STEAMhouse Create First Planning Meeting: A Thrilling Vision for an Irresistible Artwork?

My first meeting to plan out the Create Programme step by step

Spoiler alert of my plans ahead…

Jubilant at being selected to take part in the Create Programme it was with some trepidation that I faced the reality of planning out the next seven months. It’s still a bit mind-blowing to me that these facilities and specialists are now at my disposal. I managed to beat the traffic and conquer my nerves to make it in. My first meeting was with Lily Melody, a technician with a BSc in Product Design and a background in model making. Lily has a focus on supporting prototyping, making her ideal to run through the options.

Prior to the meeting I’d been asked to consider the following three questions:

  1. What are we trying to do? 
  2. How are we going to do it? 
  3. What do we want at the end? 
What How Why graphic? Artwork planning from inception to launch

These seemingly simple questions took a lot of deliberation to answer. At this point I want to seize every opportunity. Expressing that is not easy! It was a process of plucking up the courage to ask myself all the sub-questions that these three questions trigger and find the resolutions to them.

  1. What are we trying to do? 
  2. How are we going to do it?
  3. What do we want at the end?
What are we trying to do? Artwork planning from inception to launch

What are we trying to do: We’re trying to create a scalable end art product, hitting at a retail price of £75-100. Ideally a bas-relief in full colour.

How are we going to do it? Artwork planning from inception to launch text graphic

How are we going to do it: via digital suite inductions, learning new software and meeting with lead technicians to customise the options.

What do we want at the end? text graphic artwork launch process

What do we want at the end: to have an established scalable process for production of affordable artworks. To know the full costings for each work and gain traction in new markets.

What How Why and lightbulb graphic to illustrate planning art process

The challenge those questions presented me with was tough. Here’s the thought process behind the elevator pitch answers:

What are we trying to do?

My first rule in the Create Programme process is to celebrate every little success. Some of my failures have been quite spectacular and as an artist rejection is always on the horizon. Ultimately, my answer to Question One is that we’re trying to unleash an irresistible product and find the target customers who simply cannot live without it. 😊

Isn’t it weird to call an artwork a product?

It feels odd to me to see my deeply personal artworks as products to be marketed. However, altering my mindset towards has been life-changing. It’s allowed me to think about the business side of art, product pricing and how to make the stories behind the work spread further. It gives more people the chance to enjoy the zany thought process that goes into each one.

How are we going to do it?

It’s eye opening how much things have changed in a few years. My digital skills need a lot of work. I haven’t taken any digital courses since art school part 1 way back in 2010. I’m excited to learn more and satisfy my curiosity about materials and process. The digital suite covers 3D printers, laser cutters and resin casting and the wood and metal suits have CNC machines, glass cutters and welding facilities. If this cannot satisfy my curiosity for materials, I don’t know what will!

The second part of the how tackles the marketing side of the new artworks. To date, the majority of my sales are of exclusive bespoke work which has restricted the market. In order to be successful on the business and marketing side, it’s essential for me to start finding ways to work smarter. Recession-proofing advice also relies on having multiple price-points in order to keep a wider customer base.

What do we want at the end? 

There are so many sources of information out there, ranging from artist selling tips to small business advice. What most excites me about STEAMhouse is the range of specialists in one place. Gaining access to the right tailored advice should unlock previously hidden possibilities, it’s like hitting the jackpot! A few months ago my goals felt unreachable, now I feel part of a STEAM team chugging towards them.

When a goal feels unreachable you need a team

Working through the questions prior to the meeting, then delving deeper with Lily has clarified what the end game is. Most incredible to me is that the Create Programme is free (fully funded) until March 2023. Knowing that deadline is there also pushes a sense of timeliness and accountability. The next step is the General Induction…watch this space 😊

You can keep up with my latest artworks and shows via my Instagram or by joining the mailing list here.


Welcome to STEAMhouse! The perfect place for your business to grow!

My Portfolio sister website Charlie Kirkham

recession proof business – Mandie Holgate

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