Today's postings

  1. [Baren 43773] Re: New Baren Digest (Text) V56 #5688 (Jul 25, 2011) (Ruth Egnater)
  2. [Baren 43774] RE: Art as sole source of income? ("Maria Arango Diener")
  3. [Baren 43775] exchange 48 (Viza Arlington)
  4. [Baren 43776] Baren Member blogs: Update Notification (Blog Manager)
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Message 1
From: Ruth Egnater
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2011 15:05:58 GMT
Subject: [Baren 43773] Re: New Baren Digest (Text) V56 #5688 (Jul 25, 2011)
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The brochure looks great. Thank you for all the hard work you have done. Linda Beeman and I are working on getting a show together in Michigan. I noticed my name is not on the brochure and was wondering if it could be added at this point. It is very important to my starting a body of work and a list of experiences/events. Thanks, Ruth Egnater
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Message 2
From: "Maria Arango Diener"
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2011 15:20:15 GMT
Subject: [Baren 43774] RE: Art as sole source of income?
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Hi Erin,

Yes, although I'm currently on "sabbatical" at the moment, I do earn my
living solely by making/selling art.

I took my "leap of faith" while happily employed full-time and making around
65K/year. It was a BIG leap.

Basically I had started having some success as an artist in various venues,
galleries, competition entries, museum shows, and festivals. I'm really a
"all or none" type of person and I figured that I needed to give being an
artist a serious attempt.

So while I was employed and had a steady income I gathered most of my
expensive studio supplies and much of my art festival equipment and then I
jumped in. Early in my "business" model it became obvious that
call-for-entries and museum shows were not the way to riches. Galleries
fared only a little better, with non-profit cooperatives being the most
successful for me but also taking up huge chunks of time (and sometimes
money). It wasn't until I started doing quality art festivals that I started
making "real" money. Others fare differently.

There are various approaches to being a full-time artist but most of them
boil down to showing and selling. Showing is easy when you have quality work
because almost anywhere you go someone will be willing to show your work.
Selling is the hard part. Galleries and agents will sell in spurts and even
many successful gallery artists end up booking their own sales venues
eventually. You really have to find the level of income you want to make and
then figure out what combination of solo shows, open studios, gallery
showings and art festivals you can tolerate, be comfortable with and (most
importantly in business) get you the level of income you desire. All that
really requires that you take off your artist's hat and firmly put on a
business hat.

Having a business model is imperative. Plan out your life (I didn't) and
write down a business plan. There are many "art business" books out there
and I read them all, then I chose the path that suited my adventurous
lifestyle. I'm not really a sipping-wine-with-patrons person; I'm more a
chatting directly with my customers (in blue jeans) person. I also don't
like anyone to control my art and life as many galleries will attempt to do,
although I really don't want to control anyone else's either as ended up
being the case in non-profits (bad habit of getting suckered into
"management"). So in the end the complete independence of the art festival
world was perfect for me.

When you are in business everything comes down to profit and it is very
difficult for artists to even write down a decent receipt. You MUST approach
the art business like a business. Basic accounting, marketing and promotion
are essential.

I do most things on my own to save money and aggravation, but not time. Many
artists hire an accountant, a framer, a publicist and a lawyer and then find
out that they can't make money. So to start at least, all those tasks have
to be learned or the cost of being an artist becomes prohibitive.

Finding your audience is a huge undertaking but eventually that is the sole
key to continued success. Who buys woodcuts or paintings or whatever you
sell? If your artworks are selling at high prices to sophisticated
collectors then your approach is going to be much different than if artworks
are selling at reasonable prices to the general public. I always tell
artists to be careful and don't aim too high at first because any given day
there are a million people willing to spend $100 on a woodcut but only a
handful will drop $5000 on a painting. Aim high but don't miss your mark.

Marketing and promotion are key. Have a brand, a business name (and
license), business cards or post-cards, a website/blog/facebook page, a
mailing list, a way for people to find you long after the gallery showing or
festival. All those things cost money or time. People don't buy just art,
they buy the artist too. Being visible and reachable is essential, some
people like to talk your head off before reaching in their wallet for a mere
$20; some people will grab a $500 framed woodcut off your wall without
saying a word and slap a credit card in front of you. Be sure to take credit
cards. Many artists don't like being visible and hide away so people won't
bother them. Say nothing, do nothing, be nothing. You must get out there and
stay out there because recognition and newspaper articles are forgotten by
next Sunday.

The only other thing required is persistence and a knack for getting up
right after you fall, time and time again. There are great galleries and
scammers lining up equally awaiting for you; great quality festivals capable
of making you 10K on a three-day-weekend and duds where you will sit and
roast in the sun and nary a sale in the horizon.

Keep the good, toss the bad and keep going and keep going and keep going and
keep going.

Just brainstorming, I hope this helps,



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Message 3
From: Viza Arlington
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2011 20:23:41 GMT
Subject: [Baren 43775] exchange 48
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Has exchange 48 been mailed out yet?

Digest Appendix

Postings made on [Baren] members' blogs
over the past 24 hours ...

Subject: How much more?
Posted by: Dave Bull

Mystique print #15 is still at the test printing stage; and has been 'stalled' there for a few days now. Part of the delay has been that this one is not trivial in any way - it's far and away the most difficult print in this series (and will look it, too!) The boxwood block allowed a very fine level of detail to be carved, but such hard blocks are extremely difficult to print, as they don't 'drink' the moisture well. I'll have a little bit of a surprise to offer about that, once I've got it up and running ...

Another reason for the delay has been an interruption for work on the summer series of Senshafuda prints. This set is turning out to need a lot more work at the 'editing' stage than the initial group I published a few months back, and I've spent more time in Photoshop than I care to think about! But I worked out the final colour separations last night, passed them over to carver Sato-san this morning, and he is working full steam ahead.

And of course, a few mornings each week - time that should normally be my own prime working hours - have been spent coaching Tsushima-san the printer, who is coming along very well.

But it's not just print production issues that have been on the table this week. Me and my 'buddies' - the people who run such places as Toyota and Sony - have been watching the financial pages . . .
[Long item has been trimmed at this point. The full blog entry can be viewed here]

This item is taken from the blog Woodblock RoundTable.
'Reply' to Baren about this item.

Subject: Two More Colors
Posted by: Annie B


Basically monoprinting here...

This item is taken from the blog woodblock dreams.
'Reply' to Baren about this item.