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sxsw 2013 visual voice

It's been a week since I returned from this year's SXSW.  I had such a wonderful time speaking on a panel with Suzanne Schloot of Kate Spade and Natanya Anderson of Whole Foods Market, hosted by Jean Schneidnes of Neiman Marcus.

Sharing my personal story:

I must admit, public speaking is something I have avoided for most of my life.  As an artist, I want my creativity to be heard and seen, but at the same time I want to be away from the spotlight.  However, I'm at a stage where I consciously desire to remove old habits and face old fears.  So, I said yes to the opportunity.  For about a month before the panel date I was struggling so much.  I struggled with, of course, fighting the fear of public speaking.  I struggled with turning my daily creative process into words (Why do I Instagram my breakfast? I don't know!).  And then I struggled with the urge of self-sabotage (the good old "Oh, I'm not good enough.").  Thankfully, I'm surrounded by friends that understood my fear and they believe in me so much.  That alone, knowing you're loved, gives power to courage.  Thanks to Joy, Bri, Jen, Sally, Brett and Joel for being there, means so much.  Sorry to sound like I'm making an Oscar speech, but I just have to give hugs to Michael, Joanna and Jacki of The Soil & The Sun as well.  As nervous as I was and as crazy as the scenes were, the time spent on those Austin streets with the three of them was magical.  And then a chance to have my very first Austin's breakfast burrito with Tyler of Handsome Coffee Roaster an hour before the panel was just amazing.  I mean, you can't beat eating breakfast, drinking coffee and listening to a successful business owner sharing his personal stories.  Last person to thank: Thank you, sis, for secretly being part of the audience!  xo

On Visual Voice:

Our panel's topic was Visual Voice: Branding on Photo Networks.  So what is "visual voice"?  Here's a good recap of what we covered and some "live" tweets for little snippets.  I was on the panel, but I learned so much about social media from the corporate point of view.  Here, I'll share my point of view as an artist, a personal brand.  First of all, with everything you do you should get to know yourself first.  You can't sell yourself without knowing what you're all about.  Have the courage to be your true self, then streamline your work, your personal style, your pins, your Instagram... everything should make sense together.  With that, brands and clients with similar esthetic will approach you.  Keep in mind though, when you shift your brand you'll most likely lose some followers, but that's ok because you're losing those (sadly) that you can't connect with anyway.  Having a clear identity and personality will help set you apart.  Of course, there are other factors too, such as talent and hard work.

I know that social media doesn't quite work with all personalities, but it works for me.  I like to express myself visually, I enjoy documenting life and beautiful people and things, so visual networks are perfect for me.  Find something that works for you, if you share your creative outlet people will respond.  I think being an artist nowadays is a fortunate thing because we can take advantage of social media and broadcasting our work is a lot easier and faster.

*image source: my Instagram