Friday, December 12, 2014

This Holiday Season, Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is.

One of the complaints I hear most often from artists when it comes to selling their work is how hard it is to convince people to spend their money on original art. 

It’s true, many people are more than willing to spend their hard earned money on high priced items such as clothes, video games, flat screen TVs, and of course that sexy new iPhone, but when it comes to original art, the response is often “That’s a bit out of my price range.”

There are many, many reasons why people feel this way about art, but it’s counter-productive to complain, judge, or mock people for thinking this way. Instead, I propose that it’s time for people who support the arts to lead by example.

If we expect others to buy original work made by artists, artisans, designers, and other Creatives, we have to spend our money on original work made by artists, artisans, designers, and other Creatives.

We artists are producers and vendors, but we also have purchasing power. With that buying power comes the opportunity to show others the ways in which owning original and hand-made items actually benefits the quality of their lives--so much so that we want to gift that benefit to the people we care about most. 

What if we decided this holiday season to only buy and offer gifts made by artists?

For example:

Thinking about buying your father- in-law a scarf? What if you bought him this lovely scarf made by NikkiLuKnits?

Do you have a sister who absolutely loves jewelry? Why not offer her something gorgeously hand-crafted from Little Paper Planes?

Looking for an extra cool and edgy hand-made gift for your niece or nephew? How about checking out the BUST MagazineCraftacular and Food Fair

How about instead of that Starbuck’s gift card you offered a gift certificate from Artsicle?

What if you skipped the mall all together and went out of your way to check out everything the small, local boutiques in your city have to offer? Your buying choices not only show that you value art, but your purchases put money into the pockets of other artists.

"A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has."  - Margaret Mead

But folks, we are not a "small group", we are many. The question is-- how will we harness our buying power to our own benefit this holiday season?

-- What’s on your Holiday gift-giving list this year? 

-- How could you change your gift list to demonstrate that you value and support the arts? 

Share your thoughts and ideas in comments.

BIG Love,


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Can’t Make it to Art Basel Miami Beach? Do this instead.

I’ve written time and time again about how important it is for emerging artists to get out and see the work of other contemporary artists. 

Even if you’re not a fan of the whole international Art Fair phenomenon, you have to admit it’s a fantastic way to see an enormous amount of art in a very compact short amount of time.

Just because you can’t make it to Art Basel Miami Beach doesn’t mean you can’t keep tabs on what’s going on.

Can’t make it to Miami? Do this instead:

- Check out each Art Fair’s “2014 Exhibitors List”. This is the page on the fair's website where you will find links to each participating gallery, a few images of the artists they’ll be exhibiting, and a link back to the gallery’s website. 

Something as simple as spending an hour on each fair’s website can give you plenty of insight into what galleries in different parts of the world are showing and selling.   For a complete list of fairs, check out

- Keep an eye on the Art Bloggers. Websites like the Huffington Post, HyperAllergic, and AFC usually have write ups and plenty of photos before, during, and after the art fairs. Also, artist Joanne Mattera does an absolutely epic wrap up and review of an impressive amount of fairs each year.

Are the above options just as good as seeing the actual artwork in person?  No, of course not.

But it’s a great way to see what other contemporary artists are up to or even to begin researching potential galleries for your own artwork--all without ever having to leave your home.

Happy hunting!

Big Love,


Monday, November 17, 2014

Are You Still Waiting for Your “Big Break”.

After almost 20 years of hiking this career path, I think I can safely state with confidence that if you’re an artist and you're waiting around to be “discovered”, you are wasting your time.   Even winning the art-world competition show Work of Art won’t guarantee you'll be able to pay your bills.

So I'd like to share a few facts with you that will help you let that little piece of art world mythology go:

1. There is no such thing as an over-night success.

You know that artist whose career you really admire? They’ve probably been working their ass off for years. Even artists who seem to have gone from obscurity to wide-spread recognition overnight, didn’t learn their craft overnight. 

In reality, most over-night successes are years 

or even decades in the making.

In most cases the artists you see getting into great galleries or museum shows have a long track record of producing great work and promoting themselves independently long before they started showing at those great galleries and museums. Which means…

2. Baby-steps Matter.

My first art show was in high school. Then I was included in a few group shows in University. From there I entered juried shows and group exhibitions at local art centers and organizations. 

All along the way I kept up a consistent studio schedule, participated in art organizations to meet new people in my local art community, and was pro-active about learning ways to promote my work. In other words, I built my career by taking small actions every day and then jumping on every resulting opportunity.

If most artists truly understood how much their day-to-day activities added up, they’d take them more seriously.

Sure, sometimes it feels like the whole becoming a successful artist thing is taking way longer than it should. Believe me, I get that. But the only way to reach your next BIG goal is to check each of those smaller goals off the list one by one.

I’d probably been making artwork for almost 10 years before I started working regularly with commercial art galleries. I look back on my career now, and I see how all those small daily actions lead to bigger and bigger opportunities.

3. Networking is E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.

A lot of artists hate the word networking, so I like to call it “relationship building”. But, no matter what you want to call it, you need to do it. Building relationships isn’t an “optional” activity if you want to have a successful career as an artist.
The art world is small. Miniscule even. 

Everyone is connected to everyone else.

From the tiniest local art center in Des Moines, Iowa to Larry freakin’ Gagosian, it’s all just one big game of Art World “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.”

Make it into a game if you have to. But you’d better make it a habit.

The majority of the exhibitions, opportunities that I’ve been presented with all along my career happened because “I knew a guy”. Meaning someone in my network of friends, co-workers, classmates recommended me, name dropped me, or passed my email address along to someone else because I had established a professional relationship with them.
That’s not luck. That’s called networking. 

Hopefully, now that we’ve got that all cleared up, we artists can put the whole “Big Break” mythology to bed for good. Because frankly it’s tired.

Ok, over to you…

Did you ever buy into the “Big Break” mythology? How did you snap out of it?

What ONE baby-step can you take today to move you closer to your next big goal?

Share your ideas in the Comment section.

Big Love,

 p.s. Ever wonder how curators meet and choose artists for exhibitions?  

Need help figuring out how to network your way into better exhibitions?  

Download the “Get Discovered” audio program.  Click here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Join Us for an ART-FIX Sunday Brunch Q&A Chat Session!

Do you ever wish you could just pop in and ask me a quick question or "pick my brain" about a particular issue you're having?

Well here's your chance!

Mimosas and champagne optional. BYOB.

See you there!

Big Love,


Friday, November 7, 2014

Upcoming Exhibition Opportunities You Should Know About.

Artist Jacob Tonski’s “Balance From Within” installed at Pearl Conard Gallery.
▪  The Pearl Conard Gallery at The Ohio State University Mansfield is accepting both solo and group exhibition proposals. Proposals may include 2-D, 3-D, video, technology integrated media, installation, and performance art.

▪  Trestle Gallery, a 501c3 non-profit contemporary art space in Gowanus, Brooklyn, is currently accepting exhibition proposals from Artists and curators for group exhibitions during the upcoming 2015 calendar.

▪  PAGUS Gallery, a non-profit, alternative art space that encourages artists to take risks, is seeking submissions from artists and curators for 4-6 week exhibitions of work that would otherwise be challenging in a commercial setting.

▪  The Art Department of Sinclair Community College is seeking exhibition proposals for the Burnell R. Roberts Triangle Gallery 2015-2016 exhibition season. All media, including electronic and installation work will be considered. Deadline: December 1, 2014.

▪  SPACES Gallery is looking for artwork that responds to “Invisibility” and its multiple dimensions, including but not limited to: labor, surveillance, debt, dematerialization, power, marginalization, transparency, and hidden structures. Deadline: December 5, 2014.

▪  Georgetown College is currently review proposals for exhibitions in the Anne Wright Wilson Fine Arts Gallery and the Cochenour Gallery. Exhibitions are scheduled for 1-3 months with the new schedule set in line with the school year. Deadline: December 15, 2014.

▪  The Colorado Photographic Arts Center is accepting exhibition proposals of cohesive bodies of work addressing “role play,” the creation of make-believe situations and narratives, or the adoption of a persona or character. Deadline January 8, 2015.

Big Love,

p.s. Need help writing your exhibition proposal? 

Click here for a simple, straight-forward explanation of all the information and elements you need to build a winning proposal.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Looking for Opportunties to Show Your Latest Work? (Sept-Oct 2014 Deadlines List)

It's that time again.  Fall is upon us.  

Time to get down to Art business!

Monday morning I landed in Paris after a 6-week, 6 city, cross-country tour of the US.  Even though I’m a bit road weary and still suffering from a severe case of “Summer Brain”, I managed to pick a few interesting exhibition opportunities for you.

Checking out “Your Feast Has Ended” at The Frye Art Museum in Seattle.

As always, I’ve taken the time to weed out the fluff, high entry fees, and time-wasters.

No nonsense.  Just the good stuff:

International Print Center New York is looking for new limited edition and unique works and videos, installations and other projects that use printmaking as a major component. Deadline: Sept. 15th.

The Morris Graves Museum of Art is accepting Exhibition Proposals for new and innovative work that promotes community engagement for it’s 2015 and 2016 exhibition calendar. Deadline: Sept. 20th.

‘The “F” Word: Feminism Now’ - ARC gallery is seeking new engaging work for an upcoming exhibition exploring what feminist art was, what it has come to be, and where it is going. Possible submission topics: Ideals of feminism, Feminist aesthetics, Feminism’s presence in contemporary society and Feminism in popular culture / Celebrity Feminists. Deadline: Sept. 20th.

SOIL Artist-Run Gallery in Seattle is currently accepting proposals for shows that will take place between April 2015 – March 2016. Deadline: Sept.  27th.

Purdue University Galleries are accepting Exhibition Proposals in all media including new and emerging technologies for the Robert L. Ringel Gallery in Stewart Center Gallery and the Fountain Gallery in downtown Lafayette. Deadline: Oct. 1st.

The City of Auburn Washington is seeking artists and/or artist groups working in two-dimensional media to exhibit their work at two City of Auburn gallery spaces during 2015. Artists and/or artists groups of diverse mediums are encouraged to apply. Deadline: Oct.6th.

Women In Art ~ An Exhibition on Herstory and Themes of Identity. LH Horton Jr Gallery at San Joaquin Delta College is seeking work by women artists that reflects women’s stories, culture, and themes of identity. Deadline: Oct. 6th.

Central Booking - Artist’s Book Gallery accepts submissions for upcoming exhibitions.  Themes presently open for submissions: Criminology/Forensics, Psychology/Memory/the Mind, Archeology, Technology Now and Then, Paleontology, Entomology, Mineralogy.

The Kansas City Artists Coalition is currently accepting Exhibition Proposals and applications to its International Residency Program.  Proposals may be for solo, two-person or group exhibits in 3 galleries and the Project Room. Deadline: Oct. 15th

Cecelia Coker Bell Gallery is currently accepting solo Exhibition Proposals for its 2015-2016 exhibition schedule.  Deadline: Oct. 24th.

BIG Hair+ BIG Dreams + BIG Love,

p.s. Not sure how to write a strong exhibition proposal for your work?
Get help here:

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Dig Deep. Take Risks. Get Awkward.

For the month of August I’ve jumped continents for another cross-country U.S. summer trip, but I wanted to share the work of an amazing artist you should know about.

Joy Mckinney is a NYC based artist who explores contemporary social and cultural ideas about gender and race through photography and video. 


Folks, this is emotionally dense and surprisingly intimate stuff!  I actually felt my heart rate speed up during parts of the video. 

Her work is a reminder that sometimes the big rewards come from digging deep and being brave enough to take risks in both your work and in your career.

Big Brave Love,


Friday, June 20, 2014

The ART-FIX Podcast is Back! Send in your Questions for Podcast #5.

Just in case you missed the memo...The Art-Fix Podcast is back!

That means I'm standing by to take your art marketing and career questions for upcoming episodes.

The whole point of the ART-FIX podcasts is to get you the help you need. In each podcast I offer up advice, stories, and opinions so you can learn from my personal experiences.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it a million more times: Other artists are one of your most powerful resources.

Send me your questions so I can fit them into Podcast #5.

So don’t be shy about getting the help you need.  

I’m here to help.

Big Love,


Friday, June 13, 2014

Advice for Artists who don't live in an "Art City".

When artists ask me about ways they can build a solid foundation for their art careers, one the biggest pieces of advice I give them is to make sure they spend time looking at art.  And I don’t just mean wandering around the Museum of Modern Art.

Contemporary Artists  need to spend a considerable amount of time discovering work by other contemporary artists.

You know, artists who are still alive and making stuff.

More importantly, you've got to make a habit of sticking your nose into new places and seeing what other artists are up to in other parts of the world. 

You need to know what other contemporary artists are making, what international galleries are showing, and what collectors are buying.

Last fall I wrote about why artists should make it a point to attend at least ONE international art fair every few years so they can stay informed on what's happening in the world of contemporary art. 

After I wrote that post I immediately got 3 email replies that basically asked the same question:  

“Traveling to an Art Fair is expensive! How am I supposed to afford that?”

So without further ado I give you…

How You and a Friend can go to Art Basel Miami Beach for under $700!

Here's a simple cost breakdown:

Flight: Des Moines International Airport to Miami $259 ( + $10 for your checked suitcase)  $269

Airport shuttle:   Taxi or Super Shuttle (Round trip for 2 adults) $70.

Hotel:   Save yourself a small fortune by skipping the over-priced Miami Beach hotels. Book yourselves 2 nights in a room through Air BnB for $69 a night. Like this one:

Food & Tasty Beverages: Since you’re on a tight budget, it’s unlikely you’ll be hitting the very popular pool scene bars, but that doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself to at least one nice meal while you’re in town. This is Miami, baby!  You gotta live a little!  Splurge and allow yourself $50 a day.

Transportation:  Either hoof it or take the bus.  The South Beach Local, #123 will become your new best friend.  
Only take taxis when absolutely necessary.  Bus: $2.25/ ride or 1-Day Pass - $5.65

Fair Tickets: If you’re only in town 2 days, chances are you won’t have the time or energy to hit more than a couple fairs each day.  

My Top 5 Fair Picks:

Art Basel Miami Beach-- $42 (One Day)

(Tip: After 4PM the ticket price is discounted to $32. 

If you hurry from the airport to drop your bags off at your crash-pad, you can arrive to ABMB by 4PM, save yourself $10, and still enjoy have 4 hours of viewing time at the mother of all art fairs. Which is probably about as much as your brain can absorb in one go anyway.)

AQUA Art Miami -- $15 One day fair pass –OR- $70 Multi-day fair pass (Aqua, CONTEXT and Art Miami)
CONTEXT  -- $35 one day pass.

NADA (free!).

So.... that comes to a per person total of around $700.

It is a huge investment?  Yes.

But it’s a small price to pay for the opportunity to spend 2 or 3 days in the absolute epicenter of the a contemporary art world.

There’s so much to be learned from looking. 
There's so much to be gained by simply "showing up". 

When you're an artist that doesn't live in an "art city" it's easy to fall into a nearsighted view of what's happening in contemporary art. 

It's easy to forget just how big and diverse the contemporary art world is. More importantly it's too easy to forget just how many options are out there for showing, promoting, and selling your work.

The “Art World” is your world. It's time for you to take an active part in it.

If you start planning TODAY you have a little under 6 months to figure out how to get yourself to Miami.

What are you waiting for?

Over to you:  

Are you planning on going to ABMB this year?  

Which art fairs have you visited?  Which fairs are your favorite? 

What's your opinion of the whole art fair phenomenon?

Share your thoughts in comments.

Big Love,


Friday, June 6, 2014

What Risks Are You Willing to Take for Your Work?

At the end of 2006 I took a break from painting. 
The break wasn’t really by choice.  

I didn’t have a studio space and I was getting really frustrated with painting in the corner of my tiny dining room.

So instead of painting, I started working on some small collages. One day, out of boredom, I started taking photos of the images and photographs I was working on. In a matter of hours I’d created over 200 images. At the end of the day I filed the images away on my computer and didn’t think much about them again... until I heard about the En Foco New Works PhotographyAward.

At the time, I didn’t really think of myself as a photographer, so I didn’t feel very confident about applying. After all, painting had always been my primary medium. 

In my mind I made up a million excuses for why I shouldn't bother sending my work in for this opportunity:  

"What business do I have entering a competition at this stage in my career?" 

"What if my work isn't a good fit for the organization?"

"What if my work doesn’t measure up to the work being submitted by the other artists?"

Sound familiar?

In the end I decided to take a chance and submit my work. That one decision changed everything...

Dancing for joy as I accept my En Foco New Works Award of $1000 at the Opening Event at
Taller Boricua Gallery in New York City.

A few months later I was standing in a New York City gallery being awarded an En Foco New Works Photography Award. Not only did becoming an En Foco Fellow help me find the motivation and courage to complete what would become the (Re)calling and (Re)telling series, it was an opportunity for guidance and exposure that truly helped push my entire art career forward.

In the years since receiving the En Foco New Works Award, the (Re)calling and (Re)telling series has been exhibited in numerous international galleries, museums, and art fairs and went on to become one of my most popular and most recognizable bodies of work.  At the end of 2013 the series was acquired for the permanent collection of The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Moral of the story:  
If you want to get your work out into the world, 
you have to take chances.

Sending out your work for exhibition opportunities is an important and absolutely necessary career step for artists. Not only does it build your artist resume, but it also builds confidence and good professional work habits. 

Are you ready to take some chances?

A few opportunities you should know about:

En Foco's New Works Photography Fellowship helps artists to create or complete an in-depth photographic series exploring themes of their choice, and provides the infrastructure needed for national visibility and a professional exhibition of their new work in the New York area.  Deadline: July 7.

21 Artists is excited to announce their next project for artists based in Chicago and London. OVERHE(a)R(e) is an international arts collaboration that will explore how artists can take inspiration about place, memory and community from artists across the world to inspire their own practice.  Deadline: July 15.

Hudson Gallery in Sylvania Ohio is now reviewing portfolios from artists seeking representation. Submissions will be accepted in all media including painting, drawing, mixed media, printmaking, sculpture, and the fine crafts. Deadline: June 30.

The Arts Center Gallery at Delaware State University is seeking artwork that directly or metaphorically examines and responds to the Civil Rights Movement. Deadline: August 4.

The Bertha V.B. Lederer Gallery at SUNY Geneseo is accepting submission for the upcoming exhibition “The Landscape Today and Tomorrow”, a juried exhibition that scrutinizes the land and the environment, as it currently is, and possible unanticipated reformations. Deadline:July 25.

Center for the Arts in Rockport Texas is accepting exhibition proposals for solo and group exhibitions:  Deadline: August 2.

Viewpoint Photographic Art Center in Sacramento California is now accepting solo and group exhibition proposals of cohesive bodies of work for its 2015 exhibition season.  Deadline: August 2.

Lanesboro Arts Center Residency Program offers  2 - 4 week residencies for emerging artists, working in all media,  to create new work that integrates with the local community.  Deadline: Jun 30.

The American Institute of Indian Studies in Chicago is offers 4-9 month Creative Arts Fellowships for artists who demonstrate study in India would enhance their skills, develop capabilities to teach in the US, enhance American involvement w/ India’s artistic traditions, and strengthen links w/ peers in India. Deadline: July 1.

The Santa Fe Art Institute Residency Program offers artists 1 - 3 month residencies to take risks, experiment on new projects and/or continue on works in progress.  Deadline: July 5.

Marlin & Regina Miller Gallery at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania is now accepting proposals for its 2015 Residency Project from artists who wish to create site-specific installations in the gallery from Jan. 20 - Feb. 5, 2015.  Deadline: July 18.

Don't let your fear rob you of an opportunity that might change your life forever.

Wayne Gretzky was right:  

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." 

Big Love,

p.s. A few more resources for you:

Need help crafting a polished, professional Exhibition Proposal for your work?  

Wanna research more Artist Residency opportunities?  
Go here:

Looking for more Open Calls?  Go here: