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Illustration by Simon Wiltshire for Making Art Matter by Emilya Colliver, Art Pharmacy.

27.10.20 | Emilya Colliver, Founder and Director

Why Do We Need Creative Translators?

We have long considered ourselves “creative translators”. We are in the unique position of having insight into the concerns of our clients, and the unique and varied nature of an artist’s world, at the same time.

Do you need a creative translator to help you?

We find that our clients often have a different set of concerns and values to those of our artists. It is vital to recognise this and manage balance in a way that is sympathetic, productive and fair.

Our clients’ priorities can include meeting deadlines, occupational health and safety, compliance and budgets, addressing stakeholders’ needs, managing internal expectations, representing their organisation’s policies and values, telling a consistent brand story, communicating a unique message, and ensuring the safety of everyone involved.

Artists also have their special concerns and priorities. Artists are concerned with their ethics, making a living, seeking creative fulfillment and self-expression through their work, developing their practice and building their profile, and creating their legacy. The reality is that an artist’s career is multifaceted and most artists are involved with many projects at one time. They may be taking part in an artist residency, creating a body of work for an exhibition, teaching courses, submitting pieces to art prizes, and working on other private commissions all at once.

The two perspectives are not necessarily at odds with one another, it is important to create a productive dialogue between artists and clients, to communicate to each party what the other is aiming for and what must be achieved, and to carefully and equitably navigate the way to reach the necessary and desired outcome.

Our job is to be the creative translators. We gather information from our clients and translate it into a language that the artists will work with productively. We recognise the differences in priorities and communicate them to the clients and artists. We can brief artists so they understand a client’s key goals, and we know what an artist can and should be asked to do and how to guide a client to understand this too.

We can communicate these sometimes subtle, often major differences in priorities to our clients and artists. We recognise that the success of a project often depends on the successful melding of client and artist worlds, so if you think you might need a creative translator, get in touch with us.

This is an edited excerpt from Making Art Matter by Emilya Colliver, Art Pharmacy.

Making Art Matter builds a bridge between artists and organisations, governments and the corporate world. It will help you to bring art into your life, workplace and suburb. It offers insights into the art world and how artists work, what motivates them and the practicalities of what they do.

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