March 8, 2013
Big topic for a Friday! As an artist's coach, speaker and teacher in the business of art I know this is a hot topic. Artists struggle with pricing their work more than anything. Why? Because it's so close to home. Being intimately familiar with the creation of their work makes it hard to be objective about pricing that work. How do you price your soul? There is also the extra added feature of anxiety: 'am I that good?'. Somehow pricing our work gets tangled up in our self worth issues (everybody has those – not just artists!). This is where things go really sideways just about every time.
I know we all hear about pricing formulas such as: cost of materials + time = cost of goods but this really over simplifies the whole equation. The cost of overhead isn't really in that formula. Okay I see your eyes glazing over… Here is what it costs you to paint a picture, shoot a photograph or make a thing:
Equipment (brushes, camera/computer/memory cards or tools)
Space to compose what you're making (studio, office, etc.)
Education (art school, school of hard knocks, workshops, seminars, books, magazines, late fees at the library, etc.)
Health (shelter, food, clothes, shoes, vitamins, coffee, etc.)
Transportation (car, bus, bicycle, teleportation device)
This is all besides your time. And you thought it was going to be hard to figure out what your time is worth, didn't you? If it were that simple then pricing wouldn't be such a hot topic. Everything that brought you to this moment, to this point to create this work of art comes into play in the piece you've created. You had to eat, have shelter and transportation, gain experience, and stay healthy to get to this moment to create this piece. All of these things are costs and someone paid for it. A healthy business recoups these initial investment costs. There isn't any existential self worth issues involved. It's a matter of business survival. If a business charged exactly what it cost to make a thing then all these associated costs wouldn't be covered. Heat, rent, lights, insurance and other things need to be paid so charge something for it.
Next time: Pricing Part 2!
February 25, 2013
It's been awhile since I've posted anything about Sharky Shark but I want to tell you that's not for lack of Sharky adventures. Nope. Sharky is alive and well, still hungry and wiggling his way around day to day life just like the rest of us!
It seems that sharks have become very popular of late – or so Sharky tells me or shows me. It's getting pretty incredible what sorts of things a shark has to dream about now. Not such things as iPads or paintbrushes (ahem, that would be me actually) but there is plenty of fodder for Sharky's dreams out there. Here are some:
February 17, 2013
Artists like to create in a solo environment typically. I know I do. It's treasured time when I get to revel in my own process and I can do that so much more thoroughly when I'm alone. As a teacher I am either subject to others process or helping others find their process or incorporating their process with a new medium all the time. It's rare that I get to just be in my own space. However, I find there is more opportunity when I am creating with others like in an open studio environment. There are expanded options and new avenues that I might not have found when on my own. It's the same when you're associated with a group or organization. Opportunities may be offered to a group before it's offered to you alone. This is true with group shows and organizational events. I've found that the more I'm not going 'solo' in my every day practice the more my opportunities expand.
Investing into an artists group or even a group of friends regularly provides a trustworthy sounding board, a safe place for critique, and multiplies avenues of resources for everything from supplies to techniques which provides a lot of benefits for when you are working solo. This is one of the biggest challenges I see for artists in general. They have a difficult time consistently investing in being a part of a group. Just remember: there is power in numbers!
February 1, 2013
I know women my age and older talk about how far we've come as women in our society but the younger gals really have no clue. Of course we still talk about the glass ceiling. It still exists. And yes, there are still problems for women such as:
If women were paid equally to men 50% of the poverty in our country would be addressed. Think about it. Single mothers make up a disproportionate number of people in poverty. Women also make up a disproportionate number of the working poor. Where are the equal numbers of single fathers and single men? Probably making more money.
I remember when we weren't allowed to wear pants to school. When I was very young the dress code dictated which fabrics and colors could be worn by women and girls at what time of year. The only time I ever heard of this for men was in the Navy: dress whites in summer, dress blues for winter.
Ever hear of Jack Jones? He was a singer with a big hit song in 1964/1965 called 'Wives and Lovers'. Check out the lyrics below (or go see him sing it on YouTube!) and you'll know what kind of world I grew up in:
Wives and Lovers (by Burt Bacharach & Hal David)
Hey! Little Girl
Comb your hair, fix your makeup
Soon he will open the door
Don't think because there's a ring on your finger
You needn't try anymore
For wives should always be lovers too
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
I'm warning you…
Day after day
There are girls at the office
And men will always be men
Don't send him off with your hair still in curlers
You may not see him again
For wives should always be lovers too
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
He's almost here…
Hey! Little girl
Better wear something pretty
Something you'd wear to go to the city and
Dim all the lights, pour the wine, start the music
Time to get ready for love
Time to get ready
Time to get ready for love
What a great message to grow up to (NOT!). I'm sure all of our aspirations were lowered by this type of message. Clearly this is where the magazine ads and the beauty industry continue to reside to this day. Still women have come a long way from 1964, thank gawd. Now, let's talk about the Indians at Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota…and honoring treaties. I think you get the idea.
Oppression: The systematic, socially supported mistreatment and exploitation of a group, category, or team of people by anyone.
Oppression of any people, whether it's women, Indians, the poor, or whomever is wrong.
January 15, 2013
I have to say that my life really is quite an adventure. The things that come across my desk (so to speak), are incredibly diverse and not what one would expect of a middle aged artist. Every once in awhile I stop and sum up what is in front of me and I have to say that more often than not, I'm surprised. I'm surprised by offers, opportunities and the details mixed in with the usual suspects that I expect in my business. Are you ready for this? In the past 6 months I've received:
An inquiry from a producer to be a juror on a TV show for…taxidermy art – just a forewarning if you Google that. It's very odd, some weird, some wonderful…some could cause nightmares…but I would do it. Why not?
A book proposal – me write a book? Okay!
Two requests for submission of my work in other people's books
Two video deals pending – one an interview and one to produce a how-to
A request to teach at Jewel School Institute for Jewelry TV – yup, I'll be there in March for Mixed Media Madness!
And then there's my every day work: a new business I'm working on, deadlines for submissions for next year, pictures to be shot, cropped and sent, contracts to read, revise, sign, galleries to get work to and somewhere in there I need to make that work. Then I have the day job: ArtWorks, which requires a lot of attention, too.
Then in January all at once both cars had to go into the shop, there have been some family situations requiring a lot of driving (I rented a car), and my house phone stopped working! Hmmm, no wonder my house is a wreck. I'm hoping this means I get past a lot of chaos and the rest of the year will be a calm oasis of island breezes…HA!
January 1, 2013
Happy New Year! I'm sure everyone is looking over the last year and taking stock – me, too. This last year was quite a whirlwind for me. At the beginning of each year from Jan. to March I coordinate the EDGE Program, (a 55 hour professional development program for artists on business). At the same time this year from Feb. to May I had 5 teaching trips: home for a week and a half/on the road for two weeks for four months. I finally recuperated from all of the travel by the end of July and then I was traveling again in August. After that my focus went to planning, prepping and making things for a show & teaching in Switzerland for most of November. Meanwhile I was still producing work for galleries and my 'day job' of running ArtWorks…and somewhere in there was some art play time and developing ideas I've had in mind to work on for sometime.
So lately, in looking back, I keep thinking about the days when I had nothing to do, nowhere to go, and really nothing much going on. I've come to the conclusion that if I'm wishing for more of something (time, play, silence), then a balance is missing. If I had the balance of each of the things I wish for or want and the things I must do then there wouldn't be a missing component that I'm wishing for, right? For example, I've been wanting more down time. When I asked myself why I was feeling this way I realized that I have been giving me, my brain, what I know and my time away in various ways like crazy. Teaching is just that: giving what's in your brain and it takes a lot of time to do. While I do love that and I love the interaction with my students incredibly it's time for me to develop my ideas and my work as well as pay attention to some other things in my life that I haven't had much time for. This year I'm striving for a better balance between teaching and creating my work, working and playing, noisy time and quiet time, messy space and clean space, adventures and every day life. Every day life can be an adventure, too! Especially when one hasn't had much of that all year. So this year I only have two teaching trips planned, perhaps three. So if you see me out there come say hello. I may not see you for awhile otherwise!
December 28, 2012
Well it's about to be a new year and traditionally a time for 'out with the old, in with the new'. Do you clean out a drawer or closet this time of year? I have a few places that I keep saying this is the year I'll get to that…but I've been saying that for many years now! Here is the best article on decluttering and simplifying I've ever read, and believe me, I have read whole books on this subject! This is an easy read and I bet you'll find something that makes you think: AHA! What a great idea!
Enjoy and Happy New Year!
December 24, 2012
December 16, 2012
Sitting here with my cup of coffee (from Switzerland!), listening to some music in front of my electric fire (it does look like a real fire but no heat – maybe I should just call it the Visual Fire?) and just thinking on a Sunday morning… This is the first time in my life that I chose not to bring out our Christmas tree. Me, the Queen of Christmas! Instead I have the one that I usually take to work for my desk, a pretty little thing that's about a foot or so tall. I already put up a huge tree at ArtWorks and it's lovely. Everyone says so. That's enough this year. I'm feeling cozy and creative anyway which is what I expect this time of year.
Looking back over the year I see that it's just been crazy. I spent the first 5 months traveling every month, sometimes twice in a month. My house shows the chaos of all the packing and unpacking and repacking I've done. June was spent trying to get my bearings back at work and all that laundry done! August saw another trip to the East coast where I had really hoped to get to Seaside Heights (Jersey Shore!) and of course, now I'm very sorry I didn't get there. Hurricane Sandy changed everything there and it's still closed to the public. After August it was time to get producing for the show in Switzerland (in November) and then before I knew it, we were off to Switzerland.
I took my remote control air swimming Sharky to the Edmonds Art Festival's Christmas party recently. That was hilarious despite Sharky not being very cooperative that day. He kept hanging around close to the floor for some reason. He does need more helium… Still I'm sure people thought I was very strange for bringing him as my date! Oh well. I was celebrating. I had just figured out that ArtWorks is 90% or so self supporting and that's phenomenal! Art centers are rarely more than 30-60% self supporting – with 60% being generous… Yes, I'm proud of myself. My 3 year plan worked! I really do know what I'm doing and I have proof. =)
Looking forward, I will be home more this year. I have only three trips planned with one being a maybe. It will be the first time in about 8 years or so that I've been home so much. I have just a handful of classes scheduled. Usually I'm scheduled to teach almost every weekend somewhere so this will be a huge change. I'm planning on some rest and play, lots of studio time, and working on some things that have been on my list for way too long… How about you? Do you have time to mull over a cup of coffee or tea today what you would like the next year to look like? Shape in your mind what you want and it will happen.
Some ideas I've had:
Start the Paris fund – contribute every month!
Make new stuff for the galleries quarterly
Write that book
Get rid of extraneous stuff! Make space!
Go to the beach this summer, have a picnic
Hang out somewhere with your sketchbook
Try that recipe for graham crackers
Start Tai Chi
Make art with friends more often