Don’t wait for someone else to validate your friend’s work to support him/her. Ask yourself, “If Kanye said my homie’s art was dope, would I start supporting?” If the answer is yes, don’t wait for ‘Ye or Kim or Barack or Cardi or LeBron or Beyoncé or Cole or anyone else to say it. Just support your people the same way you support ‘Ye or Kim or Barack or Cardi or LeBron or Beyoncé or Cole. Go to their shows. Rock their clothes. Hype them up on social media.
And, while money is ALWAYS nice for artists who pour our souls into our art forms, I get it: We don’t all have bread to spend on every little thing (I blame Sally Mae). But you can click a link. You can repost a piece of work or a web address. You can have their new track playing on your Instagram Story while you’re driving up I-95. You can go hard for your homie’s business like it’s yours every now and then. If you wouldn’t buy their stuff regardless of whether ‘Ye liked the work or not, that’s cool. But if (s)he is truly your friend, still repost because art is like food: everyone has different tastes.
In short, stop killing genuine art (and, ultimately, your friends’ livelihoods) with your apathy. It’s not 1984, it’s 2018. Supporting is as easy as tapping a touchscreen once or twice. If you don’t even do the bare minimum to support, don’t expect to get put on when your talented friends make it.
While we’re on the subject of support, check out my Patreon page and subscribe to get an exclusive look at my creative process and weekly pieces that won’t hit the public.
Make supporting your team a priority.
If you look at my photography page on Instagram, you won’t see many branded photographs. That is because, starting out, my photography was only meant to be artistic expression. I never thought it would turn into a source of income and recognition for me. But now that it has, I have invested in a professionally done logo (which will be released within the next week or two) and I’m in the process of getting some pieces printed. Going forward, my creations will be treated as a source of income, which they are.
But this post isn’t about turning your passion into a business. It’s about making sure you get credit that can take your craft to the next level. No, credit is not the goal with creativity but imagine the impact your art can have if you know that what people are seeing isn’t even your best work? What if being recognized gets you the resources necessary to create even better products and provide better services? For instance, let’s say there is an awesome video centered around LeBron’s move to the Los Angeles Lakers that a graphic designer created. The video was passed around the web and, finally, Bron saw it. He reposts it. But he doesn’t know who to credit because your creativity is unbranded.
Damn. Now you’ve got a great piece of artwork with a dope soundtrack and no one will ever know you created it because it’s been reposted 37,000 times.
I’m not saying you have to plaster your face or logo across everything you create but I am saying that, if someone wants to get in touch with you to offer you an opportunity to create for their brand, you shouldn’t be impossible to find.
By the way, this post was inspired by that great artist who will likely remain unsung.
Make effective branding a priority.
“Obviously they have some experienced guys who have been here before but why not us this year?” — Stephen Curry
Last night, after watching the Western Conference Finals, NBA MVP Stephen Curry was interviewed by an ESPN reporter and was asked if the Warriors are ready to take on LeBron and the Cavaliers (paraphrased). Now, Curry has spent all season proving that he can stand up to any test and he came out of the regular season being recognized as the nation’s (possibly the world’s) premier basketball player. So why are they asking him if he’s ready for LeBron? Shouldn’t they be redirecting that question? Why? Because, in our society, experience speaks to likelihood of success. But no successful person believes that in the beginning because it only takes that one opportunity to build a tradition of achievement.
So why not you? Why don’t you take the initiative in the office to read more articles that will spark your mind? Why don’t you bring new ideas to the table that may change the path of your company forever? What makes someone who has been there for 23 years better than you? True, they have wisdom and the power of wisdom is invaluable so I will never discount that. But know that you know what you know. You’ve studied your field. You’ve done the research. You have innovative ideas but you are afraid to share them. Of course, there is a proper way to share those ideas but make sure they are heard by those who have the power to have them implemented. If you don’t, you’ll miss your opportunity and those guys with experience will continue to be seen as leading authorities in the field. But what if this is your year to be seen as the new authority and you miss it because you’re afraid of going head to head with experience? Then you, my friend, lost before you even tried. So open the door for numerous other first timers who just want their ideas heard. Make people remember that it’s ok to bet on the underdog. Sometimes it’s the hunger for victory that allows him/her to come out on top against his/her behemothic opponent.
Do you need help strategizing the most effective way to communicate your thoughts to top management? Whether you need some assistance with crafting an email or developing talking points for your meeting with the decision makers, I’m here to make sure that you walk into the meeting with the (humble) mindset of “Why not me this year?”
Make professional development a priority.