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10 Things Artists Should Be Thankful For

Screen Shot 2014-04-05 at 3.54.18 PM“Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind. ”  Lionel Hampton

By the time most artists come to see me, they are usually beaten down and depressed by the struggles of the artworld.  They have been abused by their galleries, taken for granted by their collectors, misunderstood by their families and exhausted from juggling real life with creative need. It is so easy to forget how special you are, when there is no one around to remind you, but you. … Continue Reading

Surviving the Summer Slump

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 4.08.15 PM“It won’t always be summer: build barns.” Hesiod 700 B.C.

A lot of people don’t realize that the art world revolves around a seasonal schedule. Galleries begin their season in September, usually after Labor Day, often opening with their strongest artist and continue until about the middle of June. Many galleries use the summer months to mount group shows of gallery artists, or shows that they wouldn’t consider during their “prime season.” Generally, the magazines and gallery guides follow suit by issuing combined July/August issues. For … Continue Reading

Life is Short, Art is Long

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 8.22.47 AM“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count.  It’s the life in your years.” ~Abraham Lincoln

It’s not something we like to think about, but collectors, as well as artists, need to face the fact that owning art, regardless of whether it is yours, or it is acquired, comes with certain responsibilities.  There are the obvious responsibilities concerning documentation, insurance, protection, care and handling.  There are even laws that … Continue Reading

When Everything Is Not Enough…

Screen Shot 2014-04-05 at 4.36.10 PM

We humans are strange creatures. Even when you take the creative element out of the equation, most people are never satisfied. It makes sense that would be true for creative types, as the essence of creative process depends on the need to improve whatever was last. After all, if an artist felt they had created an ultimate masterpiece that could not be improved upon, what would motivate them to start the next project? The irony in this, of course, is every artist DOES feel … Continue Reading

Follow The Money: Treasure Hunt For Grants

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 4.33.27 PM“A bank is a place that will lend you money only if you can prove that you don’t need it. ” Bob Hope

There has been a lot of talk lately about the economy improving.  I don’t know about you, but not many people I come in contact with have experienced much change. Nonetheless, change is happening, maybe not as fast as everyone would like, but there is hope on the horizon. One … Continue Reading

Success: What is it? Who gets it? Why do I want it so badly…or do I?

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 8.12.59 AM“Success is not the key to happiness.  Happiness is the key to success.  If you love what you are doing, you are successful.”

If you haven’t taken the time to think about how YOU define success, you are doing your career a disservice.  With all the artists I have talked to over the years, I have found there is a wide spectrum of what an artist wants.  Some artists could care less about ever showing in a museum or gaining any historical significance, they just want … Continue Reading

The Money Stuff

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 3.56.19 PM“When bankers get together for dinner, they discuss Art. When artists get together for dinner, they discuss money.” Oscar Wilde

Maybe it was growing up in Beverly Hills that gave me an acute sense of monetary reality. Regardless, as a child, it became apparent at quite an early age that money was a central issue in most people’s lives and I needed to pay particular attention. So, it would naturally follow that “the Money Stuff,” would eventually find it’s way to Art Advice. If you are an artist, … Continue Reading

Who’s Got The Remote? I Want To Change The Channel

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 4.21.30 PM“Who in the world am I?  Ahh, that is the great puzzle.” Lewis Carroll

It’s not something you can turn off. It bubbles up when you least expect it. If you would allow it, it would consume every waking minute of every day. You work hard to fit in to the normal world…family obligations, work, the challenges of everyday life. But, admit it, all you can think about is that unfinished painting, sculpture, poem, or whatever, fill in the blank. You know you are different. You may have … Continue Reading

It’s A New Day, It’s A New Dawn, It’s A New Decade… New Year’s Resolutions for Artists

“Only put off until tomorrow, what you are willing to die left undone.” Pablo Picasso

The beginning of a new year always puts me in a pensive, introspective mood. It just feels like the right time to sit back and reflect on the accomplishments of the past year, and develop a plan to move forward towards new goals. But, being a creative thinker can have it’s drawbacks during this time of reflection. It’s easy to overlook how far you’ve come, unless you develop a quantifiable system of measuring. For a lot of artists, achieving a goal “doesn’t really count,” because by … Continue Reading

Don’t Blow It Now: Making the Most of Studio Visits and Gallery Interviews

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 7.29.49 PM“You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.”
Warren Buffett

If you are lucky enough to have scheduled a gallery interview or studio visit, it’s a good idea to keep some key issues in mind. Your goal is to make sure this will be an enjoyable and profitable experience for all concerned. Showing your work and/or having people in your studio can be a major stressor for most artists. You need … Continue Reading

How To Get The Elusive First Date: Guide To Approaching Galleries

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 4.37.15 PM“We were having one of those really great first dates, the kind you can only have if it’s not really a date.” Sarah Jessica Parker, Sex and the City

After reading the article “Matchmaker, Matchmaker”, you should have a fairly good idea of how to determine which galleries are appropriate for your work. Once you’ve narrowed your target list down to those galleries that you feel relate to your work, and would be a good fit for you both stylistically and as a match for your career … Continue Reading

Are You In The Loop? How to Use Social Media as Your Next Level Marketing Tool

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 5.24.30 PM“Anyone who has never made a mistake, has never tried anything new.”  Albert Einstein.

I know what you are saying, “Ok, I give up, I’ve just mastered building a website and using my email, what the heck is social media?”In plain English, it means, the days of direct mailers and catalogs are over. The new generation of artists, gallery owners and consultants are programmed for faster, higher quality marketing techniques. Thanks to social media networking sites like Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter, we are able to connect 24/7 with … Continue Reading

5 Surefire Ways To Annoy A Gallery

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 8.10.45 AM“Knock, knock,”

“Who’s there?”

“Another artist with his portfolio under his arm.”  (Sigh)

To many artists, being an artist isn’t “real” unless you have a gallery to exhibit your work. Although there are several other options available to artists in terms of showing and selling their work, it seems, for some, there is just no substitute for getting gallery representation. To this end, many artists are willing to bend over backwards, do insane things, make ridiculous claims, and, in short, embarrass themselves. The truth … Continue Reading

5 Things You Can Do For Your Career to Survive the Economic Slump

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 5.40.44 PM“As sure as the spring will follow the winter, prosperity and economic growth will follow recession.” Bo Bennett

Artists are more susceptible than most to the economic downturn as fine art has long been considered a luxury, primarily for an audience with extra discretionary income. In times like these, even the very wealthy feel uncomfortable spending on what may be perceived by others as an extravagance. Smart collectors know this is the best time to buy and fine art is one of the safest places to “park” … Continue Reading

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me A Match: Deciding Which Galleries To Approach

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 5.45.50 PM“Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match…” Fiddler on the Roof

One of the most difficult aspects of being an artist doesn’t take place behind the studio walls. It is an unpleasant, sometimes degrading aspect of your career: promotion. Nevertheless, as an artist, you need to develop a method to promote your work and still maintain your integrity. To minimize the unpleasantness of this particular responsibility, the method you devise should complement your personality and temperament. The problem begins when you decide it’s time to start approaching … Continue Reading

Face The Facts: Everything Your Mother Should Have Told You About Being An Artist

Screen Shot 2014-04-05 at 3.43.04 PM“Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.”  Mark Twain

Do you have any idea what your expectations are for yourself as a professional artist?  Most artists carry the same dreams and hopes…getting discovered, finding a patron,  being famous, selling work.  The reality is those things happen only for the very few.  So, if you have not given any thought to what your dreams are, please take a moment to read Success, What is it, who has it and why do I want it so badly. to … Continue Reading

Coping With The Post Exhibition Blues

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 5.35.45 PM“But that’s what being an artist is – feeling crummy before everyone else feels crummy. ” ~The New Yorker

Almost everyone has experienced loss in one form or another at some point in their lives. After the tragedy on September 11th, most of us don’t have to look very far to find someone who has been touched by loss. For artists, learning how to recognize and cope with loss will help them in understanding the … Continue Reading

Creating the Perfect Artists’ Website

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 5.31.16 PM” An artist without a website is virtually homeless.”  Sylvia White

Planning Stage

Long before you talk to any website designers, or start to think about the colors, features and format of your site, you need to spend some time thinking about what your goals are for having a website. Building a website is like building a house. The more time you spend thinking about how the house will be used, and in planning the foundation, the more options you will have. Spend a moment writing the … Continue Reading

Email Address, Blackberry and a Website: The New Essential Art Supplies

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 6.19.01 PM“People always fear change. People feared electricity when it was invented, didn’t they? People feared coal, they feared gas-powered engines… There will always be ignorance, and ignorance leads to fear. But with time, people will come to accept their silicon masters. ” Bill Gates Every once in awhile, even today, I come across an artist who is still resistant to the idea of using the computer. Okay, there might have been some justifiable excuses 10 years ago, “I don’t want to spend my time learning about something … Continue Reading

If You Are Addicted

Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 9.51.01 AM” A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself.”  Abraham Maslow

Living with an artist isn’t easy, particularly if you are the significant other. So, after living with and working with artists for over 20 years I’ve put together a few suggestions for you to share with your partners. One of the first things most non-artists have a hard time understanding is the concept of addiction and how it is related to art … Continue Reading

The “Okay, I think I’m ready To Be A Professional Artist,” Checklist

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 8.33.59 PM“To see far, is one thing…going there is another.” Constantin  Brancusi

Artists who regularly visit this website have acquired a lot of information on how to conduct their business practices. It’s not easy trying to keep track of all the activities necessary to become a working professional artist particularly since most artists are just not suited for the day-to-day practical aspects of running a business.

Making art and making an art career are two different things. A lot of artists are already pressed for time, trying to fit their … Continue Reading

The Dreaded Artist Statement

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 8.39.41 PM“Artists can no more speak about their work, than plants can speak about horticulture.” Jean Cocteau

There are many times when an artist is asked to compose an artist statement. Sometimes, it is in response to a specific inquiry by a gallery or collector, sometimes in response to a particular grant proposal or in conjunction with a curatorial statement or exhibition. Other times, artists just feel the need to explain their work. Most of the time, however, artists are not the best suited for this particular task. Regardless … Continue Reading

Art is a Verb, Not a Noun

“Art is not what you see, but, what you make others see,”  Edgar Degas

Most people don’t realize how much courage it takes for an artist to show their work to people. Courage, as defined by Mark Twain, is not the lack of fear, but rather being able to move forward in spite of it. In my previous article, If You Are Addicted, I introduce the notion that there is a difference between making art and making a painting (sculpture, photography, or whatever your medium is). Expression of your unique form of creativity is an addiction that very few artists … Continue Reading