Leisa has written an excellent page on her website about our collaboration, Wash & Wax, (which you can find here) — and she asked me for a link to the SAQA Journal article that I wrote about the collaboration that was published in the Fall 2015 issue. I thought that surely I had the link on my website, but a quick search showed that I had neglected to share it. It’s amazing how life gets in the way.
2015 SAQA Journals are not yet available online to non-members, but with SAQA’s permission, here is our article:
I also found that I haven’t provided a link to the ArtsATL article written by Gail O’Neill. You can find it over here.
(I have reposted this blog post from 8/29/14 that appears to be lost due to a technical issue between my database and WordPress. If and when is recovered, I will delete this copy.)
Last week, I had SAQA inquire about a headshot of me to include in their announcement of new Juried Members. I gave them what I have used as a professional headshot — but unfortunately, they wanted something not just for the internet but also for print publication to send their galleries. I put it aside for the weekend and hoped that I had something in my arsenal of pictures.
But you know, like most moms, I don’t have many pictures of myself because I am almost always the one taking the picture. I tried really hard to pull something out of thin air — but it just wasn’t there. So I went back and asked when they had to have the picture. End of the month. A week away. Oh wow.
I spent a day or two fooling myself into thinking I could do it myself. I have all of the equipment — but I knew in my gut it wasn’t the right thing to do and it would take a lot of time if I did it all by myself.
In the end, I did something that I have a hard time doing — I asked for help. Beth Buchweitz is a counselor at my daughters’ school and both of our daughters have taken lacrosse together for the last couple of years. We both take team pictures. So I asked her — and yesterday, she took time out of her crazy schedule to set me down in the shade and take pictures of me in a suit.
I don’t have them yet — I’ll share them when I do — but they came out really well. She asked me to stick out my chin and then dip my head down to create a shadow along my chin — I’ve not been asked to do that before but it made perfect sense. She fixed my hair when it was out of place — and best of all, she refused to accept a plastic smile. I had to carry a natural smile and chuckle under my breath and it made a big difference.
I heard this week that my piece Dolce Far Niente was accepted into the International Quilt Festival special exhibit What’s for Dinner? 2014. This exhibit consists of 36 quilts to be debuted at the International Quilt Festival in Houston in October/November — and then it will travel to other IQF shows around the US. I’m honored to be included.
I shipped off The Cardinal — IQF asked me to donate a piece for their auction and given how kind they were to purchase The White Raven from me as well as to grace me with a prize last year in World of Beauty and to include so many of my other pieces in their wonderful exhibits, I was happy to send them something. It will be available in their silent auction at their Houston show October 30 – November 2, 2014.
I just returned from a short vacation to celebrate the beginning of summer so much of my week was lost to the Muses, a respite of intellectual machinations to hopefully be cashed in at a later time. It was restful although I had hoped to spend time gathering inspiration through my camera. Unfortunately, the weather had a different agenda and a lot of time was spent looking at the ocean through large plate glass windows as we were inundated with rain, thunder, and lightening. (I will never understand the logic of people that think playing in the ocean or on a wet beach while lightening crashes around them is a good idea.)
I let my youngest daughter have the camera a good portion of the little bit of beach time that we enjoyed — so it will be interesting to pull them off the camera and see what enduring messages she has given me from our trip.
I did find time to tweet some — here is my weekly wrap-up. If you want to follow me in real time, I’m @vsgreaves — or hit the social media icons in the upper right above the menu.
This is a deeply moving series of portraits of dogs that were in service during the chaos of 9/11. I couldn’t help but wonder if it was the skill of the photographer the captured the deep pools of their eyes — or if it is a reflection of the horrors that they lived through during that time.
@mymodernmet: Moving Portraits of Surviving 9/11 Search and Rescue Dogs 10 Years Later http://bit.ly/1teXXE0
The world grew a little dimmer this week as we lost the life of Maya Angelou to the angels. This was her last tweet. May she rest in peace and rise in Glory.
RT @DrMayaAngelou: Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.
I was asked recently — by another artist — “how long did that take you to make?” As artists, we should consider this one as it is an opportunity to market ourselves if we answer it correctly.
“How to Answer “How Long Did That Take You to Make?”” Always a hard one to answer. http://feedly.com/e/c1VKM4YQ
As Creatives, we are familiar with working in “the flow” — this book review covers “wu wei,” a similar concept, and why it’s important to use our unconscious brain in other difficult activities.
RT @brainpicker: How to cultivate the paradoxical art of spontaneity in work, life, and love through the Chinese concept of wu-wei http://j.mp/1kRg3LD
My mom, a painter, never had the back of her art remarked upon — although it’s something routinely considered in fabric art since it’s rooted in the traditional quilting world (whether we like it or not). I think that it presents a marketing opportunity for any artist in any medium if we’re willing to take the time to be thoughtful about it (as well as neat).
RT @ArtsyShark: What’s the Back Story on Your Art? – http://buff.ly/RKbtDu
A thoughtful consideration of why artists create the work that we do — and in the end, why the answer is probably best left unanswered.
RT @brainpicker: Why do we create? The great Leonard Bernstein on artistic motivation – absolutely brilliant and necessary read http://j.mp/1k9zK2r
I couldn’t help but share this incredible pen and ink master. Although his inspiration is inarguably baroque, his images are beautiful to behold.
@mymodernmet: Incredibly Detailed Ink Drawings of Winged Insects by Alex Konahin http://bit.ly/1kucN45
This was the last week of school for my girls so there was a lot of interruption and not a lot of studio time. I did manage to finish my latest small piece — a still life — but blocking it caused some fabric crocking that I will correct tomorrow. I’ll post about how I do that. I also took some in process pics that I’ll share. I admit I’ve been a little stingy with sharing my studio time lately. I think the truth of it is that I’m a little burned out creatively.
I also have not had a lot time for reading — so I only have four Tweets this weeks. Remember that if you want to follow me in real time, I’m @vsgreaves — or hit the social media icons in the upper right above the menu.
I thought it interesting, after writing a recent post Branding Yourself As An Artist, that Winkleman has carried the torch and furthered the discussion. Being a gallerist from NY, he has a lot more wise thoughts on the subject.
“Branding for the Fine Artist : Part I” Wise words of Winkleman. http://feedly.com/e/HWftCphx
Brain Pickings presents yet another thoughtful essay on the secret to creative success as demonstrated by the masters — work ethic.
“The Long Game:Brilliant Visual Essays on the Only Secret to Creative Success, from Leonardo da Vinci to Marie Curie” http://feedly.com/e/pgtauIUC
Although it’s curious enough to follow the bullying ways of WalMart, it’s equally fascinating to ask the question — who own the photograph? Although federal law says that it is the photographer, I have had subjects that are adamant that they are the owners of their own image.
“Walmart Goes After Photographer’s Widow” — who owns the photo — the photographer or the subject? http://feedly.com/e/4cUqyTB3
Harper Lee again takes her hometown to court for copyright infringement as the town continues to capitalize on their claim to fame.
“‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ author Harper Lee heading back to court in fight with hometown museum” http://feedly.com/k/1pkzE7a
Another week in May. My mom was visiting last weekend and stayed through Tuesday — so I didn’t make my weekly goal of studio time. Always depressing — but sometimes life gets in the way. Hopefully, I will finish my small still life this coming week. I shared a pre-quilting shot of it on my Facebook Page a couple of days ago.
This is my weekly Twitter round up. If you want to follow me in real time, I’m @vsgreaves. You can also find me online through my social media icons in the upper right above the menu.
My first Tweet is about a couple that bought a warehouse in DC & decided to rent out space in it to artists for insanely low rents in the name of culture and small business growth.
“Off the Beaten Track provides affordable work space for D.C. artists” http://tinyurl.com/la2ldhe via @proquilter
Edward Winkleman gives another delightful read — a review after a Christie’s auction. No one is more painfully honest about the art scene in New York.
“Post-Incipient-Vomiting (or, An Analytical Look at “If I Live I’ll See You Tuesday”)” — Artists as brands. http://feedly.com/e/zJ3mY2G2
I’ve been told that this has already happened. I suppose once people figured out how to make money on the internet, it was only a matter of time until people developed speed lanes for the giants of industry.
Really really bad changes threaten to put your Internet in the #SlowLane. Say no at http://OpenMedia.org/SlowLane (via @TheOpenMedia)
Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) is a professional textile artists group that has recently opened a new exhibit called Earth Stories at the Michigan State University Museum. I have several Facebook friends with pieces in the exhibit who, once the exhibit opened, were able to share how their pieces were created. It’s an extremely inspiring exhibit — not just on the theme of Earth Stories — but on the incredibly high professional talent in the world of textile art today.
SAQA’s Earth Stories exhibit opening Friday MSU Museum — incredible textile works. http://tinyurl.com/lddshw6
A short article by 99U — but it covers the basics about the importance of starting and continuing.
“Vincent van Gogh & the Importance of Doing” Perserverance pays off — get to work! http://feedly.com/e/uQknkV1y
Having spent a portion of my childhood as a people pleaser, I found Anne Lamott’s words really resonate with me. She also addresses the evils of perfectionism, another of my early faults that I thankfully excommunicated (having children really killed any remaining piece of that I still carried in my personality). “Shoot the moon.” I plan to get a copy of this book soon.
The Definitive Manifesto for Handling Haters:Anne Lamott on Priorities &How We Keep Ourselves Small by PeoplePleasing http://feedly.com/e/fc1897Dx
Like many nuggets from Brain Pickings, I was unaware that anyone had ever declined the National Medal of Arts. I found Adrienne Rich’s letter to Bill Clinton interesting. I had a friend tell me that I have truly missed out by not reading her poetry — which I hope to rectify soon.
RT @brainpicker: Why Adrienne Rich, born 85 years ago today, became the only person to decline the prestigious National Medal of Arts http://j.mp/1n5ZOJy
Not to get too political — but I did tweet this link about a Christian woman from Sudan who married a Christian and became pregnant. Because of Sharia law, she is considered Muslim because her father was, and so her marriage isn’t recognized — and after the birth and weaning of her child, she will be given 100 lashes and then death — unless she recants her Christian beliefs. (There is disagreement about her degree of Christianity — but I’ll let you read the article and draw your own conclusions.)
This is a video about a man who went into the profession of a courtroom sketch artist — and how technology has made his skills increasingly obsolete. It is fascinating to consider the opportunity for an artist to make a living wage — and crushing to see it taken away and the artist morph into a security guard in order to pay his bills.
Watch: The Rise and Fall of a Courtroom Sketch Artist http://www.juxtapoz.com/current/watch-the-rise-and-fall-of-a-courtroom-sketch-artist … via @JuxtapozMag
Irish artist Brian Maguire traveled to Juarez, Mexico and spent four years documenting some of the 1,400 women killed and lost in this area of Mexico. We like to think that this is a remote problem that doesn’t concern us — but I live in Atlanta and it has become a weekly occurrence for teenage girls to disappear into sex trafficking in our city. Maybe it takes the resounding drum of artists to give faces to the missing and exploited.
“Art from Anger: Portraits of Ciudad Juarez’s Lost Women” The importance of social justice art. http://feedly.com/e/brD7O-1I
Back when Luke Haynes got his contract for a commissioned piece with Fossil and was asking for feedback on the design, I began thinking about artists that successfully market their work by branding themselves. Luke has put his own image on many of his own pieces — and in some ways, his Hipster style is what is iconic about his work.
And then Edward Winkleman wrote a blog post last week about this very issue. Most of the press coverage for a recent auction at Christie’s covered discussion of the artists and not the art itself. The artists have become a brand that drives the price of their work — and the focus is no longer on the art itself.
Night before last, I had a chance to speak at the Alpha Arts Guild and when I brought up this subject, there were murmurs of unhappiness. Not that I disagree with them — but the artists that I have seen do this are successful financially.
So maybe the question is — should be strive for financial success — or artistic success? And in our modern times, does one follow the other? Is artistic success assumed if the artist has great financial success?
Last year I changed my focus so that I would sell more pieces — and I was successful in that — and I don’t think that I compromised the art to do that. But how far will I lean?
It’s been a studio intense week — but given that I’ve recently burned myself making rice in the steamer for the first time (lesson learned — don’t check it without turning it off first), my eloquence on the keyboard will be limited tonight.
This is my weekly Twitter update. If you want to follow me in real time, I’m @vsgreaves. Check out the icons in the upper right above the menu to find me in different places.
This is another great book review by Brain Pickings — How Children Succeed — and offers a lot of insight into the mindset needed to achieve success.
“Grit and the Secret of Success” taking the long view — life is a marathon not a sprint http://feedly.com/e/hNDgFJdI
This is an entertaining video about every cliche that you’ve ever seen in marketing. It even ends with references so that you can find the cliches to use in your own marketing.
“Every Advertising Cliché in One Video” The dark side of marketing — funny! @ATLFlipFlops http://feedly.com/e/3bCmMxcH
This 99U article links to a much longer article at Grandland.com that discusses the talents of the world famous juggler Gatto — how he reached the heights of his craft — how the average person cannot begin to comprehend the skill required for him to perform — and how he eventually left his craft — his performance art — to run a concrete business in Florida.
“How Does a World-Famous Juggler End Up In the Concrete Business?” http://feedly.com/e/VY1vm7t_
The discussion of Droit de Suite is heating up in the United States as auction houses push back against the move to provide artists extra money for their work on secondary sales.
“Auction Houses Lobby Against Artist Resale Royalty Act” Will auction houses prevail? http://feedly.com/e/IdZdF52s
Beautiful photographs in the latest National Geographic contest:
RT @mymodernmet: These are some truly outstanding entries in the National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest http://bit.ly/1mz3Fl5 pic.twitter.com/shHtCBghkf
My youngest daughter went on a school trip to DC this last week with her dad as a chaperone — so it was just me and DD1. At her age, she doesn’t always acknowledge my existence so I spent a lot of extra time in the studio — almost twice as much as in a normal week. On my current piece, I’ve cut out everything but the roof — and after that, I’ll start sewing everything down in sections. I’ll write about it here on the blog so look for an update soon.
This is my weekly Twitter update about articles I found interesting during this past week. If you want to follow me in real time, you can find me @vsgreaves or hit the Twitter icon in the upper right hand corner above the menu. The FaceBook icon next to it takes you to my professional Page — I update pics on there a few times a week.
As part of the ongoing discussion about how a small elite set of investors churn the work of a small elite group of artists to increase the size of their investment portfolios, this article focuses on the fortunes of Oscar Murillo, a young 28 year old in the elite artist group. The concern is whether his early fame will lead to an early burn-out of interest in his work. Will his work endure or is it merely “trendy and derivative”?
Too much too fast — just let the artist be the artist. But is fame bad? http://tinyurl.com/km5a88j @nytimesarts
Self identifying as an artist makes a difference. Interestingly, I sometimes do — sometimes don’t. It depends on the form and my current mood. The study covered in this article finds that a lot of artists don’t self identify as an artist.
“What Makes an Artist an Artist?” Sometimes I self-identify as an artist — sometimes I don’t. http://feedly.com/e/pZHrYdUZ
Since the majority of artists don’t make anywhere near where the upper elite artist group does, it makes sense that they typically come from wealthy parents — not because they’re being funded by them but that they have different opinions about fulfillment and how it relates to money. (I did still find it depressing that Creatives typically make so little compared to everyone else. It’s a sad statement on our culture that it’s so undervalued.)
“How Wealthy Are Artists’ Parents?” Identifying as a prof artist enters you in an elite status group. Who knew? http://feedly.com/e/bxCdlmUp
All Creatives need help working through artistic blocks from time to time.
“Artists Offer Their Escapes from Creative Block” Hoffman: “work every day like the manual laborer that I am” http://feedly.com/e/khBsDbjz
So many businesses look at traditional metrics in hiring decisions. It’s nice to see at least one company that is assessing the success of candidates based on soft skills — learning ability, emergent leadership, humility, and ownership — and at the bottom of the list, expertise.
“How to Get a Job at Google” The importance of soft skills – Why can’t Google be headquartered in ATL? http://feedly.com/k/1p9fChk
If we can figure out what the market wants to buy, should we change what we create — or at least reach a compromise?
“Thinking About Art Practice and the Role of Compromise” I’m not the only one asking what Is sellable. http://feedly.com/e/XgswtSHP
The LA Times looks at the recently published TEFAF Art Market Report issued by the European Fine Arts Foundation. The news is sobering.
RT @abstanfield Report: Super-rich, favoring just a few artists, drive art market http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-art-market-prices-auctions-billionalires-20140316,0,6445724.story … <worth a read
Inviting Art Marketing into the Studio
Last year, I made a conscientious decision to make more marketable work. Every time someone would see Beach Guardians — I would often hear — “one day I want to commission you to do a piece of my grandchildren/children.”
I made Beach Guardians because it was from a picture I had made of my children at the beach. I owned the copyright — and it inspired me. At one point I had a price tag on it — but my husband soon told me that I couldn’t sell a piece of our children. It was going to stay in the family.
Which is fine — but making portraits of friends and family wasn’t taking me where I really wanted to go.
I knew I could make portraits of people — but I also knew that the few pieces I had sold in the past were animals. Anyone that has ever owned a bull dog will look at a bull dog piece of art and say “that looks just like my dog” — and want it. Now.
So after Lincoln, I stopped making portraits of people. I made an angel (arguably a person but a piece that was abstract enough that anyone could relate to it AND it was religious), a dog, a bird, a rabbit, an abstract piece, and then another dog. And then Lincoln won a prize at Houston — and why hadn’t I made any more people?
Although — I did come home from Houston wondering what in the world I was going to do next. I felt like I should make another person — and I became inspired by a photograph by Dorothea Lange of a woman and her three children. It felt natural to make people again and it flowed through my fingers easily. This is where Worry came from.
But I felt anxiety creeping into my mind — was I making a marketable piece? I suppose only time will tell.
And since I’ve finished Worry, I made a small piece — The Cardinal — for a local square foot challenge. And then I was stuck again — in my head — wondering what to do.
I think I spent a week second guessing myself. In the end, I started a piece — again inspired by a photograph by Dorothea Lange (a great deal of her work is in the public domain). But in my head, I still have this desire to find what is marketable and what is not — because honestly, you spend the same amount of time on the piece — it might as well remain on the wall than be pushed to the back of my closet.
One of my FaceBook Pages that I follow is Humans of New York. A photographer goes out into the city every day and takes pictures of the people that he meets. One day a couple of weeks ago, someone told him that he knew what the art world wanted (although I’m not certain he does but we’ll take his word for it) — and it wasn’t random people on the streets of New York — better to photograph only nudes.
I don’t know many people that will let me take pictures of them with their clothes on — much less off — so I don’t see that as an option for me. I could hire a model, but there wouldn’t be much construction challenge for me in that.
I do see some appeal to taking pics of people on the street in Atlanta — like the photographer in New York. I do, however, understand that there is a lot of hostility given to random photographers — and I think that this guy has worked hundreds of hours building a reputation so that people are delighted to be included in his project. In most situations, people do not want to be put under the microscope of a random person they don’t even know.
At one time, I made several portraits of friends, and one day, I asked an elderly gentleman at church if he would mind if I used the photograph I had taken of him to make a textile painting. He said yes — but only if he could have it when I was done. It doesn’t work that way. A picture takes seconds — my textile paintings take 100+ hours usually. I can’t work myself to the bone for so little appreciation — let alone for free.
Luke Haynes, a textile artist from NC currently living in LA, does full figures on very traditional backgrounds. He’s done a few friends but also several of himself — and Fossil Watches just contracted with him to make a piece of himself. He has effectively branded himself — which is great if you’re 26. Youthfulness is always marketable. I can’t say that I still resemble that demographic however.
I came across this painting recently on someone’s blog — yes, it’s a painting, not a modern graphic — by John Baldessari, 1966-1968. More food for thought.
If you’d rather follow my tweets in real time, I’m @vsgreaves or hit the Twitter icon in upper right above the menu. The Facebook icon is next to it & will take you to my Facebook Page where I post about my studio and what I’m working on.
I’m developing almost a study on what art is more likely to sell. There is not as much published on this subject as I would like:
The Most Popular Subjects For Art That Sells http://artyfax.squidoo.com/popular-art-that-sells
Another artist had put this pic of a painting on her blog. It was painted by John Baldessari 1966-1968 and looks more like a modern day JPG — but it’s actually a painting — and it offers some suggestions for subject matter:
“Tips for Artists Who Want To Sell” by John Baldessari http://tinyurl.com/lzw53j6
Is it OK to make work that is not that good? Of course! It takes time for your work to match your taste. You need to make a large volume of work to close the gap.
In Just 2 Minutes, This Video Will Make You Feel Silly For Ever Having Doubted Yourself http://huff.to/1exd3ki via @HPGoodNews
I am beginning to contemplate my taxes and my successes of last year have some bearing on what I might need to do differently on my taxes. This list gives some helpful tax advice for artists.
Great tax info, checklists, and worksheets for #artists http://www.artstaxinfo.com/artists.shtml RT @abstanfield
It’s hard to miss the coverage of the Winter Olympics going on now in Sochi — and there was an incredible moment last week when Shaun White DIDN’T win a medal — and came out a real winner:
“The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.” RG Ingersoll http://tinyurl.com/laxwsa7
There was also an female snowboarder at the Olympics who used a board with an artist’s work on the back:
“Artist Judith Braun Finds Her Work Part of an Olympic Medal Win” http://feedly.com/e/v8qAvERD
This was yet another example of a corporation taking an independent’s artist’s work and using it on their products without prior agreement — very similar to what happened to Lisa Congdon. The end of the story, however, is good news — JCPenney has given the artist a contract to pay her for license of her work:
Winnipeg artist’s work taken from website, sold at J.C. Penney http://tinyurl.com/pdvw4md via @DaleAnnePotter