Sunday, June 28, 2009

Anything Worthwhile Takes Time & Money

Can't believe it took over two weeks to put together an exhibition proposal! You can see the PDF here. Sorry, it is almost 8 Meg in size so if you have a slow connection maybe it is time for a coffee break.

I still need to send it off to have the prints made, then package the prints up in a nifty leather bound portfolio, and send the proposal off for consideration. Forty Eight prints at $3.80 each plus the portfolio and shipping and the project totals out to around $230.

Small investment I guess if you believe in your work, but man this art stuff is a money pit! My printer blew up on me doing some test prints. I put all new ink cartridges in thinking I just needed new ink, because I haven't used the printer in a while and the 'head cleaning' process wasn't clearing up the problem. After the new ink was in place the printer totally stopped printing. :(

In true DIY style I found a web site that explained that this is a common problem with my printer and explained how to fix it.

Regretfully, this turned into a big mess... literally. There was a huge amount of ink all over the place in the printer due to disconnected ink hoses, and I couldn't see anything in the jet black ink drenched interior only accessible via needle nose pliers.

I gave up after a couple hours. So not only did I waste putting new ink on the dead printer ($60), I also now need to buy a new printer and a new set of cartridges. That will be another several hundred dollars. In quick order I'm well over $500 for the weekend! Ouch!

At least I'm one step closer to actually being able to move onto new projects. I'm very excited about doing more powder painting and combining that with enameling and photography. This is really going to be fun.

I'll probably get the proposal out to the folks at the Minneapolis Institute of Art by next Friday after the prints come back from White House Custom Color... then I'll be free just to play!

My mother always said in a sing-song voice... Jimmy's whole world is P-L-A-Y... I can only aspire to her vision for me.

Incredible the concentration page layout work takes. So many details.

I'm dead tired and need a weekend to recover from my weekend.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Still Obsessing

It is the beginning June and it is still cold enough here in Minnesota to see the steam rise from my coffee. Last Wednesday there was a hard frost up north and a lot of tomato plants were probably unhappy.

This week’s Designs for Good focus is back on my Circular Obsessions sculpture series. I’ve created a catalog layout for the series using Adobe’s InDesign. You can view the catalog here. The plan is to use the document as the center piece of my marketing campaign with the goals of getting the series shown in an upscale venue as part of a charitable event. The works of art (mine and potentially other artists) will act as ‘gifts’ for significant donation levels.

Simple enough idea, but as I’m learning the execution will be challenging. The reactions from those I’ve talked to vary wildly from “what bad karma are you working off’ to comments which you would expect like "that is a very generous idea". Then there are the practical concerns of how the funds might be collected and if there are any legal issues with collecting charitable contributions.

The first reaction from most artists is (and rightfully so) "who has the time and money to offer their work" and why should they if they are unsure about where the money goes. So my first thought was to insure the money went to other artists.

As mentioned in the last post I talked to a CERF (Craft Emergency Relief Fund) representative over the phone, but haven't heard back from them. I didn't get a warm and fuzzy feeling during our conversation. Seems getting involved upfront in a project to raise funds via an idea like mine isn't something they typically do. It is more typical for them just to receive funds after someone has had some sort of fund raiser.

OK, I'll come closer to home. The Minneapolis Institute of Art has a program for local artists called MAEP which stands for Minnesota Artist Exhibition Program. Hmmm... so why not put on a show whose goal is to raise money for MAEP. In the last edition of the museum's quarterly they introduced Christopher Atkins as the new Coordinator of the program and it states "He looks forward to brainstorming with the MAEP panel for ways to respond nimbly to economic constraints."

This looks promising right? So I think I'll have my propaganda printed up, add a cover letter and see what he thinks of the idea. There may be very good reasons why it won't work, but I'm not aware of them at the moment. People donate to museums all the time. I'm just taking a hint from public radio and suggesting that we give a gift (a work of art) for a donation on a certain level.

I would like for other artists to participate by donating some work (and by the way obtain some high quality exposure), but I am willing to fill a small gallery with enough work myself if necessary, and I'm flexible enough I think to work through other issues.

I'm very curious to see what Christopher's response will be. Hopefully he can give me some advice regarding a better approach should this idea not be a fit.

First things first. I have to complete the propaganda and get it printed.