Category Archives: Art

Making Space aka Decluttering and Letting Go

I’ve been aware of 100 day projects for a while now. The ones that help creatives (or not so creatives) create creative habits. The one I discovered and have decided to commit to is #The100 DayProject -starting (yesterday) April 6, 2015!! luna-100dayproject-pledge1

Artist Elle Luna came across the idea while at Yale School of art thanks to teacher Micheal Beirut who sets this assignment to graduate design students. He says he was fascinated “with the ways that creative people balance inspiration and discipline in their working lives” and describes the experience and some of the results in this article on The Design Observer.

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I tossed around a few ideas along the creative lines of making a collage, doing a still life, organising and photographing the bucket of scissors I bought for $20, choosing one medium like watercolour or coloured pencils and playing with that, making patterns, exploring hand lettering – all worthy projects and I’m sure I will do some of them. One day. But I felt the need to be challenged. A need to do something that I really want to do but procrastinate about.

I realised my fascination with this idea was around the psychology of forming a new habit. The project (or challenge) is really about perseverance – steady persistence in a course of action in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. (Thank you dictionary.reference.com) There’s all sorts of watercooler wisdom about how long it takes to form a habit (21 days is a popular response) but a study done in 2009 shows that it’s more like 66 days and some types of habits take longer to establish or become automatic than others. So 100 days might be long enough for me to change from procrastinating about making space to actually achieving it.

And the reason why I need to make space? To not be constricted. To embrace growth and change. To have a functional, private, working space. There’s so much energy embodied in all the stuff I’ve held onto for years, a lot of negative emotions like disappointment, grief, sadness and frustration. In the end the goal is to support my art making – to have the energy and space for all those other 100 day projects or even 365 days of… or 52 weeks of…

If you’re on Instagram follow #The100DayProjectMakingSpace where you’ll get a daily update of what I’ve done. On the blog I’ll pop in and update my progress every 10 days.

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Put a bird on it – the trials of pricing artwork

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Straightforward: delivering three artworks to Linden Gallery for the annual Linden Postcard Show.

A little challenging: choosing the work. All work had to be 8″ x 10″. Fortunately I had a sketchbook the right size, but I didn’t want to rip the pages out. Solution: good quality digital prints from fine art imaging specialists Imagescience.

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Pretty easy: the entry process this year was via a gallery website, so you can see the works here.

The hard part: pricing –  a figure that was fair to me, and reasonable for a work of this size to an art lover.

If this were a conversation it would go something like this:
Me: (thinking – add up the costs of entering the show ($77 for three works plus 30% commission and 10% GST on commission and the cost of getting prints made, umm lets try $100, no I need to earn a bit more than that…I know!) $120 each please.
Imagined Art Lover: Hmm $120…I’m not sure…they’re Prints, not Originals.
Me: Oh okay, what if they were less than $100, do you think that’s more reasonable?
Imagined Art Lover: Yes, that sounds good, going over $100 will put a lot of people off.
So I made them $95 each.

But even then I struggled, making the mistake of dividing the entry fee and printing costs for a per/print amount. If you’re not an accountant you might be wondering why was that a mistake. It’s all about being “out of pocket” – I’m out of pocket for a fixed amount no matter how many I sell. I’m not out of pocket one third of $77 plus one third of the printing costs plus the commission costs. Clarity: now I could see how many I had to sell to cover my costs and when I would start to earn something. And I decided to go low, as low as was bearable for me. And I’ll have to sell three prints to (almost) break even, rather than two.

There’s been loads written about this by other artists, artist coaches, critics, gallery owners, arts organisations, journalists – everyone seems to have an opinion. There’s advice about figuring out how much your materials and time are worth, plus the intangibles like the reputation of the artist (established, emerging, popular, amateur); the kind of work it is (painting, print, photo, sculpture, installation, commissioned); the size of the work, when the work was done….

So how low did I go? I decided on $60. If I sold all the prints at this show (which is not likely) I’d end up earning about the same as three days teaching.

Do you think I should give up my day job? Or just put a bird on it?

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Getting back in touch

Hi there! I hope you’ve had a chance to take a look at the recent addition to morepressingmatters – a page titled artwork. For my artwork.

When I started this blog, I made up a rule that my work wouldn’t be a part of it – because back then I had a website (www.debtaylor.com – which doesn’t exist at the moment). As an artist, I love to break the rules and see what happens. I have a few things to write about so I’ll be back soon, but in the meantime, I’d love to know what you think of the new page.

Studio - south wall and door

My old studio. I miss the space and fellow artists. This photo was of a show I had there before I moved my studio to work at home.

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