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

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Geez Louise, what's 'cost of doing business'? (...art business)

4x4" panels from my "Ethereal" collection.
Available on Etsy
I need to raise money to pay for festival booth fees this year.  Fun fun fun.  Time to see this emerging career blossom!

I have noticed that the average person's (out loud) thought about art is that it only costs the price of a canvas and maybe a little paint. In fact, potential customers generally seem to think most art is overpriced. I know this because I have ears.  So, how does that stigma label art in terms of the average buyer? "Pretentious and unnecessary." sad.  "Art is for rich collectors." very sad thought indeed.  The truth is, Art is for everyone and it doesn't have to cost a lot, but it should at the very least pay for the fair wage of the artist.

Being a professional artist has all the same business costs as any other business; overhead = lighting, electricity, heat, office space, computers, printers, cameras, office supplies, art supplies (which range in the thousands each year), festival fees (also ranging in the thousands), commissions to galleries and online retailers, credit card fees, website hosting fees, subscriptions, advertising, travel, taxes, yada yada yada.

I'm telling you all of this because I want you to know what it means to be a professional artist.  So hopefully the next time you see a painting, you may remember that although the cost of doing business is high, art is worth the price! Unfortunately, many artists haven't quite learned to pay themselves properly, or can't because they want to sell paintings and succeed, for cryin' out loud!  But, we can't prostitute ourselves to achieve this desired result and call it success, can we?

6x6" panels from my "Ethereal" collection.
Available on Etsy
The idea that art prices (which means literally "my salary") are always negotiable is prevalent, even understandable because most think it's a hobby, not a way to buy food and pay your mortgage. Especially at the Saturday market and festivals, where people will try to whittle you down to selling low.  That being said, I will usually negotiate a little, particularly if I'm hungry (lol). Keep that in mind.  Seriously, we really do want to sell our work, but we don't want to give it away.  I have polled my friends, who are very forthcoming about what they make on average. Would you believe that we are talking a starting wage of about $1.50 per hour for the hobbyist artist?  One friend said, "it's more like $.15 cents!  You might wonder why the heck we bother?  Well, it's because we believe in it what we do, and others may be telling us to keep it up because we have talent. Plus, it makes us feel good and stopping would mean a slow agonizing death.  For me, personally, I also have a decorative painting business, so my entire income is dependent on being paid to be creative.

Yes, I chose this career, and yes I know it's a tough one to survive in, but what would be my alternative?

What if I didn't do it? 

What if no other artist did either? (Heck, the New Yorker wouldn't even exist without its cartoonists!)


6x6" panels from my "Ethereal" collection.
Available on Etsy
Where would the world be then?  Life without art, can you imagine?  Can you really imagine that?  Advertising would be dead without art. Publications of all kinds would be dead without art. No museums, no monuments, no rich visual history, no Michelangelo? NO!!! (Rebecca, patrons went away 500 years ago! - Not true, they still exist, just in diminishing numbers and not enough to keep artists like me well fed.)

Where is a Gertrude Stein when you need one?

Imagine nothing creative in the world, just think about it.  Photographers, painters, illustrators, designers, gone.  And writers, our sisters of the underpaid? Musicians? oh boy, don't get me started!  My art education is just as important as your engineering degree.  It's just different.  Luckily, there are many artists who are compensated well, graphic designers, for example, because they are hired for their commercial art by corporations or small businesses.  The simple difference is that fine artists are self-employed.  We have to find a way in the world on our own.

Collage of 10x10" and 4x4" panels from my "Ethereal" collection.
Available on Etsy

So, the next time you are enjoying the view, even if you have no intention of buying, keep a warm fuzzy thought for me, an Artist.  Think positively about how much you enjoy all the art in your everyday life and help pass along the strong and important message that Artists deserve to be paid a fair wage - It is a REAL career.  Please support them in any way you can - your reward will be a beautiful world!

10x10" panel from my "Ethereal" collection.
Available on Etsy
Have a great day, Rebecca
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Friday, January 25, 2013

Good Grouping!

closeup of Fender Under Water
16x20"; acrylic on canvas

We artists talk to ourselves. (I'm grouping us all together. as if.)  We are alone a lot, so you can't blame us for talking back to the radio or inciting dissent in a quiet studio of one. We also agree with ourselves more than the average opportunity would avail.  Hey, I'm alone, I have to take advantage of the perspective, it's all I've got!

Anyway, you the artist...You're saying to yourself, "Self, I am an artist darnit!  My voice, ahem, brush! needs to be heard, or seen or something."  Well, then get out there!  You have my permission.  Do it! Do it today! Do it soon, at least.  Ok, ok, make a plan to do it in the near future.  I'm here to help. I've got a basic and nifty quick start guide to getting started with your first group show. Neat!  (I didn't write it, so don't clap yet.)  I came across the article today in the EBSQart.com Friday Five blog. She didn't write it either, but thanks, Amanda Makepeace for posting it. Keep reading, it's coming.  ;)

Perhaps you're the expert! Skilled at planning and hosting group art shows already?  Please leave your comments with your own website/articles/links after this post!  We will look out for you and your sage offerings and I'll likely blog about you.  If you are in Atlanta, please suggest venues while you're at it!

Hopefully, in the weeks to come, I will be able to post about additional ways to enhance your group shows and really make a splash!

Alright already, if you are wanting to do shows around town, but don't know how to muster a solo show or you are trying to get noticed by galleries, then do a group show!  

Here's the article from the wise owls at emptyeasel.com.
How to Organize and Curate a Successful Group Art Exhibition, by Steff Metal

Guitar Noir
16x20"; acrylic on canvas

Have a nice day, Rebecca

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

It's swell to be so random!

I like to knit.
I have missed knitting lately.
I knitted this for you, maybe,
whoever you are.

Hand knitted ribbed scarf
color: green
length: 6 feet
yarn: super soft acrylic
machine wash cool and tumble dry low

This could get mushy.
Sometimes you just have to think of others.
It feels good. Others have thought of me and I have been so grateful. I have thought of others and it made me a happier person. Gratitude is contagious. If I make you happy today, I hope I infect you with the bug of good cheer and the spirit to give to another person somewhere. Perhaps that person will never know you were the perpetrator of good will or perhaps you will choose to let them know as I am today. I will do other completely anonymous acts, of course, but I am putting this one out there to cause a riot of good will and random giving!

Please post a comment on this blog and on Sunday, January 27th, I will randomly choose a new owner for this warm snugly scarf.

There is no motive for this other than wanting to knit you a scarf. period.
Thanks for caring,
Rebecca

UPDATE:  Beth W. (anonymous) is the winner of the scarf. Yea, I figured it out. Congrats Beth!
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

Moon Shadow
18x24"
Watercolor and ink on paper

"Her sojourn is a lonely one. No one really knows her story. They say she defends the helpless and fights evil when she encounters it, yet she is just a shadow under the moon. When she returns, we will need her, and until then she will be in our memory as the brave beautiful warrior mistress of the dark." 





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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tuesday is a good news day

Mirrors, yellow and blue make green. Pair 5x5" each.
To purchase: http://tinyurl.com/bxsohyq

Back to the grind.  Sounds so abrasive.  Sorry.  This is going to be a great year.  Events are booking fast around here and I have lots to look forward to already!

I've got a neat featured artist dinner party coming up in the next couple of months.  The date isn't booked yet, but I'll be sure to broadcast it as soon as there are details. A groovy concept by a friend of a friend, who hosts an intimate dinner party for one small group at a time and one spotlight artist.  After dinner, the loft becomes an open gallery.  Fun! I can't wait!

The Saturday Market in Marietta Square (Marietta, GA) will resume again in April and I will greet it with open arms.  I really enjoyed getting to know the vendors last year, and I sure learned a lot about myself in the process.  Marietta Square is a great little destination for a Saturday morning with a great coffee shop, a number of yummy spots for breakfast, not to mention what's available from the neat local outdoor vendors!  In addition to the Farmer's Market, there is also the Artist's Market, where you'll find me, which runs from April through October this year, on the second and fourth Saturdays.

I am still working on my website after it was destroyed last year by hackers. I wish I had a full time geek assistant around here!  Despite my inadequacies in the area of web design and techtitude, I get by. I still have my shops on Etsy and Artfire though, and now I have to plug UGallery.com for curating my guitar series into their repertoire of emerging artists! Thanks UGallery for representing me in that little endeavor.

I look forward to hanging out more around town, like at DooGallery events, Cube Gallery, WonderRoot and planning group shows with my fellow artist friends.

Also on the agenda, to run every 5k and 10k I can reasonably attend.
To your health,
Rebecca



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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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