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The Thriving Artist - The Clark Hulings Fund 10th September 2016
Never Settle in Your Art Career

Never Settle in Your Art Career

For Felicia van Bork, fine artist and 2015 Business Accelerator Program Finalist and participant, pushing the boundaries of her artwork is just a day in the life. As professor, former graphic designer, artist advocate, and inventor, Felicia remains career focused and determined to create art that sustains her career long into the future.

In this 40 minute interview, the listener will gain a sense for how Felicia uses her collages and a commercial mindset – at times – to fund her passion. Felicia explains the importance of networking and marketing, while creating pieces that she loves. As a bonus, Felicia talks about her experience as a Business Accelerator Program participant and the importance of combatting sexism and racism within the art industry.

Funding your passion:

  • Use existing networking mechanisms, such as your gallery
  • Exploring your artistic interests while creating a sustainable and well-funded product
  • Always be willing to sell your works independently of the gallery network through commissions, local events, social media, and email newsletters
  • Subject matter does not determine salability – there’s someone for everything


  • Artists as inventors
  • Maintain the integrity of the archival qualities of your work
  • Document the processes and don’t be afraid to share with other artists and your audiences
  • Remaining authentic in your works, as Felicia puts it, “The uniqueness of my brand is something that I actually don’t worry about”
  • “Create what you love but balance that with what will also sell”


  • Art fairs as an opportunity to put your works in front of national and international audiences
  • Utilizing demonstrations to show techniques and processes
  • Residencies vs. awards

Crossing-over from commercial art to a fine art career

  • Seeing through the eye of a graphic designer (commercial art)
  • “Insanity is a requirement,” only requires small doses
  • “Don’t give up your day job until you have some indication that your work will sell, otherwise you might starve.”
  • “I do not change my art to cater to what might sell” but it’s okay to have a commercial attitude

Arts Education and its influences on the studio practice:

  • “I’ll invent an exercise [for my students] that will lead to a whole series of new artworks for me or vice-versa”
  • “Not only does teaching keep my fundamental skills sharp, it also helps me articulate my thoughts”
  • “Teaching balances the solitude of the studio by giving me a socially gratifying experience”
  • “At this stage in my career, I can make as much money from selling art as from teaching that same amount of time.”
  • “Teaching gives me contact with new ideas that are very valuable.”
  • Demonstrations vs. Teaching

Business Accelerator Program & Grants:

  • Career-focused grant program
  • As a pilot program, the artists participating are able to collaborate with the CHF team to form the program
  • Lessons learned: importance of social media marketing to grow your business