Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Project Board for Your Studio

Hope you can read the little signs above, it's a section of my Project Board. You're supposed to read the captions from left to right and then drop down a line, that's the sequencing of any given project, reading like a cartoon strip.

An artist is a business owner in the business of making some art. Unless you have a dedicated team or devoted supporters, you'll have to be the one to manage your paperwork and business matters. Things can easily get out of hand and you can quickly be swamped and disorganized, or you can do forgetful things like send out a painting before you photograph it. Worse, good ideas can get lost or forgotten.

Never lose track of the financial aspects of these things, you won't keep working full-time in the art world for very long if you do.

I'm a portrait painter as well as a gallery painter and teacher, so at times there are a lot of my different projects all up in the air at once, in various stages of completion. I can forget where I am with any given matter when things get really busy. I have a family that I'm supposed to keep track of, too, so believe me when I say that this project board has really helped me. This project board is a big bulletin board where I can see everything I'm supposed to be doing with my art life at a glance.

Right next to this block of little notes is another block for 'Portrait Projects' so there is a parallel universe taking place there, too. The portrait project board is a little more complicated because there are phone calls, sittings, etc.

On top of the two project boards, along the top of the board, I have a chronological chart with dates, showing the deadlines, guidelines and rules for shows I'm supposed to be in and contests I might want to enter. I also pin up flight information for shows I want to fly out to, or for portrait sittings.

When I write this all out sitting here at 5:00 am it sounds like my life is wildly exciting, doesn't it? That's pretty funny.

So let's say I have an idea about a painting... I give it a working title (or maybe I'll just describe the visual ) and pin it under the "concept" tag.

Projects move from left to right, so from here things go to "sketches, references, sizing" (where I will sketch out my idea, or maybe I might already have a sketch of that idea, it depends) and on down through the categories. Sometimes (that is to say, pretty often) ideas get stalled,  thrown out or derailed altogether. Projects can get stuck here for a long, long time. They also can get stuck in the "Work On Painting" slot.

See the label up there in the top photo titled "Upload Image to Artwork Archive"? I mentioned Artwork Archive a few months ago; it's a great way to check up on prices, sizes of paintings and where your painting is currently located. Don't laugh, if you do this for a long time, you'll need a system.

When my project board system is working properly, my dedicated production staff coordinates seamlessly with the Varnishing Department, the Photography Unit and the Shipping Division, all the way up to the asleep-at-the-switch Marketing Department, so that there is supposed to be a steady flow of paintings from mind to market, so to speak.

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