Friday, July 25, 2008

Do you still want this job?

We have a winner: Deborah Eileen Burrow will receive last week's paper painting!! Congratulations! Thanks again for every one's thoughtful and heartfelt comments.

I paint when I need to fill orders, for commissions, for exhibitions. I paint when I am involved in critique situations. As you know, sometimes, I paint when I hear the call at 3am. I paint when I have seen a wonderful film, read a good book, or received some new music. I paint because it is my passion, my purpose and because it is my job. My career. What does a career as an artist look like?

Here is a sampling of the tasks involved, because inquiring minds want to know.

1. Paint (or your art form here)
2. Name the paintings
3. Document the paintings with photography
4. Sign, date, add hanging wires, make paintings presentable and ready for a gallery or home
5. Pack and ship the paintings, or travel with them to reach their destinations
6. Promote art via:
postcards (must also design)
create a catalog or gallery book of available works
maintain a mailing list
keep up with my space/face book bulletins and comments
blog weekly
create word of mouth, attend other openings and shows and be "seen"
press releases- writing and submitting and keeping your press contacts up to date
going to gallery walk at the galleries that represent my work in the region
maintain an up to date website, pod casts, utilize new technology to stay connected
7. Research other galleries for possible representation or exhibition opportunities
8. Stay alert for random opportunities and be ready to act if one presents itself
9. Follow up sales with personal thank you cards to clients
10. Buy other artist's work and support the artists in the various communities I belong to, be a helpful resource.
11. Purchase and keep art supplies and office materials in stock
12. Keep all my business receipts for tax time. Report my income and do my taxes.
13. Handle all standard office duties related to my job as an artist
14. Keep up with the technology and websites that will be helpful to my career.
15. Maintain relationships with the galleries that represent my work, and keep them interested in me
16. Maintain relationships with clients who have purchased my work, and keep them interested in me
17. Keep up with the outside art world and trends.
18. Manage all this without a boss or co-workers, without a steady pay check, and without health insurance or benefits.

So, there you have it, I am sure I have left off of few of the tasks involved. No doubt in my mind that this is a valid job, that I mostly manage on my own. There are many different skills involved, and many different hats to wear. Skills such as strong communication, writing, networking, business, computing, performing, not to mention the painting!

Many of these things don't always feel like work, so I downplay them, but this job takes a huge amount of work and massive commitment. Dedication and drive must be involved to work in this field. No wonder I sometimes hit a wall and burn out for awhile.

I can't make this stuff up, this is what is involved in being an artist.
Do you still want this job?

I do!

This post is dedicated to all the artists, writers, musicians, and creative self employed workers out there and to the people who stick by them through thick and thin. This is also dedicated to all the traditionally employed workers out there who then come home to start their second job as an artist.

Pick up a copy of my book: Evidence of the Disappearance from
use coupon code istockphoto2008 for $7.00 off shipping charges through July 31st. The book is $24.95 before shipping, and I will receive $5.00 from each sale.
photo credit: Steven Heaton

Friday, July 18, 2008

True Confessions...

I was drawing a blank as to what to write about this week. Feeling under the gun I flipped through my composition book marked "brain storms" and this is what I found...

The following passage was created during a 15 minute free write purge on my "art." I was wrestling with myself as an artist and what it all means. I hope you will find it interesting, I admit it is self indulgent introspection, but it is real and it was how I felt at the time. I hope some of you will be able to relate. Here goes...

"A lot of the time I completely discredit my art. I think it is lazy, and I feel that I "whip" paintings out too fast at times. I don't use the "right" materials, and when I do, I don't use them the way they should be used. I don't have a sink in my studio, and I use foam brushes most of the time. My "studio" is just the attic of my house. I blot my paintings with paper because I don't have the patience to wait for my paintings to dry as I am in a hurry to get in and get out of my studio. Painting can seem like an obligation like everything else. Some days I am not sure I would even paint if people didn't expect it of me. It is just tube paint, water, oil, pencil, charcoal, shapes, textures. My art does not contain my secrets, or a political or social commentary. Sometimes there are no concepts, sometimes I feel I just know how to make "ART." I know the quality of an artist's line, I know what colors go together like a puzzle. Is that art or is that a design project? Do my paintings really have the feelings/meanings that people including myself ascribe to them? Am I just too close to see sometimes? What do they mean?

What if they just mean "lovely?" Would that be enough? I will always compare my work to other artists. I will always compare my prices to others, and I will always worry about sales. It used to be about creating something and now it is becoming more about money and acclaim and moving up. Will my work ever be in ART FORUM? A girl can dream...

While some love my work, I feel it really can't be anything that new or special if I am not toiling over it everyday.

But, when I work, I WORK- I produce an insane amount of work each year. What if it is okay that some of the paintings don't fight to be assembled, what if they are easy? What if I am just lucky, would that be so hard? What if I considered myself as lucky and accepted it, rather than thought less of myself and my work?

I used to paint only for me. I am intuitive, connected, and I am no fool, I know what people will respond to and I create that work. Why do I feel guilty for knowing "the code" so to speak? Why can't I see the glass half full?

I have always had an obsession with being "real" and convinced that I wasn't. That I was always acting for people, to be liked and approved of, to entertain and make other people happy and comfortable. Am I a "real" artist? Are my paintings "real" if they are just colors and knowing how to connect the dots, and then knowing how to "sell" them as art? I know I am a sales person- can I be a "real" artist and a sales person?

And why does everything have to be "real" anyway...?"

You made it through and lucky you! It is time for the third Friday paper painting give away!! This is a larger piece than usual, painted on a 9x12" sheet of 140 lb. Arches paper, and painted outdoors in the summer sun. The painting is pictured above so you know what you are commenting for this time around! Leave a comment, tell me to get over myself, whatever you see fit, here on the blog Friday-Tuesday (by next week at midnight), and you will entered to win the painting pictured in this post. I will announce the winner next Friday! I ship anywhere in the world! Previous winners are eligible, and if you want to comment but not be entered to win just say so. Good Luck! This painting is REAL!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Points of Light...

Hope you all enjoyed the Vlog last week. As I mentioned in my talk, I am very impressed and honored that many of the readers of my blog are taking amazing steps with their art and their self-promotion perhaps due to something they have found inspiring or encouraging within my posts. This makes me so happy! Today, I want to share some of their hard work with you as well as let you know of a few local artists' current exhibitions.

First the local bulletin..

Basil Seymour Davies' masterful paintings are currently featured at the Art Center of the Ozarks in Springdale, Arkansas July 11-August 15 with an opening reception on Tuesday July 15th from 5:30-7:00pm. I cannot wait to see a whole room full of his paintings. If you are a regular reader you may remember I featured him in Six Amazing Artists You Should Know. If you are local, do not miss this show!! Congratulations Basil! Visit his website here.

Craig Earl Nelson's haunting and intimate portrait series, "Strangers and Not So Strange" is currently featured at the Mullins Library at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. The exhibition will be up until August 31st. This is an impressive show, not to be missed! Congratulations Craig! You can find out more information about Craig's work on his blog and at his website here.

Local gallerist Dede Peters and co-curator Robin Atkinson, have put on a rousing show sure to be talked about at the DDP gallery in Fayetteville. The exhibition is entitled, "Dreadful Objects" and features the works of Shane Richey and Jason Clinton Barnes. Visit the DDP gallery website here.

Alright, now to the readers and friends who are working hard at the self promotion of their art. You all inspire me.

Steven Heaton created some amazing postcards using Vista Print. I can't wait to receive mine! His postcard features one of his latest paintings and his contact information on the back, along with his artist's statement. This is a beautiful example of a great piece of promotional material. Steven also created a carbonmade portfolio. Steven just had two pieces accepted into the West Lancashire open exhibition at the Chapel Gallery, and one of the accepted pieces is on the front of the card. This could not have worked out better for him! He is now prepared to promote his work in the show. Congratulations Steven! Also, Steven was recently interviewed by fellow artist Tim Lane, for Artist interviewing Artist. Check it out here.

Deborah Eileen Burrow recently created her own website, showcasing her landscape and abstract work, has an artist statement, and links to her Keeping Creative blog as well as other helpful resources and artists she enjoys. She has also created a line of refrigerator magnets with images of her paintings and is selling them through Paypal. Contact her on her MySpace page for more information about her magnets. Deborah is also researching galleries in her area and surrounding region that might be a good fit for her work. Congratulations, Deborah!

Stephanie Mallicote, who works full time, is a wife and mother of two and is carving out her own space in the living room to paint again after a bit of a break. She is always doing something creative and inspired. Stephanie just created her own carbonmade portfolio. She also writes a great blog. Congratulations Stephanie!

Enjoy the local art that is right outside your front door, make a postcard, make a magnet, make a website, make some space and keep fighting, and most importantly keep painting. It is worth it. Thank you for all you give to me and to the world through your work.

Please note that all the art featured on this blog post is copyrighted by the respective artists. I asked permission to use these images.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Evidence Continues...Vlog

Dear Friends,

I hope you will enjoy today's Vlog.

For those of you celebrating the holiday today, I hope you have a happy and safe fourth of July.

For those of you in and around Arkansas, I will be at the Blue Moon Gallery tonight, Friday July 4th from 5-9pm for first Friday gallery walk, as my exhibition is still featured. I would love to see you there.

Thank all of you for reading and watching, and for sharing the next nine minutes of your life with me...