Around this time of the academic year, final year degree students in the world of art, design and photography start thinking about the future. Usually, it’s the very near future – end of year shows are looming large. The hard work and late nights will start to kick in, along with the questions. What work to show? How best to present it? How to get noticed in a show full of classmates, friends, and sometimes rivals?
Luckily Ian’s first tip is an easy one to master, ‘Sign your work’ he says, ‘it adds perceived value’. He continues on a similar theme, ‘Be present with your work, and act as if you’re already a professional’. Potential employers can easily spot those who are ready to hit the ground running. Be ready to discuss your work, think of some key points you can say about each piece. Some people might ask questions, be open to new ideas and conversations.
Monika continues, ‘Invite potential new employers to the show. Of course you’ll be inviting family and friends, but don’t forget to invite the people who could bring you work, or help you in the future’.
‘Stand out’, says Ian ‘In large shows people visit the bar first, then decide where to start; do something – music, colour, controversial content – something that makes them want to start with you’.
As a recent graduate who took an active role in organising a degree show for 180 students at Central St Martins College of Art, Monika adds, ‘Know the space you’re showing in, and work around it. Make sure you know the details – are you sure you can drill into the walls? If not, you’ll need to think of other ways to hang your work. How’s the lighting? Will you need a screen, if so you’ll need power. Remember the space you have available as you start planning your show.’
‘Presentation is vital’, says Ian. ‘Cheap frames imply cheap content’. Cost is something students find hard to ignore, but Monika continues ‘think creatively around the problem. It’s not always the most expensive shows that stand out!’
Take, take, take!
‘And what of Business Cards‘ we ask? Ian begins – ‘Collect business cards. It’s more important than giving them out sometimes, as you can then follow up on contacts’. Monika’s advice: ‘make sure you do follow up – and don’t leave it too long. It’s so easy to get caught up in the event itself, that you can lose the momentum. Follow up as soon as you get a chance, and try and arrange a meeting or a follow-up look at your portfolio in a less crowded space.’
We’ve been a fan of Alice’s creative ideas on Flickr for quite some time, so were very excited to see her planning a graduate show. We spotted her Business Cards recently, together with some cool little promotional books, also made with the aid of MOO.
She says, “The Business Cards are great value as one can have a different image on each card, plenty of scope to showcase your work. I bought Business Cards and Stickers using the same six images to create a complete look to my brand image. These products will be used in conjunction with mini books using the same six images that will be my “swag” – everyone loves something free.”