Or, as Lemay puts it, “immerse yourself in a community of people who share similar goals and interests and where there is mutual support.” That can come about organically through friendships, or more deliberately by, for example, renting a studio in a complex that houses other artists. The point, Lemay notes, is not to network but to build a supportive community that can help create something larger than any one individual artist could alone.
Part of building a community means staying current with the goings-on in your field and following the work of your peers and those you respect. “You need to understand what your speciality is in order to build and start working on a community. With the advent of technology and social media, it’s not difficult to start to build that network.” This means eminent experts, critics, curators, gallerists, and institutions, especially those working in your field. “Don’t think just about people who are artists,” Raza said; rather, think broadly.
Genuine community goes beyond friend requests, meeting people, shaking hands, and exchanging business cards. Artists can support each other’s work by, for example, posting about work they like on social media, or bringing it up with critics or collectors. That can help ameliorate the isolation and competition that can sometimes be part of the art world.