Reeve is a musician in Charlotte, North Carolina. She writes music, performs regularly (and is part of my kids' favorite band The Mud Puddles), and is a teacher with Music Together. She has spent years becoming friends with some of the most talented musicians and songwriters in Charlotte, NC.
photo by Jeff Hahne. 7 bands represented, 2 promoters, one host, and one club owner on one stage!
1. Seek out your local open-mics, knitting groups, dance classes, art classes, photography walks, etc. Go to all of them in your area and then figure out which one feels right for you. Go EVERY week and get to know the regular folks and hosts/teachers. They are most likely also looking to make a connection with the people there.
2. Surround yourself with people that inspire you but don’t think they have to be artists. Cause they DON’T! Some of my most inspiring and creative relationships are with stay-at-home mom’s that the most creative thing they do is color with their children. That doesn’t mean they aren’t creative thinkers or speakers. They might say something that amazing that can inspire you to write a song or paint a picture. Make sure you tell them that they inspire you to create - that can really mean the world to people and it will make them feel more connected to you and your art.
3. Get over yourself! Don’t surround yourself with people that are less “talented” than you just because you want to feel like the best. That is one of the quickest ways to lose creative friendships. You should invest in friendships with people that are better than you, ones that are you are better than, (and the most scary) ones that are your “competition”. It can be a really special relationship when you put your ego’s aside and create a friendship with your peers.
4. Don’t over promote yourself or your art! Nobody likes hanging out with someone that only talks about themselves...AND (this might be the most important thing) Be confident in your art but NOT cocky! This goes the other way too - beware of people that are always over promoting themselves and are too cocky!
5. Make time to go and support people’s openings, shows, events, and classes. Don’t expect to get in free unless you are willing to cover them for your next event. Another artist showing up to your event can really make the artists night! Remember - don’t use the event just to promote you!!! You are there to show support.
6. Go deeper than the art. Get to know your artists friends for more than just their craft. It means so much to me when a friend wants to know about the other parts of my life than just music. I try and do the same and the friendships that I’ve succeeded in this have always been the best!
7. Don’t give advice or criticism on your friends work unless they ask for it. And when they do make sure to be honest but gracious. Remember that most creative people are also pretty sensitive people and they are most likely pretty attached to their work. On the other hand when someone gives you criticism - don’t take it personally! They are not criticizing you!!
8. Beware of people who only want to be your friend for your connections. Sometimes it’s hard to tell at first but they will show themselves pretty quickly. Make sure you don’t spend too much energy trying to cultivate those friendships - they will not be worth it in the end!
9. Make time to just get together and try and create! You may leave with nothing finished but you will have had a wonderful time trying. And sharing your creative ideas with someone can be a very intimate thing and will help you create an even closer relationship.
10. If you like someone’s work (wether you know them or not) tell them with thoughtful words not just “i like it”. But don’t gush! That usually makes an artist feel uncomfortable. But they usually really appreciate a well thought out compliment. Also - an email or note after a show can really mean a lot to an artist.
Edited to add: I (Hayley/Tiny Twig) have tried to format this post 10 times...it will not save in Typepad...soooo, forgive the annoying lack of paragraph breaks in the list!