Skip to main content

Building Audience

Lesson 9 from: FAST CLASS: Creative Calling

Chase Jarvis

Building Audience

Lesson 9 from: FAST CLASS: Creative Calling

Chase Jarvis

buy this class

$00

$00
Sale Ends Soon!

starting under

$13/month*

Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

9. Building Audience

Lesson Info

Building Audience

With respect to communities that you build, I like building communities around my work. In 2004, I started writing a blog, and I started sharing my own experience of being a photographer who is sort of outside the industry. I had made money as a photographer, and yet I looked at the industry as this big black box because at the time this was really, really early, maybe in pre, early, early internet, right? I couldn't understand how anyone was making a go, I didn't know how much to charge, or where to go, or what kind of pictures to take. I told you I was looking at Barnes and Noble. But, I could just see it from the world. And in the same way that Jasmine was talking about it, I said, "You know what, if no one else is talking about it, I'm just gonna start putting out there what I would love to see in the world." And it's like, I wanna see people's process, I want to know how they work, I don't know what their struggles are. And so, by sharing my own struggles, I almost unknowingly, al...

most ignorantly, immediately had a community because, you know what, we're all in this together. If you have a problem, this is why crit, critique, exists in art school because when a teacher is criticizing your art and giving you feedback, that feedback is relevant to way more than just you. Now, let's fast forward this for a second because when this is on steroids, you have something that is so powerful, that... Well, Drew said nice things about my book early on, and you mentioned that it had become a national bestseller in the first week that it was out. Why do you think that is the case? Was it because I wrote a great book in my parents' basement and didn't tell anybody about it? How long have I been building community? 15 years. And arguably, before then, in a smaller scale, but 15 plus years. And for every creator who you look at and you say, "Man, I wonder why all their work gets traction and gets noticed," 'cause what are we told in our culture? We're all told that, what, the cream rises where? To the top. And those of us that have been making stuff and putting it out in the world for a really long time, some of us are talented, some of them are not talented, you know what we knew? We knew that that was BS a long time ago. How many people know super talented folks that could be so much more, could have a much richer, more fulfilled life, create more success for themselves and their business, if they just leaned into community, that their belief is that their work should stand on it's own? Anybody know anybody like that? Is anybody in this room like that? Thank you for being brave. You want your work to stand on it's own? It never will, okay? The best work in the world, are you tuned in to the fact that the best artists of our time, the ones that paint the roof of the Sistine Chapel, that they were out there building community, promoting their work, connecting with other artists, long before the internet existed. (audience laughing happily) Right? True! True. These are people, they were amazing at pitching their work and their vision. And we don't think of Leonard da Vinci as someone who was overly promotional, do we? So, you're starting to understand my point. The concept of building community is not a nice-to-have, it's critical, it's mission-critical. And it's available to everyone because another cool thing, how much are the tools, how much did they cost, how much does it cost to build community? Virtually, $0. Now, it's also important, and I wanna acknowledge, that when we're thinking about community, there's definitely some people right now that are saying, "Yeah, but I'm scared because there are some haters. I put something out and someone told me how bad it was." Or, if you're a photographer, there's a lot of what I call pixel people out there. They're like, "Oh, it's slightly out of focus," and (speaking gibberish). (audience laughing) Like, everyone's got something to say. And when I come up against this stuff, I like to reference my dear friend Dr. Brene Brown because Brene Brown has a reference, a phrase, or a a saying, around the man in the arena. Let's just say, it's the woman in the arena, okay? And this is a, I think it's Roosevelt, that it's essentially, I don't know of the quote by heart, but it's essentially, "If you are in the arena, if you are in front and you're putting work out in the world, there are going to be people in the cheap seats that throw rocks." But, where are they? I just said it. Where are they? They're in the cheap seats. Cheap seats. So, what value should you to ascribe to their feedback? A very cheap, low value. (laughing) You are the woman in the arena. You are the one who is out there taking a risk, and you cannot let the cheap seats affect the work that you're doing in the arena. This is the key. Be ready for this one. Now, we are told that the cream rises to the crop, that the best work will be discovered, and I told you, and we know, that it's not true. We then said, "Oh, oh, oh, okay." So, if you originally thought that the whole pie was your craft, craft is everything, craft matters. Craft and being good at your craft, or aspiring to be good, like that's, again, we're talking about... It's important, but those are the table stakes, right? If you want to be a designer, you wanna be a good designer. It's okay if it's not what you want to do for a living, but I think it's fun to try and get better. That's why we learn, and we're humans, and we try and grow. Growth is a personal value of mine. You don't have to be world-class at everything. But, we're taught that promoting our work is bad, or we are uncomfortable with promoting our work. For whom does that match up? Anyone uncomfortable promoting their work? Okay. I'm gonna put that at 50%. So, if we're originally said, "Okay, it's just the craft," and if you're the world's best fill-in-the-blank, or if you're really good, then you should get noticed." And then, that doesn't have happen. And then you say, "Okay, well I gotta promote myself. I don't like promoting myself 'cause I feel dirty and I'm trying to sell something," and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I just told you earlier, that's celebrating your work. If you can think about it as celebrating your work, and you want it to reach as many people as possible, it gets 50% less weird. (laughs) He's like, "Ugh, I don't know"... But, the people that you love that promote their work, or sorry, the people that you love, of them, who promotes their work? Everybody. The movie star, they go on tour for the movie, they appear on the late-night TV shows. The artist at the gallery, they show up at the gallery opening to sell some paintings. And you can look at it like they're selling paintings, or you can look at it like, "I want my work to be in the hands, and heads, and hearts, of people because I made it for you. I'm here, I'm showing up for you, I created this for you, and I think it's gonna help inspire, motivate, teach," any number of things, right? So then, we go, "Okay, cool. Then, if I'm creating and promoting, that's the whole pie." This is where it's wrong again. And what I'm about to say is somewhat controversial, but I believe deeply in it because it's the end result of everything that I've ever known, and the work of everyone who I respect, and I've deconstructed their work, even if they didn't know it, all of of that creating and promoting is only half of the pie. The other half of the pie? Building community.

RELATED ARTICLES

RELATED ARTICLES