Business with Art?
by Kris A. Kramer
To say I’m excited to write for PMC Connection’s CornerStone is an understatement. I get to share my art-related business knowledge? And get to hear about yours via the comments? Are you kidding? I truly appreciate Jennifer and CornerStone readers for this opportunity.
I will be writing about the business side of art and the world of metal clay. Whether you dabble in metal clay for recreation or market and sell it to high-end galleries, there will be topics and tidbits for you. I will include hard, left-brain topics and soft, more introspective topics. Any post can be turned into a task you might want to take on, a validation of what you are already doing, or an opportunity to refine your business even more.
The first puzzlement is this: are business and art mutually exclusive? That is, can you be an artist and an entrepreneur at the same time? The answer to the second question is "no." You can be both - just not at the same time. Can you be comfortably at home and on vacation at the same time? Consider a vacation - toward the end of it, you kinda want to get back home. When you get home, you are refreshed and see your life differently from the perspective you gained while traveling.
The same relationship exists between your art and your art business. The business tasks I do at my desk in the house leave me feeling an urgent need to get into the studio. Too much studio time, and I need the focus that results from my business tasks. Each one fuels and feeds the other. It’s an ideal situation. On top of this, I’ve never known anyone to improve their business savvy and not also enhance their artistic skills at the same time. Amazing.
The basic assumptions for my posts are these: you are an artist or artisan; you tap into your creative aspect freely and often; you have a sacred studio or workspace and a personalized art process. I will be talking here then about the organizational and business aspect of art, about artist statements, mission-vision-values statements, about budgets, gallery cover letters, branding, business goals, logos, hangtags, shows, portfolios, press releases, videos, and marketing plans. I’ll cover consignment, commissions, contracts, and more.
All the while I will be trying to understand your needs and what you are curious about. So leave comments, concerns, and questions, anything that puzzles you. I love feedback, too! My wish is to write a blog that excites you, causes you to pause and reflect, and gives you information that you’ve been craving or needing.
Some business tasks might seem daunting. They did for me. I chunked them down and worked in small spurts every chance I could. I remember my daughter watching me, her greatly frustrated mother, ranting about what she had to do that she didn’t think she could. But, I took each daunting task step-by-step, giving myself permission to take the time I needed. Much to my surprise, I ended up being a model and inspiration for my daughter along these lines: you hit a wall; you get through.
Another thing that helped me pump up the business side of my life when I was feeling entrepreneurially inadequate (now that’s a phrase) was a simple piece called “Daily Sharing,” which I will close with today. Here, it applies to a business task or art process, but it works pretty well with a friend or family member, too:
- Express an appreciation about that business task or about something good in your life.
- Offer a bit of new information about what you’re feeling about that business task, something that happened to you, some new learning, something that you want to share.
- Talk about something that puzzles you related to that business task, an issue you’re trying to understand, a quirky thing about it, a not-quite-complete bit of knowing.
- Talk about something that’s bugging you or irritates you. First say what is working for you then make your valid complaint with a request for change. Explain how you would like this particular business task to change, using only “I” statements.
- Talk about your wishes, hopes, and dreams or about anything you’d like to see happen to the business task It can be a hope for today, five years from now, or for all time.
- Ask your business task, “What do I do or can I do that lets you know I value, accept, or appreciate you?”