If you have been following my blog you may know by now that when I arrived in London I had little experience in the field and my portfolio was very poor. It wasn’t until I started hanging out with peers and meeting other creatives in networking events that I started growing as a creative myself. Learning from them and their experiences, getting inspiration from their work and feeling supported by people who understood what I was going through were key factors in my professional development.
Networking events for creatives are not a modern invention. The famous names in art history had gatherings of their own where they exchanged ideas, techniques and struggles and the major artistic movements that we know today wouldn’t have existed if there hadn’t been a group of creatives who constantly seeked like-minded peers with whom to collaborate with. Picasso would have never been one of the major names in Cubism if he hadn’t frequented the Paris art scene of his time; Bourke-White would have never become one of the greatest photographers of the past century if she hadn’t met White, who was friends with Stieglitz, the founder of the Camera Club.
Knowledge exchange among peers is not only beneficial for the individual but for the community as well. Creatives who work isolated from what their peers are doing risk getting stuck in what they do. They don’t find out about the trends in the industry, they don’t know if other creatives are coming up with solutions to challenges that they face and their professional development is slower because they don’t learn from other people’s experiences and mistakes. But those creatives who push themselves to be better than the rest encourage innovation and raise the quality of the industry and give a better reputation to our profession. This translates into clients having more and better options to choose from when looking for creatives to fulfill their needs.
But creatives who are protectionists with their knowledge for fear of empowering competitors so much that they steal their clients away from them become victims of their own greed. The rest of the industry will grow faster, will get better at what they do and will become the trendsetters who eventually will keep the clients anyways. Because when clients realise that their suppliers are becoming isolated from the industry and are not being innovative enough they simply leave on their own.
Being a creative can be a very lonely and misunderstood profession if we don’t have a support group that encourages us to keep on going. Don’t make it harder on youself; get off that chair and attend the next networking event in town. You will not only be doing yourself a favour but you will be making our community stronger and better for the rest of us out there.
Do you like what you just read? Subscribe to the weekly blog posts here!