Success for Artists and Crafts People Feed

LinkedIN as a networking tool. Boost your network and networking skills at the speed of light.

I have been on LinkedIn for quite awhile, but haven't used it as effectively as possible.  Then I found these great YouTUBE videos which really explain all the "bells and whistles" and buttons to use LinkedIn much more effectively.

I really love video tutorials.  Video is a great way for visual people to learn information quickly.  very close view of wall piece by Harriete Estel Berman titled Fulsome Game

Do you know what LinkedIn is? Listen to this introductory video.

Your next step is creating a LinkedIn profile with this video to speed up your first task.

Wall piece by Harriete Estel Berman titled Fulsome Game Discover People You May Know on Linkedin with this easy and fast paced tutorial on finding your friends.  This gets you up and running on LinkedIn in 46 seconds.

Watch this quick video about LinkedIn to help you find groups and manage the groups you belong to on your profile. In 2 minutes and 23 seconds you are ready to boost your networking skills at the speed of light. 

Fulsome_fullview72
The Fulsome Game © 2001
Vintage Steel Dollhouses, recycled tin
cans, collage, sterling silver, powdered
coated handcuffs, dice
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Find more information on my web site.
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

GROUPS ON LinkedIn
One downside is that LinkedIn has so many groups, it is quite overwhelming. There is no time in my day for looking at 1,107 options for groups related to the ARTS. (LinkedIn really needs to enable more selective categories for groups.) My solution for this problem is to look at what groups my new connections belong to....it is a simple "filter" that works for me.

That's all for now, but I hope you look for me on Linkedin and connect with me.

Harriete


SUPER SIZE Your VISIBILITY with TAGS

A lot of people are not tagging photos of their art work and craft on social networks very effectively. Sometimes a couple of tags, perhaps three or four, maybe none at all.  Are you kidding? Tags drive Search Engines more than ever.  If you don't have tags on the images of your art and craft, how is someone going to find you or your work? If there are only three or four tags and they don't include your name you are completely missing the idea. SUPER SIZE YOUR VISIBILITY with appropriate tags.

I have a suggestion for speed, efficiency and getting the job done effectively.  I have a word document in my computer that holds all my 2.0 social networking tags for my photos. I constantly add or improve these tags, of course, but any time I post images, I can quickly open the document, copy my tags for that category and paste the tags for my photos. Then, if appropriate, I can add a few more relevant tags, such as color or theme, specific for that piece or item.

Here is an example Flower pin and the tags:
HBerman_orangeBlue50Year_flowerW HBerman_orangeBlue50YearBACK_flowerW 

recycled tin cans, jewelry from recycled materials, harriete estel berman, harriete, estel, eco, harriet, harriette, earth day, april flowers,  flower, green, recycle, upcycle, eco, trashinista, earth day, brooch, pin,san mateo, san Francisco bay area, jewelry from tin cans, colorful, advertising, packaging, consumer society,  Blue, Orange, anti aging, watch,fifty,

Look at the tags closely. There are lots of perspectives to enable someone to find this image of a flower pin by Harriete Estel Berman.

First, since my name is commonly misspelled, I include misspellings in my tags. People often seem to remember my name as Estel. So I put Estel in my tags.

SanMateo I put the same words in my tags that I (or other people) use to describe my work, such as recycle, upcycle, trashinista.

Note that I include both San Mateo and San Francisco, two ways to describe where I live.

For this flower pin I would add the following tags specific to this flower pin: blue, orange, anti-aging, watch,

In situations where the number of tags is limited, mix up the combination of words. For example, on Etsy. tags are limited to 14, so I put my name in the tags in different ways on different pieces.  All I need to do is get people to my shop. Flickr allows up to about 75 tags. I don't know if there are limits to the number of tags on Crafthaus. Just prioritize the order and go for it as fast as you can.

I know that there are lots of online discussions about the best key words, but I don't think that is as important as putting up a variety of tags. Use your own common sense. How do you describe your work? How do other people describe your work? OK. You got it. Those are your tags!

Now open your photo albums on each social network site and tag away as fast as you can. Make your images into superheros traveling at the speed of light around the world, and working 24 hours a day.

HBerman_MemoriesMakingTeal_flowerW HBerman_MemoriesMakingTealBACK_flowerW
Memories in the Making Flower Brooch by Harriete Estel Berman.
Purchase this sentimental flower on my Etsy shop by CLICKING HERE.

Anticipating History - MAKERS: A History of American Studio Craft

41OiZd-LhGL._SL160_ Makers: A History of American Studio Craft is the only comprehensive survey of modern craft in the United States and the release date is July 13, 2010!

This book follows the development of studio craft media including  fiber, clay, glass, wood, and metal from its roots in nineteenth-century reform movements to the rich diversity of expression at the end of the twentieth century.

Culminating after over five years of research and dedication from the authors Bruce Metcalf and Janet Koplos, this book provides a college level history of 20th century craft. But there is no need to go to college for this class, as the book gives in-depth perspective to inform your studio work. 

Many times craft is considered just a description of materials or techniques when in fact, craft can contain social and political commentary. As we enter the 21st century, the act of making or crafting by hand is in itself a social commentary.  When "makers" deliberately decide to make work in a time of mass produced consumer goods, craft is not just a media, not just a verb, but a symbolic action. 

Increasing Quantity Diminishing Value a sculpture as commentary about our consumer society by Harriete Estel Berman
  Increasing Quantity, Diminishing Value
 Recycled tin cans, copper base
 Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
© 2001
 Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Due to the depth and range across so much media, this book is destined to be the consummate resource about the history of 20th century craft work.  By understanding the roots of craft media in the 20th century, both the makers and their audiences can more fully appreciate and recognize the value of craft in the 21st century.   

I've already pre-ordered a copy.  Personally, every time a UPS truck drives up near my house, my heart jumps out of my chest.  Is my book here yet?  I am so excited!  But then I go back to work  . . . anticipation is  . . . well, more inspiration until my book arrives. Can't wait!  And I have a secret to be revealed as well!!!! 

Increasing Quantity Diminishing Value a sculpture as commentary about our consumer society by Harriete Estel Berman
 Increasing Quantity, Diminishing Value
 Recycled tin cans, copper base
 Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
© 2001
 Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Harriete

So far the best price I've found for Makers: A History of American Studio Craft is on Amazon.com.  (Even better than the price I paid, Aw Shucks!!!)  In the interest of full disclosure, clicking on the link and purchasing a book will provide this blog with a few cents as an affiliate link.

Grass closeup view of Increasing Quantity Diminishing Value a sculpture about the environmental impact of lawns.
Increasing Quantity, Diminishing Value is about the environmental impact of lawns on our environment. Constructed entirely from post consumer tin cans, this series of grass sculptures highlight the grass lawn as an ultimate consumer icon of American culture. Watch the video featuring the construction and motivation behind the Grass/gras sculpture on my web site or YOUtube. 


My morning coffee with the I.R.S. MAN - Tips to prevent or smooth your audit with the I.R.S.

Coming up is my "anniversary" of my I.R.S. audit. Three summers ago, I was "invited" for a morning visit with the I.R.S. What a petrifying experience!  Coffee was politely offered but my adrenaline was pumping already.  Everything turned out fine...but perhaps you may gain some insight from how I survived economically unscathed and on excellent terms with the I.R.S.

Here are 3 basic tips based on my experience that you should implement immediately (if you are not doing this already).

Consuming Conversation R a stack of teacups or coffee cups constructed by Harriete Estel Berman from recycled tin cans
 Consuming Conversation © 2001-2004
A series of 200 cups.
Recycled tin cans, brass, s.silver,
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
View the entire series on my web site.
 

1) Keep your business banking accounts COMPLETELY SEPARATE from your personal banking. I mean completely separate! For years I had my business bank accounts at a different bank than my personal bank accounts.  I often grumbled and chafed at this extra deposit and bookkeeping effort with two different banks.

I'll never complain again. It paid off BIG when the I.R.S. MAN casually asked questions to glean if my art business funds were co-mingled with my personal funds. One of the first levels of inquiry (even before the audit) is to discover any commingling of business money with personal money. Once the I.R.S. man found out that I not only had separate business and personal accounts, but further separated them at different banks ..that topic was OVER. He saw no glimmer of possibility of catching me in a wrongful accounting of my business income or expenses with personal checking and savings or credit cards.

Uncle Bens Cup from Consuming Conversation teacups or coffee cups constructed by Harriete Estel Berman from recycled tin cans
  Consuming Conversation © 2001-2004
  Recycled tin cans, brass, s.silver,
  Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
  Photo Credit: Philip Cohen
   View the entire series on my web site.

2) Keep detailed and accurate records. The I.R.S. asked for specific categories of receipts in advance. I was required to bring this portion of documentation to the I.R.S. office that morning.  In this case they wanted to look at my Advertising Expenses for the year. While it was a tremendous amount of effort to separate my Advertising Expense receipts (month by month) from all the other receipts (it took about fourteen hours), I was prepared to show each and every receipt. 

He started out asking for the Advertising Expenses for a particular month in random order. He jumped around, March, August, October, etc. Each and every time I had every receipt (already organized by month) ready to go without hesitation or excuse.

When it was obvious that I was well organized (thanks to Emiko Oye, my studio assistant) and he could find no mistakes, he ceased this line of questioning. 

Consuming Conversation 3 teacups or coffee cups constructed by Harriete Estel Berman from recycled tin cans
  Consuming Conversation © 2001-2004
  Recycled tin cans, brass, s.silver,
  Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
  View the entire series and video.
 

3) The primary test is whether you act like a business. I was surprised to come to the realization that the I.R.S. is not interested in whether I was a professional success or a financial success. They did not care about my exhibitions or gallery representations.  They did not care about my education, publications or professional visibility. They only wanted to determine whether I performed like a business.

The I.R.S. measures business standards with definitions that have nothing to do with art or craft. While my advertising expenses must have been a red flag since they were so high for a small business (professional photography is a significant expense). The I.R.S. only wanted to see that I kept complete and accurate records like a business.

Illy COFFEEPOT. titled Coffee the Golden Ratio by Harriete Estel Berman is constructed from reycled tin cans, an art coffee pot
   Coffee Φ: The Golden Ratio © 2004
  Recycled tin cans, brass, s.silver,
  Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
  Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

My advice:
-Keep your business checking account separate.
-Never co-mingle personal and business money.
-Get a separate credit card for your business.
-Keep detailed and accurate records of every business expense.
-Act like a business. 

Do all of this before you have coffee with the I.R.S.

Harriete

Here are the 9 criteria from the I.R.S. used to figure out if you are a business (copied directly from the I.R.S. web  site.

The following factors, although not all inclusive, may help you to determine whether your activity is an activity engaged in for profit or a hobby:

  • Does the time and effort put into the activity indicate an intention to make a profit?
  • Do you depend on income from the activity?
  • If there are losses, are they due to circumstances beyond your control or did they occur in the start-up phase of the business?
  • Have you changed methods of operation to improve profitability?
  • Do you have the knowledge needed to carry on the activity as a successful business?
  • Have you made a profit in similar activities in the past?
  • Does the activity make a profit in some years?
  • Do you expect to make a profit in the future from the appreciation of assets used in the activity?

The Value of Your Work is NOT the Price of Your Work

After almost six weeks of posts about Pricing Your Work, there is still an important issue to discuss.  The VALUE of your work is not determined solely by the price of your work, or by the work that sells the best.  In other words, do not confuse your best selling item with your best work.

Pure Pin by Harriete Estel Berman constructed from recycled tin cans.
  Pure Pin © 2008
  Recycled tin cans, sterling silver rivets,
  Artist: Harriete Estel Berman

Your best selling item may be because of a modest price, appeal to a large market, great color combination, current  fashion trend, or numerous other reasons irrelevant to artistic depth or quality.

Golden Girl Bracelets include Mrs. Fields, Jazzercise and Barbie; all three bracelets by Harriete Estel Berman constructed from recycled tin cans.
   Three Golden Girl Bracelets: Mrs. Fields,
   Jazzercise, and Barbie © 2009
   Recycled tin cans, sterlingsilver, brass,
   Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
   Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Price, in my mind, is NOT a demarcation of value. As an artist and maker, developing a distinctive personal voice, signature style, or repertoire of technical skills is so much more important.

Your best selling item rarely leads to better work.  It only places the pressures of the marketplace foremost in your thoughts. With the Internet, there is a huge rush to sell everything we make.  The numerous online markets drive everything to have a retail price attached. This could be a big mistake.

Golden Girl Fruit Crate functions as a jewelry display by Harriete Estel Berman constructed from recycled tin cans.
  Golden Girl Fruit Crate with 3 bracelets
  © 2009
 Recycled tin cans, wood, brass,
 sterling silver, handmade paper,
 Artist:Harriete Estel Berman
 Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

One of the readers of ASK Harriete recently commented how she used to keep her work in the studio and study it for a while. She found it helpful to live with her paintings in her studio to help her appraise the artistic value of the work. With time she could appraise its value more effectively.

Sari Grove said, "I had the luxury of hanging my works all around & I could look at them for a long time before I had to price them...The looking increased my sense of perceived self-worth so when I had to price I was very confident asking for a thousand dollars, even right at the beginning of my professional career."

Black and Gold Identity Necklace by Harriete Estel Berman constructed from recycled tin cans.
  Black and Gold Identity Necklace © 2006
  Recycled tin cans, Plexiglas, 10k. gold,
  electrical cord, polymer clay,
  Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
  Photo Credit: Philip Cohen


To really hit home,
let me say that just because no one buys your work doesn't mean it isn't any good. The history of art and craft media demonstrates hundreds of times over and over that work with no market when first created, is now highly valued. This has happened in all mediums.

Black and gold Identity Necklace by Harriete Estel Berman constructed from recycled tin cans.
  Detail of Black and Gold Identity Necklace
  Recycled tin cans, Plexiglas, 10k. gold,
  electrical cord, polymer clay,
  Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
© 2006
  Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

In recent years, there seems to be a frenzy of making lower priced work, cheap and fast, anything that will sell in this terrible economy.  Yet I still believe that it is better to invest in quality, careful design, and thoughtful consideration.

Judith Pin fabricated as a present by Harriete Estel Berman constructed from recycled tin cans.
   Judith Pin made as a present
   Recycled tin cans, sterling silver,
   Artist: Harriete Estel Berman

Is it possible that your work may have greater value as a gift? How do you feel if you make something for a friend or relative and give your work away? Are you ever able to make exactly what you want with no compromise? Can you ever take your time to do the best job without the clock ticking? Why is it bad to have one job to generate income (or even a couple of jobs to earn our living), and then take time for our creative efforts, free of the demands of cheaper is better?

Can creme rise to the top, or is everything just bland in this "sell it now" homogenized environment?  I'm even wondering if there is any value in making work when it does not reflect the best we can be, do or make? What do you think?

Harriete

P.S. Have you watched "Not Just Another Pricing Lecture" from the SNAG Professional Development Seminar.   After you watch this YouTube, don't miss the lunch discussion, "NOT JUST ANOTHER PRICING."  Really great insights and revelations surface in this discussion with the audience. 


Wading Through Mud - Life as an artist.

As regular readers may know, I've been checking 39 boxes of work returned from the Loveland Museum. Checking returned work is like wading through thick, sticky mud -- slow and messy.

Damaged work
  Damaged corner of mirror
  Click Here to view the full view of the
  mirror on my website titled: 

  Identity Complex Mirror. 
    

Damaged boxes reported in a previous post have been the warning sign, but so far only one art work has been damaged...but not all the boxes are opened yet.

Damaged Box While checking and cleaning each piece, it occurs to me that popular media has glamorized the life of the artist/craftsperson inspired by endless opportunities to be creative and sell work without selling your soul.

In questions for an upcoming interview (more about that in future posts), there were several questions about "the turning point" when I knew that I was successful? {Raised eyebrows and an audible "hunh", are you kinding? }

Other questions related to how I stay motivated?  Yes, there are various answers about how to stay motivated, but the REAL answer is to work even when you are not motivated.

California Dream Teapot by Harriete Estel Berman
  California Dream © 2001
  Recycled tin cans, Pentium chip
  Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
  Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Cleaning California Dream (carefully with Q-tips) reminds me about working on this teapot six years ago. I wasn't inspired at that time! It was more like overwhelming concern about finishing it in time for the show at Mobilia Gallery. Will anyone appreciate the messages and content issues?  Will anyone buy this teapot? Is it too big? Is it too small?Berman CAifornai Dream teapot under the base

Then a discovery
while cleaning this teapot tonight. I had forgotten all about it. Where no one ever sees -- the underside of the base.

The bottom is finished and complete even though no one can see it(left image) I even wrote "Bermaid" (adapting the Sun-Maid). Bermaid is a pseudonym for Berman (not a very good name for a feminist). I often sign my work, Bermaid, a reference to the fact that a woman (maid) made this, and a pun on "made by hand."

The secret details are always my favorite part. A personal investment that no one but a curator or collector ever see. Sometimes I take photos of the hidden side (bottom, inside, or back as in the examples shown below), but normally these details are not public during the exhibit.

Hourglass Figure: The Scale of Torture
Inside view of 
Hourglass Figure: The Scale of Torture
  © 1994
Recycled tin cans,
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Everyone always wonders how I keep going.  Exhibitions and purchases of the important pieces are not as frequent as in the past. The tough economy hits every level of the art world, but there is one thing you can always do....make your artwork for yourself.

Seder Plate by Harriete Estel Berman
  Back view of Seder Plate titled:
  Seven Days You Shall Eat Unleavened
  Bread, You Shall Remove Leaven
 From Your Houses © 2004-2005
 Recycled tin cans
 Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
 Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

No one ever said that the art and craft world was a good business model, it's not. Despite the plethora of online programs, podcasts, classes, marketing tips, and business gurus -- everything we offer for sale is a discretionary purchase. No one needs what we offer.  I don't care how much you promote your site, study your keywords or reinvent your metatags, a poor economy and a crowd of competition has everyone at a disadvantage.

OH MY, only 24 more boxes to open and inspect.  And one insurance claim to fill out. (more on how to make a Claim for Damaged Work soon.)

Wall peice by Harriete Estel Berman
back view of
Nice and Easy, Even If your
Marriage Doesn't Last Your Color Will
© 1997-98
Recycled tin cans, vintage steel
doll houses
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Maybe it's time to go to bed.  Didn't someone say, "tomorrow is another day."

Harriete


Names, Names, What's in a name?

 

(back view) of Harriete Estel Berman April Flower with Pear Center
  April Flower in Reds and Browns © 2010
  Post Consumer recycled tin cans
  Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
  Photo Credit: emiko oye

Recently, a reader asked me if she should change her name....it was rather long with first, middle and then two last names....first husband, second husband.  Maybe it was serendipity, but a couple of other readers contacted me with similar questions at about the same time.  The concerns run the gamut from worries about whether their names were too long or too short, easy to remember or confusing, easy to spell, too common or absolutely unique. What's in a Name?

Can I make a recommendation? Pick one name and stick with it!

 

Harriete Estel Berman April Flower with Pear Center
April Flower in Reds and Browns © 2010
  (back view)
  Post Consumer recycled tin cans.
  Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
  Photo Credit: emiko oye

The primary importance is that your professional identity gets established.  This takes time and consistency.  Every single account for all your social networks, correspondence and email, websites, and your signature should be the same (or at least as similar as possible). It doesn't matter if your name is complicated or uncomplicated, stick with one name.

If by chance you have a common name....such as Adam Evans, or Don Low, then try using your middle name permanently for all correspondence.  I decided thirty years ago that Harriete Berman wasn't unique enough, so I started using "Harriete Estel Berman". The fact that my name "Harriete" is spelled a little differently also created some spelling error problems -  and a unique identity - the yin and yang of every name.

As another example, I met Mary Anne Enriquez through her flickr group as the "urbanwoodswalker", but there was another email "Waterswirl56", plus her name.  Through months of correspondence, I was confused ...until I realized that this one person had several online identities, five email names and at least three different names on social networking sites. No wonder I was so confused. If you want to use a more poetic moniker such as Mary Anne, why not go with "Mary Anne Enriquez - the Urban Woods Walker." This develops a much clearer identity, sounds almost like a book already.

Most social networking sites will now allow you to even use your name instead of a number. Try your best to use one name or a variation of that one name for everything.  Stop switching it around for different sites and social groups. I know sometimes they have a limit on the number of letters, require different formats or that your name may be taken.  Just do the best you can to create one professional identity.

Harriete Estel Berman custom made name tag with green detail and colored lettering. If I were starting over, I would work for even more consistency in the way I formatted my name. This is why I am writing this post. I am giving you my words of wisdom gained from experience. Learn from my mistakes.

For people just starting out and looking to establish their professional identity as an artist or maker, pick one name (possibly including your middle name) and then repeatedly use the same name for your website, email, social networking and Etsy site. Professionally, I do not recommend selecting cute or fancy names for your "shop" or website.

Think about how effective one name is for Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Eileen Fisher, and Vera Wang. Each one of these designers started somewhere small and unknown to develop their identity. You can too.   

Harriete Estel Berman custom made name tag in brown and gold metallic. If the fashion world doesn't relate to your work, think Picasso, Modigliani, or Voulkos. One name can carry you through the various phases and development of your work.

Pick one name and try one format as close as you can for all sites, tags, keywords, photo descriptions, exhibitions, and shows. Skip the cutesy shop names and online identities.

Harriete Estel Berman 
custom made name tag in brillant yellow, red and white . Creating an identity for your work and your name is part of your "recipe for success".

Harriete (with an "e" at the end) Estel Berman.
Examples of my professional contacts are below:

  • My blog    http://www.askharriete.typepad.com
  • Twitter http://twitter.com/harrietee
  • crafthaus http://crafthaus.ning.com/profile/HarrieteEstelBerman
  • flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/harriete-estel-berman/
  • Facebook http://www.facebook.com/harriete.estel.berman
  • LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/harrieteestelberman

Find me on your favorite social network.

Harriete

April Flower Brooches by Harriete Estel Berman
 April Flowers created by Harriete Estel Berman in honor of Earth Day
 © 2010. These April Flowers are available for purchase on Etsy and
 Object Fetish /Jewelry.
 Photo Credit: emiko oye


Adventures in Podcasting.

One of my goals over the quiet of the holidays was to teach myself how to podcast and add this podcast to my PowerPoint lectures on Slide Share. Hopefully, with this experience, I can learn to record presentations for the Professional Development Seminar (Download HoustonflyervL12.29.09) and other professional lessons for you.

Obvob_kiss-copy72
Chocolate Obsession© 2005
Recycled tin cans, sterling silver,
plastic, aluminum foil, brass.
Artist:Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

At this point, I can't get my Slide Share presentation to work with Typepad, but you can find all my Slide Share presentations here  or look at the bottom of this post for specific links.

If you aren't familiar with Slide  Share this is free Internet site where you can upload your PowerPoint presentations. I found it about two years ago. Uploading the presentation is a breeze...but the software doesn't keep your animations and fancy slide transitions, so keep your presentations in PowerPoint simple and straightforward. Anyone can do this. You can also upload Keynote if you have an Apple.

The next step, ADD A Podcast.  Learning how to Podcast was pretty simple. The free software called Audacity works just fine. It has more features than I even used so far. The only issue is that it is time consuming to get the voice perfected. Practice and practice, and practice. I am starting to catch on to this recording thing and be comfortable listening to my voice.  

Uploading your Podcast and synchronizing it to the images is very easy....again, it is just time consuming to get it perfect.

The problem: I always see my mistakes in either the images, or text after I upload the Podcast and sync the whole thing to the images. Aw..........shucks!!!!!

Well, I'm learning to podcast . . . and now sharing my new Slide Share presentations with you. You be the judge.  Let me know what you think and how to improve the next time.

So far, I have five short presentations with audio completed and would like to hear for your feedback before venturing deeper.

BermanObverse_front
Obverse Obsession © 2005
Chocolate Pot constructed from post
consumer recycled tin cans, sterling
silver, plastic, aluminum foil, brass.
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen
 

Pecha Kucha

Obverse Obsession Chocolate Pot

California Dream Teapot

Professional Guidelines Introduction

Professional Guidelines; Inventory Records: Documentation and Provenance

Thanks for listening.

Harriete

If you want to learn more about Slide Share and Podcasting let me know.

 


Mail without an address? Titles, tags and descriptions for Search Engine Optimization.

Tzedakah9_2
Tzedakah   © 1999              Collection of The Jewish Museum, New York
Would you mail an envelope without an address? Would you invite a customer over to your studio and not even tell them the city? How about "Come over for lunch," but not give them an address!

Artists and craftspeople are doing this over and over!  I see it all the time. They put their images on Facebook, Crafthaus or Flickr and don't have a title, description, or keywords with their images.  I have even found images for sale in online marketplace sites such as Etsy with grossly incomplete information. This is like mailing an envelope without a stamp.

TzedakahV1
Tzedakah   © 1999
Recycled Tin Cans
Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen
Collection of The Jewish Museum, New York

The titles (for your art or craft,) full descriptions and relevant tags for your images are how people find your work on the Internet. Inadequate information is like mailing an envelope without an address.  No one will receive the letter because no one can figure out where it should go. Your images are not working as hard as they could without this information.


Tzedakah9
 

Every image should have a title, copyright symbol and date, detailed description including materials,  dimensions, and perhaps a little insight into the inspiration.


Tags are important too.
Your tags should reiterate the information in your title and description. The redundancy between your title, description and tags are reinforcements for search engines to indicate credible information.  This information is like the address on an envelope.

Password Flower Pin by Harriete Estel Bermaneite
  Password Flower Pin © 2012
   Recycled tin cans
  Harriete Estel Berman

Here is an example Flower Pin that I posted on Flickr, Facebook and Etsy for different audiences. All sites allow a title for the image and a description.  You can reuse this information over and over. You don't have to reinvent the information every time.  Copy and paste, then make changes as necessary for each forum. 

INFORMATION YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TITLES, DESCRIPTIONS AND TAGS

TITLES are important to keep your inventory straight and for search engine optimization. Watch with 5 minute tip titled, "Image File Names for Better Search Engine Optimization."

DESCRIPTIONS vary from site to site.  Flickr will not allow overt selling statements.  Etsy and Facebook will.  I always include materials and dimensions (and frequently include a story about my inspiration) just for interest. Pinterest images will benefit tremendously from an interesting, and complete description about your work.  

TAGS or KEYWORDS repeat the information in the title and description usually in one word snippets separated by commas. Use as many tags as needed or allowed on the site. Use every tag you can think of for a particular situation.Think about any variation of words that a person might use to find your work in a search.  Try all different possibilities. 

CandyLand Flower Pin from recycled tin cans by Harriete Estel BErman
  Candyland Flower Brooch © 2012
  Recycled tin cans,
  Harriete Estel Berman

Here are a few tags on Etsy for this flower pin: jewelry, tin, tin cans, candy, candyland, peach, peppermint, candy canes, Harriete, Harriet, Berman, recycled, steel, eco, green.

PAY ATTENTION to how to add tags effectively.
Some sites need quote marks around multiple word tags to keep the words together as one tag (e.g. "Harriete Estel Berman".)

Tz_address_envelope72

Sometimes testing and experimenting are the only way to find out what works, but to habitually not include titles, descriptions, and tags are like making your work invisible on the Internet.  Like an envelope without an address, no one can find your images in search without titles, descriptions, & tags.

Go back to every one of your photos posted on social networking sites and edit your photos as time allows.

Photos of your art or craft should be part of your online profile on every site. Don't just segregate this information to a "Fan page" or online marketing site. Your friends might be your first customers. They love seeing what you do!

www.harriete-estel-berman.info

P.S. Tags and descriptions on your web site are handled a little bit differently than social networking and online marketing sites. Learn more about this in other posts.

In the meantime, send me your questions. I'd like to hear your perspectives and areas of interest.


Ingredients for success - your resume.

TraceyBELL7663
"Mother Tree"  © Tracey Bell
sterling silver
16" length, largest leaf is 1.75"

Dear Harriete,
Have you covered how to compose a CV for submitting to galleries in your professional development series?  I'm trying to figure out how to do that now and it seems most advice on the web isn't geared towards artists. Thanks, Tracey Bell

First of all, many people use the term CV when they mean resume. A CV should include everyone of your professional accomplishments. A Resume is the abridged information, in other words, a summary of your professional experience. I have several resumes, a one page, two page, five page and a Judaica resume. These are just examples, but the point is to modify your resume for each particular situation. 

In the beginning of your career, I would put your formal education at the top. Thirty years from graduation, it just seems that your education is a little less relevant and it might move further down on your resume.

Put the most important items at the top and work your way down to less important items.

Here is a list of suggested categories in an appropriate order.

Name and Contact information including address, phone numbers, fax, e-mail, web site.  Do not include your address when posting your resume online, displaying it in a public situation or sending this resume to a gallery for their clients.

Education degree, date, institution, major 

If you don't have a formal academic education in the arts, perhaps you can push your professional degree further down the page as it might be less relevant to your art career than recent exhibitions or professional experience.

Workshops (if they were formative to your current work) could be covered as a separate category, but they are not an education. Considering a two days to two week workshop equivalent to four or seven years of dedicated study seems to be stretching a resume. Be honest and proud of what you have accomplished, but don't overstate the facts.   

Exhibitions
    Solo Exhibitions
    Group Exhibitions 

In the beginning of your career, list shows by year.  As you add shows and you have a good number to list, maybe you will want to divide up into categories.  Eventually, you might have International, Invitational, Juried National, Juried Regional.  List shows by date, most recent first, in each category.

     Gallery exhibitions

Exhibitions at galleries or retail spaces should be a separate list from museum and non-profit exhibition spaces.

Grants/Awards
Commissions
Collections (Public, Private, Corporate) Never list the name of a private collector without their permission.
Bibliography This could be called Selected Reviews and/or published photos of my work
    Sub-categories might be: Books, Magazine, Selected Periodicals, Newspapers, etc.
Current employment (if this is relevant to your art career)
Current Gallery Representation

Another option for your resume may be listing your social networking sites, Facebook, Crafthaus, Flickr, Etsy, etc. I would only list these items if you keep them looking professional. If you are posting family photos, commentary about your spa experience, etc. do not include this link.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT RESUMES AND CV can be found on the CAA (College Art Association) web site.

Your CV and Resume should include only the truth. No exaggerations. Be honest.

TMI (Too Much Information) Don't include information about your family, martial status, children, religion, pets, hobbies, travel, jobs irrelevant to your professional art career.

You can look at my resume on my web site. Many artists include a resume on their site so look around for other examples. There are many right ways to make an art career resume, but you are correct in assuming that an art resume is different than the corporate style.

RELATED POSTS:
The Biggest Mistakes I See on Resumes, and How to Correct Them by Laszlo Block

Looking for a JOB - Step 5 CUSTOMIZE Your Resume

Resumes - How much is too much info?

Resume - Ready, Set, Go! 


What do you mean by “Success”? by Andy Cooperman

For this post, Andy Cooperman is the guest author for ASK Harriete. In response to recent posts, online discussion and conversations related to the Professional Development Seminar, Andy Cooperman asks all of us, "What do you mean by "Success"? You are welcome to post your comments in response. 

Note: The opinions expressed by the author,Andy Cooperman, in this post are his and his alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASKHarriete or Harriete Estel Berman. No endorsement or refutation is intended or implied.

Artist_in_brown
  Andy Cooperman
  Photo Credit: Don Farver

FROM THE PEN OF ANDY COOPERMAN
A friend and colleague once offered this bit of wisdom (I paraphrase): “It’s not always about making a living in Craft.  It’s really about making a life in Craft”.  This is certainly to a degree true-- and validating.  But recent posts have got me thinking about what we mean when we say “making a living”, “supporting ourselves” or simply “making it” as a craftsperson, maker or artist. I am curious about what we mean when we talk about being a successful artist.

Are we talking about financial independence?  Selling enough of our work or services to pay studio overhead, rent or mortgage payments on our home, apartment, loft or condo without a second income from another job?  Are we including in this definition health care and insurance payments, paying for transportation, food, and taxes?  Does making a living in craft extend to raising children (if we have made that decision) and paying for their education?  Do our studio incomes allow for travel, entertainment and luxuries such as cable, dinner out, and nice clothes?

Coopermanandytorch_crop
  Andy Cooperman with torch in his studio
  Photo Credit: Kim Cooperman

I have supported myself making one of a kind jewelry, working as a commission and custom metalsmith, doing some repairs and limited production and, increasingly, teaching workshops, seminars and classes (which have yielded the benefit of occasional sales).  I chose not to have children but I do have a nice home and don’t want for much.  The fact that I have a partner who does have a career and a stable--but not stellar-- income and who has been incredibly supportive about my choice of profession has no doubt and to no small degree allowed me to make a life in Craft.  But the studio pays its own bills, puts some money towards retirement and covers my half of our expenses as a family.  Still, as I get older, I wonder if it will be enough.

Coopermanslab.potter.sleeper
 3 Brooches ©  2009  Andy Cooperman
  Right to left:  “Slab”  (sterling, 14k, 24k),
“Potter” (burl wood, sterling, gold),
“Sleeper Cell”  (burl wood,stain, sterling,
 gold leaf)
Photo Credit: Doug Yaple

It’s important to remember, I think, that all things are not equal when we talk about the realities of rent and cost of living.  The Seattle area is an expensive place to live and if I were starting out right now, I’m not sure that we could afford to establish ourselves here.  Fortunately, we got in a little bit ahead of the curve housing-wise, but it is still a costly place to live.  There are less expensive places, to be sure.  I understand that we all live within limits.  This is simply reality.  But if we choose where we live based primarily on affordability (due to our choice of career) and it is not where we really want to be can we truly say that we are successful?

Cooopermanbauble_doug.72.1000
 ”Bauble”  neckpiece © 2008
 
Andy Cooperman
  Carved copal, bronze, sterling, gold
 Photo Credit: Doug Yaple

Are “success” and “making a living” two different things?  There are many artists and makers who have achieved fame, whose work is published and whose names are well known but who support themselves financially through other means.  This is certainly success on one level.  There are metalsmiths and craftspeople who don’t care at all about this type of notoriety but are driven by a love of making and sell enough work to allow them to keep making more work and maintain a lifestyle that they are comfortable with.  They may or may not have a car, a television, their own home or great shoes. They may no doubt define themselves as successful while others might question their definition based on their own needs and lifestyle choices.  And there are those jewelers who like what they do but see it more as a business: a job or a profession that allows them to support their families or themselves and do the things that they are really passionate about.

Coopermanmasonic.ring.72.2
  ”Masonic Ring” © 2009
  
Andy Cooperman
  sterling, gold, copper, carved copal.
 
Photo Credit: Doug Yaple

So I’m wondering:  How do we characterize success?  How do we define “making a living” from what we do? What is your fantasy of a life in Craft or Art? Is it a money thing?  Have the things that you wanted from life when you began your career as a maker remained the same?  (Mine haven’t.)   If you are embarking on your career do you think that there is a possibility one day that you may not get the same charge from making as you once did?  Can/will you make enough money to compensate for that possibility?

What do people really think?  Let’s have a frank discussion.

Andy Cooperman


Effective Pricing for Multiple Marketplaces

Hello Harriete,
I just read your post "Should I link to my Etsy shop on my web site?" and I have a follow up question about one specific point you made. You stressed the importance of keeping the online prices consistent with prices in the galleries. I am always concerned about consistency in pricing from one retail venue to the next, but am having trouble because different places that sell my work have different mark ups. The highest mark up of my work is 250% (which seems excessively high). The buyer who marks up that much claims that this is a "standard jewelry mark up." This buyer recently saw on my Etsy shop that an item she carries is priced less on my shop because my mark up was a simple 200% mark up. I don't want to ruin the relationship with the buyer by undercutting her prices, but I am concerned that the average shopper through my online shop will be turned off my such an increase in price. Do you have any suggestions? I would very much appreciate hearing your advice.

Your website is a wealth of information. I have enjoyed looking through it and will consult it often.

Thank you in advance for your time and thoughts. Signed, Mark-up Challenged

Commission_structuresGreat Question! I think prices should be the same everywhere if possible… but I realize this is a really thorny issue.

Many stores and galleries do mark up more than 200%.  Some want a 60 /40 ratio (or 60% for the store and 40% for the maker).  Others usually work on a 50/50 ratio.  It all presents a problem.  How to keep your prices consistent?

Dollar-bills-imageWhat is true is that galleries/stores are run as businesses to make profits. They expect to make money! They have planned on their commission ratio and will also try to maintain consistency in their commissions to their artists and makers; but, everything is negotiable. 

Business Relationship  You have a business relationship and it is perfectly acceptable to tell your retail locations your "suggested retail price."  This is the price that you should try to maintain consistently from venue to venue.  The plan is that you are trying to keep your prices the same all over the U.S. to avoid pricing competition or pricing inconsistencies. Explain this to the galleries or stores that sell your work.  However, it is up to the store/gallery to mark it up as they see fit.  If they charge more, it is their responsibility. 

Price_tagWith the Internet it is very easy for the consumer to compare prices.  In addition, people travel quite a bit. The client/collector is likely to notice when one store or gallery charges more than other locations for the same items. 

Other options  As a compromise, you might consider raising your retail prices a speck on Etsy to about 225%.  Another option, is to make a somewhat different version or line of work for the brick and mortar locations so that they feel they have a unique body of work to sell.

Pricered-tags Personally, I looked at your work on Etsy and I think is it very well priced.  What you and the galleries are experiencing is the power and impact of the Internet. Galleries and stores used to be only way to market art and craft.  Now that artists and makers have alternatives for showing work to consumers, i.e. the web, price shopping is as easy as a push of a mouse button. 

One more point.  You should not feel guilty or feel like it is your fault if a store rejects your "suggested retail price."  This could be the gallery's problem, not yours…but too often artists are asked to make the concessions.  This is why I started the Professional Guidelines to established professional standards, so that everyone knows what is reasonable and professional.

Establish what you think is a fair retail price. You can even discuss this with your galleries and stores that carry your work. They know their consumers, but ultimately this is your decision!  If the readers of ASK Harriete have another solution, please let me know or leave your suggestion as a comment.

Pds_logoletterhead The Professional Development Seminar in Houston, Texas, is planning  three hours of concrete information from 9:00am-12:00pm on Friday, March 12, 2010, that will change the way you approach your work and the way you do business. At 9:00am. Bruce Baker will present ‘The Art of Selling.’  Then at 11:00 am the lecture will shift to ‘Not Just Another Pricing Lecture: A Dialogue about Pricing Your Work.’  We will continue the conversation during lunch 12:00-1:30. Bring your lunch so you don't miss a moment. Learn strategies for success. I will be there, I hope to meet you then.

Harriete Estel Berman
www.harriete-estel-berman.info



Pricing and the Dilemna of discounts, coupons, or reduced prices?

TimothyAdamChair
Chairity © 2006
steel
Artist: Timothy Adam

Recently I listened to a program by Timothy Adam of Handmadeology about using the Internet and social networking to give more visibility to your art and craft. He has lots of great ideas and really knows about working the system of online social networking sites. On the other hand, a recent post at Timothy Adam Designs about "Search trends during the holiday shopping season" is very disconcerting as he focuses on discounts, coupons, and free shipping as promotional strategies.

TimothyAdam
Living Steel Jewelry Display
steel
Artist: Timothy Adam

I think discounts, sale coupons, holiday sales, etc. have little effect in stimulating a sale of art or craft and instead have a negative impact that adversely erodes your retail prices permanently.  I believe it is a fallacy to think that a buyer who is already considering a purchase of your work will change their mind just because of a small discount or not.  And anyone who wasn't interested in the first place won't care about discount offers whatsoever.  Furthermore, lowering your effective price with discounts or coupons sends a signal that all your work can be discounted and that this lower price is the true market value of your work.  In effect you are saying that the original retail price was inflated to begin with.[For more information about Discounts read the Professional Guidelines document.]  

It is vitally important that we should not fall into the trap of appearing to be just another mass produced commodity. The arts and crafts market can not afford and should not adopt discounting and similar pricing strategies that are frequently used in the general consumer market like K-Mart and Macy's.  First of all, don't kid yourself, all of these giant chains double or triple the wholesale price to absorb these discounts.  They have designed their products to be easily mass produced and cheap.  It may be a great value for the consumer, but it lacks any differentiation from what thousands or millions of other people buy.   

PinkDotOrbit_Red72GREEN
Pink Dot Pin
Recycled tin cans
Harriete Estel Berman

Instead, the handmade object should be promoted for its unique attributes or value.  By its very nature, a handmade object is a limited edition or one of a kind object. Ideally, art and craft exhibit skilled craftsmanship, personal attention to details, and distinctive creativity.  A buyer is attracted to the work because it reflects and reinforces the buyer's desires, self-identity, and expression of character that they wish to show to the world.  It is unlikely that a small shift in price will alter these perceptions.

Stimulus-Plan72GREEN
Stimulus Plan Pins © 2009
Recycled tin Cans
Harriete Estel Berman

People who buy from the local artist (whether on Etsy or The Artful Home or at the local crafts festival) are making a decision by their very action. Their purchase creates an identity for themselves.  They may want to know the artist or know the inspiration behind the work.  They may admire this alternative lifestyle and want to participate, even vicariously, just for the afternoon. Every time they wear or use their handmade item, they feel richer for the experience.

2Rosesbrac20
Forest Spirit Bracelet © 2009
polymer clay
2 Roses

John Rose from 2 Roses offered this observation:
"We did indeed see a lot of discounting this year. Much of it panic motivated. Anecdotal surveys reinforced that buying volume was equal or above last year's for most artists we spoke to. However arbitrary discounting reduced profits. 

This really points to a fundamental lack of product offering flexibility by the artists we spoke to. Instead of adjusting their product offering to offer lower priced lines and protecting their margins, most simply discounted their regular lines. This is one of those textbook "business 101" mistakes. 

Our reaction to the shift in the economy was to analyze buyer behavior relating to luxury goods and discretionary purchasing. What we found was that there was plenty of buying going on, but shoppers were placing much higher emphasis on "value". By augmenting our regular priced lines with items manufactured to specifically offer a high value at a lower price point AND maintain normal margins, our sales exceeded last years in both volume and profit. The introduction of lower priced lines allowed us to pick up market share and maintain the value perception of our regular priced lines.
BTW this is a classic Fabrege tactic.

A lot of artists just don't understand how badly they hurt themselves and the entire industry when they resort to arbitrary discounting." END QUOTE

Leaves72GREEN
Green Leaves © 2004
Recycled vintage doll house
Harriete Estel Berman

Sell the appeal of your work at its full value.  The mass market chains really can't compete at this level.  

Harriete Estel Berman
Riding the Long Tail on a grand adventure (without discounts.)

Etsy  
Twitter
Objectfetish
crafthaus
flickr
Facebook

LinkedIn


Make a Living Riding the Long Tail - Part 3

AskHarriete72green
Bringing Value and Commitment to a Community

This is the third and final post on three major insights from the ACC Conference that seemed to be most relevant to make a viable livelihood from your art and craft.   The first two are:

1) the impact of the Internet and shifting marketing channels,

2) the role of "filters" from curatorial selection and peer review to online search.

3) The need to bring value and commitment to a community.
I am concerned that my readers will think this is a boring post, but in some ways, it is the most IMPORTANT! We need to think about how we can build our community and bring value and commitment for the future. Understanding and supporting your community is also a key to making a living from your art or craft. This was illustrated in multiple ways during the conference and several additional examples are shown below my signature.

 

RileyCritical Mass Necklace
Critical Mass Necklace  © 2009
Sterling silver, 14k. gold filled, nylon-
coated stainless steel
Artist: Meghan Patrice Riley
Urban Renaissance Exhibition

Too many people think that their local or national craft and art groups don't have anything to offer them.  Or worse, they think that the group doesn't want them. Nothing could be further from the truth!!!  An individual CAN make a difference and each step in leadership creates a community and a network.

 

Dhein_tribal_elegance_web
 Christine Dhein, Necklace
Rubber, sterling silver

Exhibited in Urban Renaissance
ACCI Gallery, Berkeley, CA

JOIN at least one or two art groups either at the local or national level.  Along the lines of what JFK said in his 1961 inauguration speech, Don't ask what you will get out of it.....think about what you can do for your art/craft group.

Your joining means you are giving to the organization, linking yourself with a broader community. Giving not just membership dollars but another voice, an idea, an action plan, a range of expertise. You will likely find ways to participate or opportunities presented that you haven't considered. 

 

Urbansmith-righter_JENNIFERchain
Chain Necklace,
Jennifer Smith-Righter
Exhibited in Urban Renaissance
ACCI Gallery, Berkeley, CA

An example: On Friday, I went to the ACCI Gallery in Berkeley, CA where the local San Francisco Metal Arts Guild had a show for the members titled, Urban Renaissance. It was an opportunity for the ACCI Gallery to introduce their space and inventory to an entirely new group of people.

 

MAGUrbanRen
Metal Arts Guild members at the open-
ing for the show Urban Renaissance
ACCI Gallery, Berkeley, CA.


For the Metal Arts Guild, every member could choose to participate and gain exposure for their work, exhibition experience, and another line on their resume, maybe even make a sale. Every participant was so inspired by the chance to be in this show -- it renewed their excitement for their work. But this show didn't happen without a lot of work behind the scenes by hardworking volunteers. These diligent individuals put in a lot of hours over the previous months to create opportunities and potential sales for the members, and visibility to a broader community.

 

URBANschmid_Monica.winter
Winter by Monica Schmid
Exhibited in Urban Renaissance
ACCI Gallery, Berkeley, CA

What are you doing to help create opportunities for your arts community?

What can you do?  Offer your time and expertise to your local arts group, guild or museum. Teach an art class for your children's school.  Help organize a show for your local guild. Even during hard economic times, we have something to share with our community to make it stronger. Below are truly inspiring examples of community and commitment that I saw at the ACC Conference.  Each example achieved success financially and enhanced respect and visibility for the arts. These examples didn't start with self-serving motives but resulted in rich rewards for the individual and the community.  This is the subject of philosophers and many poems and songs.  I think it was John Lennon, who misquoted Paul McCartney, who paraphrased Shakespeare, "the love you get is equal to the love you give."

Harriete Estel Berman
a member of Crafthaus, SNAG, San Francisco, Metal Arts Guild & more.

EXAMPLES OF COMMUNITY FROM THE ACC Conference and more below:

4015277881_6e4de29d49
Harriete Estel Berman in front of
Eons of Exodus,
Minneapolis Institute of Art
Gift of Howard and Eloise Kaplan

During my visit to Minneapolis for the ACC Conference, I witnessed the importance of bringing value and commitment to a community on many levels.  Several examples range from well-known institutions to small businesses and individual efforts. 

On my first day, I visited the Minneapolis Museum of Art. This remarkable museum has achieved prominence through the support of the broader community including wealthy patrons to individual membership.  For instance, a new Judaica Collection room was sponsored by one donor and my work at the museum was purchased through the generosity of another donor.  Almost the entire crafts collection is a result of generous donors and corporate collections donated to the museum.  I hazard a guess that what I witnessed in one afternoon reflects the basis for the success of the entire museum (and probably parallels the support of many other museums).

MinneapolisSOFA
Sofa c.1820
Mahogany, maple, ash, pine,
polychrome, gilt, upholstery
Gift: William Hood Dunwoody Fund and
gift of funds from Harry M. Drake

In a conversation, I also heard about how the state and local governments and local corporations in the Minneapolis area collaborate to offer artist grants. The support for the arts in the area is really impressive....another pattern of a community fostering an environment for the arts to thrive and flourish. No wonder the ACC is moving to Minneapolis!

During the ACC Conference, I also heard from a number of speakers about the importance of their community in their livelihood.

Petrovic
Robin Petravic

Robin Petravic and his wife Catherine Bailey made a commitment to continue Heath Ceramics and to value the tradition and vision of the original company by building their company with a community of craftspeople.  They deliver not only beautifully designed products but a vision of artisan-made goods to the consumers who want to support the arts.

 

Natalie-Chanin
Natalie "Alabama" Chanin

Natalie "Alabama" Chanin developed her whole business around a community of unemployed sewing ladies of her native Alabama. Ultimately she has been able to offer employment to a cottage industry throughout several states in the southern U.S. Without thoroughly understanding and working personally with this community, she would not have the seamstresses she needed to produce her unique clothing and they would not have employment.

 

Faythe-Levine
Faythe Levine

Faythe Levine found the artists featured in her film through her online indie community. While other filmmakers wonder how she networked her film into national notoriety, she only approached this as a natural way to get in touch with her community. This movement may be beyond simple definition, but I think everyone would agree that they are churning with energy and enthusiasm for each other and a shared passion.

 

Adam-Lerner
Adam Lerner

Adam Lerner developed a supportive community, initially with an audience of only 20 (family and friends) to regular sell out crowds of over 300 people.  He started with nothing more than a vision and ended up with a job at MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) in Denver.

The commitment to a community was also illustrated by Susan Cummins and the other organizers of the Conference.  After months of planning and effort, they brought together a diverse group of speakers, tried to engage a new vision for the ACC Conference, and succeeded in creating a provocative and inspiring experience.

An individual can make a difference and each step in leadership creates a community and a network. There are many examples that I haven't included in this post, but you are welcome to suggest others in the comments area.

Harriete

 


Online Marketing - Gallery and Artist Collaboration


Galleries have traditionally been the primary conduit for buyers to find quality art and craft. The galleries were responsible for marketing and promotion as well as supporting a physical retail space to show art and craft. Artists and makers typically felt ill at ease in such marketing efforts (with the exception of wholesale/retail shows) and preferred to devote their time to the studio.

The Internet has changed the equation - permanently. 

MIRRORculadies72
Identity Complex Mirror          2002-2004
Recycled tin cans.
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

One of the new realities is that artists and makers CAN market and promote their work via the Internet without gallery representation.  Potential buyers CAN find artists and makers without gallery vetting. The days are past when clients can only find an artist exclusively through a gallery. 

However, in an age of information overload, galleries still offer authoritative credibility regarding the merit of represented work.  For the client, galleries also offer expert guidance, appraisals, and insight well beyond the mere display space for viewing.  For the artist and maker, galleries offer skilled promotion and reliable sales support.


MIRRORfull72
Identity Complex Mirror          2002-2004
Recycled tin cans.
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

But the Internet is a multi-lane highway connecting many destinations. So here is a radical idea . . .  Artists and galleries need to work together in their marketing efforts.

Huge opportunities are lost when galleries and artists don't act as a team to fully benefit from their respective resources.

Artists need to have their own web sites for credibility and visibility. Galleries need to use the Internet more effectively to showcase all the work for which they are responsible. An exhibition should no longer be presented to the public as one image on a postcard or one page on a web site. With minimal expense, the entire exhibition can be posted as an online catalog of the show.

Galleries and artists can both be more effective with online marketing.  Improved SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is one goal, i.e. a bigger "web" of links (more links earns a higher rating).  SEO can drive more traffic to the web sites of both the gallery and the artist. 


Galleries can benefit by linking to all artists' inventory and exhibition pages.   Artists should email and post on the their websites any relevant gallery link such as upcoming events, openings, exhibitions, juried shows, etc.  

Likewise, artists can benefit by helping galleries link to any new resources such as newspa

Idmirrch  
Identity Complex Mirror          2002-2004
Recycled tin cans.
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

per reviews, magazine articles, open studios, or selection into books.


Both parties need to trust that purchases generated as a result of either w

eb site will be positive and boost credibility, visibility and revenue.

If a customer arrives at my site via the gallery's web site and purchases work from my site, hopefully we can work out the appropriate commission for the gallery. 

Commission strategies need to be reconsidered.  This is an area that needs a lot more discussion.  For example, the web sites for both the gallery and the artist could set up affiliate links that pay commissions in both directions.  There are many other mutually rewarding scenarios that encourage ongoing collaboration.  We need to adapt to a new future. 

Yes there are areas of overlap that will need negotiation. But realistically, was there ever a time without issues to discuss?  I expect to revisit this topic in the near future.

Like it or not, the multi-lane highway of the Internet is going to get bigger and better.  A collaborative effort can be mutually beneficial.

Do you have any ideas or comments? I wonder if the upcoming ACC Conference in Minneapolis will touch on this topic? Stay tuned to my blogs from the Conference in two weeks.

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info

 


Save your rejection letters for the I.R.S.

Are you saving your rejection letters?  Even after getting such disappointing correspondence, STOP! Don't crumple it up and throw it away! This letter might have value.

REJECTsculpture
One of my many REJECT Letters
If you don't have reject letters
you aren't testing your boundaries.

Put that letter in a "Reject File"  in the back of your file drawer.  Yes, all the way in the back so, hopefully, you will never have to look at it again.  Everyone gets rejection letters.  Hey, my reject file is close to two inches thick.  But this file may help you at some point in the future.

IF the I.R.S. ever questions whether your business is a "hobby" or a "business" . . . these letters demonstrate and verify from third parties that you are diligently pursuing your professional efforts to market your art and craft work. This is only one step in keeping good records and improving your business practices.

So after shaking your head over the news, stuff that letter where it belongs.  Then get back to work and keep your focus on what is important.

Stay tuned for an ongoing series about other ways you can prove to the I.R.S. that you are a business instead of a hobby. 

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info


Are your image descriptions the best they can be?

Your image description is an important ingredient in the successful presentation of your work in all media. The image description can play many roles. Once written, it can be used over and over in multiple applications and situations.  Too frequently, artists are not taking full advantage of this important opportunity in developing an identity for their work.

Your image description should ideally be short and to the point. It is NOT an artist statement or bio. It should include:

  • Title of the work
  • Copyright
  • Date of the work
  • Name of artist
  • Materials
  • Dimensions
    • height
    • width
    • depth
  • Photo Credit

If your work has a mechanism or some element that is not apparent in the photo, add one short sentence about this feature in the description.

WomanizerFULL72 Write the image description as soon as you complete the work. Then you can use it over and over.  Get in the habit of including the image description EVERY TIME you  show your work. This includes all postings on the web for Facebook, Flickr or portfolio sites like Crafthaus. There is no excuse for not posting your description. It only takes a few minutes to copy and paste the description into any situation.

Do NOT use the term "mixed media."  It is not descriptive enough to help the viewer figure out if you used oil paint, or nail polish, glitter, sequins, rhinestones or gemstones, oil paint to enamel, just to mention a few scenarios.

Avoid using "fluff" terms that might be found in a T.V. commercial or print ad or catalog.  Terms such as "designer,"  "showcase," "special," etc. are not appropriate in your image description.  A selling situation is completely different than an image description. If you are selling your work or describing your work for a catalog, then you can modify the image description to suit a particular context.

Place or link your image description with all your work that appears online. This is not conceited self-promotion, this is sharing information with your viewers. 

Your image description can also be used for on line jury sites and applications. Keep the information to the facts. Advertising verbiage is inappropriate in this context. 

A sample image description is shown below.

Womanizer, Kitchen Queen    © 1982  Harriete Estel Berman

Blender body and lid are a painted copper construction.
Button panel has a plastic lamination with applied lettering reads:
     LOVE, HONOR, OBEY, CHERISH, MIX, BLEND, STIR, CREAM, SPREAD, BEAR.

Pierced Nu-gold brass lettering on button panel Womanizer, Kitchen Queen and
crown (Misstress of the Home).

Ballerina inside the transparent plastic blender container pirouettes in conjunction with the music by wind-up mechanism.                                            

15" height   x   5” width   x   5.5" depth

Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info


Email annoucements - Are yours effective and professional?

SAMPLE-ANNOUCEMENT-COMBINED
Sample postcard announcement
Front and Back are combined

In this day of modern technology it is acceptable to send an announcement by email. This can save money on printing and postage, and save trees. It is common for many people to have a larger list of email contacts than traditional mailing addresses. So sending out an announcement via email is definitely the way to go.  But far too many artists are making errors, I mean HUGE ERRORS, in the way they approach sending out email announcements.

DO NOT DO THE FOLLOWING:

DO NOT send an email with no text and only an attachment. Create an abridged version of the information and personal note in the body of the email. If you don't introduce yourself with a friendly note about who you are and the basic information included in the attachment, many people are not going to open an unknown attachment due to fear of viruses or spam.

Do not simply send two images of a scanned postcard (one of the front, one of the back).  Instead, take full advantage of PhotoShop (or another image editing program) and create a special internet version of your announcement with images and the information. This one item can be sent as an attachment. 

Try to make your email attachment as small as possible. Try not to send larger than 1 MB or 2 MB images. The best option and most professional is to send your attachment as a PDF.  PDF automatically compresses the file size of the attachment.  Most important, PDF's do not carry viruses and are safe to open. Your intended recipient will feel much more comfortable opening a PDF attachment.

I couldn't add the PDF to this blog, but a high quality PDF with images was slightly over 1 MB which is acceptable.

If you can't create a PDF, pay attention to the attachment file size.  As an example, I took an old announcement postcard, scanned both sides and combined them as one image (see example image above).   As a TIF at 300 dpi it was 23MB (which is too big).  When reduced to 72dpi and 8" x 10" it was 1.16 MB.  As a JPG at 72dpi using the SAVE FOR WEB option and compressed to 80%, it was 171KB.  A small file is a very courteous option to send as email.

TEST YOUR EMAIL FIRST before sending it out to your entire mailing list. Do a few tests to yourself first, then to close friends or relatives. Ask them in advance how the email looks when it arrives in their mail box with their specific computer or email program. Make sure it is working, especially if you are new at using a newsletter template or HTML EMAIL.

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info

  
   

Gallery Series: Finding Galleries, Submitting Images, Working Relationships

At the beginning of this year, Don Friedlich, Andy Cooperman and I wrote a series of articles originally published on Etsy that I think all artists and makers will find useful. These articles cover some of the most common questions asked by emerging artists.  It is rewarding to know that these articles are now available as a resource to anyone who wants to read this information.

You can find the entire series HERE on my web site. These articles are also on the Professional Development Seminar page on the SNAG web site.

The four articles are:

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

If you want to find out more about any of the authors of these articles click on their names to go to their web site.

I hope that you find this information helpful.  If you have any further questions just ASK Harriete at: bermaid@harriete-estel-berman.info. It would be helpful to every one to hear your questions.

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info

 


How can I find a gallery to show my work?

In the previous post, John Jensen wanted to find a gallery that would show his knives.  My first response is to work toward developing your target audience directly.  In his case, it is with the knife collector audience. For each reader, it will be some other select group.  However, if you really want to be on a gallery's radar, then there are several steps you can take.

Option 1. Participate in group shows hosted at a gallery or non-profit exhibition space.
Option 2. Do your research to find galleries that show work within your price range, media and style, then send them a "package" about your work.

To pursue Option 1, assuming you really want to have your work included in a gallery show, look for group shows that are occasionally sponsored by galleries or non-profit exhibition spaces nearby. These are usually based on a theme, specific media, or an exhibition of the local arts guild, etc.

You should join as many guilds and art organizations as you can find, both at a local and national level.  Join organizations both within and outside of your specific network such as local Arts Guild, SNAG, and ACC (American Craft Council).  Look in their newsletters and publications for possible exhibition opportunities and make work to fit these shows. 

Adapt to a theme.  If the theme of a show is "purple with red spots" then you need to make a knife that is "purple with red spots."  If the theme of the show is political, then make a political knife. If the theme of the show is boxes, then make a box for your knife.

Jensen_dagger_cover
Dagger of the cover of 500 Knives
John Jensen

There can be no holding back with the definition of whether your knife fits a show. Look at the exhibition themes as broadly as possible and think about how your work can fit.

Here is an example: A few years back there was a publication of Exhibition in Print sponsored by SNAG about the senses. Your knife might have fit right in if your photo included touch (in other words,  sharpness of your knives) as an example of the senses.  (I am not recommending cutting yourself with knives here. I am simply suggesting that a knife with a sharp edge could be about the senses especially if your photo and Artist Statement spoke to the theme.)

As I mentioned in the previous post, marketing art and craft work is not just taking a photograph and PhotoShop-ing the image.  You need to think about how you can find opportunities in unexpected places and develop a following for your work.

Galleries won't do this for you, they will only follow your lead if you have proven that you have an audience that wants to see your knives.

Wishing for new opportunities outside the knife world will not cut it. (pun intended). YOU need to find these opportunities in every way you can. By the way, you should definitely get your own Facebook name if you can and name your image files when you send them out following to previous blog recommendations.

Look at the recent Profesional Guidelines document Working with Digital Images Effectively so that you know how to title your image files properly.

While we are talking about images, I have also noticed that knife makers seem to Photo Shop their images into multiple views combined in one image (sometimes with vibrantly colored backgrounds) such as the images of John Jensen's knives in the previous post. My impression is that this style of image is not appropriate to the gallery context. I would keep your photos for galleries to backgrounds that are white (or graduated white to dark) with one view of your knife per image. Use the Professional Guidelines document Guide to Quality Photographic Images to help evaluate your images for the galleries.

Hope this information helps.

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info


How can I market my work when galleries resist?

Krystallos
Krystallos
John Jensen

Dear ASK Harriete,

I was wondering if you had any guidelines on how to find and approach galleries. I have a hard enough time with people being freaked out by my work (knives) that I want to make sure I'm doing everything else right to help offset the "Knives are not art", or "Knives are weapons" B.S. that I often encounter...

Any tips and techniques on getting galleries to say "Yes"?

Thanks,

John Jensen

Dear John,

You do have the ultimate difficult object to show in galleries . . . and frankly, I am wondering why you want to be in galleries at all.  Knives do have a market but it is usually not in a gallery setting.

Galleries are in the business to show work that they think their customers will buy, otherwise they will go out of business.  They base their decisions on their business experience, as well as their own interests and personal tastes.  If their business grows, they develop a following of like-minded clients that reinforces their earlier decisions on which artists to represent.

Syndrome
Syndrome
John Jensen

If galleries lack interest in showing knives, it is most likely because they think that your work will not appeal to their client base.  This is a business decision and is not a reflection on whether knives are art or craft, etc.

In my next post, I will suggest ways to become more involved in the gallery scene, how to find a gallery, and how to improve your chances that a gallery will choose to show your work. However, I think you have much more potential finding buyers and collectors by using the Internet, in addition to connecting with books and magazines about knives.

Make it easy for knife enthusiasts to find you.  The Internet is fantastic for connecting both makers and buyers of unusual or less common objects.  Since your work is in a distinct niche market, the Internet could serve you well.   Join and use as many online groups as you can find that will show images of your work. This includes Facebook, Flickr, and Crafthaus as examples.  These sites offer a number of specialized groups, especially Flickr. They also list online exhibitions and real world exhibition opportunities as a service to their members . . . or you could sponsor an exhibition yourself.

Look online for knife organizations, knife conferences, knife craft shows, even events that attract knife enthusiasts. I am not familiar with the knife world, but the Internet definitely makes research much easier for anyone interested in niche markets. The point is that you want to be found by people who are more likely to appreciate and buy your knives.  If your potential clients are not the typical gallery clientele, then you need to "show" your work where your audience will find you.   

Jensen_dagger_cover
Nuibiru, 2008,
Cover photo for 500 Knives

John Jensen

Keep going...look online for blogs about knives. If you can't find one, start your own.   With a little bit of effort toward building your online visibility, your audience with grow dramatically. 

I'd also like to bust the myth that a gallery will do all the work of marketing for you.  They will do some, but you can't be a market success unless YOU take charge of marketing your work. 

I noticed that you will have a knife on the cover of 500 Knives.  Great news! Your next step is to look up every one of the knife makers in the book. Look at their websites or find them online. Look where they show their work. Email them, network with them online. Ask them, "Where do you show your work?" Look for shops or stores that sell knives as well. This might be a much better direction than galleries since stores are accustomed to buying merchandise outright, rather than showing work on consignment.

Stay tuned for the next post about connecting with the gallery marketplace.

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info


Uploading Images to Social Networking Sites: What size is recommended?

ConIDchair_full1000
Consuming Identity Chair
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

When it comes to uploading images to Social Networking sites for online viewing, you want to keep a couple of important factors in mind.

  • Image size for optimal online viewing is usually about 1Mb.
  • Some sites impose a size limit.  
  • Check to make sure your  digital images show up properly.
  • Take full advantage of tags and descriptions for each image.

I've found that a file size in the range of one megabyte (1Mb) or less is a practical size for nearly all social networking sites. When you upload an image,  most online 2.0 sites will automatically downsize the  digital image file to fit their template for thumbnail images.  These sites typically retain the larger file so that if anyone clicks on the thumbnail, a larger pop up image will open.   Use these built-in features of 2.0 sites to your advantage.

Not too small!  Small images (for example 100 x 150 pixels) may look fine for quick review as a "thumbnail" for your website, or as the thumbnail on a social networking "page" or "portfolio."  But if a potential buyer clicks on the image for a larger, closer inspection, and the image does not increase in size, it is very disappointing.  Click on the image above to see the difference.

I've also heard of people intentionally uploading small images out of fear that their work may be copied.  Frankly my advice is to "get over it."  Move on.  Keep developing your portfolio with skill and artistic vision amplified by hard work.  A copycat, if one ever occurs, will be found out soon enough.  The recurring benefits of larger, high resolution images far outweigh the small chance of abuse.   

Not too big!  Don't upload an image file that is too large either.  Many people have high speed connections, but very large image files (e.g. 3MB and larger) may take such a long time to render on the viewer's monitor that they stop and go elsewhere. 

Always try a test viewing of your online images as if you were a potential curator or buyer visiting the site.  If it doesn't show up the way you expected, find out why, delete it and re-upload a corrected image file.    

Check here soon for upcoming blogs on tags and descriptions to get the most out of uploaded images. Read the previous blog about image labels.

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info


Image labels generate Internet visibility.

Stimulus Plan4.72
Stimulus Plan Pins
Recycled tin cans, ss rivets
Available at Sienna Gallery

Your photographic images can be working for you across the Internet at the speed of light, 24 hours a day.  So as you "sign up" and upload your images with various social networking and portfolio sites, take the time to label your images for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to maximize potential traffic.  Proper titles, labels and descriptions help search engines find your work. 

BASIC INFORMATION:  Every image that you post on the Internet, whether on Facebook, Crafthaus, Flickr, or other social networking/portfolio sites, needs to be labeled with the following information:

  • Artist's name
  • Title of the work
  • Copyright symbol
  • Date of work
  • Media or materials
  • Dimensions (height, width, depth)
  • Helpful other tags (if possible)

Some sites make it easier than others to incorporate this information.  Each site might need to be labeled in a slightly different way, but a little effort can attract a lot more traffic.

WarmSunshine72
Sunshine Pin
Recycled tin cans, ss rivets
Available through Sienna Gallery

Help people find your work.  Although most people are familiar with searching, there may be enormous variations in how they initiate a search; whether by artist name, the title, a rough description, the materials, date, etc.  Let this influence your approach to labeling when uploading images. 

Create a variety of ways for search engines to "hit" your work.   For example, in the "Title" box for labeling photos, I first type in the title of the work, and then add my name and date of work within the "title" box.  That way if people are searching the "titles" category for my name, they will find my work.

Same goes for the "Description" box.  Type in all the relevant information about your work in the "description" including your name (again) and other relevant search terms for your work.   

One more suggestion is to spell your name in the tags in a variety of ways if your name is often misspelled.  For example, my first name is "Harriete."  There are several common variations such as "Harriet" (no E at the end) and "Harriette" (with 2 t's.)  My middle name is "Estel," but it is often written as "Estelle."  Don't think I'm crazy. Even if someone misspells my name, I want them to find my work.  Isn't that your goal?  Think about how people regularly misspell your name and use it in your tags.

Time for visibility.  I know that labeling is a bit tedious, especially if you are uploading multiple images.  One time-saver is to compose much of the information in a Word document and then "copy" and "paste" to alleviate some repetition. I use my image descriptions document for just this purpose and a special Word document of "tags" to speed up the process.

Keep in mind that search engines can't "see" an image and can only search on the words that you type in to these tags and boxes.  The payoff, thereafter, is that the labels will be working for you tirelessly across the Internet for a very long time.     

Harriete Estel Berman
www.harriete-estel-berman.info

 
P.S.   All of these recommendations depend on having great photographic images and understanding digital images. The Professional Guidelines has a new document titled Working with Digital Images Effectively. Use this document as a checklist or guide. If you don't know how to work with digital images, take a class at your local high school or college offering adult education classes. Also Lynda.com  offers a really amazing web site with tutorials as either a yearly subscription or purchasing a CD. Knowing how to work with digital images effectively is a skill that every artist and crafts person needs to learn and master. It is as important a tool as your paint brush, potter's wheel, glaze or drill press.


Use social networking sites for visibiliy

I enjoy surfing around the Internet looking at work by other artists and craftspeople.  However, sometimes when I discover an attractive image or piece of work, if there is no supporting information, I am left disappointed.  It is like the artist didn't care to put any effort in explaining the work.  Lacking some kind of description, or at least a list of materials, forces me to guess or speculate or make up my own assumptions.

Online viewing is different than viewing work in a museum, gallery or craft show. When online, I do not have the option of looking at the real work, walking all the way around, standing far away and then looking close.  An online image is limited by the size and quality of my computer monitor (the 72 dpi of all Internet images) and by the quality of the photographic image posted by the individual artist.  People may even be looking at your work on their mobile phones or PDA's (Personal Digital Assistant). A description included with the work will help them decipher this postage stamp size image. 

MeasuringCompliance_600
Measuring Compliance
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Detailed information will help the viewer to interpret your images. The title, media, and materials give the viewer a better insight about the work. The dimensions give the viewer a clear idea about the size of the work. Some work looks smaller or larger, than in reality. For example, in this sculpture titled Measuring Compliance (left) people often assume it is a "miniature."  In fact it is a life size 3rd grade desk and 3rd grade chair. Without the dimensions, would you assume it's height is 7 inches - or 7 feet?.   Big difference!

It is also a good idea to group your work on these sites by categories that are appropriate to your work. Most sites offer some method to organize your photos. Take time to make these categories interesting.  This way if a person is looking at your albums or sets, you are offering a rich resource of information.

The Internet is your marketing and sales department.  What do people see in your work?  What do you want people to know about your work?  The Internet will speak for you if you simply provide the information along with your images.  Compose at least a brief description and statement.  You can always edit it later.     

Harriete Estel Berman
www.harriete-estel-berman.info

 

P.S.  In an earlier post, the following was itemized for your artwork descriptions:

Basic Label Information

  • Artist's name
  • Title of the work
  • Copyright symbol
  • Date of work
  • Media or materials
  • Dimensions (height, width, depth)
  • Helpful other tags (if possible)

Stay tuned for information about using SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for maximum visibility.


Documents to sell a work of art.

Vanes1casey
Casey by John van Es

Hi Harriete,

I've painted all my life and I'm now 45 years old.  I recently created my own website and linked it to other portfolio sites to display my work.  I only show a handful of what I've created.  A buyer is interested in two paintings and is asking for papers and documents. What should be given to the buyer?  I never tried to sell before so don't know what to do.    Thanks in advance for your advice. You can  visit my web site if you want.
Signed,

Unsure,

 John van Es

       
Dear John,

Thanks for your question and for labeling your images correctly!

The following information should be sent for artwork that you want to sell.

  • A polite and business-like letter thanking the collector for his interest in your work and itemizing the materials enclosed with the letter (below).
  • CD of digital images. These images should be professional guality images at least 8"x 10" at 300 dpi. Read the new Professional Guidelines documents about digital images for more information.  Include a full view and some close up images for each piece.
  • Contact sheet with thumbnail images of the digital images on the C.D. This Contact Sheet is for quick reference. Read Working with Digital Images Effectively for guidance in making your contact sheet. 
  • Resume (1-5 pages with your mailing address since it doesn't appear you are working through a gallery).
  • Artist Statement (about the particular artwork on the C.D.)
  • Description for the artwork on the C.D. including title, copyright symbol, date of work, media (be specific), dimensions (height x width x depth)
  • Photo Credit for the image.
  • Retail Price (label the price as "Retail Price" to avoid confusion with wholesale or artist's price.)

VanEs3geronimo
Geronimo by John van Es

If you have exhibited this particular artwork or if it is included in books, then you might want to list the exhibitions or publications that show or have shown the work. Also if you have any postcards or articles from newspapers or magazines that included images of the artworks, that would be very nice, but it is not necessary.

I have heard about a “Certificate of Authentication” from some people, but this seems more like a fluffy promotional sound bite when buying a souvenir plate.  There is no such organization or ''Certificate of Authentication" that is recognized universally. 

You letter could document that you created and own the copyright for the artwork. The information listed above should be all that is necessary to give the collector confidence in the fact that he is buying an original painting directly from the artist.

IF you think that "price discounts" may be raised by the collector, I recommend that you read the Professional Guidelines document Discounts.

After the purchase is complete, you should send a receipt for the purchase along with a "thank you" note.

Good luck with the purchase.

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info



Create an "image description" for every artwork.

When you have selected which images will represent your work, you need to immediately compose an "image description."  The image description is a permanent supplement to your photographic image. Once created your image description can be used over and over in a wide spectrum of opportunities. Copy and paste the description into jury applications and exhibition opportunities and when posting your images on line with Web 2.0 social networking like Facebook, Crafthaus and more! In addition, include it in your own  Inventory Record, Artist Statement, press releases and art/craft newsletters.

Reality Studded with Thorns Hides the Front Door from the Street.tihf
Reality Studded with Thorns Hides the Front Door from the Street Photo Credit: Philip Cohen




 

Your image description should include the following.

  • Artist's name
  • Title of the work
  • Copyright symbol
  • Date of work
  • Media or materials
  • Dimensions (height, width, depth)

Here is what my image description looks like if it were printed on an 8.5" x 11" piece of paper. CLICK ON THE BOX below to see this example clearly.
SlideDESCRIPTION
 
Sometimes I will include a very brief description of a unique aspect of a particular piece such as opening,closing or functional aspect not apparent in the photo. CLICK ON THE BOX below to see this nice a clear.

Bermanbunsdescription 

Your image descriptions can develop professional opportunities. Give your superhero images the captions that they need.  Use every opportunity no matter how small or large to give the viewer the information they need to understand and interpret the photos of your work.  

BUNSinOVEN- Bunsoven_back 

Jurors, editors, and curators  always want to select the best  work, but in reality all work submitted is evaluated on the quality and interpretation of the photographic images.  Give the jurors as much insight as you can with an appropriate image description.  

For more information, use the two new documents in the Professional Guidelines to help evaluate your photos. The Guide to Professional Quality Images offers concrete issues to consider in your photos.  Working with Digital Images Effectively will assist you in practical aspects of digital images.


Images, Marketing, and Superheroes

The photographic images of your work can be like superheroes at promoting your work.  They can zoom across the Internet at the speed of light, shrink to the size of a first class postal envelope, expand to super viewing size, keep working 24 hours a day, and show up in galleries, shows, homes, and offices around the world. 

Berman RECYCLE Bracelet by Harriete Estel Berman in Fushia & Blacka
RECYCLE Fushia & Black Bracelet
© 2011 Harriete Estel Berman
Recycled plastic
Photo Credit: Aryn Shelander

This is a really important concept for artists and craftspeople to embrace.  All of us hope that many people will see our work in person, however, it is a near certainty that many more people can or will see the photographs of your work in print or on the Internet.

Your images can be in every library and every home in books, magazines, or the web constantly introducing your work to new audiences.

Champagne 5-30-07 Bracelet by Harriete Estel Berman
 Champagne Bracelet
 Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

The photographic images of your work are the most powerful networking tool that you have in your possession. Yet all too often artists and craftspeople are not properly using or adequately developing this "super ability" available to everyone.

Paddleboat Teapot Bracelet by Harriete Estel Berman
  PaddlebBoat Bracelet with Tea © 2007
  Recycled tin cans
  Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
  Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

It is a false economy to think that you are saving money by taking your own photos with modest consumer level cameras lacking professional quality backgrounds, lighting, and other advanced equipment.  Is there any wonder that such pedestrian images are not performing as well as hoped for?  Don't miss this fantastic opportunity to promote your work.

 


If your trying to take your own photos learn from the experts.
The 2011 SNAG Professional Development Seminar offered a series of lectures with tons of information that will help you take better quality images. Find them all on the Professional Development Seminar page on my web site.

Oreo Bracelet by Harriete EStel Berman photographed by Stevie B Photography
Oreo Bracelet  © 2001
Recycled tin cans, brass,
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Steven Brian Photography

It is time to create your own personal superheroes!
Take a look at your images with a critical eye. This is not in the negative sense, but with the perspective of careful comparison to truly high quality images. Are the photographic images of your work achieving the high standard and visibility that you aspire for your work?

 

 

 

Use the PROFESSIONAL GUIDELINES

Use the two new documents in the Professional Guidelines to guide you in this evaluation.

The Guide to Professional Quality Images offers concrete issues to evaluate your images. Here are a few highlights covered in this document in more detail.

TIPS FOR BETTER PHOTOS:

Start with the focus, exposure and composition of the images. Every single element needs to be exactly 100% correct and interesting. Avoid over exposure, under exposure and harsh highlights.  Don't settle for "good enough."  Just like your work, everything should be perfect.

BadIMG_BraceletW Your photographic background should be white, grey or graduated light to dark.  Avoid distracting backgrounds such as leaves, branches, logs , stones,  or grass (as in this photo).

Colored, wrinkly and textured fabric or paper (as in the next photo) are not a good choice either.  These stylized attempts fail almost every time because they detract from the primary purpose of the image: to have the viewer focus on your work.


BadIMG_ear_fabric272 Fill the entire photographic image with your work. A common problem that I see is that the object or artwork is too small within the picture plane (as in this image) or shot at an odd angle. Be bold and confident; fill the picture frame with your work.


GrassCUside72
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

The close-up image should be memorable also.  The close-up image needs to convey a ton of detail information about materials, texture, and techniques within your work.  It should be like an intimate revelation of key elements that make your work special. 

Take time to evaluate your photos objectively and constructively.  Get in-depth, analytical opinions from friends, colleagues or your Critique Group.  Don't let them give you a polite passing comment.  Really dig deep and evaluate the elements of the image.  Use the criteria established in the Professional Guidelines Guide to Quality Photographic Images as a foundation or checklist. 

Money Game  Flower  Brooch by Harriete EsTel Berman ASK Harriete offers many posts on "superhero images."    Learn how your photographic images can work for you more effectively.  Check them out!

If you have examples of good and bad photo comparisons that you are willing to share, please send them to me for a new Professional Guidelines document with photographic examples.

Harriete 
www.harriete-estel-berman.info 


Marketing Fundamentals for Artists and Crafts people

How to improve the marketing and visibility for your work?  Recently, I had the opportunity to choose a special Gift Guide on Etsy of SNAG members selling work on Etsy. This invitational showcase is a wonderful opportunity for additional exposure for SNAG members.  However, the selection process revealed some far too common shortcomings and Marketing 101 mistakes.   Below are a few suggestions that artists and makers  should follow without exception if they want to promote their work.

1) Use your COMPLETE name - and make it easy for customers to find you.  If you have a common first and last name, add initials or use your middle name.  Check the Internet for how many other people have the same name.   Do you know that there are so many users named "Adam Evans" on Facebook that they formed a club.  On Etsy alone there are 374 sellers named "Kristin". Use your complete name consistently and make all references to your work or related sites the same (or as similar as you can).

2)Always reply to opportunities with complete and comprehensive information.   When I put the call out for SNAG members on Etsy, many people sent me incomplete information. VERY FRUSTRATING!  Over and over people didn't send enough information for me to find them.  It was challenging; and for some people I just had to give up.  When an entry asks for information, make it as complete as possible.  Include your name, contact information, email, name of your Etsy shop (for example). Maybe even your web site or other portfolio site.

BTW (or by the way), an Etsy shop has a name. For example my Etsy shop name is http://www.harrieteestelberman.etsy.com.  This name is much easier to associate with a person than the technical URL address: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5706884.  Can you imagine how difficult it is for normal people to track Etsy sellers when only those funky number URL's are given?  Using your name for the Etsy shop also creates an identity for you and your work. It gives your shop an memorable brand name to your customers and colleagues. Apply this brand name conept to every situation.

3)Use only professional quality photos. Use the  Professional Guidelines  Guide to  Professional Quality Images. Compare your images to the qualities discussed in the document. Are your photos helping to sell your work or just documentation? Photos should be your best sales tool to reach potential customers - make it work for you, no excuses!  I will discuss this topic more in later documents, but really look at your photos with a critical eye. They represent your work. Are they as good as they can possibly be?

4) My final suggestion for today is "be polite."  Some people were rude - perhaps unintentionally, but that is how I perceived it.  Here was an opportunity for exposure and some people responded with no more than a single line of information that was often incomplete (as described above) without so much as a "hello". "please" or "thank you". That really doesn't work very well as an introduction, nor does it make a favorable impression in the big competitive world of reality.

So next time you want to improve your marketing, invest some time in developing a unique and consistent name and professional identity, think ahead and have some GREAT PHOTOS, and make all of your correspondence memorable and positive.

Learn more about professional development in the arts community by reading ASK Harriete regularly and check out the  Professional Guidelines.

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info


How do you stay motivated when trying to find a market for your work?

Dear Harriete,

 

There's so much to consider when making and marketing work that I sometimes feel like the crazy plate spinner in the circus.  For the past year, sales have been almost non-existent which also has me feeling a bit disgruntled.  I have a ton of work that I've made during the eight years since my BFA and I'm kinda tired of looking at it.

How do you stay motivated when trying to find a market for your work?

Signed,

 

 

Disgruntled and lost

Dear Disgruntled,

For aspiring artists and craftspeople, the path for success is NOT about making work to sell. The path to success is to make the best most interesting, deep, esoteric, off the beaten path, unique,  "_________(fill in the blank here)" in the whole world. It has to reflect your inner core, not what you think will sell.  You need to dig deep.

Expecting to sell what you make as a measure of success is a poor measure of the merit for your work (and bound to make you feel bad in this poor economy).  If you want to make work to sell, then make work for Target or Wal-Mart. That is what sells. In reality, nearly all artists and crafts people must find supplemental income.

As for staying motivated, the book titled, Talent is Overrated, by Geoff Colvin. analyzes how people become successful. I recommend that you read it. A very important concept of the book is regular, "deliberate practice."  Most successful people accumulate over 10,000 hours of deliberate practice before they become a success.  If you started in elementary school, or when you were 3 years old like Tiger Woods, then you will have your 10,000 by the age of 21, or 24. But if you started your deliberate practice as a student in college, then you've just begun your 10,000 hours of practice. 

My favorite part of the book is in the last chapter, "Where Does the Passion Come From?"   Colvin points out that focusing on extrinsic motivation such as awards (or money) reduces the creativity of the outcome. This principal is backed up by academic research.  So where does passion come from? It certainly has to come from within.  Think about what you really love to do.

 

While doing your "deliberate practice" every day in the studio, develop visibility for your work outside of or beyond the gallery/consignment world.  Look for other opportunities to gain insights and experience like submitting your work to calendars or magazines, or volunteer with your local or national arts organization or at a local small museum or non-profit. Network online like crazy. Save your money from your day job for professional photography when you are ready.

(Taking your own pictures is a back up plan.)

 

 

Start or join a Critique group.  I have been in several critique groups for over 28 years. It is an absolute necessity to hear solid critical feedback from your professional peers. Eventually, the group may even create or lead to group show opportunities.  Avoid talking about children, dogs, cats, and personal problems. Talk only about the work of the members.  Download Critique Group Guidelines Final 2011

 

One final thought. Have you considered giving away a few of your experiments or finished pieces to friends or family that appreciate your work? This may expose your work to a wider and diverse audience.

 

Keep working,

 

Harriete

 

 


Are your images good enough?

Bridgette Martin on Crafthaus recently posted a blog with six tips about photographic images. This is such an important topic for all artists and makers in all media. She should know. Bridgette has established Crafthaus, an arts community social network on line and runs her own "bricks and mortar" gallery Luke and Eloy in Pittsburgh. She looks at images everyday.

Fabulous photographic images have always been important but with the circulation of images on the Internet, and the growing opportunities to have your work published in books and magazines great photographic images have become even more important.

That is why I decided to write a new Professional Guidelines document about Quality Photographic Images. This will be published soon. There is also a new topic KNOWING HOW TO WORK WITH DIGITAL IMAGES which is almost complete. The final topic of this three part series will be bad and good photographic examples with an explanation.

If anyone would like to submit their photos for public evaluation in this 3rd document please send them directly to me as 2" x 2", 300 dpi. Send the images to: bermaid [at] harriete-estel-berman [dot] info. As compensation for allowing me to use your images in this document, I am offering a private critique of the photo and the work if you are interested. This is optional but can be an opportunity to work toward success.

To be successful, all creative individuals need to strive for improvement and "deliberate practice" as described in the book TALENT IS OVERRATED by Geoff Colvin. Are you striving for improvement? Do you show your images to your Critique Group and ask for critique? Are you projecting your images to see if they still look good to a jury? A digital camera does not make you a photographer. Evaluate your images carefully as a key to success.


Staying Motivated and Inspired

Staying inspired and motivated can be difficult for an artist or maker,especially in this slow economy when retail sales are down. Don't let it get you down. When things are slow, you need to refocus your efforts on quality work and refining your inspiration.

I highly recommend reading a book by Twyla Tharp titled, "The Creative Habit". She reveals many of her tricks and techniques for staying focused on her work.  She continuously stresses the importance of practicing her craft all the time..."scratching" (as she calls it) to develop new ideas.

Another suggestion is to  "Quit before you are exhausted". She likes to quit before her creative focus is exhausted, she wants to be able to retain some energy for the next step in the studio.

When my work is going well and I have to quit and walk away, my trick is to write down what I need to do next. I put a note to myself, front and center on my work bench with the next half hour of work laid out for me to do.  When I walk in the next day, feeling cold (there is no heat in my studio) and uninspired, my day's first task is ready to go. This can jump start my day.

Harriete


How do I submit work to a gallery for view?

This is part two of a four part series by Don Friedlich, Harriete Estel Berman and Andy Cooperman for artists and crafts people about submitting work to galleries and retail establishments. Originally published on Etsy's Storque. CLICK HERE to read the entire series.

After your research to find a gallery appropriate for your work (as described by Don Friedlich in PART 1 ) now it is time to contact the gallery with images of your work.

First look on-line at the gallery’s web site for information on how artists should submit images and material for review. Check the web site thoroughly: often this information is buried deep in the web site since this is not information commonly accessed by the public.

If you don’t see this information on the web site, call or email the gallery directly.  Introduce yourself and ask about their procedures for artist review and application. Don’t be surprised if they say that they aren’t taking on any new artists: the gallery world is limited and selective.

If you are invited to submit material, follow the gallery’s submission guidelines EXACTLY including the number, size and type of images. Some galleries prefer a package sent through the mail; others may prefer email submissions or a link to your web site.

Most importantly, submit only fantastic images. Gallery owners and managers may reasonably assume that the quality of the photographic documentation that you submit is representative of the quality of your work.  While this assumption may not be true, visual images play a critical role and their quality and appearance do influence the gallery’s assessment of your work. 

Do not send images with distractions in the background.  I would suggest a background of white or a graduated grey.  Brightly colored backgrounds are fine for websites (e.g. Etsy) but rarely used in the “gallery world.”  

I took some photos of my own work to illustrate what I mean by low quality photography.
BadIMG_BraceletWThe first image ( left) has a distracting background and a hot spot where the flash is bouncing or sunlight is glaring.

BadIMG_earringsWThe next photo (right) has many problems. The colored background with embroidered beads is distracting. Wrinkled fabric in never a good photo backdrop.The earrings are off to one side with too much empty space within the frame. The images is slightly                                          out of focus.

Here are a few suggestions for top quality images:

•    Avoid an unbalanced image, such as the subject off to one side.
•    Avoid too much empty space in your image – fill the frame.
•    Correct lighting and exposure is essential.
•    Do not use heavily textured fabric or paper, wrinkled or draped material, dramatic or contrived backgrounds such as sunsets, landscapes, pebbles or exotic patterns. 

YOUR IMAGE PACKAGE should look creative and professional.  Unless the gallery specifies differently, include the following in your image package:

•    Cover Letter - stating briefly why your work is appropriate for that particular gallery or retail establishment. If you have visited the gallery, say so in the letter. Make it clear that your decision to approach this particular gallery is based on your research into the work they represent.
•    Resume  - one or two pages
•    Artist Statement - one or two short paragraphs (short, entertaining and relevant about your work). Pique their interest in your work with interesting content, and make it relevant to the gallery and their audience. 
•    Images of your work - burned on a CD or sent by email.
o    Send jpg (for easy viewing) if sending the images by email.
o    Send both jpg and tif 300 dpi (or higher for print quality), if you are sending a CD. 
•    SASE Envelope (Self Addressed Stamped Envelope) if you want your materials returned.
•    Image description sheet should include the following information for every image.
o    Title of work
o    Date of work
o    Artist’s name
o    Brief description of materials
o    Dimensions (height x width x depth)
o    Photo Credit of the photographer

Contact Sheet (Page of thumbnail images and key information)   SampleCONTACTsheetHANDOUT
A contact sheet is rarely requested but if you are sending a CD in the mail, I think this adds a lot to your image package. This way the gallery or store can quickly glance at your images without even putting the CD in their computer. This quick and easy access to your images was an advantage that slides offered that has been lost with digital media.

Make sure that the titles for the images include your last name and the title of the work (or at least part of the title).Example for my images:   BermanH_IDneck.jpg 

Place all your materials in an interesting, colorful, professional envelope styled to be consistent with you work and the gallery. Your key to success is hard work, originality, and persistence.

Good luck.

Harriete Estel Berman


I never make any money, how do you stay motivated year after year?

Dear Harriete,

MichellePajakReynolds
Lily Necklace by Michelle Pajak-Reynolds

As I prepare my yearly records for my accountant, the expenses vs income $$'s are always lopsided.  While I'm very frugal, I spend WAY more than what comes back. I hope it's not too personal a question to ask, but have your $$'s ever turned out this way as well.  Sometimes I feel like my art habit is pulling too much out of my household income.  While it's really only a small percentage of our total, it's still a several thousand each year. How do you stay motivated year after year?

 

Signed,
Worried about negative cash flow

Dear At a Loss,

 

You've really hit on a couple of fundamental issues.  One, Can I make a living out of my art?  And two, How do I stay motivated?  Many, if not all, artists have been confronted by these issues. 

Let's separate these topics because I think of them as entirely different. In this post I will address the money issue and the importance of using Short Term and Long Term Goals for your professional development and motivation. Then, continue with a few suggestion to stay motivated and inspired about your work.

IS MONEY MOTIVATION FOR CREATING
Personally, I have never made much money from my artwork despite the fact that  I do more every year to generate income.  To make ends meet, I have a part time job (leading exercise) and do silver repair work.  I give lectures, workshops and speak at schools and conferences.  Each year a couple of major pieces do sell and some smaller items sell more often.  The art sales alone are not enough to cover my expenses, sometimes close but not enough.

Harriete and emiko sorting for future use r

 

Making a living from your art. The reality for most artists and craftspeople is that they need additional sources of income outside of their artwork to pay the rent and support themselves. To put it bluntly, don't give up your day job. 

This may not be the answer you wanted to hear, but making a living from art is not a practical motivator. It is irregular and outside of your control. 

Revenue from my work is not my sole source of motivation. Really it is only a small part of the big picture.

So how can an artist/maker stay motivated? First and most important, you need to decide your Goals for Success,  then break this down into Short Term and Long Term Goals.

Be honest with yourself? Is making a living from your work your most important goal? Then your production methods need to align with this goal along with the type of items you produce.

I am more motivated by making the best, original, innovative work that I can and  finding exhibition opportunities. Displaying my work in great exhibitions, included in books and magazines, and purchased for museum collections are my goals. As an artist, I work at aligning my work methods, and designs toward these goals. 

 

WRITE DOWN YOUR SHORT TERM AND LONG TERM GOALS
Seek your validation from you short and long term goals. Examples include:

  • producing one AMAZING piece per year
  • producing smaller or less involved work that costs less
  • having your work published in books and magazines,
  • having your work included in shows,
  • learning how to update your own web site, 
  • developing your Photoshop skills,
  • participating in a show,
  • organizing a show of your fellow artists,
  • making new opportunities for yourself and others (like a Critique Group),
  • generating money,
  • generating sales.

PARTICIPATE IN A Critigue by  Downloading Critique Group Guidelines Final 2011
This is very important. Use the Critique Group to:

  • Stimulate your work,
  • Create deadlines for yourself to get work done for the next Critique Group
  • Give and receive honest feedback. 
  • Meet monthly to motivate each other.
  • Potentially, the group can create group show opportunities. 

Vague and gratuitous compliments serve no purpose here. Be clear and on target. An "I like it" or "that is interesting" is not useful. Be specific about what works visually and what doesn't. Give a detailed interpretation and identify what elements caused or triggered your perception.  Draw on your knowledge of each artist's objectives and target your comments toward their objectives. Are the fabrication techniques aligned with their goals.  Focus on constructive criticism.  Avoid talking about children, dogs, cats, and personal problems.

A link to my Critique Group Guidelines is provided here.  I recommend that a group have between three and ten people to maintain a core group familiar with the work, previous progress and the short and long term goals of each member. 

DIG DEEP, BE UNIQUE
For me the path to success is to make the best, most interesting, deep, esoteric, off the beaten path, unique,  "_________(fill in the blank here)" in the whole world. It has to reflect your inner core, your passion, your inner being, your singular artistic voice, and a personal vocabulary of fabrication methods that you have developed over time. The more unique, the more unusual the work, the more likely you will reach your goals. Copycat designs will quickly hit the "glass ceiling" of the art and craft world.

Write down the goals for your work, and then study your approach to design and production. Are your work methods, approach to production, promotion, networking, and dedicated focus all aligned like the stars? Are you working in a straight line?  Your goals for your art or craft may be different than mine.

Your goals for your art or craft may be different than mine, the most important thing to realize is the you will never reach your goals if you aren't clear and honest with yourself.

Harriete Estel Berman

 

 

 


Is Your Studio Interesting?

Have you considered creating interest in your artwork by making your studio interesting?

Drillsabstract72 Your studio can be a "magnet" for extra publicity. The creative space of the artist, crafts person, writer or musician has mythical interest to the lay person. They want to see where the magic happens. It is a very popular myth that being a creative person in any media is "fun" and inspiring.  They want to share in the joy of creativity. 

Your creative studio space can promote your work in a whole new light.  Highlight the persona of the artist. The fact that you make your work by hand, from concept to the finished product distinguishes your work from the mass produced items at the mall.

Fix up your studio. This doesn't mean make it entirely neat, tidy and perfect. I mean give it  "character" and the personality of the artist. Make your studio look like no other place on earth. Display your sources of inspiration; share images from your sketch book or the objects that inspire new ideas and forms. If you have no wall space, hang inspirations from the ceiling, decorate your tables and chairs (even if you found them on the street for free).  Embellish, paint, create.  Make your creative space reflect and express your aesthetic and the artist's voice.

Whenever I am feeling uninspired about my artwork, I take a break and put some time into enhancing my studio space, just adding a little more here or there.  Sometimes it is my "warm-up" to get me working in the studio on more important pieces....and believe me, my studio can be cold since there is no heat.

My recent additions to the studio over the last two years include:

SHELVES2Buying junky games for a few cents at yard sales and resale
shops and using the box for storage. It looks a lot more interesting than plain brown cardboard, don't you think?

LINE of Irons72 My iron collection is always on display. A domestic iron is my hallmark, my maker's mark, so this is a fitting symbol in my studio.  I never pay much, usually only a few dollars at most.To see a larger picture of my iron collection visit my studio on my web site. 

ViseTABLEbetter I have decorated some of the tables in my studio with tin cans. Since tin cans are my raw material this is a natural choice for me. Choose the colors, patterns, media, or materials to decorate your studio that reflect your personal aesthetic. If you work with paper, cover your tables with paper; if you paint, why not paint the tables and chairs?  

There is a recent article in Metalsmith Magazine about my studio. If you don't subscribe to Metalsmith Magazine find a copy at a bookstore, your local library (ask them to buy a subscription), or purchase it online. Though this article is about visiting the studio of artist Harriete Estel Berman, the lesson is to think about how you can make your own space interesting and marketable.

After that, think about what publications might be interested in an article about your studio. There are tons of possibilities from your local newspapers to the newspapers near a store that sells your work. Don't think about just magazines like Metalsmith, that's just one idea.  Think about all the publications that are possibly suitable for the content or images in your work.

Next step, prepare a package of images to send to the magazine or newspaper or blog that fits your work. Write a unique angle about your "creative spaces" or your chosen media. Send the same packet to the gallery or store that sells your work. They can send this information to their local newspaper to boost sales and visibility for your work and the gallery or store.

Artists and craftspeople need to approach developing opportunities for their work as creatively as they think about the objects, paintings, and sculptures they produce. 

Learn to use the creativity of the artist in many ways.

Harriete Estel Berman 


What do I include in a package of images for a publication?

To submit your artwork or craft work to a magazine, newspaper or any publication there are some really important considerations and components to include in your envelope.

The first consideration is to go on-line to see if the publication has any guidelines for submitting materials. Check the web site thoroughly because Submission Guidelines are sometimes buried deep since this is not commonly accessed information.

Follow their Submission Guidelines EXACTLY including the items they request and the size for the digital images. Many times they will actually dictate dimensions for the images (either in inches and/or pixels) and the DPI (dots per inch). Generally, print images are 300 dpi, but some publications are asking for a higher DPI to assure a superior print quality.

Unless they specify differently, include the following in the image package:

  • Cover Letter - stating briefly why your work is relevant to the publication.
  • Resume  - one or two pages
  • Artist Statement - one or two short paragraphs (short, entertaining and relevant to the publication AND your work). Pique their interest in your work with interesting content. 
  • Images of your work - burned on a CD
    • Send both jpg (for easy viewing) and
    • TIFF 300 dpi (or higher) for print quality
  • Image description sheet for each image suitable as a photo caption.
    • Title of work
    • Date of work
    • Brief description of materials
    • Dimensions (height x width x depth)
    • Photo Credit of the photographer
    • Possibly some information about the work
  • Page of thumbnail images and key information (a "Contact Sheet").

BermanContactSheetSAMPLE72 A contact sheet is rarely requested but I think that it adds a lot to your image package.

To the left is a sample Contact Sheet. Each image has a title for the image and a brief description next to it.

Creating this contact sheet of images is very easy in Photoshop.

STEP 1. Put all the images you are burning on the CD in one folder.
STEP 2. Open Photoshop.
STEP 3. CLICK on  FILE,  scroll down.
STEP 4. CLICK  on AUTOMATE.
STEP 5. CLICK on CONTACT SHEET
Step 6. Photoshop will ask you to BROWSE and select the folder where you have the images in your computer for the CONTACT SHEET.
Step 7. Click OK, Photoshop will automatically create the Contact Sheet.

It is a little more time consuming to have information next to all your images (as in the example).

Make sure that the titles for the images include your last name and the title of the work  (or at least part of the title).

Finally, put your materials in an interesting, eye-catching or colorful envelope with a beautifully, handwritten address. Your image package should look creative and professional.

Harriete

 
 


Critique Group Guidelines

Many artists and crafts people wonder how they can stay motivated and focused in their creative efforts despite the distractions that life offers. My best recommendation is to participate or even start a Critique Group. This an excellent way for artists to regularly receive constructive feedback about their work.  I have been in a Critique Group for over 27 years and think the feedback from other artists who understand my artistic objectives is invaluable.

To take advantage of my years of experience with critique groups, I am posting my Critique Group Guidelines (Download Critique Group Guidelines).

The most important component is to engage in rigorous dialog about the work on a regular basis.  Bring work-in-progress for critique so that you have time for a mid-course correction or to resolve an aesthetic issue.

Bringing work to share is only one aspect.  Your opinion, perspectives or thoughts at each meeting is what keeps the group going.  Everyone has something to contribute to the group.

Critique Groups can often recognize a problem, but may or may not be able to offer an answer. With that thought in mind, recognizing a problem is the first step in finding a solution.

Make joining or starting a Critique Group your New Year's resolution to developing your work.

Let me know if the information is helpful.
Harriete


Resumes - What qualifies for the publicity category?

Dear Harriete,

MichelleP-ReynoldsLush
Red Lush Bracelet by Michelle Pajak-Reynolds

My husband and I are having a debate about publication/press listings on a CV/Resume. The question is this: If your work is in a group show that receives press coverage, but your name and/or piece isn't mentioned in the article, should you still list the article on your CV/resume? I'm not telling who's on which side of this debate, so please be honest, but there is a week's worth of dish duty wagered on your answer....

Resume Quandary                                                       

Dear To List or Not To List,                                             You should only list a review or publicity on your resume if your work is mentioned in the text or if a photograph of your work is published in the review or article.  If you were in the show, of course, you can still list the exhibition under the exhibition category on your resume.

Additional information on your resume about articles and reviews might be useful.  I often suggest that a listing of a review should include the author, publication, volume, date and maybe even whether it included a photo.

Here is an example from my resume:

Cross Gans, Jennifer. (2006, Spring). Scents of Purpose: Artists Interpret the Spice Box. Metalsmith, 54. [text and photos]

Artists and crafts people can increase their chances of being included in a review or article by sending amazing, dazzling, professional quality images to the exhibition sponsor two to three months before the exhibition opens. The sponsor may use your images in the article about the show, just because your images are FANTASTIC!!!

Digital images that you took yourself, probably won't be good enough. You need professional quality images taken by a professional photographer.  Set money aside and invest in top notch photography of your work.  If there is no art or craft photographer in your area, consider the next town or state. SNAG has a list of photographers on their web site which may be helpful.

Hope this information about resumes is helpful.

Harriete