Name: Laura Weber
Field of Study: Drawing
Year of Graduation: 2003 (+ K-12 Art Ed. Cert. 2004)
Current Position: Ovid-Elsie High School Art Teacher and Fine Artist, Westphalia, Mich.
What was your most shocking realization about your field after graduation?
Unfortunately, galleries and gallery owners are not above bad business and financial problems, especially in these tough economic times. I realized that even though I'm practically begging them for representation, and they are supposed to be "the wise ones," sometimes that's not always the case.
Give us your best interview tip.
Great shoes are a must–they reveal almost everything the interviewer needs to know about you.
List three ways you network in your field.
- I make a true effort to stay connected to my Kendall classmates. They are the most diversely talented group of people, and I am honored to stand among them. Since graduation they have helped me advance my career in more ways than I can count.
- Artists love to talk about their work. On more than one occasion, just taking time to sincerely inquire about another artist's work has led to new friendships and new opportunities.
- Step outside your comfort zone and try something new. Next weekend I'm taking a glass fusing class. Do I have any experience with glass? Not really. Am I nervous? Yep. Will I make some new artist connections and have a great time? Definitely.
List three résumé "don'ts."
- Spelling errors are a great way to ensure you will be overlooked. No matter how great your résumé or your artist statement looks, if you can't spell, you're done.
- Don't fake it. If you don't really know what you're talking about, leave it out.
- Using cryptic, esoteric "artsy" phrases can make you sound crazy instead of "creative and employable."
List some résumé "do's."
- The old "one page limit" is a myth. If you have the goods to back it up, take up the room.
- Invest in really nice paper. They notice.
Name the most essential skill, tool or software program relative to your field.
Communication (written and oral). Competition is stiff, and galleries don't have time to deal with idiots. You will be easily and swiftly overlooked if not able to clearly communicate your ideas. There is no room for poor, confusing writing or presentation skills–not with hundreds of people in line beside you for the same opportunity!
How did you make the first connection that led to a job in your field?
I put together a knock-out self-promotional package and began an intense snail-mail gallery bombardment campaign. Out of the 200+ packages I sent out, one caught the eye of a curator because of its clarity and concise information. That gallery show got me some good press, and that press got me in a couple more doors, those doors led to new connections, and that same web is still expanding.