Tag Archives: Visual Arts

The Graffiti Artist and Street Vendor

The Graffiti Artist Street VendorThe streets of New York City are littered with street artists. Those who succeed at this trade often combine unique artistic ability with marketing efforts. Beyond taking time to create numerous works, they have to sell them too. This is not always easy. In fact, it is downright hard, even for a world famous artist.

Banksy is a world famous graffiti artist.

While Banksy is not his birth name, art featuring this “tag” can be found decorating cities throughout the world. Beyond this talent, Banksy uses film and traditional canvas paintings to advance his position as a political activist. His satirical style, stenciling technique, and creativity lead to priceless masterpieces.

Of course “priceless” is an exaggeration. His work sells quite well, considering those who purchase it usually have to assume responsibility for cleaning it off the walls of city property. Yet the sliding scale of his work is drastic. A piece that sells for $249,000 in one venue may only sell for $60 in another.

Banksy’s Street Vendor Experiment

This was the case when Banksy arranged for an anonymous sidewalk art booth be erected in New York City’s Central Park. A piece titled, “Love is in the Air,” was on the table, listed at $60. This summer, a limited edition of the same work sold in auction for a quarter of a million dollars.

Banksy hired a man to sit in front of the booth and sell art work. He recorded the day’s happenings and created a two and a half minute Youtube video. Throughout the course of the day, only $420 was earned.

Regardless of sitting in front of a sign that read, “Spray Art,” (which was painted in Banksy’s signature stencil print) no one knew the vendor was selling original artwork signed by Banksy.

The Value of Art

What can be gained from the experiment in Central Park? Nothing, according to Banksy. He does not admit any motivation behind this stint. Instead, he describes the act with the following statement:

“I know street art can feel increasingly like the marketing wing of an art career, so I wanted to make some art without the price tag attached. There’s no gallery show or book or film. It’s pointless. Which hopefully means something.”

But this display was not pointless. It says something about the value of art. More so, it reinforces the saying, “you better shop around.” A few lucky people got one heck of a deal that day.

Image found on Opticalspy.com http://www.opticalspy.com/high-speed-photography-gallery.html.

Read more Segmation blog posts about Art and Retirement:

More Marketing Tips for Artists

The World’s Favorite Color

Marketing Art in the Digital World: An Introduction

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Thomas Kinkade: The “Painter of Light”

Thomas Kinkade, popularly known as the “Painter of Light,” passed away in his sleep at the age of 54. His inspirational work touched the lives of many and will continue to live on.

Blessed with an ability to capture a moment in time, Kinkade preserved some of the most beautiful scenes of life in his paintings. Those who admire his work know that each of his paintings offer an escape from reality.

His idyllic settings, infused with radiant light, include nature scenes; gardens and seascapes, as well as nostalgic homes, cottages and cityscapes. He painted a classic America; one that many dream of and long for. Kinkade’s paintings depict the world that many people wanted to be part of – picture perfect in every way.

The painter once said, “My mission as an artist is to capture those special moments in life adorned with beauty and light. I work to create images that project a serene simplicity that can be appreciated and enjoyed by everyone.” He painted for the people, not for the critics.

Even those unfamiliar with Kinkade’s paintings can see that his work tells a story. The champions and collectors of Kinkade’s endeavors know there is more than meets the eye in each painting. For instance, the “Painter of Light” always included his wife’s initials. He also inserted his very first hero, Norman Rockwell, into many of his pieces. If you spot the boy working his paper rout on a bicycle in “Hometown Morning”, then you have discovered Kinkade himself, preserved in the moment he met his beloved wife Nanette.

Much of the inspiration for his art was fueled by his faith. Despite a less than ideal childhood, Kinkade always clung to his art. By the age of sixteen, he had become an accomplished painter. He studied at the University of California at Berkley and then worked as an artist for films.

Many people credit his time spent working on films as the experience that enabled him to grasp the effects of light, which he transferred to his painting. All of his paintings include a warm, radiant and comforting light that calls one back to a simpler time.

Thomas Kinkade’s life mission, to make art available to everyone that they might enjoy beauty, is still a reality. Though the talented and generous man is gone, he lives on through his paintings. Millions of people will still stand looking at his paintings, caught for a moment in the comforting and inspiring worlds he created.

http://www.artbythomaskinkade.com/thomas_kinkade.html

http://www.thomaskinkade.com/magi/servlet/com.asucon.ebiz.biography.web.tk.BiographyServlet

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More Marketing Tips for Artists

Having trouble selling your artwork in an economically unstable time? Here are some marketing ideas to consider that will help you maintain a steady income and let your art support you.

TIP # 1 – Put Your Art on Sale

If you have had difficulty selling a few pieces, offering them at a sale price might be the perfect strategy to try. It is better to sell a piece at a discounted price than to not sell it at all. Just be sure to get the word out about your sale. The more people who know about it, the better it will be for you.

TIP # 2 – Remember that Your Art is Your Business Card

Potential buyers have to see your work before they consider purchasing it. The more they se your art, the more familiar you become. As an artist you don’t always have to have a public presence, so let your artwork maintain that presence for you.

  • Renting your work out to corporations or small businesses (Think medical offices or bookstores), lets your work advertise for itself. It also means you have a steady rental fee income
  • Make sure you pick an appropriate place to showcase your work. If a restaurant wants to rent you art just make sure that customers will see it. Also, make sure that the restaurant has your contact information for individuals interested in your art.

Portuguese ceramics painterTIP # 3 – Installment Plans

If you don’t already using installment plans, implementing the options for you buyers is an easy way to reduce the stress your buyers feel if they are working off a budget. Installment plans ensure a monthly income, but they can also help a buyer purchase a piece without having to pay one lump sum. Just make sure that you and the buyer are in agreement on the price to be paid per month and when the payment needs to be made each month. A written contract is the best way to ensure that you receive your payments.

TIP # 4 – Make a Trade

Many people still operate by trading goods and services. As an artist, you may encounter buyers that benefit you better by providing a service rather than handing you a check. For example, if your buyer is a web designer, consider trading your piece of art in exchange for the individual designing a website for you. Just make sure that you are trading your artwork for something of equal or greater value.

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Selling Your Art in a Strained Economy

As we all know, experts are predicting a slow recovery for the U.S.economy. Consumers are maintaining cautions and often frugal spending habits.

When it comes to art, buyers want to know that they are making a responsible investment. More than ever they are considering a variety of purchasing options and you can assume that most buyers are now working off a budget.

If you are an artist struggling to find buyers for your art amid these unsure economic times, the following marketing tips may just give you the encouragement you need to preserver.

TIP # 1 – Keep Making Art!

The most important thing for an artist to remember is that it is essential to keep creating. Even if you work another job to make ends meet, make time for your art. By stepping away from your art you risk loosing the creative progression that might propel you towards greater success.

TIP # 2 – Don’t Wait For Others to Realize Your Potential

Most artists do not become famous during their lifetime, but many learn how to support themselves by selling their art. There are several things you can do to make your name familiar and respected.

1). Carry yourself as a serious artist by…

    • Becoming a member of art organizations.
    • Getting your art work reviewed by a magazine or newspaper.
    • Have a gallery or art dealer publish a catalogue of your work.
    • Donating a piece to a charity auction.

These things become physical proof that you are dedicated to the work you do and show buyers just how serious you are.

2). Learn to convey to potential buyers why your art has value.

    • Document the process of your work, by taking photographs of different stages of the process.
    • When talking to a potential buyer, share what inspired you and what the piece means to you, or how the piece changed throughout the creating process.
    • Always have your contact information easy to access.

By taking these simple steps you are helping a potential buyer understand the significance of your art and you are providing them with information that allows them to feel intelligent about their purchase. In the long run, you have provided interesting facts that just might pop up in future conversations. Suddenly, you will have gained a buyer and advertiser all in one.

Don’t let the economy scare you away from putting yourself and your art out there. There are easy steps that can bring you close to achieving your goals. Keep an eye out for more easy marketing tips that will help you start to make a living off your creativity.

Image retrieved from http://ceramicartsdaily.org/pottery-making-illustrated/

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Tips for Improving your Landscape Drawing Skills

Whatever your level of skill, these tips will help guide you in developing habits that will grow your abilities to draw and paint landscape scenery with just a couple of weeks of consistent practice.

Implement these for 15 or 20 minutes a day and the improvements will be greatly evident.

Tip No. 1 – Quick Impression Drawings

Get out of the house! Go to the zoo, the museum, a park, an apartment building complex, somewhere other than where you typically draw. Focus on drawing moving things. Drawing objects in motion will help you develop the flow. Every experienced artist can tell you about the flow. Your speed of drawing will increase by practicing these quick impression sketches, but will also help you to develop your perspective drawing skills and build up a repertoire of animals, objects, and people that you can readily access from your mental toolbox.

Tip No. 2 – Blind Drawing

This method is mentioned in all major drawing instruction books and often goes unnoticed or ignored by most artists. This method (also known as “blind contour drawing”) requires that the artist follow its subject with his/her eyes and not focus on the paper they are drawing on. This technique is a great way to keep your drawings vivid and has been dubbed the ultimate anti-stiffening tool in a professional artists bag of tricks.

Tip No. 3 Forget the eraser!

“Do not fear mistakes. There are none.” – Miles Davis

Every line you draw is a representation of your own handwrite. This is the unique signature of your artistic expression. Do you really want to erase that? Practice making every line work for you.

Tip No. 4 Take measurements!

One of the largest sources of complaints of growing artists is that their proportions are off. You don’t need to get fancy here. Use your pencil or other small stick, extend your arm as far as it will go (in order to ensure accuracy for each measurement), and note with your eyes how much of the length of your stick that particular object runs. Drawing roofs, chimneys, beaches, trees, animals, and many other things become much easier to make proportionate when you implement this small technique.

Tip No. 5 – Draw negative space

When you see a bale of hay, a fishing net, or long strands of hair, are you trying to individually draw the lines in the net, the fence, or the hair? Try implementing this technique and draw the negative space and see what objects it works best on. It’s a nifty trick that, when mastered, provides a faster, easier, and better looking drawing of more intricate items.

So grab your pad and pencil and practice, practice, practice! After all, this is the one surefire way to improve!

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An Overview of Outsider Art www.segmation.com

Pencils and Colored Pencil drawing by Adolf Wolfli

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It is well-documented that art-making can have a healing effect, especially for those suffering from emotional or physical pain. Making art allows people of all ages and all levels of ability to express themselves visually, in a way that transcends the limitations of verbal language. For many, it is a therapeutic process, even if they are not consciously aware of it.

Art-making can be a useful creative outlet for those afflicted with schizophrenias or other psychoses. In 1948, French artist Jean Dubuffet coined the term “art brut” (called “Outsider Art” in English) to refer to artworks created by men and women who created work “outsides” of the known art world. He was especially interested in the work of art created by people in mental institution, although the term “outsider art” refers to anyone who creates art outside of mainstream conventions, and not just those with mental illnesses.

Outsider artists have no background in art; they are not schooled in the lessons of art history. They do not seek fortune, fame, or acclaim for their art. Therefore, Dubuffet says, the work of outsider artists is more pure and creative than those who have an education in art, because their work comes from their “authentic creative impulses”. The work of outsider artists is truly created as art for art’s sake – although those creating it may not even know that they are creating “art” at all.

Famous Outsider Artists include Adolf Wolfli, Augustin Lesage, and Henry Darger (although it is worth noting that they never sought fame and instead, became well-known due to public interest in their work). They and their fellow outsider artists created a range of materials, from pens to yarns to seashells – in effect, turning anything they could find into art. The most notable characteristic that is shared amongst many works of Outsider Art is the impressive amount of detail that often goes into the pieces, as you can see in Adolf Wolfli’s drawing above.

The Collection de l’Art Brut in Lausanne, Switzerland houses Jean Dubuffet’s collection of thousands of works of Outsider Art. For those interested in leaning more about Art Brut and seeing an impressive collection in person, the Collection de l’Art Brut is well worth a visit.

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How to Write an Artist’s Statement

A sketchbook is a good place to brainstorm ideas for your artist statement.

Even though artists are more comfortable expressing themselves visually, it’s important to be able to articulate your artwork verbally as well. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a well-constructed artist’s statement may hold the key to your professional future.

When you seek gallery representation, an artist’s statement (also called an artist statement) is an important piece of your artist’s packet. It basically informs the gallery owners and curators of what your artwork is all about. Gallery owners want to see that you can speak and write clearly and intelligently about your art. They also want insight into your process and your motivations.

Some artists like to think that their work “stands for itself”, but since art is so open to interpretation, you need to be able to explain your art in words. People who look at your art need to know your intention, and a well-written artist’s statement will provide them with that insight.

If you feel like you’re not a natural writer, don’t pressure yourself. Start off with a blank piece of paper and just brainstorm. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I trying to say with my art?
  • Why do I work in this style?
  • What is the meaning behind the imagery I have chosen?
  • What do I want others to think or feel when they look at my art?
  • What informs my art – what inspires me?

You can also write about the materials you use, the process(es) that you use, and why they both are relevant to what you are trying to express.

When you write your first draft, just go with the flow. Write freely and don’t even pause to think about grammar or spelling. Just write. You can polish it later.

After you’ve written your first draft, set it aside and come back to it later with fresh eyes. It may take several revisions before it really sings, and that’s normal – artist statements are rarely “finished” after the first go. Your goal as you rewrite is to trim and tidy your artist statement until it is concise, well-worded, and revealing. At this point you should also ask your friends or family for their feedback, as they may notice things you could include or take out.

The length of your artist statement can typically be anywhere from 100-1000 words, as long as it says what it needs to say. To be sure, you can often double-check a gallery’s submission requirements on their website. If no guidelines are given, the main thing is to make sure the entire artist statement fits neatly on one page, double-spaced.

Your finished artist statement is now ready to be part of your artist packet that you send off to prospective galleries. In a future article we’ll take a closer look at the other things you’ll need to include in your artist packet.

Leonardo and Picasso: Artists of Their Times www.segmation.com

Leonardo da Vinci and Pablo Picasso are two of the most famous painters in history (if not the most famous); one a Renaissance genius renowned for his skillful realism, the other a modern legend and co-founder of Cubism.

Did you know that even though Leonardo’s Mona Lisa is the most famous painting in the world, he only produced less than 30 paintings in total? Even then, many of them were left unfinished. Picasso, on the other hand, created nearly 2000 paintings – plus sculptures, drawings, ceramics, and hand-pulled prints that combine to over 50,000 works of art! (To be fair though, Leonardo also left behind a substantial number of drawings, sketches, and pages full of notes.)

One reason for this vast difference in the number of paintings produced is that both artists were products of the times in which they lived. When Leonardo was alive, artists didn’t have the luxury of creating art for art’s sake. Instead they were commissioned by the church, guilds and wealthy patrons to create paintings and sculptures that were expected to depict certain themes. For this reason, Leonardo needed to find work where he could. During times of war, he had to work as a military architect and engineer, designing methods of defense. Making art took a backseat to the work necessary for survival.

By the time Picasso was born 362 years after Leonardo’s death, the world was a different place. Artists had more freedom than ever to paint what they wanted. Self-expression in art was more widely accepted and expected. Instead of being commission-based, most artwork was sold in galleries to private collectors, as money flowed more abundantly through society than it did during the Renaissance. By the 20th century, successful artists such as Picasso were able to sustain themselves from the sale of their artworks alone, and did not need to seek alternate forms of employment to make ends meet.

These factors may contribute to the reason why Picasso created so many more artworks than Leonardo, even though Leonardo is the creator of the most famous painting in the world. Who knows what more Leonardo could have accomplished if he’d been alive in modern times?

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