If you head down to Utopia Coffee Lounge in Southend at the moment you will find some of my illustrations hung seductively on the walls, surrounded by caffeine addicts and tea-junkies alike.
I learnt a whole lot from putting my illustrations up here (it is my first time, after all) and I’d like to share with you the 5 things that stood out particularly strongly in my mind from my public art-hanging experience.
There will never be enough time
It doesn’t matter if you’ve spent a year getting your illustrations ready or you’ve thrown together a collection of images that sort of follow the same theme in 2 weeks; there will always be something you think of as you’re driving home from hanging all your art up.
IGNORE THESE THOUGHTS. These are your brain being a douchebag.
“Hey Jack… well done for getting everything out there and making a great display. It’s a reeeeeeeeal shame that you didn’t include a social media trail to compliment it all huh? Ah well, I guess people will just have to search for your illustrations online themselves. There’s always next time!”
Leave framing and printing to the pros
While I love my inkjet printer and would date it if it had romantic inclinations (and wasn’t such a well known dirtbag) it just doesn’t hold up against the professional quality prints of your art you can get made and delivered to your home with no stress.
Same goes for framing. The level of polish and professionalism from having your art properly framed pays dividends. I framed some of my smaller illustrations myself to save money. I was of the opinion that because my finger hurt from bending all those metal clips forward on the backing-board I had done a good job. Then I saw my professionally framed ones.
Everyone has an opinion
Most people will love the art you put on the walls but there will always be that ONE guy who thinks he is an art expert who proclaims:
“Hm. This isn’t art. I’m not finding this confronting enough. Art is what I do”.
Let me tell you, the person that says these things will be the guy whose opinion you really shouldn’t care about. He’s the kind of guy you’ll find in a local pub telling stories of his time in the SAS, his supermodel ex-girlfriends and collection of high-end cars. Even if everything he says is true (spoiler alert: it isn’t) it doesn’t matter because he’ll never like your art or buy it. So ignore him.
Your friends are your best publicists
Never underestimate the power of good friends. While you’re standing on the sidelines too shy to talk to some people about your art they’ll be right there pretending they don’t know you saying “It’s good isn’t it?! It’s a local artist from Southend called Jack Mudge! He’s just over there actually!” and singing your praises.
Bring lots of extra hooks
I believe that this is fitting as a final point because it is definitely the most important… and most easily overlooked.
You haven’t brought enough hooks. Even if you have a van full of hooks bring one extra box because you will probably need them.
Actually, while we’re on this note, bluetac. Bring lots of bluetac. Paintings love to hang themselves wonky. They are like stubborn people. If you try to force them to do something they don’t want to do they’re gonna just dig deep and ignore you. A healthy dose of bluetac will fix this issue (Wether or not bluetac will help with stubborn people I have no clue).
Have you done anything new recently? What did you learn? Let me know in the comments.