How to Write an Artist Biography

Why Your Artist Bio Matters as a Mask Maker

When I first started out as a professional artist, presenting myself initially felt narcissistic. However, I’ve come to understand that advocating for myself is crucial for others to grasp my artistic journey. An artist bio serves beyond self-promotion; it encapsulates skills, passion, and journey, offering a first impression and an icebreaker for potential clients and collaborators. Your bio provides a unique opportunity to articulate your work clearly, especially with masks, which bridge the gap between theatrical tools and fine arts objects. Masks are kinetic sculptures that come to life on the stage.

Through my career challenges—from crafting narratives to marketing my creations—writing a bio has refined what I want to convey. Being dyslexic, writing has always been a torturous task. I often found myself scrambling to assemble bios for interviews, exhibitions, or proposals at the last minute. Because I found it too stressful, I often put off writing one until I absolutely needed it, which is never a good strategy.

This underscores the need for me to make the time and take my time to write an updated, well-crafted bio. It’s not just for unexpected opportunities; it is also an effective tool for self-reflection, clarifying your artistic vision and impact. A strong bio is concise, authentic, and dynamic, ideally in the third person for a polished tone. It should evolve with your artistic journey, staying relevant and engaging. In short, if I can write an artist bio, anyone can. You just need to make time, practice, and be kind to yourself.

Regularly updating your Artist Bio keeps your narrative sharp

Tailoring your bio to current projects and growth to enhance impact. It’s about connecting with your audience, It aligns expectations and can help build relationships based on mutual respect. To ease the anxiety about artist bio writing, try creative approaches like audio journaling or an outsider’s perspective. Draw inspiration from others’ bios and seek feedback for insights.


How to Write an Artist Bio for Mask Makers

Crafting a concise and compelling summary of your career as a mask maker is essential whether you work in theatre, film, or fashion. Your artist bio serves as a vital introduction to your creative journey, pivotal for grant applications, theatre programs, and your professional website. As a professional in the creative field, writing a bio may feel daunting, as you seek the best way to highlight your passion and expertise. Before getting into crafting a bio as intricate as your finest mask, understanding and adhering to industry standards is crucial. Consider your artist bio as your elevator pitch—a succinct narrative that captures your artistic essence in just a few lines, suitable for quick absorption at conferences or in magazine contributor sections.

Key Elements of a Strong Artist Bio:

  • Begin with your name in the opening sentence.
  • Write in the third person perspective for a professional tone.
  • Highlight career highlights such as awards, publications, and degrees without excessive embellishment.
  • Include relevant facts about your career, such as affiliations or notable projects.
  • Provide a link to your professional website for further exploration.

It’s essential to distinguish an artist bio from an artist statement, which delves deeper into personal motivations and inspirations in the first person.

Examples of Artist Bios

Here are three tailored artist bio examples that demonstrate effective storytelling for mask makers:

1. Douglas Witt “Douglas Witt, a passionate mask maker specializing in theatrical masks, integrates meticulous craftsmanship with expressive designs honed through his background in prop making at Stratford Theatre. Doug’s work has graced stages at prestigious theatres like Stratford and  the Princess of Wales Theatre, his is best known for his commitment to enhancing theatrical narratives.”

2. Sarah Chen “Sarah Chen, an innovative mask maker renowned for merging traditional craftsmanship with contemporary aesthetics, elevates her designs on international fashion runways and film sets. Her masks are celebrated for intricate detailing that transforms visual storytelling.”

3. James Rodriguez “James Rodriguez, a versatile mask maker spanning theater, film, and art installations, pioneers avant-garde and historically inspired designs. His masks are commissioned by major theatre companies and exhibited globally, reflecting his exploration of new techniques and collaborations.”

By following these principles and examples, you’ll confidently craft an artist bio that not only showcases your artistic journey but also invites new opportunities.

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Pricing a Theatre Mask: Starters Guide

Being an artist is a full-time job where you must wear many faces—creator, promoter, manager, and salesperson, among others. Setting realistic expectations and being honest is crucial to your success and well-being.

This is a starter’s guide and a place to begin your journey. These strategies worked for me when I was starting out as a mask maker, and they can provide you with a solid foundation.

When pricing your masks, it’s essential to cover all costs, reflect the quality and uniqueness of your creation, and achieve a fair profit. This involves considering material costs, labour, and overhead and conducting thorough market research.

Remember, it’s not just about making art but valuing your craft and ensuring its sustainability. It’s also important to tailor this basic formula to your specific needs. The most critical advice I can give you is to copyright protect your work the best you can and continually reinvest it into your business. The money you invest isn’t a piggy bank for you to dip into when you want extra cash; it’s a way of building sustainability into your business model. Reinvesting allows you to grow, expand, upgrade your equipment, and take workshops to improve your skills.

This guide is a good starting point, but remember, an artist’s journey is unique and personal. Tailor these principles to fit your vision and goals and continually seek ways to protect and reinvest in your craft. Doing so creates a sustainable and thriving business that honours your art and dedication.

Here’s a guide to get you started on how to approach this:

1. Material Costs

Calculate the total cost of all materials used in making the mask. This includes:

  • Base materials (e.g., paper, glue, silicone)
  • Decorative elements (e.g., paint, fabric, feathers)
  • Tools and equipment costs (if significant and not part of regular overhead)

2. Labour Costs

  • Determine the time to make the mask from start to finish and assign an hourly rate to your labour. Consider your skill level, experience, and the intricacy of the work.
  • Example: If it takes 10 hours to make a mask and your hourly rate is $25, the labour cost would be $250.
  • Remember, a teacher’s fee is different from labour costs. If you’re teaching mask-making, you’ll need to determine a fair rate for your teaching time, which may be higher due to the added value of your expertise and guidance.
  • Example: If you teach a mask-making workshop that lasts 5 hours, your teaching rate might range from $50 to $100 per hour, depending on your years of experience. Thus, the teacher’s fee would range from $250 to $500. This reflects the value of your time and knowledge as an instructor.

This is an important topic that deserves a blog post. I will discuss it in greater detail in a future post.

Remember you are deserving of a livable wage and you should be paying yourself accordingly so that you can continue to work as an artist and thrive.

3. Overhead Costs

Factor in overhead costs such as:

  • Utilities (electricity, water)
  • Rent (if you use a separate studio)
  • Wear and tear on tools

4. Market Research

Research similar products in the market to understand the pricing range. Look at:

  • The quality and detail of similar masks
  • The reputation of the makers
  • Where they are sold (e.g., online platforms, specialty shops)

5. Profit Margin

Decide on a profit margin that reflects the value of your craftsmanship and allows your business to grow. This is typically a percentage added to your costs.

Example: If your total cost (materials + labour + overhead) is $300, and you want a 50% profit margin, you would add $150 (50% of $300), making the initial price $450.

Next, factor in the average shipping cost. Assuming the average shipping cost is $100, you would add this to the initial price, resulting in a final price of $550.

It’s essential to factor the shipping cost into your pricing.

This is impossible to know upfront as shipping costs change daily, so you must find an average cost and add that to your mask price. This will take some learning. I find it easiest to call the postal office and ask them. This will also differ depending on your country and whether you’re shipping the mask(s) within or outside your country.

I live in Canada, and shipping outside is often costly. Most clients don’t factor in shipping into their budget or undervalue what shipping will be. So, this is one of the first things you should consider before taking a job. I have had horrible experiences shipping my work outside of Canada; this comes with the job. There is no way around it; I find it very stressful and anxiety-inducing to go through the long process of creating my masks only to have them lost or, worse, show up to the client’s place crushed or warped.

Once, my masks were held up in customs for months because I insured the parcel for its worth. Despite the client showing up to the warehouse where the masks were on their end, they got sent back to me, taking several more months to get back to me, and they were crushed to the point of destruction. I lost a valuable customer, a commission, opportunities, and all the work and effort I put into the masks. Ultimately, I was compensated for the shipping cost, and the artwork was a write-off.

So, what do you do when this happens? There are a few things that can be done to avoid or deal with this, which you should discuss and be upfront with your client from the first conversation. If you’re shipping your work to another country, always ship it overnight or the fastest way possible. This will cost you more, Yes! But it will keep you from losing your mind and reduce the amount of anxiety while it’s in transit.

Ensure the client knows they are buying a mask from an artist outside their country and make them aware of the shipping issues that may happen, like shipping delays and the loss of their parcel. These are issues out of your control. I always try to ship my work out two weeks before the client needs the mask(s). If a delay happens, the client will get their mask(s) around when needed or within a few days before or after.

When making the mask, I create a silicone press mold for the clay form of the client’s mask, and I make two copies. If it gets lost in transit, you can go straight to the painting and detailing of the backup mask and have the replacement in the mail within days. You will be out of the cost of one mask, but you will keep your client. I also keep the mould, make my version of the mask, and have it up for sale if there is no disclosure agreement contract.

After a year, I contact the client and see how the mask(s) worked out for them and let them know I have the mold for sale should they wish to purchase it and buy the copyright to it so they can reproduce the masks for themselves should they need a replacement of their mask(s) in the future.

This is always a good idea if you know the masks are for theatre companies who tour with the masks you made. If the show is popular, it will be a good investment for them. If they say no to the leasing option, recommend that they buy a copy of your mask if they can afford it. Then, let them know within a set number of months, you will be making copies of the masks for the public to buy, much like a print run on paintings, and then you will be destroying the mould, and they will not be able to make carbon copies of the masks for future use. This is an excellent practice if you’re working for large theatre companies, and this will help free up space in your studio or house.

The second option is recommending another fellow mask maker for the commission. This helps with networking and supporting fellow creatives.  Also, they may live in the client’s country, making mask purchases easier and faster to ship. I know this seems counterintuitive Because one part of the job is to help the client connect with other trusted mask artists. It’s good for networking and can create collaborative opportunities with other artists worldwide, which could bring you more work in the future. I have had this happen a few times, which has always lessened my work and stress load.

In cases where a fellow mask maker brings me a contract, I always send that artist a 5-10% finder’s fee, depending on the size of the contract, as a thank you for sending me work. A finder’s fee creates good work karma in the industry, and it ensures the right mask maker gets the work. We are a global network, after all, and we are connected by our passion for mask-making.

Pricing Strategy

I initially followed the standard way of pricing my work like painters, usually framing x3. However, this was not a very good method for pricing masks. I researched and talked to other mask makers to see how they charge for their work. I found that many of them do not have a method. So, I relied on my value system and tried to make it reflect closer to my needs and cost of living. I then compared it to other artists doing work and masks similar to mine.

But this is an ever-changing market, and the numbers change with each commission, so in short, these are just starting guidelines. It’s really up to you to play around and find out what you need to charge.

That’s why asking the client their total budget is always a good idea before you quote them a price. There is a lot of nuance involved in this process. Not all commissions are equal, which is confirmed when working for theatre companies, the movie industry, or personal commissions.

My only advice is to be upfront and honest with what you need the job to pay for yourself to feel well compensated and be clear with the client. If you can’t do the job within their budget, you need to change your strategy and offer the client an alternative, cheaper style of mask(s) to reach a cost agreement or walk away from the contract. But even then, I would recommend another artist to the client so you can keep open communications.

The most important thing is to make sure you feel good about the sale and project before putting all that on your plate.

Regarding finder’s fees, this is something I came up with after years of working and collaborating with other artists. It’s a way of keeping networking connections alive and making sure that clients are in contact with the right people, especially when it comes to a client who would like me to reproduce a historical, cultural mask specific to other cultures outside of your own, like Indigenous peoples’ masks, Japan’s Noh masks, African masks, and any other culture’s traditional masks. This is a choice I’ve made and an ethical form of mask-making; it’s important not to cross some lines or justify this as a type of cultural appreciation when it’s just appropriation for profit.

Just because I can recreate other cultures masks, doesn’t mean it’s okay to appropriate another culture’s work for your gain.

If you think I’m on a moral high horse, I urge you to contact a fellow mask maker from the relevant culture and ask for their perspective. This is the best way to gain insight and come to a proper conclusion. If your reaction is, “Why would I do that?” then it’s a strong indication that you know it’s morally wrong in your heart, and you shouldn’t be reproducing those culturally specific masks.

Usually, clients who want this kind of work from me do so because they can’t afford to hire a mask maker from that culture and see me as a cheaper alternative. I would much rather see someone who is trying to make a living preserving their cultural mask-making traditions than make money through appropriation. It’s a matter of self-respect and morality for me. This is something I am personally passionate about.

If you feel too shy to contact another culture to ask questions, gain insight, or seek permission, I invite you to contact me at I can help answer your questions if they involve something I don’t know, or I can help you connect with someone who can.

If you think this isn’t an important topic and feel you should proceed because you can and need the money, I encourage you to reflect deeply on your stance. Appropriating cultural symbols and masks for personal gain disrespect the rich traditions and meanings behind these artifacts and contribute to a broader pattern of exploitation. As AI becomes more integrated into mainstream society and our day-to-day lives, your feelings about the moral grey areas you’re navigating might change. Consider how AI-generated art is starting to impact artists, particularly those who create masks. The technology of 3D scanners, 3D printers, and the potential for one-touch mask-making could disrupt your livelihood in ways you might not yet anticipate.

Just as the marketplace has historically taken so much from cultures in the name of self-promotion and profit, AI might similarly undermine your role as an artist. This parallel is crucial to understand: the same ethical considerations you may overlook today could soon be used against you. By respecting cultural boundaries and advocating for ethical practices, we can collectively push back against the commodification of art and culture, ensuring that all creators are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

6. Uniqueness and Artistic Value

Consider the artistic value and uniqueness of your mask. Theatre masks, especially custom-made or highly detailed, can command higher prices due to their uniqueness and the artisan’s reputation.

7. Target Audience

Identify your target audience and their willingness to pay. Theatre companies, professional actors, and collectors might be willing to pay more for high-quality, unique masks.

8. Pricing Strategy

Decide on a pricing strategy:

  • Cost-plus pricing: Adding a standard markup to the cost of producing the mask.
  • Value-based pricing: Pricing is based on the perceived value to the customer, which might be higher than the cost-plus pricing.

9. Investing Back into Your Art

One of the best advice I would give my younger self is to reinvest a portion of your earnings back into your art. This ensures you always have funds for art supplies and business expenses, allowing you to maintain and improve your craft. Here’s how you can approach this:

  • Allocate a Percentage: Dedicate a specific percentage of your earnings (e.g., 25-35%) to a separate fund for purchasing materials and covering business costs.
  • Budget for Supplies: Regularly update your budget to reflect the costs of materials and tools needed for your work.
  • Plan for Growth: Use part of the reinvested funds to explore new techniques, buy higher-quality materials, or expand your business capabilities.
  • Track Expenses: Keep detailed records of all business-related expenses to help manage your budget and ensure you’re reinvesting wisely.

10. Things I Wish I Knew as a Young Artist

Just like it’s important to reinvest in your mask-making company, ensuring you’re charging the correct amount for your work and knowing when to increase your prices is essential. As an artist, it may seem counterintuitive to charge more, and at times, you might even feel like you’re being greedy. However, gaining insight and knowledge about these subjects will ensure you can continue to work and attract higher-profile clients. This isn’t an insult to your current clients;

you’re offering a premium product, and the simple truth is you need to charge accordingly for your skills, time, and the cost of living. Scraping by and the image of the starving artist is an outdated stereotype that must be unnormalized in society. It’s simply not true, and making life harder on yourself will not make you happier or better as an artist.

Photo By Scott Lough

Finding the happy balance between the cost of your work and its market value takes time. Look for the artists who seem to have the life you want and see what they’re doing, or check what they charge for their masks and use that as a base price framework for your work. The kind of mask-making you do is old-school handmade craftsmanship.

Each mask I make takes about 10,000 pieces of hand-torn paper, and I do not compromise on materials to make masks faster. This is tempting to do in today’s world of rapid-made objects generated with a button, but it’s important to remember that’s not the market you’re after. I want to appeal to people with the same sensibilities about making high-quality, hand-crafted masks in traditional media.

If you want to keep creating this kind of work, you need to build that into the overall pricing of your work.

Recording and Keeping Records

Another thing I wish I had done in my early days was to keep better archives of my work. Keeping records of your work gives you insight and allows you to look back and see the progress of your work over time. Never take what you do and create for granted; this is your creative journey, and you’re building your body of work.

Creatives are good at making new things; for many of us, the thrill of the hunt or creating something new drives us. Once we have completed that, we move on to the next challenge, and looking back, the work from our past can often feel cringeworthy. We remember how good it felt to make that, but now we do better work.

This doesn’t make your past work less valuable, and your work will resonate with people who cherish it the same as your newest works.

This is why learning about protecting your intellectual property is so important. If you work in the movie and theatre industry, you must defend and demand more for your work and keep your design rights. You never know how successful your designs will be, and you may miss out on hundreds, possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars and lose the rights to your design. These need to be discussed more, especially in today’s social media era and the rise of AI-generated artwork. I will discuss this in more depth in the future. For now, the real threat is other artists and people exploiting you and your work for their profit, giving you zero credit.

Retaining your copyrights is crucial right now. Value all your work; it’s yours, and you should always be able to decide where it is used, reproduced, repurposed, and how it’s presented.

Build in these options; these should not be foreign ideas or taboo topics to talk about. You must always look out for your best interests. Insist on these things and pick clients accordingly. It may seem scary to say NO and walk away,  but it’s the difference between being able to eat, live indoors, and having a studio and supplies versus struggling. Too often, I see artists hungry for work who say yes to jobs that exploit them, only to make a few dollars and still have to scrape by.

Knowing When to Increase Prices

  • Increased Demand: If your masks are in high demand and you’re struggling to keep up with orders, it may be time to raise prices to match the market demand.
  • Improved Skills or Quality: As your skills improve or you incorporate higher-quality materials into your masks, you can justify increasing your prices to reflect the increased value.
  • Economic Factors: Monitor changes in the cost of materials, inflation, or other economic factors that may impact your production costs. Adjust your prices accordingly to maintain profitability.
  • Market Trends: Monitor the pricing trends in the mask market. If other artisans are raising their prices, it may indicate that customers are willing to pay more for quality work.

Legalities and Ownership

Understanding and protecting your intellectual property is crucial. You own your work and must make it known that you reserve all rights. Consider offering a leasing option for your work, especially if you’re working in the industry. Your designs could be in rotation for years. Also, look into royalty options and profit sharing, but make sure your client is aware that it will cost them leasing rights if they want exclusivity for your designs. This was a lesson I learned the hard way, and it can save you from heartbreak and stress in the future.

  • Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA): Movie studios and theatre companies frequently use NDAs to protect their creative work. Familiarize yourself with these agreements, as they ensure that the information you share with collaborators, clients, or manufacturers is kept confidential and not used without your permission.
  • Protection of Intellectual Property: By asserting your ownership rights through copyrights and trademarks, you establish your authority over the design and production of your masks. This protects your creative work and enhances its value in the market.
  • Importance of Documentation: Keep detailed records of your designs, production processes, and sales transactions to establish a clear chain of ownership and protect your intellectual property rights. Consult with legal or intellectual property professionals to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations. By understanding and implementing these legal protections, you can secure your creative work and confidently share it with the world, knowing your rights are safeguarded. Adjust your pricing accordingly to reflect the added value of these protections.

Carefully considering these factors and reinvesting in your work, you can set a fair and profitable price for your theatre masks while ensuring the sustainability and growth of your business. Remember, many of these tasks are challenging, and feeling overwhelmed is natural. Becoming an artist is a process, as is learning to sell and market your work. No one is perfect, and allowing yourself the space to learn and grow is essential. Stay motivated, stay honest with yourself, and embrace the journey. Your dedication will pave the way for your success.


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Knowing Your Worth as an Artist

Have you ever stopped to think about why you create art, specifically masks?


For me masks have a transformative secret to them. Give someone a mask, and on stage, they can tell no lies. It’s a rare thing in this world, almost mystical in its power. Masks bring out the best in people, teaching us so much about ourselves. For those of us who create masks, they guide us on an introspective journey that is as deep as the ocean and as infinite as space.

In School Mask Creating Workshop, NT
“Monk” on Nice Ice Island, Somewhere at -50 degrees on Great Slave Lake, NT

I’ve been making masks for 30 years and am still discovering their power as theatrical tools. Masks have helped me grow as a person, connecting me to cultures around the world and their mask-creators, their traditions, to history, and science. They have given me the legs to stand in front of hundreds of people to express my deepest inner truths and vulnerabilities. Masks allow me to communicate without words, and my passion for mask creation and teaching fills my life with joy.

Masks have given me so much, dear readers and fellow creatives. They have given me the strength to stand in front of hundreds of people and tell stories. They have been my closest friend in my darkest times, unlocking many doors to creative opportunities to collaborate with other artists around the world, to work in the movie industry, and with some of the best theatre companies in the world.

“Mask In Motion ” in school Larval Mask Workshop, NT

Most of all, masks have given me confidence in myself and the ability to express my unique point of view of the world. Of course, there have been times when people’s criticism and feedback have caught me off guard. Early in my mask-making journey, some people had visceral reactions to my work, which sometimes included rude comments and, occasionally, even the destruction of my creations. I have come to appreciate all feedback, both good and bad.  Even unwelcome criticism doesn’t bother me. When people react to my work, it tells me volumes about who they are. I’ve learned that people can only meet art in my case my masks as profoundly as they’ve met themselves.

Elder “Be’sha Blondin” Playing her Bear Skin Drum Yellowknife, NT

Creating art is a journey of connecting with yourself and others around you. Some get it, and some don’t. Those who don’t just need to look deeper inward, and the world will open up to them as it has to me.

Over the years, I’ve had the rare privilege of seeing the profound impact masks can have on healing, nurturing and fostering creativity. One of the most significant experiences was working in the Northern bush communities and in the Arctic with kids in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. My workshops brought kids back into classrooms, helping people to heal troubled and weary hearts in communities that have been rebuilding themselves after surviving intergenerational trauma from the fallout of the residential schools that harmed so many of my fellow brothers and sisters.

Emotional Awareness Mask Creating In School Workshop. NT

Working with Indigenous people all over Turtle Island (Canada) has shown me the resilience of the human spirit. These people have helped me grow into a better person along my healing journey. In Calgary, I worked with unhoused people, helping them reclaim their voices and identities and reminding people that everyone has stories to share and gifts to bring to the world.

Reggie Grey-Star, Invisible Project, Calgary AB





Masks have grounded me, seeing me through struggles with deep depression, dyslexia, weight issues, and all the hardships that come with life. Masks have sustained me, housed and been a constant source of inspiration. My passion for masks gives me the strength and courage to engage with the world.




Mask Creating Workshop Yellowknife, NT


If you’re struggling to see the value in work, I say this: Look at your work and yourself in a mirror. Say everything you want to hear about your work from your harshest critic. Smile, laugh, and always be kind to yourself. Life is too short to worry about what others think of your work. After all, they are just meeting art as deeply as they have met themselves. Maybe your work has helped them on their journey to meeting themselves.

Invisible Project Rehearsal, Foothill Shelter Calgary, AB

Your art as a mask maker has value and a place in this world. It’s not always easy to put your work out there for all to see and critique, but remember why you make art. Trust in your work and love what you create. Those who cherish your masks will find you. Art will make you strong on the inside, and those who understand your work will resonate with it.

Keep creating, believing, and sharing your unique gifts with the world. Your masks can transform, heal, and connect us all.


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Thrive and Stay Alive: June’s Creative Odyssey

Hey there, fellow mask maker! Welcome to June, when we’re on a journey to explore the heart of our craft and uncover the true essence of our worth in this vibrant world of creativity.

Before we get into the details, I want to highlight that this month will focus greatly on the intricate aspects of running the business side of being a mask maker. These are topics frequently inquired about by fellow Mask Creators looking to expand and turn their passion for crafting masks into a full-time pursuit.

However, it’s not just about the intricacies of pricing strategies and negotiation tactics. Equally important is confidence—in yourself and your craft. Let’s be honest: the most challenging part of recognizing your value as an artist is feeling deserving of financial compensation for your work, which sustains and enables you to flourish. These are skill not taught in art school or at least it wasn’t taught with i was student. I will share what I have learned in the last 30 years as a mask creator and teacher who can help you.

The first step on this journey is acknowledging that someone wants to collaborate with you because they cherish your work and envision creating something exceptional together. I’ll admit, for many years, I accepted every job opportunity I could, often neglecting my basic needs to sustain life and my studio. These are challenging lessons to learn, particularly when starting. Accepting some harsh truths and navigating the realities of selecting who you collaborate with are essential steps in this journey.

Still, every job offer brings its own set of challenges. I struggle with the decision to ask for what I’m worth. But it’s important to recognize that saying NO to a project that won’t help maintain your equilibrium or cover your basic needs is crucial. This is where a mantra I often use comes into play:

“I don’t owe anyone affordability; If their budget can’t accommodate me, that’s their issue, not a reflection of me overvaluing my designs, time, and years of experience.” 

While it’s flattering to be sought after for your work, it’s not worth sacrificing your health, studio, or livelihood. This is where self-awareness comes into play, and you must decide whether to walk away from a project or adjust the client’s needs to fit within their budget. Also, you always want to make sure you have time for yourself and for other contracts.

Before starting with concept designing and sculpting, it’s crucial to ask the client about their mask needs and whether you can achieve their vision within the timeframe, budget, and quality they require. The best way to open this dialogue with your client is to ask them to pick two options from the “Rule of Three” diagram. This approach helps you and the client focus on what you can realistically achieve while ensuring you are paid a reasonable wage for your time and effort.

Later this month, I will publish a checklist and questionnaire for you as a mask maker to ask your clients who want to commission a mask or masks from you. Additionally, I will post a checklist for clients who wish to commission a mask or masks from an artist. These resources will outline the dos and don’ts, encourage open communication with your client, help you visualize their ideas, and effectively accommodate their needs.

Throughout June, we’ll explore various topics to support your journey:

1. Knowing Your Value: Embracing the Worth of Your Art

2. Pricing a Theatre Mask: Comprehensive Starter’s Guide 

3. Part 1: Client Questionnaire for Mask Makers

4. Part 2: Commissioning Masks: A Client Checklist

5. An Art Challenge

6. Preserve Your Art: Archiving and Documenting Your Creations

The ultimate goal is to encourage you to think deeply about the details, giving you a broader perspective on your mask-making goals and helping you reach your potential.

Click here to see what the Rule of Three is.

So, let’s embrace this month’s theme and discover the true value of our artistry together!


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