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10 things outsiders should know about building a career in the world of art

by Adele on July 4, 2012

Natasha Hoare left the world of PR in order to pursue a career in the art industry as a curator. Here she shares ten things she has learnt as an outsider becoming an insider in the London art scene. Natasha’s show ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ runs at The Cob Gallery until 21st July: http://www.cobgallery.com/

Natasha’s advice.

  1. No experience is irrelevant experience. The art world often seeks specific qualifications in art history or curation. But some of the best lessons I’ve learnt have been outside of the classroom, from real life experience.
  2. Don’t ever agree with someone just because they are senior or more intellectual than you. It’s always good to have an open mind, but art is subjective, and you are wholly entitled to your own opinion. In fact you’ll be better respected for it.
  3. Go and see as much as you can. The best way to meet people in the industry and to build up your knowledge of your field is to see as much as you can.
  4. Never be intimidated by art theory jargon. If someone is re-coursing to it, they probably are unsure of what they are talking about or trying to assert their authority.
  5. Prepare for poverty!  Sadly, unpaid internships are the best way to get contacts and build up your network.
  6. Go to private views. Many a job has been landed through a fortunate or plucky conversation at a private view.
  7. Travel. London is a world-leading centre for art, but the art world is a global affair with amazing Biennale’s and festivals taking place in far flung locations like Senegal, Busan and Sydney. The things you see at places like this will stand you in amazing stead.
  8. Enjoy! Don’t ever let the admin, bad pay and bitching get you down. You are being exposed to some of the most stimulating cultural events in the world – and sometimes you’ll be holding a free drink in your hand at the same time.
  9. Think laterally. There are only a limited number of places at Sotheby’s or as the Director of White Cube. Working at an artist’s studio, or a commissioning body is another way to make your mark and to achieve a satisfying career.
  10. Don’t give things away for free. Although internships are unpaid, you are effectively bartering your time for a way in to job opportunities and networks. However, there are a lot of operators in the art world who want to plunder ideas, contacts and more. Keep savvy!

Natasha Hoare’s show ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ runs at The Cob Gallery until 21st July: http://www.cobgallery.com/


  • Valentina

    Really interesting article, thank you for sharing your experience. It could be very hard at the beginning! I would only add: Always make sure you are having fun!
    If you are not happy with your job or internship maybe it’s a sign that you should reconsider your priorities.

    I thought you might like to see our top tips for Art Graduates. A little help for students and future artists!!
    http://www.lascatolagallery.com/2012/06/new-graduates-how-to-make-an-impression/

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