Tagged art business

Camo Hippo Now in Business

With her Camouflage nearly complete (she lacks a monacle), Camo Hippo started a business. Moving swiftly, she saw no need to consult with an expensive team of MBA-trained consultants. With so many creatures in danger from poachers, sea level rising, habitat destruction, and forest clear cutting, she has no doubt that there is a rising demand for the services of a Professional Camouflageur.

Camouflage Hippo Seeks a Monacle
Camouflage Hippo Seeks a Monacle

 

Camo Hippo Catalog Samples

Inspired by Photoshop Filters and her clients’ preferences, Camo Hippo will use an innovative combination of tattoos, paint, glue, and unique textiles to create what will work best for her clients. She is assembling a team with technical and artistic skills who are excited about working to protect real and whimsical creatures. She expects to be in production by the end of August 2018.

Camo Hippo Spatter
Camo Hippo Spatter
Camo Hippo Speckles
Camo Hippo Speckles

 

Camo Hippo Invert
Camo Hippo Invert
Camo Hippo Ink Outlines
Camo Hippo Ink Outlines
Camo Hippo Jungle
Camo Hippo Jungle
Camo Hippo Big City
Camo Hippo Big City
Hippo Camo Desert
Hippo Camo Desert

 

 

Gridwalls & a window into my past

Thanks to my pals at Vine Arts Center for pointing me to Accent Fixtures, one of my favorite stores in Minneapolis, and saving me a road trip to Hudson  WI and ton of money.

I need a gridwall

One of the great joys of The Art Business, is finding new (to me) tools, techniques, and ways to display and sell my work.  The combination of seeing a gridwall-well-used at Powderhorn Art Fair and having one at the Walker Cat Video Festival persuaded me that I needed at least one gridwall for art shows.

Success! In one quick trip to Accent Fixtures, I got 2 gridwalls, 2 sets of gridwall feet, and lots of gizmos with which to hang stuff on them. Each gridwall was $20, and they fit nicely into The Art Car.

Gridwall at Cat Vid Fest
Gridwall at Cat Vid Fest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look through the grid and see some of my past

Look through the grid and see a set of vintage car ads that hung on my office walls from the long-ago days when I worked in the car business.

 

Gridwall
Gridwall Under the Stairs

Whimsical Wildlife & more at the Dow Building Gallery

 

Whimsical Wildlife & more at Frame by Frame, the Dow Building Gallery
Whimsical Wildlife & more at Frame by Frame, the Dow Building Gallery

What’s inside the Dow Building? Lots of artists and a great gallery.

What’s inside the Dow Building on University Avenue? Khanh Tran of  Frame by Frame opened a huge light-filled gallery for Dow Building Artists (and others), and the Whimsical Wildlife and Geometric Abstractions have a new home.

Saint Paul Art Crawl Spring 2015

I’ll be there for the 2015 Saint Paul Art Crawl, April 24-26. Friday 6-10 pm. Saturday 12-8 pm. Sunday 12-5 pm.

The Dow Building and gallery address is 2242 University Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55414. Check out the map and put it on your calendar.

Waiting for you…

The Cave Seal #2: The Lost Cave Paintings of Saint Paul
The Cave Cat: The Lost Cave Paintings of Saint Paul
Two 3-D Backyard Roosters (From The Backyard Roosters of Saint Paul)
Sam the Snowy Owl Who Went to Mardi Gras and Never Came Back (From The Small Friends’ Chronicles)
The French Roosters (From The Backyard Roosters of Saint Paul)
3 Cats & 11 Flamingos Sing Acapella
The Great Leafy Bunny of New Hampshire (From The Small Friends’ Chronicles)
Friendship #5: Messy. Sometimes Complicated. Beautiful if you’re lucky.
Flying Red Crystals

 

Artists need a lawyer on retainer

toolboxArtists’ toolboxes overflow.

Whatever your medium, you have a lot of stuff in your toolbox, including the tools that are critical your work, as well as other, random things that you might use someday.

What’s missing? A lawyer on retainer.

Why do you need a lawyer on retainer?

1.  Are you an expert in contract drafting? sales tax? copyright? trademark? business planning for small businesses? licensing? the tax implication of using your living room as a studio? Probably not.

 

2.  Would you go to your podiatrist for brain surgery? I suspect not. While there is a frustrating and annoying slugfest in the blogosphere recommending eliminating law schools and de-regulating lawyers, people with real problems need the attention of trained and skilled legal professionals. As with medicine, preventive care is always the best.

 

3. My personal experience: I am a law-trained person, who had an active law license for 24 years. I was never a business lawyer and I know better than to take my own, inexperienced, untrained advice.

Lawyers can save you from your (not so) good ideas.

I am eternally grateful to Minneapolis lawyer Blake Iverson of Friedman Iverson, who saved me from the terrible potential downside of what I thought was a great idea. As I launched my food blog, susan-cooks, I wanted the blog wallpaper to be a photograph of the spines of  some of the books in my 800+ cookbook collection. His response was a fast and firm “NO!” and he pointed out that I could be sued by the copyright holder of each book that appeared in my photo. Ooops.

HOW DID I PICK MY LAWYER?

Having known Blake and his law partner David Friedman since they were students at the University of Minnesota Law School, I knew that they were both committed to working with individuals and small business. After he graduated, I also learned from Blake that he was interested in representing artists and musicians. “Before law school I was a musician and a writer, and I knew that I wanted to surround myself with creative people.”

 

When I was launching nanoscapes and Pass the Baton, I called Blake, signed a retainer agreement, and breathed easily.

 

WHY DO I CONTINUE TO RELY ON HIS ADVICE?

Two reasons: Blake is committed to the artists and musicians under his wing, and he and David are skilled advisers to small businesses.

 

“Our clients have multiple projects with multiple collaborations and they need help.” To deliver that assistance, Blake and David focus on three goals:

·         to demystify what lawyers do,

·         to show that legal services need not cost an arm and a leg, and,

·         to help their clients make money.

 

“Consider legal services as an investment,” Blake advises. “Are your contracts causing you to lose money? Are you leaving money on the table? Are your licensing agreements good for you or bad for your wallet?”

 

If you are not a lawyer, how would you know?

WHERE SHOULD YOU GO TO FIND YOUR LAWYER?

Inquire carefully in your community and look for an attorney who represents artists and musicians as small business owners. If you explain your business model and its relative success and the amount of money that you generate, you should be able to put down a small (a few hundred dollars) retainer.

 

WHAT DO YOU GET FOR YOUR RETAINER DOLLARS?

You get advice, billed by the hour (or portion of an hour) from someone who knows and follows your business. Sometimes your question will be a simple “yes or no” and you may get no bill at all. Sometimes, you will have stepped on a landmine, and you will be very very glad to have an expert at your side.

 

SOURCES AND RESOURCES FOR FINDING LAWYERS

1.  Personal referral from friends and colleagues who are artists;
2.  Your local artists’ associations: lots of members will have lawyers and they will be local;
3.  Your accountant who is representing your small business;
4.  Personal referral from friends and colleagues who have small businesses;
5.  Professionals in the career or alumni offices of your local law school will be delighted to promote graduates (vet them with other artists, though);
6.  The local bar association;
7.  And finally, the ever-popular and often-overlooked serendipity method of lawyer referral and business development: tell everyone who you are (an artist) and what you are looking for (a lawyer). You will engage people in your artwork (“Oh, really? Do you have a website? Do you have a card?”) and you just never know who might be married to, related to, or a pal of the right lawyer.

Good luck!!

Consigning your art: a primer

Consigning  your art is one way to earn money from your art. It isn’t the only way. It may or may not work for you. But if done correctly, you can learn a lot about what and where your market is.

Finding the right venue

best tiny dollar1.  Talk to the owners or managers. They are in business to make money for themselves and for their artists. Make sure that you are comfortable with the people who you will trust with your art.

2.   Learn whether a store has a mission (representing artists from underserved communities, artists with disabilities, artists from a specific geographic area, etc.). Don’t press to be accepted if you are not a member of the group.

3. Pay attention to stores’ price points. Don’t embarrass yourself by approaching a high-end-big-dollar gallery if the work that you want to sell is exactly what you sell on ETSY for under $30.

4. Style matters. A gallery with a 20-year history of selling cutting-edge abstracts run by one of the Big Names in Abstract Art Criticism may not be interested in taking on even the most exquisite realistic botanical art.

5. Some stores require artists’ participation beyond dropping off work. Is there an hours-per-month requirement? If you are uncomfortable with a few hours a month at retail, are there other ways to fulfill a work requirement? Ask about the managers’ needs. Consider marketing and merchandizing as ways to fulfill your obligation.

6.     Follow the store’s protocols with your Inventory Integrity.  You want to sell your art, and stores have rules about pricing and presentation. Although you will not be in the store every day, you must monitor your own inventory. Once accepted, you will submit inventory sheets with prices. Smart artists use consistent inventory coding and pricing across all inventory and across all platforms. Present legible inventory lists. Unless it is the policy, don’t expect the store managers to code and price your work.

 

7.     Understand when and how you will be paid. Some stores have multiple levels for consignors. Make sure that you understand exactly how the compensation system works. The store will collect and pay sales tax. You are responsible for paying your own income tax. Talk to an accountant or tax lawyer to make sure that you are tracking your sales and paying your income tax correctly.

  Setting prices

1.  Pricing is hard. What is the magic number that will encourage someone to purchase your work without undercutting its value (and your profit)? How much is too much? How little is too little? Talk to the managers. Look at the stock and ask about price points and what sells best.

 

2.  Price your items consistently. If not now, then soon, you will be selling art in many outlets and across many platforms. Nothing will irritate your store managers and customers more than inconsistent pricing should you have one price for your website, another price for ETSY, one price for this store, another for the shop across town, and yet another for your direct sales. This is part of your Inventory Integrity.

Product presentation

1.  Always present clean, well-packaged work.

2.  Make sure that price tags and other tags are legible. If you have added explanatory material to your work, make sure that it is legible, properly spelled and punctuated, and not hidden by price tags (if possible.)

Promoting your presence in the store

1.  Ask to do a demo or to teach a class. Many consignment venues have space for teaching which generates traffic for the store and can generate income for you. Store owners and managers are your first, best audience. The more that they know you, how you make your art, and how you talk about it, the easier it is for them to talk about your work to customers when you are not in the store.

2.  Within the space limitations of the store, post an artist statement. Customers are curious about you and your art. How do you make it? What is/are your inspiration(s)? What materials do you use?

Last words

 

1.  Sales are not personal.  Some of your work may fly off the shelves; other work may not sell at all. Consider re-packaging, re-framing, or re-purposing the work by cutting it up and making a mosaic out of it, spreading gesso over the canvas and making a new painting, or re-making the jewelry by using the components in new work. Every piece of work won’t be loved, but all of it can be re-purposed.

2.  Know the law. You will be asked to sign a contract. Read it. If you don’t understand some of its terms, ask the store owner, or, better yet, take it to your lawyer. You have a lawyer don’t you? Every artist should have a lawyer on retainer for no other reason than to have an expert eye to review anything to do with the sale of your art.

More reading about consigning

Consignment selling regulations
http://www.ehow.com/info_8680035_consignment-selling-regulations.html

How to understand consignment rules
http://www.ehow.com/how_4872978_understand-consignment-rules.html

Starting a consignment business
http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/business-law-advisor/starting-consignment-business-0

Consigning your arts and crafts
http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/consigning-arts-crafts-30281.html

14 Rules for Consigning Your Art

Two Pandas from the Hidden Bamboo Forest of Saint Paul
Two Pandas From the Hidden Bamboo Forest of Saint Paul
Once you have decided to share your art beyond giving it as gifts to friends and family, you will look for venues to sell your work. Art sales options can be overwhelming: ETSY (your work), zazzle (your designs on their products), your own blog, any of the dozens of web-based group sales venues, art fairs, sales through the arts organizations that you have joined, and farmers’ markets. And then there are galleries with individual owners or co-op galleries.

Considering consignment

Eventually you may consider consignment, a nifty arrangement in which you put your work into either a brick-and-mortar or web-based store in which someone else handles the customer interactions (conversations and sales), and you keep ownership of the work until it sells. You always retain the copyright (unless you sell or give it away in a contract.) The benefits are wider exposure than you might create on your own and the expansion of your sales team to include the store owners and staff. For this, you pay a percentage of the sales price.
Consignment is a big step. Think through these points:

1. Find the right venue #1.

Talk to the owners or managers. They are in business to make money for themselves and for their artists. Make sure that you are comfortable with the people you will trust with your art.

     2. Find the right venue #2.

If a store has a mission (representing artists from under-served communities, artists with disabilities, artists from a specific geographic area), don’t press to be accepted if you are not a member of the group.

3. Find the right venue #3.

Pay attention to each store’s price points. Don’t embarrass yourself by approaching a high-end-big-dollar gallery if the work that you want to sell is exactly what you sell on ETSY for under $30.

4. Find the right venue #4.

Style matters. A gallery with a 20-year history of selling cutting-edge abstracts run by one of the Big Names in Abstract Art Criticism may not be interested in taking on even the most exquisite realistic botanical art.

Chost Gecko
Ghost Gecko
Backyard Rooster of Saint Paul: Cousin Charlie 2
Backyard Rooster of Saint Paul: Cousin Charlie 2

5. Find the right venue #5.

Some stores require artists’ participation beyond dropping off work. Is there an hours-per-month requirement? If you are uncomfortable with a few hours a month at retail, are there other ways to fulfill a work requirement? Ask about the managers’ needs. Consider social media, marketing and merchandizing as ways to fulfill your obligation.

6. Follow the store’s protocols with your Inventory Integrity.

You want to sell your art, and all stores have rules about pricing and presentation which — if you want to get paid correctly —  you must follow to the letter. Although you will not be in the store every day, you must monitor your own inventory. Once accepted, you will submit inventory sheets with coding, prices, and product descriptions. You may submit paper inventory or you may submit online. Smart artists use consistent inventory coding and pricing across all inventory and across all platforms. Present legible inventory lists. Unless it is the policy, don’t expect the store managers to code and price your work.

7. Understand when and how you will be paid.

Some stores have multiple levels for consignors. Make sure that you understand exactly how each store’s compensation system works. Most stores collect and pay sales tax. You are responsible for paying your own income tax. Talk to an accountant or tax lawyer to make sure that you are tracking your sales and paying your income taxes correctly.

8. Setting prices #1. Pricing is hard.

What is the magic number that will encourage someone to purchase your work without undercutting its value (and your profit)? How much is too much? How little is too little? Talk to the managers. Look at the stock and ask about price points and what sells best. Talk to your artist friends who sell on consignment, and ask for their advice.

9. Setting prices #2.

Price your items consistently. If not now, then soon, you will be selling art in many outlets and across many platforms. Nothing will irritate store managers and customers more than inconsistent pricing should you have one price for your website, another price for ETSY, one price for this store, another for the shop across town, and yet another for your direct sales. This is part of your Inventory Integrity, and only you can manage it.

10. Packaging: People buy with their eyes

Always present clean, well-packaged work. Make sure that price tags and other tags are legible.

11. Ask to do a demo or to teach a class.

Many consignment venues have space for teaching which generates traffic for the store and can generate income for you. Note that store owners and managers are your first, best audience. The more that they know you, how you make your art, and how you talk about it, the easier it is for them to talk about your work to customers when you are not in the store.

12.  Your artist statement.

Within the space limitations of the store, post an artist statement. Customers are curious about you and your art. How do you make it? What is/are your inspiration(s)? What materials do you use?

13.  Sales are not personal.

Some of your work may fly off the shelves; other work may not sell at all. Consider re-packaging, re-framing, or re-purposing the work by cutting it up and making a mosaic out of it, spreading gesso over the canvas and making a new painting, or re-making the jewelry by using the components in new work. Every piece of work won’t be loved, but all of it can be re-purposed.

14.  Know the law.

You will be asked to sign a contract. Read it. If you don’t understand some of its terms, ask the store owner, or, better yet, take it to your lawyer. You have a lawyer don’t you? Every artist should have a lawyer on retainer for no other reason than to have an expert eye to review anything to do with the sale of your art. Find a lawyer who represents creatives as small business owners.
More reading about consigning
Consignment selling regulations
How to understand consignment rules
Starting a consignment business

Give thanks for paint tubes and other innovations

In the very first post on this blog, I wrote about how lucky I am to be a 21st century painter because I could walk into an art store and buy a tube of Lapis watercolor paint. No need to dig it up. No need to grind it myself. No need to fret about consistency from batch to batch. No worries about preserving it.

I am always ready to give thanks for paint tubes and other innovations when someone points them out to me.

John G. Rand: Innovator

In May 2013, Smithsonian Magazine had a short but very informative article about the introduction of tubes for paint by “a little-known” American portrait painter, John G. Rand. Should you be hungry for more information about this innovator, look no further than a helpful article from the North Carolina Museum of Art: A revolution in paint.

Philip Ball’s “Bright Earth”

Philip Ball’s brilliant Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Color sparked the “I don’t need to grind it” insight. It is still a favorite book, and it sits on my night table. Full of delights and exciting (to me) material such as “Color Technology in Antiquity” and the shocking introduction of “Synthetic Pigments and the Dawn of Color Chemistry,” Bright Earth also answers pesky questions such as “Who was Hooker of Hooker’s Green?”

When making art, we stand (or sit) on the shoulders of innovators. Thanks to all of them.

Read this: Never Underestimate the Power of a Paint Tube (Smithsonian)

5 Things you need to do after a painting is finished | Kyle V Thomas Fine Art

Molecular Biology 115
Molecular Biology 115

 

Here are 5 things you should do after you finish.  
 1) paint another piece
2) paint another one
3) and another
4) repeat step 1
5) repeat this for the rest of your life

 

Thank you, Kyle Thomas, for excellent advice.

‘via Blog this’

10 tips for daily (or other) painters

My 2012 Daily Painting Began with “7 hippos marching”

When one of my colleagues at the LinkedIn Daily Painters and Collectors Network suggested that everyone encourage a Daily Painter, I cheered and made this list which is good for all creative folks and for anyone with a project that is just out of reach.

10 tips for daily (or other) painters:

  1. Paint every day if you can. Sometimes, you can’t. Don’t fret.
  2. If you can’t complete an entire painting in a day, don’t fret. Leonardo didn’t finish the chapel in one day, either.
  3. If you can’t get to your paints everyday, think about something that you would like to try. Write it down or you will forget it. Keep the list in a handy place or you will lose it, or, in a fit of super-cleaning, you will send it out with recycling.
  4. When you get back to your studio (or, in my case, a table in my living room), look at the list. Some of the ideas are genius. Some are not. Laugh if you must.
  5. If you have lots of work-in-progress, hang the pieces up or you will forget them. I have too many mostly-done works on an easel. I need another easel.
  6. If you can’t paint everyday, sketch something. Pick up your pencil. It is a magic tool, sometimes with a mind of its own. Let it lead you to a new place.
  7. In creative brain-freeze land? Pick up an art book. Go to the library or to your favorite used bookstore, both of which have hundreds of art books waiting for you.
  8. Need to get out of the house or out of your comfort zone? Go and look at public sculpture. Like it? Don’t like it? Either way, a response can get you out of your creativity brain-freeze.
  9. Go to a museum. Everyone there loves art, and these are your people. If you don’t live near a museum, hundreds have put substantial collections on line. Bert Christensen has posted a helpful list.
  10. Can’t paint because you have no space? Clean a closet. Apply these tests: (a) Do I need to keep this? (b) Do I need to keep this here? (c) I can get rid of it if it was given to me by someone to whom I no longer speak or who will never, ever visit. (d) I can get rid of it if I don’t remember how I acquired it and I have never used it.
Personal note: I am in my second year of Daily Painting, and I post an image-a-day to Facebook.

Dover Publications are treasure bargains

Dover Publications are treasure bargains for children of all ages, parents of all children, artists and aspiring artists, historians, naturalists, puzzle freaks, and the genuinely curious.

Founded in 1941 by Hayward and Blanche Cirker, Dover has published works primarily in the public domain across an astonishing range of topics.  Having had Dover books all my life, I was delighted to recommend them to a friend who was seeking “classy” coloring books.  I knew that she meant Dover’s Coloring Books.

I wanted to include the entire Dover subject list, but shall provide this link and just a hint of the length and breadth of the catalog:  African-American History Month; American History (Americana); American Indians; Antiques (Collecting); Art (Anatomy for Artists, Art Instruction, Clip Art, Commercial Art & more); Art Activity Packs; Brain Games (Chess, Classic Board & Card Games, & more); Civil War Books; Clip Art (Angels, Animals, Celtic Art, Design Tools [with CDs for Photshop!] and more); Coloring Books, and much, much more.

While it started with both feet in the print world, Dover has come roaring into the 21st century with design and other books with CDs, a website which will draw you in and take your time in the nicest and most productive possible ways, and the opportunity to subscribe to newsletters for free samples, catalogs and ecards.