The Thriving Artist

The Clark Hulings Fund

The THRIVING ARTIST PODCAST is a feature of the Clark Hulings Foundation, which exists to provide training, professional introductions, and funding for working artists, to turn working artists into THRIVING artists. Tune in for insights from other artists, art industry experts, art collectors, and business specialists. Don't be a starving artist, be a thriving artist!

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Virtual & Analog Art—Daniel DiGriz
Virtual & Analog Art—Daniel DiGrizClark Hulings—Archetype of the Independent Artist
James D. Balestrieri is the Clark Hulings Foundation’s Writer-in-Residence. He is currently working on a new book on Hulings, Clark Hulings: Quantum Realist. Jim is the proprietor of Balestrieri Fine Arts, a consulting firm that specializes in catalogue research and arts writing, estate and collections management, and marketing and communications for museums and auctions. Jim has a BA from Columbia University, an MA in English from Marquette University, an MFA in Playwriting from Carnegie-Mellon, and was a Screenwriting Fellow at the American Film Institute. He served as Director of J.N. Bartfield Galleries in New York for 20 years and has published over 150 feature essays and reviews in a wide variety of national arts publications. In this episode, Jim gives us an in-depth look at the themes of the upcoming Hulings book, and discusses how Clark Hulings’ career strategy applies to working artists today. Inspired by Hulings’ successes both within—and outside of—art tastemakers’ approval, Jim and Daniel question who gets to decide which artists matter, and how the canon does and does not serve the best interest of the arts, or artists. Hulings’ accomplishments, both as an artist and a small business owner, call to his deeper understanding of the dignity of work—from running a market stall to the act of making a living as a painter—as a way of belonging to the world. A Painter of Work“Clark Hulings was an American artist. A realist—in a way. He began his career as a very successful illustrator in the golden age of illustration.” “The thing that sets him apart is the subject that he found, chose, and made his life’s work. His life’s work is depicting work. Working people in working situations—whether they’re farmers, laborers, whether it’s an urban setting, a village setting, or a rural setting. What he captured was working people at work, doing what they do. And that sets him apart from almost any other American realist of that time.” “Lots of people associate Clark with Western Art. [...] But really, the number of paintings he did that could be considered Western or Southwestern is miniscule compared to the numbers of paintings he did in Mexico and Europe. So there’s a whole idea that Elizabeth [Hulings] and I have talked about, which is repositioning Clark Hulings as an American Artist, and indeed, an international artist.” “[Hulings] doesn’t really give you a story. They’re not narrative paintings. He moves his easel painting as far from illustration as you can imagine. You see these people working and you wonder what they’re thinking, and what they’re like, and what their inner lives are. But he gives them their privacy.” Travel Beyond Tourism“For Hulings, travel—and if you look at his paintings, you can see it—travel was a way for him to find places. I would use the word 'traditional places,' where the traditions of work and of life were on a long continuum. He seems to be very interested, not only in showing, ‘oh yeah, those women are washing clothes in a street today,’ but in showing that the place around them was a place that had been inhabited for a long time, so that what they were doing was on a long continuum of existence. A kind of deep time. And for those, you’ve got to travel.” “There's a whole tradition of travel painting where there are paintings of the famous places: paintings of Notre Dame, paintings of the Ponte Vecchio, paintings of this [or that]...That's not Clark Hulings is about. The first painting that really attracted me to his work is this https://www.clarkhulings.com/2021/body-and-soul-street-in-naples/ (small painting he did of Naples). And it's this narrow street. Narrow. You couldn't even get a car, one car down there, much less two. And there are deep shadows and the laundry is hanging across it. This is not the Amalfi Coast, this is not some famous resort.” “It's travel of a particular kind that really attracts him. In order to find the kinds of places that Clark Hulings wanted to...
Mar 24 2021
54 mins
Stock Art Can Go to Hell: Corporate Art Without Compromise
Artist and illustrator Melissa Whitaker works full-time for companies across the US, bringing her signature pop-graphic-noir style to their branding and storytelling. Melissa’s clients include Madpipe and Free Agent Source. Commissions include food and beverage, real estate, and medical industries—as well cover art for authors and musicians. Her work has been exhibited in LA, San Francisco, KC, and St. Louis. If you happen to be her part of the world, look for her new billboard for the Arts Council Southern Missouri; it’s a satisfying full circle from when she was featured on that same billboard years ago as a real estate agent. Whitaker made the commitment to a full-time art career later on as an adult: she kick-started her art-business skills with CHF and never looked back. https://itsallintheart.com/ (itsallintheart.com) The Thriving Commercial Artist“Companies want to tell the story of who they are, and why they do what they are doing. Maybe they can’t find the perfect stock photography for their business. They will come to me to illustrate their story, and make their website or material, even their PowerPoint presentations, stand out from the rest.” “Companies are adapting to be able to reach out to people who are not socializing much anymore. They’ve got to put that personality into their marketing presentations. I see new people coming in for personal illustrations: I’m talking to a real estate agent right now who wants to make herself stand out from all the other agents out there. So I’m excited!” “A whole new world of crypto art is coming out. It works a lot like Bitcoin where you can take your digital artwork and you basically encrypt it, where the person who’s buying that is buying the original—virtual original in a way—so it’s not just a digital copy. And that has value to it.” Collaboration: The Artist’s Voice in Commercial Work“The client will tell me: ‘I want a subway station platform.’ I will put myself there, thinking: ‘if I am on the subway, if I get off the subway and I’m on that platform and I’m waiting…How am I going to stand? How am I going to see that train? Where is the train coming from? Who are the people around me? And that’s what goes into the picture. So I would say a lot of myself goes into the picture because I put myself there.” “I’ll talk with the client and I get a sense of what they are looking for. A lot of questions come out, such as what kind of mood are you looking for? What do you want your customer to feel when they look at this? What is your objective? All of that is information that is needed in order to tell the story accurately.” “In today’s culture, a lot of people refer to movies. They’ll say, ‘I’m thinking of The Transporter,’ or ‘I’m thinking of 80s music’ and they’ll give me a playlist. That puts me into the zone and it will come out in the art. I try to put everything, all of me, into the art—so whatever is going in, is coming out into the art. “Sometimes I’ll do rough drafts to get an idea of what the customer wants. And there are times where I have an image in my head and I’ll just do the whole thing and send it to them, because sometimes the client doesn’t know what they want until they see it. Or they can’t envision the rough draft in the final completion of the project.” “There are struggles at times. There are directions I want to go, and the client has to pull me back and say no, no, no, that’s that’s the wrong way. Or, ‘that looks really fun but we can’t go there.’ So that can be difficult, but often I will go ahead and still create it because I can always use it somewhere else. I’m very open to change and adapting because I will always try to make something work.” Technique & Composition: from Walls to Web“If it’s a complex illustration with several individual people—each character is drawn individually and on a separate layer so that they can be reused. They’re like stickers: you can post them here or there, which makes it unique and has...
Jan 26 2021
1 hr 20 mins
Virtualize Your Art Career: Part 2
In the second episode of this two-part podcast, Carolyn Edlund weighs-in on how artists can shift their sales strategies and build an art business that will weather these tough times, as well as being resilient to future changes. Contrary to popular belief, collectors are buying art right now, and artists can zoom in on their relationships, update their platforms, and define or redefine their target markets to make this work in their favor. Carolyn is Sales & Events Director at CHF and our faculty subject matter expert on Sales Strategy. She is the founder of ArtsyShark—and brings a background as an artist, former ED of the Arts Business Institute, years in art-publishing and licensing, and extensive experience in curriculum development and seminars for artists. https://clarkhulingsfund.org/conference/start/ (Work with Carolyn & the CHF Faculty online at the Virtualize Your Art Career™ Conference October 19-30.) What a Sustainable Art Business Looks Like In Today’s Environment“There are opportunities to really grow your business. I’ve spoken to several artists lately who are making more sales than ever before. Now, how in the world is this happening? I’m sure you’re thinking, ‘What!? Who’s doing that?’ The artists who are making these sales have given some deep thought to how they are going to go virtual with their marketing and sales strategies. And they’re going 100 percent in that direction, using tools online that are helping them reach an audience who is actually very hungry to buy right now.” “Everybody is sitting at home, people are bored, they’re shopping and they are buying art. We know that’s happening. We know there has been an uptick in art sales. So the people that I see who are succeeding—when I get down into the weeds with them, like, ‘What are you actually doing?’ It turns out that they’ve got systems built into their business that are very methodical for drawing an audience, introducing them to their work, getting them with a hook, and then selling their work. And then selling more work to them. They’re building a very sustainable business with repeat sales, which is what we want to do in any environment. It is possible to do that during a pandemic.” Leverage Your Art and Your Collectors For That Repeat Sale“I love repeat sales because it’s easier to sell to an existing customer. They’re the foundation for an ongoing business—where you have existing sales that happen again and again. Part of that is leveraging the work that you sell. I talk about that when I teach sales strategy, and I’m going to be talking more about that in our conference: are you leveraging your collector by selling to them over and over? Are you leveraging your work by selling the next piece in a set? It’s a way of thinking: what do I have that’s going to appeal to people? What can I offer them if I want to keep them as customers, and as eager customers, who will want to own more of my work?” Embrace Your Power as an Individual Artist“The market has evolved over the last 20-25 years toward the empowerment of the individual artist. We’ve seen it in other industries. If we look at, for example, the movie industry, back in the day the studios owned all the actors and they would say, ‘You’re doing four movies this year,’ or ‘I’m going to loan you out to Warner Brothers.’ And they would direct the career of the ‘stable’ of actors that they would control. Nowadays, we see actors who are now directing their own production companies. They have their collaborations. They are free, they are empowered. They can do the projects that they choose to do and they’re setting their own career paths. Visual artists are in much the same position. It is not always emotionally easy to step up and say: ‘Yeah, I’m going to be the CEO of my own art business.’ It might be your personality to say, ‘Gee, you know, I wish somebody else would just sell for me.’ But there are advantages to being...
Oct 14 2020
35 mins
Virtualize Your Art Career: Part 1
Carolyn Edlund is the Sales & Events Director at the Clark Hulings Foundation, and our resident subject matter expert in Sales Strategy. In the first episode of this two-part podcast, Carolyn joins us to answer questions about making a creative career virtual. Artists and makers, you can make a great decision to thrive during the pandemic and beyond: learn with Carolyn and the CHF Faculty in real time by registering for the online https://clarkhulingsfund.org/conference/start/ (The Virtualize Your Art Career™ Conference Oct 19-30th.) Carolyn is the founder of ArtsyShark—a popular blog that publishes features on artist portfolios and articles on the business of art—and the former executive director of the Arts Business Institute. An artist herself, Carolyn pivoted to sales in the art-publishing business—she learned the world of price points, merchandising, building collections, and closing deals, by working a territory and becoming a top rep. She has designed curriculum for multiple art-business platforms and has presented hundreds of live seminars for artists and makers. Selling Art During the Pandemic“Artists are being pushed into getting online and becoming experts at communicating and selling online. We don’t have much of a choice. The events are closed, postponed, canceled. They’re not happening in person. And as wonderful as the in-person events are (and, you know, we’ve traditionally relied on them) just like Hiscox [Online Art Trade Report 2020] noted: this is a transformation. We’ve been moving towards an online economy, an art industry that is robust in the online space, and this is forcing the issue.” “This is putting people in a sink or swim position where you’ve got to make decisions. You aren’t going to change your whole life, but you’ve got to make decisions about getting into the online market and making it work for you. And that, to me, is a huge opportunity. It might not be something that every artist is looking forward to, but ultimately they will really benefit from it.” Opportunities & Challenges of Selling Online“It becomes very crowded when everyone is jumping online—and we know that’s true because art website providers are reporting record numbers of new clients coming in. They all want to set up websites.” “Anyone who is in the virtual marketplace has to fight for attention—establish that space, gather the people who are their followers, either through social media profiles or a list that they’ve built so that they can continue that conversation, and then use those interested people to turn into customers and clients.” “The personal touch is very appreciated these days. If you’ve got a collector who feels like they know you, they like you, they appreciate your work, and you say: ‘I want to reach out to you because I’ve got a new body of work and I haven’t shown anyone yet. But you own two of my paintings, and I really want to give you first dibs. How about we jump on a Zoom call? How about we literally get into a face to face conversation. I’ll show you what I’ve got.’ I like the personal outreach. And even though that might be a little bit scary, I think that over time, as you get to know your customer base, there will be people that you can reach out to and you’ll find that they appreciate and love hearing from an artist, and love talking with you, and that that engagement excites them. It’s part of the collector experience.” What Does Virtualizing Your Art Career Mean?“There’s going to be a range for some people. It may only be that they get a website, and then they’re continuing on with what they’ve been doing for years. For other artists, virtualizing means a new format.” “For example, you might be an artist who teaches. You’re not going to be teaching in person right now, but you might be building courses on an online learning platform, you might be teaching through YouTube.” “If you are an artist who typically offers reproductions or is considering it, you...
Sep 30 2020
53 mins
Selling Art in The New Normal: Marketplace, Native Communities, and Virtual Reality
The http://market.swaia.org/ (Virtual Edition of The Santa Fe Indian Market) offers an amazing atmosphere of delight and awe at a time when most of us are cooped up in our own worlds of social distance. SWAIA Executive Director Kim Peone joins CHFs Executive Director Elizabeth Hulings, Artpsan Founder & Director Eric Sparre, and leader of the Vircadia Implementation Project & CHF Board Member, Steve Pruneau. Tune in for a wide-ranging discussion lead by host Daniel DiGriz about how all four organization are actualizing possibilities for collaboration and community in the digital world, how Native Artists are poised to flourish in this year’s market and beyond, a profile of the events and gallery spaces in NDN World, and how all of these partner organizations are championing artists as they emerge as leaders and innovators in our changing economy. To purchase the artists’ work, visit https://swaia.artspan.com/ (swaia.artspan.com). Beginnings: How Virtual Edition of SWAIA’s Indian Market StartedKim: “This was a scenario where SWAIA needed to pivot after cancelling their Indian Market due to the pandemic. I came on board after the organization had spoken with Clark Hulings Foundation on that possibility. Once I became the Executive Director of the organization and vetted that quickly with my board and staff and Clark Hulings’ team as well, it seemed like it was a great partnership for us to collaborate together and move this vision forward. It was a concept at the time, and now we’re really in a place of vision. And so it’s been a great partnership. And I’m really excited to be part of this collaboration.” Elizabeth: “SWAIA has been a champion for Native arts for almost 100 years. CHF is interested in promoting artists’ ability to earn a living, and therefore get their art to market, so that the market can decide what it likes and what it wants to buy. We want to level the playing field, get as much out there as possible, and let everybody have a fair shot. It’s a beautiful combination: we have an organization whose goal is to do that for Native arts, and an organization that is coming from the artists’ perspective to drive that forward. Instead of a top-down, it’s really a bottom-up proposition.” Working with Native American ArtistsKim: “This is really a ceremonial moment—where, just like when we go to our traditional powwows, we go there not only to dance, but we go there to be in a place where there is community, ceremony, and camaraderie. So I think that is no different than Indian Market.” Kim: “Working with Native American communities, you’re definitely working with a population that’s underserved. We have recognized, especially in my past experience in working with tribal governments, that it’s very challenging to do economic development within those organizational structures. This is the first time that I’ve been able to work for an organization which represents Native American tribes where we’re truly in that place of free commerce—and so it allows us to be creative.” Kim: “The resilience part of this is something that we’ve been dealing with for generations. So how do we come out of that miry clay and become something? I really appreciate being with an organization where we can empower individuals in doing that, and then as an organization come alongside them to support them. I also feel like it’s a scenario where if you’re helping one artist, you’re not just helping them, you’re helping a family—and that family is helping a community. It really is a ripple effect, as opposed to other artists organizations where it’s very individualized. When we look at an artist, we look at an artist in reference to their tribal affiliation, what nation they are representing. For SWAIA and our juried artists, that’s 220 nations that we’re touching, personally. For us it’s about not only resilience for the artists, but for the community.” The Online Art Community &...
Aug 29 2020
1 hr 19 mins
Build Your Own Future With Or Without The Establishment
Artist Ashley Longshore has never waited for industry gatekeepers to open doors for her: she’s a wildly successful, self-made entrepreneur. Owner of The Longshore Studio Gallery in New Orleans and two high-traffic Instagram profiles, her partners, collaborators, and collectors are a who’s-who of upscale brands and celebrities: Dianne Von Furstenburg, Bergdorf Goodman, Gucci, Rolex, Miley Cyrus, Blake Lively, Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek, and Eli Manning. Ashley’s been described as a “modern Andy Warhol” for her pop art sensibilities. Rizzoli New York has recently published her second book I Do Not Cook, I Do Not Clean, I Do Not Fly Commercial. In this episode, Ashley weighs-in on instinct, strategy, and other lessons learned in the art business—and discusses being a working artist during the pandemic. Keep your ears open for some very funny, candid, and insightful one-liners. Artists Are Entrepreneurs“Artists are entrepreneurs. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be financially successful. The idea is that you get to a point where your profits are coming in, people are engaging with your artwork, you have that intimacy within your collector base, and you’ve got enough money in your bank account to make any idea that you have in your brain come to fruition. To me that’s the ultimate goal.” “I think in America you have an opportunity to make your own past. When I was told I wasn’t marketable, I decided to build this on my own. Although it wasn’t the easy way, it was the better way, because I understand my audience, I understand my engagement, and I’ve been able to build friendships that led me to great opportunities. Those opportunities have led me to extremely successful creative people.” “I have created what I have created on instinct alone. And you know, artists know how to use tools, they know process. Very early, I realized: I’m not going to work with galleries, I’m going to create my own system; I’m not going to give up 50%, I’m going to keep 100% of my profit margins. I’m going to build a business.” “I needed to hire people based on the demand for my work—more graphic designers, more photographers, more salespeople. There’s a lot of power in that. I knew I was going to do this my own way, no matter what. That’s the thing: you find your own path and you go for it.” What It Takes To Be Successful“In the beginning, honestly, [it’s about] being as prolific as you can be, understanding your voice, being able to figure out how to be kind to yourself when you’re not completely inspired and on fire. You have to have that strong inner voice of, ‘I can do this, I’m going to be okay. It’s alright that I’m not inspired right now.’ It’s all these little inner thoughts of positivity and optimism. You’ve got to start building that wall inside of you. Because the more you put yourself out there, the more open you are to criticism and the bull**** from the world.” “F*** the establishment. F*** what anybody else thinks! You go after it, you cut your own path, you do what you have to do. You know, I’ve been turned down more than a bed in a cheap motel. Rejection is part of what’s going to happen no matter what you do as a creative person, as an entrepreneur, as an ‘artrepreneur’.” “The things that I do, I do them with enthusiasm, I do them with gratitude. And I think that energy is really infectious. I also work my ass off, I work quickly, I work my team. And when I’m given a huge opportunity from a billion-dollar global corporation, I work myself to DEATH to make sure that I not only produce, but I over-produce, and I blow their doors off. I mean I live for that moment when they go, ‘You did what?!’ ” “Start off with a goal like: I want to make $200 this week. I want to make $200, how can I get creative with my marketing? How can I find out who my audience is? Start with that. Start with that, it’s the little steps. No instant gratification. Instant gratification gets you drunk, high or pregnant.” Art As A Luxury...
Jun 8 2020
30 mins
Lockdown: Artists Double Down on Building Robust Businesses and Self-Help Networks
It’s a timely moment to be interviewing the team from CERF+, a leading nonprofit focused on safeguarding artists’ livelihoods nationwide. Founded in 1985—by and for materials-based artists and craftspeople—their core services are education programs, advocacy, network- building, and emergency relief. Key players in the recovery of creative industries after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, CERF+ also responded to artists impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, assisted after the California wildfires, and are actively engaged in a Covid-19 response. Their advocacy for artists is ongoing—both in times where planning and prevention are the emphasis—and in providing support in recovery from a crisis. Cornelia Carey is CERF+’s Executive Director and the founder of the National Coalition for Arts Preparedness & Emergency Response. Carrie Cleveland is their Education and Outreach Manager. Thanks to Jerry’s Artarama for their support of CHF and The Thriving Artist™ podcast. About CERF+“CERF was originally called ‘Craft Emergency Relief Fund.’ But after Hurricane Katrina, CERF committed to doing a lot more work in the preparedness and mitigation realm. We realized that no amount of money that we could ever raise was going to right somebody’s life when it had been reduced to a slab, a studio, or a home. We needed to invest in helping artists be more prepared and build more resilient careers. So that’s how we became CERF+. The ‘plus’ being all of that preparedness.” “ https://cerfplus.org/cerfplus-responds-to-covid-19/ (We are actively aggregating, creating, combining, curating resources and information that help artists look at this current crisis). At last count there were 130 emergency relief funds that have been created for artists around the country and in the territories; there have been 3 federal aid packages that artists can access—so we want to make sure our artists are aware of these opportunities and how to navigate them.” Advocacy for Artists“We’ve been working with cultural advocacy groups and Americans For The Arts, and making sure that the needs of artists and other self-employed workers are embedded in federal relief packages. Traditionally, self-employed workers, gig workers, and artists have not been a part of federal relief packages.” “Advocacy is educating decision-makers about the issues and the needs of a very important population in this country that might not be represented—in disaster response, for example.” “The arts serve everyone in this country. Not just left-leaning or right-leaning.” “Artists, like many other self-employed workers, don’t have access to a safety net of benefits that often comes with employment, such as health insurance, paid time off, and other supports and security.” “We’ve been making the case that artists’ careers are small businesses, and like any other small business, they employ people, they purchase equipment and supplies and materials, they buy real estate, they rent real estate. They are definitely part of economies.” “We did research in 2013 about the status of artists in the craft field. We found that 75% of them have 3 months of savings or less. So if you look at this current crisis with things shutting down in March—you know by May, it’s a pretty desperate situation. So we’re in there with the other advocates for small business.” “Maybe people think artists live in a separate bucket than the economy. There’s hard data that says just how wrong that is. Just last month the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that the Arts & Culture workforce contributed 877.8 billion dollars, or 4.5% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product in 2017.” Helping Artists Through Disasters—Coronavirus And Beyond“With Covid-19, we’re focused on the health emergency care needs of artists who have gotten the virus, as well as still responding to the other disasters, including the recent tornados in and around the Nashville area and also artists
May 1 2020
50 mins
These Artists Graduated Training But are Entrepreneurs for Life
Find out how working artists become thriving artists. This is the biggest podcast we’ve ever recorded, featuring 18 voices: the graduating class of our most recent Art-Business Accelerator cohort, their Advisors, and CHF team members Daniel DiGriz and Elizabeth Hulings. 1:25-3:00 is a “walk across the graduation stage” celebration moment for each Fellow. The episode is packed with the artists’ insightful observations about the triumphs, challenges, community, and skill-building involved in developing a successful creative career, and the role CHF has played in the process. Elizabeth Hulings says: “We’re seeing some major projects here that have legs and are going to be important. I really do believe that these artists are going to continue to build on the momentum that they have, and achieve some of these big goals. And that’s really exciting.” The Value of Artist-Peers & Teams“The team has been a huge support to me. There was an opportunity that came my way that I was thrilled about, but terrified. I didn’t see how it could benefit me financially, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to participate in it. And just talking it through with my team, they all were encouraging me and helping me to see my blind spot, really. Discussion with my peers helped me so much—these are people I respect, and that encouragement meant so much to me, that it ultimately wound up being my pivotal project. I’m very thankful, I wouldn’t have had that without that particular conversation on the phone with my team.” – Steven “The fellowship program offers some really comprehensive, very successful strategies. But working in teams, what resonated for me is that in getting to know each other we could really identify the sensitive aspects that each of us had. And we were able to walk through maybe some embarrassing moments or some real difficulties that some of us had to figure out how to personalize the strategies and protocols. So to me, that was very meaningful. That human direct connection that takes into account who you are and what your motivations and intentions are.” – Robin “There’s so much in this business about personal recommendations, personal introductions. And I have found that to be one of the most valuable parts of this. Not only meeting the other artists, but any way that they can help to introduce buyers or galleries. And I hope I’ve been able to do that to a couple of my compatriots here, but I find in this business that personal recommendation is the most important for me and the one thing that I’ve gotten most out of this.” – Tim What Does A CHF Accelerator Fellow Artist Do After Graduation?“I am going to pursue my pivotal project, which was to build an addition on my studio so I can create larger sculptures. And I’m grateful to this program for helping to solidify my thought process about that—and also spurring me into action and holding me accountable.” – April “I’m definitely going after my pivotal project. This was an idea that I cooked up about 12 years ago and I kind of let it fall by the wayside. And being with CHF and getting the encouragement in the direction that I did, I am definitely doing this in the coming year. […] The thing that was so helpful to me was the creation of an action plan through the career blueprinting. Because it gave me the ideas to get organized and give me step-by-step of what I’m going to do throughout the year.” – Sharon “It was a total mind-shift this year, where the brand-story was so critical. The things I wanted to paint, versus what I was selling…I was seeing what I wanted to paint as sort of a negative. And now I see it as a way to differentiate myself. And that, that is something that I should be putting all of my energies into. There is a market for what I want to do. Like I said, it was just a total mind-shift on that. And I am selling them. There are buyers for the subject matter that I want to paint. So yeah, it’s been really great that way.” – Carrie Highlights of the
Feb 19 2020
1 hr 6 mins
Data Science in the Arts: Report on the Working Artist
Two years in the making, CHF’s https://clarkhulingsfund.org/rowa/ (Report on the Working Artist) (ROWA) is a truly groundbreaking piece of research: the first of its kind demonstrating artists’ pivotal role in our changing economy. In this engaging conversation, CHF’s data analysis team Daniel DiGriz and Lily Dulberg sit down to discuss the methodology and significance of the Report, the documented demand for entrepreneurial training for artists, the gaps in existing research and traditional art education—and how we now have solid and replicable data that supports artists’ ability to make measurable contributions to our economy and the culture at large. Finding a Pattern: The Bottom Line for Working Artists“We’ve got a lot of information out there from many different sources, many reputable organizations, nonprofits, and our business education programs. But there’s so little information on what artists need to drive success, and what actually changes the landscape of their art business.” “Most of the data out there does not measure bottom-line outcomes, which it’s kind of funny, right? Because you need to know those things in order to develop new programs and create best practices and to support artists.” “Many organizations had information on their websites about the different types of programs they ran, and testimonials and quotes from artists on what they need. But there was no real evidence of what these programs were able to do for the artists. There were no business results, no income results.” “With all the data that we’ve collated, and more specifically, with the data that we have done in-house at the Clark Hulings Fund through our Business Accelerator Program and our events, we really came up with a pattern that we can follow for any type of research in the future. And that is, that attitudes change behavior. Behavior produces business results. And business results lead to increased income or revenue.” “One of the main things that I think that we should take away from this, that business education moves the needle for artists. It helps them make more income, it helps them develop a more robust network which allows them to increase their sales.” The Gap: Business Education for Artists“The ecosystem of gallerists, artists, and peer networks contribute so heavily to business results—and the success that artists see in their lives and in their businesses. There really aren’t enough art business events out there and there really aren’t enough groups for artists that foster communication around what it’s like to be in an art business.” “There’s a gap, and in that gap is business education. And it’s so mind-boggling to think that only 5% of an average sampling of fine arts curriculum involves any sort of entrepreneurial or business education.” “We had to establish that there was a gap, that it exists indeed, in order to say, ‘Okay, this is how we can fill the gap, this is how we can create change and this is how artists are already creating change.’ ” “…it was really amazing to be able to shed light on how that’s already happening and the research that shows that it’s replicable. Other organizations can do it, and the secret sauce is business training.” How We Collect and Analyze Data“So at the Clark Hulings Fund, we’ve been collecting data from our fellows, from [Art-Business Conference] participants, from artists who are involved with our work in many different ways. We have a whole process behind how we do that: we make sure that everything is categorized so that we can actually analyze the themes, and there are codes for the different themes that come up in what the artists are talking about.” “When have our conferences, we have artists coming up to us, giving us testimonials, talking about the experience—and none of that is lost in translation. We’re using everything that we received from the artists because that’s really where it starts, with the people. As you said, this is a...
Nov 21 2019
37 mins
Infiltrate the Business World in the Name of Art
Noah Scalin is an artist based in Richmond, Virginia, whose sculpture, installation, and photography use everyday items reassembled in new contexts. Noah did a major installation in Times Square in the winter of 2019, and is working with The Krause Gallery in New York City. He is also a corporate consultant at Another Limited Rebellion with his sister Mica Scalin. The firm specializes in using art and creativity in leadership development, and clients include Coke, General Electric, and Intuit. Noah was the first artist-in-residence at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business, where he is now an adjunct professor. Discover A Market Through Creative Practice“I ended up doing this project called Skull-A-Day where I got myself out of my creative rut and inspired again. And one of the really strange outcomes of that was that I started getting asked to talk to businesses about my creative practice. And so that turned into me doing a side-job initially of me going and doing these keynote talks and consulting, and all of a sudden I found myself, you know, really enjoying that work.” “I like to say that not only was I the first artist in residence at the VCU School of Business, but possibly the first artist in residence at any school of business anywhere. […] A few years ago the school realized that creativity was one of the principles that they needed to be teaching their students to be successful in business—and that’s a pretty radical idea, but it’s also backed up by a lot of data.” “I was like, ‘I didn’t go to business school, I don’t know anything about this.’ But I do know about how the artist’s skills set is valuable in business.” “And especially the process we use, which is: do something, and then reflect on it, and share that with other people as the next step; that that process especially—making more things and putting more things in the world—gives you more opportunities. Just sheer numbers. You know, if you do want something you measure, that’s what it is. The more you put out, the more opportunities you get for something to come back.” Top Companies Want To Learn About Creativity“Anybody in any industry right now is seeing some form of automation coming into play. And certainly, with advances in AI it’s going to be an entirely different world we live in very soon, science fiction is becoming fact very quickly.” “Certainly the jobs that are going to go last are going to be the ones that require people to creative problem-solve and come up with unique new ideas.” “It usually starts with a person of vision within the company, somebody who has recognized that creativity is one of the top skills that leadership needs to survive the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” “One of the talks I do is actually called The ROI of Creativity. And what I talk to people about is that business wants to do this measurement and wants to have these numbers and wants to be like what’s the benefit of this. And it’s really a narrow view of what we’re talking about.” “What I talk to them about is sustainable innovation and the people that need that and know what that is, they’re on board.” Creativity in Business Begins With Education“Most jobs don’t give you a chance to really develop your creativity, you’re expected to bring that to the table and have it there. And even now in the business world when they’re asking executives to be creative they’re not training them, they’re just going, ‘Start doing this, be creative, creative problem-solve!’ And they’re like, ‘I don’t know how to do that’.” “Because we’re presenting such an unusual story, people pay attention and we usually can get inside their heads and plant some seeds that they’ve needed to hear for a while; maybe the opportunity to start seeing things differently and behaving differently.” “The reason you learn math is not because you’re going to be a mathematician. And the reason you learn art is not because you’re going to be an artist,...
Aug 17 2019
56 mins
Artists Are Solving Atomic-Level Problems
Cyndi Conn is the Executive Director of Creative Santa Fe, a non-profit arts and community development organization that emphasizes innovative collaboration between diverse groups of people with varying skills, knowledge, experiences and opinions. She serves on the Advisory Boards of The Black Mountain Institute, the National Parks Arts Foundation and the N-Square Innovators Network. In 2018 she co-chaired Mayor Alan Webber’s task force on job creation in Santa Fe. Cyndi has been a curator, gallery founder, and creator of art advisory firm LAUNCHPROJECTS. She has lived in Paris, Mexico City, Austin, and New Orleans. About Creative Santa Fe“Creative Santa Fe has the luxury of being a connective tissue type of organization.” “There were so many organizations working in such important fields and even within that their own fields, they were not working together.” “When we first said we were going to partner artists with issues, everyone was like, ‘What, you’re going to like…paint paintings of nuclear bombs?’ ” “The Nuclear Weapons Summit was our first effort at looking at this idea of the [Disruptive Futures] dialogue, bringing people together who don’t typically agree, don’t typically communicate, and using the arts to leverage—to create these bridges and anchors.” Problem-Solving with the Arts“The arts can bring people together that normally would not want to sit in a room together and talk about problem-solving.” “And then you bring in artists and young people and new types of thinkers, you really get […] people [who] don’t know what’s not possible, and so you start to create a whole new possible.” “We realized if we could get people within their own sectors actually talking and working together and then bringing in new voices—[bringing] new people to the table that either don’t typically have a voice to or aren’t typically included—like artists, we really could change the way that people talk.” Economic Impact of Artists“Creative Santa Fe was started in 2005 as a result of an economic study that the City of Santa Fe and McCune Foundation commissioned, looking at the arts economy. It came back that it was a 1.1 billion dollar a year economy but there was no single organization to spearhead and ensure the long-term sustainability of that economy.” “We need to better educate—especially our voting population and our leadership—that the arts are not just an amenity, they’re a critical function of society and a part of the fabric of social, cultural, and also economic life and livelihood for our country.” Art: Influencing Outcomes“We brought the arts in [to discussions at the nuclear weapons summit] and that’s such a leveling factor, it creates empathy, it creates a whole new paradigm for how people communicate, how they listen.” “And that’s what we’re really seeing works, and it’s worked to a really surprising extent.” “It’s not just a think tank; it’s not just talk. We are working towards an outcome that our partners need to have and feel like they can only get that outcome through this methodology that we provide. “We’ve have had over 200 partners looking at issues—everything from affordable housing, rebirth of local news, the future of art, Native resilience and rights, sustainable technologies. And for each one of these, we have partners that have very tangible outcomes that they’d like to see as a result of these dialogues.” Re-Embedding Art Into Everyday Life“In most indigenous cultures throughout the world, there was never a word for art. Because art was embedded in everyday life. At some point we started separating the arts from everything else in life. And I think that’s been to our detriment all these years. And so it’s just time to bring art back into the daily conversation, daily life, daily problem solving, to our rituals, and to our communications.” “If artists can look at what are their passions, what do they most care about? And then how can they bring their unique craft, the way they see...
Jul 11 2019
59 mins
Classical Skills for Modern Art Careers: The Case for Training and Tradition
Mandy Theis @mandyfineartist is a figurative painter and art educator, and graduate of the Aristides Atelier. She is the president and co-founder of The Da Vinci Initiative—a foundation that supports skill-based learning in K-12 art-classrooms. Mandy is Director of the http://www.schoolofatelierarts.com/ (School of Atelier Arts) which provides atelier training and resources to art teachers through online classes, workshops and conferences, and keynote speaker services. She is also an Academic Director at the Florence Academy of Art and runs the MA in Studio Arts Degree Program in a partnership between FAA and School of Atelier Arts. Mandy is an advocate for visual literacy and figurative work in the contemporary art market. Atelier Training & Visual Literacy“Atelier training is pretty much the way artists were trained up until about a hundred years ago. The idea being that there’s inherited artistic information that has been handed down through generation after generation from one artist to another artist.” “A lot of people don’t realize it, but there are actually scientific discoveries in art just like there are in every other field.” “We can’t really move art forward if we don’t understand what’s already known about visual literacy.” “[I’m working on a book that should be released over the next year] about how visual literacy matters to every profession, so each chapter is an atelier concept and how it matters to a certain profession.” A Missing Piece in Art Education“With the advent of Modernism, there was this idea that training would ruin your creativity, and it was the artists themselves that purposely chose not to train the next generation.” “Nobody loves learning more than art teachers love to learn, and yet there’s been a separation between access to this skillset and how we train art educators in today’s time.” The DaVinci Initiative“What we’re really trying to do is take this gap and close it and provide access to these skills to art educators so that they can incorporate it into their classrooms.” “Because the training fell out of favor, it’s very, very difficult for most art educators to access it.” “We’re increasing the ability to teach very important skills about how the eye actually sees information, interprets information. This isn’t just important for artists.” “It’s about helping your eyes seeing in a more nuanced way.” “The response has been overwhelmingly positive, because we’re offering something teachers love: learning.” Skills-Based Art as Counterculture“It’s ironic that realism has become a counterculture movement in art, so to speak, or that skill-based art is the counterculture movement in art. But it excites me to think that skills matter again.” “Historically we probably know less about what it is that we’re seeing than humanity did a hundred years ago, with the access to the internet and more information in every other subject than we’ve ever had before.” “My incentive is that I want children to be able to create whatever artwork is in their heads and their hearts without compromise. I just want to provide additional options of what they can do in the classroom.” “Understanding color or shape or value or line in a really nuanced way, not just saying here’s a line…it changes how you see the world.” Figurative Art in A (Post) Post-Modern Climate“I see these two huge, big names who we like to think of as the poster children of non-realist art, are embedded very heavily in realism, turning to realism, and learning as much as they can about it.” “If you look at gaming systems, often all the edges are really hard, which kills the illusion of depth […] even in these games where they’re trying to get you to believe you’re in these other worlds, there are little pieces of the inherited artistic knowledge base that are still missing—even though they’re trying more than anybody to be realistic. Technology can only do what we give it.” “I would argue that the...
Jun 15 2019
32 mins
Fearlessly Take On The Big Daddy Ugly Goal
Willy Bo Richardson is a painter based in Santa Fe, New Mexico and an alumnus of CHF’s Art-Business Accelerator program. Visually, his work is abstract and colorful, with a repeating motif of stripes. Willy subtracts the trappings that condition our response to art—the frame, the pedestal— and weaves art into the setting itself. The Albuquerque Museum recently acquired one of his pieces for their permanent collection, and he’s currently working with Richard Levy Gallery— while pursuing corporate projects that include wall-art licensing, and mid-size installations in European health care and gerontology settings. Willy’s long-term goal is to create totally-immersive corporate environments. CHF’s Program Results“What I really got out of CHF was on two main levels. The first level is the nuts and bolts: how to be professional. So on one level, I can run my business the way any entrepreneur or individual business owner could do it. And then there’s another level, and that is working with the other fellows and learning side-by-side.” “One of the biggest lessons I got working with you and Elizabeth and the Fellows at Clark Hulings Fund was this similar path of fearlessness of being an entrepreneur and an artist. It’s the same fearlessness. And of course fearlessness actually starts with fear. It’s a project that seems scary and I’m going to do it anyway. And then it’s a little less scary. And then the next project, it’s a bigger project with same amount of fear but now I know I can get through it.” “The challenge was to make [the goal] so scary and big that you can never accomplish it, and I’m making small steps towards that.” “One of the things that I was so attracted to Clark Hulings for was that there’s all these disruptors happening. Even the idea of what an artist is, is shifting. And I think that creates opportunities for artists not only to start making a living, but also to inject themselves into the world.” Art in Corporate Environments“Well, it started out a little bit as an idealist thing where I wanted to have my art to be available for the middle class.” “It’s an ambition of mine to put my work in front of people—not just those who have the opportunity with income and education to appreciate fine art.” “What my ‘big-dad ugly’ goal is, is to completely integrate [my work] into the environment, so that one does not think they are looking at art, but that they are sitting on a couch and the textiles, the pillows, the wall coverings, different architectural elements—we call it materials for the built-environment, and my paintings are integrated into that.” Ecological Responsibility“I made a commitment to myself and others that I would only work with those that are working towards the safest practice as possible, which is sometimes more expensive, but that does not go against my primary goal, which is high quality. Safe for the environment and high-quality often can be hand-in-hand.” “I think that our culture is actually really receptive to the idea of putting something out into the world that is doing the least amount of harm on the environment as possible.” Licensing in the Corporate Market“In the fine art world, it’s definitely kind of a no-no to license your work and to do reproductions, and that stems from a history where the technology was different.” “When I first started getting into reproductions while living in New York City, people were saying it was going to ruin my career. So every step of the way has been all the experts and those in the know telling me not to do things. That doesn’t mean when somebody says to not do something that it’s smart, it just means that you’ve got to figure out which things people are afraid of.” “Often times the art consultants are very open to whatever they think they can sell, and not so interested in one’s resume, which is really good for artists getting started—because it’s that Catch-22 of how do you get that first gallery. The first gallery wants to see that
May 29 2019
45 mins
If You Build It, They Will Ignore It. Unless…
Mary McBride is the chair of the Arts and Cultural Management and Design Management graduate programs at Pratt Institute School of Art in New York City. An executive coach, a frequent international speaker, and a visiting professor in Spain, Turkey, India and Russia, she is also Editor of Catalyst—an online publication focusing on leadership in the 21st century. With an artistic background herself, Mary is in a unique position to see the creative aspects of business design and entrepreneurial decision-making in fields ranging from arts and culture, to publishing, financial services, technology, retail store development, apparel and packaging, and product and strategy design. Beyond the MBA“I got a call from Pratt Institute that said: ‘Do you think you can create an MBA for designers and artists and cultural people?’ And I said: ‘I don’t think they need an MBA, I think they need something that goes beyond the MBA—and almost, in a way, the antidote to the MBA.” “I wanted to make a bridge for myself between my creative side and my strategic side, and then I got an opportunity to build that bridge for lots of other people.” “What [these] program graduate students do is design experiences that will engage and enliven—and hopefully get people to be part of the culture and civilization and the conversation that we’re all trying to have.” Designing Strategy“When design is not part of strategy formulation, and it’s just part of the execution of strategy, you lose 50-75% of the value of a design.” “Part of being a successful entrepreneur is figuring out a place to locate yourself where the conditions of the ecology are supportive of what you’re trying to do.” “Entrepreneurship isn’t one step. It’s really thinking ahead to where you would like to be.” “It really makes me crazy when design professors and professionals keep saying that ‘design solves problems.’ And it does, but it’s not all that design does. It actually turns a problem into a possible opportunity for a particular group of users.” “Art is a lot of different things—mostly it is about self-expression though—whereas design is more about: what can I bring into the world that can be used by other people?” Sacrifice and Value“Words make a difference. So if I’m telling myself that [what I’m doing now] is a sacrifice, that’s very different than telling myself that this is a choice.” “When I hear people talking about how much they’re sacrificing for their art form or for their family or because they want to feed the pup, I say, well: isn’t that a choice that you’re making? If you’re a very deliberate and strategic choice-maker, shouldn’t that make you feel like a more powerful, able, person?” “I think people who know what their values are…know what their values are! So yes, they’re trading, yes they’re ‘sacrificing,’ but what they don’t trade off is what they value.” Quantifying the Value of your Art“It’s asking for a miracle to expect that what you think has value is necessarily going to have value in exchange to [your market] if you haven’t even thought about them in your creative process.” “How you quantify anything is really a matter of meeting the market on its own terms and negotiating.” “When you bring [your art] to market you meet people who understand your passion and purpose, who can help you set a financial value to [your art].” The Entrepreneurial Mind & Innovation“We get to know each other on a deeper level by creating narratives, exchanging them, seeing where it is we like to amend them… so I think it’s necessary for everyone to have that [in their] artist statement.” “I spent too long thinking about what that more traditional business approach looks like. It keeps shifting over time, and it depends on what culture, country, and part of the ecology that you’re working in.” “I actually think that most business, if it’s done well, is creative and has to be creative.” “I think most industry leaders need to first map their ecosystem of...
May 9 2019
50 mins
Tighten Your Sales Strategy, Then Refuse to Compromise
Donna is a painter based in Beaufort, North Carolina; she’s a graduate Fellow of CHF’s Art-Business Accelerator Program, and an Emeritus Advisor for the 2019 group of Fellows. Her work is representational, and explores the nautical and coastal themes of her home. Her sales strategy involves partnering with cause-based organizations to amplify their messages through the use of fine art. Recent projects include a resident artist position with Friends of the NC Maritime Museum and a collaboration with The Kit Jones Project. CHF’s Accelerator Program Results“Being able to define what I want and where I want to go with my career has helped me immensely in so many different ways.” “When you decide what you want to do, you become more intentional about what you choose to do.” “People who get residencies, get more residencies. I went to [North Carolina Maritime Museum] and I said: ‘hey, I would really like a residency.’ This is what that would entail. Here’s what I want from you. Here’s what you’ll get from me. And with that intention, after defining myself and redefining what I want, I can actually move with a little more skill and a little more focus in order to get where I want to go.” Blueprinting Your Career—Work Ethic, Brand Narrative & Sales Strategies“I made the decision that I was going to be a professional artist, and took away all the safety nets that I had….That ‘I’m inspired today, or I’m not’— that’s not me. I get up [and say] here’s what I have to do today. This is my list. So to me, it’s that blue-collar work ethic that is applied to fine art.” “You’re better off making a sale as you.” “It’s kind of a throwback to back in the day when you had patrons, and artists worked almost as craftspeople. And they had their guilds and they were actually working for people. It’s a very similar type of relationship. So in that respect, being a blue-collar or a working artist is more valuable because they say: ‘Oh a working artist. That means you’re actually finishing and doing a job.’ And they’re very happy with that and it does help.” “Are you an artist because you call yourself one, or should you wait until someone calls you an artist? So rather than saying whether I’m an artist or not I just go, ‘I paint!’ And I leave it at that. ‘I’m a painter. I paint pictures.’ ” “I’m in a niche market of maritime art right now. And I also live in a very tourist community. [So I’m constantly asked]: ‘Can you donate this? Can you donate that?’ and I’m like, ‘No. I cannot.’ So I figured, how am I going to leverage what’s coming my way which is ‘Can you donate this?’ with: what of mine needs to be marketed?” “…I don’t donate anything. They pay me. They pay for my materials. They pay for the framing. They pay for the advertising. And so I have it set up where I may be donating my time, but I’m not out any money.” “So if you’re serious about buying a piece from me, if you have bought a piece, or you’ve come up to one of my events, you get a special newsletter that is exclusive. And I tell them it’s exclusive. I give them options and opportunities, that once I put the stuff in a gallery or online, those opportunities are gone. So it gives them a time frame in which they actually have to do something. My open rate is between 80 and 100% for those special newsletters.” The Work“I love hearing what other people have to say about my work. I really do. It’s very interesting. And I like that it’s adventurous…I’m trying to catch more of an emotion or an atmosphere more so than a representation of: ‘Here is the scene, enjoy it’.” “I’m going to do what I want to do, because I like doing it. And if I make a change, like I did in June— I made a change with how I actually put the paint on the board… and if my style changes a little bit because of that, then great, because I’m learning and personally growing in how I want to paint.” “You can’t add emotion into something if you’re not truly...
Mar 12 2019
1 hr 1 min
Lock Down Your Rights to Your Own Art
Emily is an Intellectual Property Attorney with over 14 years of experience handling copyright and trademark, including business and licensing agreements, infringement, prosecution, and litigation, and educating artists on the legal aspects of protecting their work. She’s the founder of Copyright Collaborative, a forum for artists to learn about their intellectual property rights, as well as work together to create a culture that deters infringement. Emily is a member of the state bars in New York, Pennsylvania, and Maine—where she currently lives. Most Visual Artists Aren’t Yet Empowered on Copyright“I discovered that artists, visual artists especially, didn’t know much about copyright and I got a general energy of powerlessness from them where they seemed to not understand what they needed to do…” “Music organizations and photography organizations have really come together to lobby the copyright office and congress to pay attention to their particular needs in the intellectual property arena. And I don’t feel that visual artists have had the same representation.” “From working with a lot of visual artists and from attending a lot of trade shows, I do get the energy that everybody is out for himself. And I’m not so sure if that’s the same in music and in photography and other artistic venues. I mean, let’s talk about filmography, videography…I would say that they’re more cohesive and unionized.” Confusion around Copyright Laws for Artists“I’ve always gone through my legal career with that I want to say ‘stone pebble in my shoe’ where I think it’s so important to educate people on what their rights are.” “In consideration of copyrights and copyright law in the United States, and all of the misinformation that’s out there on Etsy and other platforms like that, I thought it was just really important to let artists know what their rights were.” “One of the biggest misconceptions is once you express the artwork—so once you put the artwork on paper—it’s protected and all of your rights are protected right there.” “There’s been a perverse amalgamation of old copyright laws and new copyright laws. And so if you’re trying to find out certain things about copyright, you’ll see that it depends on when the work was created and when the work was published.” Important things Artists Can Do About Copyrighting Art Works“I definitely think it’s wise for artists to do some of this themselves, but I think it’s important for artists to know when they need to turn to an attorney.” “Copyright, you would go to the US Copyright Office, which is: copyright [dot] gov. And for patents and trademarks, the website is: uspto [dot] gov—United States Patent and Trademark Office.” “If you don’t file a copyright application in a timely fashion you pay a very, very significant price. […] Artists really need to copyright their works I would say, immediately.” “Take that group, take that collection of work that’s somehow cohesive, and file them under one copyright application.[…] You can file for a collection of works, so long as they haven’t been published. ‘Published’ means offered for sale or licensed.” “Protect your best-selling work. It’s always the best-selling works that gets knocked off.” ”If a company or anybody asks you for images of your work, have them sign a half-page agreement.” Copyright Infringement: DMCA Notice and the Importance of Registration“If you go to certain websites such as Alibaba, which is a very well-known carrier of infringing works, they usually won’t take down the work unless you produce a copyright registration.” ”I think it will continue to get more difficult and more stringent in getting works taken down unless you have a registration. It’s very easy to say, ‘Here’s my registration, take that work down’.” The Future of Infringement”I’m very cynical of some companies because it was almost as if, in the early 2000s, it was part of their business model, you know of a cost-benefit analysis of...
Feb 18 2019
1 hr 6 mins
Make the Gig Economy Work for You
Angela is a Washington DC-based speaker, trainer, consultant, and president of TKC Incorporated. With clients including Marriott, the State Department, AARP, and 40Plus of Greater Washington, she works with adults in mid-life and beyond, helping them adapt to the changing freelance workforce. Angela has appeared in the pages of USA Today, Essence, and local news outlets across the country. She is the author of Do the Hustle without the Hassle and the host of The Gig Worker Summit. Artists in The Gig Economy“You’ll find that people are entering entrepreneurship for a whole lot of different reasons, but that freedom undergirds all of it.” “It’s a real shift in mindset that you are the owner, you’re not the employee anymore, and that the responsibilities for the success of this operation is really on your shoulders and not the company’s shoulders.” “People are more responsible for what they put out into the universe than ever before. So if you’re an emerging artist for example, you have to put out into the world who you are.” “The only way to grow in anything—whether it’s art or anything else—is to introduce it and give it to the world. And the world may not always say: ‘Ah! That’s the greatest thing since sliced bread!’ and that’s ok, because it gives us the opportunity to refine our craft.” “If your experience has been that you have all of this age discrimination against you, does it disqualify you [in a grant application] if you don’t choose say [your age]?… I would ask the grantmaker who is asking this question: what is the purpose of this? And then say: ‘I’d prefer not to answer.’ ” “The whole ‘gig’ terminology— it just kind of puts a little grey shade on things, but none of this is new—we’ve had contractors and freelancers since way back…What is new is the technology that enables us to find opportunities quickly, cheaply and affords the corporation to do the same thing.” Uncertainty & Transitions“This idea of steady income, it’s a nice notion but it doesn’t have to necessarily be the only way to profit and to be comfortable […] That fluctuation is always there, but that’s not necessarily a detriment…I think sometimes when people talk about a steady income they what they’re saying is: I want to make the same amount of money every week like I have a job.” “I have a process where I do my planning at the beginning of the year. I have a yearly calendar, I put all of my family commitments on it that I know about, like vacations. When I set up my quarterly goals, I decide exactly what I need to meet them.” “You start to get an idea about what’s realistic to make in a month, with the amount of time you want to dedicate to it. Then you have to think through whatever family obligations you have, and financial commitments you have, how you fill that gap, and then you go for those opportunities. And that’s when it may mean you’re doing some fast-pack ways to cash. Because maybe the thing you want to do is not as easily accessible, or it may have a long sales-cycle.” “I always tell people: have the possibilities all before you. Prep them up.” “We are actually in control and we can patch our income together from several different sources. And technology makes that alot easier.” Planning for Business Growth & Retirement“If you’re an entrepreneur, a gig worker, you’re an artist—because you know that every month your income might not look the same, you have to live beneath your income.” “Most of the time, if we really take a look at our [financial] vices, don’t give up everything, but take a part of that and stash it away for the future. So that you can, as you get older, have an additional little nest-egg somewhere.” “My definition of retirement is a period of time where I am working as little as I want.” Marketing & Networking“The first thing is to develop your thought leadership, so that simply means you’re speaking, you’re writing, and you’re showing. So for the artist…you’re showing...
Jan 23 2019
51 mins
Get to Emerging Artist Status and Beyond
Bonnie Clearwater is the director and chief curator at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Originally from Rockland County, New York; she has also been the Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami; Executive Director of the Lannan Foundation Art Programs in Los Angeles, and Director of the Lannan Museum in Lake Worth, Florida. Bonnie is known for her scholarship on contemporary and modern art—particularly Mark Rothko, Frank Stella, and Tracey Emin. She is recognized for her curatorial vision, museum education and outreach programs, and developing the careers of emerging artists. Finding Recognition as an Artist—Emerging and Under-Recognized Categories“The art world is always looking for artists who are under-represented, and in my career, not only do I look for up-and-coming new talent, but also the artists who are overlooked for some reason or another— it wasn’t the right time or the right place.” “[Mark] Rothko was particularly concerned as to why he became well-known, whereas a number of the other artists he started out with or got to know later in his career—he felt that they were great talent as well and yet had not achieved recognition.” “Not any one person can ‘make’ an artist…it’s a mysterious process…who the influencers are changes.” “It’s hard to say to an artist that this is how they can identify how [the process of being recognized as an emerging artist] is done… the best thing they can do is make their art, have the contacts and be ready and open to possibilities.” “I think right now what I am seeing in the art world is that it has returned to the artist- driven art world.” Visibility for Artists and their Work“There are so many platforms now for an artist living in obscure or out-of-the way places to get their work out and be seen.” “Network. Make sure that if there is a museum or an art center or dealers…that the artist attends their events…that’s a number one thing an artist needs to do to in order to get their art out in front and known—it’s really hard to just send work out cold to a gallery or curator.” “If there are grants…[artists] should definitely apply for those. In most cases those grants are reviewed by a peer panel, or of professionals who are either curators or critics; therefore it’s getting in front of exactly the people you want.” “Travel. Make sure that you know what’s happening in the rest of the United States, or your region, and around the world.” “Find other artists to be able to talk to. When artists are in art school, they have a support base that will critique them. But what happens after graduation, is that artists are in their studio all alone, there’s no one to talk to, no one to get that critical feedback from. So it’s important to also build up a network of artists one respects and have that kind of critical dialogue.” Curatorial Decisions“I can tell you almost exclusively, any artist whose work I’ve been interested in, it’s the work that’s attracted me first…I could see in the work that there is something about it that is true, that’s compelling, that is bringing a new way to think about things and is making me want to think about it.” “After I meet with the artist, I do want to have a sense that there is enough in them to carry a career. That what they’re trying to do is so expansive and multi-faceted that they won’t get stuck in one idea that they’ll be repeating for the rest of their career.” Artist-Collector Connections“It is interesting to hear why collectors collect, why they’re passionate, what they’ve learned… it’s important for artists to hear how their work is perceived beyond their own studio.” “There’s all kinds of collectors. There’s those that in one aspect that they like the story. They like to know what the background of the artist and how that plays out in their work…” Beyond Insta-Influencers“The influencers in technology are still shaping the perception of
Jan 11 2019
47 mins
Leverage Your Non-Art Expertise for a Career Blueprint
Kristin Levier is a sculptor and a 2018 Executive Fellow with CHF’s Art-Business Accelerator Program. After two decades as a molecular biologist, she became a full-time studio-artist 13 years ago. As a wood sculptor, Kristin makes work at the intersection of art and science that connects us to the “extraordinary, strange beauty of the natural world.” In this episode, she discusses how she developed her brand story, noticed trends in the art world, and found the audience for her work—all with the support of a network of like-minded artists. Crossing the Bridge Between Science and Art“My brand story is that I’m trying, with every single object that I make, to create work that’s at the interface of art and science. I think I’m opposed to this idea that people can only be right-brain dominant or left-brain dominant, and science and art are two separate worlds. I feel like there’s so many commonalities and there is just such a strong intersection.” “I think it is fairly uncommon, but I know a handful of artists who are coming out of tech backgrounds or lab research like I was involved in, or fields like mathematics.There maybe just isn’t enough of it that people think of it as a common thing. I’m trying to break that stereotype, hopefully, in the things that I do.” “I think anything that helps to refocus and feel grateful and amazed by these incredible things surrounding us on the planet… I hope that’s a great thing. [They are] certainly reminders that I like to have in my life.” Finding My Audience and Brand Story“I was noticing that I keep getting into these exhibitions—things focused on wood—and I just thought, if I’m ever going to move on, I need to apply to things where people haven’t heard of me.” “If you’re going to be able to talk about the brand of your work, it means you pretty much need to understand it. And so for me at the beginning […] I was just making whatever was sort of a whim for me. And then I started noticing trends. And then it got to the point where I really had a story I wanted to tell.” “The majority of people who buy my work tend to be scientists, medical doctors, or chiropractors—certainly also just art-focused people—but for some reason I thought, ‘well okay, they buy that’, and thinking ‘oh, maybe they have the money to buy art…’ But then you know, really slowing down and taking note: That IS my audience.” Connecting with Communities and Other Artists“The reason I started posting process photos [on Instagram] is because I noticed how much I love seeing process photos from other artists, from painters or other sculptors, seeing the thing when it’s kind of a mess and it’s not done yet.” “I realized that there was a real hole missing where I lived. There really weren’t people talking about the business side of being an artist. […] So I was just brave: ‘Okay I’m going to do it’.” “I definitely find that having other artists that I talk with often seems really important to me. I think you know that what we’re doing is difficult. I mean everybody has difficulties, but it’s really nice to know that you have someone going through the things you’re going through…so we can support each other and help each other problem-solve.” What I Got From CHF’s Art-Business Accelerator“It’s funny hearing you say the word ‘team,’ because after spending nearly two years together, I think we kind of feel like a family. It’s been amazing for me to be in this group with other artists and other people at CHF. I think people are very vulnerable and very honest with each other, which to me is the best way that interactions like that can work.” ”Now I really only buy exactly what I need. And I don’t know why that simple monthly [profit and loss] statement has made that change [in behavior] for me, but it did, and I’ve saved a ton of money. Knowing what you’re doing is a very powerful thing.” “Now I really understand that marketing is just getting whatever it is that you make or do out into the world, and then the...
Dec 4 2018
1 hr 15 mins