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  • Writer's pictureStuart Jarvis

Concrete Chronicles no.5

If you're reading this blog—count yourself as a true fan! Okay, you might be my dad (he's a regular reader)—if so, thanks for coming back, Neil! However, for the rest of you, particularly those whom I've never met, you belong to a small group of people that take a genuine interest in me and my work. You are a super fan. You’ve invested in me by showing your support and encouragement, taking pleasure in my small wins, and helping finance me along the way. I am truly grateful, thank you.


So why is this important? Well, to all fellow artists and anyone who has attempted a new venture, success often hinges on commercial interest or some sort of critical feedback. You'll know there are plenty of mistakes to make—especially in the early days.




You don't need to dig deep in your research to learn how to best showcase your work before being overwhelmed by a range of social platforms, marketing experts, and eventually a wide but shallow spread of work that requires a significant amount of effort.


This brings me to today's reflection and what I believe to be a smart realisation.


I am now solely working with the materials I want to use, developing work only from the subjects that truly inspire me.


Thus, to all you super fans who adore my brutalist, concrete, and urban work—you're in luck!



I admit I fell into the trap of not really knowing what type of artist I am. Since stepping away from the classroom, I have not maintained consistency with my subject matter. Though I have generally worked from architecture and love to work in charcoal and paint (most people know me for the former), I have been pandering to the crowd—or at least what I thought the crowd wanted! But I have realised this approach was my biggest mistake.


Ironically, my local Uppingham drawings have sold well. However, this is not my ultimate goal nor my true calling. I've always had a fascination with drawing harsh, ignored architecture, a passion I was hesitant to admit. I often felt I needed to justify my attraction when, really, I should allow the art to speak for itself.




A close friend, and successful creator/entrepreneur, recommended a keynote by Jack Conte (Death of the Follower) that tackles the alarming issue of platforms like Facebook (and TikTok, which is by far the worst) promoting content based on engagement metrics irrespective of the material's quality. This will always be subjective. However, Facebook's goals are not my goals. Jack Conte believes that deeper connections are significantly more important to artists than mere numbers of connections. I've, therefore, come to realise that selling work that does not align with my primary creative concerns, just like the clamor for follower numbers, is a flawed approach to success especially in the long term. This is highlighted in Conte’s talk...




Building a meaningful relationship with fans goes beyond liking my posts on Instagram it involves engaging them to subscribe to my newsletter. This is now my long-term strategy. It's about fostering trust and a deep connection to my work and enticing them to want to learn more.


So, no more parish churches? Well, not for a while at least—you can purchase all of my Uppingham works through my print shop;-)! Instead, at the risk of losing a few followers and maybe even subscribers, I will be working only on the subjects I love to observe and the places that inspire me most. After all, this will surely elicit my very best work.

Deeper connections, not more connections. Delve deep into the details of what matters most, no matter how seemingly mundane they might appear to others. Remember, there will always be people who love your work, no matter how niche the subject matter. They are true fans, super fans—just like you.

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Jane Popham
Jane Popham
May 12

Enjoying your blogs Stuart. Your unique style and love for this concrete jungle fascinates me also, albeit no intention of following in your footsteps! I’ll continue playing as a hobby artist!!!

Jane.

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