – the world is a different place now with the kind of communications we have open to us; the internet makes a lot of things possible and we here in the Caribbean, have hardly scratched the surface yet, so I for one am getting out my scratching tools and I’m going to make my mark.

There’s an open invitation to join me if you will, this is a ride that needs company and I hope many of you will be along with me – there’s many roles that need filling, not just fans, but co-workers, critics, publicists, employers, suppliers, and of course, fellow wannabes – good company makes any journey a better trip.

Today’s Alphabet Attitude is X is for xenodochial  -meaning hospitable; kindly to strangers – yes, I had to use a dictionary this time.


  1. "And on that train of thought, writing this blog (now blogs) has been making me very nervous because I am not entirely sure it’s not just one of those sidetracks."

    I had that feeling for my entire first year of blogging, not knowing whether it would turn out to be a colossal waste of time. Fortunately it didn't, it turned out to be some of the best time I've ever invested -- but I didn't know that at the time. I guess it's like that with any new creative venture.

    And yes, a bit of Irish. :-)

  2. Mark, thanks for saying that - I think you know by now that I think you blog is great and get a lot of positive, insightful guidance from you and your readers.

    As a creative person you know deep down that you're not the only one feeling these things, but hearing someone who's been there confirm it, always helps!