Friday, February 27, 2015

Who Says Art Blogs are Boring? 3 Visual Artists Who are KICKIN' Ass and Takin’ Names on Their Blogs.

How did I manage to make it through an entire month of posts on the subject of art blogs without mentioning the names of actual artists?

Have no fear, below you'll find my short list of visual artists who are absolutely killing it on their blogs. If you're not already acquainted with them, you should definitely click over and go take a look at not just what they show, but how they share it.

These three exciting visual artists prove that it's not just about showing what you do, it's about
sharing who you are.

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Karen Walrond is a photoessayist and author.

Her blog Chookooloonks is an award-winning lifestyle, travel, inspiration and photography website, about living with intention and a sense of adventure ( A Trinidadian term of endearment, used especially when addressing a child.)

Karen's bestselling book, The Beauty of Different, is a chronicle of imagery and portraiture, combined with written essays and observations on the concept that what makes us different makes us beautiful. Her photography has been included in numerous exhibitions around the United States.

Go check out Karen’s blog here:

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Austin Kleon describes himself as “a writer who draws”. You probably know him as the author of Steal Like An Artist, a manifesto for creativity in the digital age, or Newspaper Blackout his a collection of poetry made by redacting words from newspaper articles with a permanent marker. Go read Austin’s blog here:

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California based Artist and illustrator Lisa Congdon is best known for her colorful abstract paintings, intricate line drawings, pattern design and hand lettering. 

Lisa writes a popular daily blog about her work, life and inspiration called Today is Going to be Awesome

Her book Fortune Favors the Brave will be released later this year. Go check out Lisa’s blog here:

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Successfully infusing your creativity, personality, and ideas into your blog is the easiest way to guarantee readers and potential collectors keep coming back. 

You don’t need everyone in the world to read your blog, just the people who truly enjoy seeing and reading about your work and process. Your “right” people are the ones who truly resonate with your ideas and the way you share them.

OK, over to you...

How well does your blog share not only your work, but your thoughts, ideas, and your personality?

Chime in and leave your answer in the comment section.

You gotta let your light shine, baby!

Big Love,

Friday, February 20, 2015

Why You Should Stop Apologizing and Making Excuses on Your Blog!

Even if you’ve been blogging about your artwork for a while, sometimes real life issues just get in the way. 

Maybe your “day job” requires you to put in a few more hours each week, you have a family emergency, you have a bunch of cool projects or exhibitions lined up, or maybe you just get plain bored with writing.

Before you know it, you're way behind on your blog posting schedule.

It happens.

Missing a few weeks or even months of blogging isn't that big of a deal as long as you come back, get right back on track, and totally knock it out of the park.

There’s absolutely NO reason for you to start off your comeback post with “Sorry I haven’t been blogging, but....”

top. Do not pass go. Do not collect your $200.

Guilt-laden “apology” blog posts are useless.
They damage your credibility by making you seem like a person who makes excuses instead of taking action.

It’s important to be honest and transparent with your readers. It's builds trust. But instead of making excuses for your absence, why not jump right back into blogging about the exciting projects you’ve been up to, what’s been keeping you busy in the studio, and what ideas you’ve had.

Make your first comeback post full of images and insights into what you’re working on. Talk about your thought process and where it’s leading you. Pose a question or start a discussion about some of the ideas you’ve been thinking about.

Instead of using an entire blog post on what you’ve done wrong in the past, focus your attention on the future of your work and your art blog. 

Readers click over to your art blog to see and learn new things about you and your work. They want to join in your excitement, not witness your guilt.

If you give them what they want, they'll keep coming back..

So let’s brainstorm:

▪  How do you feel about the status of your art blog? Does it need CPR?

▪  What keeps you from blogging? How do you plan to get back on track?

How do you come up with fresh new ways to talk about your work?

Spill the beans in comments.

Big Love,

p.s. If your blog is on it's last leg, you really should be joining us for the Rock Your Art Blog Mastermind Workshop. Join us!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

How I Blogged My Way into the Permanent Collection of an Art Museum.

I’m always going on and on about how artists can use their blogs as a powerful marketing tools to promote and sell their work.

Today I want to give you a concrete example of how I’ve used my own blog to share, network, and connect in ways that have influenced the course of my own art career.

Way back in the 1990’s I bought a book titled Reframings: New American Feminist Photographies by Diane Neumaier. In the book I discovered the work of artist Carla Williams

Something about the power of her honesty and vulnerability really spoke to me. I became an instant fan!  For years I admired her work from afar. I scoured other books for her work and I read every page of her website and blog.

Finally in 2007 I summoned the courage to send her a little fan letter by email. I simply introduced myself and told her how much I admired her work, and how much she had inspired me as an artist. Much to my surprise she replied right away and thanked me for my kind words.

Now this is where the story gets crazy awesome.

Not too long after our e-mail exchange, Carla wrote a brief paragraph about me on her blog and linked back to my blog. My page views doubled overnight.

Shortly after that small mention, curator Lisa Henry read Carla's blog post and clicked over to my blog and website.

Lisa promptly e-mailed me and asked to include two of my photographs from the (Re)calling and (Re)telling series in the traveling museum exhibition Double Exposure: African-Americans Before and Behind the Camera.

Being part of Double Exposure led to my works being included in seven other group and solo exhibitions in the two years that followed, and  when Double Exposure finally closed one of the works was acquired by The Amistad Center for Art and Culture at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, where the exhibition originated.

That’s a pretty kick-ass chain of events that would have never happened if I didn't have a blog that presented beautiful images of my work in a professional manner.

Now, do you understand why I’m pestering you about the state of your blog?

So, I have 3 simple questions for you:

▪ What ONE word describes the current state of your blog?

▪  If a museum curator or gallery director clicked over to your blog right now, would they get a positive first impression of you and your work?

▪ What opportunities could you be missing out on right NOW because you don’t know how to use your blog as a marketing tool?

If you’re answers to these two questions make you cringe, you need to be part of the Rock Your Art Blog Mastermind.  

During the month of March I’ll not only help you revive your ailing blog, but also work on changing your mindset about blogging.  Click here for all the sexy details.

Blogging shouldn’t be a burden or a chore.

Your blog is your ticket into a world of new collectors, the international art world at large, and maybe even a museum collection.

Are you playing your cards right?

 If not, join us.

Big Love,

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

February 2015 Open Calls You Should Know About.

Artist Tasja Keetman explored the sculptural qualities of handmade paper during her residency at
  The Women's Studio Workshop. Photo courtesy of WSW website.

The Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale New York is now accepting applications for its Studio Workspace Residency for artists working in etching, letterpress, papermaking, silkscreen, traditional black and white photography or ceramics. 

The program offers artist 4-6 weeks of concentrated work time to explore new ideas in a dynamic, supportive community of women artists with on-site housing and 24-hour studio access. Deadline: March 15.

Fluent Imprint Project seeks artwork to be part of an upcoming book project with pop-up exhibitions, of never exhibited work expressing “your conceptual reflection for making meaningful changes in our society.” Deadline: March 1.

Todd Art Gallery at Middle Tennessee State University is accepting Proposal-based exhibits in campus gallery. The gallery is partial to artists willing to visit and lecture on campus. Deadline: March 13.

Earlville Opera House Arts Center is accepting proposals for solo exhibitions of work by professional and emerging artists for its 2016 exhibition season. Deadline: March 28.

The Painting Center Artist Registry offers the opportunity for artists to enter digital images of their work to be collected in the registry which is regularly consulted for inclusion in group exhibitions in the gallery, or solo exhibitions in the Project Room.

Gallery Aferro invites artists working in new media, film, neon, installation, performance, animation, interactive and kinetic art to submit proposals for consideration to Activate: Market Street. Artists’ work will occupy the storefront windows that can be viewed 24/7 by pedestrian audiences. Deadline: March 15.

Big Love,

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Why Beginnings Are Scary and Why Fear Should Be Your Friend.

"Let me take the idea that has gotten me this far, and put it to bed. What I'm about to do will not be that. But it will be something." 

-Ze Frank 

This week I’ve been back in the studio full-time after a luxuriously long hiatus that involved almost no art-making for 2 months.

The problem, of course, for an artist is that being out of the studio for an extended period of time can mean you lose a certain amount of mental momentum. This is especially true you're starting something completely new.

Momentum is a powerful force, but at the beginning of any new project—you have none. And that can be scary.

Detail from Squeak Carnwath's painting "Confidence".

Artist Squeak Carnwath makes a very good point. Often you have to work through the scary stuff to get to the truth. Not every time, but sometimes. If you aren't a little teeny tiny bit scared, you're probably not digging deep enough---you don't have enough skin in the game, so to speak.

The trick is to work yourself past the grunting, groaning, “this sucks so much” part until you've firmly moved into the “I’ve done this before, I can probably do it again” part.

Here’s the thing: When you start, you always start from the beginning.

It's OK to be scared.

OK, over to you:

▪  How do you work through your own fears when starting a new work or a new project?

Share your ideas in comments.

Don't be scared.

Just begin.

 Big Love,

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Metrics of Success: How Will You Evaluate The Success of Your Art Career in 2015?

William Powhida. Some Criteria For Evaluation, 2013.
 Graphite and watercolor on paper, 22 x 15 inches.
 Photo courtesy of Charlie James Gallery.

Somehow we’ve managed to make it to the middle of January already, which means many of you are still totally gun –ho about your New Year’s resolutions and are workin’ your butts off to make 2015 your most successful year ever. *insert woo hoo here *

If you’re one of those artists who’s is currently kickin’ ass and takin names-- Bravo!

And then---there’s the rest of us.

Me, I’m still jet-lagged from spending the entire month of December in 3 different time zones.
 I haven’t gotten around to creating a dramatic retrospective summary of 2014 that everybody loves to do. 

(Sidenote: If you need more time to evaluate everything that happened in your art career in 2014, you know what? Take it. A thoughtful evaluation shouldn’t be rushed.)

But let’s talk about what happens when you do finally get around to that evaluation, because frankly it can be a tough task. 

Success is a subjective term. 
 Its definition varies w-i-l-d-l-y from artist to artist.

Usually when I ask an artist to give me their personal definition of a successful art career they say something like “Making a good living from my art without having to have a day-job.” 

In which case I love to tell them that, by their definition, I failed the entire first half of my art career.

Good thing I was measuring my success in other terms, huh?

Wouldn’t it be much better if artists could define success so that we could celebrate our value regardless of the size of our bank accounts?

Measuring success primarily in economic terms can be a dangerous trap. It can blind you to the many other ways in which you’ve succeeded throughout the year.

But if we’re not just judging the success of our art career by sales alone, what are some of the other ways we can evaluate exactly where we stand?

Try asking yourself the following questions:

- How many new works did you complete?

- How many art fairs/ openings/exhibitions did you visit?

- How many exhibitions were you part of?

- How many new people joined your mailing list?

- How many exhibition/residency/grant applications did you send out?

- How many newsletters did you send?

- What new skills and techniques did you acquire?

Ok, you’re turn…

What do you use as your personal yardsticks of success?

What else could you use as a metric for success?

Add your metrics in the comment section.
Big Love,


Sunday, January 11, 2015

APPLY NOW! Upcoming Open Calls and Deadlines You Should Know About.

Photographer and printmaker Keith Taylor’s Dark Matter Portfolio Suite on display
at Minnesota Center for Book Arts.

The Giertz Gallery at Parkland College in Champaign IL seeks exhibition proposals in all genres of contemporary approaches to art making by solo artists, collaborative groups, or curators. Deadline: January 25th.

Maryland Art Place (MAP) is accepting applications for its IMPRINT 2015 print program to highlight one contemporary artist who has demonstrated excellence within their selected media. Deadline: February 1st.

Campbell River Art Gallery is accepting Proposal-based exhibitions by artists, curators, groups of artists in its galleries for 2015. Deadline: February 9th.

Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) is currently seeking art for inclusion in “Readers Art: Concealed, Confined and Collected”, a juried exhibition exploring artists' books that use found or custom-made containers to support narrative and content. Deadline: February 13th.

The Olin Fine Art Gallery at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington PA is seeking proposal-based solo or group shows for the 2015-16 academic year. Deadline: February 15th.  

Curator Dianna C. Long is currently seeking work by women artists for Women of Many Colors to be held at the Liz Long Gallery at Urban Art Retreat Center in Chicago IL.
Deadline: February 23rd.

The Marlani Gallery at the University of Northern Colorado is currently seeking exhibition proposals for the 2015 - 2016 academic year. Proposals may be for solo or a group exhibitions, in any medium, of no more than 3 artists. Deadline: February 23rd.

Ready. Set. GO!

Big Love,

p.s.  Need help writing that exhibition proposal?  
CLICK HERE for help.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Artists You Should Know: My Top Picks from Art Basel Miami Beach.

No matter how elegantly they are designed, the huge white art fair tents
 always make me think of the circus.

If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know I'm always ranting about how important it is for you to get out and see as much artwork as possible by other contemporary artists.

This year during Art Basel Miami Beach I took thousands of photos. Thousands. Like most people, I use my camera as a type of visual notebook. Collecting images, names, works, people..... 

I take pictures of all kinds of seemingly nonsensical things so they may later serve as a reminder to go back and look at or research something again once I've recovered from "Fair Fatigue".

Just last week I finally had the time and energy to sort through what I captured. 

I can't even begin to share half of what I saw, but I wanted to take a moment to at least share a short list of art that I really enjoyed.

Shinique Smith at James Cohan Gallery.  (New York City)
Shield Maiden, 2014. 
Acrylic, fabric and collage on canvas over wood panel.

Hank Willis Thomas at Goodman Gallery. 
(Johannesburg and Capetown)
Raise Up, 2014.

Enoc Perez at Danziger Gallery.
Selected images from “Summer Job”, 2014.
Collage on paper.

Jean Lowe at McKenzie Fine Art (New York City).
Casein on Paper mache.

Chris Ofili at Osborne Samuel Art (London).

Afro Muses: Harem 1, 1995.
Series of 9 portraits, Unique, Signed.
Watercolor, ink and pencil on paper.

Erik den Breejen at Freight Volume Gallery (New York City).
Richard Pryor, 2014.
Acrylic on Linen.

Aime MPane at Haines Gallery (San Francisco).
Kinoct & Icono-Jeremie series, 2011-2014.
Acrylic and Mixed-Media on wood panel.

Squeak Carnwath at Seager/Gray Gallery (Mill Valley, CA.)
Confidence, 2014.
Oil and Alkyd on panel.

Vanessa German at Pavel Zoubok Gallery (New York City).
Considering the End, 2014.

So much beauty, so little time. Until next year...

BIG Love,