Mount Royal Conservatory
Reference Number: AB-2011-03864
The artist I interviewed for my final assignment when I asked if there was anything she would have changed in her art practice after 30 years and she said she would have liked to change her personality so that she would have been more out going and sold herself more. I think that was a big message in your class. I didn't want to say this in class because it would preempt my presentation. Just thought you enjoy her comment.I love sharing methodologies of other introverts who have found ways to succeed with personal direct sales and self-advocacy and recently I met two women artists at an arts and crafts fair. We got to talking together and at some point I asked them if their friendship was a result of meeting at a the fair.
The controversy has led to a widely-circulated clarification that copyright, in Indonesia (where the photos were taken), in the UK and US (where the images were reproduced “illegally”) can only be obtained for work that is “the product of a human hand…” and that has opened the proverbial can of worms for many contemporary artists. The website Techdirt is the best place I have found to follow the controversy. Their lead article is here.
Now, artists such as Cory Angel (who currently is showing at the Whitney Museum) and Nikki S. Lee are concerned about copyright protection for their work and for the work of other artists whose work is mechanically and/or randomly generated.
Slade's defence of claiming copyright is explained here on the Techdirt website.
But it led me to climb up on my soapbox at one point and preach a bit more about something that really began sink into my consciousness during [a class.] In a nutshell, it's the idea that the art world (galleries, museums, collectors, etc.) doesn't exist because artists are nice people. It doesn't exist as some charity for the sensitive or perceptive types who'd much prefer to spend their time making things than getting a job like everyone else. It's not your surrogate parents. It doesn't care how famous you want to be. It doesn't care how much you really, really put your heart and soul into that painting or video or performance.
The art world exists to find, support, and ultimately preserve the objects or ideas worth preserving. It's not about you or what you want. It's about the most amazing artwork being created in our time. Either bring that to the plate or stay in the dugout.
Too frequently in such discussions (not so much last night, but in general), I get the sense that 1) artists feel getting a gallery will be the key to all their career dreams (it ain't so); and 2) because they feel that, they spend way too much time considering what it is they think a dealer wants. How should I craft my artist statement? What types of shows should I include in my CV?
You want to know what we really want (...and I know it's a tall order...the tallest, actually...but...)? We want you to shut us up.
We want you to show us something so jaw-droppingly amazing, we're left speechless.
Do that, and the art world will do anything for you. We'll be your charity. We'll be your surrogate parents. Just keep feeding us that jaw-dropping art crack.
Or get back in your studio until you can.
You can send your newsletter as often as you like...as long as you don't have more than 2 people unsubscribe for every 1,000 emails you send (.2%) . If you lose more than 2 people out of every 1,000 emails, then you're either sending too often, or you've strayed too far off topic (such as discussing politics in a newsletter where people were expecting art). I sure wish I could remember where I first read the 2% number cited, but I can't, so I did some quick research, and came across these statistics from a 2010 Direct Marketing Association research paper that reports - those who email to their own "house" list have an average unsubscribe rate of .77%. So let's say, based on that research, we'll set an upper bound of 7/1,000 unusbscribers .
What I'm recommending is this: for every 1,000 emails you send, you pick a number you can accept to lose...it can be as low as 2 or as high as 7 - but it can't be zero (zero is unrealistic once your list grows past a certain size). Incidently,FineArtViews shoots for .2% (our current unsubscribe rate is .04% (4 out of 10,000)).
How to Measure Your Unsubscribe Rate
First of all, you have to know who unsubscribed.  Yes, that means you cannot and should not send your newsletters with your regular email program using the BCC field for all your subscribers. Seriously. Don't. Do. That. What you need to use is a tool made for sending email newsletters like MailChimp, Constant Contact, or Aweber. If you're aFASO customer, we provide an email newsletter manager automatically integrated with your website (and Facebook!) that tracks all this stuff.
The whole article is here.
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Writing Artist Survival Skills turned me into an “expert” on visual arts marketing when it was published two years ago. As a consequence of my new status, I received invitations to do workshops and make speeches in several south-western B.C. communities. It also earned my a position teaching professional development courses through the Continuing Studies department of Emily Carr University. And last year was spent interviewing a great number of artists for my new book, Making It, that has just been released.
These activities, together with my experiences running a non-profit gallery, have exposed me to thousands of artists who have taught me a great deal about the visual arts profession as it is practiced in this region of the country. The exposure and my new status of “expert” has also produced a demand for private consultations with me from artists seeking to advance their careers.
Most requests for a consultation began with a certain specificity—artists wanting feedback about a specific aspect of their practice such as their online marketing, achieving representation, pricing advice, etcetera—but my discussion with them would always lead to a discussion about their practice in general and I would often find that they needed to address many aspects and not just the specific issue first presented.
I find that contact with me often has artists experiencing their first real consideration of their practice as a business and it leads to further questions and concerns. I also very often hear artists despairing over the loss of contact with peers after graduation out of a training program. They miss the critical response to their work and a forum for discussion of career challenges. In the absence of the opportunity to get peer feedback, they come to me.
Now, after a couple of years of coaching artists, I know two things: I do not want to do career coaching, and artists can be very effectively coached by their peer. The challenge is figuring out a way for visual artists to help each other effectively and inexpensively, and when I recently got involved with an actors’ initiative, I was inspired.
My performing arts friends created a vehicle for themselves that provides an opportunity to hone their professional skills. They made a deal with a local restaurant: They provide a lot of customers to the restaurant on its weakest night in exchange for exclusive use of the space for their event. Their event involves individuals making an oral presentation, with no notes, to an audience of peers for feedback. I did it and it was fabulous and I noticed that the restaurant’s former worst night is now one of it’s busiest. So I got to thinking, what if my local community of visual artists could establish a mutually beneficial relationship with a space to serve our need for peer review?
Were less busy, I would poll/promote interest in a series of drop-in sessions that gave visual artists a chance to present their work for feedback about the work itself or its professional advancement. And, were there interest, I would be out seeking a site that might work for the sessions—a community centre, gallery or school. But I am anchored to my current work, so I wonder if CARFAC could somehow organize and promote an ongoing series of self-development sessions for visual artists here in Vancouver as an experiment? Were someone here in BC to take the lead in such project, I would certainly use all my resources to be of assistance; I just cannot lead the investigation or implementation.
I believe strongly in CARFAC and I wish far more artists were involved with the organization, so I wonder if membership might not grow if CARFAC could facilitate practical sessions such as I propose—free for CARFAC members, thinking that were this to become a popular service, it would drive CARFAC membership in this area. If someone (or a small team of dedicated workers) were to work with me, my monthly newsletter editorial to an estimated 60,000 artists, and my network at Emily Carr University of Art + Design can be a very effective tool for research and advertising.
Galleries are closing here, the economy is unstable, BC has some of the densest communities of artists in Canada, technology is changing our behavior, artists exist in isolation and visual art professional development resources are limited. How many reasons are there for artists to professionally assemble for shared experiential professional learning?
How can we help ourselves is my question and I have proposed one idea to address it. It may not be the best idea, but I am willing to work on whatever the best one is. Do you have a better idea? Let me, or CARFAC, know!