David Marques is a ceramic artist who creates intricate one-off porcelain and brass wall installations for private and public spaces. In the past he has worked extensively with Portuguese porcelain and crystal manufacturer Vista Alegre. Since he joined Cockpit Arts Deptford in 2014 he has been working on several new projects and developing his practice.
What new product, service, business system or project are you introducing to your practice and why?
I’m currently trying to implement some structure in my practice and develop the way I communicate and market my work. Since graduating three years ago, I’ve been focusing on developing my body of work and I’ve been leaving aside this very important side of my practice. Following participation on LCN I felt an almost direct impact in my practice: I’m more systematic, focused on the right things and I’m spending less time on the admin side whilst achieving what I need to, which in turn gives me more time to spend on my creative and making processes. So overall I feel more in control.
I started by writing a business plan, writing down my ideas, what I want to achieve and how. Alongside this I am developing some new spreadsheets to manage my bookkeeping, which has given me a precise picture of my finances and has helped me forecast my expenses. In the past I have tended to get sidetracked by my creative practice, so these help me to get back to the focus point. I’m also using a timeline chart on my wall. I have a clear view of all my deadlines and have segmented my tasks using colored post-its, which I place on the timeline. I can easily change what the priority is according to the deadline and therefore don’t miss any tasks. Lastly I am now putting more attention into social media platforms, such as Instagram and Twitter. Once I am effective on these platforms I will join other new ones and expand my reach.
What was the main motivation behind your application to the LCN programme?
I saw that the LCN programme at Cockpit was focusing on topics such as planning, finance, communication and marketing. All the tailored workshops seemed very interesting and came at the right time with my own practice and current needs.
What is the most useful advice or tips you’ve been given on the programme so far?
I’ve signed up to as many workshops as I could and kept a curious and open mind. All the workshops are designed in a way to make you ask questions about yourself and your practice, helping you project yourself in the right direction. Amongst all the practical tips you learn from your mentors and peers, you get the ability to put yourself in a bigger picture and identify where your weak points are. Whatever your problem is, through a step by step approach, observation and perseverance will help you come to a positive outcome.
In one of the first workshops we did a practical exercise creating a timeline plan for the business. On a big sheet of paper you draw six columns to plan for the next 6 months, each column is then divided into four smaller sections for each week in the month. Using colored post-it notes we identified all the projects and tasks that we needed to complete in the next 6 months and placed them on the plan. Using this method you can change the actions very easily, add more, remove etc. It is so simple and so effective! I can’t believe I didn’t think of it myself before. I’ve been using it almost every day. It’s always there and I know exactly what I have to do and when.
What plans do you have after LCN?
My plans are to keep developing my practice and capitalise on the skills I’ve gained from the program. One of the main goals for me is to develop customer relationships. This is one of the things I find most difficult in my business. Through LCN I’ve got a better understanding on how to approach customers and will be looking for new opportunities through my existing connections and new ones.
So far, I already feel more confident in my practice and I have been working on implementing what I have learned. I’m also looking forward to seeing how all the things I’ve learned will come together. I’m very happy and optimistic about the future!
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