In this episode of The Art Biz, I’m joined by Kristen O’Neill, a team member of mine and an accomplished artist who recently created a 30-day daily art lesson challenge for her online followers. But in the end, it may have been more of a challenge for her than it was for the participants. Kristen and I discuss what she hoped to get from this challenge, how she organized it, how much of it was planned ahead, and what her workflow was like—including all of the platforms she used to share the content—and most importantly, what she would do differently if she were to do it again.
Details of Kristen’s 30-Day Art Challenge and what she hoped to get out of it. (1:29)
How Kristen shared the challenge while honoring her email list expectations. (6:10)
Creating and organizing a workflow that worked all month long. (10:42)
The time commitment and unexpected challenges behind the challenge. (16:35)
Lessons learned from the challenges of this challenge. (22:25)
Staying motivated and accountable throughout a challenge. (27:52)
Tracking the participation, success, and results of the challenge. (30:15)
The value of Pinterest for artists. (38:30)
What Kristen would do differently next time. (41:07)
This Week’s Action
Your assignment this week is to consider how you are stretching yourself in and out of the studio these days.
“I’m always looking for different opportunities and ways to reach out to more students and interact with more painters.” — Kristen O’Neill
“It’s really important to honor what you say you’re going to do with your list.” — Kristen O’Neill
“I picked up lessons more quickly than had I done the same amount of work spread over a longer period of time.” — Kristen O’Neill
“If you haven’t figured out your system ahead of time, it’s going to be harder than it needs to be.” — Kristen O’Neill
“Often we spend so much time guessing what is the right way to do something, and we could put that energy into just doing it.” — Kristen O’Neill
About My Guest
Kristen O’Neill paints the essence of landscapes based on real locations, including those from recent collaborations with long-distance hikers. Her Oregon Coast Trail series was featured in a solo exhibition at the Grants Pass Museum of Art.
Kristen graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and now lives in Southern Oregon where she has become passionate about teaching art. She teaches both online and in-person, leads a field trip program that has taught art history to thousands of 5th graders, and is an Artist Mentor for Alyson Stanfield’s community since 2018.
With nobody going anywhere in the spring of 2020, I contacted artist friends Lisa Call and Janice McDonald to see if they wanted to gather regularly to discuss art documentaries. Our little “club,” such as it is, was in business.
To date, we have met 57 times to discuss the art documentaries together. It’s important that we are reminded we’re part of something bigger than ourselves and what goes on behind the closed doors of our studios.
In this solo episode I talk about why we do this as a group, where you can find art documentaries, how we stay organized, why it's important to diversify our selections, and how our conversations work. At the end I mention some of my favorite films.
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed was nominated for an Oscar this year. (1:24)
We need to be reminded that we’re part of a global art world. (2:57)
What art history has taught me. (3:42)
Why do this in a group? (4:52)
Where to find art documentaries. (5:38)
Why Kanopy is our top resource for art documentaries. (7:19)
Our 2 lists for art documentaries. (9:24)
Why diversity is important to us. (11:16)
How our regular conversations work. (13:14)
Good v. Bad documentaries—there is always something to be learned. (15:17)
Some recommended art documentaries to start with. (17:19)
All films are linked on the accompanying post
Four years ago on a beautiful January day in Colorado, I attended an art destruction party. Two artists were slowing down in their production and wanted to ensure that subpar work wasn’t left for family to deal with. Nor did they want their names associated with that work. Although I’ve been imploring artists for decades to get rid of work they think isn’t of the highest quality, it was still difficult to smash that first pot and tear that first watercolor.
In this episode of The Art Biz I talk with Heather K. Powers, an artist and professional organizer. She and I wanted to start a dialogue about planning for your legacy. It’s a tough conversation because it means confronting your mortality. This conversation is especially important for artists, who make things that take up physical space. How do you categorize those things? What kind of records need to be kept? And what, if anything, should be destroyed, reworked, or donated. These are difficult questions and will vary from artist to artist, but it is such an important part of planning your art legacy. My conversation with Heather can help you get started.
First posted: artbizsuccess.com/death-powers-podcast
Normalizing conversations about your death and legacy. (2:10)
Heather’s coaching process includes getting more comfortable talking about death. (6:48)
What do you value in your legacy? How can artists better prepare their legacy for after death? (10:28)
Finding the value of clutter requires understanding and compassion. (15:27)
Destroying the artwork that you don’t want to be known for. (19:19)
Define the value of each level of your work so you can better process it. (24:55)
Tools and resources to help document your art. (32:32)
This Week’s Action
Your assignment this week is to start thinking about your legacy. Eventually you will need to prioritize the tasks necessary, but you can’t do it all at once. Take one of these steps: Sign up for Artwork Archive, update your inventory, finally recycle that work you don’t want to show up under your name, have a conversation with your family about your wishes, or declutter a space.
“Death is a normal part of life, but the more we put off thinking or talking about it the more uncomfortable it becomes.” — Heather K. Powers
“We can take into our own hands what is important to us as a generation and pass it on to the next generation.” — Heather K. Powers
“What do you value in your legacy? And what do you perceive might be of value to others? Those things are often not in alignment.” — Heather K. Powers
“Start early and keep good records. It doesn’t have to be that complicated.” — Heather K. Powers
“When we get rid of work one way or another, we make space for new work to come in.” — Heather K. Powers
About My Guest
With a BFA in Fiber from Savannah College of Art and Design, Heather Powers has had a productive career as a textile designer—collaborating on worldwide projects in various capacities.
In 2010, she launched her design and professional organizing business. Her work as an organizer places her among artists, craftspeople, and collectors, which gives her an intimate understanding of how individuals retain use and live with material culture.
In 2021, Heather graduated with an MFA in Critical Craft. She continues to research textile history, weave, and use natural dye techniques in which her work investigates memory, place, and identity themes through discarded vintage ephemera and materials.