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Art Prices & Hard Times

What establishes the value of artwork, especially the ones that demand incredibly high prices, and how many artists are making “the big bucks?” These questions intrigue me, so I found press reports about some recent events in the art market of serious interest – one about Andy Warhol and the other about Andreas Gursky....Read more

The Yin and Yang of the Artist’s Ego

It’s hard to know who is learning more in CEPD 190, the Professional Studies course offered in Emily Carr University’s Continuing Studies program – the teacher (me) or the students. Having completed three years and nine terms of teaching, I have learned much more than my students who attend for only one term....Read more

Selling Art in a Tough Economy

I read a lot of doom and gloom about the long-term status of the economy. Few pundits are optimistic and the spreading popularity of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement suggests that even those of us at the base of the economic pyramid are worried as well. This pervasive economic pessimism is going to affect art markets – globally and locally. Artists, like all other “manufacturers,” must have adaptation strategies for times like these....Read more

Reverting to Old Technologies

After merely a few decades, the digital revolution has transformed our lives. It has changed the way we take, store and share photographs, listen to music, send mail and entertain ourselves.

It seems not so long ago that I said to someone, “What’s email?” Then, for a while I started asking people, “Do you have email?” But in no time at all, I was asking, “What’s your email address?” I moved from wondering if you had email to assuming you had it, in a heartbeat. The power, speed and convenience of email stunned me. The pen had long been mightier than the sword; email was a mega arsenal....Read more

Advantage or Disadvantage?

She calls it her "blacklisting dilemma." As she tells it, it is a David and Goliath story; her versus the Canadian government. She feels her government is angry with her, but can that be? Can a government be angry with one of its citizens? No, it can’t. Only people get angry, so who is angry with artist Franke James?...Read more

Short Takes

Kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com) is a website that links creators and funders. And, as is said on their site, “Projects are big and small, serious and whimsical, traditional and experimental. They’re inspiring, entertaining and unbelievably diverse.” On the site, creators pitch projects for which they seek financial support so that patrons the world over can offer their support. According to the website, millions of dollars are pledged every week for projects from the diverse fields of creative expression. On Kickstarter, creators retain ownership of their work – the donors are patrons, not investors....Read more

What If There Were No More Galleries?

Recently in Vancouver, two well-known galleries, Buschlen Mowatt Gallery and Dianne Farris Gallery, closed their doors. Their owner/operators are both staying active in the visual art field: Barrie Mowatt with the Vancouver Biennale and Dianne Farris with her online gallery, but the closures of these two galleries could be the canaries in the coal mine....Read more

Making It!

Making It! Case Studies of Successful Canadian Visual Artists is my new book. It debuts this month at Opus. The official launch party will be held at Opus Granville Island on July 28th. I hope you will join me to celebrate.

My first book, Artist Survival Skills: How to Make a Living as a Canadian Visual Artist (2008), documented some business standards for Canadian visual artists. In this second book, I set out to celebrate some business practices that have significantly contributed to the development of a visual artist’s career. Each chapter may be about the entirety of a career or it may be about one aspect of a career. It is my hope that in these stories, you will find inspiration or a comfortable methodology to apply to your own practice....Read more

The Value of Peer Review

I’ll call her Jane. She was in a one-day class that I teach at Emily Carr University (CEPD 250) – a “Professional Assessment” class. In CEPD 250, we address a conundrum in your practice; each student is seeking a different outcome. Jane wanted feedback about the retail value of her work....Read more

Does The Cheaper Show Work for Artists?

How much time do you invest in the creation of an artwork? What is an average cost of the materials you use in a work you create? And what kind of time investment is required to obtain the materials you use, and what overhead costs (studio rental, heat, light) are to be covered in the prices of the artwork that you sell? Do you get your highest prices from your “best” work? And when you submit to a juried show or sale, do you submit your weaker or your better work? These are some of the questions that come to mind as I consider the mandate of The Cheaper Show....Read more