Guestpost #14: Jennifer Matotek – Ten things I’ve learned from working in the art world for 10 years

Jen Matotek is an emerging curator, interdisciplinary artist, and videomaker whose work has been shown across North America in galleries and film and video festivals such as the Chicago Underground Film Festival, the New York Underground Film Festival, and Cinematexas. Jen is currently the Senior Coordinator, Programme Administration, at the fabulous TIFF Bell Lightbox. Oh, and she’s a friend, an amazing improviser, and a very funny woman. Here is her blog:
  1. To be successful as an artist or curator, go to art openings. Even if it’s just for a few minutes. People need to see you around.
  2. If you’re a woman, you have to work harder. You can start by saying how busy you are when people talk to you. It looks bad if you don’t talk constantly about how busy you are.
  3. If you’re an artist and you’re having trouble moving forward on a piece – make it bigger, or make more of them.
  4. If you want an international reputation as a curator or artist, learn another language, and do your graduate work outside the country. Be willing to travel everywhere for your career.
  5. At the beginning, say yes to every opportunity.
  6. Read art magazines. All of them. Every month. Learn to accept pretension, or wholeheartedly embrace it.
  7. You can be a full-time artist if you have the discipline and are a sound financial planner.
  8. Never forget the people who have been kind to you. And recognize that the people you can actually trust to support and protect you – you can probably count on one hand.
  9. Remember that people in the arts are more likely to be mentally ill. Also – don’t think that because you want to be an artist or curator, your life must be tortured and crazy.
  10. Always be stylish, look hot, and never be too pleasant or too earnest with anyone. It starts with a good haircut. But don’t be unpleasant. Anyone and everyone could be your next meal ticket.

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