Comic-book artist gives career advice to the Teen Artist Guild at Phoenix Center for the Arts
ArtistAndy Carreon, far right, speaks to members of the Teen Artist Guild on Saturday afternoon. The group meets at Phoenix Center for the Arts and teaches young artists how to plan acareerin art. (Taylor Bishop/DD)
Comic artist Andy Carreon spoke to members of theTeen Artist Guild at the Phoenix Center for the Arts on Saturday afternoon about the importance of marketing their artwork and believing in themselves.
“Being an artist, a big part of it is marketing,” Carreon said. “As an artist you have to know marketing strategies. You have to be the businessperson. You have to know your industry. You have to know how to sell your artwork and you have to be confident.”
The attendees seated themselves in an informal circle in one of the galleries at the Phoenix Center for the Arts. In this small yet welcoming space, Carreon shared his journey as an artist and provided his tips for success in today’s art world.
Carreon admitted that when he was first starting out, the roadblocks he was facing felt like huge walls he could never climb over. However, he shared a piece of advice that someone had given to him years ago that helped him overcome those roadblocks.
“I wasn’t going to do the comic-book art,” Carreon said. “I didn’t believe that I was good enough to be in with these guys who were great illustrators, until one professional who worked for Marvel and DC, she tells me ‘You don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not good enough to be here,’ and after she told me that I started sketching.”
When Carreon encouraged the teens to stick with their art even if people put them down, it resonated with 14-year-old attendee Nancy Twishime.
“I liked when he said that someone told him that anything’s possible, that you can do anything,” Twishime said. “I really like that because it just shows that nobody can tell you what you can’t do; you’re the one who tells it to yourself. And whether you choose it or not, that’s your call, not anyone else’s.”
Carreon spoke to the next generations of artists to give them the down-to-earth advice many artists never get, he said. He attempted to both inspire them and facilitate their journey into the art world.
“When you go to an art school like I did in college, I met some really great illustrators, some really good artists, and the professors were excellent,” he said. “I did very well in college; I was in the top three. But all that art teaching and all the great grades I received, not once did they show us how to survive out there, out in the field.”
He had to learn how to market himself and get recognized by the larger art companies. This type of experience is common among art-college graduates, said Sandy Zally, the Teen Artist Guild director.
“When I first started as an artist, my art school taught us how to do art, but they didn’t teach us how to get a job doing art, so I didn’t get a job doing art,” Zally said. “I didn’t do art for a living. I did all kinds of other things and eventually I came back around and started creating art and teaching classes, and every artist that I talked to had a similar experience. Nobody taught them how to do art, they had to figure it out on their own.”
The Teen Artist Guild began in January 2014 to help young artists avoid similar challenges.
One of the biggest tools that Carreon talked about was the Internet and the extent to which it helped him market his artwork.
“I realized the possibilities of staying at home and using the Internet as a tool to show your work,” he said. “And I’ve been doing that for the past 23 years. Every day, every single day I post a sketch or a work of some sort to help me show my art.”
Carreon reminded the teens that in order to successfully market their work they have to keep their passion for art alive, despite monetary troubles or other negative external forces.
“It’s not because of money, it’s because you love what you do,” he said. “I’m happy when I draw, and you have to be. If you’re not happy drawing it, or painting, it’s not good because you will never be the best that you can. You have to love what you do.”