Is it time to stop calling yourself "emerging"?

Chances are you've been calling yourself an "emerging artist" for way too long now. Have you emerged yet?

When painter Shawn Demarest signed on for coaching earlier this year we talked about both her big vision for her career and the daily activities required to publicize her (then) current show at the Annie Meyer Artwork Gallery in Portland, Oregon.

Recently, I asked Shawn what she remembered most from coaching and she said: “I mentioned something to you about being an ‘emerging artist’ and you looked at me and said ‘Shawn, you’re not an emerging artist anymore.’ I believed you. I took that to heart and it really stayed with me."

Since then she completed the paintings for her current show, funded in part by a project grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC). She’s also been awarded a four-week fellowship residency at Playa in eastern Oregon. I’ve witnessed her work grow more focused and confident as she accepts herself as a mid-career artist, no longer emerging.

Shawn and I first met in 2009 at a workshop I taught on grantwriting. Although she realized after that workshop that she wasn’t ready to apply for a grant, a few seeds were planted about how to think about a grant when she was ready to write it.

“What helped me was shifting my thinking from trying to dream up something I thought would be 'good' to honestly mapping out what I naturally was drawn to explore. In my case it was simply continuing on my course but painting in larger formats. This led to a series of paintings that, while challenging (and more than I would have attempted without the grant), was what I genuinely wanted to do.” In 2012, Shawn won a project grant from RACC that supported creating the series she’s showing this month. If you’re in Portland, Shawn’s artist talk will be on Saturday, November 17 at 2 pm at the Annie Meyer Artwork Gallery. The show closes November 30.

If you’re ready for the support, accountability, strategic thinking, and practical advice that come with one-on-one coaching, email gigi@gigirosenberg for details. Maybe it's time to emerge already!

Photo by Andrea Reiman on Unsplash