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Cultivating Community with Artist, Greg Lindquist

As a self-employed artist, you get to enjoy the benefits of being your own boss, working from anywhere, anytime, and making artwork that lets your heart sing.

But, the key to artistic success that must be present for your creative work to fly, is other people…

Greg Lindquist, a multi-media artist who scales his work up—we’re talking 16×37.5 foot wall installations—and scales it down to 16×37.5 inch works on canvas, has a real knack for incorporating “other people” into his creative work and maintains fruitful relationships:

Relationships are behind the galleries and venues that show his work.

Relationships are in the art publications that publish his articles.

Relationships are in the teaching positions he’s asked to fill.

And, relationships are the vehicle that moves his art from his studio into the possession of those who purchase it.

There’s a major theme here and it’s one of my favorites—one that I’ve written about before, here and here.

For this post, I’m writing to you from New York where I watched my best friend run the New York Marathon on Sunday. We’ve known each other for twenty years—a relationship milestone that I find almost hard to believe myself!

I was visiting New York last year around this time too, which is where today’s post begins:

It was a rainy day. I had to hustle from the metro to Greg’s Bedford studio, a little less than a mile away. It was by no means marathon time, but I was booking it.

This was our first meeting after several emails, so I brought two Bordeaux-style canelés from the Balthazar Bakery on Spring Street as a “Nice to officially meet you” offering.

Over these delicious treats and conversation in his refab warehouse studio, I learned that Greg had moved to Brooklyn in 2004 to attend Pratt Institute for graduate school. I also discovered that he is fascinated by a number of topics, including environmental issues, art history, and changing urban landscapes. Greg weaves his interests into his artwork.

To feed his mind and share in community, Greg teaches art students, writes for publications, seeks arts residencies, develops his work, and shows up to support other artists too.

Let me pause here to tell you that Greg is an artist I admire—a lot. As you can see, he makes a good deal of effort to be involved in the community at large and takes the “work” part of artwork seriously.

While it’s challenging to manage all of the elements of being a full-time artist, Greg does just fine because his work is an extension of himself—one he brings to the studio and to life outside of the studio.

Greg has cultivated community in the arts as an active community member. He is an artist who works steadily to create bodies of work and secure showing opportunities, but he also contributes to greater art discussions as a writer, lecturer, and participator.

Like many professional artists, Greg makes an intentional effort of participating in the art conversations that take place outside of his studio. This act of intentionality both adds to the art community and establishes Greg as a contributing player—a role model.

Here’s a truth you can take with you:

Community-oriented artists often receive more attention for their work because it expands beyond their studio.

With this example in mind, I have a challenge for my readers. Whether you work in a home studio or in a large, bustling art cooperative, my challenge to you is to expand your network by three new relationships each week.

Connecting online counts. Meeting in-person counts. And connecting other people with common interests earns you double points!

When your network relationships expand by three people each week, your opportunities expand too. Three new connections this week equates to between twelve and fifteen connections per month. Multiply that by twelve and you’ve got a robust network of opportunity and support by the end of the year.

Whether you’re creating large scale works for large audiences or small pieces to be treasured, it’s the people in your life who will take your artwork further.

When you incorporate three new relationships into your professional life each week, serendipity will unfold naturally, revealing opportunities and next steps.

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