Paul Jackson. Yeah, that crazy mad dog salesman of an art guy who, like me, also took art classes at Starkville High School under Nelle Elam back in the 80's. Paul was about 3 years behind me. After high school he got a degree in art here at Mississippi State University. And,..Wow! Since then, that feller has done alright for himself. These days, in addition to consistently winning national and international watercolor awards, Paul travels the world with his wife giving painting workshops. For more info about Paul and his work, check out his web site: http://www.pauljackson.com/
|Joe MacGown, Nelle Elam, and Paul Jackson|
Well, anyway, Paul was in Starkville, MS today, his hometown, where he gave an insightful talk at our public library about his journey thus far through life. Great talk. If you weren't there you missed out. Additionally, he had several of his paintings on display and copies of his book for sale.
|Paul Jackson giving a talk about his artistic journey thus far.|
Paul is a fantastic painter in his own right, but after hearing his talk today (and I already knew this), you quickly realize that his success is due in large part to his ability to promote himself. Paul is a PR machine. You see, in this world where there are a gazillion awesome artists, being a great artist is not enough to be successful. Yes, its an important part of the equation, but its not enough. You actually have to get your name out there, submit your art, and promote yourself and your art. In a sense, a successful artist has to be a bit of a narcissist. You have to believe in yourself, then you have get others to believe in you. Maybe narcissist is a strong word. I don't know. But, basically its true for all successful artists, musicians, actors, preachers, church choir members, body builders, coaches, teachers, and really, anyone who performs or creates for others or teaches or coaches others. I have heard some people use the term narcissist in a negative way, but I don't think its negative in this case. Or perhaps the term is misused. Regardless, believing and selling yourself is the only way to get anyway. Some folks use a middle-man to promote their artwork, but whats the difference when you get down to it. Main point –– BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.
Secondly, Paul made a great point about actually being productive, and at least early in your artistic career, not turning down any work. See, the thing is, sure, anyone can do some type of art. Ok. Wonderful. But, to be at the top of your game, your have to put the hours in. And, you have to produce artwork. If that means getting up every morning at 6 AM to paint for 8 hours, then do it. Don't be a slacker punk. If you don't produce cool awesomeness, you won't have anything to sell. If you don't make it available for folks to buy, then they can't buy it. If they don't know its awesome, convince them.
The only disappointing thing about the talk today was the lack of any MSU art faculty and students. ??? This was a talk that every art student should hear. You guys missed out. Seriously. Even so, we had a great crowd, and he sold most of the books he brought with him.