My time is pretty much split evenly between creating, marketing, and research. I’ve blogged extensively about the creating and marketing but today it’s all about the research. Without research I’d just be making work that comes straight from my head, which would be really dull and one-note; without research I wouldn’t have a clue on how or where to market my stuff, I’d just be shooting in every direction and go nowhere. Through research I learn how other artists’ lives really are, so I don’t go crazy when there’s a period where business or creative juices runs slow. Research introduces me to new techniques, how to improve on what I’m already making.
Recent research includes:
lots of books from the library about the music business, sound design, artistic autobiographies, ceramics techniques, EC Comics and WW2.
listening and learning to truly educational podcasts about art, music, politics and history
trips to local museums and antique stores (for studying vintage imagery and paper techniques)
talking with a gallery rep in Prescott about what local markets are worth the time and effort
finding manga screentones online and how to actually use them
doing the entire textbook on Adobe Aftereffects so, again, I know what the fuck I’m doing
picking the brains of the employees of a ceramics stores about clay bodies, glazes, putting light bulbs in ceramics
watching sundry documentaries on Netflix, and a mostly fictional bio of Woody Guthrie (Bound For Glory)
listening to KCRW and investigating maybe 10 new music artists
watching Etsy videos on how to run your shop effectively and applying those lessons
occasionally trying out new software and techniques as recommended by magazines or the App Store
many hours researching bits of gear before I bought it (the Fuji XE1) or decided not to (the small kiln)
to the untrained eye much of this can be percieved as goofing off, time not spent marketing or creating. The same could be said for vacations, family time, basically enjoying life. But as I look at my list it all seems like time well spent. The art gets better, more authentic looking or with better production values. Money and time avoided being wasted, and money came in. Ideas feel fresh. The time spent actually doing the marketing and creating was better invested as a result of the research.