I had the great pleasure of speaking to the Senior Class of Art students at William & Mary here in Williamsburg last evening. Most were fine arts majors (these two had interest in our industry!) but I made my presentation be all inclusive of the various journeys they might experience when they graduate this spring. Since our industry is all about STORY TELLING, I started with telling them my story of being a fine art major like them, and oil painter as well, working for a NYC magazine, then having a family of 3 while continuing to paint and draw, helping begin a RGA Art Guild in Ridgefield CT, bringing performing arts to all the schools there (PYP still going?) , organizing various artist in residence programs in schools, doing house portraits for most realtors in town, etc. till the day a pulmonary Dr. told me I could NO LONGER PAINT WITH OILS…or anything else till I got my asthma under control!
Life changes happen at times in a BLINK OF AN EYE. I’d told the students and SCBWI members at Ringling School of Art and Design the same thing when talking with them end of Feb. But we persevere and find other paths. Art is what we ARE more than what we DO. And there are so many ways to engage in it and share it. I took watercolor classes (only paint I was allowed), worked in an art store briefly; did Interior Design for a company for over 3 years; got half way through a Masters in Art Therapy (until CT froze hiring Art Therapists!); worked for a friend a bit to learn computers etc.; and then began working for an agent in the children’s book market who had just moved into Ridgefield! AND FOUND MY NEW LOVE!
3 1/2 years later I started the CATugeau Artist Agency LLC! Along the way these 22 years since 1994, I helped three others begin their own agencies…one my daughter in law Nicole, who’s taken it to great heights! (Tugeau2) and two years ago my daughter, who was about 5 when the Dr. stopped my life plan in its tracks, joined me in the agency. Yes dreams do come true! ( I must mention that one of my sons, Jeremy, Nicole’s husband, is also a gallery oil painter, illustrator, and now has his masters and is teaching art in a wonderful Cleveland school….another ‘story’ in art.)
Last night I also talked about their ‘letting the art do the talking’…and how to promote themselves and their art so it could do the talking – in whatever field they choose. Also to never put anything out there that isn’t strong or good … each piece ‘tells a story’ people will learn to trust or not trust. I shared a bit about what a business is, and that right from the start they should act like one…goals, relationships, promotion, records and files, accountability etc. I do hope some little fragment maybe helped as they ponder the new beginning that is about to start for them….in the blink of an eye!
Congratulations to all the students, art and otherwise, from William and Mary…and Ringling College as well. Let the adventures soon begin!