Jun
21
2010

Prepaing to Sell - Portfolios and Details by Valerie (Valry) Drake

As artists we love to create – but when it comes to the details of selling we are sometimes a little reluctant. Just in case I get someone who actually wants to know about my work, I have to have a portfolio to show them. Whether this person is a potential customer, gallery owner, or just seems interested in art, having information to give them and recording the information you discover about the person is invaluable.


First, in order to create a portfolio, I have to have pictures of all of my artwork. EVERYTHING I do gets either scanned (at 400 dpi) or digitally photographed and saved on my computer. My documents are named with the name of the painting, size, medium, and date. On my computer I keep the art in folders by the year of creation.


I have two versions of my portfolio.


One is the print version which has the typical photos of my work in acetate page protectors. ALL of the prints are high quality color prints and are consistently on good quality white paper that exactly fits the page protectors. Each print is on the right hand side of the binder and on the left side is an information page. At the front of the binder is a bio with my picture. At the back is an artist’s statement.


The other version is a Powerpoint® with all the same stuff. It includes music and smooth transitions between all pages. I have copies of this on CDs and I can easily give it to anyone who is interested. Oh, and of course, the CD has a label with my contact information clearly printed in large type.


Whenever I am displaying my work, teaching a class, or sometimes even when I’m plein-air painting, I have my portfolio (both print and CD) displayed.


On occasions when I don’t have my portfolio and the conversation turns to art, I at least have a business card with me. Yes, I’m sure that hundreds of my business cards are carelessly thrown away at the first opportunity, but you never know.
It’s also important to keep careful records of who we speak with and what we talk about. Include hints about where you met the person, what they looked like, and any personal information you discovered (such as the person loves golf or has twin daughters). Always ask for a person’s e-mail address and ask if you can include them in your mailing list. A couple of weeks after meeting the person find some excuse to follow up by mail or possibly a phone call.


So why (other than just being OC) do I go to THIS MUCH work? Because there are THOUSANDS of artists out there. Competition is steep. If I do not present myself and my product well then I may get overlooked. Are art purchases based solely on quality? No. Does fame and success come to whoever is worthy? No. If you paint the best painting in the world will someone, somehow barge their way into your studio and fall at your feet weeping and begging to purchase it? No. These are things we all know. It is a rough market out there and we have to work hard to get our little piece of the pie.

www.valry.com

cafepress.com/valry

 

 

Jun
17
2010

When Art Grants End by M Theresa Brown

 

The art world is all up in arms. Every place you turn to there is some article about the government or the states reducing or eliminating public money for artist grants. Frantic emails are sent out, art groups gather to protest the fund reductions and open Facebook polls. But there is not an organization out there in today's economic climate who has NOT had to tighten their belts.


So why the fuss?  Let's examine the world of art grants a little less passionately and you may find that reducing or even ending art grants could, in the long run benefit more artists than grants!


How many artists do you know who have benefited from an art grant?


How many artist's do you know whose careers were launched with an art grant?


How happy is the public with the art that is awarded most of the grants?


How happy are you, as an artist, with the art that seems to universally get the art grants?


How politically entwined are the monies for the art grants?


Do you know an artist who makes a living from an art grant?


I ask these questions from the knowledge and life of an artist whose living comes from the sales of her artwork. It has not been easy. But nothing worth doing comes easy and therein lies the lure of the grant-easy money. In reality most grants are almost akin to winning the lottery. Many apply, only one wins. But most lottery players do not make winning the lottery their life work-they still continue to work, raise families and produce in their jobs. How many artists could be so much further along in their careers if they took the bull by the horn and did not spend their life searching for art grants?


Before NC  instigated the Lottery, the people I talked to from states where the Lottery was established always prefaced goals with "when I win the lottery." I remember thinking that everything they wanted to do seemed to be on hold until they won the lottery...but what if they never did?


Waiting for help? Look what has happened to the southern coastal states right now, in the throes of the BP oil gusher, facing the biggest disaster those states have ever faced? Where is the help? The government money? The "helping hand?" Small towns all along the Gulf coast have done what Americans have always done before free promises of free money....... getting the job done themselves! It has been all over the news and I could cheer for their efforts.  Actions do indeed speak louder than words!   You get things done by rolling up your sleeves and getting to work. Solve the problem yourself or with a dedicated group behind you.


And for me, that is the answer to many of the problems in the arts...instead of  waiting for free money, make it happen.


What would happen if a core group in each state decided to "take matters into their own hands" and create an art community free of the federal and state restrictions that come with all grant monies? What if public art opportunities were judged by the public instead of a state or federally funded jury looking for political correctness? What if artists learned how to present themselves and their art to corporations, companies, towns and businesses looking for art. What if artists individually took matters into their own hands?
Why not see the reduction or ending of grant money as an opportunity rather than a disaster.  OK, so there is less of what was there before. Everyone is tightening the belt-at home, at work, at play.... is that so bad? With some positive re-thinking of the art grant situation, more doors could open up to more artists. More diverse Opportunities could be available to far more artists who have chosen art as their field of interest if the dream of free money is not there. We all know someone wins the lottery and we all know some artist gets an available grant..but what of the many, many who tried but did not?


Sometimes life becomes less complicated when you decide that your success will come when you begin to work at it...maybe there is something to that saying "when the going gets tough, the tough get going" after all! :-)

Art Career Experts

 

Jun
16
2010

Painting in Your Own Backyard by Deb Bartos

This sounds like something you would do if you were three and your mother was hanging clothes on the line.  It is really excellent art education advice.  Ordinary and mundane objects can be the best subjects ever.  An added advantage is not wasting time or money on the commute to painting expeditions.

Consider the impressionists and what they painted.  Their subjects were their families, each other, a table set for lunch, a vase of flowers.  OK, there was Renoir and the women and Degas and the ballet dancers, but they generally painted every day life.  Impressionism was just a phrase coined by an art critic who said they were not finished paintings, but “impressions.” He saw them as rough sketches instead of the smooth blended strokes of Salon and Academy paintings.  The artists who exhibited their work together and were eventually called “The Impressionists” were interested in capturing the everyday moments that mattered to them.

I always think I’ll paint if I travel, as there will be subjects to inspire me.  Truthfully, I’m inspired to paint when I start painting something.  It gets more interesting the more I pay attention.  When I travel, I am captivated by eye candy everywhere and can’t stand still long enough to paint. I have to go see everything there is to see.

Walking down Santa Fe’s Canyon Road with a photographer friend, she asked me to stop as she just had to shoot something.  It was a cigarette butt.  I got a good laugh and a good reminder of “beauty in the eye of the beholder.”  It was a stunning composition with great color and background design. I would have never seen it otherwise, as I was too busy looking at the wonderful architecture and art in abundance there.

Another artist friend received instruction in an art class to “find something ugly and paint it beautifully.”  This is an interesting idea, and an even more interesting value judgment. What makes something ugly or beautiful? How do we as artists decide what to paint and how? What do we see and invite others to look at?

Art has endless possibilities. There are always enough subjects to go around, and painting from life is more challenging and real than painting from reference photos. You can get away with it if you do both, but life is the best! It is warm outside and summer in most places so even better! Enjoy, and keep on painting!

Poppy Passion 9 x 12 oil by Deb Bartos ©2010                 Backyard Poppies 8 x 10 oil by Deb Bartos©2010

www.bartosart.blogspot.com

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