Tuesday, October 07, 2008

10 good habits for good times or bad

Study of Tate Trees #1
210mm x 297mm,
Edding 1800 profipen 0.1 with archival pigment ink on Daler Rowney Bristol Board 115lbs

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Following on from Taking action after the bubble has burst and Managing Business Risks as an Artist this post is about 10 good habits for running your art business. When you can't seem to see wood for trees, these are often the sort of habits which can really help.

(Well I had to get my drawing of trees for the trees series in somehow!)

I think they're actually good habits for any time - good times or bad - but they're particularly relevant when the financial picture looks bleak and you need to know you're making the very best use of your time and resources.

You also need to understand I learned some of the the hard way - and some I still have to work very hard at keeping!

Do you agree with my top 10? If you disagree, what would you choose instead?
  1. Clear identity - Be able to explain who you are, what your art is about and how it's developing in a clear and confident manner to anybody who asks - or looks at your websites.
  2. Focused - Have a clear set of objectives each year which are written down, specific and measurable (eg I want to produce x paintings for y series in time for z exhibition in December)
  3. Market-orientated - Know your market, know your buyers and spend at least 50% of your time on marketing your art
  4. Efficient - Save time and frustration by keeping good accessible records of all art produced - from photos to spreadsheets to digital files
  5. Presentation matters - remember that applies whether it's framed artwork, how it's wrapped for shipping or emails
  6. Managing the money - Keep on top of what generates the cashflow - both receipts and payments
  7. Work as a team - Make sure you check and don't assume people can help out when you need them
  8. Time management - Double the time you think you need to get ready for an exhibition
  9. Business records - Make sure you keep records which give you all the information needed for your tax return
  10. Don't be stupid - Archive important records - and ALWAYS remember to do your computer back-ups!

Note: Tate Modern has highly structured plantings of silver birches as part of the landscaping inbetween the museum and the river Thames - next to the Millenium Bridge. I usually prowl around them when I visit trying to see if I can find a new angle for the patterns they make. It varies over the year depending on whether or not they're in leaf.

I'm working on Bristol Board for the first time in ages and finding it suits my 0.1 profipen very well!



Rose Welty said...

Katherine, the trees are a great subject for pen and ink - really nice.

Your top ten is great. I'd only add to "Focused" that it helps to review those yearly goals throughout the year. Yearly goals tend to change...I find that some things I think are important at the outset turn out not to be worth the investment and other things I thought beyond my reach for the year end up being accomplished. And I think being dynamic with your goals like that is smart, not lazy. Some opportunities need to be snapped up, even if they weren't on the list.

Julie Oakley said...

I've always thought those trees would make a great subject matter for a drawing/sketch/painting and you've done a beautiful joob of it

Jo Castillo said...

The drawing is lovely. I really like your pen and ink work. You always keep us focused and pointed in the right direction. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

No. 10 "don't be stupid" really resonates with me. Why? Because I shoot myself in the foot all too often. Oops, running late and forgot to take a photo before I sent the work off. Oops, made 10 greetings cards and did not get round to invoicing for them. Oops, mis-filed the digital photo and now can't find it.
I can see I need to give myself a firm talking to and get it sorted. Mind you, I have said that before and know I can some up with myriad excuses for not getting organised.

Making A Mark said...

Funny! :)

You have no idea how many times I've given myself a good talking too.

I did wonder about putting "Triple the time you think you need to get ready for an exhibition"!!!

Anonymous said...

Katherine: I think your ten good habits list would make an excellent jumping-off point from which artists could review their own art business goals. Your list is something I'm definitely going to use in December as I look at my own goals for 2009.

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