Well this is a nice start to the week!
Today I’m featured in the Irish Times chatting about the positive impact of working as an artist through the global pandemic. This is my second interview with the Irish Times discussing life as an abstract painter (the first covered what it’s like to be an artist in London) and it was a real feel good interview because I was able to talk about something good growing out of a really tough situation.
This time last year I was concerned about maintaining my career as all scheduled exhibitions were cancelled. I can remember sitting on the sofa at home crying to my husband because I just felt that everything had fallen apart and I didn’t know how to pick the pieces up and mend them back together. I don’t think I’ve ever felt like that- a pure sense of loss of control. Of course, countless people also felt the same, particularly small business owners.
So what did I do? There are times when you have to stand back from a situation and assess what you can do. I’m a big believer in being proactive. I recognised I had tools at hand through my online presence but I’d never made them ‘work’ for me. For example, I had a website but it wasn’t really doing anything bar charging the annual domain fee. I also had a small social media following and wanted to use this as a starting point to reach out to people. Initially, I didn’t feel very confident about putting myself ‘out there’ into the mass space that the internet takes up in our lives now. I felt vulnerable and awkward but then I realised I am a pinprick in the ocean that is online presence and online presence is what I needed to keep my work moving during Covid- so I just thought what’s the worst that can happen?!
The first thing I did was sign up to #artistsupportpledge in April of 2020. If you are not aware of this amazing initiative this post will give you an insight. I also applied for funding and was thrilled to be a recipient of an arts bursary award from the Womens Irish Network in Conjunction with the UK Irish Embassy.
This spurred me on to update and educate myself about the workings of my website. I was clueless as to how my website worked and was frustrated for not paying attention to it before. I signed up to SEO School through Marketing with Menekse. This was a big decision but one I’m very glad I took as I now understand what SEO (Search Engine Optimization!) is and how it benefits my online presence.
A year later, I’ve connected with art collectors ( budding art collectors as well as connoisseurs of abstract painting) around the world, created and sold more work than the previous year and have expanded my studio space. I realised that sometimes abstract painting is considered inaccessible. To challenge this, I began sharing what I do in my studio day to day. As a result, I’ve built amazing relationships with international followers. I now do Wednesday evening studio updates on my Instagram @aisling_drennan_art (6pm- ish UK time) and really love hearing back from people who are following what I’m doing and learning about how I make paintings.
As an Irish artist, I’m particularly appreciative of the amount of support I’ve had from home. Ireland has a massively rich cultural history and I think Irish people are proud of this. Geographically, Ireland is currently my biggest buyer & I’m really happy that this has been highlighted by @mkelly.fashion.ed & @irishtimesnews Thank you to everyone who has liked/ shared/ saved and chatted to me via DM over the past year or so- it’s been an adventure!!
Here’s the full article if you would like more insight & here is a link to my most recent paintings . If you fancy occasional updates from my studio with a few nice surprises in between, please sign up for my newsletter below -Thanks for reading, Aisling x