I didn’t plan to be a festival artist, but I’ve always chosen art as a path, and ‘art’ presents itself in so many different ways that just following those creative twists and turns is an adventure!
A series of co-incidences and opportunities brought me to my current incarnation as a festival flag-maker, but there are certain things that were already in place that allowed me to make the most of those arising opportunities.
I’d never made a flag in my life but I had done plenty of commissioned artwork so I brought my experience of design and visualisation to the job of being a flag-maker.
Here are some ideas to work on if you’d like to work creatively in Festivals:
• Think about studying Art and Design in some shape or form. Whether it’s a formal course in Art, Photography, Textiles, Film, Sculture, Graphics etc., doing an online course, visiting museums and galleries or learning some art history, studying a creative subject helps you to to focus your intentions on the creative field, explore ideas and think in different ways.
• Keep a sketchbook or notebook and write down/draw/scribble/paste in ideas, images, found objects, cuttings etc. This will give you a chance to learn what is unique to your own way of looking at the world. Are you excited by light, colour, sound, movement, pattern, words, 3d form etc? As you develop a sketchbook practice over time your original voice will emerge.
• Make some work! Paint, sculpt, stitch, weave, film etc. There are so many ways to follow a creative path in festivals, so find a process that you enjoy, because if you are successful you will be doing a lot of it! Don’t worry too much about the outcome just get started on being creative. Have fun with it and let it breathe. Enjoy the process of creating art.
• Believe in yourself! Like anything else in life the path of being an artist has it’s ups and downs – sometimes you may feel unsatisfied with what you have created, may be stuck for ideas or things just may not go to plan. Never mind! It’s all part of growing and learning, be patient – good things often grow slowly – and cultivate an inner confidence that what you are doing is worthwhile.
• Learn how to communicate effectively in writing. Event and festival artwork is often planned via email, rather than phone or face to face meetings, so learn to attach images and write proposals. Be concise and to the point in your written communications.
* Go to lots of festivals!! They can be quite expensive, so see if you can work as a volunteer/steward/crew member/café worker etc. this way you get to be part of a team, have a good base in the festival and can use your time off to have fun and check out all the creativity.
• Learn to visualise. Visualising is a bit like focussed dreaming – there’s a bit of magic in it! You can use to creative power of your mind to dream up ideas and then imagine them coming to life as if they are real. This works for all things in life, and can certainly help you conjure up a job as a festival creative. My favourite book on this subject is still the one I first read over 20 years ago. “Creative Visualistaion” by Shakti Gawain.
• Remember to have fun, relax and enjoy your journey. This will also make it flow better than if you are too tense and fixed on your goals.
The author of this article, Liz Cooke says, “From about the age of 10 I knew that I wanted a career in Art, and studied an Art Foundation course followed by a Photography B.A ( Hons).
I worked as a self-employed photographer/illustrator in London in the 90’s, making book covers and magazine artwork and having exhibitions of my work for about 10 years.
A call to adventure and a search for spirituality led to 6 months in India, after which I found myself living on the Isle of Wight and eventually starting a family.
I began working in events, through a chance meeting, when my daughter was only a year old, and started making festival flags a couple of years later. I love the elemenst of colour and movement that flags bring to the landscape, along with the interplay of light, and I still find something of the magic in them that I initially found in Photography, when I first watched the images developing.
I now spend a good part of my year designing and making flags, in my off-grid studio on the Isle of Wight, and spend the summer season out flying them at festivals.”