Episode 172 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Your attitude

Chapter 12

Your attitude

As I am sure you know, your attitude plays a crucial role in how you use this book and how you make it in the art world.

On one level, it is simplistic. When you are feeling good, it tends to rub off on others, and the opposite, of course, is also true. When you are enthusiastic about your work, your life, and the latest thing you are working on, those around you share that enthusiasm, and it can only work to your benefit.

The trick is figuring out how to maintain that level of feeling good every day, or at least on most days. For artists of all types, I think that one of the biggest issues is to work on your career on a regular basis. If you are using the time management techniques in here and are spending at least thirty minutes a day, four days a week on the work that it takes to get your art seen in the world, it will have a profound and positive effect on your career. By committing yourself to such a schedule, you are also telling your- self that you are in control of your life and that you are working towards a goal. That in itself will not only put a smile on your face and some self-assurance in your step, but will also prevent the feeling of being unsure about the next steps you are taking.

Health

Another aspect to consider is your general health. While this may seem obvious, artists operate under certain myths about partying. Drinking alcohol and doing any kind of drugs will not help in giving you access to the art world of your dreams. I am not saying that you should never drink alcohol and go to a party, but I am saying it would help to be conscientious about it. At openings for galleries, it is not helpful to drink the alcohol unless you do it very sparingly. When you are in control and aware of what is happening, you have the ability to really make things happen. Sincere enthusiasm is catchy, but slightly drunk enthusiasm is viewed suspiciously. Wouldn’t you view it the same way? There are artists that have been notorious party animals, but it is often to their detriment, either healthwise or in terms of their career. It is just easier to function and be ambitious when you are feeling healthy. It is very easy for artists to get involved in addictions to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, food, sex, or something else, because to be an artist, you have to create your own structure, and since most don’t create that structure, they are in an environment that is unstructured and vulnerable to doubt. General well-being is also an important contributor to your attitude. Again, this may be obvious, but if you don’t practice it, it will not help you. To be healthy, really healthy, you need to do some kind of vigorous exercise every day. That could be walking at a quick pace for thirty minutes or working out at the gym or something similar, but it means sticking to a schedule.

Eating Habits

How you eat is another step, and a major one in my experience, of controlling your mood and attitude. I became a raw foodist at one point, meaning that I only ate salads, more or less. I didn’t cook anything; I ate plenty of fruits, nuts, and lots of greens with avocados and tomatoes and other delicious vegetables. I did not eat bread or grains of any kind. I also started to fast once a week. The way I fasted was to drink only distilled water for an entire day. I would fast every Sunday and eat raw food for the rest of the week. That in itself changed my life. The first big show I had at the Whitney Biennial came when I was a raw foodist. There is an incredible feeling to seeing quite clearly that everything you eat looks like it came from a plant or a tree. I lost weight and began biking every day and felt like a million bucks. This may not be the diet for you, but the more salads you eat, the better you will feel. Experiment and see. After eating raw food for several months or even days, have a plate of pasta or a bagel and see how it feels. In my experience, it feels awful, and suddenly I become sluggish and tired. That feeling of being tired extends to everything. You’ve felt that, I’m sure. Once you are tired, or not feeling well, all your best-laid plans are useless. There are plenty of books on the raw food diet and also books on how to fast, but make it easy on yourself and just try to swap out regular meals for a salad at least a few times a week, and you will feel better and have more energy to pursue the plan you have created with this book.

Stress, Anxiety, Depression

If you have serious depression, consult a physician; the other method to battle stress, anxiety, and depression is to meditate. While fasting, raw food, and exercise are important for health, stress is not managed entirely that way. As you move through your career, you will have ups and downs, and the downs can be difficult to manage if you don’t have a plan to deal with it. Meditation is simple, and it is the answer to stress that affects nearly all of us. You don’t need to take classes in meditation in my opinion, any more than you need to take classes in how to breathe. It is very simple. Sit in a comfortable chair every morning and set a timer for ten minutes. If you don’t have a timer, you can sit near a clock and open your eyes occasionally to check the time. With your eyes closed, breathe in and count to yourself starting with the number one. Then breathe out and say the number two, breathe in for three, and so on until you reach ten, and then start over again. Do not worry about other thoughts coming into your head; just continue to focus on counting. If you go over ten by accident, just start over at one. It is best to do this twice a day, in the morning and before you go to bed. It is an ancient technique that really works, try it. If you want to know exactly what I do, take a look at my daily calendar online and you will see my schedule of exercise and meditation on a daily basis, as well as the deadlines I am watching.

Generosity

While almost everything in this book is geared to help you make it, there is as much to be said for helping others along the way. It is all too common to hear artists who are jealous of other artists’ success. One of the cures for this unfortunate emotion is to be consciously generous to other artists in particular. Examples are to listen closely to friends’ ideas and help them sort things out or encourage them when you see them hesitate to pursue a dream. One of the online fund-raising platforms, kickstarter.com, is a good way to be generous with your money. I’m sure you have heard this can work both ways, so it is important to be financially and emotionally supportive of other artists. That means anything from lending your friend money to supporting several artists for a dollar or more each on kickstarter.com. You can go there now and begin to be a philanthropist for very little money. It will make you feel good and also give you a taste of what it is like to get letters from people thanking you for your generosity. Some of those letters will make you smile more than others, and that will be a tool to illustrate the pleasure of giving.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

Episode 171 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Creating a New Habit

Creating a New Habit

The fourth step is to make this process a habit. At the end of every week, set a time in your calendar to document your work and put it in a folder. If you don’t have a great photo of your work, that is OK for now; just take one with your own camera and put it in the file. When you get a chance to have the work photographed professionally, you can always replace or supplement your image at a later date. That is the way for your work to be archived, and after you are doing this for a while, you can begin to archive work from past years. You may not be able to do it as methodically as you are doing the present work, so if you find a work of art from the past, just determine the date it was made. You can approximate the date if you don’t remember and then put it in a folder, and as they accumulate for that year, you will have a whole new section.

Contact a Lawyer

The fifth step is to think about what you would like to happen to all of this if you are not here anymore. This is maybe the hardest step, but one of the most important because if all your work is archived perfectly, but no one knows, it will probably be thrown out or sold at some point. The idea is to make a living will, which you can do with a lawyer who can advise you on more details of it. A simple version of it would be to make a video recording of yourself speaking and also a handwritten document that is notarized and put it in a safe-deposit box at your bank. Most people don’t take this step, but it is really a generous thing to do, and this is why. When you leave loved ones behind, grieving, they have to do all kinds of things for you, and the easier you can make it for them, the better. It is a way to comfort them and make them feel confident in the choices they are making. If you are not sure what you want done with your work, you can say that, as well as give a few options; it is up to you, but this step, although it is a courageous and difficult one to make, will also help you sleep better, just like the monks, knowing your things are in order. These are my thoughts on organizing yourself this way, but for living wills, it is best to contact a lawyer who can guide you through the proper steps.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

Episode 170 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / The Next Step

The Next Step

The second step is to label and organize your images. It is not enough to keep them all in digital format. In fact it is dangerous. More and more we rely on web storage like Google or Flickr, but it is unreliable for a few reasons. The main reason is that when you stop paying storage fees on most sites, your images will disappear. Also, no one knows when an online business can go bust, also resulting in lost images, forever. Maybe you are thinking you can store them on your own hard drive? Hard drives are built to fail. Any hardware supplier will tell you this. It is not a question of if your hard drive will fail, it is a matter of when. For people who must store data on hard drives, you must duplicate excessively. For example, I know an audiophile who has thousands of hours of music as well as video, all in a digital format. What he does, knowing his big expensive multiterabyte drives will fail one day, is to make more than one copy. That means the contents of one giant drive are duplicated on not one, but two more drives. He also burns DVDs of everything, which is another medium that has a short life expectancy. DVDs may last one hundred years, but right now, no one knows, and it’s safe to say they are not safe! As we know, one scratch and the material is gone.

The Answer Is to Use Hard Prints of Your Images When Possible

The third step is to get a filing cabinet that is fireproof. Put it in your apartment or storage unit. Use file folders that are acid-free and, starting with the current year, make a folder for each month. In the folder, put images of your work, printed out in as nice a format as you can afford. At the least print out documentation of your work on 8 x 10 photo paper from your inkjet printer. On the back of each print, make a label that has the following information on it: the title of the work, the date it was completed, where it was completed, the size, where it is located or stored, and any other notes you want to add. If that seems like too much information for a label, then on the label, make a reference to a separate document that has all the information and notes. That separate document is a letter-size piece of paper that is also in the folder and is typed neatly with your name and address on it, as well as a note saying this is referenced from a folder of a certain date and day. If you have too many images or material for one month, then make a second folder for that month and put a section in your file cabinet for that month. Start with the current month so you don’t get overwhelmed and move forward from there.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

Episode 169 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Steps to Take Now

Steps to Take Now

Hopefully you will get recognition before she did, but nevertheless, she sets the example for the minimal amount of organizing that is necessary to preserve your work and make it easier for others to enjoy it and share it. First step: to begin with, start labeling your work and photographing it. If you are a photographer, begin scanning your images, if they are in film format. If you are a photographer that shoots digital images, then make digital folders and organize them by the year. If you are a painter, sculptor, installation artist, or mixed media of some kind, documentation is essential. Begin today by committing yourself to documenting your work with a camera. Ideally, you should have a professional photographer do it, one who specializes in taking images of art. I can’t overstate the importance of a professional photographer.

Using a Professional Photographer

Throughout my career as an artist, I have had friends who were great photographers, the kind that exhibited regularly and went to school for photography, but unfortunately, none of them could document art very well. That may seem strange, but it isn’t, because getting a good image of artwork is a talent all its own. Once I was working with an artist who was quite wealthy, owned several businesses, and he wanted to document his paintings and even reproduce some of them with the digital images of the work. Rather than hire a professional photographer, he used his assistant. I warned him against this, but he responded with logic, saying that he had bought the best camera for this; he had also bought light stands and had plenty of time to do this with his assistant. He also said that it is a fairly simple process in that all you have to do is bracket the images, meaning take several shots of each at different exposures to get the right one. His assistant, who also happened to be a photographer, began taking the images according to his instructions, which seemed to make sense from a technical point of view. After the assistant shot about ten images over the course of a day, the artist began to look over them. He was very frustrated by what he saw because for some reason, the colors weren’t right in any of them! So the artist spent more time working on the images with Photoshop until he got the image he wanted. The Photoshop work took him hours, and he was unhappy about that. However, he was a consummate entrepreneur and felt that he could figure this out, so he continued to work with the assistant that he was paying $10 an hour.

After another week of him getting frustrated and spending hours on Photoshop, not to mention having hundreds of images of his work that he was having a hard time sorting out, he gave up. He hired a photographer that was more expensive but did the job perfectly the first time. That was a very expensive learning experience for him when you count up the equipment plus the assistant’s time and the artist’s time on Photoshop. What happened? Honestly, it is hard to say what happened here. It seems to defy logic, but in my experience, I have encountered the same thing. So take heed and hire a professional if you want the best images of your work. Find someone who has taken images of artists’ works in the past and look at the work yourself. I have used a guy in New York City named James Dee, but there are many; just find one by asking product photographers or studios if they have done images of artwork.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

Episode 168 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / How the Living Organize Their Estates

Chapter 11

How the Living Organize Their Estates

While this may sound like a morbid topic, which I suppose it is in some ways, it is also a topic that is not just about what happens to all of your work after you die, but is also about how you manage your work while you are living. How you organize your work and prepare, not for an eventual death, but for every day. Some Buddhist monks go to bed saying a prayer that they are thankful for the day, and if this is their last day, they are prepared to die in their sleep. The idea of this is interesting. They are preparing for death each day by having their things in order. Can you imagine that? Having everything in order so that if you died the next day, all your belongings and work will have its proper place! When I first heard of that, I thought it sounded terribly death-centered on a daily basis! However, it has another aspect to it, which is that you must be very organized to do this and very aware of what happens to your affairs after you die. I am writing this chapter not only to help you get organized, but also to do the responsible thing for those left behind. We may think of death as something far off, but we also know it could happen tomorrow, so it is not just for your legacy, it is also for those you care about so they will have an easy time dealing with your art the way you intended.

Vivien Maier’s story

Even if you don’t want to work too much on this, at the very least your work should be organized and properly labeled. Let’s look at the unusual example of Vivian Maier, the photographer I mentioned in the introduction. The story is that a young real estate agent bought a box of negatives from an unknown photographer at an auction for $400. There were thirty thousand negatives in the boxes he bought. He eventually bought all the work he could, about one hundred thousand negatives in all. But there was more! Her cameras, small Super 8 films, and audio cassettes, as well as some clothing. These were all the things in her room, as well as some in storage. Almost everything was labeled with the date and where it was photographed. There were boxes and boxes of her images and related letters. She was putting them all in storage. She never showed these images to anyone as far as the owner of the negatives knows. The story of what he did next is fascinating. He posted some of the images online and got publishing offers as well as a movie offer. He created a project on Kickstarter and raised over $20,000 in less than two months to make a film about her life. I mention all of this because if her work was not in some kind of order and organized, it would not be possible for him to make the film and book he is making. Vivian Maier also was homeless for a time, and because all of this was in storage, her work survived. In many ways, her story is very sad because she never got to exhibit her work or know that a book and film were being made. However, they are being made now, after her death, and besides it being a case of good luck, that is, being found by the right person, it is also a case of an artist taking care of her work.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

Episode 167 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Talking to the Press

Talking to the Press

Once a journalist is there, here are a few tips for talking to the press. To begin with, have in mind what you would like to say. What is the show about? What would you like people to know? Who influences your work? Why do you make art? Be prepared, because those are some of the questions that the journalist will ask you. When speaking to the journalist on camera or audio only, remember to do the following: when asked a question, pause, repeat the question, and then answer it. For example, let’s say the question is about what the work means, its message.

Start by pausing and say, “Let me tell what this work means. . .” or “When people ask me what my work is about, I say . . . ” The reason you are repeating the question and pausing is so that the journalist can use your voice only when the piece is edited. It is much better-sounding that way.

Another tip to keep in mind is what to do when the journalist asks you a question you do not want to answer or will have difficulty answering. The easiest way to manage that situation is to say, “That reminds me of an important aspect of my work, which is . . . ” and them tell the story that you want to. You can always lead the journalist away from the question they asked by confidently starting another topic.

Relax

It is also important to be patient with the press. If a journalist makes an appointment to see you and then cancels at the last minute, be patient. Write to them and ask what happened. I can’t tell you how common it is for a journalist to say they will show up only to be distracted by another story or event. It is easy to be angry at this, at someone wasting your time in this manner, but if you react with politeness and consistency, you will get far. That is my experience, and I have dealt with it many times. We are all sensitive people, and even when I am irritated, I continue to pursue the journalist to reschedule our meeting. I have always found that when you do this, and get the meeting eventually, the person interviewing is apologetic and makes it up by doing a very good job and giving you more than they would have previously.

Delivering the Press Release

There are many ways to deliver a press release through email or online services. However, when you want to get press in your local area, even if it is a big city like New York, I would consider hand-delivering it to the newspaper departments you are interested in. That is what I have done, and it is very effective. There is nothing like getting a physical press release in an envelope handed to you if you are a journalist. Sometimes, you will even be asked a question or two right there about what it is, and you can explain it is an art opening. Of course, emailing it and regular mailing is fine as well. In general, you are looking for ways to stand out from the crowd of press releases pouring in.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

Episode 166 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Managing the Press

Chapter 10

Managing the Press

Every artist wants to receive more press, and why not? It is part of how you get your message out into the world! The first thing you have to know about the press is that they are looking for good stories, not just good art. If you are having a show at a gallery or at a fair or just about anywhere, you can send out a press release to let the press know. There are many resources online to help you write a press release, but it is fairly simple. You must write a text as though it were an article already written about your show, in the third person. So you might start out saying something like, “The exhibit of Barne’s work is an arresting show of portraits that evoke emotions and memories of missing children.” Begin your press release with a strong first line that will draw the reader in. Then continue the writing and explain why the show is a must-see. End it with the information needed to see the show, the date, time, and address of the opening, and the close date. A public relations person once told me that the press are just like you and me, and make decisions about going out based on what seems exciting to them— personally.

The Journalist

Put yourself in the position of the journalist who is reading your press release. You read a lot of press releases every day, why should you go to this show? Something has to stick out; something must be special about this event. One way to make it more appealing is to have more things happening there than just the show. Performers, lectures, food, etc. I get a lot of invitations to shows in which I do not know the artist or the work, and generally, I don’t go to them. However, not long ago, I got an announcement about an opening near me that also featured a poetry reading, jugglers, a band, and free ice cream! That sparked my interest! I grabbed my son and went right down there. I looked at the art, had some ice cream, and learned how to juggle! A journalist reacts the same way; they want to spend their time in the most interesting way possible, just like you and me. So when you are having your exhibit, consider adding something else to the mix to make people notice and want to come. Perhaps all the things I mentioned at the opening I went to, or something edgier, like burlesque dancer(s) or fire eaters or anything else that would make you raise your eyebrows and think, “Wow, that sounds interesting!” If you can get a celebrity there or a popular local band, that will also bring the press in. It doesn’t matter if your show is in a local coffee house or a gallery. But make it worth going to.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

Episode 165 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Corporate and Business Sponsors

Corporate and Business Sponsors

Asking corporations for sponsorship is one avenue to consider when raising money for a project or a series of paintings, sculptures, or any other art-related work. To begin with, if you are asking a corporate sponsor for a donation of product or money, there has to be something in it for them. That means there has to be some publicity of some kind. If you are asking a company to donate art materials like paint and canvas, then you have to think about how they will get attention for it. You see, the incentive for a company to sponsor or support your activities in some way is to get back what they give you in the form of publicity and good will. Examples of that might be a class you are teaching where you will tell all the students to use the materials of the company that sponsored you or an exhibit where you expect people to come and see the materials in action. It could also be in a lecture you are giving about your work or something where the company that is sponsoring you is getting attention for their products.

How I Did It

Here are two examples of sponsorship I recently received. The first one is one of the most dramatic, so I will start there first. My wife and I were having an exhibit, and I wanted to use iPods on the walls to show off videos that were being exhibited among sculptures. I called Apple and tried to find out how to get a donation from them. In general, the place you start is to pick up the phone and call someone. There is no hard-and-fast rule on contacting corporations because most of them do not have policies on sponsorship; it is dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

I called the general number for Apple. I told the person answering the phone that I was an artist having a show and that I was looking for sponsorship and product donation from Apple. They gave me a number to call, which had a recording that said something like, “If you would like Apple to donate to your project, press 1, or if you have a marketing idea for Apple, press 2.” I pressed 1 and there was a recording that thanked me for being interested in a donation from Apple. Then the voice went on to say that Apple does not donate to projects or causes, and that their employees are already involved in community programs that give back to the people who live in their areas. The last thing the message said was that if I had a marketing idea to press 2. I pressed 2 just to see what would happen, and the recording there thanked me for my interest but said they have a marketing company that handles everything for them, and at the moment, they were happy with their marketing plans! It was all very polite, but a dead end nonetheless. I wanted to talk to a person at Apple so they could understand my show and at least say no to me with a real voice and not a recording. For me, when someone says no, it is not always a definite no, they are just sorting out people they think will waste their time because they do not want to spend time looking at proposals they are not interested in.

Not Accepting No for an Answer

The next way I tried to get to Apple was by calling the local Apple store. I knew at least I would get someone on the phone there. I explained my situation again and said I just wanted someone to talk to, not a recording. They gave me the number of someone in their business department. I called him and explained what I wanted, and he said he had never seen them give products, but it wouldn’t hurt to try. So I sent him a very short email that had as the subject line “40 iPods and an art show.” I quickly explained that I was having this cool show and wanted Apple to consider giving me iPods for it. The letter was brief, to the point, and was filled with enthusiasm. One day later, I got a response that said, “Thank you, we would like to do this, tell us when the show is close.” I was stunned. Yes, they were giving me the iPods! In general, what you can expect from corporations is that they will usually not answer quickly, or they will say no. Again, there are no rules in asking corporations, so just start calling and asking; it is amazing what can happen. I also wrote to Bose and asked for forty pairs of headphones to go along with the iPods. I had to make many calls to follow up and get an answer, but finally they said yes. Always keep in mind that in your letter, you must explain to them why you need them and, most importantly, why it will get seen by a lot of people. They are looking for exposure and more visibility of their product.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

Episode 164 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Kickstarter

Kickstarter

Kickstarter.com is now the largest funding platform for the arts in the world. When you go to Kickstarter, you will see a format that looks very much like YouTube. There are different artists and creative people like inventors, writers, artists, and musicians showcasing their projects on Kickstarter. They make a short video explaining what they want to achieve, like the funds to make a CD of their music or maybe the funds to make the prototype of their invention or some art project about a road trip, a painting series, and anything else you can imagine. Then after you see their pitch in a video, you can pledge money to their project. The amount can be as little as one dollar. In each category, starting at a dollar, there is a description of what you will get for your donation. It might be a thank-you letter or a CD or a print, a book, or something else, depending on what the category amount is and your project. But here is the unusual part, so pay close attention and be sure to see the site as well. If you decide you need $5,000 for a project, then unless you get a total of $5,000 in pledges, you will not get any money, and the donors who pledged money will not give it. That means if you get a total of $4,500 in pledges for your project and it ends after a time of thirty days, you will receive nothing, and the project will be over.

The reason this works so well is that you only get the money that you actually need because if you did get the money before your goal was reached, you would be in danger of not being able to complete a project and disappointing the funders.

Starting a Project on Kickstarter.com

Now what I suggest to get going is not that you begin a project today, but that you begin funding other people’s projects, which will give you a clear insight into how it is all done. When you go to kickstarter.com, start looking around at projects you like. Then pledge a dollar or so to one or two. That is a small amount of money to pledge, but it will serve several purposes. One, it will show you how people thank you for the pledge. Also, it will show you how the system works financially because you will have to create an Amazon account for this. Most of all, you will have the pleasure I was describing of being a philanthropist for very, very little money! You will see the joys of being thanked and knowing that you are helping a truly good cause. The amazing thing here is that if you are pledging an amount like a dollar to ten or twenty projects a month, you will find that most of them never get funded. That means that your pledge is never actually taken out of your account because the target for funding was not reached.

So go ahead, explore that website, fund several projects, and you will get the perspective of a donor and the pleasures that come with it. You will also learn what kind of letters you like to see, what kind of thank-you notes work, and what doesn’t. Then you can start your own Kickstarter project. They make it easy and very personal, though not all ideas get accepted. All you have to do is go to the section of the website that says “start your project” and write a brief description of what you would like to do. Once your project is accepted, you can sit back and watch the money roll in—just kidding. Once your project is accepted, you must tell your friends and begin to promote your project. That means getting the word out there through emails, phone calls, and more. The best way to begin thinking about your project or designing it is to look around the Kickstarter website. Look at the most popular projects, the ones that received the most funding, and look at the projects that didn’t get their funding. Then, ready or not, launch your idea into the world.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

Episode 163 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Emergency Funds

Emergency Funds

Another way to use this same technique for emergency funding is as follows. Let’s say you have a flood in your studio and work got destroyed or damaged, or maybe some other emergency happened, a health crisis, or perhaps your landlord raised the rent and you have to move your studio.

You can write a similar letter to the one I described above and explain your situation. Be clear and honest and you won’t have to dramatize anything. Just state the facts of your situation. Then tell them that what you need is help until you get your studio back or your health back, whatever it is. Explain what you would like from them. I would suggest asking for a certain amount, say $500, and tell them that if they give you money now to help you through this crisis, then they can pick out a work from your studio at double the price. So if they give you $500, then they can come to your studio in a month and they will have a credit of $1,000 toward any painting. And if they give you $1,000 now, they will have a credit of $2,000 toward any painting in your studio. This is a very good way to make a bridge for yourself in difficult times. It will allow you to not only move forward but also will begin to create and deepen the relationship you have with your collectors and even family members. Once they give you the money, then you can write to them and tell them how it has helped, what you are doing, and other updates. It may seem like a strange statement, but it is really a gift to be able to have the opportunity to help someone financially. It is rare that someone asks in a polite and professional way for help. For the person who is being asked, if you know them, it is a chance for them to comfort you, to assist in your creative process, and that in itself is a gift to them. I often give small amounts of money to different projects, and I am always thrilled by it. Giving money to others who need it has its own special reward for the donor, which is hard to appreciate unless you try it.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.