8 Ways to Organize Art Supplies

Cleveland Artist TIffany Southall Urban Landscapes

8 Useful Finds Every Artist Should Know About

  1. Travel Soap Box -holders are great for storing buttons, pins, needles, all kinds of crafts
  1. Buckets– are a good choice to store paint brushes, pencils, markers, and other odds and ends!
  1. Mesh– bags for yarns, fabrics, aprons, smocks
  1. Plastic Containers– stores small paints, watercolors, paint brushes, and other easy to spill materials
  1. Shoe Organizer– great for storing an artist’s odd and ends and are very inexpensive
  1. Baby Wipes-save a few minutes in the day cleaning with wipes
  1. Index Card Case– perfect size for papers, cards, glue sticks, even needles, and screws…
  1. Mason Jars– multifunctional containers to place nearly anything

Welcome to my Blog,

I am interested in getting to know other artist. I really would like to unite with other artist with a common vision. Can you please drop me a few lines if you are interested ! I look forward to painting with you soon.

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Art Consultants: Seven Secrets Every Artist Should Know By Lynn Basa

Cleveland Artist TIffany Southall Urban Landscapes

Art Consultants: Seven Secrets Every Artist Should Know

Lynn Basa

Like many full-time artists, one of my income streams is through sales to art consultants. In fact, I no longer show in galleries but sell directly through independent art advisors. These are art professionals who work with corporate, healthcare, hospitality and other market sectors to guide them through every aspect of purchasing art, whether it’s one piece for over the reception desk or 400 reproductions to put in hotel rooms. A good art consultant is like a Velociraptor. They’re out there constantly hunting and competing for art buyers so that you don’t have to. All you need to do is find them.

Secret #1: Build Your Own List
I should let you know right now that I’m not going to give you a contact list. Not because I’m being coy or territorial, but because the first secret to being successful at this is to customize your own list based on what kind of work you do and then make targeted, individual contact with the art consultants who specialize in that kind of work. If there’s one generalization that can safely be made about art advisors, it’s that they hate to receive portfolios from artists who haven’t done their homework. It’s a waste of their time to handle them; it’s a waste of your time and money to send your work out into the void or, more specifically, the wastebasket. First impressions matter, and the first impression that carpet-bombing your portfolio makes to art consultants is that you don’t respect their time or understand how the business works.

Art consultants are so numerous that the challenge is how to not end up working with so many that you don’t have enough supply to meet the demand. My strategy has been to build relationships with 20-25 who are a very good fit with my particular style of work so that I never have to compromise what I want to make. One of the most refreshing things about selling work through art consultants is that you don’t have to give them an exclusive like galleries often demand. They’ll ask you to because they don’t want their offering of artists to overlap with their competitions’, but unless they’re selling enough of your work to give you a steady, livable income, you should politely decline.

Secret #2: Be Selective
Because there are a lot of art advisors, you can (and should) be selective about the criteria you use to qualify them. What I look for is an impressive client list, and I need to like the quality of the work of the other artists they’ve dealt with. All of this can usually be found on their web sites the old-fashioned way by Googling “art consultant” and “art advisor.” Do the leg work and keep your eyes open. When you see a restaurant, corporate lobby, hospital or hotel with beautiful artwork in a design magazine or in the real world, contact the interior designer or architect and ask who was the art consultant on that project. Most of the large framing companies have art-consulting arms (and don’t assume they only show the generic work inside the rectangles in their showrooms). Ask other artists outright. When perusing the web site of artists whose work you like look at their resume or gallery page to see if they’ve listed the art consultants they work with.

After you screen consultants for quality and compatibility with your aesthetic, check their web sites for instructions on how artists should submit work. If there are none, send them a short e-mail introducing yourself as an artist who came across their web site and sees an affinity between your aesthetic and theirs. Then ask how you would go about submitting work. I always include a link to my web site inviting them to preview my portfolio to see if there’s a reason for further communication. This is actually a Trojan Horse because by then I’ve already done a ton of compatibility research and know that when they see my web site they’ll get the obvious connection between what I make and what they sell and probably want to go to the next step of having me send more information. As a teaser you can also attach one or two JPEGs (NOT your entire portfolio) being careful that they are formatted to download fast and fit on a computer screen. And while it pains me to say it, make sure the resolution is low enough so that it can’t be reproduced by anyone unscrupulous. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to put a watermark or copyright symbol on it while you’re at it, at least until you’ve established trust.

Secret #3: Follow-Up
This must be a secret because so few artists do it! Unless they’ve specifically told you they’re not interested, there’s nothing wrong with reminding them that you’re still out there by sending them images of new work at one- or two-month intervals. More than once I’ve gotten a sale because images of my work had just landed in a consultant’s inbox the same week they were looking for work for a big project. Every time I send out a mailing I make at least one sale. If it doesn’t work that way for you, it likely means you haven’t made the right fit between your work and what those particular art consultants specialize in selling. You need to take a step back and rethink your strategy.

There’s always that fine line between being persistent and being a pest. If I don’t hear back from them for two weeks after my initial contact, I follow-up with an e-mail saying something like “I hope I’m not bugging you but I wanted to make sure you got my e-mail a couple of weeks ago and had a chance to look at it. I’d love to work with you if you think my work would be a good fit with your projects.” If I don’t hear from them after the second follow-up, I put them on the back burner to contact in 6 months or when I have new work. But that’s my personal comfort level. I know more aggressive artists who seem to be doing very well.

Keep in mind that art advisors are in the same entrepreneurial boat that you are, so make follow-up a two-way street by sending them leads to possible projects. If you find out that there’s going to be a big new hotel, convention center, or hospital built, forward that to one or two of your favorites. You don’t want to be promiscuous about it, though. Art consulting is a tremendously competitive field and it would water down the specialness of this favor if they found out you had sent it to 15 other firms.

Secret #4: Make It Easy for Them to Find You. Art consultants don’t represent artists like galleries do. In order to stay competitive, they constantly need fresh blood. In her book Becoming a Corporate Art Consultant, veteran art advisor Barbara Markoff devotes a lot of ink to helping would-be art advisors figure out how to find artists because, as she says, “I describe the stable of artists an art consultant has as their ammunition to close a sale. Finding artists that your competitors do not have is critical.” Markoff suggests these target-rich environments for finding artists:

1. Attending art festivals
2. Investigating local artist organizations
3. Networking groups
4. Exchanging information with other gallery owners
5. Looking at poster catalogs
6. Attending trade shows such as the West Coast Art and Frame Show
7. Visiting galleries while traveling
8. Posting inquiries on your website
9. Social networking sites such as LinkedIn
10. Looking at websites of artists and other galleries
11. Asking your artists for introductions to artists they know.
12. The Guild.com

Lest it doesn’t go without saying, this is a veritable playbook of where we should have our work to make it easy for them to find us. Notice how galleries do not loom large in this list. Unless they’re dealing with big-ticket artworks, independent art advisors for the most part prefer not to work with galleries because they’d have to split the commission if that’s how they’re making their fee. For those consultants who are getting paid a retainer or flat rate by their clients, they’ll negotiate a discount with the gallery to pass onto the client. The majority, however, make their fee from commissions off of the sale and framing services.

Because Chicago is a world business capital, many international businesses have large offices here. Big companies work with art consultants who are often looking for local artists to give regional identity to those companies’ collections. Having a good web site is a given, but you also need to get on local artist databases as soon as possible. The Chicago Artists’ Coalition has one artists can join that’s long been a go-to for out-of-town buyers. The City of Chicago maintains the Chicago Artist Registry. ArtSlant, an international on-line network, has a section for Chicago artists. Beyond the shores of Lake Michigan, there are a bajillion on-line registries. Some of which are effective and legitimate to outright scams. Getting on as many good ones as possible would not be a waste of your time.

Because art consultants are constantly trolling for artists you will start getting cold calls from them. Yes, that’s right. You don’t always need to cold-call them. They will cold-call you. Recently, an artist told me that she periodically gets e-mails from art consultants saying they saw her work and want to talk to her further. She said she deletes all of them because she assumes they are spams. (Whereupon I asked if she could forward them to me from now on!) Yes, there is a weird phishing spam going around that’s easy to recognize because it’s some BS about someone who saw your work on-line and they’re moving to London but they’ll send you a check blah blah blah, but more than half of my golden art consultant contacts have come from them contacting me. The real ones are easy to check out because all you need to do is go to their web site and if it looks legit call them back and get a sense of what projects they’re working on and where they think your work might fit. Ask them how they found out about you so you can track where your most effective marketing is taking place. If I still have a flicker of doubt, I will call one or two of the artists that they’ve worked with.

Secret #5 Brand Yourself
I know that talking in commercial terms about art is taboo but I’m going to say it anyway: You need to brand your work. Think of it as editing your portfolio. The less of a hodge-podge it is, the easier you’ll make it for the art consultant to appreciate and sell your work. You can still have different bodies of work, but be intentional about which ones to show which art consultants based on her market niche. And don’t ask the art consultant to do a portfolio review. By the time you show her your portfolio it’s got to be all tailored, groomed and shiny. She’s your client, not your art professor.

Secret #6: Be Flexible
The demand for certain mediums and price points will fluctuate depending on the economy. The fact that any image that can be digitized can be printed on almost any substrate as a giclee*, means that you can sell inexpensive multiples of your originals. In addition to paper, images of your 2-D work can now be printed on ceramic, glass, fiber, aluminum, bamboo, acrylic, you name it. If your medium is so tied to your message that the intent of your work would suffer if reproduced on another material, that’s okay. Just make that clear to the consultant. It will limit how much of your work she can sell — partly because you should raise the prices of your originals to offset the loss in cashflow from not doing multiples — but how you feel about your work is priceless.

Another form of flexibility that not all artists can stomach is that you will be asked to do commissions on variations of your own work. Like, “Can you take this section from this other painting and put it over here on this one?” or “Could you do that same painting but make it bigger and square?” I used to feel a twinge of resistance about these requests, but after revisiting my work a few times in response I realized that I not only enjoyed it but was learning a lot from recreating something I had made spontaneously the first time.

Secret #7 Have Your Act Together
Quick! What’s your artist’s net for a 20″ x 24″ print? Don’t know the answer to that off the top of your head? Then you, my friend, do not have your act together, according to Markoff. Before your initial approach to a consultant, you should have the following materials ready:

  • Images of work available for sale (remember, low-rez JPEGs only)
  • “Artist’s net” (i.e. wholesale is 50% of retail) pricelist divided by format (i.e., originals, giclee, substrate)
  • Resume
  • Artist statement

Find out in what form the art consultant wants to see your portfolio. Markoff and many others prefer 3-ring binders because they can spread out the work on a table for their clients to mix and match. Some only want to use your web site while others need JPEGs in an e-mail or on a CD. Keeping track of what you’ve sent them when and in what format adds up to one heck of a bookkeeping chore. I’ve hired a studio manager to keep up with it all.

No names please. Unlike a gallery, art consultants don’t want their clients to see the names of the artists they’re showing them until they sign on the dotted line. They remove the temptation from the client to go around the art advisor’s back directly to the artist and cut them out of their 50% (usually) commission. And when you do get a call from an unknown prospective client, casually ask them how they heard about you.

Whatever material she needs, get it to her right away. Lisa Boumstein-Smalley of Chicago Art Source says that clients are typically calling her at the last minute in a panic to get something on their walls. Even though the art is the first thing people see when they walk into a room, it’s usually the last thing that’s planned for. In such a fast-paced business, artists who can keep up will get repeat sales, those who need their hands held will soon be road-kill.

This should be enough to keep you busy for a while!

* Giclee: A recently made-up word for “ink-jet print” that sounds more arty and expensive.

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Lynn Basa is a full-time artist living in Chicago. She teaches in the Sculpture Department at SAIC and is the author of The Artist’s Guide to Public Art: How to Find and Win Commissions.

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Artist in Healthcare Certification Artists are officially getting into the arts in healthcare business. Post published by Cathy Malchiodi PhD, LPCC, LPAT on May 31, 2014 in Arts and Health

Cleveland Artist TIffany Southall Urban Landscapes

In “Arts in Healthcare: Creativity for the Health of It,” I described the “arts in healthcare” as a wide-ranging international movement that covers the waterfront of possibilities for how the arts enhance lives and impact patient care, hospital environments, care for caregivers, and community-building within medical and other settings. Also known by some as “arts in medicine” or “integrative arts medicine,” the use of the arts in healthcare has been around for many decades with a recent surge in growth during the last ten years despite a bumpy economy and the rocky ride to healthcare reform.

Over the last two decades, research on how the arts– visual, music, movement, drama, literature, creative writing, and humor— enhance health has grown and a research-oriented journal that includes public policy and best practices has emerged, Arts and Health (link is external). It is exciting to see research data that shows many promising trends demonstrating that patients’ participation in the arts reduce use of pain medication, increase compliance with treatments, and shortened lengths of stay in hospitals. The arts are also being used to create safer hospital environment and to introduce nature into medical settings and art on previously sterile wall space. As a result, both patient and caregiver stress is measurably reduced, quality of care is increased, and costs of treatment go down.

The Global Alliance for the Arts and Health [formerly known as the Society for the Arts in Healthcare] now is focused on another aspect of the field and the profession loosely known as “artists in healthcare.” The Alliance has taken significant steps this year toward developing an Artist in Healthcare-Certified (AIH-C) (link is external) and is pilot-testing a new certification examination for artists in healthcare that will lead to this credential. From the Alliance website, it is described as follows:

“The Artist in Healthcare-Certified is a new certification examination for artists in healthcare that will lead to the credential, Artist in Healthcare-Certified (AIH-C). The purpose of the new certification examination is to determine if the artist has the minimal level of competency to safely and effectively work in the healthcare environment.”

In brief, this is not a pilot test for professionals such as creative arts therapists, most of whom already possess some sort of registration, certification and/or license in their field or a related field. The test is for artists, defined as a person who produces work in any of the arts that is primarily subject to aesthetic criteria and who has been prepared in the arts through education and/or professional experience. Current criteria for this phase of the Global Alliance’s initiative includes a minimum of a high school diploma or its equivalent (GED) and 500 hours of experience as an artist during the past five years facilitating an art form in a health, education, or community context.

It is unclear how this new certification will fit into the larger array of expressive arts services available at many hospitals across the US and in countries like the UK which have a long tradition of arts in healthcare as well as regulated professions like art psychotherapists. However, artists have established many programs in medical settings including long-term artists in residence, studios for patients, and art installations and performances that bring aesthetic value and complement the continuum of services within integrative medicine [See Mayo Clinic (link is external) Humanities in Medicine, for example].

If you are interested in this new certification, you can contact the Global Alliance for the Arts and Health at their website (link is external) and peruse an arts and healthcare bibliography here (link is external).

Be well,

Cathy Malchiodi, PhD, LPCC, LPAT, ATR-BC, REAT

© 2014 Cathy Malchiodi, PhD

Visit my website at www.cathymalchiodi.com (link is external) for information about my summer and fall 2014 schedule of keynotes and grand rounds across the US on art therapy, expressive arts therapy and healthcare.

For information on art therapy and healthcare, please see Art Therapy and Health Care, Guilford Press (2013) (link is external).

For more information on art therapy research [which focuses health-related outcomes], see “Yes, Virginia, There is Some Art Therapy Research” or visit my author’s page for a downloadable art therapy and healthcare bibliography [go to lower righthand corner for PDF].

Follow Planet Art Therapy Twitter at https://twitter.com/arttherapynews (link is external)

Art Therapy on Pinterest athttp://www.pinterest.com/cathymalchiodi/boards/ (link is external)

Top 10 Reasons Why Galleries Reject Artists By Sylvia White

Cleveland Artist TIffany Southall Urban Landscapes

Top 10 Reasons Why Galleries Reject Artists (It’s not what you think)

“Actors search for rejection, when they don’t get it, they reject themselves.”  Charlie Chaplin

Most artists harbor the fantasy that if they could only find one art dealer that loved and believed in their work, their career would be set. They secretly believe that there exists a special person that can catapult them to fame. Many artists spend most of their careers searching for “the perfect gallery.” And, as all quests towards perfection, it is never ending. If they already have a gallery, it’s not good enough; if they are looking for their first gallery, they dream about the moment when someone sets eyes on their work and offers them a solo show immediately. The harsh reality of the situation is having a gallery love your work, is only one very small part of what goes into the decision to represent an artist. From a gallery’s point of view, adding an artist to their stable is much like adding a stock to one’s portfolio. There are many complicated factors to take into consideration, and liking the “stock” usually has very little to do with the decision. There is no doubt that while liking the artists work is certainly the first criteria, there are several other hurdles that must be overcome before a gallery will commit to an artist. Understanding those hurdles will help you to effectively present your work to galleries and detach yourself from the inevitable sense of personal failure that follows when a gallery rejects your work.

Remember, these are very general assumptions, attempting to explain why even if a gallery LOVES your work, they can not take you on as an artist. Thankfully, there will always be some exceptions.

Too Similar: A gallery looks at the group of artists they represent, much like an artist looks at a painting. It is not so much the individual artist that is considered, but, rather, how that art fits into the existing group. Often galleries are reluctant to take artists that are too similar to an artist they already represent.

Too Different: All galleries try to create a niche for themselves by representing artists that are stylistically similar and would appeal to their core group of collectors. If your work is outside the arbitrary parameters they have established, you are out of luck.

Too Far Away: Unless you have already established a reputation elsewhere, galleries are reluctant to work with artists outside their regional area. Issues surrounding shipping costs and the inconvenience of getting and returning work in an expedient manner make it often not worth it.

Too Fragile/Difficult to Store: Regardless of how big a gallery is, there is never enough storage space. Galleries shy away from work that is 3 dimensional, easily breakable, heavy or hard to handle.

Too Expensive: Most artists undervalue their work. But, occasionally I will come across an artist with a totally unrealistic sense of how to price their work. Prices are established by the law of supply of demand (Read Pricing Your Art). If a gallery feels they can not price your work fairly and still make a 50% commission, they will not be willing to take a chance on you.

Too Cheap: Artists who only do works on paper, photographers, etc often can not generate enough income from sales to make an exhibition worth it to a gallery. If you have 20 pieces in a show, and each piece sells for $500, and your show completely sells out…your gallery has only made $5000… barely enough to cover the costs of the postage, announcement and opening reception.

Too Difficult: Entering into a relationship with a gallery is in many ways similar to entering into a marriage. It’s a relationship that needs to be able to endure candid dialog about the things that are often the most difficult to discuss with anyone…your artwork and money. Both the artist and the gallery need to have a level of trust and comfort that will guarantee honest communication. If a gallery perceives you as being a difficult person to work with, they tend to veer away.

Too Inexperienced: Many artists start approaching galleries too soon, before their work has fully matured. Most critics and curators say it takes an artist several years after college for their work to fully develop stylistically. Galleries want to make sure that once they commit to you, your work will not make radical and/or unpredictable changes. Even if a gallery LOVES your work, they may want to watch your development over a period of years to confirm their initial opinion. Artists must also have enough work of a similar sensibility to mount an exhibition.

Too Experienced: The gallery fear of failure is strong, particularly in this economic climate. Careful to be sensitive to a price point that is right for their audience, galleries may not be financially able to risk representing artists who are farther along in their career, therefore demanding higher prices, than emerging younger artists. Artists with a long sales history of gradually appreciating prices may find themselves priced out of the current market.

Yes, it is possible that the gallery just doesn’t like your work. But, hopefully, this article will shed some light on the situation surrounding galleries rejecting artists. By helping you understand the complex gallery criteria, you can more effectively represent yourself.
Good luck!

The Art of Business: Client Prospecting for Creative Pros Who Hate Prospecting by CreativePro Staff

Cleveland Artist TIffany Southall Urban Landscapes

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The Art of Business: Client Prospecting for Creative Pros Who Hate Prospecting

Every time I hear the word “prospecting,” I think of one of these crotchety old miners knee high in some icy mountain stream panning for hours in search of a few tiny flakes of pay dirt.

Not a pretty picture, particularly when updated to reflect the efforts of many creative professionals today when it comes to prospecting for new business; hours on the phone looking for someone who needs a new logo or Web site overhaul. What could be chillier?

Prospecting is anathema to most creative professionals and downright frightening for many. But the fact is, sometimes you have get out there and prospect, so you might as well do it right and get the unpleasantness out of the way quickly as possible.

Here’s the good news: prospecting is not selling. Really, it’s not. In fact, one way to overcome an aversion to prospecting is to remind yourself that you’re not trying to sell anybody anything. Prospecting is about two things:

  1. Qualifying potential clients. There’s little use in trying to market your services to a company that truly can’t afford you or doesn’t need you (which is different from them thinking that they can’t afford you or don’t need you). So the first goal of prospecting is it separate the wheat from the chaff — to find potential clients that are worthy of your future efforts. Prospecting done well will determine if you have a qualified lead. Focus on the “gold.”
  2. Building relationships. Prospecting may eventually lead to a sale, but before you can even get there you have to build a relationship, and prospecting is the first step in doing so.

If you can achieve these two goals with a one or two phone calls, you’re almost out of the prospector’s river.

Seven Steps of Successful Prospecting

  1. Create your list. Cold calls may work for time-share sales, but they have no place in the creative professional’s marketing arsenal. Prospecting works best when you’re making warm calls. These are calls to contacts with whom you have some connection — any connection — that will get you started in the conversation. There are plenty of sources for your warm list, including current clients, past clients, people you’ve met through networking opportunities, colleagues, vendors, that stack of business cards you’ve assembled, and yes, even relatives.Don’t overlook the most important source: companies in your industry or region you’d like to work with and are undergoing a change — a company that just purchased a subsidiary, hired a new VP of marketing, or is coming out with a new line of products. Look for this type of info in your local or trade press, the Internet, or through networking. As soon as you have that nugget of information consider the company a candidate for warm calling.
  2. Set your goals. Be clear about what the goal is for each particular call. It might be to set up a face-to-face meeting, to send literature, direct someone to your Web site, or simply to mine the name of a key decision maker. Know your goal before you call and you’ll know how to score a success.
  3. Be persistent. Avoid leaving voice mail messages the first couple of times you call (though Caller ID is making this more difficult). It’s doubtful that a person with buying authority will quickly return unsolicited sales calls. But if after a few attempts, you still can’t reach them, then leave a voice mail message. Just make sure you’ve scripted a powerful message and keep it short.
  4. Script every call. Not preparing an informal script is perhaps the biggest mistake novice prospectors make. That’s not to suggest that you’ll need script the entire conversation, just the first few key statements. Though this may seem artificial, most successful salespeople use a script to ensure that they consistently have a strong impact. On the telephone you don’t have time to make mistakes. Every word counts, so you’ve got to be prepared.Start with the piece of information that makes it a warm call. “I had lunch with Rajiv Patel yesterday, who mentioned that you…” , “I understand you’ve won a contract with Megacorporation X…”, “I use your Web site as an example when I teach classes and I think I’ve got a few suggestions I’d like to pass on to you…”

    Now give your prospect some control. Follow with something like, “Do you have a moment to talk?” If they do, great, then keep chatting. If they don’t, ask for a good time to call back and follow-up accordingly.

  5. Qualify, qualify, qualify. In some cases, the decision-maker is not necessarily the person who does the buying. The organization may have a separate purchasing department for that purpose. So ask the receptionist or anyone you speak with who the decision maker is.Once you’ve got the right person on the line, if the time is right, move into the qualifying phase. “What are your current needs in this area?”, “If you could change anything about your present service provider what would it be?”, “Is there anybody else besides yourself who might be involved in the decision-making process?”
  6. Be brief. Keep prospecting calls brief and to the point. You’ll have more in-depth conversations later. You might, however want to add a little something to enhance your legitimacy, such as “We’ve just finished a Web redesign for ABC Industries that resulted in a 25 percent jump in page visits.” The more specific you can be in your case history, the more compelling your proposal will be. So, give actual numbers and percentages if possible.
  7. Ask questions and listen. In nervous desperation people often try to own the conversation. Try not to. The more talking the prospect does, the more successful the call. Ask the customer questions about his or her goals, challenges, and personal and business philosophies. How would you define success? What’s the time frame? What problems have you encountered in the past? Get them talking.
  8. Learn to deal with rejection. Rejection happens. It’s part of the package of prospecting. Be ready for it and — as hard as it often is — don’t take it personally. See rejection as a necessary evil in the process and be ready to move on. Or think of it this way; a quick “no” is often better than uncertainty or delaying tactics that result in a “no” much later, after you’ve invested time and money in a proposal.

Sm.Artist : How to know when you have enough artwork to start showing and selling?

Cleveland Artist TIffany Southall Urban Landscapes

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Hello Artisans,

If you haven’t found out yet I spend a ton of my spare time enjoying the process of making art. Afternoons are spent thinking about new ways to create innovative pieces of artwork and to expand my brand. Then, every day I look at my work objectively and this seems to be one of those moments.

I mean really an artist must ask oneself “how many piece of artwork do you need to be a successful artist?”. Depending on the artist some would argue it is better to have many. Then, quite the contrary can be the truth based on economics scarcity is favored. Which argument is true…. I will never be willing to say. I did google the amount of paintings Pablo Picasso created and it was around 50, 000 in his collection. Also he was quoted saying “Give me a gallery and I will fill it…”

So to me it would make sense that the amount of painting needed to be successful is infinite depending on your level of commitment to creating a body of artwork, content, and time. Picasso lived to be 91 years old. Then you have the story of Vincent Van Gogh only creating about 2,000 paintings and died at 37 years old. Each artist living and existing with the same intent of creating artwork.

During Picasso’s life he became rich from selling his artwork. However, Van Gogh only sold one of his paintings in his lifetime. I cant say that my story is at either extreme but I have my goals and over time have defined success for myself.

I started painting in 1997 in middle school as an outlet to deal with some of the pre-teen growing pains. I had experimented and won several awards. A few awards that were really significant for me were the two Stephanie Tubbs Jones mixed media awards I received including: Utrecht, Bedford Garden Club, Garfield Friends of the Library….(Awards were coming from all over the place..lol).

It was then I realized I had a gift that was meant to be shared with the world. It was the fall of 2001, I decided to go to Randall Park Mall and sell my paintings. I had only about twenty five to thirty paintings completed at that time. I did not have a magic number because I was fearless. I wanted to have my artwork seen and it was then I sold my first paintings. It was a two part series titled “Tale of Twin Cities” and I sold them both unframed for $125 dollars at Randall Park Mall in Milano’s on the second floor. It was a beautiful couple from Fremont, Ohio a place I had never heard of. At the time I asked them because one day I knew that I would be on a quest to find them and my paintings again. Every time I reach the same conclusion, to me success is creating a legacy. I have overcome many obstacles in my lifetime but fear of lack will not be one.

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Sm.Artist : Why do I create art?

Cleveland Artist TIffany Southall Urban Landscapes

1517514_10102563233531374_2651447613353090309_nHello Fellow Artist,

Recently, someone asked the reason I choose to paint as an outlet. In order to answer the question I have to share the background information that is necessary to understand the reason I love art. One memory that remains vivid in my thoughts is a diary I was given as a birthday gift for Halloween. I wrote all these personal stories that included some of the most private details of my life. One day I left my diary on my bed and when I returned I found little pieces of my diary torn up on my bed. In that moment my heart dropped because I knew that from that moment on my understanding of life changed. I was overwhelmed with shame because my privacy and trust was tarnished for life. At that point I proceeded to internalize every trauma and life experience until I found my new voice.

I first fell in love with the paint brush in the seventh grade around Christmas of 1997. I remember feeling like the paint was a pencil and the canvas was the paper. The only difference between the pencil and paint brush was the limitations were boundless in my opinion. When I used the pencil I was limited to using words to express myself. When I picked up a paint brush the only limitations that existed were in my imagination. I felt I could express the feelings in my heart and the images in my mind freely. I felt empowered by the ability to turn a thought into a masterpiece. It was in that moment I realized I could create a piece of art , reflect on it’s beauty, and find inner peace.

I give so much of my heart and time to my art. Sometimes, I just wonder is it a reason I feel so compelled to create such beautiful works of art. When I see my artwork sometimes I become overwhelmed with emotions because I am taken back by the level of skill I have shown. It is such a blessing to have a gift at times it feels surreal. Sometimes I wonder if I have a relative or a spirit guiding my artistic nature. Is there a reason for this all this passion and where did it come from?

As of today, I am taking full responsibility for my actions and choices. I have power within myself that needs to be released through art. I am so thankful someone asked that question. It made me remember a very bitter sweet moment.

If you have any questions about my art or myself….please contact me via email or on my Instagram @Artistchic