Episode 269 – New Markets for Artists / The Daily Grind

Chapter 10

The Daily Grind: Managing Time and the Dream of Art

As you use this book to supplement your personal strategies and advance your career, you may find that it is difficult to efficiently manage your time. As you develop new markets and further develop ones that already exist, you run into the problem that all entrepreneurs run into—how to get more time out of your already full day. In this chapter, I will present some techniques that can help you manage your time so that you feel good about what you have accomplished by the end of each day.

Daily Calendar

Using a daily calendar is a good place to start. In the age of smartphones and computers, online calendars have several advantages. I use Google Calendar as well as iCal, which is the calendar application that comes pre-installed on Mac computers. If you have a Mac and an iPhone, you might also consider using the Apple service Mobileme, or the latest version of it, which allows you to easily sync up all of your contacts so that if you type an event or contact into your calendar from your computer, it automatically goes into your phone as well, and vice versa.

Online Calendar-Sync Services

The Mobileme service is $99 per year as of this writing, but the Google equivalent is free. With Google Calendar, one of the many features that come with a Gmail account, you can also sync events and contacts to your mobile device. What I find handy about Google Calendar is that I can also sync my daily work schedule and events with other computers, so if my wife has Google Calendar on her computer, I can access and update my information there as well so she sees it when I enter in a new meeting. This versatility makes planning and changing schedules on the go much easier. If I am out at a meeting and someone asks when we can set up another meet- ing, I can use my phone calendar to pick a time that works with my schedule. That’s why I strongly suggest using a calendar system like this of some kind to keep times and tasks organized.

Using Other Calendars

You can even import other peoples’ calendars into yours, which can be helpful in planning your own daily or weekly activities. For example, I am currently writing this book in one of the libraries at Yale University. On the Yale website they list their operating hours and the days they are closed. I downloaded this information directly to my personal calendar, so now I always know when I can do my work at the library. And if I find that the new information looks too messy or confusing on top of my own, I can turn the library calendar off with a single click. And even though I have one calendar for work, I keep another calendar that I share with my wife, which includes more activities. In this home calendar, I list my son’s special classes, and any of his upcoming events that I should attend. As I said earlier, all of these events sync up with my phone right away. When I am at an art opening and I meet someone who invites me to their opening, I just enter it into my calendar, and I will never forget 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.

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Episode 268 – New Markets for Artists / Printers

Printers

The reason you need to talk to a printer is because you need to know how much you have to sell a print for in order to make money. Assume the consultant will take fifty percent of your retail price. To determine the price of your work, factor in printing and domestic shipping costs plus the half of the total that will be going to a consultant. When asked how much a print is, you should know the answer offhand and the profit margin you stand to make from that sale.

Follow Up

Follow up is very important, which is another reason why you don’t want to contact people you haven’t researched. After emailing everyone on your list, you should send follow up emails every two weeks to reiterate the sentiments of your first email, and, if applicable, let them know that you have a new image to show them. You are building relationships with people who like to see that you are serious and professional about your work. They want to see that you are a consistent and reliable business partner. Oftentimes, consultants are going from project to project, one week at a hospital or a corporate lobby, another week at a hotel, and by maintaining regular correspondence, you will sometimes catch them in the middle of a project your work is suited for.

New Images, Constant Communication

It is also helpful to call your list of art consutants once a month to say that you have been sending them emails of your portfolio, and want to know if the consultant is looking for any particular kind of art at the moment. Getting to know the consultant and their preferences is key because that personal connection will make you and your work stand out that much more when the consultant begins selecting work for new projects.

As you foster these relationships you will find that you get more sales, and that momentum can steadily grow. It’s time to created another list of fifty consultants and repeat the process. Before long, you will have a dozen or more contacts buying art from you on a regular basis, providing you a steady stream of income. Once you have reached this plateau, you can consider consulting for other artists.

Becoming a Consultant Yourself

Since you now have the contacts and understand the system, you also have friends in your artist network, and they may be interested in selling prints. Barbara Markoff wrote a book that is an excellent resource on how to be an art consultant and run your own business. It is easier than you think once you establish yourself. As a last word on dealing with art consultants, if you are asked to pay to be represented, do not do it. No consultant should ask for money up front. If they do, refuse to work with them. Keep in mind, you are an entrepreneur starting a small business, and you need to use your head and make smart business decisions.

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.

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Episode 267 – New Markets for Artists / Organize Your Images

Organize Your Images

You can also create multiple albums to show different groupings of work. You can also share your images by uploading them to Facebook and sending your recipient a link which allows them to see the images as long as they have Facebook themselves. My personal favorite is Picasa, because it offers great flexibility with how you share and organize your photos and send links.

Navigation Must Be One-Click

However you do it, getting your images online is important, and it must be done in a fast, simple way. A one-click link to all of your images is the best option. Remember also that the picture quality must be good because the clearer the image, the easier it is for the consultant to evaluate your artwork, and, some consultants will actually print the images you send them. This is the new realm of on-demand printing which you will be getting into here.

Digital  Publishing

All consultants will have slightly different ways of working with artwork, but there is a growing popularity in digital files that can be easily printed. Here’s how it works: A client receives an image or a link to an image from the art consultant, and if the client likes it, the consultant can print it out in whatever size the client wants. That means they need a high quality image from the start. Many print on demand sites will tell you exactly what they need in terms of image size and quality, but another way to find out is to go to your local printer and ask if they print on demand. If they don’t, find one that does and is close enough that you can go to them if needed.

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.

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Episode 266 – New Markets for Artists / What You Need to Begin

What You Need to Begin

To become an art consultant you need three things: Your images must be online so they can be easily seen, you need professional contacts, and you should have prices ready for prints. Most important are the contact information of the art consultants you want to work with. I would suggest you begin by searching Google for the art consultants in your area. There are several in major cities, but you can also find them scattered across the United States and the rest of the world. I regularly publish an updated list of art consultants on my newsletter which is available through my website, yourartmentor.com.

Reputable  Consultants

When you are searching for consultants, look at their websites first so you can determine if they sell other artists’ work to other institutions—this is the kind of consultant you want. You don’t want consultants looking for private clients to build art collections. Take your time and build a good list. Once you have fifty names you are ready to begin.

How to Contact Consultants

You can start by sending them a brief, professional email. Do not attach images to your messages because mail programs might automatically flag your email as junk mail, and some people are hesitant to open large attachments from unknown senders because of computer viruses. When I receive image attachments they are usually so large that in order to see them in their entirety I have to download them to my desktop and open them up again. This is an inconvenience that can be easily avoided by simply providing a link to your images in the body of your email, rather than sending attachments.

Make a Simple Link

The link should direct them to a page where all your images are neatly displayed. Be sure not to send a link that goes to a home page that requires additional clicks to get to your images. Even if you are not a web page designer, there are several easy ways to send direct links. If you have a Gmail account, you can also log in and use Picasa, which is a photo sharing site like Flickr that is run by Google. Photo sharing sites allow you to upload and share your images very easily. Once you upload images to Picasa or Flickr, you can then send a link to a particular group of images or an album of photographs.

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.

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Episode 265 – New Markets for Artists / Art Consultants and the Digital Gallery

Chapter 9

Art Consultants and the Digital Gallery

Art consultants may mean different things to different people. For collectors, art consultants are people who help them shop for art. They know the art market well and can help to build a good collection. Consultants do not work with artists directly, but buy art through the galleries they have relationships with, or at major auctions. Their primary goal is to build collections that have value as short or long term investments. They work for private collectors and buy from galleries, auctions and fairs.

Consultant as Dealer

The other type of art consultant is one you can work with directly, who sells work to clients that range from homeowners to hospitals, corporations and hotels. Some consultants specialize in a specific area. There is also an overlap with interior designers. Some designers find their own artwork, while others look to interior art consultants for a selection of possible work.

Hotels and the Private Sector

For the purposes of this book, we are focusing on consultants who sell to corporations, hotels, and the private sector. Depending on how much of an entrepreneur you are, you can either work with art consultants to develop an income stream, or you can become one yourself and sell the works of other artists. I mention this option because once you get the idea of how to work this particular field and establish connections, you could do business with several artists with little extra effort, because you are contacting the same people you’ve already started relationships with.

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.

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Episode 264 – New Markets for Artists / Permanent Sculpture

Permanent  Sculpture

Permanent, public art such as sculptures can still be created and sold, of course. College campuses, for example, often have monuments. If your college alma mater allows public art, you can go directly to them and ask to speak with the person in charge of acquiring public sculpture. This is often not as hard as it may seem. It just takes a call to set up a meeting with the right people, and then you can propose a site on campus and how you’d like to use the space. You can sometimes get your work purchased by being that direct. I have worked with art- ists who are very successful placing their art on college campuses, so if you are a sculptor or a painter with a mural idea, do not hesitate to take action. But be as detailed as possible. Have a picture of what the finished piece would look like in the space you want, and have a rough idea of the budget needed to create and install it.

A Good Proposal

At the beginning of this chapter we talked about traditional methods to get public art commissions by applying through local agencies for new construction projects. Remember to inquire at your local council on the arts about this, or if you are in a country that doesn’t have a council on the arts, inquire at the local art center. Now, I want to talk about how to make a good proposal.

Competitions

Sometimes when there are competitions for public art proposals, there is more than one round of discussion. At the first meeting you will be asked to describe your idea, and you need to be as precise as possible, and have compelling, detailed images ready in case they want to see them. Remember that the architects and city planners evaluating your work want to know three things: 1) Is your work attractive and fitting for the environment? 2) Is the proposal clear and understand- able? and 3) Can you execute your project well? These are the questions you must answer convincingly. For question one, of course your art is good, but more importantly, it has to look good in the location it will be placed. It is helpful if you can place your art on a photograph of the site (imagine the way architects propose their buildings).

Rendering / Modeling Is Everything

Architects make cute scale models of their buildings and the surrounding buildings, complete with scale people, cars and trees. They also make composite images with people and street traffic which give a sense of what their finished product will look like. The closer you can come to that with your project, the better, because they will be able to visualize your project. If you can’t do that easily yourself, find someone who knows how to use Photoshop and ask for help. A beautiful image will make a huge difference. And as with an architect’s proposal, your writing should be clear and to the point. By clear, I mean that you should not talk too much about the work’s meaning, but focus instead on how it will affect the people that see it, and how it will complement its surroundings. The last thing to remember is that you must convince them that you can do it. If you have never done this kind of work before, you have two choices: Either include a partner who has public work on their resume, or be very detailed. By detailed, I mean show exactly how you will paint the mural and discuss the equipment and materials you will require and how you will obtain them, etc. The more you can demonstrate that you have thoroughly covered the logistics of your project, the better. If you expertly cover these three questions, the more likely you will be to get the commission.

More Options

If you choose to proceed with public art, you should be aware that more and more artists are redefining what it means to work in the public, and you, too, can help create new ways to reach your audience. Look at how many people are using platforms like kickstarter.com to raise money for public art projects. I explain about new platforms and kickstarter.com in detail in chapter 14

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.

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Episode 263 – New Markets for Artists / Interactive Work

Interactive Work

Other new forms of public art include “interactive” works of art which have become increasingly popular. My wife and  I began giving foot washings and hugs to the public through a storefront we rented in the East 10th Street in New York City. That was, believe it or not, considered public art, and was included in the Whitney Biennial in New York. More and more nonprofit organizations and galleries are promoting performances as public art forms.

Performances as Public Art

I remember a piece where a woman was selected to create a work of public art for a plaza that would last for three weeks. In the plaza, she built a house the size of a small shed with a window and a ledge on which she could cool pies. On certain days of the week, she would bake pies and leave them out on the ledge. She wanted people to take them, to steal them, and that’s exactly what happened. It was like making a fairytale come to life. I used to go through a corporate lobby on a regular basis, and there were always new artworks on display. While some fit traditional mediums of sculpture or painting, there were interactive pieces as well. One that I liked was a row of very large wide-mouth bottles that contained soap bars in them, each embossed with a word like “greed” or “love.” The public was invited to take one, and it made me smile to see all the jars al- most empty every day.

Dance, Sculpture, and More

Interactive public art like the examples above keep growing and diversifying, and the term now includes dance performances and sculptures that you can interact with or climb on. But because works like this are hard to sell, they are often self-funded or funded by grant money. Still, they are a good way to get public recognition.

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.

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Episode 262 – New Markets for Artists / Do You Have an Opinion?

 

Do You Have an Opinion?

Do you have a message you want to relay to the world? The Internet reaches a vast, and in many ways, gullible audience. Be careful how you proceed if you decide to try something similar to what the Yes Men did, for even they are susceptible to legal repercussions. A tamer version of what they do would be to create a collaborative, interactive space where people can make art together, or make a website that does not show your art, but creates a guessing game of some kind.

Hell.com and Internet Art

One of the most fascinating and enigmatic pieces of online or “net-art” is a website called hell.com, a coveted domain that gets thousands of hits every day from people

who type hell.com in their browser for the sake of entertainment. It remains a curious place for art and utilizes some of the most sophisticated uses of web design. For a while, it was very difficult to navigate, and there were obstacles like hidden passcodes which, if you did incorrectly, would reroute you to a ran- dom Internet search. It was frustrating, but sometimes beautiful. Every time I checked the site, there were always different things happening.

Nosuch.com

Once, when I went to the site, it automatically sent me to another domain called nosuch.com. The hell.com designers always seemed to have a sense of humor even if it was hard to follow. They defy our expectations of what it means to navigate the web by making their site function the opposite of what we expect. While writing this book, I went to hell.com and found a completely blank page. At first I thought something was wrong with my browser, but I could see that the site had fully loaded and there had been no error. Then I noticed a message at the top of the browser, which said “domain disabled”—a message I have never seen before. Hell.com has a reputation for using the Internet in unique ways that tend to confound their viewers, and one of the definitions of art is to challenge the norm and make us think. Hell.com has certainly done this. You can read more about this notorious and odd work of Internet art on Wikipedia. Perhaps it will inspire you. You can also listen to the full interview I did of the founder of hell.com on Yale Radio, (wybc.com) under The Art World Demystified public affairs program.

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.

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Episode 261 – New Markets for Artists / Internet Art and the Web

Internet Art and the Web

Online projects ideas are another form of public art. Even museums are starting to collect Internet art. While broad in category, anything that the public can view can be considered public art, even your personal website, though in my view, in order for an Internet project to be art, there needs to be something more to it. The first examples I saw of Internet art in the late 1990s were almost like games, where the cursor would roll over hidden links to other areas or reveal words that were hard to make sense of. The objective of this kind of art was to find out what the Internet mechanics really were and to try and use them to create an interactive, aesthetic experience. Since then, it has vastly evolved and artists are using the Internet to create a variety of new projects.

Taking On Corporate Culture

One fairly radical project was done by a group of artists called the Yes Men. Their artistic goal is to make fun of corporate culture, and in this particular instance, they did so by posing as corporate CEOs. They made websites that duplicated an actual company’s website (and had similar domain names), Exxon, for example, complete with links to parts of the real Exxon website. But the big difference was that they included what looked like email links to the CEOs on their home page, but the links were actually attached to the artists’ personal accounts. Then, they waited for email requests for the CEOs to give presentations at a conference.

Performing

The Yes Men would accept the invitations, and give presentations to very prestigious groups of people because they thought they were hiring major CEOs. The Yes Men tend to be critical of corporate culture. At one event, they presented a gold skeleton and discussed the value of a human life. They said that some skeletons—that is, some lives—are worth more than others and can be calculated precisely when making corporate decisions. They mentioned the Bhopal disaster in India that killed thousands of innocent people and explained how those lives were not as valuable as lives in other parts of the world.

Documents and Reaction

The Yes Men videotaped all of their presentations. The remarkable thing when watching the footage is that often times the audience liked what they heard and agreed with what the Yes Men said. The film they made about their work is a horrifying indictment of corporate culture, and it is available to rent online if you are interested in seeing it. The Yes Men are a great example of how to effectively use the Internet for artistic purposes—in their case, to create art that criticizes corporate culture. In my opinion, their approach of starting something that begins as a hoax and ends in critique is a fairly sophisticated use of the Internet, but there are many other ways to utilize 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.

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Episode 260 – New Markets for Artists / Public Proposals

Public Proposals

Another type of public art is when you negotiate terms that will allow you to display your art in a public space. The artist Christo, for example, gives proposals complete with drawings and models to city officials or building owners. He is able to fund his projects by selling his artwork. So, if Christo wants to wrap a building with his signature cloth so it almost looks as though it is under construction, he will begin by sketching the project and then he will approach the building owners directly and present his idea. The owners do not give their approval because Christo is rich or famous; they do so because he is ambitious, has a well thought out plan, and the spunk to ask. Artists may have heard of Christo, but most people have not. The point is you do not need fame to land a large scale project like this, you only need a good idea and some confidence.

A Sculptor Takes the Town

Here is an example of an artist who used Christo’s approach to make her own temporary public art. Part of my profession is coaching and mentoring other artists, and this is the story of one of my clients. She came to me wanting to jump start her art career. In the past she made sculptures that looked like very large flexible tubes, the kind that might be used for a huge air condition- ing system, and had done temporary exhibits for competitions where she weaved the tubes through the windows of abandoned apartment buildings. She showed me several images.

The Model, DIY

The pictures looked wonderful and her art had a refreshing sense of humor about them. They were also strange and looked very odd in a way that attracted attention—like all good public art should. I explained to her that she could follow Christo’s example rather than try to get a gallery to support her or waiting for a local art agency to award her an opportunity. At first she hesitated. “You mean just go out and do it myself?” “Yes,” I replied, and that is what she did. I didn’t work with her for very long because she grasped the idea right away, and with minimal support from me, began sketching her ideas, found a way to present them, and sent out press releases. She then made her tubes and put them through the windows of parked cars in various neighborhoods. She didn’t even need to ask permission.

Success as an Independent Artist

She took photos of her car art and sent them out with press releases. The result was a full-page image in Time Out magazine in New York and an interview on national television. She realized once she had a clear picture of what she wanted to do, executing the plan was fairly easy. She was not famous or rich, she just had a creative idea and went for it. She got what most artists dream about—national press and public exhibits—and with the right attitude, you are capable of achieving this level of success as well. It does require that you write a press release and send it out, but you can do that easily yourself or get help from a writer friend if it seems beyond your skill level. For her, and perhaps for you also, the experience changed her perception of how she could go about exhibiting her work. The Christo model provided the “aha” moment she needed to take the reins of her career in her hands and control her destiny. Now she no longer has to wait for a break or an application to be accepted.

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.

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