DaVinci Didn’t Have Quickbooks


In a world of the ordinary, I feel (as I have stated in a previous post) that those with extraordinary talents or qualities have a duty to share those to the world.  This may seem like a socialist view of things or perhaps reminiscent of X-Men- the mutants should not be hidden away, their evolutions serve a greater purpose.  Though I am no Wolverine, I, as an artist, do see things a bit differently.  I am not, however, a trained business person.  Art for arts sake is lovely but in the modern world, it is also a business.  Not only should an artist posses some measure of talent but must also be (or be able to hire) a savvy business person.  There are many programs popping up to help artists become “entrepreneurs.”  I recently attended a 4-session seminar hosted by the Arts Council of New Orleans on the business side of art.  I was smacked with a reality that had, I guess, previously escaped me.  I want to paint, I love and need to paint but I have to ration my time, distribute it amongst activities like designing a website for myself, maintaining social media applications, designing and producing promotional materials (business cards, etc…) and creating an ever-evolving promotional packet that includes a biography, artist statement, resume or CV and bank of images with some type of cohesiveness.  Apparently galleries don’t want to see a smorgasbord of images ( of course this is what I do…if I’m strolling through my neighborhood and see a fabulous tree, I come back to the studio and paint a fabulous tree), they want a theme and recognizable style.  As an a emerging artist, I have an exploratory style, evolving with each work.  Basically, the assumption on the activities in the day in the life of a professional artist is shrouded in misconception.  It is a full-time job with days packed with work, not just painting but also the administration of a business.  Then there comes the meat, my most daunting task; learning to budget and price the work I produce.  To follow are taxes, earning statements, profit and loss statements…I thought I was just signing on to MAKE ART.   But the world has changed and I’m sure if I dig deep enough in the annals of art history, I will find the perhaps Monet was a businessman and DaVinci (NOT Van Gogh-he had issues, poor guy).  The point that I’m trying to make is that we artists can fight the economic wave of change until the cows come home but it’s best to adapt- it is a recipe for greater success in branding oneself to the collecting public and especially the gallery machine.  There, again, are tons of resources for artists to learn the business basics.  I have also urged young artists at university or art school to take a business class or two; it can only put you ahead of the curve.  I have decided to ride the wave and enjoy life as a successful artist with some kickin’ business skills . I am a painter foremost ,but now I am also  a brand and a budding business person.  I bet DaVinci didn’t have Quickbooks.





Who Paints Like Me?

I have recently been researching paid and unpaid artist residencies and fellowships all over the globe.  Much like college or credit card applications, they are tricky and not something to be entered in to lightly.  Though I began my professional art career a bit later than the traditional 18-year old college student- I want to be an artist-type, I am an emerging artist ( I want to write “imerging” because “emerging” looks like “emergency”).  Like any creative professional, I struggle with the age old dilemma of self-worth.  Am I worth a boat-load of grant money to go live in a cabin in Maine and paint?  Am I worthy of the Prix de Rome?  I want desperately to be, but am I?  There is a twisted validation process for me.  I search Google images looking for anything, any painting, that looks like mine.  I only get….mine.  NOTHING looks like my paintings. Is this a good thing or is this a bad thing?  Nothing looked like a Duchamp’s coffee cup covered in fur and now pieces like it lives in a climate-controlled museum guarded by menacing-looking fellows with earpieces.  Perhaps he and Dadaism were not appreciated in their artistic infancies and adolescences but folks with disposable incomes drool over pieces nowadays.  This, again, leaves an anxiously asked question, “Am I an innovator or will my art fall through the cracks left between dolls with pins in their faces and wheelbarrows filled with blue sheep, spray-painted with political messages?”.  My work seeks to please the senses.  I don’t have a message, only a mission to show viewers how I see this world and its iconic images. BUT, will it find its place?  I feel an overwhelming need for it (my art) to exist.  This world needs a pink Edgar Allan Poe and Abraham Lincoln with an obscenely tall hat.  Society deserves to see things the way others see them.  To have only one perspective of the world seems like such a waste.  You look at the cloud and see a bear, I see a Volkswagen.

Below: “Constantine”  Acrylic on Canvas  (He has a BIG face)