It Is Like a Gift From Above

17 Feb 2013

Working with artists is a lot of fun. Really, I would put nothing before it in terms of what I want to do with my life's work. But sometimes it can be a little like herding kittens, and it can get really frustrating if the artists aren't organized. (But really, that never happens...never.)

Mom Learning to Float by Allison Maletz, watercolor painting. Maletz is one of those artists who keeps a complete and ever-evolving record of all her works.
Mom Learning to Float by Allison Maletz, watercolor painting. Maletz
is one of those artists who keeps a complete and ever-evolving
record of all her works.

I guess it is asking a lot to expect an artist to create phenomenal paintings and be a good bookkeeper, so if I had just one suggestion (or plea) for all the artists out there, it would be to have something--a website, a catalog, a blog, or an album--of all your images with information including their titles, media, dimensions, and so on.

Keeping this sort of record helps you as an artist, and it helps the writer, gallerist, museum curator, or buyer you are communicating with as well. For one, an artist can easily sell art online using this basic format of image and info. But it also helps when marketing your art. When I am writing about an artist, I like to get a sense of where their style started and what phases of painting they've gone through. A catalog can really help show that.

Also, doing this means that you have been photographing paintings as they have come off your studio wall, which is something all artists should really do. You spend all the time working on a piece, you want to be able to show it off--not just to the lucky person who ends up buying it but also to the people you network with along the way. This kind of reference shows what you've been doing in the studio all along.

Two people go on holiday for ever by Ian Francis, mixed media on canvas, 48 x 48. Francis keeps an up-to-date blog of his latest projects.
Two people go on holiday for ever by Ian Francis,
mixed media on canvas, 48 x 48. Francis keeps
an up-to-date blog of his latest projects.
To me this sounds like such a simple thing, but I know a lot can get in the way of it, so if you have the opportunity to start creating this kind of record of your work, I definitely encourage you to do so. It's the best way to start your art business and can be used as a building block for your it in a myriad of ways.

And if you are an artist working in a professional or semi-professional capacity, or if you are simply ready to treat your art with more of an art-business sensibility, consider a subscription to The Artist's Magazine. You'll find advice and networking tips from practicing artists, insights on how to market and sell your artwork, plus tons of inspiration that will help make your paintings the best they can be. Enjoy your subscription!


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Comments

on 18 Feb 2013 6:02 PM

Another great reason for photographing your artwork as you complete it - in case of theft or loss.

I am a beadweaving artist and after our home was burgled found that 74 pieces of my art were stolen. I had just finished photographing most of the pieces for a book, so I was able to send out the photos to the police, to our insurance, to the beadweaving community that night. Within hours, people from all over the world told me they are looking for my lost items. I firmly believe that if my pieces ever hit Craig's List or Etsy or even any craft/art shows they will find their way back to me.

And even if I never see my pieces again, I still have a record of them (thank goodness) - to advertise my art on my website, to use in my upcoming book, to look at and remember the sentimentality of each piece.

I can't emphasize enough: The moment you put the final touch on your artwork, take a few minutes to record all of the hours, and sentimentality that went into creating it:  take photos - lots of them!!

Zoechaos wrote
on 23 Feb 2013 4:49 AM

Having read the first few lines of this I felt compelled to comment.  You see I like to think of myself as an artist but to earn a crust and feed the cats I am an accountant.   Does that make me the exception that proves the rule?

No many of the UK artists I know have transformed themselves into business people taking a professional pride in their art which they market with care and their records are immaculate.

This was not the point of the article at all but sometimes you read something and it strikes a chord completely out of context, sorry just needed to share!