An online zine from Arts Writer, Ashley J.

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A Guide to Beginning in Visual Creation

Think about where you started…

The younger you who had an answer to “what do you want to be when you grow up” that had nothing to do with anything you’d learned or began to expect.

Being here in this space, reading this particular article, probably means that you do creative work. Maybe you call yourself an artist - maybe not - but you contribute aesthetically, perhaps socially, in some way, or want to. You identify as a person who has creativity even if you don’t identify as a creative.

& you’re filming, designing (through whatever medium), building, scultping, leveraging social media… or maybe you’re too much of a puristt for that; aren’t you cool…

You’re writing, & you’re looking for advice in visual creation.

Well here’s something to know right now! (9/19/18) if you’re in Houston!

Singer/Song Writer & Cultural Contributor Solange’s Saint Heron, an online Art & Culture Platform, is hiring Production Assistants in Houston & surrounding areas. The announcement was made this morning via Twitter, where the image below was sourced.

So there it is. Opportunity. Send an email with your cover letter & resume to JOBS@SAINTHERON.COM now. Right Now.

work at Saint Heron - Houston Film Jobs.jpg

Now for everyone else…

Visuals are important. Not in the sense of the visuals you may be creating in your work, but in terms of branding, which, if you are doing business in this day & age (& if you are making money with your art you are doing business, running an art business even; thank you Creative Capital) you should do it intentionally, & no intentional strategy for a business can ignore the importance of visuals; fonts, colors, concepts… that create a brand - an aesthetic - a vibe,

Once you’ve figured out what your brand looks like, how you present that look comes into play. Offline, traditional marketing tools such as business cards, stickers, or post cards may be relevant to your art business

The Photage App will take the images you upload (think logos, prints of your work, etc.) & print them out on reusable stickers in varying sizes that fit a multitude of uses. The sticker looks smooth & glossy, but has an almost canvas like feel that I attribute to its durability. The company sent me a large print for free in exchange for an Instagram post, exposing my audience to the brand as an occasional paid influencer & content creator. By the time this article is published - on this as of yet unofficially launched platform - I will be telling you how to receive free Photage prints on the Postmodern Indigenous Instagram page.

Including Photage prints in your marketing budget is an affordable approach to acting on an aesthetically focused strategy for promoting your brand, your work, yourself…

Large, gifted Photage sticker used to create branded tote. | Image via Instagram | Designed by the author (Image & Sticker).

Large, gifted Photage sticker used to create branded tote. | Image via Instagram | Designed by the author (Image & Sticker).

& if you’re looking to create visually with the YouTube platform in mind for distribution.

Understand where you can go. The YouTube Partner Program recently made changes to the list of rules & standards for Creators seeking acceptance, & a share of the platform’s advertising. 1,000 subscribers & 4,000 hours of watch time over a one year period are the minimum for consideration for the YouTube Partner Program.

Partner Programs, as I understand them, are similar to the idea of having a share in a company. A certain amount of money is expected to come to the platform (YouTube in this instance) in ad dollars, & based on a projection of that amount, an average payment can be guaranteed to a creator who reaches certain benchmarks.

As a contributor to the Medium Partner Program, I have a familiarity with & gratitude for platforms seeking alternative methods to pay the individuals who create the content that make their platforms a destination for distribution, as opposed to simply counting out the possibility of payment.

Google Preferred YouTube Creators are the 5%, allegedly vetted… although how this happens is unclear, & able to make an increased share of ad profits due to their increased ability to pull in engaged viewers.

Some Tips for Getting There

Do a bit of keyword research. This little task goes a long way with just about anything you put out there as a part of your online presence, especially if you want it to stick, &/or resignate.

Here’s a tool for YouTube specific Keyword research. Think of your niche, medium, or even subject matter important to your desired audience, type it into the search bar, & receive the most relevant i.e. searched for keywords.

What are you going to do with your niche relevant keyword search results?

Use them naturally in the title & caption of your video, use them in the title of the file you save after uploading the video to your computer, use them when you write a caption anywhere you may share the video. Concepts as advanced as meta tagging (however advanced that actually is) to hash-tagging, are examples of why using these keywords matter. Humans search keywords, algorithms use them for sorting & presentation purposes, & the concept of tag & keyword usage is basically interchangeable in in regards to the benefit.

Other common sense tips gleamed from Digital Marketer & YouTube Creator Syed Balkhi, via Forbes:

Affiliate Marketing: My own insights on this are to only accept affiliateships from brands that are authentic to your work or platform. Knowing that I wanted to do something different in the space of online publishing around inter & transdisciplinary arts & the people who makes as well as interact with it, made deciding to work as an affiliate with brands like publisher TASCHEN, design focused brands like Agent Provocateur & Frank + Oak, or even Milk Makeup - the cosmetic spin-off of a creative agency, a natural fit. A chance to talk organically about things I would have anyway & to be paid to do so, because the the work & affiliated brands resonate with the audience.

Most of the brands this space, & by extension myself, are affiliated with are managed through the Rakuten Platform, where publishers & brands are able to connect, sharing marketing tools & opportunities when collaborations are agreed upon.

Vintage + Curated Lifestyle Items   | Shopping Supports the Postmodern Indigenous platform & related entities.

Vintage + Curated Lifestyle Items | Shopping Supports the Postmodern Indigenous platform & related entities.

Making money from affiliate marketing (essentially sharing affiliate links) is a very involved process, one that can be hard to make money through, & one that may help you land a space at an agency.

Pool, Wilhelmina Creative, MILK, these agencies may come to mind when you think of spaces visual creatives may find a home, & sustainable avenue for their efforts. As I’m the one who’s listed them, they obviously came to mind for me.

However, YouTube Creators, according to a cred building name drop form The Cut, Media Kix is the majors. The space you can hope for at 300k+ subscribers - where collaborations & ad share rakes in Jenna Marbles money (it’s more than ok if you don’tt know who that is, but her career is a benchmark for money that can be made in the YouTube space; more on that from the NY Times.)

Plan out a schedule, be clear about your niche, but also be open to any changes that may come along due to anything from something that needs to change about the process for you, or something you want to change about the content for reach, it’s all about your individual goals.

You get to choose the Thumbnail that appears when your video is recommended, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THAT.

Share your subscriber link when you share your content. People like shortcuts.

Natalie Alzate, of Natalie’s Closet (almost 6 million followers), keeps her advice even simpler while speaking with The Cut a camera, a laptop, time… are listed as the sole necessities for getting going, though I hope this information serves you.

This writer (& one time PA) would also recommend true interest in what you’re doing. Speaking from experience, the work I’m most excited about doing now has come about so organically. I owe some of my current opportunities to a persistence & growth that has allowed the right people get it. That persistence could not have existed without authentic engagement, involvement, or understanding.

The intention behind how & why has to be more than just an elevator statement.

Ashley Jones