Thursday, June 17, 2010

Help Wanted - Starving Artist Funeral Planner Needed

Starving Artist Funeral Planner Needed

Hot Job? NOT! Why because it’s an absurd fallacy. Yet almost every artist has bought into this ridiculous myth. Why? Because artists don’t want or like to sell or market their art works or how to approach a gallery about selling it for them. Yet no one seems to have any problem getting a “real job” and doing it for someone else while dramatically suffering about the potential that could have been. Poor dear’s. Poor is right, poorly skilled and poorly prepared, but not in art. What a shame and the answer is right under their nose because they’re doing it for somebody else! Selling!

There are as many ways to sell art and become a financially successful as an artist as there are artists to go around. There is no competition to the creativity you hold with in you.

It is absurd to start an art business without having a desire to sell art.

It is absurd to pay a fortune for art school without learning what it takes to sell and market yourself and your art.

It is absurd to believe people will understand your art on their own and just “get it”

It is absurd to believe you must suffer for your talent and be a starving artist.

When was the last time you attended the funeral of an artist who starved to death making their art at all costs? Absurd.

Focus your art-making and art-selling learning while and after you are in art school. Your efforts will pay off big time. If you’re out of art school learn how to sell either through work and or taking classes on the subject. There is no experience like real hands on sales experience. There are however lots of over educated derelicts in the world waiting for someone else to do their job of selling themselves for them.

Focus on your efforts to be in the art business right where you live (the national and international shows and museum can wait).

Make your art and then get it out there in public view any way you can, ASAP. Wherever there’s a wall there’s an art show waiting to happen. Fresh art equals fresh sales. If people want to see the same pictures over and over, they go to the permanent collection at the museum, meanwhile you need to create, eat, pay your expense and have some left over for reinvesting in yourself, fun and savings. Yes you can do this selling your art. Here are some very important tips.

Listen to and HEAR what people say as you talk to them about your art or while at other art venues. This is valuable to a sense of who likes what and why. Also this will aid you in figuring out how to price it so it sells.
Get a business card with piece of your art on it and ALL your contact info and website on it. You are going to meet lot’s of people who may not be your customer but they may have a friend who is, people love to talk about artists they’ve met! You will stand out this way. This is called marketing.
Marketing is how you get in galleries, meet art reps, make sales, and all kinds of other great stuff you’ve heard about and want. It's how the art business works. It’s How Business Works.

Here's more of what you have to learn in order to thrive as an artist:

Sell Your Art You must do this.

If you can’t part with your art, you’re a hobbyist not a professional. Stop reading this article and go get another job. If you do sell your art, when you do so, keep a record of who bought it when and where. If you can take a picture of where it’s installed do so to show galleries how and in what environment it looks good.

If you’re not good at sales and want to learn how. Get a job selling something you love and believe in. Learn everything you can and apply it to your art sales. Movie stars and authors don’t go on Oprah’s TV shows to talk about the weather, they are there to sell a product for their studio, publisher or favorite charity. They are selling art!

Keep it Simple. Talk and write about your art in ways people understand, regardless of how little or how much they know about art. One to two sentences per piece. Know your product in the simplest of terms.

Price your art consistently and answer questions about your prices concisely. You must know what you are worth BEFORE you go into the gallery and you must know if your prices fit that gallery!

Be Genuine and appreciate your viewers. People will appreciate your art and feel like it's worth owning.

Criticism Mind your own business. Your business is art and joy. How you respond when people criticize your art it can make or break you. If someone critiques you, respond by saying “That’s an interesting point of view, tell me how you came to that conclusion.” You may learn somthing or you may not. If someone is mean spirited, they usually are full of fear that has nothing what so ever to do with you. Remember great art will always evoke an emotional response. It’s best to be compassionate and walk away.

Do not over saturate
your gallery owner, rep or customer. Twenty to thirty pieces of art is enough and less than fifteen is not enough of a selection to start showing and selling. (unless they are huge installation pieces) Then less is more! Remember keep it simple, especially your portfolio.

Appealing Factor Know your audience and your customer art in ways that make it appealing to potential buyers. It must be appealing not just artistically but economically, emotionally and efficiently. Always put yourself in the gallery/customers shoes. Ask yourself What is it? Why do I need it?, How much does it cost? And, How fast can I get it?

A short remember-able story A few Biographical Highlights your art in ways that increase its appeal to potential buyers. Remember again, keep it simple. You can post your resume on your website for further interest.

Qualify your buyer make sure that anyone who's interested in your art work is able to buy something, regardless of how little or how much they have to spend. Be nice to everyone. I have wonderful folks come to the gallery and shows who have never bought a thing but enjoy talking my work up to their friends who DO buy.
If your audience can only spend two dollars a person you’d better have lots of one dollar items!

Look outside the box and sell your art outside of the gallery system. Wherever there’s a wall there’s a gallery. There are also many image licensing opportunities, art rental sales programs, publishing, apparel, house wares, co-opts, video, etc. if an image can go it your art can go on it.

Create your own venue when your art is not the kind of art that galleries sell. If you have your own follow start with open studios at home, you may one day have your own gallery. Many successful artists today do. It’s easier to answers questions from friends regarding your art as well and great practice for the future. You have to start somewhere.

Know your Market look for places outside of the gallery system to sell. Do charity events for you community, Give Back to what you love. Build your customer lists. Your gold is in your customer list.
Barter and Trade your art for goods or services. Business do it, including museums and galleries, you can too.

Look and speak Professional. Carry, speak and present yourself and your art in ways that don't sabotage your opportunities to make sales. No one wants an energy vampire in their place of business. So knock yourself off the pity pot and grow up.

Stop Taking More Art Classes, To Sell more art take Sales and Marketing classes, Hire a business coach to hold you accountable. Tell a good friend to hold you accountable.

Be Accountable and have Integrity Make appointments and keep them. Business’s will not do business with artist’s who are not accountable and artist’s should never do business with companies that lack integrity.

Keep Good Records A company that does not know its overhead is soon out of business.
Build your team of experts so you can make and sell your art. Your accountant, your attorney, your printer, your framer, business insurer, etc. You can’t do everything and you shouldn’t.

Galleries come and go, mostly because they don’t know how to sell and neither do their artists. Don’t put all your hope in a gallery thinking it will save you and sell, sell, sell your art. That’s absurd! The gallery is gone and you’re still here, you tell me now who’s starved to death? You must learn to sell your art.

Never forget this: HONOR your VALUE , TIME and WORTH and your Dream!!. Now go sell! You deserve to have the very best life ever! Sell It!

To Your Success!
RD Riccoboni, The Art Traveler

Artist and Founder of Beacon Artworks Gallery
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
San Diego California

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What kind of Art is that?

Umbrella's at the beach in La Jolla Cove, by RD Riccoboni

Always provide the best quality products and service in your business. This honors and values your self worth as an artist and shows your customers that you care about your product and them as well.

Today is a more technical subject on art in my blog. Since people ask at the studio and gallery all the time this question I thought it would be good to share with my artist and collector friends.

Why do Mr. Riccoboni’s prints look like originals?

They are high quality Giclee prints. Giclee’s provide the best quality print in art reproduction business. Some giclee processing is different from others too.

What is a Giclee Print?

Unlike the traditional printing method of lithography, which only uses four colors – cyan, magenta, yellow and black, giclee prints typically consist of six (or more) colors – light cyan, cyan, light magenta, magenta, yellow and black, offering the highest quality giclee prints for sale.

However, at Beacon Artworks Gallery and RD Riccoboni Studio we use the additional two colors of light black and light, light black. This printing method results in an extensive color gamut allowing the print an exact true color representation. The lithography style of printing consists of the use of tiny dots of the four colors that confuse the eye into seeing colors not actually on the print. Giclee actually sprays and mixes the ink on the page creating the actual color desired, creating true giclee fine art prints.

The same printing system we make available to our clientele is commonly found in museums, art galleries, and photographic galleries. Using the new Ultra-Chrome K3 pigmented inkset from Epson, our fine art printers will allow users to print outstanding color and neutral black & white prints on a variety of media. The beauty and brilliance of a pigment giclee fine art print is unparalleled. And they're made to last too! The Epson system of inks and paper have received lightfast permanence ratings from the Wilhelm Research Institute that well exceed 100 yrs (with proper UV protection), so you can be assured that your prints will look just as good in 30 years as they do today.

Whether you choose an RD Riccoboni giclee prints on canvas or another artists work the quality remains outstanding and you are sure to find a treasured heirloom so as with any piece of art never display them in direct sun.

A giclee may cost a little more, so be sure to know you overhead in your business. The good news today is because of advanced technology you no longer have to do a large run of prints, spending thousands of dollars. With giclee printing, your image is stored digitally and you can order one at a time from a reputable printmaker reducing your overhead to near zero.

Follow your passions with common sense and know your bottom line and use new tools from the industry to better your business. That is honoring and valuing your artist creativity and craft as you travel on the road to success.

RD Riccoboni, The Art Traveler

Order a giclee picture of the painting above from the expert printrs at imagekind:
Umbrella's at the beach in La Jolla Cove, by RD Riccoboni

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Using Creative Discipline for Maximum Success

The painting above, Bicycles in a Row, by RD Riccoboni

When artists come to me and asked me for gallery show, or how to get a gallery show, I asked him a few questions about discipline, consistency, and quality of their portfolio, and usually wind up giving them an exercise that has worked for me and I will share it with you. Many an artist comes back and visit, thanking me sharing this suggestion and that they now have an show, or new client by using this creative tool. I am so grateful to be of service.

I usually speak in the context of art, so when I say work I’m usually referring to ones craft or skill in the arts, you can apply this to anything.

One of the best ways to increase your value and worth is to always do your best work, and show your best work in all you do. You'll learn to cooperate and not just your success but the success of others around you on a fun journey of co-creation and co-operation. You will learn to focus on making decisions that lead you to your future, and serve the highest good of others with your knowledge. We live in an abundant universe and everything we do is part of that divine perfection and unlimited and the power to create is something that flows through you. The keys in this toolbox are Discipline and Perseverance and will promote your radiant success.

The price of success is discipline. Make a habit of what unsuccessful people hate to do. “You know what I hate to do”, they say; you can hear it all around you in the complaints. You do the opposite. In other words, we all visualize to realize whether it's a good thing or a bad thing. See the good in all and what it can teach you. Then discipline yourself to serve the world from your heart with gratitude, appreciation and kindness in doing what you love to. By thinking and focusing on your vision about what you love to do, creates a vibration that calls the action, creativity from your higher source or inner being, not your ego, to you, so first you create through vibration then comes the action! Artists, writers, actors, musicians and athletes call it being in the zone.

I’m not talking of tedious work here, that’s your ego, It’s very easy to become busy being busy, something you don’t want, balance is the key here, so keep an eye on your action so as not to get lost and sidetracked from your vision that you love, when in action, re-group by focusing daily holding your vision, trusting the process and continue taking action to get there. Like planting seeds, this all needs nurturing and patience. So tend to your soil and foundations, give them the ideal growing conditions and trust that the seeds will sprout and grow.

If you’re and artist you can’t expect to get a show or exhibition without any art of yours being created. The same goes for the rest of us to. In order to get the seed to grow you have to prepare the soil.

Unless you turn what you want over to your higher self, source, spirit, god force, nothing will happen. Perhaps this is why so many people say “Let it go and Let God” a lot of people mistranslate that as, “let it go and be apathetic” don’t do this, that’s not what it means at all.

Here is the exercise: I advise them “Have a body of work to show a gallery which consists of absolutely their best work. As an artist, you want to know yourself deep down inside that this is your absolute best work.” "Don't you agree?" I ask.

The way to do this is, to make 20 different pieces of art in the same theme. A collection, a body of work, that is your very best. How to get there is to do this exercise called "20 times perfect" I then begin to tell them that they are going to make 20 pieces of art, and out of those 20 pieces of art, select the very best piece out of the group of 20 they just made and set it aside. This is your perfect piece, he or he Now take those 19 other art pieces and put them away. Now we are going to repeat the process and do it again when you're finished with those 20 pieces for your exhibit. Do it again, take the very best one from the second group and put it with the other very best one is you have completed. Do this 20 times and you'll have 20 pieces of your very best work. When you present this to a customer, a gallery owner, or anyone asking to see your portfolio, you will know deep in your heart that this is your very best work as you bring it into the light and present it. This vibration will be picked up by the person you are showing your work to. They in turn will know that this is your very best work.
Is this a lot of work? YES, So is creating a lot of work with no direction!
Will you get the job? Would you get the show? That is to be determined, but you have to let yourself a great lesson in persistence and discipline doing the thing you love, knowing deep inside that you have expressed and shown your very best work and you are a professional. Besides you will have built an amazing portfolio that will knock the socks off anyone who sees it. Create what you love to create! Get in the zone and do it, release the outcome to the universe, but keep creating and nurturing your garden! Creativity flows through us, not from us and practicing this will open up your channel that taps into the unlimited power source where all brilliance comes from.

Here is my story with 20 times perfect. In 1994 when I was living in Los Angeles and my art career was just starting to blossom locally, early one morning I received a fax at. My roommate at the time Gary, came running in the kitchen hollering "oh my! Oh my!" On our fax machine, seemingly out of nowhere, was a letter from a art historian and art book publisher in London, England. Aubrey Walter had sent me a fax saying he had a postcard with my art on it above his computer for the last year he had been looking at it. He was in the process of compiling a book of American artists and wanted to inquire if I had any other samples of my work to share with him as the picture on his postcard, my painting, was one of his favorites and had brought him joy every time he looked at it. He wanted to know if I had more work and if I did he would like to consider me as being part of his next art book project. He needed at least 20 slides of my best work and if possible to have delivered to him within one week. While my jaw dropped and my roommate Gary was ecstatic as he was leaving for London England the next day to visit a friend of his. Did I ever pay attention!
You see, A few months prior to that I had spoken with an artist friend who had achieved good success in getting gallery shows in the area. He had advised me to always have a show ready to go to hanging off my best work. He said it should always be at least 20 pieces. so I thought to myself why not have three or four shows ready to go? I had some time on my hands so I created a large body of work and photographed it in slides. All of my very best work. I already had them labeled and into presentation sheets! All I had to do was put them in an envelope and send them to Aubrey! I decided to send about 80 slides just in case. My roommate who left for England the very next day and delivered them to Aubrey's office. Talk about grateful! And being in the right place at the right time and everything just flowed perfectly. Within a couple days I received a fax from England stating "my goodness! Your work is beautiful! I believe you deserve your very own book. What you think?" Well I can tell you what I thought and by 1996 I had a book about my art internationally published and selling on four different continents. Life can change at any moment when you are prepared and in the mindset to accept it.

Learn to be aware of your surroundings and attitudes, the previous exercise of relaxing and replenishing will help you fine tune your awareness; we are like magnets and sponges so pay attention to what's going on around you. As you attract what you want, that energy begins to attract more and more and like compound interest, whatever you put in comes back to you multiplied. When we pay attention, and come from integrity, we can embrace healthy challenges, and applaud other's successes. Everything is right on time, never too late and now you are taking action on your dreams.

You are the source responsible for your abundance. Believe in yourself confidently and lovingly, knowing that you are love loving and lovable. Create goals that are clear. Having clear goals for your self is an act of self-love. When your goals are clear you can move in positive ways toward your desires and your ultimate future. By doing this you will create joy and confidence. The best way to act on your goals is to have clear goals based on your hearts desires and true passions of what you want in life. When you know what your passions and hearts desires are you can make choice decisions that will improve your life greatly then get into action with discipline and perseverance.

You become successful by using discipline as a creative source method.
Use your talents to serve the world from your heart with gratitude, appreciation and kindness. This is how you make the world a better place.

Wishing you Success always,
RD Riccoboni, the Art Traveler

The painting above, Bicycles in a Row, by RD Riccoboni

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Nuturing Your Creativity with The Artist Meditation

Sometimes we are bombarded and over stimulated by our outside world to the point where our creative process just is overwhelmed and we appear to be blocked creatively. That can be changed by nurturing your artist spirit by clearing your clouded mind. The artist meditation for creativity

Let’s start the day right off the bat with some quiet me time. Even if you have to get up early to say set your clock one hour earlier than everyone else in the house for some important quiet me time. This is important especially when you first wake up to think about the things you really want to attract in your life, your dreams and desires that would be so lovely to have every day. I suggest what I do which is I meditate in quiet first and as soon as I am done I visualize. Let's talk about meditation first.

Meditation is different from prayer. Prayer is asking, meditation is listening. To meditate you have to make time for yourself. Like prayer where you can do it anywhere anytime, you can learn to do the same with meditation. Be patient and learn to meditate. Even five minutes is enough to meditate and then you can use a little more time to visualize after meditation. The more you do this the more you will build up a reserve in your subconscious mind of the things that it will bring to you. Take time to think out critical issues. Make time, start small then work up to 30, 60, 90 minute uninterrupted time periods although 10 to 15 minutes once a day is plenty. Start with a small amount of time say 5 minutes. You will need quiet time for this that is uninterrupted, silent time. When you have quiet silent time you activate your super subconscious and trigger intuition, your inner genius. In your quiet time you can also go for a walk, do a chore and move about quietly with structure, however I like to sit and be quiet.

It is important to relax and replenish, nurturing your creative spirit everyday. Take time to rejuvenate your emotions, energy and vitality.

Here's a quick little meditation I do. I suggest for you if you're not sure what to do to meditate. I set aside a little quiet time, just for me, in the morning and evening.

The Artist Meditation:

Sit up straight in a firm but comfortable chair quietly with both my feet on the ground and begin to pay attention to your breathing. Breathe in deeply and breathe out deeply, as You do this You began to relax your body. Try it. Breathe in and breathe out, breathe in and breathe out. Then begin to relax. Start with your toes relax your toes completely breathe in breathe out, now relax your feet, breathe in and breathe out. Your toes and your feet are both relaxed. Breathe in and breathe out, now relax your ankles, now relax your lower legs relax your upper legs, relax your hips, relax your buttocks, relax your abdomen, relax your chest area, relax your shoulders, breathe in and out, relax your arms wrists and hands, breathe in, breathe out, relax your neck, your jaw, your facial muscles and breathe in and breathe out. You will notice that your breathing has become lighter as you relax your body. Do this for a full five minutes. Just concentrate on relaxing your body and breathing. As you become more comfortable meditating you can drift off and dream and let the thoughts come and go and take yourself to lovely places of rest and relaxation where sometimes brilliant ideas come to you.

One thing I like to do during meditation is picture myself in a beautiful sunny meadow, sitting or laying on the beautiful grass in my imagination and enjoying the peaceful setting. When I am ready I come back to the room fully where I'm sitting and then do some visualization exercises which I cover in some of my books.

If you fall asleep don’t worry, your body may have needed to rest.

Your body is a magnificent vehicle that houses your soul and spirit, treat it well and it will carry you to amazing places. By doing daily meditation you value and honor our body and appreciate it's worth. Spirit provides you with access to endless resources. Meditation sparks the creativity you seek.

Other Meditation Exercises.

Go for a quiet walk every day, let it go.., for 30 to 60 minutes. Physical Quiet exercise is one of the best forms of meditation. Often after quiet exercising you may gain insight and unexpected new creative ideas. This works for me and I hope it works for you too. Getting outside is also a form of getting grounded. Literally get grounded possible take off you shoes and socks and stand on the earth if you cant do that purchase a container or clay pot, some potting soil and some small plants or flowers, get your hands in the dirt and create a little potted garden, this is wonderful quieting grounding exercise.

Meditation is quiet exercise, not noisy a exercise. Working out at the gym is another form of meditation however many gyms have music blasting, people yelling and 24 hour news channels bombarding you with image negativity. Meditation affects your creative subconscious. Think twice about where you exercise, remembering that meditation is listening.

Meditation exercises help you develop living in the moment skills, a powerful tool for nurturing your creative and artistic spirit within.

To your artist success and creativity,
RD Riccoboni, The Art Traveler

Painting above: Winter on The Lake by RD Riccoboni.
See more paintings by Riccoboni here

Monday, June 7, 2010

You Become Successful by Owning it

An artist came to me today and said "I would like to create somthing like you have done. Youre Amazing." I said good. "You're amazing too, just for wanting to create the life of your dreams as well." We then discussed how to take intention and turn it into action. Without actions out intentions are only potential. the last thing anybody wants after we're gone from the scene is people going around saying. "What a nice person, he or she had such great potentional too." Sound familiar?

Here's what you do and How you begin to do it. Take Ownership of your Success by decision making and focusing on your solutions. There is more than enough of everything out there to go around for you to be successful at what you want whether it's being an artist or anything else.

You are living breathing part of the universe that overflows with abundance in perfect harmony. Breathe in and out and feel the abundance of the universe that keeps you alive. There is a prosperous windfall that awaits you.

Here is a fun excercise I like to do. I will make you think in new ways.

Get a blank note book, I prefer a spiral bound one to keep things organized, and use the following exercises to ignite your success your heart will be open and you will soon learn that the best things in life are available to you and the world is out to do you good.

Ask yourself: "What is my gift?" then find a way to give it to others by asking: "How can I use this gift to serve the world?"
Anyone who seeks to find their passion in life will surely find it in this way.
Be quiet for a few minutes and ask yourself these questions again.

What are your gifts?

One of my gifts is playing Show and Tell, I inspire others and use my creativity as well as make a living doing that.

Get your blank note book and pencil or pen, and start using it to write down your notes and inspirations in.

What are your gifts? List them in your note book.

Now take full credit for your gifts and own them. Across the top of the page where you have written your gifts, write the following statement: “I own and take credit for these gifts I have with love and gratitude.”

Now on a new piece of paper: Make a list of all the things you can accomplish with these gifts and on a scale of one (1) to ten (10) How much do they excite you? Ten being the MOST exciting! (you can have more than one TEN too, don’t worry about this at all.

Only choose those gifts to pursue that truly excite you. The Five’s through the Ten’s, Don’t worry about the others for now.

Draw on a blank piece of paper a simple image, symbol, of what each success gift looks like to you. Our mind see’s in pictures, which we will discuss later. Stick figures are acceptable, the simpler the better and drawn only by you.

How can you use these gifts to serve the world?

How can you make the world a better place sharing your individuality?

People lose that childlike purity and simplicity in what they love to do as they age, however they can cultivate it back. To cultivate what you love takes learning about your awareness and going within yourself to allow your light shine out again. A light that never went out, you just stopped paying attention to it. As you cultivate the awareness of what you love to do make a decision to surround yourself with objects, people, relationships, that reflect your vitality, aliveness and light. You are about to embark on a new journey.

When it comes to decisions about what you love to do, most people put them off, and procrastinate, feeling unworthy and selfish, that is actually a decision too, a decision to stay stuck most of the time. Intention without action is just potential. When you intend to do something, do not be lazy, start following through immediately. Make a decision to move forward and take Ownership of your Success. Decision making and focusing on the solutions then suit up and show up every day for the life of your dreams.

Make a declaration today, right now, sign and date it. A declaration that holds you accountable to study, grow and develop your success then own up to it.

I,____________________________ am committed to my journey of self growth, awareness, abundance and success. I know that I am an unlimited being and I agree to investigate my passions, honor and value my worth and gifts from this point on. I make a decision right now to give myself the best life ever. On these pages I will write and allow myself to dream big, be inspired, create my unlimited reality, and choose beliefs that bring me aliveness and growth. I hereby declare that I will speak of success and prosperity in my words and actions as I inspire and share my insights and gifts with others.

Signed ___________________________________ Date: _____________

Congratulations you have just created a contract for success just for you. Please share this exercise with your friends. Remember there is more than enough success to go around!

Wishing joy and happiness in your travels.
RD Riccoboni, The Art Traveler

P.s Here is great little movie with a great message and example of how our mind sees things in pictures.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Create an art show at your place of business for your customers and generate new clients.

You’re a savvy business owner or company and want to support the local arts community and help discover the next Van Gogh or Picasso. Congratulations you are a special creative individual and or business. As an artist, business person, or art lover the benefits of having such an art show or event are unlimited. Art is a multi billion dollar industry and is tied to everything in our daily lives. It can greatly help your business as well.

Banks, hotels, and restaurants are just a few familiar venues that have invited artists to show work to their customers so why not then you too? You have the space and the patrons the artist has the artwork and also the patrons, when done correctly it's a creative win-win situation.

How do I know this? As an internationally collected artist, best-selling author, consultant to shows, gallery owner and publisher I have participated in mounting hundreds of art exhibits across the country. Some have included my art and others have not. Some have been at Museums, Community Centers, Art Galleries, Non-Profit Organizations, Hospitals, Retail Stores, Attorneys Offices, Hotels, Coffee Shops, Hair salons, Day Spas, Doctors Offices, Restaurants, Banks, Private Homes, Art fairs, Real Estate Open Houses and offices, Street Festivals, Pet Hospitals, and could ad to this list add infinitum. Basically where ever your patrons are there is an art show to be given and usually readily wanted and have always had the most fun at the most unexpected places where everybody got involved. Back in the early 1990's One of those places was at The LAC-USC Hospital in Los Angeles, California where one wonderful patient's vision was shared and together we created a show for the patients by the patients and before you knew it, everyone was involved from the patients to the administration, doctors, nurses and out into the community. Everybody became united together and we received national attention right up to the White House. Suddenly what was a bleak and scary section of the hospital where no one wanted to go changed and became a vibrant place where others on the campus and surrounding communities wanted to be part of. Art can do things like that.
I want to help you out! I certainly don't know everything but after receiving many phone calls, emails, and letters asking many of the same questions over the years being constantly invited to sit on the boards of arts organizations, I believe I may know some things about this.

The most asked questions are: How do you get an art show?
How do I mount an art show?
How do I put an art show together?
How do I get people to show up for my event?
Is my art good?
Then there are all doubting quetions that come along with it. Like “But you're much better artist at what you do.” and “But you've got a book published about your art., But you're art has been in a museum.” The excuses go on and on. I say Horse pucky to all that.

What it takes is having a dream, making decisions, persistence, being kind, considerate, empathetic and fair. You will see the opportunities unfold before you.
You've got to want it. The best of the best will come. You will attract it, your, artists, your shows, your patrons, and the benefits from it.

I am most familiar with 2 dimensional art. That is art that hangs on walls, or can be displayed on easels, like paintings or photos, and you may apply some of this to other types of exhibits also. As I have said to artists and over the years, "anyone can hold the door open for you, including yourself, but ultimately it is you that needs to make the decision and walk through that door". So get into action and Go Get em! The artists await you. The walls of the world await you. Perhaps even your walls and your business could become the next place to be seen!

What are the things you need to do or have an art show or exhibit?

A Dream, Planning, Organization, Good Faith, Action, good Communication and the most important, having fun!

Here’s a checklist made up of questions that you can use to develop your fantastic exhibit.

1. Do you have an Artist or Artists? Do you want to have a theme? Choose something that fits with your business, community. Themes also give the artist a new chance to be creative. Have fun with this. You will be dazzled by the talent that is out there.

2. Group Show or Solo Art Show? Do you want to deal with one artist or many? One on one is sometimes easier. A group show features more than one artist. If you chose to do this I recommend no more than three artists for the first time. A solo show with one artist is most likely the best choice for your first showing.

3. Where do you find artists? Put out an artist call in your local paper and your website. Create a fan page on Facebook or other social media outlets. The artists will come. Ask them to come in person, by appointment with their portfolio, or your mail carrier will get upset. Set up a specific interview time and hold the artists to it. This is a job interview for the both of you. This reassures professional and hobby artists you are serious. This will be a fun learning experience. An artist who can’t show up for an interview will have problems following through in many others areas as well.

4. What kind of experience does the artist have? Ask for a Bio and exhibition history. Ask for photos from previous shows and set ups. This could be a big break for a new upcoming artist and they may not have either. That's OK, Tell them to bring photos of at least 20 art pieces and three originals. You will then if there is consistency in the art they make.

5. Ask to see samples only of work that is available for exhibition. If you award a show based on what you saw, make sure it's available. Sometimes artist have prints of their work, this may be acceptable if a piece is sold that you really like, however most patrons like to see originals. You be the judge of what you want to hang in your place of business. Make a note book with a calendar and a file for each artist in it. Put the artist contact info on the top of the file. Photo copy the artists info and give it back. The artist will tell you if you can keep it or not. Just ask. Artists spend a fortune on promotional materials, film, slides, cd's, memory cards, and never see 99% of them returned even when a self addressed envelope is provided. You can change that by being considerate and respecting the artist’s time and value.

6. The artist’s reputation. What is his or her reputation around town? Ask for references and follow up on them. Artist's usually love to brag. Do they have a website? Check it out. Do a Google search. Some artists are ready to go with a show at all times, others are not. This will work in your favor as when you want to schedule your shows. Go with your gut instinct, You can get a good or bad feeling right away. remember this is supposed to be fun! Like the old saying goes "If it aint fun, you're not doing it right!"

7. What sort of art does the artist show? Is the artwork consistent? How big is the art? You'll want to see at least 20 pieces of similar quality in a portfolio, or in person. Pieces should be marked with Title, medium (such as oil, acrylic, photograph, etc.) size, year created.

8. What is the quality of the artist presentation? Are they business savvy, regarding marketing and PR. Be kind, be fair, and be respectful, the artist may be disorganized but just could be the right fit for your show. Remember new artists are learning the ropes too and some artists may just always be aloof with their presentations.

9. How will this help your business? Displaying a local artist with a great reputation can be a blessing however disturbing, political or overtly sexual art might not work or it might be just fine depending on your business. Is the art safe? Does it have jagged edges that could injure someone? Or parts that could fall off? Use you best judgment and say which pieces you would like to exhibit. Ask about the art, a portfolio photo is flat and the art might not be.

10. You can make a decision then and there if you want to exhibit your new artist or you may want to get back to them at another time. If you choose to get back to them at another time tell them when and stick to it. If you choose not to exhibit the artist be professional, artists may be used to rejection but no one likes to be mistreated. Don't critique the art or call it STUFF, that is common but be respectful, artists cringe when they hear their art being called "stuff". So just tell them you appreciate the work and it doesn't fit with your vision at this time.

11. What will it cost you for promotion if any? Invitations/postcards if any? Do you or the artist pay for that? Are costs shared? The best thing to do would be design a postcard that is an add for your business and promotes your artist at the same time. (You keeping control of your Marketing and PR the best way to go however some artists are brilliant marketers, if they want to take it upon themselves to design promotion, be sure to tell them anything with your business on it must be approved. If promo looks amazing by all means offer to share the cost. You may have found a new asset to you business with out even realizing it.)

12. Do you have a contract if anything gets damaged? Do you have insurance for that? If not is the artist responsible for their own liability insurance? How about hanging the art? Will you or the artist be doing that? Some artists want to be present if they are not hanging the work, some don't care, some have great sense of how the work should be displayed, others do not. Do you or the artist supply proper picture hangers or easels? Be upfront and have both parties sign a document stating what is what.

13. Will you have an opening reception for the artist? (this will be your responsibility but don't be afraid to ask for help) Or will the art just be on display?

14. Free PR can go a million miles in the community, be sure to give the artist the correct name of your business and address. Nothing like printing up expensive give a-ways, sending out Press Releases and spelling your business or the artist name incorrectly.

15. Are the pieces on consignment? For sale? Do you get a cut? Or is this an amenity for your customers? Things to think about. Incentives for your employees can sell art; discuss business opportunities with the artist and your fellow employees.

16. Is the artist a licensed, incorporated business person? If they are you have a smart and savvy business person who may be of tremendous benefit to you.

17. How long does the art hang for? Put it in your contract. 60-90 days gives you an opportunity to change your art at a reasonable pace. Shorter shows can be burdensome to both you and the artist and you walls. If the artist needs some of the work for another show, ask them to be accommodating and if possible give at least 24 hours notice. Say If the artist or you want the whole show to come down which can happen. Do you have another artist lined up to fill in or bump up into their slot? What happens when the Art comes down and needs to be picked up? Your place of business is neither a garage sale or storage unit. State that storage fees will be imposed if work is not picked up in a timely manner, the end of show would be a timely manner. The best thing to do may be to always have the artist on hand when putting up and taking down shows. Will this take place before, during or after business hours?

18. Does the art hang on walls, easels, pedestals? Is it secure? Is safe? Is it too fragile? Think about these things? Could glass shatter? Acrylic may be a better alternative in framing large pieces.

19. Are frames unsightly? Good condition when they arrive? Are they in good condition when the show comes down?

20. If canvas is unframed are the edges to look presentable? Ask for edges to be painted and finished.

21. If the work is for sale who handles payments and collects sales tax? Do patrons deal directly with the artist or you? You may want to keep this accounting separate from your everyday business.

22. Most artists are easy to work with, ask them what they want, they are the boss of their art work and you are the boss of your place of business, be respectful of each other and you will make some great bonds in your business community. Have fun and you will learn lots about art and artist as you become a friend of your arts community.

23. Word will eventually get out that you are showing art and the artists may be knocking your door down to get in and have a show. Some business have a select group of artists they deal with, as artist’s leave, move on they replace them with new artist. Unless you love the process of mounting a show or have a designated employee that handles the art shows you may find the more power you give the artist to be responsible with their show the easier things will flow for you. Tell the artist what you expect and what you want. Keep the communication open, One or more your artists may even work out so well with you that they may assist you in your handling of art procedures.

24. Create a mailing list of people interested in the art show and for future shows and developing new customers and retaining current ones for your newsletters, website and correspondence.

25. Opening Night. Have the artist say a few words at the opening about your business, and agree ahead of time what will be said. Tell the artist what you expect and what you want.
Recapping what is needed to do or have an art show or exhibit?

A Dream, Planning, Organization - make a check-off list from the suggestions above, artists, artwork, and Action and the most important, having fun!
Like I said before: The artists await you. Your customers and new clients and the world await you and your walls and your place of business will be the next hot spot in town place to be seen! You may even change the way the world sees things.
Best wishes to you!

RD Riccoboni, The Art Traveler