Keep Breathing, video art

This is a great video from my 14yr old step daughter. Maybe it’s nepitism, but I think this is just awesome. My wife and I went to Event camp 2010 in NYC during a snowstorm in Central New Jersey. Around 12noon we left 4 teenagers at home just hoping the house would still be standing when we returned home. When we returned home the house was as I expected, it was still standing 🙂 and the sink was full of dishes. But we were surprised on Sunday Morning when the kids woke up around noon and Megan showed us the video. ENJOY!!!!

Using the internet wisely

The internet may appear to hold limitless opportunities for artists to promote themselves to the world, but you should always treat it with caution. This month we take a look at how the internet can help you and what precautions you should take when using it.

The rules

If you want to maintain your reputation and further your career there are two rules to remember when using the internet? The first is that anything that goes onto the internet stays there. Private emails are also subject to this, since they remain on people’s computers and you never can tell where they might turn up. Avoid conflict on the internet exactly the same as you would in real life, and avoid using the real names of people and companies on internet forums.

The second rule is that you should never consider yourself anonymous, even if you hide behind a pseudonym. This warning may sound excessive, but if you believe you can get away with vituperative abuse because the internet is anonymous you will be in for a harsh surprise down the line.

Social Networks

Over the last few years the growth of social networks has been immense. There is an astonishing range of networks to choose from, including MySpace, Twitter and Facebook. These social networks are an excellent place to engage in conversations and to offer information about yourself and your work. You can also display your artwork to potential patrons once you establish a relationship.  It’s important to use social networks the right way, by listening to the web community and engaging in dialogue with people who share your interests.  Social networking allows you to be transparent; show your personality and artistic views.

Social networks are about connecting with people and not marketing or selling your products or services outright. They are also a great way to find people who are interested in your type of art, and if they find value will then share your work with their friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter.  Your approach to social networking should always be one-on-one, so that the dialogue and information can spread from one-to-many.

Internet forums

There is an overlap here since many social networks also have forums, but the advantage of forums dedicated to art is that the people on them tend to be real working artists rather than just people interested in art. Forums are therefore an excellent way of getting advice, inspiration and support from other artists.

Forums offer few promotional opportunities, but there is always the chance that you might get into discussion with people who can help your career. However, going onto discussion boards and promoting your own work is frowned upon, so your safest bet is to use them to discuss art.

Online galleries

There are many online galleries that offer you gallery space and promotion for a fixed fee. Free art galleries usually offer free gallery space but take a commission for processing the transaction. These are tempting and many artists claim success from them, but you should do a bit of research first. Find other artists exhibiting on the site, search for them via Google, and then email them to ask their advice.

The best use of online galleries is to see what sort of prices similar artists to you are selling for, but if you do decide to exhibit make sure to read the terms and conditions carefully. There are opportunities here that should not be ignored, particularly if your work is of the type and price that it could be an impulse buy, but for the most part people will not pay serious money for art without seeing it first or knowing the artist’s reputation.

Ebay

Many artists offer work in auctions on ebay, though they rarely sell for high prices. However, if you have lots of old work lying around the studio that you have no intention of using, you should consider auctioning it off as a way to clear space and make a little money. Make sure, though, that you take into consideration how the art will be sent to the buyer.

Copyright on the internet

Copyright is almost non-existent on the internet, but this shouldn’t worry you. All publicity is good publicity, so if your work is displayed somewhere you did not give permission, accept it as a sign that people like your work. If you make sure to superimpose your name and website address on all your digital images then it can even be a good way of gaining interest.

Finally

The opportunities of the internet for artists are far greater than we can deal with here, but it should not be considered a substitute for real world promotion. Use it as a tool for meeting people, researching and gaining interest in your work, but don’t expect miracles.

Also See: Using “Twitter” to Promote Yourself

Cataloguing your art

John Marshall, Philadelphia Museum of ArtThis month we take a look at how to keep a catalog of your art work. If you’re wondering why you need to catalog your work, the simple answer is “because every successful artist does,” but if that’s not enough then here are 5 reasons why it is imperative that you keep a catalog.

1. It allows you to price your art accurately

We’ll deal with the specifics of pricing your art next month, so for now you only need to know that the most accurate price can only be obtained by seeing what similar works have sold for.

2. You can spot trends in sales

Many artists starting out in their careers find they have certain works which are easy money makers, and the easiest way to discover this is by keeping a catalog

3. It can be presented to dealers and gallery owners

Anyone serious about buying or selling your art needs to know that it can be expected to sell at the prices you’re asking for. A categorised history of past sales is by far the best way of proving this.

4. Allows you to select your best work

It is always a difficult task deciding which work you wish to put in a portfolio, gallery or competition. The problem becomes a lot easier when you can browse an organized catalog of your work rather than having to sift through endless canvasses.

5. It acts as a positive reminder of your progress

Looking back over a year of work you will feel far more positive about your future if you can clearly see just how far you’ve come.

What the catalog should contain

Exactly how you create and organize your catalog is up to you, but whatever format you choose, it must contain the following:

Title and date

Both of these are essential. If you do not wish to title your work, create a reference number system instead.

Photograph

This is a lot easier to accomplish if your catalog is digital, but if you choose to have a physical catalog then a Polaroid camera will be invaluable.

Cost of production

Take into account all expenses required to create the work. It is always better to over-estimate.

Time taken to produce work

Keep close track of how long it takes you to produce each work. Be honest about it, include breaks from work. Again, it is better to overestimate.

What the work sold for

You should be able to easily reference this alongside the title and date.

Extras

Has the work been on display anywhere? Is it now hanging on someone’s wall? Did it win a prize? Any extra information about the artwork itself should always be kept.

Digital catalogs

Having your catalog on your computer has many advantages. It is easier to maintain, easier to back up, and allows you to transfer work to your website much more easily. It can be as simple as a set of organized directories and text files or as complex as a database that automatically updates to a website, but whichever way you choose make sure it is easy to update and back up.

Photographing your art

Unless you happen to be friends with a professional photographer, the best way to photograph your work is with a good digital camera. You will find excellent resources on the internet with advice on how to photograph art, but just experimenting with the settings on your digital camera will usually suffice. Make sure that you always photograph in good light without a flash and be sure to take multiple shots from different angles if your work is three dimensional

Creating a selection from your catalog

Catalog/gallery/showcase/portfolio? The lines are blurring more and more thanks to digital cameras and the internet. Whatever you call it, you will at some point wish to have a presentable selection of your best work that you can show to others. Many artists are choosing to use their website as their only portfolio, but if possible it is worth investing in getting a selection of your work printed.

Finally

The most important aspect of a catalogue is keeping it up to date, so keep this in mind when designing the system. It should not be too complex, or else you will avoid updating it. Try to have a mental habit that no work is complete until it is photographed and documented in your catalogue.