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    Our top posts for 2016

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    By Emma Clark Gratton

    Can you believe it is nearly the end of 2016? Gah! I feel like I only just recovered from last Christmas. We are getting ready to take a well-deserved blog break over the holidays, so have prepared a round up of our top posts over the last year for your reading pleasure! Bookmark this post to read later on the beach, in a hammock, or on the couch over a glass of eggnog and the shortbread biscuits meant for Santa.

    Small town creative: how to live, work and create in a regional area

    By Jasmine Mansbridge

    I am writing this blog post while also preparing for a trip from my hometown in Hamilton, Victoria, to Sydney. So it really is a good time for me to think about what is means to be a creative person living outside of the city and how I have gone about finding and generating creative work opportunities.

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    How to succeed as a multi-passionate creative

    By Bec Mackey

    Do you find yourself pulled in different directions by your work and your creative projects? Are you easily distracted by a new idea or flash of inspiration, only to abandon it again shortly afterwards? Or maybe you’re trying to juggle working and paying the bills with a creative side project, and finding it hard to manage both at the same time. You may beat yourself up for being fickle, unable to commit, or to make a clear decision. But despite what we’re told by society, not everyone is built to have just one linear career path, and being easily distracted isn’t necessarily a bad sign. If any of the above resonates with you, it may just be that you are multi-passionate.

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    Branding basics: Define your brand

    By Mirella Marie

    What is a brand? A brand is more than just a logo. A brand is who you are.

    There are five fundamentals that form a brand. One cannot exist without the other, and for a brand to be successful, the fundamentals must work together to communicate everything you think, say and do.

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    Project planning 101

    By Jes Egan

    Being organised is a skill. It’s something that you can learn and refine but it doesn’t always come naturally. I have always been an organiser since a very young age. Today in my day job, that is exactly what I do. I plan and manage projects from start to finish and all that stuff in between. You may be lucky enough to have a specialist around you who will do this, or like many small creative businesses have to become a bit of a jack of all trades and apply this skill to what you are doing. Here are a few of my tips to help plan away.

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    How to quit your day job

    By Emma Clark Gratton

    You’ve been working on a creative side gig alongside your main job for a while now. You’ve got a few regular clients, are making money and are in demand. Most of all, it’s so fun and rewarding that you spend all your lunch breaks and evenings working on your ‘hobby’. If this sounds like you, it might be time to take a leap and pursue your creative project full time.

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    Creative blues: five common fears and how to beat them

    By Emma Clark Gratton

    Working for yourself or passionately following a creative project requires a level of mental toughness and self-confidence that is hard to maintain. Dealing with rejection, financial challenges, working long hours with just yourself as taskmaster… all these things can build up until you are having an existential crisis before your morning coffee.

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    Posted by: Emma Clark
    Categories: Regular Columns | Comments Off on Our top posts for 2016
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    Australian Women in Art: Lily Mae Martin

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    by Annette Wagner

    If you know me, you know that I’m passionate about art. All kinds of art. I love being floored by work that conveys an emotive response or inspires me to think beyond my world of possibilities.

    Lily Mae Martin’s work does just that. When viewing her incredible, highly technical drawings, I become both lost in the detail and enamoured by their complex totality. For this last “Australian Women in Art” post of 2016, Lily Mae was kind enough to answer a few burning questions, uncovering that, for her, it’s all about drawing, drawing, and drawing.

    What in your personal life influenced you to pursue a creative career?

    A timely question as this has been on my mind of late. I think there were a few things that led me here. I’ve always drawn, always written, always been interested in the dexterous arts. I think drawing outdid the rest because it allows me to be expressive but also hide a lot within it. There are a lot of things I try to work through with my art, and drawing is very safe for me. It keeps the hands and mind busy.

    It’s also very accessible. I’ve been making my way through this world largely on my own since I was just sixteen, so I never had much opportunity in the way of money or support. I work with pen and paper, and although now it’s fancy hot-pressed paper and Micron fine-liner pens, I was also happy with the backs of forms and cheap ballpoint pens.

    Your work is incredibly fine, detailed drawings. How did you arrive at this medium? Have you, or do you, explore other media for your creativity?

    Drawing is (mostly) immediate. I just want to sit down and make work. I have other passions, such as printmaking and oil painting, but these require a lot more build-up and planning and space and time, and I don’t have that space and time. I'll get to those things one day, but for now, drawing is what works for me. I’ve been working for so long creating my style and setting little challenges for myself within this medium. And there is still so much to explore!

    Harkening back to my admiration of printmaking, and especially etching—that’s what I try to replicate within my drawings. Building up shape and tone with tiny little lines is so very captivating for me. Of course, I see this as an ever evolving thing. Once I feel I have mastered drawing and detail, I’ll probably undo it all and get abstract and expressionist. My thinking is, if you know all the rules, you can break them. Being skillful and disciplined has always been very important to me.

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    Seated Nude, by Lily Mae Martin, 2016. Ink on paper, 75 x 105 cm.

    Were you ever discouraged or have you had setbacks that derailed your creative passions? What are five favorite things that keep you focused, optimistic, and motivated?

    Yes, very much so. Five things that keep me focused, in no particular order of preference, are:

    1. I love drawing.
    2. I feel good when I’m drawing.
    3. I want to master drawing.
    4. Drawing makes me happy.
    5. Drawing.

     

    How do you manage your time and creative output with children and all that entails? Do you think having children has contributed to your work?

    Not very well, but I keep trying! I have to prioritise it. If I don’t, I am not a very nice person—and then I start baking too much and it all gets very upsetting! But honestly, I don’t have a social life and I don’t make it out to events much. I just can’t do it all. It took me a few years to accept this, but once I did, I became a much happier and more productive person.

    There is a lot of pressure to do and be everything for everyone, especially as a woman. But stuff that, I say. I love, love, spending time with my kid and my husband, and I love drawing. Beyond that, there isn’t much time for anything or anyone else at the moment. It may change one day, but childhood only happens once for my little one, and I intend on enjoying it and making it as magical as I can. The world can wait.

    Having my child has contributed to my work in that she’s reminded me of the wonder and joy in the world. She stands in my studio and says things like, “Mummy, no one can draw like you,” and it’s the best. She was drawing before she could walk. I wouldn’t wish the art life on her, but I definitely think that the joy and problem-solving that come with creating are powerful things for humans to have in their lives, regardless of whether it becomes a career or hobby.

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    Lily Mae Martin in her studio. Photo by Gene Hammond-Lewis.

    Do you think there is a gender imbalance in Australia’s current contemporary art system? Have you ever felt discriminated against as a female artist? If so, what was the scenario?

    For sure. There’s a gender imbalance across all aspects of life, so of course there is in art as well. I feel it keenly. I think the most obvious thing is that male artists get all the air-time, the wall space, the praise. It just does my head in when men—and women—do not check their unconscious bias. Sometimes I want to jump up and down and yell, “WHERE ARE THE WOMEN? WHAT ABOUT THE WOMEN?”

    Do you feel that Australian female artists have fewer resources and lack crucial financial support to go into making and producing art? 

    Most likely. I mean, my experience is that the few residencies I would have considered won’t allow children to go. The reason generally given is that they want the artist to have alone time to create something. That’s all fine and great if said artist has a wife, or family support. But considering that I am the wife with no family support, it isn’t very helpful.

    One time I did apply for a grant—and even paid someone to help me put it all together—but the weekend before we were going to submit it, the grant was cut and no longer existed. So, really, are there any resources for anyone?

    Where do you find inspiration? Do you have advice for other creatives on how to be inspired?

    I find inspiration everywhere. I find it on long, long walks, and while traveling, reading, and learning about history and science. I like to watch animals and birds, and the way kids negotiate their conflicts. People-watching at the supermarket or the gym, or on long train rides and in cafes, also inspires me. Looking at art is inspiring, but I tend to draw from other things in life to bring into my work.

    I think to get inspired you need to find the joy, and you need to want to explore and enjoy the process. If you don’t enjoy it, why do it? Fame and glory are the wrong reasons to commit your mind and time to anything.

    Lastly, what is the best advice you have ever been given?

    When I announced that I wouldn’t be drawing again, my grandmother—may she rest in peace—said, “Well, that’s just silly. You have a talent; don’t waste it.”

    She also berated me for getting stuck on what was trendy, and praised my skill, though she noted that some of what I make is “repugnant.” She was a true gem of a woman.

    Lily is represented by Scott Livesey Galleries in Melbourne.

    Annette Wagner is a designer, marketer, creative consultant, artist, and writer. She is also on the board of the Creative Women’s Circle. Obsessively passionate about the arts and the creative process, she is determined to not talk art-speak and instead focus on supporting and sharing concepts and insights most creative types crave to know.

     

    Tags: artist, drawing, Interview
    Posted by: Julie Mazur Tribe
    Categories: Advice and Tips, Interviews with Creative Women, Regular Columns | Comments Off on Australian Women in Art: Lily Mae Martin
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    Later.com for creatives

    cwc_2016-01-21_georgia-phase_insta-graphic_templateOne of the best assets we have for promoting our work and profile is social media. At a recent The Resolution Project event, this was illuminated when we had the opportunity to pose questions to a panel on any topic of current interest. Social media was a hot topic! The panel members Domini Marshall, Bec Mackey, Tess McCabe and Phoebe Miller  (chaired by Madeleine Dore) offered great advice on how to manage social media, especially around content management. Many of the participants were intrigued as to how to best use their time, and how to manage building a profile with specific audiences.

    "The best approach is to post two to three times daily to build your audience”  

    - Domini Marshall

    So I thought I would share my adventures into strategic social media management as I begin my new creative business and profile on Instagram. After the panel presentation, I was intrigued to explore platforms that would allow me to populate and schedule content. This is attractive to me as real time generation of content is not always possible. Plus, I’m very much looking towards productive strategies that can assist me in product and profile development planning and delivery. I went on a search, discovered that there are no 100% free platforms with all options available that offer this service for Instagram as yet, but there are plenty for Twitter.

    What I did find was the platform Later.com. This is a platform that allows you to upload and schedule your Instagram posts from your mobile or computer. What I like about this platform is that is offers a free sign up option while exploring if it works for you. You can post image and text content 30 times in the month for free. This allows for the flexibility to capture spontaneous moments, as well as scheduled content.

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    Scheduling content for the week: desktop view

    The platform sets up your week in a calendar format. This allows you to visually plan your time, and for you to post at the times that are ideal for your audience. This is where the wisdom of Kylie Lewis and Belinder Langler (of Of Kin fame) comes into play. Their research has indicated that you should be regular and consistent. Their work is also a great reminder to link into the digital patterns of most people’s social media habits of checking the first thing in the morning and in the evening before they go to bed.  A great guide to when you can regularly post to build your profile.

    A record is maintained of the content you have shared and how many times (stored in the ‘used’ section of the platform).  And there is the opportunity to preload images for future content stored in the ‘used’ section of the platform. Once again, another benefit within the platform to support strategic management and smart use of time.

    creating-content-ahead-of-time

    Creating content ahead of time

    In planning your post you can add your image and caption. I think this is one of the best features of this platform to assist in content generation. The image and content can be added, then scheduled. This is then saved and ready to ‘pop up’ as a reminder to allow for posting.

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    Mobile application reminder on phone screen. This is a ‘pop up’ that serves as a reminder to post (transfer) the content already created into Instagram. 

    I have been approaching my content management by loading the images and captions of a Sunday for the week ahead. I have identified the times I would like the post to appear. By populating the content on the desktop I am dedicating my time to plan and consider how I want to share. This then connects nicely to my app, with an alert coming up on my screen.

    later-talking-to-instagram-to-transfer-your-preloaded-content

    Later talking to Instagram to transfer your preloaded content.

    Some thoughts in regards to the pros and cons of using a platform such as Later for Instagram as a summary includes:

    Pros

    • You can populate and schedule your content and pre plan for the week or month ahead.
    • Can support you to think about your digital marketing strategy.
    • Reminders are sent to your phone (once you have download the app) for the time and date you set the content to be launched.
    • Can edit and proof read your populated content before you post. Perfect if you wish to add or change the content based on your thinking.
    • An organisation helper.
    • The app allows for sharing and posting on the go. Perfect for the creative juggling multiple tasks.
    • Time efficient.
    • Helps you forward think to align your posting to core values and missions as a creative or creative business.

    Cons

    • The content is created, however, it does not post it. You still need to transfer the content across to Instagram, however this is easy from the mobile app as it does a direct copy and paste for you with a few directed clicks.
    • Must be connected to wifi.

    Posted by: Emma Clark
    Categories: Advice and Tips, Starting a Business, Tools of the Trade | Comments Off on Later.com for creatives
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    My CWC: Narelle Lemon

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    By Emma Clark Gratton

    Creative Women's Circle attracts members from all stages of their creative careers. Our members include established professionals in the creative industries, ladies with flourishing part-time handmade gigs and women at the very beginning of their foray into creative work, and everyone in between. We frequently hear from people who are looking to make a career change into something more creative, more collaborative and more 'them', and today's interviewee is the perfect example!

    Dr Narelle Lemon is a Melbourne-based arts educator and researcher with a background working with artists, teachers, students of all ages, cultural organisations, arts community festivals, and schools to deliver and experience creative arts experiences in the visual arts and performing arts. Narelle has published widely on arts education and the use of social media for learning  while working as an academic. Excitingly, she is now adventuring into facilitating workshops for learners of all ages to engage with the arts and supporting artists to run their own workshops. Watch out for Explore and Create Co as it emerges through the workshopping with CWC’s The Resolution Project this year.

    On joining Creative Women’s Circle.

    CWC was the first collective group of creatives I came across where I could sense the creation and sustainability of a community right from the start. I wanted to be a part of it. Creative Women's Circle, and especially The Resolution Project,  came into my world at a time when I was beginning to feel (once again) the tension and push-pull between full time work that wasn’t really working for me, doing creative things, bringing people together for creative and exploration endeavours, being mindful, and being true to myself.

    A random Instagram keyword search flashed up this really cool community of creative people – the CWC. To my amazement a Resolution Project to focus in on goals and your creative passion was being promoted. It was to begin in the new year...not too far away and fresh on my mind.

    The whole idea of a supportive community of creatives really resonated with me. I had this bizarre mix of feelings – excited and nervous – but I knew that I needed to take the plunge and join. The intrigue just didn’t go away. I’d been burying and ignoring the call to do multi-projects, reconnect with the creative and maker scene, and well I just needed to address my elephant in the room (time to answer the call to step up to the challenge and finally do all these cool ideas I have been sitting on for some time now).

    First impressions.

    Innovative, supportive, welcoming, organised, progressive, and encouraging are all words that come to mind with my first impressions of CWC.

    The tension between questioning what I am doing and having a deep feeling of needing to be doing something different and connected to what is more sustainable, mindful and creative, is not something that many people in my current world acknowledge or do anything about. I now know this is called making “the leap” – makes so much sense and being around so many who have done this or are in the process of doing this is wonderfully supportive. The CWC community are incredibly generous. I’m taken aback from being around women who are so open to sharing their experiences, both on the emotional and nitty gritty of things such as branding, web design, business set-up or even how to set up new partnerships. Julia May’s comment of “just any question, that’s what we are here for” has stayed with me the very beginning of joining CWC. So supportive and encouraging as I try to figure everything out in my next moves.

    The upside.

    The biggest benefit for me has been the extension of my networks. I’ve been able to meet, listen to, and ask questions to creatives with so many diverse experiences. That has just been so beneficial for both my creative life but also my career.

    During the first Resolution Project face-to- face intensive day, Bec Mackey introduced herself. We immediately connected. I went away thinking I’d love to chat to Bec more. I was drafting an email to send her about a week after the meeting when in my inbox popped up an email from her. We both had been in each other's thoughts and had seen how we could work together to support one another with our creative endeavours – specifically how we could create and offer workshops for educators in all fields of the arts. So after an initial email conversation about possibly collaborating, we have pretty much met up for a couple of hours every six weeks to work through how we could collaborate and what workshops we could deliver. We get together and just talk, talk, talk…our ideas just bounce off each other. The connection has been amazing. For me the opportunity to talk with a like-minded person, both from creative perspective who also has similar values and belief in mindfulness and the bigger picture, has been one of the best outcomes from CWC and The Resolution Project. The energy from our meetings is just electric. So motivating and inspiring.

    Once we landed how we complimented each other and started actioning our vision so many opportunities begun to become a reality for us. The pairing together, our strengths and our partnerships, just allowed us to progress so much quicker with ideas and action than if we had approach it by on our own. Our collective strengths in the arts are much more powerful together for future audiences we will engage with. This all came from meeting at CWC.

    Bec also has been incredibly generous to me in offering support in those initial set up aspects of branding, website, and audience profile identification. Her experiences and her openness to share and pass on her learning has been so valuable.

    Join our network of creative women.

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    Posted by: Emma Clark
    Categories: Regular Columns | Comments Off on My CWC: Narelle Lemon