Indecision leads to clutter

Mindful Minimalism UK

R&D indecision leads to clutter

Reflections

In our house, Saturday night is designated “Screen-free night”. No phone, no TV, no computers. It’s a guaranteed night where my wife and I get to interact without distraction. Sometimes we simply converse over dinner and before we know it it’s time for bed. Other times we play board games and occasionally we invest our precious time together in our quest for a minimalist life. Last Saturday it was our wedding that got decluttered.

Now you may wonder what is there to declutter from a wedding. Once the day is over, the gifts unwrapped, the thank yous sent, that is it right? Time to get on with the marriage (or in our case civil partnership). Well the answer in our house was a shoe box full of glass beads, 9 vases of leaves (autumnal wedding) and this!

pre wedding box

Being mindful and attending to the psychological process of decluttering has introduced…

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Artist’s Statement ….Part Two

If you constantly undervalue yourself as an artist, constantly belittle and/or undervalue your work, this is an interesting read.

The Pale Rook

The Pale Rook

So remember that thing I applied for?

My application was successful.  I was selected to take part in a project at Scotland’s Craft Town,  the wonderful West Kilbride.   I’ve been a massive fan of the Craft Town since I first found out about it a few years ago, so I’m massively chuffed to be a part of it.  The project I’m involved in takes selected craft makers based in Scotland and gives them specialist business mentoring and studio space for six months.

The first meeting of the participants, organisers and business mentors involved an exercise where we had to think of things that limited our business or things that we were worried about and then we had to decide whether these things were Financial, Operational, Creative, or Emotional. I do these kind of exercises with my students, so I wasn’t too surprised when most of the participants put a…

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Getting Inspired at an Art Gallery

I get newsletters from the Independent Art School and I thought I’d share the one I received today.

*****

Going to a gallery can be the most motivating and inspiring activity! Even if you are not an artist it still feels great to add some colour to a rainy January afternoon.

I recently acted as an assistant for The Independent Art School’s trip to ‘The National Portrait Gallery’ as part of our ‘Art on Location’ series. It was a great excuse to visit one of my favourite galleries and learn about the art whilst developing some of my sketches!

I thought about some tips that could be quite helpful if you would like to do this independently…

1.  Know Your Gallery
Have a look on the gallery website before you venture out to find out its history and purpose. Figure out which rooms appeal to you most and make a quick note of them. Buzzing galleries can seem overwhelming if you’re not sure where to start and you don’t want to miss your favourite artist!

2.  Allow enough time
If you’re the sort of person who likes to reflect and avoid crowds then aim to get to the gallery when it opens. This is when galleries tend to be most quiet so you can fully indulge in the art and not be shy about any doodling that may occur! Give yourself a good few hours to look around, walking through a gallery can be like reading a visual story, and you don’t want to skip the ending.

3.  Bring a sketchbook
Where better then to collect your idea’s then in a gallery full of inspiring images? Copy some works that stand out to you, even if it doesn’t look the same it still feels great to be sketching whilst you’re in the moment. (Don’t forget to write down the name of the artist so you can remind yourself later)!

4.  Read the blurbs
Looking at a beautiful artwork can be aesthetically pleasing but knowing the story behind it adds to a greater understanding of how the artist truly felt when creating the masterpiece. What do you imagine the artist’s intentions to be…then check to see if you are right!

5.  Spend time looking at the artwork
Embrace you reaction and don’t worry about what other people are thinking. Colours, shapes and textures all evoke different emotions from different people so consider how the piece makes you feel… does that change the longer you look at it? And how does that compare with other pieces?

If you enjoy socialising and learning about Art in a group environment then I highly recommend trying one of our ‘Art on Location’ classes. I had such lovely Saturday afternoon spending time with like-minded students and being taught by the very talented Mr Hugh Mendes (see image to the right!).  If you would like to see more details on how you can get involved please follow the link below!

http://theindependentartschool.com/london/art-on-location/

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Going Local: 5 Ways to Market Your Art in Your Community

Following on from yesterday’s post, here is a second article from the skinnyartist. It was written by Steff Metal.

Many artists often make the mistake of looking to sell their work far afield, often via the internet, and forget about closer to home. I remember reading some time ago of a suggestion about selling to your friends and local patrons. It said that if you could sell to a hundred people then if you produced two works a week (e.g. paintings), they would only need to buy one work from you every year, which is probably within most people’s budget.

“As artists, we’re told again and again how vital it is for us to market online, to reach an international audience, to establish a profitable niche. And this is very true, but in extending our reach we often neglect a lucrative market that’s right in front of us – our local art community.

People love to support local artists, and there are many opportunities open to you within your hometown that can support a part- or full-time artist. Here are some ideas on how to market your artwork in your local community.

 

Hold Local Exhibits

It may not be the Tate Modern, but your local art galleries enjoy loyal and steady patronage, and they’re a great place to begin building a local following. Exhibiting in your local gallery scene can also be an excellent way to network with important local art folk and increase your profile.

Local galleries have an established network of art fans and collectors who love to support up-and-coming artists. Because local galleries are small, they offer individual artists and exhibitions a lot of hands-on attention, and they focus on bringing interested patrons through the door.

But you don’t have to stick to galleries – cafes, office lobbies, schools, libraries, banks and theatres often host mini exhibitions from local artists. These are an excellent way of getting your art in front of fresh eyes – not everyone in your town visits galleries, but they all do their banking and enjoy coffee and cake.

 

Network with the Local Arts Community

Most cities have a local Art Council, who put on events and manage arts activities across a range of disciplines. These bodies often give out funding and look for artists to undertake community projects and large-scale commissions. You’re competing only against local artists (not the entire international scene) and have a much better chance of being recognized and funded.

In a local scene, it’s all about whom you know – so get out to local arts events and meet people. Always carry business cards and postcards of your work to show interested people.

My local arts community also run a fantastic website that posts regular job opportunities and submission calls, as well as promoting exhibitions and shows. You can find valuable opportunities by staying current with these local channels.

 

Get in Touch With Businesses

As well as getting your name recognized in the arts community, you might find a wealth of contacts and potential collectors in the business community. Businesses love to be seen supporting the arts, and they all have offices that need decorating, gala dinners that need prizes, and websites and products that need evocative images and packaging.

Business of Art

Recently, I joined the BNI (Business Network Institute) as an artist and writer, and have also started attending events put on by the local chamber of commerce.  My BNI chapter meets once a week over breakfast to exchange referrals.  I may know someone who’s looking for a travel agent, so I give the travel agent in the group their contact details to follow up, and the professional photographer might give me a referral for a business friend of his who needs an illustration for one of their products.

“But I’m an artist. Why would I want to spend my time hanging out with business types?”  You might be asking. Well, your art is also your business, and forming a network of other local business people gives you more opportunities to sell your work and make a living.

An artist is always a talking point at a networking event. Take along some business cards and postcards showing your work. You’ll find plenty of people are interested in what you do – many of them will contact you later with exciting projects.

 

Schmooze with the Press

County reporters, community newsletters and local radio stations love to feature profiles of unique characters from the area. As an artist, you’re automatically considered “unique” in most people’s books, so why not see if you can get an article or feature about your artwork?

Whenever your work is featured in a new exhibition, or you’ve won a contest or completed an interesting project, write a little press release and send it out to your local media contacts. What’s that? You don’t have any local media contacts? Well, it is time you started making some, isn’t it?

Send email or letters to radio stations, newspapers and publications, asking whom you need to contact about editorial features. Explain that you’re a local artist who is holding an exhibition and wondered if they’d like some free tickets to the opening? You could also hold a small open studio event and ask the press along. You could also send out apress kitto local media.

You need a belly full of bravery to make contact with the press, but you’ll soon realize they’re not vicious, hard-hitting reporters. They’re just down-to-earth locals keen to support the local community. Don’t ever think you’re not important or famous enough to be featured!

A huge part of marketing is making sure you’re continually in front of customer’s eyes. Features in local media will establish you as a local artist people can trust, and they will recognize your name when they see your work in galleries.

 

Team Up with a Local Charity

Part of being a locally recognized artist is giving back to your community. You can do this by volunteering to teach kids art classes, doing the school holiday program at the library, or by teaming up with a local charity to offer a prize or entertainment for an event.

Charity Artwork

Find a charity whose work you admire and whose core recipients or donors fit with your target market. So, if you’re a pet portrait painter, you want to get in touch with the animal shelter. Nature artists could look for conservation groups. If your art deals with complex social issues, you could contact your local Victim Support or Women’s Refuge.

Once you’ve chosen a charity, contact them and offer to work with them on their next project or event. Perhaps you could donate a prize to their next raffle, or you could paint murals on the walls of their centre.

Most local charities have an established relationship with the media, so by helping them out, not only do you get to do a nice thing for your community, but you’ll probably be written up in the media, too. It’s a win win for everybody.

Going local isn’t something you do at the expense of your online marketing – it offers another way to connect yourself with your community and create a powerful fan base that will buy your work for years to come.

 

How do you promote your artwork locally?

  • What do you do to promote your artwork in your local community?
  • What have you found to be successful?
  • What kind of things have you struggled with the most?

Read more at:http://skinnyartist.com/5-ways-to-market-your-art-in-your-community/

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9 Warning Signs of an Amateur Artist (from skinnyartist.com)

This article is from skinnyartist.com but I couldn’t work out how to share it on this blog easily so I’m just copying and pasting:

 

I’m not talking about if you have a corporate sponsorship or whether or not you are earning the big bucks.  I’m not even talking about quitting your day job, if you have one, and living on ramen noodles and Starbucks (because even if you’re poor you still need your Cafe Mocha) What I’m talking about is changing your attitude and the way you think about your art.  What you’ll discover is that more often than not people will take your art about as seriously as you do.

So what are some of the warning signs of an Amateur Artist?

1) Amateur Artists wait for Inspiration

While a professional artist will make a point sit down and work on their art every day, an amateur only works on their art when the “mood” is right.

You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. ~Jack London

Professional artists/writers/musicians know that you can’t just work on your art when inspiration strikes them or when the moon is in the seventh house of Aquarius, the true creative professional shows up and does something every single day.  It may not turn out to be that great and it might eventually find its way to the dumpster or recycling bin, but a professional shows up and works no matter what.

 

2.) Amateur Artists work until something else comes up

A  professional artist does not simply sit down for an hour and write half a chapter or paint a few strokes on the canvas and call it a day because their favorite television show is starting in ten minutes.  A professional artist/writer/musician continues to work until their muse has used up every last bit of creative energy in their body and then keeps on working just to make sure that nothing is forgotten or left behind.  A professional knows that the first hour or two of work is simply a warm-up exercise until their fickle muse finds them worthy of her attention.

 

3.) Amateur Artists are constantly changing their focus

A professional artist knows that it takes years if not decades of experimentation and practice to perfect their craft.  While an amateur tends to change their style or medium as the mood strikes them, a professional artist knows that a “jack-of-all-trades is a master of none”.  Even though professional artists have been known to change their focus as their work and skills evolve, they do this only sparingly and often only within their chose medium.  In other words, painters continue to paint, writers continue to write, and musicians continue to play.  Of course there have been professional painters and musicians who are also very good writers and vice versa, but they are the exception rather than the rule. The vast majority of us would be far better off focusing our time and energy practicing and honing our chosen craft rather than risk diluting our creative power.

 

4.) Amateur Artists believe that if they build it, you will come

A professional knows that there is more to being an artist then simply creating art.  They know that there is only so much macaroni and cheese and spaghetti their family will eat before they will be dragged down to the employment office to get a “real” job.  Professional artists never get too attached to their artwork because they know that someday they will have to sell it in order to have the opportunity to create more art.

Professional artists understand that they not only need to know how to create their art, but they also have to know how to market and sell their work as well.  They make a point to find out who their potential customers are and where they hang out. They also know that they need to develop a relationship with these potential customers before they ask them to pull out their wallets.  Professional artists understand that in the 21st century they will need to create and build their reputation as an artist online as well as in the real world.

 

5.) Amateur Artists believe that success will happen quickly

While an amateur artist believes that it will only take a year or two to create their reputation and have their career take off, a professional artists knows that this process will often take much longer than they imagine so they understand the importance of getting started immediately.

For a professional artist, art is not a hobby or a pastime, it’s a business which is why they insist on treating it like one. They not only show up everyday and work at their job, but they also know that they will need to work their way up from the bottom just like they would in any other profession.  They are in it for the long-haul and are willing to work on all aspects of their business (creating, networking, marketing, consuming) a little bit each day because they understand that true success will arrive in years not weeks.

 

6.) Amateur Artists believe they don’t need schedules or organization

While the amateur artist embraces the idea of the artist as a hippie free-spirit who doesn’t need to follow society’s rules, the professional artist knows that one has to be organized and disciplined in their life in order to be reckless in their work.

Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work. ~Gustave Flaubert

A professional artist knows that it’s  important to honor their creative productivity time and save routine time-sucking tasks like answering e-mail and updating their Twitter and Facebook accounts to a later time. They know the importance of scheduling their activities, organizing their work space, and avoiding distractions can have on their creative  productivity.

 

7.) Amateur Artists never finish their work

An amateur artist is always busy editing, revising, reformatting, redoing, and re-recording their work to ever consider it finished.  This not only keeps them from moving on and working on the next piece or art, but it also keeps them from having to release it to the world.  They tell themselves that they are simply “perfectionists” and with just a little more time, they could get it right.

“The seed of your next art work lies embedded in the imperfections of your current piece. Such imperfections are your guides–valuable, objective, non-judgmental guides to matters you need to reconsider or develop further.” ~David Bayles

Professional artists have learned that their art is a process and nothing they create will be perfect.  They have learned to accept this and they continue to put their work out there anyway knowing that some people will criticize and not understand it.  They understand that the sooner they finish one piece the sooner they will be able to begin work on the next piece.  Each work therefore becomes not a destination but simply a stepping stone on their journey.  They don’t make the mistake of overly identifying with a piece of art or making it part of their identity as an artist.  They simply let it go, knowing that the experience will have taught them what they needed to know.

 

8.) Amateur Artists are too busy learning to do anything

Amateur artists are often so busy reading books and attending workshops that they rarely have any time to create art. Professional artists know that there will always be more to learn but that does not stop them from making the mistakes and learning as they go along.  They know that the best teacher is almost always experience, and the faster they make these mistakes, the sooner they will learn what they need to know.

Books, classes, and workshops are great as long as they don’t prevent you from actually creating your art.  A professional doesn’t worry about knowing every technique in the book and doesn’t get bogged down by the “what-ifs”.  They simply learn the basics and then get to work discovering what they need to know as they go along.

 

9.) Amateur Artists isolate themselves from the artist community

As artists/writers/musicians etc.. we are not only creators but we are also consumers. We must surround ourselves not only with the work of others artists in our field but also the artists themselves.

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”  ~Stephen King

If we are writers, we need to read other people’s work.  If we are musicians, we need to listen to other people’s music. If we are visual artists, we need to look at other people’s art and photography. We don’t do this in order to become envious or to start another round of pity and self-loathing.  We do this because we need to get outside of our own heads and see the world from a new perspective.

We also need to connect with other artists and the larger arts community.  Far too often amateur artists tend to isolate themselves from other artists because they either feel envious of their success or unworthy of their attention.  We have talked extensively on this site about the power of artist peer groups and about the importance of going out there and connecting with your artist tribe.  Specific strategies on how to connect and build valuable relationships with other artists is a topic that we have covered in detail throughout our latest Skinny Art School Series “How the @#$%! Do I Get More Traffic to My Website?!” as well.

 

Being a Professional Artist means. . .

Being a professional artist means, above all, taking your art seriously.  If you want to become a professional artist, writer, photographer, musician, or any other type of creative genius; you need to do what the professionals in these fields do.  Being a professional is not about having fancy business cards or making lots of money (although that’s pretty cool too!).  Being a professional simply means that you have decided to take this creative obsession of yours and make it into your career.  Let’s face it, we create our art because we want and need to.  We don’t do it for the money, but we also have to realize that without the money, we won’t have the time or energy to create our art.

Strive to learn from those who have gone before you, do what you have to do, and always Live Your Art!

Read more at: http://skinnyartist.com/9-warning-signs-of-an-amateur-artist/

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ForgottenBee talks to “MyScan” (it’s an anagram) read on to ‘almost’ reveal the mystery surrounding this elusive Manchester artist!

An interview with the Manchester based artist Mancsy.

forgottenbeeblog

photo 4 (1)

It’s a true honour to be granted an interview with this certain, ever mysterious Manchester artist. An artist of great repute in the city. But now his art is breaking out of those northern streets… And if you know where to look, you can own a genuine piece of his legendary art yourself! ForgottenBeeBlog talks to……. Mancsy.

FB    1/ Mancsy, welcome to ForgottenBeeBlog. Let’s start with an arm wrestle….who’s going to win you or Banksy?

Banksy, as he’s been working out carrying all his dosh about!

image (2)

FB    2/ Ok, let’s talk ‘ART’. What inspired you to create outstanding and collectible pieces of art and leave them in various locations around Manchester for people to find and keep?

I am a proud Mancunian. I’ve always walked about the city, back in the day with my SLR, recording beauty in the backstreets and where most people don’t look. I wanted…

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World War I Battlefields, 100 Years Later

Poiniant.

TwistedSifter

Fields of Battle?Lands of Peace 14-18 is the work of photojournalist Michael St Maur Sheil. Captured over a period of seven years, Michael’s photography combines a passion for history and landscape and presents a unique reflection on the transformation of the battlefields of the Great War into the landscape of modern Europe. Michael remarks:

“This collection represents a legacy which I hope will create a gateway to the battlefields themselves, thus encouraging people to visit these historic landscapes during the centennial period and so create awareness and understanding of the events and historical implications of the First World War”

From August 2014 (the start of WWI) to Armistice Day in November 2018 (the end of WWI), sixty powerful images will be publicly exhibited around the UK and then internationally; bringing the centenary of the Great War to tens of millions of people in their own communities 24 hours…

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