Contemplative alabaster, 2015
10h x 22 w x 10 d

Do you have any advice for emerging artists, besides what you already said, that you just have to do it?

If artists want to grow and further their career, they should also expect to work on their business side. It is not just about the art, it is about how to get seen. How will you represent your art? What is your story? What is the PR around your story? How will you market yourself?  Do you have a website? Any social media accounts? Seek help, hire someone, attend workshops and lectures, for example.

Start researching and visiting galleries and decide whether that gallery is a good fit for your work.  If so, attend the gallery shows. Meet the artists. Then plan a meeting with the gallerists — but not during an opening! Make an appointment to talk to them. Artists should also have a website and be on social media, galleries want to see this. If you are in a show, you should have your online presence set up beforehand. It makes you more credible as an artist. Join organizations in your medium and meet fellow artists.

Talk to people, meet people! Discover who is in the know about art. Contact them. Take a seminar with them if they are offering one.

    In 2015, my friend invited me to the annual fundraiser of a prominent local museum. My education is not of the art world, so I was not aware of the status of the attendees.  But I knew that there were a lot of big name people. My friend introduced me to a woman at our table who was just delightful and I chatted with her for a long time.

    That year, I was really at a crossroads. I was mired in thoughts like, “Is my work good enough? I’ve shown in local art associations and that’s it, nothing of notoriety. Am I wasting my time? Do I want to be seen more?”  I had sold a lot of my work in my office, which was affirming while simultaneously having these doubts. Without knowing who she was really or her background, I asked her, “Would you mind coming and looking at my art and telling me what you think of it?” And she said yes.

    Lollipop series Oracle, Gaia, Balance, 2018
    7 hx 2 x 2 in

    It turned out she owned a gallery in New York, another gallery in Boston, and is revered everywhere in the New England art circle! I had no idea! And here she is coming to my office to see my art!  She arrived and was instantly drawn to one of my handheld sculptures. She just kept stroking it as she looked through all my works.  “May I ask you what you’d sell this for?” ( I thought she would say a couple of hundred dollars) “Oh, in a gallery, $1200, $1500 dollars”. I just about fell over. When she left, she gave me her card, which was a small velum card which just had her name on it and she said “If you want to get into any gallery, just hand them my card.” Soon after, she introduced me to a gallerist in Boston’s SoWa art’s district and that’s how I landed my first gallery representation.

    The truth is get out and talk to people — you don’t know what will happen, and where it goes from there. You have to put yourself out there. I wonder if artists, in general, have a hard time doing that.

    Handheld orange alabaster, 2014
    4 h x 7w x 3 d

    And my last question: what are your hopes for the future?

    In general, art gives us balance by allowing us get out of our head. Humans need to feel more and I believe viewing and making art opens the heart— it makes you feel. Maybe that’s why we seek it out. It has a profound influence in the world and is what distinguishes us from any other species. Only humans makes art, it behoves us to honor and respect it.

    More locally, thru New England Sculptors Association, one of our main goals is to bring sculpture to communities. Not to stay as an insular group only partnering with places for short exhibitions, but to go out in the communities and create sculpture parks, such as The Burlington Sculpture Park . Long lasting partnerships for years to come, to so the significance and importance of sculpture.  Included with these installations are conversations with the artists about their works that are shared with community members. Growing awareness of sculpture via arts education as well.

    And personally, to keep creating and experimenting. Growing my art skills and visibility.  As I am creating more, I am seeing that there is a rumbling of a “way” (tao) for my art that is emerging.  Don’t quite have my finger on it yet, but it is there.  I look forward to that discovery!

    Elisa with White Buffalo Boston Design Center photographed by Marilyn Ewer
    Get in touch with Elisa
    Instagram: @eadamsart

    All Photographs courtesy of Elisa Adams
    Written, interviewed & edited by Nina Seidel

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