Thursday, February 14, 2008

It is 1 a.m., and we are in the middle of a freak snowstorm. I am up late because I am putting the finishing touches on a presentation for UNC Raleigh students tomorrow. I am hoping that school will be in session after the work I put in today... this is a lot of snow for NC. The topic is "life as a full-time studio artist". Here is the handout that I am giving them:

Jobs of A Professional Artist


-research for your work: your work will get stale quickly if you do not maintain your sketchbook and feed yourself with films, books, talk with other artists, and looking at art

-motivate yourself:
outside the demands of the classroom, some people have problems continuing their work... learn what works for you as a motivational process... look at art and magazines... go back to what inspired you to make art in the first place...learn how to deal with rejection... recall positive feedback, sift through negative feedback to see what is relevant to make your work stronger

- make work:
prioritize, don’t let other parts of your life “swallow up” studio time, unplug phone, treat it like a job, explain to family & friends your priorities/ that this is not a “hobby”, DO IT - don’t talk about it.

- critique work:
swap studio visits w/a friend or join a group {beware of the groups that talk but don’t work}, spend time w/past & present work-spread out to really see & think about where your work has been & where it is going, be on guard for work becoming “assembly line”, or for any outside influences which seem to want to dictate what your work should be.

-prepare & install your work:
make your work presentable-prepare it for hanging or installation, check it between shows, clean glass, etc, if there is any complexity to assembling or installing your work, provide typed instructions (with diagrams if necessary) w/the work, learn how to pack your work for safe shipping, spend time at galleries & museums looking at exhibit design & presentation for ideas, learn how to light your work to its best advantage, how to safely load a truck w/your work, drive a rental truck/trailer

-document your work:
jpegs, slides (some people STILL want them), video walk-through of the gallery or studio, installation shots, B&W photos (& head shots of yourself), jpegs

-tracking/recordkeeping:
slide packets out, work out, shows entered & dates, “next packet” list, deadlines, price lists

-keep abreast of what is going on in the art world:
attend as many shows as possible, constant visits to the library/bookstore to look at books, visit Amazon.com to see new releases in your area, subscribe to magazines or read them at the library religiously, read your local paper, the NY Times, free papers and art blogs

-network:
go to as many openings and artist’s talks as possible, exchange studio visits, have an open studio, join museums, sign in every place you go, leaving your address for mailings, volunteer at a museum, join a group, if you go to a friend’s opening, ask them to introduce you to the contact person, after an evening of networking, write down the names of the people you have met, and their spouses, assistants, other important people.

- research opportunities:
get on the mailing list of your Cultural Affairs Center, check newspapers, free papers and magazines for listings, if you go to a show or see an ad for work that is similar to yours, send the gallery a packet, research exhibition & grant opportunities through resource volumes and the internet, subscribe to listserves on the internet, create your own opportunities for show venues.

-collect information & archive:
just because you do not qualify or you are not interested today, don’t think that it won’t be important tomorrow...you can share and swap info with others.. keep a file of galleries that you are interested in, contact names, grants, annual/biennial shows, rejection letters (to approach them a few years down the road), art shipping companies, postcard printers, etc., MAINTAIN your mailing list.

-be the source of information about your work:
artist’s statements (appropriate to the selection of work and venue), Powerpoint lectures (include slides of important influences) and be able to talk about the work on various levels to the respective audiences

-maintain your reputation:
be professional & reliable, sincere, self confident/not cocky, keep the ego in check, get some perspective on how you are perceived, instill confidence in those who will be dealing with you in
business situations, follow through on all transactions

-build your resume:
take all opportunities to exhibit, help with art projects, volunteer to give a talk if you have a show, teach a class or workshop, put any additional education on your resume, be sure to check for reviews if you are in a show (I use Google Alert)

-publicize your work:
if gallery doesn’t provide invites, upgrade or print your own, print provocative flyers, write press releases & send to all papers and radio, place ads if you can, have business cards with you whenever you go to an art function, if you can make a connection with another interest group, consider publicizing within that group, mass emails before all openings, don’t waste extra invitations...if you have extra, buy or research new people/galleries for your mailing list, drop off a stack at other art places in the area, think of creative new ways to publicize your work, every exhibition is an opportunity to introduce new people to your work

-WWW:
maintain a website and/or blog, have your images availble for viewing SOMEWHERE online, join free registries, visit art blogs & comment, website address on ALL correspondence, study web hits periodically to determine how people find your site

Tired. Happy Valentine's Day!

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