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April 2012

First Step to Get My Artwork Shown in a Gallery?

Andy Cooperman talking to the audience after the program.Last Monday night, Andy Cooperman and I gave a presentation with Q & A for an audience of students and emerging artists. Co-sponsored by the Academy of Art San Francisco and the S.F. Metal Arts Guild, the event drew an the audience of close to 100.  My only disappointment was that we didn't have time to answer all the questions (including a list submitted by students).

Harriete talking to two people after the questions and answers with the audience.Therefore, I plan to answer some of those questions through ASK Harriete over the next few weeks.

Here is one question that always comes forward:
"As a young artist, what is the first step to get my artworks shown in a gallery?" - Eva

Some parts of the answer have been answered in four articles under the heading, SUBMITTING WORK to GALLERIES and RETAIL ESTABLISHMENTS written by Don Friedlich, Andy Cooperman and myself, Harriete Estel Berman.

Galleries: Are They Right for You?  by Don Friedlich

Introducing Your Work to a Gallery by Harriete Estel Berman

The Nuts & Bolts of the Gallery.Artist Relationship  by Andy Cooperman

Galleries: Issues to Consider After Your Work Has Been Accepted by Andy Cooperman

Harriete talking to audience member after the questions and answers at the Academy of Art, San Francisco, CAThe information is as solid now as it was in 2009 even though the economy and the Internet have vastly changed the dynamics.

1. There are fewer galleries and stores than there were ten years ago. Galleries and stores have closed there doors for a variety of reasons. Places that were barely surviving could no longer thrive in a bad economy.

2. The craft fair circuit is vastly different. Established shows are not as big, while a new mix of venues have opened up with a more informal flavor.

3. Membership events hosted by museums featuring artists and makers are much more common.

4. Open studios, while not new, are far more frequent.

5. The Internet is the most radical influence. Places like Etsy continue to grow, but there is a huge number of other online marketplaces without a definitive market leader for a juried, exclusive online marketplace.

6. Every gallery now has an online presence.

7. Every artist and maker now can and should have a web site and/or blog. 

Harriete and Andy Cooperman after the program hosted by the Academy of Art and the S.F. Bay Area Metal Arts Guild questions AFTER PROGRAMI intend to continue this topic on another day, but let's look at the question again from Eva. "As a young artist, what is the first step to get my artworks shown in a gallery?"

I am wondering if the question is really, "How can I get my work in a gallery so that the gallery will sell my work, and I can just focus on making and not selling."

Stay tuned to the reality bite....


Follow Your Own Path -- Be Resilient, Postive, and Passionate

I was reading an article about "Pinterest's Ben Silbermann to 'Treps: Make Something Beautiful" on Though the article lists three pieces of advice for entrepreneurs, it struck a cord in me. A resounding echo that could be solid advice for artists and makers. Each one builds on the other.

Below is my short version for finding success:

Follow Your Own Path. Close the books on technique. Invest in play and experimentation to find your own path. This is a solitary, lonely activity. Many books and studies of cognitive thinking demonstrate that it takes around 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert. Become an expert in your own work.

Be Resilient. Overnight success and instant fame are fairy tale fantasies. Invest time and commitment into following your own path. Everyone, yes, everyone is rejected and discouraged along the way. Learn from your mistakes, analyze failures and successes. I don't care whether you can only work one hour a day on your own work. One hour a day is seven hours a week. 30 hours in a month, and  360 hours a year. This is enough time to make one fabulous artwork a year.

Surround Yourself with Positive Energy. Ignore the naysayers. Ignore the devil on your shoulder. Listen with half an ear if there is any credibility to the comment, and the other side needs to be resilient and keep moving forward.

Don't listen to all those negative "it can't be done" opinions. Ignore people who say, "It's too hard,"  "Don't care so much", " It's not your job".  Ignore them. Surround yourself with positive energy even if it is one beautiful flower. Be resilient and follow your own path.   

Develop a thick skin.   Whether or not you make money from your art or craft, money is a poor measure of success. Surround Yourself with Positive Energy, Be Resilient, and Follow Your Own Path.

Be Passionate. Passionate may mean you will work harder. Passionate should definitely include working smart.  Day or night, be passionate about your goal, or the big idea, even when it is inconvenient and no one else cares. Passionate about your singular path, holding on tighter, pushing through the barriers. 

My upcoming class at Revere Academy "Prepare for Success" can only give the tools you need.  You still have to follow your own path, be resilient, surround yourself with positive energy, keep your thick skin and be passionate.


There is Still Time & Space to Prepare for Success

CompassAre you looking for direction on your  path to success?

Where do you want your work to go? What insights would you like to gain from my 30+ years of experience?  

Is your work consistent with your marketing? Are you images good enough to get you free publicity? Are your short term and long term goals an effective compass for success?

April 28-29On April 28 & 29th, I will be teaching a professional development workshop at Revere Academy as part of their Masters
in San Francisco, CA.

Prepare for Success

April 28 - 29, 2012


Map of San FranciscoInternet Option
If you can't travel to San Francisco, Revere Academy is offering on line participation at the amazing price of $79. It would be nice to see you in person, but if you need to stay at home while juggling the rest of your life, this is a way to listen in on your computer.

LCD-MonitorHBWebinar participants will be able to view the instructor and Powerpoint presentations in real time via their computer, as will as submit their own questions and images for review by the instructor, much like the students who attend the class in San Francisco. Because this is the first time Revere has offered a webinar class, the $79 is a special, one-time introductory price for the class.

Webinar participants are required to have a computer with a high-speed internet connection. To register for the webinar, call 415-391-4179.

MOO Business cards with images of artwork, jewelry and Judaica by Harriete Estel Bermand  ocardsHORIZONTAL72Appropriate for all media, this two day intensive workshop with Harriete Estel Berman will provide tons of information to super charge your professional development and gain from my 30 years of experience.

Learn how to use the power of social networking, blogs, and web sites to develop visibility and get your work noticed. Other topics will include maintaining proper records for the IRS, managing inventory, how to update your resume, and evaluate and upgrade your photos.

We can cover anything you want.  Your questions can guide the topics to be covered. 

Follow Me on Pinterest
Here are some suggestions for topics:

Professional Development resources

Your 20 second commercial

Guidelines for a critique group

Identify your business model.

Establish Your Professional Goals
   Define Objective
   Define Success
   Are your objectives and definition of success            consistent?
   How do you expect to achieve your objectives?
   Define your market.

Pricing and fabrication methods.
   Pricing Structure
   Falcher Fusager’s Pricing Formula
   Comparative Pricing
   Include your Overhead
   Cost of goods sold
   Pricing Concepts.

Inventory Record Form
   Inventory Records:  Documentation and Provenance
   Hallmark or sign your work

Digital Image Package
   Label examples
   Image description sheet
   All prints and digital files information.

Resume vs. CV
   Resume categories

Artist Statement Recommendations
   Artist Statement Tips
   Artist Statement with description
   Envelope for your package


Emails and social networking

Strategies for juried opportunities

Publicity and Marketing 100+ ideas
   Book recommendation
   Pitch letter
   Mailing List strategy
   Thank you

   Minimum order for wholesale
   Return Policy

Delivery of work in person
   Shipping – One of a kind work
   Unpacking & Display instructions
     To Display
     Packing and Shipping
     Maintenance Instructions

Profit or Loss?
     What are your options?
     Do you act like a business?
     Expense record examples.
     3 rules to test deductibility
     Time & Effort?
     Track record
     Record of sales
     Do you act like a business?  I.R.S.

COPYRIGHT & Fair use
        Website resources
        Web what you need to do and why
        Blogs - blogosphere
        Basic SEO to implement

Any Questions: Contact me directly
bermaid [at]
(area code 650) - then 571-7726

Space Available in Upcoming Workshop

Harriete Estel Berman working on her seder plate for TuBishvat
Recycle, Repurpose,
                             RETHINK Materials

 There is still space left! to take this workshop with me at the Contemporary Jewish Museum  on Earth Day.
Sunday April 22,  2:30 - 5:00p.m

$18 includes admission to the Contemporary Jewish Museum, materials, and refreshments.

Celebrate Earth Day with an art workshop focused on recycled and repurposed materials.

Pomegranate angle on my seder plate for TuBishvat by Harriete Estel BermanTake a peek at the exhibition Do Not Destroy: Trees, Art, and Jewish Thought, roll up your sleeves for ideas and inspiration with artist Harriete Estel Berman, then gather your own creativity to make samples and hands-on projects that bring post-consumer materials and eco-awareness into your classroom. Co-presented by SCRAP.

TuBishvat Seder Plate by Harriete Estel Berman is on display at the Contemporary Jewish Museum eite SAe
  TuBishvat Seder plate  by Harriete Estel
  Berman titled Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,
  Assiyah, Yetzirah, Beriyah,   
© 2001
  Post consumer recycled tin casn,
  Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

The workshop will be inspired by my use of post consumer, recycled materials for over 24 years to construct artwork ranging from jewelry and teacups to entire lawns and sculpture with social commentary.  Judaica focuses on the concept of Tikkun Olam (repair of the world) with the use of recycled tin cans.

This workshop is designed for teachers to gather ideas.

If you want to celebrate Earth Day with me on Saturday be prepared to work outside. I organize an Earth Day Clean Up for my neighborhood every year. Weeding for 8 hours is on the agenda, but help for only a few hours is completely fine. This is in San Mateo. Come help!

Fawn in the back yard
Fawn in my backyard.

California Quail in the front yard
Quail on my front steps.

Roots at Jekyll Island in Georgia2010
Amazing photo taken on Jekyll Island, Georgia.

Can Photos of Your Work Compete When Surrounded by Visual Pollution?

This photo of is a great metaphor. The wires pull in all directions. It is an example of our "visually polluted climate dense with optical smog" (quoted from Suzanne Ramljak's lecture in Photography in Flux- Editor's Persepctive.) We look at, look through, look around, and/or simultaneously overlook these kinds of scenes every day.

Can the photos of your art or craft work compete with the exceptional images  on consumer packaging, in advertising, magazines, signs, billboards, television and online?

What makes a good photo for our art or craft?
In the past the graduated gray background was the standard. Now some makers prefer complete white or solid black backgrounds for the photos of their work. The influence of the highly charged images in advertising includes colored backgrounds.

Black and White Identity Bead Necklace by Harriete Estel Berman Black and White Identity Bead Necklace by Harriete Estel Berman & W Black and White Identity Bead Necklace by Harriete Estel BermanWhat is a fabulous photo? Is there a new standard? We all want one direction, one recommendation, one correct answer.


REALITY CHECK: There is no ONE answer for everyone. No straight path to exceptional.


A photo of your work needs to fit the art/craft and the situation.

The style of the photo for art and craft needs to fit BOTH the style of the work and the context. One photo is unlikely to fit all situations. If your photo goes beyond the standard graduated background using white, black, colored, a stylized background, or a model, the context for the photographic image becomes even more important.


The key issue:
Does the photo convey the message intended or is the intended message distracted, confusing, or lost?

Other factors to make your photo amazing . . .

Is the composition dynamic?

Is the image of the work memorable?

Does the image describe work accurately?

What other criteria would you add?

Send me one photo of your art or craft.
Describe the audience for your work and the context for using the photo. Let's talk.

P.S. All images above by Philip Cohen, Oakland CA.

PPS. This discussion also assumes that the focus is perfect and exposure is 100% correct.
Philip Cohen photographing my installation Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin. Photo Credit: Aryn Shelander

Email Marketing Seppuku

Seppuku is a form of Japanese ritual suicide performed in front of spectators. I don't want to go into the gory details, but it is self induced and fatal. It is a apt metaphor for this recent email marketing attempt shown below. 
As my son would say, "fail."  The email was obviously sent out to a large number of people. There was no text in the email, no helpful subject line, no hello in the body, no "how do you do". My name was also spelled wrong. 

It was as rude as it gets. Even worse this email with no explanation had files and links attached:

  •  5 html links
  • 12 htm links
  •  4 JPGs  (without titles)
  •  7 MB of PDFs

What ever happened to a personal note? An introduction?

Seppuku-J._M._W._SilverIf it is spam, good riddance.  If it is someone's attempt to mass market, it is an example of social media marketing suicide.


I won't open it and would strongly recommend anyone else to not open such an email.


I wrote to the person asking why he sent such an "oblique" email message. Above was his reply with spelling errors and no further explanation.

Needless to say, the impression did not improve.


Commission Question and Publishing on Facebook

Debra Montgomeray copper reliefodgeHi Harriete:
I just delivered a large commission for a customer - my first commission through an art consulting firm. It was for a celebrity / well known TV personality. My portfolio is obviously my means of representing my work. However, I was told I could not publish on my website or Facebook, etc., any photos of this piece until they publish it first, either on the designer's website or they are working on getting the home featured in Architectural Digest or other magazine such as that. However this could take up to 6 months.

Debra Montgomery Copper commissionWhat are your thoughts on artists rights to publishing images of their own work, etc?

I realize that having my work possibly in a magazine is worthy as well, but if that doesn't happen, I have missed out on 6 months of potential exposure and possible similar work.

I have never been asked this before so I don't want to make a big deal out of it, but what do you think?

Is there anything I can add to my commission contracts in the future to protect myself on this issue in the future? I have attached some photos of a large piece I did a couple years ago that is similar in nature.
Debra Montgomery

Did you have a commission contract? These issues (if they are important to you or important to the client) should have been specified in the contract.  Contracts help clarify expectations.  Clear communication with the client is most important.

They are asking you to hold off, which may lose some opportunities during this period, but they are offering some significant potential as well.  So it sounds more like a business decision.  If you really think that they can get your work in a major magazine (like Architectural Digest), I'd give them time. Your work will still be fresh to new eyes in 6 months.

Legally, if this request is not specified in the contract, you can do as you please.  However, if you publish now despite their requests, you might gain a reputation of being uncooperative.  On the other hand, if they unreasonably string you along for months and months (beyond six months), they would lose credibility and I would get back on track with your images on Facebook and elsewhere. 

In the meantime, can you make another piece to promote or blog about other aspects of this commission? Are you allowed to talk about working with this client? Or can you discuss ideas and the experience that you had with this type of high profile commission (not naming names of course.) Perhaps you would like to write about doing a celebrity commission and the pros and cons. Lots of people would love to hear from your experience. (I could publish some of this on ASK Harriete so other people can learn from your experience.)

In preparing for future commissions, it is close to impossible to anticipate everything.  Each commission will be different when we are working with new clients, new commissions and different circumstances. Each time we hope to learn a little more from the experience.

Even in the one of a kind exhibition world, the work may be finished for months, even 6 months in advance, before the exhibition opens and promotion for the show begins. Usually, the artists can talk about the work, but many times it is worth waiting.  When the exhibition opens, there is much more publicity coming from many different sources all creating momentum for the work in the exhibition, the exhibiting artists and attendance in the exhibition.

I think the speed of our daily lives and the Internet makes us think that promotion has to happen the second our work is finished. This is a misleading concept. You will have months to promote the work. If the work is really good, it may become your signature work included in books, magazines and blogs for years to come.

If any one else has an opinion about this topic, please leave a comment.


PS  Thanks for sharing.
DMCOPPERmasonic lodge4
"Weeping Virgin"  by Debra Montgomery 2009       3' x 4'  

Do you BELIEVE the arts have a voice in education?

ImaginecreativityI just heard the author Jonah Lehrer on n.p.r. radio last night. I hung onto every word. His book titled Imagine: How Creativity Works speaks to the messages in my installation Pick UP Your Pencils Begin





Library Pencil from Harriete Estel Berman

The arts and crafts do have a value in education beyond just an art lesson, but the arts and hands on learning can not be accessed with a number. There is no standardized test for teaching creativity and problem solving  - the very skills that Imagine: How Creativity Works is addressing. 

We live in a time where every class and subject is accessed for its contribution to the curriculum. The arts teach:

  • creativity,
  • problem solving,
  • open ended thinking,
  • skills of observation,
  • integration  of left and right brain thinking,
  • visualizing three dimensional construction,
  • and so much more.

Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin

What is the impact of standardized testing
on school curriculum when everything must be tested and measured? What happens when the arts are squeezed into a one hour slot, rushed, over scheduled, when there is no time to breath or think? Think and advocate for the arts and creativity in education.

2 stanine installation of Pick Up Your Pencils, BeginMy objective with my installation Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin is to reach out to a larger audience about the value of the arts in education.



Do you know of an exhibition location in your school, university gallery, or local museum?

  • Dimensions of installation 15' height x 28' width.
  • Installation ships in five boxes.
  • Each box is small enough to be carried by one person. 
  • Boxes weight approximately 32-35 lbs each.
  • Installation takes fours hours.
  • Hydraulic lift or scissors lift is necessary for installation.
  • Installation is possible with 3-4 people.
  • Exhibition rental $300. plus shipping and insurance.

Contact me ;
            650 345-4078
            bermaid [at]

Professional Development Information - Live, Online, and In Person

Yikes"Pencil in" professional development to boost your career with free information.  Two opportunites, the first, an ONLINE interview, and the second, a in-person discussion in SAN FRANCISCO.

Andy Cooperman, Harriete Estel Berman, and Brigitte Martin in conversation on Thursday, April 5th, at 3PM Pacific Time/ 6PM Eastern, on ‘Metalsmith BenchTalk on BlogTalkRadio’ with Jay Whaley.
Audience members can listen to the archived podcast.

San Francisco
PROFESSIONAL PRACTICES: Questions and Commentary with Andy Cooperman and Harriete Estel Berman  
Monday, April 16, 2011 7-8:30p.m.
(More information below.)

The details:

BlogtalkradioONLINE podcast with Cooperman,  Brigitte Martin and me, Harriete Estel Berman as we open the pandora's box of shipping problems and solutions. Originally broadcast on Thursday, April 5th we  discuss the upcoming shipping topic for the Professional Development Seminar that will be held during the SNAG Conference.



SNAGlogoLast year's SNAG Professional Development Seminar program can be viewed online at any time. The original PPT slides with audio as presented at the 2010 Conference have had over 22,000 views! The program from 2010 has had nearly 10,000 views.! Find the podcasts and handouts with presentations on the SNAG web site or my web site.


Professional Practices in San Francisco
GuestArtistSeries2012v2.72Professional Practices with Andy Cooperman and Harriete Estel Berman will include a short presentation by Andy and myself. Then we will jump right into questions and answers by asking each other a couple of tough questions about the "road to success".

This event occurred on Monday April 16th at Academy of Art University
sponsored by the Academy of Art and the San Francisco Metal Arts Guild. 

This program was videotaped and will be available as a video presentation check back, and I will let you know how to find it.


Avoid the Red Flag of IRS Form 1099

RedflagIn struggling through my taxes (along with everyone else this time of year), the number crunching reminded me of the 1099 "red flag" that probably triggered my tax audit in 2010.  Don't let this happen to you!
In past years, I just included my 1099 revenue within my "revenue totals."

IrsBELOWsignhbNear the end of my audit in 2010, which I survived thanks to appropriately accurate records and having every receipt requested by the auditor, the auditor revealed her hand. After an hour and half of  "inquiries", the I.R.S. iron lady finally asks, "Where is this specific 1099 revenue reported?"  She knew the exact amount of money and person who sent the 1099.

Thank goodness the 1099 was included in my reported revenue, I could show her in my records in about 2 minutes. However, this 1099 wasn't broken out separately on the tax return. Because I didn't list the 1099 revenue as a separate line item, the I.R.S. thought I was hiding income.

Back to last night....

This year all 1099 income is going on the 1099 line in the tax return.

But then, don't forget to subtract that 1099 income reported on a 1099 line from your Schedule C total revenue. You don't want to count it twice.


Information on business accounting and taxes for artists and makers from ASK Harreite  can be found with this link or in the left column under Business Information and Tax Accounting

Skill Set Needed to Run, Run, Run a KICKstarter Project?

After trying a KICKSTARTER project ....I've realized that there are specific skills needed to run a successful KICKstarter.

I found an article that I should have read before starting. It is a great guide for anyone considering their own KICKstarter.  

"7 Things to Consider BEFORE you Launch your Kickstarter Project" by Nathaniel Hansen.

Hansen says: "If you’re looking for kickstarter advice, ... this article should answer any questions you might have about how to run an effective campaign." 

Hansen says he has helped projects "...featured all over the web, from Wired to CNN, spurred along by social media engines like Twitter and Facebook and an army of fans. Two projects are in the Kickstarter top 20, one is in the top 5 (most donated), and one recently earned an 2010 Kickstarter award."

Pencil Symposium students discussing standardized testingHe tells it like it is and I believe he is right. This article reveals that a great story is paramount, along with advocates & evangelists who will promote your project with an unceasing, unrelenting regularity to everyone you know with every possible vehicle asking for help through Facebook, Twitter, press releases, blogs, magazines, television, i.e. everything.

Testing Pencil from Autistic student taking a standardized testA KICKstarter campaign requires a HUGE INVESTMENT OF TIME, and a lot of great writing with aggressive marketing.

It helps a lot if your project is aligned with interests of the KICKstarter audience
(mostly young adults) who spend a lot of time online (such as gamers or zine fans). 

The audience for your KICKstarter project should be comfortable with social media. Arriving on KICKstarter for the first time in shock  -- like my father, is not helpful.

Can you blog and write about your project constantly?

Your will need either viral marketing to propel your project or a huge social network.

Does your KICKstarter project offer a reward with a retail value equal to the contribution to KICKstarter?

I jumped into KICKstarter with a noble goal and naive optimism.  Noble goals alone don't go very far on KICKstarter.