ONE year on we catch up with last year's winners to see what impact the Backroom Creatives Award has had on their work. This week we talk to John Paterson, joint Fine Art Award winner.
JOHN paints from a converted shed in his garden. He wowed the judges with his powerful figurative work and has used the past year to evaluate why he paints and what he wants both personally and professionally.
How has Backroom Creatives helped you progress your work and turn your art into a business?
The scheme got me thinking about the implications of turning a pastime into a business. I began by mapping out a whole series of linked pathways leading towards an art business model, which allowed me to establish some goals for the year. The contact with Tracey, Stella and Rosanna at an early stage helped in this process.
As far as the product was concerned, I seemed to have spent less time on painting this year, and more time exploring the commercial options for work already completed.
What have been the key learnings and stumbling blocks for you?
Coming out of my shed and putting a tentative toe in art world waters has resulted in a very steep learning curve for me. The key learning/stumbling block issue is one and the same really. Backroom Creatives made me put my art in a different context, and ask the question why do I do it? The answer eventually emerged "not for commercial reasons". So my personal ethos and the commercial ethos seem to be mutually exclusive.
Have you achieved your goals for this year? Or have you had a rethink and changed direction?
I did achieve some of the goals I set myself early on. I have exhibited at Broomhill, St Anne's Chapel and the Burton during the year. There are a couple of landscapes in Gallery 38 in Bear Street. I have website entries with North Devon Arts and Artist and Illustrators, and I recently sold a painting. However, my art has not developed into a commercial enterprise, and I am really at peace with that. My only regret was not to take up the option of the Art Bazaar place, but enough appropriate and finished work just wasn't there for display.
What are your plans going forward?
Plans going forward are to get back in the shed and develop my practice further. I plan to continue to do some short courses that will help me achieve this, and take opportunities to display if and when they arise.
What words of wisdom would you offer creative people out there wanting to take their work to the next level?
If you're serious about your art then enter the Backroom Creatives competition. It's easy to do and you've got nothing to lose.
If you're successful, you'll meet some interesting, knowledgeable folk who will gently introduce you to the commercial options available out there. From there on it's very much up to you in terms of pursuing these options.
Be prepared for disappointments. Try not to take rejection personally.
Be aware of financial implications. Things like framing, business cards, websites and travel come at a cost, but it's your choice ultimately.
Next week we chat to joint Fine Art Award winner Suzanne Churchill and Craft Award winner Sarah Jane Lander.