Why I hire students…

If you are a working artist and you are treating your art making as a business, then you wear many hats. You are the artist, marketing director, accountant, website designer, graphic designer, photographer, logistics director, the shipping department, the researcher, probably an educator and not to mention head of maintenance and janitorial duties. You do the job of a dozen people on shoestring budget. And sometimes, you just need some help…
Why I hire students | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture
Sometimes it’s worth it to pay the professionals to do what you can’t and in half the time that you could watch a YouTube tutorial on the subject. You have to give into those expenses as the cost of doing business and as an investment in yourself. I have never been disappointed when I’ve spent some hard earned cash on someone who really knows what they are doing, you end up with a fantastic product in the end.

Sometimes you can barter (this is my favorite way of doing business!) with people who have the skills you need and they’d love to take a class from you or own a piece of your work. I’ve had everything from setting up my website to floor tile installation done on barter, if you set it up right, everyone gets what they need out of it, professional-to-professional.

Why I hire students | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

My second favorite way of getting help is to hire students. High school and college students know way more than I do about all kinds of techy things, they can photoshop like champs, are enthusiastic about creative projects and are affordable to hire on an artist’s budget. I love working with my assistants who don’t think twice about hiking off into the woods to photograph my work.  That said, they will cancel on you to hang out with their friends, they will take forever to get back to you, and they will forget things (all the time!) but for me it is totally worth it. By hiring students, I give them job training, portfolio building opportunities, teamwork skills and help build their confidence in what they do. Bottom line is that while there are many things that you can’t hire out as an artist, there is a lot that you can, while also giving your time and experience to the next generation just entering the field. If you share your skills and hire students, you might still have time to get your laundry done too!

photo credit: Sequoia Kimmel

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