Thursday, September 09, 2010

POLL: Which performance measure matters most to you as an artist?

This month's Making a Mark Poll covers a range of numerical performance indicators which artists use to measure their success - as an artist.

Sue Smith (Ancient Artist) in Can This Economy Support Your Ego? suggests that sometimes artists might fixate on the wrong performance measure.  I know from talking to people that artists have different views about what's important - and also that they change their mind over time.  Also that the perspective might vary depending on whether you are a leisure artist, semi-professional or a professional full time working artist.

It struck me that a poll might usefully make people stop and think about which performance measure is the most important one to you - and enable that view to be shared with others

For those of us who have had Kaplan and Norton's "balanced scorecard" approach to performance measurement  embedded into our way of thinking, pulling out just one performance indicator might be a bit difficult - however I thought it was probably worth having a go.

However if there are enough of you are of a view we ought to try the balanced scorecard perspective as well I'll repeat the survey and allow multiple choice answers - but I though I'd keep it as simple as possible for starters.

Is being invited to have your work in a prestious gallery
what matters most to you?

Which numerical performance measure matters most to you as an artist? The number of.....
  • pieces of art you've produced
  • galleries your work is in
  • solo exhibitions you've had
  • exhibitions including your work
  • art competitions including your work
  • press reviews you've received
  • works you've sold (all time)
  • works you've sold (this year)
  • collections your work is in
  • high status collections your work is in
  • gross income this year
  • net income this year
Please DO COMMENT on your choice and the reasons why.  If you'd care to share your views about the perofrmance measure that you use, it would be most helpful if you could indicate what your status is in terms of whether you are a leisure artist, semi-professional (you sell your work) or professional (your work is your main source) or full time artist (sales are one source of income within a portfolio of artistic endeavours).  Terms for the latter two could doubtless be improved - suggestions please. 

It would also be helpful to know:
  • whther there are any other performance measures (not identified above) you find meaningful. 
  • what you include in your "balanced scorecard" approach if you use this instead of one main measure to evaluate your progress and achievement in a business sense.
You can find the poll in the usual place in the right hand column - inbetween "for your Information" and above "Bloggers who folllow this blog".

The poll finishes just after midnight (GMT) on 30th September and the results will be published as soon as possible after that (hopefully the same day).

Note:  The image is of Watercolour Academy - an exhibition of invited watercolour artists at the Mall Galleries in August 2010


Jeanette said...

I don't know if I could give a single answer to this question. My performance and progress can only be measured by the personal business plan that I have set for myself and whether I have achieved the goals I set for myself.

Everything else that occurs outside those parameters tends to be in the 'nice if it happened' category of the business plan - my wish list and I deal with that when and if I have achieved in the areas I set out for myself.

It would be pointless to expend time, energy and money chasing pipe dreams just because they're there if they are not relevant to the path I want to take.

To give an answer, it would be 'all of the above' depending on the circumstances and what the goals are.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

I know - that's why it's interesting to ask the question

There's a great deal of difference between all the things we KNOW we should look at and the one thing which actually has a real impact on us and matters like nothing else matters! :)


Jeanette said...

Still difficult to answer but yes, if its broken down to real basics I probably can pin point one thing that I would class as progress based on the direction I'm going in.

Stop making me think so hard Katherine! :) But you know I love you anyway.

janabouc said...

Wow! What a thought-provoking topic and one very worth considering.

I was surprised at how different my definition of success as an artist is from the poll options and then realized you must be inquiring about art business success rather than a broader definition? If artists throughout history defined success using the poll's criteria, probably few would have been considered a success in their own times.

Although I do want and work towards success in the business side of my art career, my criteria for judging myself a success as an artist is focused more on process, practice, and mastery.

When I set learning goals for myself and meet them; when I persevere despite difficulties; and best of all, when I create a work that I really love because I finally "got" something I've been struggling to master, then I feel like I'm a success as an artist.

When someone wants to buy one of my paintings or invites me to show my work, that is an honor. When students in my watercolor classes give me great feedback and I know I've inspired someone, that makes me really happy.

But creating a painting that I really love (rare, given my very active self-critic, but it happens) is when I consider myself a success as an artist.

I'm very grateful to you for raising this question because until I pondered it I didn't know this was my answer, and my answer makes me happy!

Katherine Tyrrell said...

I'm working on the principle that to be a long term successful artists you
* either have to have enough income (steady job/won the lottery/whatever) which puts a roof over your head and feeds you - and then you can take your time making it as an artist in whatever terms are meaingful for you
* or you are a full time artist and your art has to earn you the income which put the roof over your head and feeds you

At the end of the day - how you earn your daily crust is actually quite important to how you look at performance measures

Those who have made a full-time commitment to being an artist with no income from other sources may have a different perspective.

Others may feel that what they get out of art is enough and being able to choose how they develop makes it worthwhile to earn their income in a job which maybe holds less intrinsic interest.

I've focused on conventional performance measures which lend themselves to being counted

It's not that they are better or worse so much as they help make you think about what really matters.

I'm definitely more interested in the debate on this one than the result!

John Farnsworth said...

Because I have dealt directly with my collectors for the majority of my 40 plus years as a full-time artist, including owning my on Galleries for 15 years, I would have to say the friends I have made, and the feedback I have received from those who own my work has been the greatest satisfaction.

1a. collections your work is in / high status collections your work is in
So I guess I would have to say, numerically, the important collections my work is in matter to me most, as every collection I am in is of great importance to me.

1b. pieces of art you've produced / works you've sold (all time) / works you've sold (this year)
Every painting I have done, from the first, through the 22 x 30 foot mural I did for Wells Fargo Bank in the early 1980s, to the daily 6 x 6 inch paintings that I am now painting for my daily painting auction blog, A Farnsworth A Day, would have to place "works I've produced" in a tie for first place.

2. net income this year
Because food, shelter, clothing, and other necessities, and travel, when possible, are important and contribute greatly to my ability to continue painting, "net income" every day and every year, comes in a very close second to the above.

3. gross income this year
Because it makes my net possible.

4. the Internet / Giclee
I added these two because they have greatly enhanced my ability to share my work with so many more people, and because they have helped with income, both gross and net.

5. press reviews you've received
6. exhibitions including your work
7. galleries your work is in
8. art competitions including your work
9. solo exhibitions you've had

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