As my artist's statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance. -- Calvin and Hobbes

Monday, May 16, 2011

Regardless of your Art, you may want to know..


"Peony Love"
Mixed Media on Paper

How to Overcome Stage Fright

by Christine Kane

I was backstage packing up the stuff in my dressing room.

A woman knocked on the door and said, "Can I ask you something?" I invited her in. She asked me how long I had been performing. I told her. Then she said, "What I'd like to know is -- when did you get over stage fright?"

(At moments like this, I wish my husband were standing behind me so he could let out a boisterous "HA!")

I said, "I'm pretty sure I haven't yet."

I told her that for the first whole year of performing, I was terrified every night I got onto a stage - even if the "stage" was made of shipping pallets and duct tape.

The only thing that changed was my ability to "filter" the fear.

Here's the thing.

If you're waiting to get over stage fright before you'll perform, do a speaking engagement, teach a workshop, or read your poetry, then you'll be waiting a VERY long time. Here's why:

Stage fright shrinks because of taking action.

Once you take action, you'll learn how to overcome your own brand of stage fright.

Nonetheless, here are nine tips to help you if you're feeling anxiety ridden about a particular show or event:

1. Give your fear a time-limit.

If your event is at 8pm, then say to yourself, "Self, you have until 4pm to be as whiney and miserable as you want. At 4pm, we're letting that go. Up 'til then, have at it."

This permission is liberating. Because you're giving yourself the gift of non-resistance, the stage fright has space to diffuse. The time-limit will show you the side of you that can take over and be confident. Slowly, that confident side will grow.

2. Don't have lots of to-do's on performance day. Go slow.

This works for me, but I can't do it at every show because of my travel schedule. If I have a particularly big show, I always allow the day to be about the show and little else.

3. Have lots of to-do's on the day of a show. Go fast.

Some of my friends find that the less they think about a show, the better. So they go through their routines or see a movie. They show up at the venue at the last possible minute.

4. Create a ritual.

Your rituals will come to you with time. I change guitar strings and play songs for a while. I also say a prayer before I walk onto stage. Even if I'm doing a small show, I get very clear that I want my ego to step aside.

5. Get in the audience.

Some of my friends love to wander around the audience and talk with people before they perform or speak. It relaxes them to just hang out and see that there are no monsters in the audience.

6. Exercise.

You will perform better if you've exercised that day. It will put your emotions in a better place. Creative types need to exercise regularly.

7. Get to the venue early.

When I toured with a ballet company, we always arrived at the theatre at noon on the day of the performance. The dancers had to rehearse and take a class. The crew had to set the stage. And I got to be in "theatre mode." Yes, I got nervous. But I felt like I "knew" the place by the time I got on stage. I used the time to just be in the theatre and feel the energy.

8. Be a rock star.

Seriously. What would it feel like if you were a rock star? Find that feeling of deep confidence that's in there. It's not an ego thing. It's about knowing that you ROCK. Get on stage with that confidence. (Sometimes this doesn't work. Sometimes you simply don't rock. So use this one with caution!)

9. Perform from the fear.

It's tempting to try and fight your anxiety, or figure out ways to blast through it. The only problem with "figuring out" is that performing is about interacting with the audience. It's about being totally in the moment. You can't approach it from your head.

So, if you don't feel like you have a handle on your fear, begin "softly." Don't try to "win them over." Don't try to be funny. (Because in certain moments - it becomes about the "trying" and not about the "funny.") You will find that you slowly ease your way into a confident place. Then you can find the energy you need to carry the rest of your time on stage.



WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?

Please do! Just be sure to include this complete blurb with it:

Christine Kane is the Mentor to Women Who are Changing the World. She helps women uplevel their lives, their businesses and their success. Her weekly LiveCreative eZine goes out to over 20,000 subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at http://christinekane.com.

Rebecca, overcoming stage fright with Eric at an open mic night at Limeric Junction in Atlanta Neighborhood Virginia Highland.

Have a wonderful night,
Rebecca
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Friday, May 13, 2011

The Donate Blues


Exposure: The Ugly Myth

by Jack White on 5/6/2011 7:36:56 AM

Published with permission from the author.

Way back when I was making my gold leaf art (*Echruseos), I was swarmed with requests from charity groups to donate. Without exception, each group emphasized to me how much EXPOSURE I would receive with my gift. I was painfully inexperienced to the art business - gobbling down the promises they were feeding me. I was fully expecting to become famous from all the exposure those charities were giving me. Trust me, if exposure were the answer, then I’d have been world renowned in a few months. I was so naive I gave, gave, gave and gave some more. One year, I donated art to twenty local charities. I did this for two reasons. I love to give and the exposure I would receive. Back then, I believed if you could get enough exposure you would be walking in high cotton.

In this column, I will prove to you the folly of expecting exposure to make your career. I became fairly famous, not because of exposure, but the amount of art I sold. For three years in row I did art shows in a minimum of 60 bank lobbies scattered all over Texas. I had two fulltime men setting up the art, working the shows and pushing for publicity. I was on radio, television and in newspapers for every show. We sold a lot of Jack White art. I sold art to the leading citizens in those communities. My art hung in the offices of banks, mayors, coaches, sheriffs, Texas Rangers, the movers and shakers of these towns. Everywhere you looked there was a Jack White gold leaf on an important wall. There was almost a cult following for the gold leaf. I simply got lucky and worked my rear off.

I used a Greek lexicon to coin the name for my gold leaf on glass. Ek out of, crus is gold and eos, having been made. Thus, having been made out of gold. Thus *Echruseos. I suspect you can find some Echruseos art on eBay. I saw one listed as a Buy Now for $50,000. (smile) The process was simple. I did an original pen and ink, silk-screened several images of that drawing on glass, washed on an oil stain, covering the backside with gold leaf. I could produce 50-16”x20” in a day with the help of a couple young ladies to lay the gold leaf and place the art in a ready made frame. I have no idea how many thousand pieces of my gold leaf on glass were sold. I did gold leaf art décor for around 500 McDonalds across America and in the Caribbean.

Two things opened my eyes to the fallacy of exposure. I donated a large painting to raise funds for a little league charity. The art was a piece I retailed for $4,000 back in the mid 70’s. The league sold raffle tickets for $1 and then held a drawing for the winner. A few days after the drawing a couple walked into my studio carrying the art. I asked, “What can I do for you?” fully expecting they wanted me to personalize their painting. My ego was hyper puffed up.

My tongue almost fell out of my mouth when the woman said, “We bought a ticket and was lucky enough to win your painting. But to tell you the truth Mr. White, we can’t afford anything this expensive. We would like for you to buy the painting back. We understand the painting is valued at $4,000, but would be willing to sell it to you for $3,000.” Let me stress they purchased a dollar raffle ticket. I was so shocked, speaking became almost impossible. I remembered my grandfather used to say, “You cannot argue with an idiot.” I thanked them for the offer, explaining I already had a gallery full of paintings. What else could I do? I didn’t want to go to jail for murder.

I donated to a woman’s charity with the promise of EXPOSURE. After the auction, the winner came by the studio. I thanked them and asked how could I help. Again, expecting their request for me to personalize their art. This time the man spoke, “Jack, this frame doesn’t fit our décor. Would you mind allowing us to pick another frame? Also we live in Ohio and the art it too big for to fit in our car after we load our luggage. We want you to box and ship the art to us.” I almost grabbed him by the seat of his pants and tossed him out on the street, but somehow I restrained myself. The audacity was beyond belief. These two events happened in a matter of a few weeks apart. I then understood what exposure was doing…in truth, nothing.

I sought out my friend and master artists, A. D. Greer. (Google his name.) I told him how much exposure I had been receiving from all the charities and whined a little about the two recent winners. His questions stunned me, “How many people from these auctions have come to your gallery and purchased paintings? What has all that exposure produced?”

He made me think. I had vigorously given for at least four years, but I couldn’t remember anyone even mentioning seeing my art at such and such charity. By now I’d donated at least eighty paintings in the city of Austin, yet with all that EXPOSURE it had not resulted in one tiny additional sale. Not even a mention of seeing my work at any of these events. Two things came to mind, my work sucked or exposure was not working. Since I was selling all I could make, the fault slept at the feet of exposure.

Mikki and I still give to two charities, The Ronald McDonald House and a Breast Cancer event. Most charities think we can write off the retail value of our art, but not so. The IRS will only allow you to deduct the cost of materials, which all of us already do. We are allowed nothing for our labor.

New York Art Expo sells booths to any artist with the money to pay their fees. One artist I have attempted to help can’t even sell work on eBay with a starting bid of 99 cents. He borrowed money on his credit cards to rent a booth. I tried to talk him out of going, but the Expo salesperson promised him he would get tons of EXPOSURE. My word against EXPOSURE was too weak to win. He came home a dejected young man. He sold his grandmother a $100 painting and that was all. That was four years ago and he is still struggling to pay off those credit cards. I think it’s a crime to take money from artists who obviously will not sell any art. Where are the ethics? Where is the human compassion?

There is a vanity online art site, Art Exchange, which promises great exposure if you join their marketing program. President Clinton gave them a $700,000 grant to start their online company in Arkansas. When they were getting started they gave us free listings to have a named artist on their site. We didn’t put up my work, but we did add Mikki. If my memory is correct AE added my mate, Mikki Senkarik's images in 1998. The last time I looked, Senkarik was still on their site. This is 2011 and we have yet to have a request for so much as a poster.

For all those years we have been receiving great exposure, but no sales, no contacts, nothing, nada, zero offers to buy her art. The only contact we got was from an AE salesperson wanting to sell us space. We told him were already on their site. If you have a Website, expect Art Exchange to find you. Our friends Suzie and Tim Cox, president of the Cowboy Artists of American had a similar experience with Art Exchange. It took Suzie about a year to force them to remove her husband’s work. She didn’t want others to see Tim’s art and think if was okay to spend $3,000 to $5,000 to be listed. AE’s hook is if you don’t sell enough art to pay your fee the first month they will give you another free listing, so you can get more exposure.

As you probably can guess I get a lot of emails from artists with questions and, in many cases, they tell me what they are doing. They will say I did so and so show. I didn’t sell much, but I got a lot of great exposure. I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I know the truth about exposure and it’s not good.

I read an article in the Albuquerque Journal about an artist south of town that had one painting be juried into 105 shows. He had to box and ship the art to all those shows at his own expense. Yet with all that great exposure the painting was still for sale. Be aware the only one making money on juried shows is the promoter. Before you spend the money to be juried into a show take a good look. Find out how much art is being sold. If the art hangs for a month and judges pick the winner, run, don’t walk away. Put your art in front of art buyers not viewers.

When the economy fell in the tank in Texas in the mid 80’s, Saving and Loans went under, oil was $20 a barrel and unemployment up to 18% I purchased a small Air Stream trailer, hitting the road. I worked in-door and out-door shows in Florida and California. At the end of the show, I would ask artists how they did. Some did well, but many would say the sales were off, but I got a lot of good exposure. I guess they thought good exposure somehow softens the blow of no sales. Had I not learned the truth about exposure, I’m sure I’d have considered the same thing. I did well at those shows. I sold wet painting. I painted fast and mesmerized the audience. I never had an inventory when the show began, but was slapping paint the moment we opened. Painting animal and Indian portraits, I managed to Fedex money home every week for the kids to remain in the top schools in Texas.

Artists put their art in libraries and restaurants for exposure. Most of the people in libraries these days are the homeless keeping warm or cool, depending on the season. People go to restaurants to eat. Any sale will be a miracle. A restaurant can work if the owner will allow you to place placards on the table and you pay the waiters 20% commission on all art they sell. You may have to pitch in another 10% to the owner. Money talks. Get to know the waiters -- they will be your salespersons.

If you really want exposure here’s what you can do. Pick the largest city you can find, go to the spot were a lot of people are out walking during the noon hour. Strip naked, stick a few paintbrushes in your mouth and start running down the middle of the street. It will help to scream, more people will see you. Have a friend video your brief run. The cops will nab you after a block or so. Put your naked run on YouTube. Call it “Art Exposure”. The video will go viral and be seen by several million people. You will no doubt make the evening news. Even the print media might pick up your mad dash to fame. This will give you maximum exposure for the least amount of effort. Or you can face the reality that seeking exposure is a waste of time and energy. Find buyers and keep them on your mailing list. Make them a member of your team. These folks will be prospects, not spectators, for the rest of your life.

I recommend you seek places where people who are interested in buying art will see your work. Remove the word EXPOSURE from your vocabulary. Life will improve when you are no longer expecting exposure to bail you out. Do like the rest of us, sell your way to the top. The sooner you realize exposure will give you nothing but a bad cold, the faster you can begin to build a solid career.

Jack White has the title Official Texas State Artist and recently Governor Rick Perry appointed him an Admiral in the Texas Navy. Jack authored six Art Marketing books. The first, “Mystery of Making It”, describes how he taught Mikki to paint and has sold over six million dollars worth of her art. You can contact Jack at jack@jackwhiteartist.com.


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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ride Like The Wind!

Wind Riders
(framed 16x20)
Mixed Media


The show is hung and waiting with many beautiful pieces by many talented artists. This is my second piece for the show from my new Art Nouveau inspired series. Wind Riders is about my not-so-scientific study of butterfly flight patterns. They get carried away and so do I...a perfect match! This piece was created from a seven step process involving as many mediums!

Contact Gallery 4463 or call 404-808-9971 for more information on this painting.



The North Cobb Arts League Spring Show at Gallery 4463 begins with opening reception this Saturday, May 7th, from 6-9pm and continues all month.

Did you know that many Galleries today are offering layaway programs, so you can buy a piece of art you really want, arrange to make payments and avoid using a credit card? Gallery 4463 has this option with many of our artists. You may find your favorite Gallery near you also has this wonderful buying option! What a great idea!

Hope to see you Saturday!
-Rebecca
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Monday, May 2, 2011

A New Show of Hands And Media!


Nouveau Fleurs
Mixed Media; 12x12 (framed 19x19)

I worked for a year to develop this beautiful 7 layer mixed media process and I'm very proud of the results. I hope you will have an opportunity to see it in person at the Spring Member show of the North Cobb Arts League. (NCAL)

I'm proud to be a member of the Gallery 4463 in Historic Acworth, GA, and the two pieces in this show are my first to be available through the gallery.

Please contact the Gallery for purchase information on this painting.
Gallery 4463 or call 404-808-9971.

Thank you to all who have supported my art career. You have inspired me.



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Things to Ponder

Don't pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches. -Andy Warhol

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
-Walt Disney

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