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  • Iona Hodgson

Art has always been a passion, my journey to running an arts marketing agency

Arts Marketing Agency
Arts Marketing Agency

One of my last professional photography commissions. Promotional images for the Swing Ninjas. @Iona Hodgson.

I remember as a child all I wanted to do was be an artist. I was an avid painter and illustrator all the way though school and I was good at it. Often getting great marks and complements for my representation skills. At A-level I turned to photography and subsequently left behind my passion and natural talent for fine art. Following this, I then went on to do a BA (Hons) in Photography in London and Barcelona which lead me down a 15 year career as a freelance editorial portrait photographer, publishing widely in Spain and the UK coupled with a few stints as a picture editor working in magazines and photo agencies.

After moving home to England in 2011, after 10 years living and working in Barcelona and Madrid I slowly came to realise that a sustainable career as a photographer had become less and less viable for me. In line with my studies from the late 90's onwards, I had seen the birth of digital photography, its movement to the professional sphere around 1999/2000 and had experienced the subsequent fall of analogue film, and the boom of the mass market digital camera, leading to the now of instant image capture in your pocket. A true democratisation of the medium of photography, some would argue. Needless to say the resulting demise of the value of, or indeed need for, the professional photographer became increasingly blatant. Leading to a seemingly perpetual cycle of 'opportunities' to publish in X magazine, great 'portfolio clients' and a completely unrecognisable and unworkable model for a technically and professionally skilled person, who had no idea about how to promote and market herself in a rapidly changing, and vastly overcrowded market.

After 15 years of working towards, dreaming about and achieving the status of professional photographer, I realised that I was going to have to put a stop to what was essentially a failing career. Over a period of a couple of years I entered into a land of self discovery and letting go. In doing so I opened space in my life for learning and moving beyond what had become a toxic struggle of passion, obsession, frustration, insecurity, and poverty. I realised then I had a complete lack of marketing and business skills and as I set off on my new path I lapped up business and marketing courses wherever I could find them. This new insight gave newly energised wings to the entrepreneurial spirit inside me and I began working as a freelance creative producer and project manager, combining my eye for quality aesthetics and my agility for organising things. I loved the diversity and the niche of the work that became my new career. A couple of years into this, still on a steep learning curve I became my own boss set up We Create Projects Ltd with the aim of delivering creative project management and supporting creative practitioners and artists with the business acumen and marketing abilities that I had once myself lacked. I was determined to help people in the same situation as I had once been in, and allow their creative practices to grow and flourish.

We Create Projects Ltd, set up in 2016 soon became the new vehicle for realising my professional ambition (which had never before been so clear) and through the business I soon began to see the demand and need for marketing in the arts, and I spent most of my time developing and delivering marketing projects for my appreciative clients. The company evolved to the what the market was demanding and has recently inspired me to once again expand. After 6 glorious years I have taken a new turn to begin a new venture with three amazing, dynamic and talented women and I now embrace the art of collaboration and with this top team I have set up At Large - a dedicated arts marketing company. So here we are. At the beginning of a collaborative journey.

Join us and lets find the WOW in the now and if you don't know let us show you how.

Iona Hodgson

Director At Large

#artsmarketing #portfoliocareer #destiny #artislife #communicationsagency #artspr #webdesign #creativemarketing #marketingforartists #supportingartists #professionalcollaboration #marketingconsultancy #socialmediamarketing

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