We had the good fortune of connecting with Theresa Haberkorn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Theresa, what’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with?
I attended a workshop a few years ago with a group of artist friends taught by a CU business professor that had talked about how all businesses or products fill a need. It wasn’t that we disagreed, but we had a hard time as artists getting our heads around what kind of need our art can fill besides as my husband jokingly calls it, “an empty walls solutions provider”. Since then, I’ve thought a lot about this and came to realize, especially over the last year, how art really does fill a need besides decorating blank walls. It can give hope, inspiration, change, and so much more. During the pandemic my collectors have written me to let me know how much my work means to them, and how it makes them smile to see it every day in their homes. It was also interesting to see how low artists were placed on the list of essential workers, but the images and murals we’ve all seen on social media in the last year is how we’ll remember this time.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I think that no matter what industry you are working in, it’s best to build a community of peers and friends. They aren’t your competitors, but your allies and champions. A good reputation, word of mouth, and networking is so valuable and goes a long way to getting offered or recommended for new opportunities. Artists can have a reputation as being flaky, but having integrity, professionalism, and meeting your deadlines will set you apart from the amateurs. Everyone probably knows that being an artist is hard. It is a long slow road, but if you consistently make the best work you can and get it out there, it will get noticed. Actively seek out opportunities or create your own but be careful of being offered “exposure” for your art instead of getting paid. In the wilderness people can die of exposure! Can you imagine any other profession being asked to do something for free in exchange for “exposure”? Evaluate an opportunity and decide if it aligns with your values and goals. Who will you be exposed to? Curators and art collectors or the general public? Some things really are worth the time and effort, but value your work, time, and reputation.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
That’s hard to say since I haven’t really left my house in a year besides going to my studio and the grocery store! When I feel more comfortable venturing out, I would start in Boulder at my studio neighbor, Moxie Bakery’s Feed and Seed for some pastries to snack on during a visit to Rocky Mountain National Park, and then come back to Boulder for dinner and a pint at the Bohemian Biergarten. On Saturday we’d go to the Boulder farmer’s market, have lunch at the Dushanbe Teahouse, then see what’s exhibiting at BMOCA, and finish the night seeing a show at Red Rocks.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My parents, and especially my Mom were so instrumental in nurturing my creativity as a kid. My middle school teacher saw my talent and encouraged me to apply to my high school, the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg, Florida. All of my teachers there gave me such a great foundation in art that I’ve built my career from. My printmaking professor at University of South Florida, Brad Shanks was also instrumental in encouraging me to keep up with printmaking after graduating university.
Facebook: : https://www.facebook.com/THaberkorn/
Studio photo: Paul Stern