News - Guest Blog: An Intern’s Reflections On Her Summer At ZAPP®

Author: ZAPP Team
Date: September 12, 2013

This post was written in August 2013, at the close of Anna’s internship. The ZAPP® team will continue to post additional content Anna created during her time working with us over the next few weeks.

An Intern’s Reflections On Her Summer At ZAPP®

I will soon be returning to Chicago to continue my undergraduate degree at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, where I am studying studio drawing and painting. While I am very eager to go back to college and practice art again, I am also bewildered by how fast this summer went by. Now that I am at the close of my summer internship with ZAPP® at the Western States Arts Federation in my hometown of Denver, Colorado, I can reflect on what I have learned this summer and how I will use these lessons in my future as an artist.

When I began my internship in May, it was with the goal of learning more about the business and entrepreneurial aspects of being a working artist because there is so much more to it than simply creating art. At school, I am in studio classes for a large majority of my time and don’t really have the opportunity to “get real” about becoming an artist. I saw this internship as a way to gain those lessons that would help me conduct myself as a professional once I graduate and logically turn my passion into my career.

There are many valuable tips I will remember as I head forward in my career. These include the importance of a good booth shot, how resourceful blogs and forums with other artists can be for finding out more about specific shows, how to space out shows and plan geographically to get to all of them, how a good looking website/marketing strategy make a difference and how much of a community the fairs and festivals provide.

How will I apply what I have learned during my internship to my own life?

I am now doing several things to help me brand myself as an artist and have made good habits that I believe I will benefit from. I have recently launched a Facebook fan page for myself (www.facebook.com/annacharneyart) and begun a blog on Tumblr (www.annacharneyart.tumblr.com). I have slightly different strategies for both platforms, but will use them both to connect with my fans/patrons by allowing them insight to my progress at school and with my growing career.

One of my tasks as an intern at ZAPP® has been to help them develop their social media and add relevant content to their Facebook and Twitter pages. From all this practice I think I could now say I’m a master at Friday Fun and at guessing if a statement is over or under 140 characters. I have also done some wonderful stalking of many artists’ websites and profiles and understand how great Facebook is as a tool for any artist. Although I won’t be doing any shows in the next few years due to the demands of my studies and, therefore, won’t be using my Facebook to update people on which festivals I am in, I will use it keep people updated on my works in progress, what I am learning at school and other ideas or relevant events to my artistic career. I see this as a subtle and effective way to develop a fan base and (hopefully) a dedicated group of collectors to follow my work as it grows.

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I will continue to use my Tumblr in a similar manner to my Facebook, posting my work, sketches, thoughts and also inspirations. As my work has recently become more process based as well and the actual act of making it is more pleasing to me than the final product, I want to invite viewers of my work to understand that process as well by posting sketches, inviting people to listen to the music I listen to and read thoughts I have while creating. I do realize that this isn’t exactly the way to get buyers, but it doesn’t hurt to get people to simply appreciate your work and have it accessible. I figure the more I can get my work circulating the internet, the more people who may come across it and you never know what kinds of opportunities they may bring.

What I have learned from viewing many artist’s websites during my time at ZAPP®?

I have learned how extremely important it is to have and maintain a good looking website. I have had a website for almost a year now and have resolved to pay more attention to it and re-do it using Behance ProSite, which will allow me to determine exactly how it looks and to update it quickly and easily as often as I like. By looking through so many websites I have now formed good ideas in my head as to what makes an aesthetically pleasing and navigable site and what is the best way to organize all the content to a site.

Besides the importance of these social media platforms and internet ways of how to keep in touch with buyers and market your art I have also realized during my time at ZAPP® the value of being aware of trends and knowing how to make art that is marketable. This lesson can range from great things like learning which regions of the country that my art could sell well in to being aware of trends in other factions of culture like fashion or design that affect what is popular in overall culture and art.

I am even more encouraged to become a working artist and join the ranks of all other artists registered on ZAPP® who make their living traveling across the country to fairs and festivals.

I understand what I am signing myself up for – I have spent time this summer reading blogs and forums that such artists participate in and engaged in interviews and discussion with several people involved in the industry – and I’m prepared for all the trials and difficulties that it may bring. These comments don’t discourage me though. I have known that I want to be an artist for years now and have learned to ignore the strangers, family members, and friends who even look at me doubtfully when I say I attend art school. But this summer I have witnessed the love that people do have for this life that I am choosing and it’s beyond the effort that I believe many people put into their so-called “real” jobs. I have enough passion in my art to make it my job and have no intention to simply push it to the side as a hobby.

In conclusion, I have great appreciation for my opportunity to work in the ZAPP® office this summer for I have learned incredible lessons about the industry of arts fairs and festivals that I will use as I embark further on my path to join that industry. Thanks to all the ladies that make ZAPP® happen on a daily basis and to WESTAF for inviting me to help them out this summer.

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–By Anna Charney
Anna Charney studies studio painting and drawing at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. She is a Denver native and decided to spend her 2013 summer back at home hanging around the ZAPP offices as an intern to learn about the arts festival business. While they share a last name and an excellent fashion sense, she is not related to ZAPP’s managing director, Leah Charney. You can see her artist’s gallery at www.annacharneyart.com.

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