Building My Professional Brand

As a graduating modelmaker, I am finishing my course with a wide range of transferable skills and knowledge. I have come to understand myself as a versatile maker, curious to explore all kinds of art and craft activities, that I would like to continue to develop as part of my professional brand.

At the same time, I do not want to make and create for commercial purposes – I want to work closely with people, and use my passion for art to help them. Therefore, I would like to start gaining more experience in clinical settings, using my knowledge of visual arts as a helping tool. To do this, I need to define a personal professional brand that I can use to explain myself to potential future employers quickly and effectively.

To help figure this out, I started out by defining my Points of Parity (POP) that I have, and need to gain, and my Points of Difference (POD). I used my previous research into art therapy as a career, and also attended some Open Days (digital of course!) for various Art Psychotherapy Master’s degree courses. This has been really helpful in gaining a deeper understanding into what is expected from someone working with art in a clinical setting, and has made me even more excited and determined to do this.

Through defining my POP and POD, I was able to write a personal statement that I can use to introduce my professional brand to others. I used this statement as the basis for writing and designing all of my other professional documentation such as my portfolio and business cards.

There is a few ways I have worked to show what I mention in my personal statement in all my other professional documents. For instance, I have shown my versatility as a maker in my portfolio, through my selection of images. Each model and artwork I have chosen for my portfolio, has been significant for my identity as a maker, but also could be used by others to facilitate their wellbeing.

I have also chosen to use an outline of one of my models, as part of my brand. These are my little frog candles, which I started making first as stress management, and later turned into a small side-business. They are important to me, because they are made using the same mould from one of my earlier models, which showed me that I would like to work closely with people in the future. Other design choices include my muted colour palette, which considers the viewer and whether they have any sensory sensitivities.

Note – you can also find little illustrations of the frog candles on this page! Hint, they are used as bullet points.

Overall, I would like to portray my personal professional brand as a curious artist, maker, and facilitator.


Professional Skills and Attributes – What next?

Researching further into art therapy as a field has really inspired me to consider my own personal skills and attributes, and what I could focus on improving to help my professional personality.

I considered my time at University and what attributes I have learned about myself, and what skills I have developed. I have split up the skills into two categories – technical and personal. I have highlighted skills and attributes which I think could be particularly transferable to art therapy as a career.

Studying modelmaking at University has highlighted some of my personal attributes, such as creativity and curiosity. This has been really helpful during projects, as I naturally tended to delve a little deeper into the research which informed my making, and my understanding of the world around me. I have noticed I am very curious about many art processes, and have build up a familiarity with numerous materials and techniques.

My studies have also taught me to develop my problem-solving skills, while emphasising the advantage of building an adaptable mindset. It’s been really useful during moments when my projects went wrong, and I had to use my initiative to find alternative ways of completing my models. I believe this has also been really important in helping me develop resilience and resourcefulness.

At the same time, I have been working in a nursing home for over three years since I’ve turned 18 years old. I also volunteered with children in a school for a number of years before that. I have learnt that I have a really big passion for people from these experiences. I think my listening skills are a strong attribute – in both guiding the students during activities and when talking with the residents. During my time at the nursing home, I quickly learned that people communicate in very different ways, and some may struggle more than others. It has really helped me be more openminded and to find alternative ways of communicating when needed.

My work and studies have also shown me my weaknesses and what I could work on. For instance, I can find time management to be a bit of a struggle sometimes and will need to learn to remind myself of the bigger picture and not hyper-focus on the small details of a task or project. I believe working on effective goal setting might be helpful with this. Additionally, emotional stability is an incredibly important skill for someone working in therapeutic/clinical situations – I would really like to develop this area more in order to be a more active listener.

Moreover, my University studies have also shown me that I often feel uncomfortable working in larger groups. This is something that I would really like to work on, as art therapists often have to work with many other colleagues from different professions. They also often have to present themselves to potential employers, raising awareness of the benefits of art therapy. I would like to focus on expanding my overall business and entrepreneurship skills in general – I already have experience in administration so I think a viable next step is to expand my knowledge and confidence in these areas.

Overall, I believe my experiences have helped me to build a self-awareness of myself and shown me areas that I could focus on more to develop myself as an artist, creator, and facilitator.