Friday, November 30, 2007

My paintings at your finger tips.

December is drawing near, which gets me in the mood for a year end wrap up. I think about where I have been and what I have done and of course what I have not yet done as well. I like to tidy things up before I waltz into the new year.

This year has been fantastic for me artistically. Many opportunities presented themselves and I tried to grab a hold and participate with as much fervor as I could. I secured representation by several fantastic galleries this year, and sold quite a bit of work to wonderful clients all over the country. My work was chosen for publication by Studio Visit Magazine to appear in the premier issue coming out in February 2008. Four of my large works were purchased and permanently placed in the brand new and beautifully designed Shogun Sky bar in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I participated in five solo/featured shows this year, and participated in some great group shows as well. I also started writing this blog, which has given me a much needed and enjoyed outlet. There are still many other exciting opportunities that are wrapping up the end of my year.

I am grateful for all the support and wonderful conversations that I have had with people near and far about my art and art in general. The conversations, encouragement, questions, and ideas that we exchange mean so much to me. I am honored that I get to share my work with you all.

I am excited to be preparing for my last show of 2007, entitled "Secrets Revealed" which will be held at Remy Fine Art Gallery at the Town Club in Ft. Smith, Arkansas. I will be showing twenty nine paintings. I am pleased to be showing with PJ and Steve Robowski as well.

This will be my first exhibit in Ft. Smith and I look forward to talking with the folks there about my work. If you are in the area, I hope you can join us at the opening on Thursday, December 6th from 5:30-7:30pm at Remy Fine Arts in the Town Club at 720 Garrison Avenue. The exhibit is free and open to the public. Check back next week on my blog for images of that body of work.

Speaking of all the wonderful galleries that represent me and my paintings. I want to share those galleries and their current selections of my work with you. The slide show below features my work that is currently at the M2 Gallery in Little Rock, Arkansas. If you see a piece that you are interested in please contact Mac Murphy at the M2 Gallery. I am thrilled to be showing with the M2, and recently enjoyed participating in the Best of the Northwest show. I also enjoyed getting to know all the other talented artists that are represented there.

The slide show below showcases my work currently at the Blue Moon Gallery in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Contact Pat or Dishongh Scavo if you want to know more about my work shown there. This year I participated in the gallery's 10th anniversary celebration exhibit to mark the successful 10 year history of the Blue Moon Gallery. This December I will be down at Gallery Walk for "An Ornamental Affair" a CASA benefit. All the artists have created beautiful and unique ornaments to be auctioned off for a great cause. If you are in the area, come to the first Friday gallery walk and bid on an ornament. Gallery walk in Hot Springs is always a good time.

This next slide show is of my work currently represented by the DDP gallery in Fayetteville. This past summer, my work was shown alongside Helen's Phillips' brilliant ceramic work in our show entitled "Intuition." The show was a huge success, eleven of the twenty pieces that I showed sold. The DDP gallery also facilitated my work being placed in the Shogun Sky bar in Fayetteville. Very thrilling. The DDP gallery represents my work exclusively for all of Northwest Arkansas. Contact gallery owner Dede Peters for more information about my work.

Last, but certainly not least is my work currently represented by Gallery Fraga, in Bainbridge Island Washington. I was so excited when gallery owner Jeff Fraga contacted me after finding my paintings online and offered me an exhibit. My first featured exhibit with Gallery Fraga, "According to the Vapors," was held in March. I am pleased to have representation out in the Pacific Northwest after spending six years in Oregon while in school. I do love that part of the country. As part of the exhibit, I created a pod cast about my work and creative process, even talking about some of the specific pieces in the show, you can listen to it on their site as well. Contact Jeff Fraga at Gallery Fraga about the work you see below.

This past year, I also enjoyed exhibiting, "The Path that Light Takes," at the Mullin's Library at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. It was a joy to hear from students and staff members that my work had a calming influence on them. It was a great feeling to see how my work can impact a public space by transforming it with color.

Another opportunity that presented itself this year was my exhibit, "Spellbound," at the Julie Wait Designs Gallery in Rogers, Arkansas. It was a wonderful opportunity to share my work with a whole new group of folks. It was great to meet the people there and talk about abstract art and design.

So, as you can see it has been an exceptional year, and if you are now reading this you are a part of it too. I thank you, and I hope you have enjoyed my work this past year, and I hope you will enjoy it for many years to come.

If you enjoy what you read and see in my studio blog, please pass it on to other people who might enjoy it too.

* The slide shows originally published with this post are now out of date. Many of these works may still be available for purchase. Please check my website to find out their current locations as well as, my most up to date gallery affiliations.

Friday, November 23, 2007

This Holiday Season - Buy Art!

The Holidays are in full swing now, as today is black Friday. Shoppers are programmed to run out to the mega stores and malls to catch the early morning shopping deals. They will buy all sorts of gadgets, clothes, and various oddities for those on their Christmas lists. There is a frenzy to find that perfect thing, that bargain, that object that shows how much the shopper thought of the person on their list. Shoppers will usually overspend, exhaust themselves, and may not even really enjoy the process that much or be satisfied with the item they end up with. There seems to be a disconnection that happens. It doesn't have to be this way.

Imagine a shopping season where you are able to buy distinctly one of a kind items for your loved ones. An item made by human hands. An item that is the actualization of hours of thought and planning, passion and style. An item that contains a bit of mystery and perhaps some magic. Imagine giving the gift of original art to your loved ones this Christmas. Initially, that idea might sound more expensive, scary, or time consuming. However, there are many easy options for buying affordable, original art these days.

First, shop locally. Avoid the malls and chain stores and go by your local galleries. Many galleries at this time of year are having holiday sales where they have asked their stable of artists to produce smaller, more affordable pieces of work to be on display at this time. Many galleries are more than willing to help you find something within your budget. It is important for you to feel good in the gallery; if you feel any unwelcoming or uppity vibes from a gallery owner or staff, you don't need to shop there. If you have ever felt that somewhere, I apologize for them and I hope it didn't turn you off from the experience of buying art. Please try again. Many galleries will spend considerable time with you and help you really find a great piece of art that meets all of your needs. They should treat you with the same respect whether you are buying a twenty dollar object or a two thousand dollar painting. As in other retail stores, galleries accept credit cards and may even allow you to make payments over time to make the purchase more comfortable.

After you have enjoyed your local or regional galleries, look for a holiday studio sale or a design fair in your area. These are usually warm and friendly events, with a group of artists getting together to have a sale for a weekend. You can find many affordable one of kind items at these sales, and usually meet the artists, all the while having some hot cider and a fresh baked cookie.
Design fairs are popular in larger cities, and the chic craft movement is in full swing around the country; you are guaranteed to find cool stencil art, jewelry, and other modern crafts that are sure to please someone on your Christmas list.

If you are a die hard Internet shopper, then a great site to buy all things handmade is Etsy. If you have not been to this site then you are in for a real treat. Paintings, prints, letterpress items, cards, toys, jewelry... if it is an art or a craft that is hand made, then it is on Etsy. The design sense of the folks that sell their work on Etsy is top notch. The prices are hard to beat as well.

Buying art can be a fun and exhilarating experience, and it is one of the most thoughtful gifts you can give. Sweaters may fall out of fashion, housewares fade or break over time, but art keeps giving. Every time, I walk into a room in my home that has original art, I immediately think of the artist. I think of the time they spent creating the piece. I think of their vision and talent. As time passes, I find more and more that I like about the piece. The work keeps revealing more secrets to the story behind it. When you buy art, you directly impact the artist's life as well. You are encouraging that artist. You are saying, "well done." You are saying, "keep going." You are saying "I see and value what you do."

To the person on your list, you are saying "you are so special and unique that only art would do." This holiday season, try buying original art and feel the difference.

"A Glimpse"
Mixed Media on Canvas
Megan Chapman

Friday, November 16, 2007

Beware : The Vanity Gallery

When I studied art at the University of Oregon, I learned so much that I am thankful for. Yet, the training I received on the business side of the art world was quite minimal as it is for many art students in school. However, I was taught one thing that really stood out, I was taught never to pay to show my art somewhere. I was taught to avoid "representation" by what is termed a "Vanity Gallery."

For those of you who don't know, as defined by Wikipedia, "a vanity gallery is an art gallery that charges artists fees in order to exhibit their work and makes most of its money from artists rather than from sales to the public." Most of the time these galleries charge these fees upfront and still collect a commission from the artist on pieces that sell as well. Vanity galleries are more common in large metropolitan areas of the country but they can spring up in smaller cities too. A vanity gallery may look just like a reputable gallery. The organizers of vanity galleries may reach out to fresh talent, artists new to the market, or those inexperienced and easily overwhelmed with the business end of things. Perhaps an artist has not been able to get another gallery to express interest in their work and the vanity gallery representative offers them hope for the first time.

It is a lonely world out there for artists, as they look for approval and a venue to show their work, they have heard the old adage " you have to spend money to make money" so forking over an entry fee, a hanging fee, and free labor not to mention the commission to the gallery in exchange for a show seems almost worth it, but it rarely is.

Before you freak out and cry foul. Yes, of course there are exceptions: paying a nominal fee to be juried into a show or a publication, or paying dues/fees and labor associated with being a member of a cooperative gallery, as well as paying a booth fee to participate in an art fair. To add to the confusion, many relationships with legitimate galleries have all sort of caveats. Some galleries may pay for post cards but not postage for your personal mailing list, some may have you pay to ship the work to them, but they will then pay to ship the work back to you. There is a 50/50 give and take that should be satisfactory to both parties involved in a relationship with a legitimate gallery.

The vanity gallery may have a complicated contract, and be elusive when you question it. Any gallery worth working with will go over the contract with you until you are both comfortable signing it. They will work with you and perhaps cross out things you are not comfortable with and you both will initial any changes. They will make sure you have a copy of the contract as well. They will make sure your work is properly insured and show you proof of their insurance if you request it. They will take proper care of your work while in their custody. When your work is displayed in a reputable gallery it will be well lit, and protected from direct sunlight. They will provide title cards by each piece of work or provide a price list for the work. A reputable gallery keeps regular business hours, and takes the time to talk with the artists to understand the work so that they can do their best to sell that work. Reputable gallery owners are invested in the artist as a person as well as in the artwork they represent.

Vanity galleries may boast fancy locations, expansive mailing lists, important clients, and far reaching publicity and seem to offer amazing benefits for a nominal fee. If you are entering into a relationship with a gallery and it seems too good to be true it probably is. Listen to your gut, ask questions, demand answers and if you don't get the answers that work for you- walk away. You must have faith in yourself, hold onto your personal power, and honor your artistic vision.

There are many opportunities out there to show your work, and as an artist just starting out it is tempting to say yes to the first one that comes your way and to keep questions to a minimum as to not offend those who have offered you this opportunity. Please find it in yourself to be strong and ask those questions. You will save yourself money and heartache in the process. If you have unwittingly participated in a vanity gallery, there is no shame on your part, just dust yourself off and get back in the game and chalk it up to a valuable learning experience.

Pictured above, Henry Turner's "Souvenir"
The DDP gallery
7 East Mountain St. Fayetteville.
Open: W-F 12-7 and Sat. 10-5
and by appointment.

October 10- November 24, 2007
(don't miss this show!!!)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Creating a Free Web Presence

Today, we are going back to the art career basics and building blocks. I want to talk about the importance of creating a web presence. Hopefully, many of you already have one. A web presence is crucial for exposure and networking for your art. This article is for those who think it costs a lot of money, time, or energy to maintain a website. I have some free and simple solutions to get you and your work online in no time.

First, of course is the very popular social networking site MySpace. I have to admit I wasn't much of a fan at first, I was under the impression that the sites were always ugly and glaring and that MySpace was primarily a place for teenagers. Well, I stand corrected. I have seen some beautiful MySpace sites run by emerging artists and professionals. You control your space, and can easily upload your art into a slide show or other format, choose some music and set the scene for showing off your art to the world. You even pick a URL that you can share with others and not just other myspacers. You can share your links to other sites/galleries you might be affiliated with to direct visitors to your "real" website or galleries if you have one. Before you know it you will be finding friends that you had forgotten about as well as letting everyone know you are an artist, and all for free.

Also, it is a great way to make the larger art community feel smaller and become friends with other artists you admire. If you are not already on MySpace check it out, I highly recommend it. Just watch your time on the site- it can become addicting! Now with this being said, I wouldn't only use MySpace to promote your work. Most of the time, MySpace pages tend to be a little more personal in nature, and might not be professional enough to submit to a potential gallery or client as your "website."

Here are some examples of some artists myspace pages that I like:

There is also Facebook which is becoming more popular, as the layout is clean and simple. You don't get you own URL though so only other Facebook friends in your network can see your work. Again, you can display all your links to various other websites where your work is hosted, which is nice. I enjoy the MySpace application more for promoting your art, as it seems a bit more dynamic. Yet, I do currently have both.

If you don't have a website for your art and only do one thing towards setting up a web presence, I highly recommend setting up an online portfolio on a site called carbonmade. This is a great application, and the closest thing I have seen to a FREE classy website. This site is very easy to use and update and allows you to create a beautiful and did I say a FREE web presence. With this site you get your own URL so this is something that can be professional enough to print up on some business cards when you are just starting out. It has little fluff or frills, but it looks sharp and does the trick. It doesn't take long to make a site that will fit your needs here. I also have a carbonmade site, where I keep a virtual studio sale for my older work that is in a different style and no longer represented by galleries.

Some carbonmade sites that I like are.

If you are really trying to make a go of it as an artist without a web presence in this day and age you are just shooting yourself in the foot. There are many opportunities to be had out there and the web really allows you to reach clients and galleries from all over the world. You do not need a web designer, or your own domain name to play in this game, nor do you need money. So, stop with these excuses. It is up to you to put yourself and your work out there. You can do this!

If you have created a great looking MySpace page that promotes your art or a carbonmade portfolio, or a portfolio on another free site that I need to know about, please post it in the comments section.

See " Desire Suspended" by Megan Chapman at the Blue Moon gallery
located at 718 Central Ave.
Hot Springs, Arkansas

Friday, November 2, 2007

Hot Springs Gallery Walk

Well, I am off to Hot Springs gallery walk.
I am looking forward to being with the wonderful folks at the Blue Moon gallery, talking to people about my art, and enjoying the sights and sounds of Hot Springs.