Thursday, August 29, 2013

My Courses and Workshops


My course, The Business of Art Practice, at Emily Carr University is currently enrolling students for classes beginning in October. It runs to the end of November.

I am doing a 2-hour workshop, What Customers Want, for the Ferry Building Gallery in West Vancouver on September 24th from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

October 21st, I am doing a workshop for the Federation of Canadian Artists, 9:30 am - 3:30 pm in their gallery on Granville Island in Vancouver.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

FYI, Artists With Disabilities


Still Life, Tabletop by Christina Woo from the DAC Gallery on Amazon.com/Art
The DACGallery, an LAbased art gallery representing 140 professional artists with developmental disabilities, is one of a small number of galleries participating in the new Amazon.com, Inc. fine art store. Amazon Art launched on Tuesday, August 6th at http://amazon.com/art (Search DAC Gallery).
The DAC Gallery is the exhibition space and storefront for ECF Art Centers, an adult professional art program of the nonprofit Exceptional Children's Foundation (ECF). Founded in 1946, ECF provides programs and services to adults, students, and children with special needs at 15 locations throughout Los Angeles County. ECF's Art Centers program was created in 1968 and has four professional art studios in addition to the DAC Gallery.
Under the mentorship of MFA level art teachers, the adult artists at each of these studios are supported with a place to work each day, art supplies, instruction and representation through the DAC Gallery. Artists from each of the studios will be participating in the Amazon Art program.
"We have worked hard to create a professional level art program for our artists with special needs. Being selected to participate in the launch of the Amazon art program is a testament to us reaching that goal," said Allen Terrell, ECF's Art Centers Director. "We are the only art gallery that exclusively represents artists with special needs participating in the launch of Amazon's fine art store Amazon Art."
In addition to exhibiting their work throughout the region, the DAC Gallery artists have extensive resumes, some having shown at the Smithsonian Institution and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the Armory in New York City, the Los Angeles Art Show, and numerous galleries throughout Southern California.
"ECF has worked hard to make professional art training accessible to people of all abilities," said Dr. Scott Bowling, President & CEO of ECF. "We are excited to partner with Amazon on this project because we believe Amazon is going to make high quality, original artwork accessible.

Link to story.
Meanwhile closer to home (in Edmonton)...

The Nina, as it is nicknamed, provides the space and materials for artists with developmental disabilities to paint, draw, dance, work in clay and make prints.
An Edmonton arts facility is in danger of shutting down unless it receives a muchneeded cash boost. The Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts must raise $250,000 by Nov. 30 to make the loan payment on its 118th Street location. The Nina, as it is nicknamed, provides the space and materials for artists with developmental disabilities to paint, draw, dance, work in clay and make prints.
Each week, more than 160 artists use the facility – and many go on to show their work in galleries and exhibitions across Canada and overseas. But artistic director Paul Freeman says the centre is about much more than just an art space.
He says the space offers disabled people a way to change how they see themselves. "Often when we meet someone here, they'll tell us about their disability and their group home … and when they've spent some time with us, had some exhibitions with us … the story that they tell us about who they are really starts to shift into ‘I'm a painter...’”
The centre first opened its doors four years ago with funding aid from the province and city. Now, Freeman says, it is time for the centre to make good on that promise. “They were very generous in supporting us and getting us here in the first place, and so we feel not only an obligation to keep our promises, but also to demonstrate to those government funders that ideas like this are worth taking risks on.”
The Stollery Charitable Foundation has pledged to match every dollar fundraised by the centre to a maximum of $125,000, which would cover the rest of the Nina’s annual mortgage payment.
However, with the September fundraising deadline looming near, Freeman said staff are now in “crunch mode.” “It’s not just about keeping these doors open,” he said. “It’s also about keeping these artists flush with paint and everything else.”
Link to story.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Why Picasso Triumphed (perhaps)


An interesting and provocative read by Ian Leslie...

Certain innovations have the power to reset reality. Cubism, like Darwin’s theory of evolution, Edison’s lightbulb, or Apple’s iPhone, was an idea that made everything around it seem instantly obsolete. When we think about why such ideas succeed, our instinct is to hail their creators as godlike visionaries, and their success as somehow inevitable.
Stoyan Sgrouev thinks we’re missing something. Sgrouev is a management professor at ESSEC in France. Scholars of innovation usually study the incremental improvements that give existing products a slight edge over their competitors and which, in the long run, add up to progress. Sgourev focuses on the rarer bird of radical innovation: great leaps forward. The lens through which he examines this phenomenon is the history of art.
Cubism burst out of its niche and into the mainstream, and did so with extraordinary force and velocity. Impressionism took several decades to make its movement from the margins of the Parisian scene to its heart; Cubism made a comparable impact within a few years, and the stylistic experiments it led to defined the international art market for the rest of the century.
Understanding why this happened is no easy matter. Was it simply that Picasso was special? Sgourev finds the “genius” explanation wanting. He cites the counter-example of Vincent van Gogh, an artistic innovator of comparable talent and radicalism to Picasso. Ten years before Picasso arrived in Paris, Van Gogh killed himself, aged 34, having never sold a painting in his life. Neither is it as if Picasso was a superior marketer of his work; he shied away from promoting it and refused to assume leadership of the group of artists associated with Cubism.
Sgourev’s analysis of Cubism suggests that having an exceptional idea isn’t enough: if it is to catch fire, the market conditions have to be right. That’s a question of luck and timing as much as it is of genius. The closest modern analogy to Picasso’s Paris is Silicon Valley in the early days of the dotcom boom, with art dealers as venture capitalists and entrepreneurs as artists.
Link to the full article...

Monday, August 19, 2013

Three Short Tips


#1.  During the five years that I ran Presentation House Art Gallery the best and worst part of my job was choosing the artists to exhibit. Often that was a very hard decision to make. For every artist I could show, I had to say “No” to, perhaps ten artists.
Once when I was presented with a surfeit of equally gifted artists that had to be winnowed down to a more manageable number, I consulted an esteemed curator for advice. She advised me to ask each person, “What are some of the ideas you want to pursue in your future work/exhibitions?”
Curators and commercial gallery owners want to invest their time and resources in artists who have a future and so the question was an apt one. It became a very effective way for me to assess the seriousness of the artist’s commitment to their career as well as the strength of their creative vision.   
If you secure an interview with a significant gatekeeper, I suggest you go with your future in mind and not just the immediate opportunity that the interview presents.
#2.  Do you have a healthy mailing list? Are you thinking of organizing a pre-Christmas sale? If you have a healthy mailing list, you should be! And if you are, are you wondering whom to invite to share the work and the expenses?
The answer to that last question is easy: Other artists with mailing lists as healthy as yours. That is more important than a consideration of complimentary media or technique when you are choosing sale or show partners.
#3.  A really great way to assess and improve your artist statement is easy. Get online and start viewing artist websites (a great resource for this is artistsincanada.com) in order to find three-to-five artists with fabulous artist statements—statements that make you itch to see the work. Then, write to the artists whose statements you admire and tell them why you love their statements. Then ask them if they would take a few minutes to review your statement and attach it. The beauty of this exercise is that the artists you ask are truly objective. They will tell the truth, plus your love of their statement speaks to their writing talent. And, you may develop ongoing peer exchange services with one or more of the artists you consult.