Friday, July 3, 2015

The Artists' Declaration of Independence.

“In order to change the world,
you have to get your head together first.”

– Jimi Hendrix

I claim independence from negative thoughts and self-criticism and the need to compare myself to others instead of focusing on how to be the best at what I do.

I claim independence from the judgments of others.  I will not be diminished by those who seek to make me feel small or limit my ability to truly shine.

I claim independence from the unyielding desire for the approval of others at a cost to my personal well-being and sense of purpose.

I claim independence from the fear and doubt that keeps me from creating my most beautiful and most powerful work.

I claim independence from a life of struggle and difficulty.  Instead, I choose optimism, success, and possibility.

Get FREE, baby!

BIG Free Love,

p.s  Print this out and tape it to your bathroom mirror.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Are Your Fears Robbing You of the Art Career You Deserve?

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. 

 Signed and numbered Archival Pigment Print. 
9 x 12 inches.  Edition of 15.

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?

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:

Friday, June 19, 2015

After five years, ART-FIX is calling it quits! What This Means for You and What You Should do Next.

If you're not signed up to the ART-FIX mailing list, you likely missed this important announcement....

After five years, I’ve finally decided to call it quits.

December 2015 will be the end of

No more blog posts.  

No more classes or workshops.

...And no more 1-on-1 Consulting Sessions.

I’ve had an amazing time working with all of you, but I have big things on the horizon for my “day job”. (You know, the one where I’m a full-time artist.)

What This Means For You:

Up until August 15th you can still sign up to work with me:

▪  Your  1-on-1 session with me is only $350.

▪  You’ll also get 2 months of unlimited e-mail feedback at no extra charge.

You can use your time with me to work on whatever you want.

 ▪  If you need a 6 month action plan, we’ll hammer one out.

▪  If you need help with your website and newsletters, we’ll do that.

▪  If you need advice on submitting your work for exhibitions, we’ll work on that. 

▪  If you need a swift kick in the pants….Darlin’, I’m the person to give it to you!

What You Need to Do Next:

To lock in your 1-on-1 session before the August 15th cut off, you have two options:

1. You can go to this page and reserve your 1-on-1 session instantly.
Once you pay, you’ll fill out the intake questionnaire, and I’ll get you scheduled ASAP.

2. If you need to arrange a payment plan, you can send me an email and say, “I’d like to reserve my 1-on-1 session and place my $150 deposit.” or something like that, and then I’ll e-mail you back and set that up.

Either way, Easy as pie.

Big EASY Love,

Me and a Banksy I stumbled upon last month in New Orleans while on my way to the French Quarter. This #artlife is full of beautiful surprises!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

$45 Application Fee? No Thanks! NO FEE Exhibition Opportunities for Artists. June 2015 Edition.

Define/Refine/Edify: BFA Graphic Design Exhibition at
The Rutgers University Paul Robeson Galleries. April 9-23, 2015.

The Dubuque Area Arts Collective is seeking unexpected and sophisticated uses of recycled and found materials for its upcoming exhibition “EARTH”. Works should focus on topics related to environmental issues and/or consist of salvaged or found objects.  Deadline July 5th.

Rutgers University Paul Robeson Galleries are seeking artwork dealing w/ critters such as mice, rats, bed bugs, ticks, cockroaches, other uninvited guests in homes, for an exhibition titled “The Undesirables”.  Deadline August 31st.

Five Points Gallery in Torrington CT is currently accepting submissions for possible inclusion in upcoming gallery exhibitions.

The Berkeley Art Center is currently accepting Exhibition Proposals from individual artists or artist groups for general consideration or for specific projects that take the form of gallery–based exhibitions, public programs, and events. Projects may exist as a one-time occurrence or may be ongoing.

The Buffalo Arts Studio accepts on-going submissions from local, national, and international artists for inclusion in both solo and group exhibitions for its 2016/2017 exhibition season.

Hockaday Museum of Art in Kalispell MT is currently accepting Proposal-based submissions by individuals, groups and curators.

Big Love,

p.s.  More than a few of these are "Proposal Based" open calls.  That means in order for your application to even be considered, you'll have to write a proposal. 

But DON'T FREAK OUT!   If you need help creating a well-written, professional exhibition proposal, keep calm and get help here:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

What people really mean when they say they can’t afford your artwork.

If you’ve been exhibiting and selling your art professionally for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard the following many, many times:

“I love your work.  I wish I could afford to buy a piece!”

“I don’t have the money right now, but one day …”
Or my personal favorite:
“Your paintings are so beautiful. I need to win the lottery so I can buy one!”
Now, aside from those people who are genuinely in a state of true financial hardship due to any number of truly unfortunate and desperate circumstances, let’s take a moment to decipher what most people really mean when they say they can’t afford your work.
What “I can’t afford your artwork” really means:
1. I’ve never bought a piece of art before. I love looking at artwork at museums and galleries, but I’m not an “Art Collector”.  Translation: Only rich people buy art. I’m not a fancy-pants rich person, so obviously I can’t wrap my head around the idea of actually buy your art.

2.  I love looking at art, but I also like to spend my money on clothes, gadgets, weekends out with my friends, vacations, my new car, and my daily $5 Starbucks addiction.  Translation: I could afford to buy your art, but if I did, I’d have to sacrifice a few of the little things that give me pleasure on a daily basis. I’m not willing to do that.

3. You’re a nice person, but I don’t really like your art that much.  I say I can’t afford your work as a way to justify why I’ll never buy anything from you.  Translation: I’m trying to be nice, but even if you offer me a 2 year payment plan, I’m never gonna spend any of my money on your artwork.

All of the people that say these things----They have plenty of money. They’re just not gonna spend it on your art. At the end of the day, they have beliefs and priorities that dictate they won’t be buying any of your artwork anytime soon.

So what should you do when people say they can’t afford your artwork? 
Absolutely NOTHING.

DO NOT freak out and lower all of your prices. 
There’s a huge difference between “I can’t afford it.” And “your prices are too high.”  And most likely, even if you lowered your prices, people wouldn’t have a sudden change of heart and buy a bunch of your art anyway.
DO NOT offer to sell them a work at bargain basement prices. Even doing this just once devalues your work and your worth as an artist. On top of that, it’s unfair to all the people who willingly paid their hard earned cash for your work at it’s full and rightful price.  Selling your work on the sly, for cheap, is not cool.  It’s a panic move and it’s bad for your career in the long run. Don’t do it. 
DO NOT get angry or bitter.
Sure it’s ok to have moments of frustration about the folks who show up at your openings and drink all your free wine when they have no intention of ever buying anything, but after you’ve had a moment to commiserate privately with a few of your closest artists friends over this, let it go! Seriously---LET it GO!  
The truth is, people will tell you all kinds of reasons why they can’t afford to buy your art.  Thank them graciously for their kind words about your work, and then pay no mind to whatever reason they give for why they can’t buy. 
Focus your energy on things you can actually control. Such as:
- Working hard to create the best quality work possible on a regular basis.
- Following up and reconnecting with people who show genuine interest in your work.
- Regularly researching and applying to appropriate venues for your work.

-  Getting out of your studio and into the world so you can meet lots of people, and otherwise become an active member of your arts community. 

Big Love,

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Exhibition Opportunities for Artists: May 2015 Edition.

Photo: Installation view of AlexisDirks' exhibition NEW NEW MONUMENTS at TRUCK Contemporary Art in Calgary.

TRUCK Contemporary Art Gallery in Calgary is accepting proposal-based exhibits by contemporary artists, art collectives, independent curators and collaborations practicing across disciplines and media. The gallery currently facilitates exhibitions and projects in three venues: the Main Gallery, +15 Window Space, and CAMPER.

Asher Gallery at The Houston Center for Contemporary Craft is currently seeking new work to showcase in its retail gallery by acclaimed local, emerging, and national artists in all craft media.

The Pearl Conard Art Gallery at Ohio State Mansfield is seeking work for an exhibit of work by mathematicians who use visual art to express their findings, or visual artists inspired by mathematics. Deadline: May 15th.

Urban Art Retreat in Chicago is accepting submissions for an upcoming juried exhibition of work about sexual orientation by artists of any orientation.  Deadline: May 31st.

Venice Arts invites artists to submit works for its annual juried exhibition “Disaster is my Muse.”  The exhibition will include documentary work in photography, video, or multimedia that explores the realm of the disastrous as it intersects with the canny, familiar, and domestic.  Deadline: June 15th.

The Bay Area Discovery Museum is accepting proposal based applications for it Artist in residency program. Selected artists will spend 3 months working within the theme of “In our Community”, directly engaging with visitors and local school groups in the Bay area. Deadlines: May 15th and August 15th.

The Maturango Museum in Ridgecrest, California is currently accepting proposal-based submissions from artists for its 2016 exhibition season.  Deadline: August 31st.

Big Love,


Friday, April 24, 2015

Art World Round-Up: Ideas, Events, and other Happenings.

A few things around the web that you'll find interesting:

"AFROFUTURISM | Conference: Designing New Narratives To Empower The African Diaspora." May 1-3, 2015 in New York City.

Zombies on the Walls: Why Does So Much New Abstraction Look the Same?

How the Whitney might just solve the impossible problem of contemporary art.

"I don't care about Contemporary Art Anymore?" by David Byrne.

ONWARD Global Mentorship Program — a brand new approach to photography education.

A Universe of Drawing, Rolled into a Single Room.

Big Love,

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Exhibition Opportunities for Artists: April 2015 Edition.

A gorgeous exhibition installation at Jackson Junge Gallery in Chicago. 

Jackson Junge Gallery in Chicago is seeking artwork for a juried exhibition of work made from reclaimed/recycled/found/natural materials or deconstructed/reconstructed objects called “Salvaged Beauty”.  Deadline: April 12th.

Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, New York is accepting exhibition proposals in all media for solo, 2-person, and group exhibitions in The School of Art Gallery. Selected artists will be given the opportunity to offer a gallery talk/and/or presentation to PrattMWP students and community members during the reception.  Deadline: April 20th.

The Art Center-Highland Park is currently accepting Exhibition Proposals for solo or group exhibitions.  Deadline: April 30th.  

Mulvane Art Museum in Topeka KS is currently reviewing Exhibition Proposals for it’s upcoming exhibition season.  Proposals are reviewed once a year and scheduled at least 1 year in advance. Deadline: May 1st.

The ArtSpace Gallery in Maynard, MA welcomes exhibition proposals for solo and group exhibitions based on a unifying concept—social, historical, philosophical, cultural, political or other—by artists or curators.  Deadline: May 15th.

The University of Michigan Health System Gifts of Art program is currently seeking Exhibition Proposals for the 2015-2016 exhibit year. The Gifts of Art program is designed to enhance the health system’s environment of care and help calm, comfort and engage our patients, visitors and staff.  Deadline: May 15th.


What are you waiting for?

Big Love,

Monday, March 30, 2015

Selling Your Art on Instagram?

I’ll be the first to admit I was late to the party when it came to joining the cult of Instagram.

You won’t find me spending hours a day taking studio shots and choosing just the right filter for my iPhone pics, but I’m now happy to confess I'm a faithful convert.  

I’m having way too much fun sharing images of works in progress and other things I’m up to in the studio.  Now that I'm finally on board, I can easily see Instagram becoming a huge part of my marketing arsenal.

A few interesting articles I've found on the subject:

Instagram for Artists: Using Instagram to Promote Your Work.

A Guide to Using Instagram for Studio Artists.

Why the World’s Most Talked-About New Art Dealer Is Instagram.

So what about you?  How are you using Instagram on your blog?

Big Insta-Love,

Friday, March 20, 2015

RESOURCES FOR ARTISTS: Don't Miss These Podcasts!

I came across the podcasts at Side Street Projects in Los Angeles about 5 years ago. Recently I discovered they'd consolidated all of their podcast series into one place.

There are 3 different series of podcasts on the site and although one series focuses on artist working in communities in Los Angeles, I don’t think the information is any less valuable to an artist in Brooklyn, Austin, or Des Moines for that matter.

Some descriptions from the website:

▪  WHAT DO CURATORS WANT?  A 10-part podcast series addressing best professional practices for contemporary visual artists.

  SHOP TALK.  Features frank conversations with your favorite contemporary artists. What are some misconceptions about being a contemporary LA artist? How do you juggle deadlines, personal life, and your day job? Has your life suffered because of art? 

 SOCIAL: HOW DOES SOCIALLY ENGAGED ART HAPPEN IN LOS ANGELES.  A roundtable workshop hosted by LACE. It explored the possibilities and limits of current organizational models and curatorial strategies that support Social Engagement Art practices. 

So much good stuff, all in one place!

Click over and have a listen to for free!!!!

Big Love,