Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Disorderly Order: Orderly Disorder

In taking  an "Organize Your  Art Business" online -12 week class from Alyson Stanfield, ArtBizCoach, I've had an opportunity to assess and alter the way I support my chief activities, my painting, sculpting,  and managing business,  my art-life, and my partner's, his sumi-e and recovery.

Sculpture, and Paintings from the  2013 Year
of Months' Series by Marianne Hornbuckle
Thanks to the computer and online tools that didn't exist when we began this journey together back in
the early 80's, the means of organizing the business side is both easier, and more complex, with the artist assuming more and more of it.
At the same time, the gallery world has changed.  In 20 years of gallery representation, peripheral duties consisted of shipping and tracking inventory, maintaining good relationships and meeting deadlines.  For me, the big shift began in the mid-90's when I first touched a computer, and decided to learn as much as I could about how to use the programs related to marketing.
 I found I enjoyed the challenge (in hindsight, of course) and recognized that we would be marketing ourselves at mid-late career (or late-mid career).  As artists we had not followed the proscribed path to artistic security, i.e. don't divorce, move, change genres, explore other approaches to image-making; get an art degree, establish yourself, teach workshops, write how-to books, stick with popular genres, find salable imagery and repeat it. We found ourselves in the final cycle of most of our galleries - galleries change directions, go out of business, return to their original city, and heirs sell - and chose to go the self-representation route. We live north of Santa Fe, so there is plenty of opportunity here.

Sumi-e with 5'scroll of Canyon de Chelly
by William Preston
Self-representation as artists has lead to more freedom, more control, and much satisfaction.  As the "manager", I have embraced the great possibilities of growing technology, social media, advice from experts. This course has been a wonderful opportunity to learn that I am more ahead than behind, that experience, wisdom and perspective do matter, and that I can learn to create more order (and serenity) in my art-life even at this late date!
William has been making art for 50+ years; I, for 35+, both of us full-time. We have seen remarkable changes, as you can imagine. And, I guess I won't stop blogging after all -my last post was late June, I'm embarrassed!  But I did keep the newsletters going.

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