Alyson Stanfield walks you through her thoughts on reviewing your year.
There are 3 reasons to bother reviewing your year: (1) To honor life, (2) to remind yourself of what you have accomplished, and (3) to prepare for the New Year. Look at the year holistically in terms of personal, art, learning, and business.
Your written account of the year will be something you can return to in the future as a reminder of what you accomplished, what you experienced, what you learned, who and what you encountered, and more.
The Artist's Annual Review
Today’s conversation is a first. In this episode of The Art Biz I talk with Rebecca Welz, an artist who claims she’s not all that interested in the art business. But Rebecca, with her many accomplishments, still had plenty of wisdom to share. Our discussion centers around how she sees her art as part of the continuum, and how she encourages her students at Pratt Institute to think holistically about their careers. We discuss meditation, biomimicry, her projects in Guyana and Guatemala with her students, why she’s uninterested in the art business, and what she thinks artists would benefit from focusing on instead.
“It’s like drawing in space.” Rebecca’s sculpture and gallery representation. (2:44)
Teaching art students and exploring the unknown through meditation. (6:22)
Thinking is the most important part of the creative process. (11:15)
Finding art inspiration in Guyana and Guatemala. (17:04)
Biomimicry—innovation inspired by nature. (22:10)
The importance of experiencing inspiration from cultures outside your own. (25:35)
Taking a holistic approach to your art. (31:13)
Rebecca isn’t all that interested in the art business. Here’s why. (36:24)
This Week’s Assignment
Consider how your work is connected to forces outside itself. How is it connected to art history and to other artists? Think of all the people who make your art possible. Who made your supplies? Not the companies, but the people behind the companies. Who gathered natural pigments or precious metals? Who mixed the paints, spun the yarn, stretched the canvas, stocked the paper, or assembled the camera?
Who are the people supporting your efforts?
“Meditation gives me a lot of peace and equanimity and helps me deal with being a human on the planet.” — Rebecca Welz
“Good artwork comes from that place of the unknown.” — Rebecca Welz
“I can’t just focus on my art career because there are so many other things that I’m interested in.” — Rebecca Welz
“How are you tapping into your own continuum and how’s that working for you?” — Rebecca Welz
About My Guest
Rebecca Welz makes steel sculptures inspired by natural wonders and ecological processes that combine to give us biodiversity. She is represented by June Kelly Gallery in New York City, where she has had numerous solo exhibitions. She has also shown at Grace Borgenicht Gallery and Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, also in New York.
Rebecca’s sculptures have been in solo and group exhibitions in venues such as the Oakland Museum of California, the Heckscher Museum of Art (Huntington, NY), Butters Gallery (Portland, OR), the SciArt Center (Easton, PA), the Cherrystone Gallery (Wellfleet, MA), and Sculpturesite Gallery (San Francisco, CA). Her work can also be found in private and corporate collections, including those of Goldman Sachs, Pfizer, Merck, Prudential Life Insurance Corporation, and Sabre Corporation.
Not too long ago, artists didn’t have to worry about things like their brands. But in an increasingly competitive market, and the noisy online space, we will do better when we know where we fit. Your art is created in the studio, while your brand is created in the minds of viewers, buyers, collectors, gallerists, and curators.
When you know your brand, you know how you want to be perceived in the eyes of others. Your brand helps you make decisions. If opportunities aren’t aligned with your brand, you say no. My guest for this episode of The Art Biz is Alexandra Squire. She has a clear, intentional artist brand, and knew from the get-go what she wanted her business and career to look like. She hired professionals to help her pull together a branded identity to present her work to the world, and it has paid off. Alexandra and I talk about her decisions, marketing, and how she finds time for her painting and business while raising three young girls.
Alexandra’s long and winding road to becoming an artist. (3:25)
“I looked at myself as a brand.” (7:09)
Marketing yourself effectively. (11:26)
Hiring professional help for your photography. (14:03)
Your brand exists in the eye of the viewer. (18:42)
Making the trade offs that pay off. (22:16)
The moment when you identify your artist brand. (26:20)
How Alexandra shows and sells her work. (28:15)
Keeping an artist’s schedule while raising a family. (33:38)
This Week’s Assignment
Consider your artist brand. In particular, think about and even write in your journal about this one question: How do you want to be perceived in the minds of others? If you want to take it to the next step, consider whether your social media, newsletter, website, marketing material, and exhibition venues are aligned with how you want to be perceived.
“I decided from the beginning I wanted to be a certain type of artist.” — Alexandra Squire
“You have to present yourself in a certain way, and that’s how people will view you.” — Alexandra Squire
“I turned down a bunch of opportunities that I felt didn’t best reflect my brand.” — Alexandra Squire
About My Guest
Alexandra Squire is an abstract painter defined by the pairing of vibrant colors and muted tones to create simple yet deceivingly complex works. She focuses on blending and layering to make pieces that are rich in color and depth with unexpected palettes. Her paintings serve as a metaphor for life in that they depict the multitude of ways in which our experiences meld together. Alexandra’s work has been exhibited nationally, and her paintings are a part of private and corporate collections throughout the United States.