Trying to Make It As An Artist on Instagram, with Kate Zambrano

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By Antrese Wood, Conversations about the business of art, and Inside the artist studio. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

What does it look like to see your career take off as an artist on Instagram? Is it a sustainable model or has Facebook’s acquisition taken all fun and profitability out the platform? I put all of these questions and a lot more to my guest, Kate Zambrano.

Kate is a fine artist based in California specializing in realistic portrait art and figurative art, made up mostly of females. Sometimes described as dark art, her work is a personal study of human psychology and complexity. Kate creates melancholic body languages and expressions, capturing the nuanced truth.

I can’t wait for you to learn from Kate’s unique perspective - I know you’ll find what she has to say is knowledgeable and entertaining!

Putting in the hours

Sometimes it can take a while to find that medium that you love and there are some artists like Kate who fall head over heels in love with their medium quickly. While Kate enjoys painting, she really comes alive when she uses charcoal. Kate says that charcoal fits her because of her very “Black and white” way of viewing the world. She also loves color and vibrancy, and she loves to express that when she paints but at the end of the day - charcoal is Kate’s one true love. Kate has incorporated some of the skills she developed as a painter into her work with charcoal, and you can tell!

Falling in love with charcoal

Sometimes it can take a while to find that medium that you love and there are some artists like Kate who fall head over heels in love with their medium quickly. While Kate enjoys painting, she really comes alive when she uses charcoal. Kate says that charcoal fits her because of her very “Black and white” way of viewing the world. She also loves color and vibrancy and she loves to express that when she paints but at the end of the day - charcoal is Kate’s one true love. Kate has incorporated some of the skills she developed as a painter into her work with charcoal and you can tell!

Navigating Instagram

Instagram - do you love it or hate it as an artist? Have been able to grow your audience and deepen your connection to your followers? Kate enjoyed a huge boon to her business and her career as an artist once she began posting on Instagram. Quickly, Kate became quite the force as a popular artist on Instagram - then the bottom fell out.

A year and a half ago, everything changed with Instagram’s algorithm - small businesses that were thriving on the platform started shutting down left and right. Since they reworked the platform, artists like Kate have noticed that their content hasn’t been getting nearly as many likes or engagement as years past. Instagram’s change has had a huge negative impact on Kate and her business. She thought the decline in support was attributed to her skill and ability as an artist. Today, Kate is doing a lot better - she found a new way forward and shifted her view of success.

Kate’s view of success

What does success look like for Kate today? With all the instant validation of Instagram no longer factoring into her view of success - Kate has had to rethink her personal definition of success. Kate is now focused on maintaining a positive attitude and a healthy mindset - she believes that forward thinking and staying in-tune with her emotions will put her back on the right track. Professionally, Kate finds encouragement in the positive feedback she gets from her peers - she’s not chasing approval, but she’s grateful to get it from her friends.

Outline of This Episode
  • [0:45] I introduce my guest, Kate Zambrano.
  • [2:45] How Kate decided to pursue a career as an artist.
  • [6:00] Practice and repetition.
  • [12:30] How Kate taught herself to draw.
  • [15:10] Kate describes her artwork.
  • [20:45] Why charcoal is Kate’s favorite medium.
  • [26:25] How to enter Trekell’s pet portrait competition.
  • [35:10] Kate explains how she got started on Instagram and what has changed.
  • [44:30] The challenge of making it as a female artist.
  • [50:10] Kate’s view of personal and professional success.
  • [53:30] What Kate is obsessed with.
  • [1:01:20] How to connect with Kate.
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