MarshArts Puts Your Artistic Priorities into Perspective
Marchanae "Marsh Willi" Williams Is a multimedia artist, with knowledge of the entrepreneurial World. In addition to her talents in drawing, painting, and designing, Williams also has an extensive background in sales, administrative, and marketing herself. In 2012, she started her own susinesses selling her creative services under Marsh Arts. Everything Williams advises is from pure experience. She speaks on ways multitalented, independent artists can better market themselves, constantly improve, and help other artists to do so.
MW: My name is Marsh Arts. I’m a graphic designer. I also do illustration, web design, and I’m actually learning motion graphics and video editing. I also paint murals, portraits, and abstract.
NC: So you went to school for it?
MW: Art Institute of Chicago. That’s where I’m From.
NC: Chicago has a good arts scene too. What’s the difference between how Atlanta accepts arts and how Chicago accepts it?
MW: It’s more warming here. I think that’s the best way I can put it. Chicago, yes it’s dope, but it’s very structured and hard and stubborn. When you’re around it, it’s amazing, but I think once I ventured out, the Atlanta arts scene was more toward my vibe I think. It was just warming. The first time I came out here, I was like “yeah, this is it.”
NC: So what would you say is your vibe?
MW: Very chill, very laid back. I don’t know that’s a hard question.
NC: In your artwork and design, what’s something you try to incorporate?
MW: So my type of style of art that I do, I call it Organized Mess. So of course, by going to school for design, I have that OCD in me that I have to have something perfect. But also, I incorporate my style and feel to it. Yes, it’s mess, but it’s in the right spot. So It’s just an organized mess. That’s how I describe it.
NC: You’re varied in your skills. You do paintings. You do drawings. You Do graphic design. For artists here in Atlanta, how important is it to be multifaceted? Is it easier or better to be skilled in one thing?
MW: Me personally, I never want to be skilled in one thing. That’s why I chose graphic design as well. I won’t say it’s easier, but it is profitable. Physically, emotionally, spiritually, if you can do multiple things and you can multitask, then you can’t be turned down. You can venture out into other things that you’ve never knew you liked or stumble upon [something] and say “I can do this, I can do that”. People may ask “Oh do you know someone who knows how to do this?” and you can say “Yeah, I do that too”. That’s why I picked graphic design because it’s so broad, but it taught me everything that I know, computer wise, and then I just took it from there.
NC: What is the most important thing for a starting artist to develop. Yes, you can be multifaceted, but what’s the most important thing?
MW: Business, if you’re going to be in the art world. If you’re going to do stuff for yourself art wise, you have to know the business as well. The first thing you should do, or know is networking, and then take it from there. Working with other people, getting your name out, marketing. Putting new product out there. For me, it’s art shows; Getting into all these different art shows, letting people see my work, networking everywhere I go, and hopefully finding a marketing person. But I do everything myself I don’t have a marketing person.
NC: What’s the most effective way to get your name out and your work out simultaneously, and having to be social? What’s the best way to approach it?
MW: Every way. It’s not just one way to do it, which is unfortunate, but it’s also fun at the same time. How I’m marketing myself is my logo. I have a logo where I have all my tools that I use wrapped into one. So you know what you’re getting yourself into when you see it. I use mailchimp, social media at least twice a day, word of mouth, and I also connect with other people who are not in my field. So yes, they’re still artists, but musicians and people who don’t do what I do. I try to connect with them. So word of mouth, who you know, your work ethic. If you really want it, you will find a way to get it.
NC: Digitally, socially, and skill-set wise; Digitally, what is the most important thing for an artist that is promoting and networking themselves?
MW: Social Media. In today’s world, it’s one of the biggest. Socially, word of mouth...and emails. In art shows, you can do all of the above. You can exchange information, show yourself at the same time, and then make future arrangements.
NC: What about skill sets?
MW: That would be doing your talent or your craft in front of somebody. Live-painting, live-drawing, or even if you’re on the computer and you’re designing, record yourself doing that.
MW: Some people like to see the process of what you’re doing. People like to see that you’re physically doing it. They always see the result, but they don’t see the process of how you got there.
NC: It makes sense. I go on Youtube to see people’s process, even for things that I don’t do, but I’m interested in. Behind the scenes...people like that.
MW: To keep them coming back, you'll record yourself doing a project, but you don’t finish it. Then you tell them to stay tuned, and they have to come back like “Oh, where’s the ending of it?” Also at art shows, if you do live art. Or if you go to art shows, I was just at one last night, I always either paint something, or draw something so I’m not just sitting there. People could see I actually can do it.
NC: How important is schooling in the art world? Did you learn this all in school, or trial and error?
MW: Before I went to school I was already drawing and painting. High school actually taught me how to paint, because I knew how to draw since elementary school. College taught me how to design. Honestly looking back, after graduating and everything, you can do it by yourself. It’s just they type of person that you are. If you’re the type of person who needs school to help you stay focused, go for it by all means. If you’re the type of person to say “Hey I can do this. I can teach myself. I can go on Youtube and teach everything myself.” It’s just whatever works best for you. Me, personally, I think it’s the best of both worlds, because yes, I went to school and that helped me tremendously, but also the things I’m learning at the school that I’m teaching by myself, or if someone is willing and gracefully willing to teach me, I get the best of both worlds. As far as knowledge in business, I grew up in business. My family was always in business, entrepreneurship, and everything. So I got that growing up. Plus, I’ve taken it further by taking business gatherings and clubs. That teaches me without going to a classroom, but still teaching me business. It just depends on you, and where you’re trying to go.
NC: As far as marketing yourself, how it that different as a multitalented individual, versus somebody that only does one thing?
MW: Well, I’ve learned this the hard way. Even though you’re multitalented in a lot of things you can’t push everything to the front at one time. This is from me learning from trial and error, so I definitely can attest to this. You have a main goal in life, or your end result in life. You have to start, or build a foundation to work up to that. I have graphic design and art shows as my foundation. Now I can do music videos, and editing and commercials. That’s the step above. I just keep working different steps and skills until I get to the main goal, and then I can have that opportunity to say I don’t have to do those things any more, but I still can. I still have it, and people are still eager to see me do those things because I don’t do it any more. You do one at a time. It’s like a mountain.You succeed at one thing,but you can’t say at that mountain forever. You stay steadily moving. So you go up, you’re gonna have to come down, but when you come back up it’s a new skill. That’s how I see it.
NC: What can you speak on when it comes to doing everything yourself?
MW: For people that are doing things themselves, just keep going. One thin about your passion, your goal, your aspirations, whatever the case may be, your purpose...Anything that is worth it is going to be hard. That’s just simple. If it’s not hard to get to, it wasn’t worth it, and it won’t last. Anything that’s hard to go through, keep going, because as soon as you get there, it’s going to be amazing, first of all. But you won’t get there if you stop moving. Eventually you’ll end up somewhere if you keep moving. Just keep doing what you’re doing and I know right now I have no fuel inmy, but passion is my fuel. So knowing where I want to go and seeing that I can get there. That fuels me to keep going in the now.
NC: What are you doing now, what are you doing next?
MW: I just officially retired 3 art pieces. My next thing I’m doing, I’m dropping new pieces starting on the first of December. 7 new pieces.
NC: Is there a theme?
MW: There are 2 themes. There’s 4 sets. I haven’t really figured out a particular theme yet, but I know they’re going to be something by the time the first comes around. They’re all done on this ipad.
NC: Maybe that’s the theme.
MW: It’s guided towards helping others. The four sets are basically helping others. The other 3 sets are about Black Love, or love in general. That’s how I like to display my art. If I can help you through my art, good. If you can learn something from it, good. If you can take something from it, by all means.
NC: What’s something artists can do to help each other?
MW: What I do to help my art friends, at least is I keep them in the loop of where I’m going to be at, like at my art shows. I’ll tell them “Hey guys. I got this art show going up, get in it.” and i freelance. So if I get overwhelmed, I go out to other artists that I know like “Hey, do you want to help out to get this piece to the client?” and I at least try to put money in their pocket or guide them to where they need to go and take them new places that I’ve gone that people have not showed me, or places that others before me have taken me. Just pass the torch. There are going to be artists regardless, and you know the struggle, you know the process, you know what to expect. If you know somebody else that’s going down the same path, the least you can do is try to help them and to get them to there, so they won’t have to go through the same thing, if they’re not stubborn.