Tuesday, April 7, 2009

100 Recommendations for Artists.. Not in any order

1. Be Nice, Be Very Nice.

2. Be Consistent, Be very consistent. Be consistent in your words and actions, be consistent with the frequency of your workings. (When you are consistent with your words and actions, your sayings and doings, people will notice that you follow through with your words and will wind up trusting your words)

3. Date with or marry an artist or appreciator of the arts. To have someone that supports what you do and believes in your work is essential. This can take the form of someone who is involved in the arts (writers, filmmakers, musicians, etc) or someone who is simply interested in the arts. This will help you cover more ground at an opening (with the 2 of you), and your mate will not be bored when you will have to go to 5 openings in a row.

4. Always Remember, Fortune Favors the Bold.

5. Use unstructured time productively - make schedules as you would for a job. (Except realize this is the most important job you've ever had, and the pay is enlightenment.)

6. Make your work your top priority. Make it TODAY!!

7. Do research on galleries and once a month choose one and visit an opening.

8. Choose 5 galleries where you believe you work would fit in and frequent those galleries. Get the people who work there to know your face.

9. And get to know their faces. Who are these people in this room? Identify the curator, identify the gallerista's, identify the dealer. Knowing who they are will help you to know to talk to them.

10. Be able to describe your work in 10 words or less. (This can be thought of as the "elevator conversation" that you must prepare to have with someone important who doesn't have the time for you.)

11. Read, Read, Read. Educate yourself and read as many art periodicals as you can. Stay on top of what's going on in your field. (ex. subscribe to Art in America, Frieze, Tema Celeste, The Art Newspaper, or Art Forum etc.)

12. Write, Write, Write! Write a review, write a short story, write about your own work, write a blog, submit writings to small local papers or larger publications.

13. Don't Burn Bridges.

14. Start or participate in a critique group.

15. Be interested in the work that curators dealers do. Their work or composition of shows often goes unnoticed to the larger public who tend to focus on the pieces themselves. This knowledge can often be turned into good conversations when talking with them, after you've introduced your face, have followed their work and gone to a couple of their shows.

16. Curate a show.

17. Do not wait for opportunities - pursue them with vigor.

18. Get on mailing lists for visiting artists' lectures at different organizations including the MoMA, Guggenheim, New Museum, and Whitney.

19. Start a mailing list of your own.

20. Be well read. Read non-fiction, fiction and the classics. You will be surprised about how much material and insight you can derive from books.

21. Do a collaboration with a scientist, anthropologist, mathematician, architect, or another artist.

22. Apply for and constantly research grants and residencies. Buy the book Artist residencies and scour through it or use nyfa.org and the internet if you can. Examples can be Yaddo, Millay Foundation, or the Sharpe Foundation.

23. Read online publications such as artnet.com, artforum.com, and other art blogs like mine http://artboredum.blogspot.com/

24. If you don't have a studio, get a studio - or make one in your house. It is important to have a comfortable space where your mind will be at ease, where you can practice whatever you desire.

25. Create rituals in your life or before you make work (cofffee, chanting, whatever). Rituals can also help create routines and consistency when working.

26. If you can't work, force yourself to do something monotonus for 1 hr. (like one drawing a minute for an entire hour)

27. Get professional images taken of your work.

28. Get a website or somewhere you can direct people to view your work.

29. Get out to the major art fairs and view foreign galleries. Get out to the satellite minor art fairs if you have extra time.

30. Make a pact with other artists you will be in your studio's at the same time.

31. Make your own small catalog, for when people visit your studio you have something to give them to take away. E -publishing is great for this.

32. Hire a critic to write something on your work. Writers of publications often take money to do studio visits.

33. Throw your own Open Studio Tour-Party.

34. Try to look at your own work objectively.

35. Be very critical of your own work, don't let yourself off the hook easy, but also don't beat yourself up.

36. Learn how to edit your work.

37. Present a cohesive portfolio.

38. Travel and look for new experiences- this will nourish your art.

39. Be quiet minded, and Listen.

40. Don't let lack of money deter you from your work or ideas. If you want to do huge costly work make small mock-ups you can present for grants. If anything they will serve as documentation of your ideas and visions materialized.

41. Get used to being rejected, a lot.

42. When encountering rejections try to always pursue the knowledge of the "Why?". An example of healthy questioning would be understanding the mechanics behind institutions wants and needs.

43. Share your music with other artists.

44. Go to the studio even when you are tired, bored, or depressed and just sit there if you have to. Something will happen, even if it is just a productive thought.

45. Never pressure yourself to create or be creative. Let it just "come to you". It usually can "comes to you" through just having fun, however you have fun. (through playing, reading, scouring over pictures you like, surfing through artists work on the web)

46. Do not compare yourself to other artists who are major artstars. Most of the time these people are far more experienced than you are and have been in the field way longer than you have.

47. If you are a burgeoning artstar learn from your peers and how they achieved further success.

48. If you are a budding artist realize that you will have to put in at least 10,000 hours of work time literally until you become a master. (Malcolm Gladwells theory in The Outliers)

49. Surround yourself with friends who are strong artists that inspire you. "Strong" as in whatever that means to you, whether it be "Strong" as in work ethic and endurance, "Strong" as in concept within their work, "Strong" as in has a great Vitae, whatever it is that is important to you and inspires you about them.

50. Find out whether you work better in the morning or at night.

51. Get business cards.

52. Take a public speaking class.

53. Learn how to write off materials and expenses on your taxes and get a really good accountant.

54. When you have a studio visit put everything away that you do not want a critic, curator, dealer to discuss or take.

55. If you get picked up by a gallery, ask the other artists if they are paid and how they feel about the gallery.

56. Find a job that you only have to do a few days a week.

57. Be friendly and outgoing, ask people what shows to see that are up currently.

58. Trade off on reading recommendation with other artists.

59. Get into reading art theory.

60. Read other artists writings, (manifestos, work explanations, theses, bio's) a good place to start is Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists' Writings -by Kristine Stiles and Peter Selz.

61. Write down all your work ideas.

62. Save all imagery that inspires you.

63. Get a filing cabinet and be systematic about organizing all your thoughts and imagery that you have amassed.

64. If you can, buy a piece of art.

65. Look online at Ebay or Craigslist for art materials at discount rates.

66. Garner experience by working for an artist or being an artists assistant.

67. Know who your contemporaries are.

68. If it suits you do an MFA.

69. Sacrifice everything for your art. Francis Ford Coppola said, "You've got to want to make a movie so badly that you'd kill somebody for it. That you'd actually kill somebody! That's how much you've got to want it." -I don't know about going that far, but you've got to want it more than everybody else, or at least think you do.

70. Have a plan of attack.

71. Be open to learning new techniques and modes of making your work.

72. Be a well rounded individual, stretch yourself to learn about many subjects that are not art related. Beware of only living in the art world.

73. Keep all your pieces in good dry storage.

74. Never gossip or speak negatively about others.

75. Be happy for the success of your friends and people deserving of success.

76. Provide yourself with good studio lighting.

77. Do not stand on concrete floors for too long it will ruin your back.

78. Stay physically active, it can stabilize your feelings toward your work, and knock out some pent up energy (if you have any).

79. If you feel like you've plateaued with your work try another media then what you are used to, sculpture, installation, photography, etc. it can get the gears rolling once again on your forte.

80. Be able to name 5 historical artists who have influenced you.

81. Be able to name 5 living contemporary artists who have influenced you.

82. Sign in and sign out of your studio in order to see how much time you are really putting in at the end of the week.

83. Get a big calendar and write all of your art deadlines/show openings/events on it.

84. Have a friend or artist you respect look over your applications.

85. Project your images and slides before they go out!

86. Be the changes you wish to see.

87. Get a Rolodex to collect all of your contacts.

88. Think before you show, not every opportunity is a good one.

89. Be humble.

90. Document your work with photographs as you make it.

91. Be ready and have work before you are approached by a dealer, or curator.

92. If you have legal problems in the arts or with a gallery call Lawyers for the Arts.

93. When trying to price your work look around at other artists at your level and figure out what the average is.

94. Be wary of applying to shows that charge. Never pay for an exhibition.

95. Sign your work on the back.

96. Always get consignment forms from galleries that have your work.

97. Remember that a bad show or a bad review or bad gossip can never break your career, this is a long term game.

98. Do not cater to a style of work even if a certain type of piece is selling well.

99. Never, Never, Never Give Up.

100. Keep pushing yourself and challenging yourself into new directions. Even if that means completely falling on your face in the process. Have the courage to fail. Some of the best artists of the 20th century have changed through a number of styles exploring and transforming to their advantage.

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