Actor Dennis Hopper, On Art

Actor Dennis Hopper, takes us through some of his collection.

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The Mural in America

The iPad is all the hype this week, but I would like to talk about a web book.  Francis V. O'Connor  has done a great job in creating a FREE web book at www.muralinamerica.com.  He has been working on this book since 1980 and the site went live in late 2009. The book chronicles murals in the US from the early American Indian murals to today.   Enjoy this gem of the web.

Keeping it all going

If you have been implementing the advice and tips given here over the last year you have hopefully seen some positive changes. Even if it is no more than a change in your attitude towards your work, that is a big start. The way to become a professional and successful artist is to act like one first. For the last in this series we’re going to look at how to keep the momentum up.

Don’t get ahead of yourself

Just because you’ve had a little success and gained some experience does not mean you should be paying less attention to developing your business skills. You should always be pushing for more. If you’ve been accepted into one gallery, use it as encouragement to try out for others, not as an excuse to kick back and relax. Keep entering new competitions, attending new events, talking to new people and seeking out new ways to get your work out there.

Staying professional

We have stressed many times the importance of acting professionally as an artist, and hopefully you have put some of our advice to practical use. However, for many artists the novelty of acting in a business-like fashion soon wears off and they slip back into their student routines. Don’t get caught in this trap.

Being professional actually becomes more important as you grow as an artist. When you are starting out it is easy to remember meetings and deadlines because you have so few and they are so important to you. With a growth in your profile and success, however, you will see an exponential growth in your contacts and communications. It can be scary, but never bury your head in the sand.

Keep a diary of your appointments and a database of your contacts. In your contacts database you should keep as much information about that person as possible: where you met, what you talked about, what agreements you made etc. They too have chaotic lives so will often need a gentle reminder as to who you are.

Never upset current relationships

Even if you’re sure that something big is coming along, some better gallery has accepted your work or you have an upcoming exhibition, never upset your current relationships – you never know when you’ll need them again.

Behaving professionally

If you do have a show or an exhibition of your work, congratulations! It is indescribably satisfying to have people gathered together to see and discuss your art, but you must maintain your professionalism. It is a huge opportunity to further your career, and how you behave will have a direct effect upon it.

Don’t get drunk

It is tempting to treat the show as a party, especially if everyone else is. However, you are the host and the star simultaneously, so all attention will be on you. Nothing ends a show quicker than an inebriated artist, and you can be sure it will stay in the minds of everyone for all the wrong reasons.

Be amiable with everyone

Don’t sit in the corner with your friends and family just because they’re the only people you know there. Everyone knows who you are and will be interested to meet you. Yes, you will have to repeat the same things over and over again all night, but each time it should sound fresh, as if they are the first people to ask that question.

Don’t snub anyone just because you don’t think they can help your career. If nothing else, a buyer could be anyone in the room; but more significantly, darting from one important looking person to another makes you appear to be an ingratiating fraud. Engage people in sincere conversation about art and you will find yourself attracting people rather than repelling them.

Don’t argue

A heated argument creates as bad an atmosphere as drunkenness. If you find yourself disagreeing with someone on the end of a barbed comment about your work, contain yourself and walk away. Even if you win the argument it will be counter productive. Also, if someone thinks something positive about your art that you don’t agree with, don’t tell them they are wrong. Simply say you had never seen it that way and be happy that they did.

Finally

As you go forth in your career as a professional artist, always continue to refine your business skills. Make as many friends as possible, don’t burn your bridges, stay positive, and keep utilizing the opportunities that ArteXposed offers to their fullest. Good luck!

Understanding the Art World

Art WorldA few months ago  we began our investigation into life as a professional artist by debunking some basic stereotypes. This time around we’re going to lay out the basics of how the world of art works and how to deal with people within it.

Don’t expect miracles
The first thing to understand is that whether you are just out of art school or you have been producing art for decades, there are no shortcuts to success. It will take time and experience. There is no foolproof route that we can advise you to take, but one general rule does hold true: work outwards. Despite the internet, success almost always begins locally.

It is imperative that you establish yourself on the local arts scene first, which is precisely why we at Art eXposed have created a range of services that build connections between you and your local arts community. We link you up with local businesses, represent you at local arts shows, sponsor events and even organize entire shows to increase your visibility and boost your reputation in the community.

Dealing with people in the art industry
If you are an Art eXposed subscriber then a lot of the hard work in building a reputation in the local community is already done for you, but there is one thing that we can only provide advice on: dealing with people. The art world is all about people, and the more you talk to, the more success will come your way.

If you make an effort to attend local arts shows and events, you will no doubt meet gallery owners, dealers, buyers, critics and others who can help you in your career, but you must be prudent. These people are bombarded each day with new artists seeking the limelight, so you’ll do well to follow a few simple rules that will help you to gain their favour.

Do not annoy them
To begin with, accept that for the most part these people are far busier than you. If you are not of a genuine interest to them then you are a nuisance. Therefore, always hesitate before approaching anyone in the industry. Do not just walk up to them and introduce yourself as an artist looking to further your career.

Instead, you should talk to them about art. They got into this industry because they love art. Talk to them passionately and sincerely about art. Don’t be afraid to disagree with them, but do so without vitriol. Say that you just never understood a particular artist they admire, or that you don’t have much experience of them. Turn it around by asking what it is they like about them. If you are someone who doesn’t like any modern art, then consider that you might be in the wrong profession.

Understand their position
These people make money from art, and they need to know how you can make them money. This doesn’t mean you should boast about your latest sale, but that you must make it clear that you are not a mere dilettante. More than anything, they must see potential in you.

They make money by taking risks
Understand that if they take a chance on you it is a real risk for them. Even if no money is involved, their reputation is at stake. No-one wants to have a loose cannon on their hands that causes them embarrassment, so you must show that you are capable of having a long term professional relationship with them.

Finally
Remember, it will take time. Do not dream of overnight success because it simply will not happen. Learn about your local arts scene, utilise the Art eXposed services, and talk to other artists about what route they have taken to get where they are. Keep a constant lookout for new opportunities and when you see them, grab them. Finally, have no fear of rejection: you will not find a successful artist who has not experienced rejection.

Becoming a Professional artist

LuigiIt all seemed so simple at art school. You were led to believe that as long as you kept creating great art then success would follow naturally. So perhaps after embarking on your career as an artist you have become a little disillusioned to discover that buyers and dealers are not beating a path to your door.

Whatever your story, you’re now on the right track. The fact that you’re reading this shows that you want to know more about the business side of the art world, and that’s a huge start. Over the coming months you’re going to learn what so many artists never do: the basics of how to successfully market and promote yourself and your art.


As an introduction this month we’re going to debunk a few myths that commonly hold artists back:


Myth 1: Artists should stick to art and leave business to the “suits”

The idea of the artist as a creative genius, free from the constraints of the real world, is a romantic dream. The reality is that in addition to creating great art, the artist also has to be his own promoter, agent and manager. You must therefore dedicate yourself to spending time learning each of these skills if you want to be successful.

This may sound daunting, but that’s why Art eXposed exists. The tools and resources available on our website are designed to increase your visibility and help you market yourself more effectively without having to start from scratch.

Myth 2: People expect artists to be unprofessional

The people who make money buying and selling art are professionals and they expect to deal with professionals. If your eccentricities and artistic temperament cause them hassle, your value to them goes down accordingly. Having a professional manner and being easy to work with are essential to success, but especially so if you have yet to make a name for yourself.

Myth 3: Artists must be solitary

The solitary genius slaving away at his creation is another false legacy of romanticism. Successful artists constantly interact with others in the art world. The ability to create and maintain friendships and working relationships is one of the biggest factors in getting your work out there. Art eXposed works to forge links with your local arts community, as well as allowing artists to interact with each other via the website.

Myth 4: Art dealers and buyers don’t understand art

This is a common mistake and often leads artists to treat dealers with disdain. They forget that these people got into this business because they love art. Perhaps their tastes differ from yours, and certainly they may seem too interested in current trends and market value, but they do love art and most are willing to take a chance on newcomers.

Myth 5: If the work is good enough it will sell itself

If your studio is currently full of unsold work, then you should know that this isn’t true. The art world has always run on the same principle as everything else, you are selling a product. The difference is that in art the value of your product is based upon your reputation and skill, rather than raw materials and cost of production. With this in mind you must learn to maximize the value of your work using techniques we will be discussing over the coming months.

Myth 6: My art is unique and most people don’t understand it

While your art may be different, it is not unique. There are other artists doing similar things and you ignore their success at your peril. You must not stand aloof from the people who can make you a success, and that includes other artists. If you can talk easily about your art without being either shy or boastful, you will not only make new friends but you will sell more art.

Finally, don’t get disheartened

None of this should disillusion you about your dream of expressing yourself through your work. The art itself is still the most important thing. Understanding the business side of art is an addition to your talents, not a substitute for them. Hopefully it is another skill that you want to cultivate, and over the coming months we will be walking you through how to go about doing this.