Face Making

Artist Gwenn Seemel’s bilingual blog about art, portraiture, free culture, and feminism.

Are you qualified to be an artist? / Êtes-vous qualifié pour être artiste?

2017 . 07 . 24 - Comments / Commentaires (4)

When someone asks you this question, it’s a great learning opportunity.

Lorsque quelqu’un vous pose cette question, vous avez la possibilité d’apprendre plein de choses intéressantes.

To learn about hiring me as an art guide, go here. This post talks about pricing your art.

Pour en savoir plus sur comment m’embaucher comme guide pour artiste, allez ici. Ce billet explique comment mettre un prix sur votre art.

crime against nature le crime contre nature

Crime Against Nature and / et Le crime contre nature

My science book can be read in its entirety online here and all my books are available here.

Vous pouvez lire mon livre qui parle de la biologie entièrement en ligne ici et tous mes livres sont disponibles ici.

Gwenn Seemel artist

screenshot from my talk for the Adte / captures d’écran de ma conférence pour l’Adte

This is me talking in Quebec in March. The presentation was in French but this similar talk is subtitled, and all the information from the talk is in my book You Share Good.

Me voilà en train de faire une conférence au Québec en mars. Il existe une vidéo de la conférence, mais le son n’est pas super, donc je préfère vous envoyer ici pour voir un autre talk sur le même sujet. Ce livre explique en plus de détail le droit d’auteur et les problèmes qui vont avec.

- On VAGA, copyright, and what motivates humans
- Are all artists just pretending? / Est-ce que tous les artistes font semblant?
- Why I can write a book about science even though I’m not a scientist

- Extraordinary enough / Assez extraordinaire
- For real / Pour de vrai
- The two kinds of criticism / Les deux sortes de critique

CATEGORIES: - English - Français - TOP POSTS - Business of art - Crime - Uncopyright - Video -

Gwenn Seemel on Liberapay     Gwenn Seemel on Patreon

(4) Comments / Commentaires: Are you qualified to be an artist? / Êtes-vous qualifié pour être artiste?

-- libby fife -- 2017 . 07 . 24 --


What an interesting topic! And timely too. Just yesterday I was perusing the site of a well known textile artist who offers mentoring as well as group classes to “find your voice”. She listed out all of her qualifications at some length. They were great but I got bored!

Though I never would have voiced the question consciously I do dig around to see what is what-why would this person be a good mentor or teacher for me personally? I do the same thing with reading articles or getting info online or in a book. How is this author qualified to write about this topic? If I were to sign up for a class or service however I would also be looking for fit-is the person the right fit for my personality?

Lastly, I see people everyday on the Internet, running blogs or wanting to collaborate, insisting that they are experts in this or that. Made up resumes/resume padding is what I might say and not in a negative way necessarily but certainly resumes that are cobbled together and not traditional (which is fine). Blowing smoke up my rear is though is what I think sometimes. Who is questioning them and are they even responding?

I didn’t consider it but maybe your qualifications would have been a good component to your art guide announcement just as some reassurance. And as you suggested, turning the question around would be a great way to get information. Funny how most people wouldn’t question how another professional was “qualified” to do their job but with an artist they don’t hesitate. I think the right question to ask would be how “capable” is the person of being a mentor to me. You could have all of the qualifications in the world and still be a poor art guide/mentor/teacher, etc.

Great topic! I hope you get some good responses.

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 07 . 24 --

@Libby: Okay so now I have to ask. smile As someone who’s been coming to my blog for a while, what do you think my qualifications are to be an art guide? If you don’t want to answer publicly, I’d still love to hear them privately! Because it’s such a help to see yourself how others see you now and again…

And it’s true of most of us, I think that we’re sniffing around for qualifications a lot—maybe not consciously, but we do it. I found myself doing a little bit of it this morning on Instagram. I liked this one artist’s drawings a lot but the paintings were nowhere near as accomplished. When I went to their profile and saw that they describe themselves as an illustrator that made sense to me, like they were maybe acknowledging that the paintings were not their strength. Or maybe I’m projecting meaning? Paintings can be considered illustrations, right? In any case, it made me like them more, because of what I perceived of as their self-awareness.

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-- libby fife -- 2017 . 07 . 25 --


I think your qualifications stem from what it is that you do on a regular basis: make your living as an artist in ways that aren’t traditional (this would be a very big selling point); speak out about copyright issues; explore the origins of your own style and how to bring that forward; get at the essence of portraiture and the use of tools and paints to support mark making. And I would say drawing and photography (to support idea generation) are strong assets also. This is what I see anyway after several years of reading your blog. If a person was looking to learn in those areas then they have come to the right person.

I guess your potential customer would need to know what it is they wanted to find out about their work and themselves. If they needed guidance with the actual work (like a critique) then you have the experience with art history and composition. (You should tell the person about the research that you do sometimes when setting up your compositions, like the one of your mom and the dog. (Roo?) And I think Your potential clients would be really missing out if they didn’t take advantage of your business knowledge-all of it.

That’s just what I see from my end. Maybe I am wrong. Thank you for asking though. My view is that people sign up for stuff without knowing what it is that they want and not knowing if their potential “mentor” is a good fit. Maybe you can’t always know in advance. Your potential client though should search your site and do their homework. Which bring’s me to your friend’s comment and question. Why didn’t they have a look at what you do first before asking? They could have just suggested(you know, like a gentle reminder?) that you state your qualifications succinctly with your pitch. Just a thought:)


Thanks as always!

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 07 . 25 --

@Libby: Thank you for all this lovely feedback! Really very helpful.

As for my friend, they are not really on the Internet much, so they don’t experience a lot of what I do as an artist. Also, they are French, and France is a much more structured/academic society than the USA. So they probably feel I need training and a certificate in order to be allowed to help someone.

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