8 Top Takeaways from Camp Minted 2018

With more than two dozen workshops and panels on topics ranging from personal branding to watercolor florals, Camp Minted 2018 was a flurry of all things creative. Though it’s hard to capture every a-ha! moment and key takeaway, here are eight that stand out in the minds of Minted artists who attended the three-day conference in Las Vegas.

Minted Founder and CEO Mariam Naficy and Hiroki Asai at Camp Minted 2018

1. “Do you.” — Jesi Haack of Slaack Productions

During the Defining and Developing Your Unique Personal Brand panel, speaker Jesi Haack of SLAACK Productions summarized her top advice in two words: “Do you.”

We totally get that sometimes it’s hard to figure out what your one-of-a-kind style is, but for a number of Camp Minted attendees, the message clicked. Minted artist Janelle Wourms said one of her top takeaways was in rethinking trends. “Find your own unique perspective if you’re going to follow a trend,” she said.

Before Camp Minted, Minted artist Linda Poole said she focused on getting picks in Minted Design Challenges. “In actuality, I just love design. In the future, I plan on developing my individual style rather than trying to unlock the Minted pick code,” she said.

During the Small Brands That Get It Right session with Minted Founder and CEO Mariam Naficy and Hiroki Asai, Former VP of Global Marketing Communications and Executive Creative Director at Apple, Mariam encouraged artists to let passion drive creativity. She tied that sentiment into the fact that many Minted customers shop with us because they’re seeking uniqueness. “Knowing this makes me feel like sharing my truth is easier—it’s wanted,” said Minted fine artist Mary Gaspar. “I feel more secure following my design instincts. In other words, be your weird self and own it. Learn as much as you can and always be curious.”

2. “Share the story behind your work.” — Various panelists

Themes of uniqueness often went hand in hand with a recurring suggestion for artists to share their distinctive stories—about where inspiration comes from, how they’ve forged their paths, and their creative process. People love learning about the human behind the work and are interested in discovering details like where artists live or the tools they use.

We understand it’s often easier said than done to craft your personal narrative; we suggest asking friends and loved ones what they think makes you interesting. From there, decide what you feel comfortable sharing with the world. Minted artist Lauren Rogoff said she appreciated hearing Mariam talk about the importance of Minted artists’ statements to help customers connect with the people behind the design. “As a purchaser, I absolutely want to get more insight into artists and the inspirations behind their pieces,” Lauren said. “I’m definitely going to work on being thoughtful about the statements I submit for individual pieces going forward.”

Amy Carroll attributes this Minted artist print “Staredown,” as the photograph that ignited her career in fine art photography.

3. “There’s room for all of us at the top.” — Minted artist Amy Carroll

During the Succeeding as a Fine Artist panel, photographer Amy Carroll echoed this sentiment that she heard on the Raw Milk podcast for creative entrepreneurs by Beth Kirby (a highly recommended listen, BTW). Although artists often feel as though they have to compete with other fine artists, Amy talked about how she believes there’s plenty of opportunity for everyone, so long as you carve out your special niche.

4. “Healthy competition helps us grow.” — Minted artist Amy Hall

Several Minted artist-panelists and Camp Minted attendees talked about how Minted Design Challenges help Minted artists improve their skills. Although Minted artists are essentially competing against one another, there’s interconnected opportunities to learn and improve their work through critiques and positive reinforcement. “A huge takeaway for me was the level of support I felt from Minted and the other artists,” says Amy Hall. I also realized that most of the artists were supportive of one another vs. competitive—that both inspired and moved me.”

5. “Set fierce goals but stay flexible.” — Minted artist Deborah Velasquez

During the Succeeding as a Fine Artist panel, full-time artist Deborah Velasquez talked about the importance of defining your goals—however easily attainable or ambitious—to help guide your course. At the same time, Deborah was careful to point out that success begets success, and one door opens another. In other words, once you start getting your name out there, more opportunities are likely to roll in, which is why it’s important to stay somewhat flexible to allow for new opportunities to work hand in hand with your goals.

6. “Be selective with your time.” — Minted artist Amy Hall

Why is it so hard to protect our most precious resource? This is the question many a creative person asks himself, and the answer usually comes down to defining priorities. Amy Hall said one of the points she heard from Minted employees during Camp Minted was to prioritize certain Minted competitions instead of feeling pressure to participate in all of them. “I’ve spent countless hours beating myself up for missing a challenge or trying to figure out why I wasn’t feeling creative,” Amy says. “Over the course of Camp Minted, I realized that most Minted artists struggle with the same feelings.”

In short, Amy now realizes it’s OK to skip challenges and even miss submission deadlines. “For me, when I am less stressed due to family or personal issues, ideas flow. Nothing positive comes from worry about what we could have or should have done. That energy should be redirected toward creativity and passion.”

Deborah Velasquez and Amy Carroll spoke the Succeeding as a Fine Artist panel, with fellow Minted artists Julia Contacessi and Patricia Vargas.

7. “You don’t have to be the best, but you do have to show up.” — Minted artist Deborah Velasquez

In a hilarious moment during the Succeeding as a Fine Artist panel, Connecticut painter Deborah Velasquez likened marketability in fine art to Madonna and J. Lo. “They’re not the best singers, but their confidence and hard work drives their success,” said the artist who wrote the book Drawing in Black & White, and recently led a workshop at the Smithsonian.

Plain and simple, to succeed as a fine artist, you have to show up and market yourself.

8. “We’re all in this together.” — Many Minted artists

By far, the most-heard message at the retreat is that “you’re not alone” and “community is everything.” Independent artists and designers oftentimes feel isolated and alone, but in reality, that’s far from the truth—it’s just a matter of staying connected. “Connecting with artists around the globe leaves me feeling an almost electric connection here alone in my studio,” says Marcia Biasiello, a fine artist in Lincolnshire, Illinois.

Fellow Minted artist Olivia Raufmann echoed a similar sentiment, saying that artists tend to admire each other’s work from afar. “We all admire one another so much, but we’re shocked to find out that others admire us in the same way,” the North Carolina artist said. “So when you’re feeling uncertain—about your work, your place at Minted, your life in general—just remember that if you’re a part of this community, you have a really big fan club.”

We’d love to hear from you. What were your top takeaways from Camp Minted? Share your thoughts in Comments.


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About the Author: Amy Schroeder, Minted’s Community Content Manager, founded Venus, the magazine about women in the arts and DIY culture, and has written for Etsy, West Elm, Pitchfork, and NYLON. Connect on Instagram @thevenuslady.

Kelly Hird contributed to this story.

Published August 28, 2018

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