I am happy to work on short one-off projects, or over an extended period. I have found many of my clients maintaining an ongoing relationship. Priding myself in the referrals I receive and growing network of successful and establishing talents. I am well networked having worked with both national and international partners. Below are some ways I have worked including testimonials from satisfied clients.
Rod was my mentor and business skills tutor on the PGCert Business & Digital Skills for Artists and Designers at the University of Hertfordshire. I learnt so much from Rod, in so many areas, from his extensive experience and inspirational guidance. I think Rod’s real skill lies in challenging assumptions and behaviours in a totally constructive and supportive way – he opens you up to new ways of thinking and working. Rod would also reveal nuggets of wisdom which, once out in the open, were blindingly obvious….but which none of the class had previously seen! One of his sayings comes to mind on a regular basis and always makes me stop to think before acting: ‘If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got’.
I arranged for Rod to run a morning workshop with the year 2 fine art degree students at South East Essex College as part of the professional practice module they complete. The module is designed to focus on the development of a student’s personal, transferable, specialist and employability skills to meet the demands of professional practices in the contemporary art world. The workshop focused on career opportunities in fine art. This can be a confusing area considering the range of unconventional vocations within the art world. Rod made the session engaging and extremely relevant to the student group and was able to draw upon an interesting and diverse background in lecturing, community arts, residencies and arts administration. In my experience fine art students can be somewhat hostile towards activities such as career planning and skills analysis but Rod managed to facilitate a very interactive session which many of them found quite inspirational
My first experiences of Rod were at University where I attended his Professional Development workshops. My initial impressions were that he was a ‘live’ tutor who was actually working in the industry, this was important in making me feel connected to the world I was about to face once I left Uni. His anecdotes and advice felt relevant and really made me think about where I wanted to end up. Now that I am a practicing artist I still refer back to my notes from his workshops, although not as much as I should, to remind myself of what I am trying to achieve and to force myself to scrutinise my practise. In fact just thinking about his words is making feel like I really must get on with sorting out my website and make time to develop my work rather than stagnate. Rods approach is fresh, enthusiastic and motivational. In his workshops he made points which I really value; the importance of following up leads, thanking people, staying in touch and being selective.
I asked Rod to work with me in developing a skills profile among the freelance Creative Agents working on the Royal Opera House Creative Partnerships programme. It was a challenge to get 30 people previously established in Creative Partnerships with disparate skills, working practices and a range of experiences to collaborate on this exercise. Rod combined rigour and sensitivity in all his dealings, supporting less experienced creative freelancers to examine areas for development and challenging entrenched attitudes where necessary. He achieved this through well-designed workshop and online exercises and then took people through a 1-2-1 consultation process, helping them identify what they needed for themselves. At every point Rod balanced the success of the programme and the positive experiences of everyone who works for the Royal Opera House. It was a pleasure and a professional highlight to work with Rod.
Rod worked with us on a series of training and mentoring projects over three years in association with Brighton Art Fair and Bright Craft Fair (MADE). We found the training sessions of huge value in preparing exhibitors, many of whom did not have any experience of direct interaction with the buying public, to present their work and themselves to best effect in the intense and competitive environment of an art fair. Exhibitors talked through issues such as goal setting, presentation materials, pre-show marketing, pricing, hanging/presentation strategies for the space at the show, verbal presentation to visitors, strategies for closing a deal, and how to follow up leads and build on opportunities. Rod enthused and stimulated participants in the programme with a discernible result in the professionalism of the exhibitors to the show; their marketing before the show and their presentation to the visitors at the show. Rod backed up the programme with 3 sets of written notes – Preparation, At the Fair, and Follow up – which enabled all exhibitors to benefit from the programme. We found Rod a great facilitator to run such a programme, he developed a programme perfectly tailored to the needs of the participants, he engaged and enthused the participants and results were noticeable.
Rod presented a one-day training session to help us prepare for our annual Open Studios. It was very affordable for the 15 artists who attended. He is an instantly like-able and charismatic character for he made all us feel energised, upbeat and positive. He was full of sharp and specific detailed tips on what we could do and gave us inspiration to go that extra mile. In my 10 minute one to one session he provided intelligent enlightening observations pinpointing leads to follow up regarding my work and where to take it. Rod McIntosh is someone you never forget.
I had the pleasure of working and learning with Rod McIntosh during the 6 month Creative ConnectionsProgramme I participated on, run by Royal Opera House Education. This professional development experience was designed to support us both in our own individual creative practice and working lives, but also in becoming better facilitators of Arts led Education Training Workshops, both for the Royal Opera House and in our day-to-day business ventures. Rod is a magical amalgamation of talent, wisdom, entrepreneur, and knowledge. He pulls tool-kits for every occasion out of his bag like the masterful magician that he is. I am inspired by both his mystical and thought-provoking works of art and his ability to teach ways in which to translate one’s talent into something commercially viable. Both in group sessions and on a one-to-one basis, his vast wisdom cuts through. He is patient, kind, and deeply considered in his approach. He is an impeccable role-model, amazing listener, patient mentor and provider of solid, sound and practical advice. The effectiveness of his teaching and mentoring is showing its successes in my growing body of work. There is really nothing missing in his cauldron of insights.
I was very fortunate to receive training and guidance from Rod when I participated in the Creative Connections course at the Royal Opera House. He illuminated, by example, that an artist is someone who is also a mentor and these two ‘wheels’ enable a person to move forward, rather than go round in circles. Rod also advised and encouraged me, through one to one sessions, he has the exceptional talent to view the potential of the person in front of him from an enlightened yet highly practical perspective.
I have known Rod both personally and professionally for over 10 years. During this time I have constantly maintained a great respect and admiration for him. His help and support has not only been helpful but extremely insightful. I have experienced his balanced judgment and sensitivity diffuse potentially difficult situations when he was director of the Florence trust. During initial work devising and delivering corporate workshops he was an in invaluable and astute mentor. The quality and delivery of advice and information he delivered during a professional development course for artists was appropriate, clear and menaingful. More recently his encouraging words and confidence in my abilities during my mentoring of other artists for the University of Hertfordshire was characteristically sensitive. Rod’s clarity, level headedness, humor and warmth inspire confidence and trust. He has been very influential through the development of my career as an artist, educator and facilitator.
I met Rod through the i10 course Developing Your Creative Practice, he led, a few years ago I gained some precious feedback on my artwork and how my business partners work could affect how my work would be perceived. Rod helped me through the difficult decision of dissolving the partnership amicably and giving me the confidence to go it alone. Rod’s advice has been invaluable, and his encouraging words have brightened some of the cloudier moments in my creative progression. Through mentoring sessions his advice/guidance has helped me to set achievable targets and goals in my artwork and career. One was to earn my age by the time I was 30, which I’m really proud to say I have achieved. The business skills learnt during the i10 and Post Grad course, he taught has improved my business acumen and project management ability, and has led to a career managing community outreach projects across the East of England for the heritage sector. When I was offered the opportunity to talk to some of Rod’s most recent students on inspiring career development, I was very flattered, and hoped that between us our enthusiasm would be contagious.
I wouldn’t be where I am without Rod McIntosh – and I really mean that. The work, the concepts, the art practice are all my very own, but Rod has been the catalyst to enable me to be where I am today, doing what I do today. In writing this testimonial I have looked back over some of the work that I have done with Rod, and particularly the business plan I wrote on the PGCert course in Business Skills for Artists and Makers. One of the things that has struck me about Rod is the enduring nature of the work he does with you. Since I met Rod three years ago I have gained massively in confidence and self belief. A real shift has been made in that I now see value in what I do as an artist. Before working with Rod on the PGCert course I would not have believed that it was possible or credible to change occupation to be an artist who could achieve an income from her work. I could not even describe myself as an artist prior to the programme and this has been the biggest shift as well as self belief. I was engaged in a profitable consultancy business with my creativity as a satisfying side line – now it is my occupation and I am not looking back. Rod helped me to exploit the way I work naturally (organised, structured and list loving) to develop a business plan, and over the last three years via a mentoring relationship to develop other skills and behaviours (marketing, self promotion) to implement the business plan. I have ticked nearly all my boxes on the plan and am part way through writing the next plan. Rod is personable, always finds appropriate and interesting ways of supporting you to reach your potential and is relentless in his drive to help you find ways to think things through and analyse where you are, where you want to be and how you might get there.
In my initial conversations with Rod I have gained a greater sense of who I am as an artist, the strength of my work, values and the communities to which I wish to belong. His approach is empowering whilst his tactics towards success are simple and comprehensible. Rod is also very good at kicking me into action by applying just the right amount of pressure and encouragement. Rod commands a particular degree of respect. I have the sense that he is deeply engaged in his own art making processes. As such his advice has a greater credibility coming as it does from someone who has carved his own path and continues in pursuit of that path. Rod’s positivity, sense of humour, honesty, and directness are invaluable. He will always manage to simplify things or unpick a problem so that the solution makes complete sense. More than that, I trust his judgment and feel that I can be open about successes as well as trials, seeking help when necessary. So as a mentor he is a listening ear, a size nine boot, a cheerleader, intellectual, artist and inspiration and what’s more he is on my side- what luck!
On a one to one level Rod was unapologetically honest when commenting on my early work! Since then I have valued his positive words more because I know that he is not afraid to give his honest opinion.
I first contacted Rod having read an article written by himself published in Artist’s Newsletter. I was impressed by the straight forward advice which was set out in clear and concise terms. As a mentor Rod is very supportive with helpful advice and good ideas. His comments and observations on my working practice often spur on my own thoughts and actions into new and exciting territory. I know that I can approach Rod with a wide range of questions relating to my practice and can rely on his response. This is very important especially when working on your own.
Rod McIntosh. I met him in 2001 as I interviewed for a Florence Trust residency. As Director, he rejected me, and that was the beginning of our relationship. The rejection was a positive experience. Rod’s advice informed the direction I was heading, and we stayed in touch as my work developed. In 2003 I made a second application and this one was successful. In Oprah-speak, my year at the Florence Trust changed my life. This was to do with being part of the new community of artists, the studio space, the relationships built, but most to do with Rod. As Director he ran a marketing course for the resident artists; studio presentations; one to one meetings; studio meetings. He would also appear in the studio like a pop-up, and make observations that nobody else would dare to make. He encouraged reflection and critical dialogue and as a direct result the work moved forward. Above all I think Rod has a great ability to find the essence of things. Confronted with a wandering body of work or a wordy artist’s statement, he will find a drawing or a sentence that stands up on its own, and explore it. This perception is invaluable to Rod as artists’ mentor. He also has a tremendous energy and strength. There was always a sense that Rod had got a grip on the elusive slippery thing called The Art World and had worked it out. His approach to presenting and promoting work was always inspired, creative, energetic. He encouraged us all to be confident in the work, question our assumptions, be ambitious, and kick ass! It is 5 years since I left the Florence Trust and Rod has retained an interest in my work; we continue to have a dialogue that is reflective and informs the direction in which I am going. Since we met in 2001 he has moved nominally from studio-director, to artist-mentor, to academic, to artist. But for Rod these roles have always informed each other and that is perhaps why he is so successful.
I became aware of Rod McIntosh’s involvement with artists when I attended a professional development session organized by Commissions East. The session was excellent, due to Rod’s exceptional knowledge and highly relevant experiences. I was keen to work with him on developing tailored marketing strategies for my own practice, as I felt his input would be extremely beneficial; this has proved to be the case. Many more curators are now aware of my work and the number of those who are becoming advocates for my practice is growing. Perhaps the most important outcome was the effect Rod’s advice had on me; I’ve become far more proactive and developed a greater self confidence in how I present my work. Rod’s support is given generously, with great enthusiasm and encouragement, always making you feel that you’re on the right track and that your goals are achievable.
The value of being mentored is that it enables this path to be defined and given structure within an environment that is knowledgeable, detached and analytical. It allows ambitions to be acknowledged, unpicks conflicting and confused impulses and replaces them with the tools necessary for constructing plans. Most vitally, it also provides the rationale and context for doing what is necessary for their achievement. Often the artist is learning to act in a different way and is challenged by the acquisition of new skills. It is the iterative nature of the mentoring support that focuses the learning and turns it into practice. My path became an achievable and understandable process of steps that I could take one at a time and that I could support both intellectually and with integrity. The benefits of such a process will be life lasting. I have developed skills that I can relate usefully to any area of my life. They include ways in which I think about myself, ways in which I relate to other people and the way I might confront and manage the tasks I need to do. The outcome has been a transformation in my outlook and purpose. Perhaps the greatest reward is in the real sense of progress I now have, of forward motion; it embraces a growing confidence, supported by expanded thinking and logic skills and a sense of clarity and control over my career. Rod has been direct and supportive and demands the highest standards. He has the experience and ability to assess and relate to a myriad of circumstances, and is able to analyse and pinpoint key issues with unerring accuracy. He can recognise which skills need developing and can prioritise activities, relating holistically to individual career needs. Most of all, he is an enabler, guiding and facilitating the assumption of your own role.
Rod offered exhibiting artists one to one mentoring sessions. We see Brighton Art Fair as a show for emerging artists to gain exposure (as well as sales) and the mentoring sessions helped to enable artists to talk through issues relating to their whole career as well as how they could achieve individual goals from participation in the art fair. These mentoring sessions were by their nature tailored to the individual but our evaluation at the time recorded extremely positive responses from participants as to the usefulness of the sessions.
Most of all, what Rod did for me was to give me confidence, not only in my work, but in myself. He didn’t soft soap the realities of becoming a full-time artist but he made me realise that it was what I really wanted and could, in fact, achieve on my own terms. I had an idea of how things worked but Rod made me realise that I didn’t have to follow that road in order to be successful. Before our session, I can honestly say I was a jibbering wreck, I had no idea how to approach potential clients or galleries. The advice that he gave me has made it possible for me to sell successfully at a number of art fairs and approach several galleries who have gone on to show my work. And three years on we’re still in touch, the support keeps coming and I wouldn’t have achieved what I have without it.
One-to-one mentoring with Rod McIntosh was extremely helpful in really understanding what I was trying to do in my work and developing a direction in which to progress, while also learning some tools to help me do it. Since working with Rod I have commenced a practice-based fine art PhD and had many international shows.