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Opinion

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

The Value of Learning from Others

I never thought I would write a book. But now Artist Survival Skills: How to Make a Living as a Canadian Visual Artist is only a few hundred sales short of becoming a Canadian best seller. Even more amazing to me: I have just sent my second book about Canadian visual artists to the printer....Read more

Digital Pros And Cons

Google Art Project
It sometimes feels to me as though many of us have entered into a lifestyle resembling a collective multiple personality disorder. While our bodies exist full time in the real world, our minds are increasingly engaged with the expanding digital universe.

I was the only person I knew in my neighbourhood whose family did not have a TV when I was a kid, so I could not fathom why some people would prefer to stay home and watch an event on TV instead of going to watch it live in the stadium or on the parade route. I saw the televised event as a lifeless variant of the real thing. But when it comes to looking at art, I seem to be feeling quite differently....Read more

Do Artists Need A Return Policy?

A return policy is something every artist should consider. How you handle a customer that wants to return or exchange an artwork can have a lasting impact on your career—especially given the impact of electronic social networks on marketing. Well-handled, a good return policy can turn a one-time-only customer into a repeat customer or a good word-of-mouth advertiser....Read more

The Fabulous Eastside Culture Crawl

Happy New Year!

I had the most fun, stimulating and satisfying cultural experience I’ve had in a long, long time at the end of November, last year. It was attending Vancouver’s fabulous visual arts festival, the Eastside Culture Crawl. It was bigger than ever this year, and each year the artists get smarter with their presentation and marketing....Read more

Time is of the Essence

“Time is of the essence” is a clause that highlights “time” as a fundamental value of the contract. Who knows better than a lawyer about the value of time? Lawyers bill like cell phones—every minute is a commodity.

The first cheque I received for my first book, Artist Survival Skills: How To Make a Living as a Canadian Visual Artist, was for $18,742.50. As a self-publisher, I felt very lucky. The cheque covered all my expenses and left me with an immediate profit of $5,942. On the day I got the cheque (in August 2008) I finally had some income from the 1,200 hours it took me to write the book—at that point, I had earned $4.95 per hour for my writing....Read more

Three Good Ideas

1. Have the arts community take over the Emily Carr campus. Recently, the provincial government announced support for a move of Emily Carr University (ECU) to a new location on Great Northern Way—the former Finning Tractor land donated by the corporation to Emily Carr and three other B.C. post-secondary institutions....Read more

The End of Adolescence for the Arts

Adaptation is a primary building block of evolution; famed geneticist and evolutionary theorist, Charles Darwin, saw our history as a “change or die” narrative that applied to both the individual and the collective. And one of the most important aspects of adaptation is the challenge of moving from dependency to independence. Whether it is the child becoming an adult or a colony becoming an independent nation, a key component of success is self-reliance. In our society, independence requires emotional maturation and the amassing of capital....Read more

New Policies, Not Restored Funding

In October 1973, the Arts Access* conference was convened at Simon Fraser University (SFU) to discuss provincial arts policies and practices. Nini Baird, wearer of many hats, chaired the conference. She was, at the time, a board member of the Canadian Conference of the Arts and the Canada Council, but it was because she was Director of the Centre for Communications and the Arts at SFU that she was able to amass the resources required to host and organize the conference....Read more

In Anticipation of Arts Access 40th Anniversary, October 2013

For more on this topic, please refer to Chris Tyrell's September 2010 opinion piece, "New Policies, Not Restored Funding".

Background – The last years of the Social Credit Government under W.A.C. Bennett...Read more