Thursday, December 31, 2009



Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Artist Speak: Goethe

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative there is one elemental truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help that would never have otherwise occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings, and material assistance which no man or woman would have dreamed could have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic to it. Begin it now."

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

On the Edge of Creative Failure

In the early days of my art career, I didn’t have a mental database of experiences on which to base my risks on. I didn’t have much business experience either. Back then, I was still evaluating projects on emotions rather than on anything measurable. 

For instance, when I started my on-line art print business, I rented out a 1,200 sq foot studio in Easthampton, MA. It made no sense to have the overhead on a business I could have easily run out of my basement. The huge space made me feel as if I had “made it,” and at the time that’s all that seemed to matter. I was caught up in emotions rather than fact, something which can get the better of you in terms of your art and the risks you’re willing to take.

During that time, I was surrounded by everything big - from the huge floor-to-ceiling windows to my painting area with three gigantic easels, to my huge computer desk and tall racks that stored hundreds of art prints. On the wall beside my desk was a map of the world; on it I planned to place pins on each country where I sold a print. Above it, four clocks showed the time in four different time zones. After years of having my art studio in the basement of my house, I felt like a million bucks. 

Friends and clients were wowed by my studio, but in reality, I didn’t know what in the hell I was doing. I was living off my credit cards and money was leaking out of the studio faster than I knew what to do.  In the end, weighed down by the expense of my risk, I knew I’d have to come to my own rescue. The art print business eventually ended in bankruptcy (with a lot of merchandise thrown by me into a dumpster by the thrift store) and after 5 years without one, I took another day job. 

It what ways are you going to remain small or big or in between in the coming year?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Measuring Creative Success

It’s interesting and rather funny how our culture tends to measure success. By most accounts when and if you quit your day job, you’ve succeeded. In fact, it’s so unexpected and impressive that there are no other qualifications. Your world could be falling down around you - your relationships on the brink of failure, your finances a complete mess, your artwork unappealing, etc., and as long as you're making art without a day job, you’ve “made it.”

In terms of my own personal success, taking that leap did, in fact, make me feel as though I had “made it.” It was empowering to feel as though I was a part of something greater - a long history of artists who spent their days and nights consumed completely with their art. I set out to achieve something and was willing to risk everything in order to achieve it.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Why Do You Create

At the age of twenty-one, while living alone in a studio apartment in Chicago and attending graduate school, I created a template for what would eventually become my signature body of artwork. I used oil pastels and butcher paper which I taped to the wall of my apartment to create colorful and whimsical people, animals, and shapes.

The paintings served two purposes, to keep me company in a town where I knew no one and to give me a sense of freedom as I struggled through the strictly controlled environment of graduate school. A year later, after having been kicked out of the writing program and with a massive student loan debt, I decided to use my paintings as a way to repay my student loan debt. A friend of mine told me about a gallery she was connected with, so I unpeeled the butcher paper from the walls, rolled up my paintings with a rubber band, and paid the gallery a visit.

As the year winds to an end, it's important to think about the true purpose of your creative endeavors. Sometimes the reason will change with the season. Sometimes it remains the same. Sometimes the reason belongs to you. Sometimes the reason belongs to your parents. Are you creating just for you? To make money? Because you have something burning up inside of you to say?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Artist Speak: Jack Kerouc

This holiday season make sure to take a moment to salute all the artists you know.

"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round heads in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the
status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. 

But the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."

Jack Kerouac
From his book: On The Road

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Artists Ability to Change

Most artists like to consider themselves rugged individualists who are not susceptible to falling into the same patterns of living that plague the mainstream. Most artists I know scoff at the idea of driving an SUV or owning a house in the suburbs. Listening to an artist like this wax poetic about lifestyle choices and how living life on the edge of a cliff is exciting can be intoxicating if not somewhat inspiring.

Why is it then that very few artists can get out of their own way and open the door when success comes to court them? I've found that the same lifestyle choices that drive these artists into an alternative life can also become so routine that they insulate the artist from success and act as a huge firewall preventing new ideas and abundance from coming in.

Author, mystic and medical intuitive, Caroline Myss says that most people, even when confronted with death, won't change their lives to allow health in. That's why, when my friend got cancer and the doctors removed part of his throat, he was sucking on the cigarettes again in less than a year.

All the goal setting and affirmations won't help you if you can't get out of your own way. In the end, your success isn't dependent on any person, place or condition. It's dependant on you! 

Question of the Year: In what ways do you prevent yourself from sucess?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Your Idea of Making It

December is when I typically begin to think about my goals for the upcoming year. In the past, as I've often thought about tools that might help me succeed, the Writers Digest books have always come to mind.

Books such as "The Writer's Market," "The Song Writer's Market," or "The Artist's & Graphic Designer's Market," are typically packed with massive amounts of contacts. They include the contact info for publishers, galleries, magazines, etc.

I've often bought these books during this time of the year and actually found myself so overwhelmed by the amount of contact info in each that it caused me to freeze up. Not only that, when I've used books , I've often met very little success.

Why? It seems it's not the number of people you know that is the key to success, it's how you know those people that count. For every success I've had in my arts career I can safely say it wasn't because I found a random address in a book and followed up. It was a face to face meeting or a recommendation from a friend that did the trick.

Have you had similar experiences? If so I'd love to hear about them.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Manifest Your Creative Destiny

My father, a sculptor, will never tell you what he's working on next. In fact, he likes to build up the suspense so much that you just have to ask him. He'll finish one project and then just start dropping hints about what he may be up to. It's like watching a really good movie trailer. Some projects may take months or even over a year to complete, but he's always tight-lipped about revealing any information about them. 

"You'll just have to wait and see," he will say.

As a result, he's been quite prolific throughout his career and he attributes much of his success to working in just this manner.

"A lot of people," he says, "will just talk an idea out. They're all talk and no do."

In a world where books like "The Secret," would have you think the key to manifesting is talking about your idea and letting others know what you're up to, evidently new research shows  that people who talk about their creative ideas are less likely to actually follow through with them.


Check out the info I pulled off Derek Sivers blog. Derek is a musician and the creator of CD Baby. If you'd like to read his entire entry (which I highly recommend), you can find it at

"Announcing your plans to others satisfies your self-identity just enough that you're less motivated to do the hard work needed.

In 1933, W. Mahler found that if a person announced the solution to a problem, and was acknowledged by others, it was now in the brain as a “social reality”, even if the solution hadn't actually been achieved.

NYU psychology professor Peter Gollwitzer has been studying this since his 1982 book “Symbolic Self-Completion” (pdf article here) - and recently published results of new tests in a research article, “When Intentions Go Public: Does Social Reality Widen the Intention-Behavior Gap?”

Four different tests of 63 people found that those who kept their intentions private were more likely to achieve them than those who made them public and were acknowledged by others.

Once you've told people of your intentions, it gives you a “premature sense of completeness.”

You have “identity symbols” in your brain that make your self-image.  Since both actions and talk create symbols in your brain, talking satisfies the brain enough that it “neglects the pursuit of further symbols.”

A related test found that success on one sub-goal (eating healthy meals) reduced efforts on other important sub-goals (going to the gym) for the same reason.

It may seem unnatural to keep your intentions and plans private, but try it.  If you do tell a friend, make sure not to say it as a satisfaction (“I've joined a gym and bought running shoes. I'm going to do it!”), but as dissatisfaction (“I want to lose 20 pounds, so kick my ass if I don't, OK?”)"

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Video of the Week: Using Art to Change the World

Pulled right from The Fun Theory site, it’s a company, sponsored by Volkswagen, with the following mission: “We believe that the easiest way to change people's behavior for the better is by making it fun to do. We call it The fun theory. Do you have an idea that uses fun to change behavior?”

Check out more of their inspiring videos and ideas at

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Artist of the Week: Dean Whitbeck

Our Facebook “Artist of the Week” is performer and photographer and arts educator, Dean Whitbeck.


Check out our Facebook group “Manifest Your Creative Destiny,” at to read more about the amazing work he does with kids.

Friday, December 18, 2009

E-mail Etiquette: Interested versus Interesting

Face it. There are ten million other Facebook users who have the time to appear more interesting that you ever will on the internet. They'll have cooler photos, quirky and hip things to say under their "political views" section, and they'll usually have way more friends than you. So, why even bother to compete? You shouldn't!

If you're looking for ways to expand your platform as an artist, especially through Facebook, the most important thing you can do is to act interested rather than be interesting.

I'm not saying you should strike up a chat with people you don't know. (Don't do this if you've never met a person) But you can send a Facebook e-mail and ask a few questions to get to know someone better. It's really a no-brainer. For as much as people say that technology has isolated us, it's really just our continual failure to bring a human element to the medium.

Have you used ways to bridge the human contact gap with technology? IF so, I'd love to hear about them.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

E-mail Etiquette: The Follow Thru on Facebook

When you set out to do something on Facebook do you follow through with it? I notice there are a lot of artists who will say they are coming to an event or use the "maybe" section as a reminder.  If you make a statement make sure you follow through. People are watching you. If you're not good for your word on Facebook, then how good is that word in the real world?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

E-mail Etiquette: How to Beat the Odds

If you’re still using a free e-mail account, you won’t have the option to personalize every e-mail with a “mail merge”, or send out more than 100 e-mails per hour and 500 per day. Most of us artists have free accounts through yahoo, g-mail or hotmail which leaves us with two options.

a) Type each individual contact name in every e-mail and send out each one separately.
b) Put all of your contacts in the BCC section and send it to yourself.

How you handle this step, will greatly affect the success of the outcome for your event.

How do you handle this? I'd love to hear how other artists deal with this dilemma.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

E-mail Etiquette: Ways to Make the Internet Gods Happy

As fringe theater festivals can attest, nudity, free booze, and a good slot on a Friday or Saturday night can greatly improve attendance, but if you don’t write your invitation properly, chances are slim that your call to action will be followed.

You must take the time to use basic e-mail etiquette. Just because we live in a world that is, for the most part, ADHD, doesn’t mean that you can ignore the basic rules of communication.  The same rules for passing a friend in the street apply to creating your e-mail invite.

Things to do:
1) Say Hi.
2) Use the persons name in the e-mail.
3) Include the who, what, where, when, contact info, and cost of the event.
4) Let them know why the event will benefit them.
4) Use your name and a personal phrase in closing such as, “Hope to see you there.”

Things not to do:
1) Send an e-mail with nothing but a link.
2) Forward an invite with no personal note attached, such as, “I thought you might like to attend this event, it’s being given by my friend Jason.”
3) CC your list.

Monday, December 14, 2009

5 Ways to Piss Others Off With E-mail

Just because you have a drivers license doesn’t make you a good driver. If you can pay the fee, pass the test, and your eye sight is relatively good, they let you drive. That doesn’t necessarily make you a good driver. 

The same can be said of an e-mail account. Just because you have a free e-mail account, doesn’t mean you’re a good e-mailer. In a perfect world, along with classes for bad drivers, they would have classes for bad e-mailers.

Want to Piss Others Off? Then do these 5 things.

1) Don't say Hi or use my name in the e-mail. Just send me a link or a sentence fragment. (That really, truly makes me feel special).

2) Forget to proofread the first e-mail you send out for an upcoming event and then send me another one with the additional information and then another one with some more information you left out. (Can you say, "Delete, delete, and delete?")

3) Steal my name off someone's "CC" list and ask me to come to your event even though we've never met or you've never bothered to introduce yourself to me. Can you say, "Hello, I'm a telemarketer?" (You'll get an e-nasty from me if you do this, plus I'll turn your name into the Karma police).

4) E-mail an event notice out the day before the event and expect me to attend.

5) Will your very first e-mail to me be "Hi, it was great seeing you the other night...." or will it be a very spam-like e-mail asking me to buy something? Would you walk up to me in the street and kiss me before you shook my hand? (You're so gross)

Do you have things that make you mad as far as e-mail and Facebook go? If so I'd like to hear about them.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Life, Love, Sex, Death and other works in progress

This is info about Stevie Jay's show ( He's our Facebook artist of the week this week in our group "Manifest your creative Destiny.") which will take place in Charolottesville, VA on Saturday, December 19, 2009.

Hey, Everybody! Saturday, Dec 19th--I'm doin' the show here in Cville!
; - )
Mark your calendars, rally your friends, click on "attending" and write something fun on the wall! (Nothing regretful--okay? Just PRETEND! Say YES and let those wall posts FLY!!!)

RESERVATIONS ARE RECOMMENDED for those who are REALLY planning to attend! No moo-lah required--just a request for seats. (Pay later!) Click here and scroll down to the reservation link and tell me how many seats you'd like to reserve:

"As real as it gets! Naughty, bawdy, soul-searching, and hilarious! Like the deepest breath you've ever taken." -Yael Ksander, WFIU Radio

"Stevie Jay presents an evening of dangerous hilarity!" -Ray Faiola, CBS, New York

"No performer has ever had so personal an effect on me. Extraordinary!" -Kate Copstick, The Scotsman, UK

"Stevie Jay has invented his own genre of performing!" -Farhad Emad, Tashbain Chronicle, UK

"It would be impossible to advise someone in advance as to what to expect from Stevie Jay."
-Deborah Minsky, Provincetown Banner

"Like ecstasy without the holes in your brain." -Eli Duke,

"A study in naked narcissism like you've never seen. I would rather pass a kidney stone than see him again." -Bony Motel,

"This show is mind-blowing and life-altering and should be booked in every major city across the country--and then some!" -Barb G, Simply Yoga

"Not since Terminator 2 have I seen my husband so riveted by a performer."
-Gigi Payne, Family Preservation Services

Exploding with hysterical monologues, soulful skits, embarrassing observations, and intermittent go-go dancing, Stevie Jay paints a picture of real life on Earth with personal, uncensored stories about relationships, sex, working out at the gym, working out sexual relationships at the gym, and "the endless struggle to remain spiritually-oriented and irresistibly-gorgeous at all times."

For grown-ups only!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Artist of the Week: Stevie Jay

Our Facebook “Artist of the Week” is performer and renaissance man, Stevie Jay.


Check out our Facebook group “Manifest Your Creative Destiny,” at to read more about his Playwriting, songwriting, comedy performance, film acting, watercolor, photography, editing, coaching, and how he annoys staff members of theater venues.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Business Plan Software for Artists


Forget business plan software. it’s a bulky investment with a huge learning curve, includes a ton of bells and whistles you don’t need and will only confuse you. If you’d like a template of a business plan you can use,  e-mail me at and I’ll send you one. (You can delete my information and replace it with your own).

Rather than getting weighed down with what you think a plan should look like, I should tell you that most artists only need a plan written down on a napkin to help them stay focused on 1-3 goals. 

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Business Plans for Artists: The dollar sense reality check

 Whatever money you foresee yourself making from your art, and by “making” I mean money you will actually have in your bank account at the end of the year, you’ll actually need to multiply that amount by 2 in order to figure your actual income.

To make $50,000 this year as an artist, you will need to sell over $100,000 worth of your art. to make $30,000, you’ll need to sell over $60,000 worth of your art.

Why?  After you give 20% to Uncle Sam, you’ll still have all the other costs associated with your art to contend with: space rental, supplies, travel expenses, promotion, etc. no matter how you calculate the equation, making a decent living with you art will require an investment of time and money as well as a focused plan to do so. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How to Make a Great Artist Business Plan in 6 Steps

Part 1: Cover Sheet
Simply write, “Business Plan (YOUR NAME)” on a piece of paper and revel in your achievement.

Part 2: About You
Business Basics: List the basics here. The name of your business, all your contact information and web address.

History: Think of this as a bio for your business. How did you make the progression into the art business? If you’ve been doing this for a while what has been your progression? This should be easy to read and sound as if you were writing an "About Me & My Art" essay.

Business Description:  Briefly explain what you’re planning to do or are already doing with your business. Are you going to sell your art through your own on-line gallery or are you seeking private collectors and galleries? A reader should get the gist of what it is you’re trying to do with this basic description. 

Mission: A mission is very important to have. Keep it short and real. It should be short enough to memorize and small enough that you can carry it around in your head with you at all times. 

Grand Vision: Do you want to eventually have a TV show? Do you want to be a multi-platinum selling CD artist? This is the place to write down the grand vision of what you want your art career to look like.

Part 3: About What You Plan to Sell:
Artists Menu: List the types of products and services you want to offer your fans, clients or customers.

Your Competition: Who is already doing what you’re doing? How are they succeeding? How are you going to do it better?

Your Ideal Customer: This is your reference tool for how you plan to get your stuff in front of the right people.

Referral List of Resources:
List the names and contact information for everyone you plan to consult with or hire. For instance, do you have an account in mind to answer some questions once you set up your non-profit fundraiser? If so, list his name and number. Do you have an entertainment lawyer in mind who can review your upcoming contract? If you plan to use the free lawyers on the Writer’s Guild website, list that. Who is your graphic designer and web designer?

Part 4: Your Vision:
Goals:  This should include your 1month, 6 month, 1 year and 3 year goals. 

Obstacles: What might stand in your way from achieving what you want to achieve. Make a list of 3-5 things. 

Part 5: Yeah, but how much will it cost?

Number crunching is simply sitting down and coming up with a plan to make your art profitable and figuring out how to make more money come in. For instance, if you have a production with a cast of twenty, this is the time to figure out if you want to make money by selling advertisements in a production program or rely strictly on ticket sales. After you do the math, you may find that it’s more profitable to do the show with a cast of three. You can use this section to brainstorm as well, and come up with some creative ways to generate extra money from your art.

Part 6: Seeking Advice
Sharing: Once you’ve printed out your plan, I recommend you pay a visit to your local SCORE office. SCORE stands for the Service Corps of Retired Executives.  These are guys that have already “done it” in the business world and are now giving back by offering free advice to others. They’ll look over your business plan, reference you to their free library of business books, and turn you onto some really great resources. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Artist Speak: Jeri Goldstein

"I’m surprised that so many artists have business plans. They may not be the traditional IBM business and marketing plan, but they work just as effectively. One of my clients, the goth band, Bella Morte, walked into a major bank with their purple hair, piercings, a Power Point presentation and a specific plan and walked out with a $70,000 loan. With that plan and the money, they were able to set forth an Action Plan that allowed them to buy back the rights of their work from the record company."

Jeri Goldstein is a former music agent and manager who is author of the award-winning self-published book How To Be Your Own Booking Agent (now in it’s 7th printing). The book is used as a text book in music business courses at Universities across the US and in Canada and by musicians and performing artists world-wide. Jeri is also a performing arts consultant who offers strategies and techniques on booking tours, negotiation techniques, marketing, music business and performing arts career development.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Artist Speak: Business Plans

With no savings and no assets so to speak and only about $1,000 left on one of three maxed-out credit cards, I wasn’t what you’d call an ideal candidate for a loan.  Yet, I needed a vehicle.  I was in an all too familiar place where I felt like for the amount of work I was doing, I should have been a millionaire. My friends called me the hardest working poor person they knew and I was exhausted from riding my bicycle everywhere.

I really had no idea where all my time went because I didn’t really have a plan, but it seemed like i was always working, at home, in my massage clinic, at my art studio. Armed with my goal to get a vehicle, I bought my first “how-to write a business plan book,” and went to work, creating what seemed like a carefully calculated and well-thought out lie. The financial projections that i shaped into a colorful bar graph seemed like the biggest lie of all. The graph, after all revealed how much i “thought” I might make each month, so in reality wasn’t that a lie? 

Two weeks after turning my business plan in i was approved for a $12,000 loan. a week later, I was tooling around in my brand new pick-up truck, my paintings stacked neatly in the back. I remember thinking, “how cool is this?” and “this planning stuff really works.”

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Artist of the Week: Dave Watkins

Our Facebook “Artist of the Week” is audio/visual artisan/musician Dave Watkins


Check out our Facebook group “Manifest Your Creative Destiny,” at to read more about his eclectic musical stylings and to find out where he’s playing next.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Biz Plan Buzz: Writing a Business Plan for Artists

Depending on the amount of time and energy you want to put into your business plan and how you choose to use it, you can either create a mini-plan like one on a napkin or a full blown, full-sized plan. If you’re just starting out, I recommend that you create a mini plan which can always be upgraded to a full-size plan as your needs and your career plans change.

The rock band GWAR meets regularly with a financial officer to go over the specifics of their own business plan which now includes, after renting for many years, buying their own studio space where they’ll be able produce video, own a music label, have health insurance, and keep creating their renowned sculpture and stage shows. As GWAR’s Dave Brockie says, “With this plan, at the end of the day, we’re underground Gods with the most dangerous, most authentic artistic movement ever created.”

Whether you choose to go the mini-plan route or the full-size plan, you can use either to:
  • Attract the attention of a sponsor or patron
  • Get a grant or a bank loan
  • Predict a travel or tour budget
  • Be a magnet to generate excitement on a project
  • Give your creative life some order

Dave Brockie is a musician and performance artist who is best known for his portrayal of Oderus in the American thrash metal/punk rock band GWAR which he helped found. The band, which has appeared on The Jerry Springer Show, The Joan Rivers Show, and Viva la Bam is best known for their elaborate Sci-Fi horror costumes and graphic, politically and satirically-inspired stage performances that include spraying their audiences with imitation fluids. Brockie lives in Richmond, VA.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Artist Branding: Your Mental Geography

The type of branding that I think artists should concentrate on is social branding. How you interact with others and how others perceive you. This occurs not in your work, but in yourself.

In the world of art business you and your work are viewed as a potential investment both in monetary terms as well as in time and energy. Hunches, instinct, and intuition may come into play when others are viewing your marketability, but most of it comes down to professionalism and more importantly the image you convey.

By professionalism, I don’t mean dressing to impress. Rather, I mean a three piece suit mentality in terms of you and your art – together and separately.

Do you arrive on time with everything you need to present you and your work in the best light? You may not like to control your creative process, but in the business world timeliness and organization are two things that aren’t left open to interpretation. If you don’t show up on time for your first meeting, will you really have all your paintings completed when the deadline for your one man show rolls around? 

For your work, do you have testimonials from other professionals that carry some weight? If you’ve only had a few student shows on campus and a couple more at a coffee shop, should you really be surprised that you haven’t snagged the attention of the Whitney Museum

Does your work show some maturity or are you all over the map stylistically? Just as a gallery doesn’t want to take on a painter who will switch to sculpture next month, a theater doesn’t want to accept a mainstream show, just to have the artist show up and improv material that contains a lot of inappropriate language.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Artist Branding: Consistency

"You would have thought that I was a writing agents dream with four books, a movie option, a syndicated column, and a radio show. But my agent said that she didn’t know what to do with me. Yes, my projects showcased my talents, but the nugget of my work was not consistent enough from a marketing perspective.

Publishers want to be able to brand writers because then they’ll know that they’ll get their investment back. When you stick with one thing, your ability to build a large, loyal audience over time increases. This is good in the long term, but in the interim and from a money-making standpoint it’s tough. I mean we’re talking about finding one genre you feel like sticking to for ten years and sticking with it."

Martha Randolph Carr, is a nationally syndicated columnist, author, and speaker. She is the author of “A Place to Call Home,” (Prometheus), “Wired” (Nimrod House) and “The Sitting Sisters” (Cumberland House). Carr speaks to groups across the country through The New Voice Movement speaker’s bureau on the topics of race & politics, change, celebrating your children and spiritual growth. She is also the founder of the Family Tree Project, an online orphan registry to reunite the more than 200,000 older alumni of U.S. orphanages. She resides in New York City.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Artist Branding: Value

My art studio used to be across the hall from the sculptor, Tom Friedman. Tom created very unique sculptures that sold internationally for hundreds of thousands of dollars. One piece was his name written on a piece of paper until the ink ran out. Another was a piece of bubble gum stretched from the floor to the ceiling. All of his work had a very autistic-like quality to it, much like something Rain Man might have created.

After sharing a space so close to his I began to dwell on signature styles a little bit more. I don’t think a signature style is something that can be reproduced. For instance, if I wrote my name on a piece of paper until my pen ran out of ink it wouldn’t have the same effect as when Tom created it. Though imitation is an essential part of the process of finding it, sometimes you have to exhaust yourself trying to be everyone else until the only one left is you.

I finally decided that artistic style is really about finding the effortless place within yourself where your deeper voice is able to shine through. So many artists have the idea that in order for something to be worthy it must be difficult. Others have this distracting voice inside them that makes them feel "being famous" is the most important thing in the world. In terms of artistic creations though, I don’t think it’s so much about pushing the envelope to discover something brand spanking new as it is finding something that is unique only to you, buried within. When you find it, it’s about sharing your discovery publicly and so repetitively that others can’t help but take notice. 

I feel if you create value, everything else will naturally fall into place. When an artist finds this place, it is usually easy and effortless and when he begins to shine with this effortlessness, I think the message is so authentic that it gives everyone else permission to shine in their own way. This is what is so appealing about those who find it and share it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Artist Branding: Video of the Week

This weeks video by National Geographic puts a new spin and a deeper twist on the idea of Artist Branding. Although this video is from the perspective of body manipulation, the idea of the brand remains the same. As you watch it, use this type of branding as a metaphorical measuring stick to where you are with your own undeniable and distinguishable brand of style with your artwork.