Name: Renee Hartig
Field of Study: Painting
Year of Graduation: 2005
Current Position: Freelance Fine Artist, Portland, Ore.
What was the most important thing you learned about your field while at Kendall?
I learned the beginning process of how to paint and the basics behind all the formal elements of painting. Also, working with lots of different materials in all my classes–sculpture, printmaking, drawing–is all very useful when you are on your own and want to work in different mediums. (I also feel that they helped me write a pretty darn good artist statement, too.)
What was your most shocking realization about your field after graduation?
That I was very unprepared for earning a living as an artist because I had little information and training regarding starting my own business. My formal skills in painting were great, but I was lacking on the marketing end–which is at least 40% of my time (marketing myself, applying to shows, working with galleries). I tried everything, failed at most things and found one or two avenues that worked. Then I started the process all over again. You have to do some of that–?no matter what–because we all have such specific work that fits in such specific spaces and venues, so it's a lot of trial and error.
Give us your best interview tip.
Research the gallery or show you're applying to, and don't be afraid to ask them questions as well, because essentially you are paying them to sell your work. You need to feel the gallery representative is trustworthy–I have left galleries because I didn't trust them. And don't be afraid to say you need a day or so to look over the contract, so you have the time to really process the interview. Otherwise, you may be getting into a bad situation that's not worth your time.
List three ways you network in your field.
- Holding open studio days for my clients.
- Keeping an up-to-date website of my work.
- Showing at many different venues around town–rotating my work every month.
What was the worst interview moment you've experienced?
While talking to a gallery owner, I completely spaced on the definition of plein air landscape painting! I just went along with it though; it wasn't too horrible and I don't think she even noticed.
List three résumé "don'ts."
- Don't list old jobs that are not directly related to the position you're applying for.
- Don't use a weird font–you want everyone to feel comfortable reading it and referencing it too. Also, keep the font 11 or 12 points. Smaller, it's harder to read.
- Keep it as short as possible.
List three résumé "do's."
- List all your accomplishments when you are starting your career, then eliminate some when you start to grow as an artist.
- Keep it simple and clean.
- Be creative on the top header–you want to grab attention but also keep it classy.
Name the most essential skill, tool or software program relative to your field.
How did you make the first connection that led to a job in your field?
I applied! I applied to a bunch of galleries, and one of them was the LaFontsee Galleries/Underground Studios. I was interviewed by Scott LaFontsee and was accepted into the gallery.
Word of Advice
Word of advice: Try showing everywhere! I put my work in coffee shops, high-end boutiques, restaurants, art festivals and painting demos–I hardly ever say "no" to an opportunity, and it really does pay off. I think some Kendall professors would have told me that it is beneath me to set up and do art festivals/street fairs, but I have made personal contacts and built a large client base that has led to countless commissions. There isn't a right and wrong, so just try everything you can think of.