Archive for April, 2008

Great seeing everyone again the other night!

I was really impressed with your “cocktail speeches” and with all the thought and work that you have put into them. Now grab a cocktail and practice!

This week we talked about written elements that you need to have ready to go for galleries, collectors, juried shows, and for sending to the press. We discussed what makes a good (and bad) Artist Statement, Bio, and Press Release.

Some things to keep in mind when you are putting together these pieces for yourself are:

What is the purpose of an Artist Statement?

  • an entry point into the work
  • an introduction
  • an explanation
  • a view into the artists mind

What makes an effective Artist Statement?

  • a blend of technical, conceptual, and personal information
  • makes the connection between what one sees and what the artist thinks

Always remember to be brief and to the point, 1 – 3 paragraphs for an artist statement is ideal

What is the purpose of an artist bio?

  • to provide factual biographical information to the press, a venue, a collector
  • think of it as a conversational, one paragraph, version of your artist resume

What are the components of an effective bio?

  • your higher education, perhaps with dates (the year) attached
  • major shows/collections/awards/grants, recent if available
  • small amount of personal info such as where you live or where you’re from

And as for the press release here is a PDF version of the instructions I provided to you the other night.

Remember that being able to write an effective, eye-catching press release means that you are able to promote your own shows, generate your own accolades, promote your own work. A press release can be written about upcoming shows, studio events, a newly completed body of work, a residency or grant you have been awarded, a major commission you have received, a piece of public art you are working on – and much more! You can send press releases to any on-line or in-print publication including alumni newsletters and magazines, and even the New York Times. You never know when someone will print your information or contact you as an expert in your field.

Next week we will talk more about what to include in a press packet and what it should look like. Please bring your first drafts of your Artist Statement, Bio, and even a Press Release if you can! For examples of these types of writing beyond what I distributed in class, utilize the internet for finding examples of the good, the bad, and the ugly, and if you come across a particularly choice example please bring it in to share! See you on Tuesday,



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Tina Mammoser is a London artist I know through Twitter. She just posted an insightful rumination on the usefulness of Twitter to her as an artist, and how this and other new media might alter how artists live, work, and communicate.

The bulk of the post is a copy of an email she sent to Alyson Stanfield, an artist business coach who I also follow through her blog. Alyson has just written a very interesting book called I’d Rather Be In The Studio: An Artist’s No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion (yes, I have a copy if you’d like to borrow it).

Check out the conversation Alyson started with her readers last week when she asked what they thought about Artist Blogs…

So Tina wanted to explain to Alyson what she sees in Twitter. Here’s a bit of what she said:

The benefits of Twitter for me have been indirect I suppose. I’ve gotten very interested in social media projects through it, by following a few interesting people, including Beth Dunn who blogs about social media for small businesses and non-profits. I’ve found several people whose blogs I now follow (Seth Godin and Chris Brogan) through Twitter.

I think with all the Web 2.0 sites there is a growth curve, it’s about nurturing relationships rather than directly measurable marketing–>benefit results. So it takes time. But as Katherine Tyrrell once told me (she runs MakingaMark.blogspot.com) it took a couple years for her blog to hit a sort of critical mass and suddenly be popular and a place artists responded as well as read.

I admit that I mix personal and business on Twitter, but I’m very comfortable with that. That’s what interested me about your topic today. The online world, in my life, has been almost as important as “real” life. At various points in my life there has been little separation. I realise the rest of the world is still getting used to this idea, hence the question about blogging.

She goes on to say:

Finding the right people to follow is tricky, but I started but a couple people and looked at their followers and kept ones that were interesting. I, like many others, do also share personal notes but that’s a bit inevitable with the chatty instant format of Twitter. So if you want to see my links to blog entries with business advice for artists you might also have to hear that I dyed my hair purple one evening. Why the mix? Because it’s a human interface. On Twitter we’re not just businesses and marketers but actual people too.

If you don’t already follow Tina on Twitter, she’s tina_m. Here’s a link to her profile.

And her blog, by the way, is an excellent example of an artist’s blog. She posts thoughts on all sorts of things, not just her art, but she also links to her Twitter updates (so you can get to know her better), her Flickr account (so you can see more of her art), and her Etsy shop (so you can buy her art).

What do you think?

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blogs galore

Many thanks to everyone who posted links to their new blogs in the comments! I have linked them all in the sidebar to the right.

If anyone would like to add their link, just post it in the comments and I will be happy to oblige.

I see that many of you have questions about how to post pictures. I always post pictures in my blog from Flickr, and have never used the WordPress “media library,” which is a rather new feature of wordpress, actually.

Let’s try!

OK, well that seemed to work just fine. I uploaded an image by clicking the photo icon next to the words “Add Media” in the Write Post taskbar. Then I filled out the information it asked for (I didn’t bother with a caption or description, since they weren’t required, however these are undoubtedly good to fill out, as they are probably stored as metadata, which helps Google do its job).

Then I chose the location I wanted, and hit submit, and the image went right to where I had left my cursor when I started the process. So of course you have to first place your cursor within your post right where you are going to want to place your image, then click “Add Media.”

If you’re still having problems with images, or any other related bloggy item, just let me know, either in the comments or at the beginning of class next week.

Thank you again for all the enthusiastic comments and congratulations to all you first-time bloggers! Now, I’m off to read your blogs!

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Week three wrap up

Many thanks to Dave Caolo for an excellent presentation on Blogging for Artists tonight at the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod.  I particularly loved the exercise in which he asked us which of the alleged benefits of blogging were we skeptical of — I really admire a presenter that asks for that kind of feedback right up front, and at several points throughout the presentation.

Several artists are already on their way with setting up their own blogs, and I think a few really got inspired to start tonight.  But Dave seemed to have something for everyone, no matter where on the scale of things they were.

If you have started a blog, and you are in this class, please link to it in the comments to this post!  I will happily add each artist blog to the sidebar on the right, so thatwe can all watch them evolve over the next few weeks.

And really – don’t be shy!  We are all beginners here.  🙂

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I am sorry to relate that Jessica Burko is feeling poorly and so she will not be able to present as scheduled this week.  But the show must go on!

Instead, our presenter of Blogging, Dave Caolo, who was originally scheduled for April 29, will present his session this Tuesday.  We have already been discussing blogs and Twitter (which is a sort of microblogging tool) quite a bit in class, so this will answer some of the questions that have already been raised.

Jessica will pick up again where she left off next week — so participants in the class are not off the hook on developing and presenting their elevator/cocktail speeches!

As a matter of fact, with an extra week to prepare, we are going to expect nothing less than BRILLIANCE.

So we will see you, as scheduled, at the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, Tuesday evening at 5:30 pm, for Dave Caolo’s session on blogging.

Thank you!

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Branding I

As promised, here is the slideshow from Jim Hill’s presentation on week 1 of What’s Your Story: Personal Branding, PR, and New Media for Artists — our first look at branding and how it affects the individual artist.

And here, also as promised, is the worksheet we used during our exercise to find out more about our own personal brand.

If you worked on this exercise more at home, or even just during class, why not share what you distilled it all down to? If you haven’t completed the exercise, why not? What are your questions or hesitations?

(Reminder: to comment, just click where it says “comments” below and type into the text box.)

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fear of blogging

Chris Brogan, a blogger who writes and thinks a lot about why people blog (or Twitter, or use Facebook, etc.) just wrote an excellent post that I thought the class would be interested in.

He talks about the various fears that keep people from blogging, or twittering, or just generally making their voices heard online:

…perfectionism, failure, self-consciousness. These are difficult to overcome, and I’m not going to pretend that you just have to follow a few steps and you’ll overcome your fear, but I can tell you a few things I know about it all, and see if it’s helpful. Here are a few ideas to help you look past some of your fears.

What fears hold you back?

Read the whole post here.

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