Do you want to know one thing I wish I’d known sooner as an Islamic geometry artist?
When I was 19, I decided not to go to university but start working instead.
It was the beginning of the financial crisis, my parents couldn’t afford to pay for my studies, and I was tired of studying anyway. I know it’s always beneficial to have a degree, but work experience is more appreciated sometimes.
Where I live, agencies can help you find a job. They add you to their database, and if a company calls them searching for new staff members, they can send them your CV, and you can possibly get hired.
All of this sounds great, right? Except for the fact that I live in a very small city and company owners are old men who still send documents via fax.
I couldn’t understand why no one was calling me for an interview until a friend of mine suggested I go personally from company to company looking for a job. And THAT did miracles.
THE INSTAGRAM TRAP
I know you think I’m rambling about random facts that have no meaning at all, but wait till I get to the point.
Fast forward to when I started with Islamic geometric patterns and opened my Instagram profile.
I was looking at other artists, and the huge following they had, and I so desperately wanted to be like them. Everything they were doing looked so cool. They were painting, landing brand deals, commissions…
I thought that once you have a certain number of followers, hundreds of companies would contact me, people would commission me stuff, etc. And so I did everything that IG gurus tell you to do. Posts, videos, call to action, blah blah blah. And eventually, I burned out.
Don’t get me wrong. Of course, the more you are known, the easier it is to get that. But it’s not necessary.
DOOR-TO-DOOR / EMAIL-TO-EMAIL
Just like knocking door to door helped me find a job in 2010, pitching to clients instead of waiting for them to find me, helped me to land brand deals and collaborations.
Sound crazy, right? In the era of social media and AI, sending old-school emails still does wonders.
But why is that? Well, sometimes companies don’t have the time to scroll through IG in search of inspiration, and sometimes you are just not discoverable. Why should someone spend hours and hours scrolling down Instagram when they already have artists pitching them for collaboration?
Other times, companies are not even aware they want to collaborate with an artist, so receiving your email can make them realise how great that would be.
HERE IS THE THING I WISH I’D KNOWN SOONER
Here is the one thing I wish I’d known sooner as an Islamic geometry artist: Instead of focusing only on Instagram, create a website to showcase your portfolio and work on your brand book. You can take inspiration from mine here (you can find it at the bottom of the page – please don’t copy or steal it; just use it for inspiration).
Use your own voice, and if you don’t have any previous collaboration to display, create mockups with your artwork to give examples of what you can do.
Don’t wait to have 50k followers to make a living out of your passion. Start now.
PS: If you want to earn money with your art, whether it’s a side hustle or a full-time job, I can coach you to fast-track your journey. Book a 15-min discovery call here, and let’s talk about your projects.
One thing I wish I’d known sooner as an Islamic geometry artist
September 11, 2023