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Opinion

Selling in the US Made Easy

"Making it" in the United States has always been a kind of ultimate test for many professionals including visual artists, but the process of setting up your practice to accommodate international sales prevents many Canadian visual artists from even considering entering one of the word’s great marketplaces. The biggest obstacles to participating in the US marketplace, however, come from perceived challenges rather than real ones—plus the bad word of mouth about the process from those who attempt it without doing the proper preparatory work....Read more

Three Career Concerns

Stories and Value
Stories are so important. We entertain each other with them; our values and history are celebrated in historical myths and legends and they are an extremely powerful component of effective teaching. The value of narrative for visual artists is a critical part of every course, workshop and speech I make about visual art marketing and career development....Read more

Clash of the (Cultural) Titans

When you say "real estate" in Vancouver, two names that come immediately to mind (especially for those of us in the visual arts) are Michael Audain and Bob Rennie. Michael Audain is CEO of Polygon Homes; his firm builds (and sells) homes. Bob Rennie is Executive Director of Rennie Marketing Systems; he is the pre-eminent marketer of real estate. Both these men are leaving an incredible visual art legacy in Vancouver....Read more

Yours, mine or ours?

I met Bill Horne as a result of my interest in CARFAC. Bill was head of the BC branch of CARFAC when we met and we have maintained a professional relationship for many years. He wrote to me to propose that I write a column about “the grey areas that may exist between plagiarism, collaboration and synchronicity, the latter being the coincidental appearance of similar imagery and material.” Bill’s email contained anecdotal information from guest artists who have the impression that BC artists are more likely to reference or serendipitously create work similar to work by other artists than do other Canadian artists. Could this be true? If it is, could it be because we have a higher density of artists here in the west than anywhere else in Canada?...Read more

From Feast to Famine

I thoroughly enjoyed walking around Vancouver’s Olympic sites and all the various pavilions downtown in spectacular sunshine and unseasonably warm weather. I had no idea that there would be all those international and Canadian regional pavilions creating a kind of world’s fair atmosphere in the city core. In some of the pavilions there was a focus on culture and artistry. They featured the visual and performance art that spoke eloquently about their local culture, whether that was the Canadian North pavilion and its beautiful crafts and throat singers or the Italian pavilion that focused on its global design reputation. ...Read more

I'll Show You Mine...

Your assignment, should you wish to accept it, is as follows:

#1 Create an inventory of twenty things that you have put “on display” in your home – that is, things that you have expressly made visible for guests to see in your living space.

#2 Write an insightful and compelling piece about the function of domestic display, explaining the function your displayed items have in your domestic environment.

#3 Choose five items from the inventory of twenty items you chose, and write a brief paragraph explaining exactly why you have each particular item on display. Of the five items chosen, at least one (but no more than two) should be your own work that is on display in your own home. ...Read more

The Best Website for Selling Art

I am in a love/hate relationship. I met my love in 1986, and since then, my love has made my life unbelievably richer and easier; my love has brought the whole world into my life and totally changed the nature of the work I do. On the other hand, my love is very complicated; my love has brought so many and such complex changes into my life and the lives of my friends that I sometimes long for times past. As I slow down, my love speeds up. My love affair is with digital technology....Read more

A Plague of Artists

Forget the H1N1 virus, there is a plague of artists in BC, according to Hill Strategies Research (HSR), a company that conducts research on the arts in Canada. The revelations of their analyses can seem, on the surface, rather depressing. I draw your attention to them not to depress you, but instead to underscore the dominant message of my book and my workshops about the business of the visual arts: success in the visual arts requires the same degree of skill (artistic and business), hard work and dedication as in all other forms of work. ...Read more

Year-End Wrap Up!

For this month's column, I am touching briefly on a few topics that I have wanted to mention for awhile.

First, a bittersweet initiative in Saskatoon: Many art lovers in Saskatoon are upset that their City is going to close their beloved Mendel Art Gallery (casting off its name and legacy and its historic modernist building in a stunning location on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River) in order to open a new facility. The change in direction happened without public consultation and appears to have been "engineered" by the Mayor and city councillors. ...Read more

Are You an Exhibitionist?

I've never heard of an artist uninterested in exhibiting. I know of artists who have declined invitations to show at a specific time or venue, but never of an artist who has "retired" from exhibiting. Lately, however, I have been questioning that impulse to exhibit that seems to be a given in the mindset of artists as changes continue to rock the arts industry. ...Read more