Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Top 10 Arts Policy Stories of 2010

Thought this was an important article.- r.
The Top 10 Arts Policy Stories of 2010

via Fractured Atlas Blog by Ian David Moss on 12/30/10

Painting the Street in Cincinnati
Everybody likes a Top 10 list, right? Especially the nerdy ones! So here's my contribution: the second annual list of the top ten arts policy stories from the past year. You can check out the 2009 edition here.
10. Intrinsic Impact Research Marches On
WolfBrown's groundbreaking work on measuring "intrinsic impact" (the intangible, hard-to-define effects that arts experiences have on patrons) got a major boost in 2010, with a large project to bring the research to 15 theater companies in five cities around the country. Led by Theatre Bay Area, the endgame of this project involves a web-based toolkit that will allow rank and file arts organizations to adopt some of these methods themselves, without having to pay WolfBrown a pretty penny first. Audience surveys are already underway, and the final report and toolkit will be up and running by the end of next year.
9. Fine Arts Fund Reinvents Itself
In January 2010, a longstanding Cincinnati-based fundraising and grantmaking organization known as the Fine Arts Fund announced the results of a very interesting research study examining the attitudes of members of the public toward shared responsibility for (and benefit from) the arts. The political science perspective used in the study may have been a first for the field of arts research, and the results suggested that the field would be better off if the economic-impact- and arts-education-focused arguments that have characterized arts advocacy efforts over the past couple of decades were discarded in favor of a focus on vibrant neighborhoods and connected, engaged communities instead. Not satisfied with simply releasing a study and going about its business as usual, Fine Arts Fund took the additional, and frankly astonishing, step of wholly transforming its name (to ArtsWave), branding identity, and grantmaking priorities to bring them in line with these findings. (Disclosure: Fractured Atlas will be working with ArtsWave in early 2011 as part of this last initiative, though it had no role in the research or the strategic planning process that led up to this point.) ArtsWave's very public metamorphosis shows that even an 83-year-old institution can still be on the leading edge.
8. Dance Theatre Workshop and Bill T. Jones Merge (And They're Pretty Much the Only Ones)
Two years after the stock market crash of 2008 led numerous observers to predict a rash of mergers and closures in the nonprofit sector, the greatest carnage in the ranks of arts organizations has come not from the market but from the IRS (see item #7). While virtually every arts nonprofit has suffered stress in the wake of the economic recession, most have survived intact, with only a few exceptions such as the Honolulu Symphony, NYS Arts, and the Baltimore Opera — and that last one might even have been a good thing. DTW's romance with Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company is without doubt both the most high-profile and the most interesting arts merger to come out of the recession so far, as the choreographer-led company joins forces with a presenting/service organization to create New York Live Arts. In the process, Bill T. Jones gets a dedicated space, and DTW gets access to greater financial resources. It looks great on paper, but then mergers often do…
7. IRS Revokes Exemption for up to 300,000 Nonprofits
This story went virtually unreported this year, but those who continually bemoan the rise in the number of nonprofits in this country had a bone thrown their way this year. The Pension Protection Act of 2006 required that all nonprofits, even those with budgets of less than $25,000 per year who had previously never been asked to file annual returns, complete the 990-N "postcard" form requesting basic information like addresses and website URLs. Those who failed to file for three years in a row risked having their tax-exempt status revoked by the IRS. Well, it turns out that nearly half of the 714,000 organizations in this budget category in fact failed to file, and after a number of temporary delays and reprieves, an unknown number were thrown overboard (the IRS will publish a complete list early next year). While most of these were likely dead organizations (indeed, some of them may never have been alive in the first place), an examination by yours truly of some of the organizations "at risk" for revocation in the San Francisco Bay Area revealed that a disproportionate number were arts organizations, and their ranks included a few that were observably still active.
6. Net Neutrality Has a Bad Year
This is a story that is very much still being told. For several years now, technology activists have been raising awareness of the issue of "network neutrality," warning that without legislation to codify existing practices, there will be nothing to prevent internet service providers in the future from selectively crippling or blocking entirely websites that compete with their own business interests. Many see net neutrality as particularly important to the arts, given their usual position outside of (or even in opposition to) the corporate sphere. With the 2008 election of President Obama, a supporter of net neutrality legislation, there was hope that such legislation might become a reality with the current Congress. But things got complicated in 2010. First, a federal court ruled earlier this year that the Federal Communications Commission did not have authority to tell Comcast that it had to treat bittorrent transmissions on its networks the same way as everything else. While not the final legal word, it provided a strong negotiating hand to anti-net-neutrality forces. Then, Google, one of net neutrality's staunchest supporters in the corporate arena, got into negotiations with Verizon, one of its most trenchant opponents, and came out with a compromise that left most neutrality advocates unsatisfied. Finally, just last week, President Obama's FCC announced new guidelines that hew fairly closely to the Google/Verizon compromise, prohibiting discrimination on "wired" services but leaving the increasingly important mobile universe a veritable Wild West. (This hasn't stopped Verizon from making noises about a legal challenge right out of the gate.) We'll have to stay tuned to see what happens next, but with a Republican House and little evidence of broad-based passion for net neutrality among the populace, the chances for a legislative solution (the surest means to the outcome that advocates desire) seem slim for the moment.
5. State Arts Agencies Continue to Struggle
After a disastrous 2009, this year saw little respite for beleaguered state arts agencies. Despite a few success stories, such as in Rhode Island where the governor tried to cut the budget of the state arts council by over 50% only to have the cuts fully restored by his own legislature, these remained the exception rather than the rule. States and territories suffering double-digit cuts in 2010 (i.e., to their FY 2011 appropriations) included Arizona (down another 28.9% after a brutal 54% cut last year), DC, Georgia (which nearly had its council eliminated but "escaped" with only a 66% massacre), Kansas, Louisiana (where Gov. Jindal finally succeeded in squeezing nearly half the money out of the coffers), Missouri (where state officials are raiding a fund intended to provide dedicated support to the arts and humanities), New Hampshire, New York (with the largest total dollar decrease of the year by far), Northern Marianas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania (already reeling from an exhausting and only partially successful advocacy campaign last year to save the agency), South Carolina (another state council to overcome near death in 2010), Texas (28%), Virginia, and Washington. Only Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, South Dakota, and Wyoming saw increases of a comparable magnitude.
4. Culture Wars Simmer
Ever since the 2008 election, there have been signs that American right wing might return to the hostile stance it had adopted toward public subsidy of the arts starting in the late 1980s and continuing through the 1990s. Some of the evidence is in item #5 above: massive cuts or threats to zero out funding to arts councils by Republican governors in "red" states like Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, and South Carolina; last year's brouhaha over former NEA Communications Director Yosi Sergant's attempt to involve artists in President Obama's United We Serve initiative comes to mind as well, as do Glenn Beck's occasional editorials on artwork associated with perceived enemies. With the election of a majority of Republicans to the House of Representatives has come new pressures on the funding of NPR, which got into an unfortunate fight with conservatives over the firing of right-wing commentator Juan Williams a few months ago. The most dramatic confrontation yet took place just last month, when a conservative news service publicized a gay-themed exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery that included a video by deceased artist and AIDS victim David Wojnarowicz with images of a crucifix covered with ants. After the controversy found its way to the ranks of Republican House leadership, the director of the Smithsonian ordered the video removed, even though the footage in question occupies only 11 seconds of the four-minute video, which itself was not a centerpiece of the exhibition. The action, unlike previous skirmishes, has produced a gigantic backlash in the visual arts community, with dozens of museums and other institutions around the world showing Wojnarowicz's work in protest. The Andy Warhol Foundation, a major supporter of the exhibition, has also threatened to deny future funding requests from the Smithsonian. The situation seems to be under control for the moment, but don't be surprised if things start heating up again in 2011.
3. The UK Tries American-Style Arts Funding
Feeling pressure from the economic recession, the new conservative government in England imposed cuts of 100 million pounds on the primary grantmaking agency for high-profile arts organizations on the island. The UK's arts system has been described as a "hybrid" between the near-total private-sector dominance of American arts funding and the near-total government support seen throughout continental Europe. These cuts, totaling more than 22% of Arts Council England's appropriation, represent a clear move toward the American side of the equation, especially when coupled with ACE's decision to require prospective grantees, for the first time, to submit applications for funding (previously they had simply been selected by the agency though a noncompetitive process). The development is significant not only for its implications for England's arts scene, but also as a potential bellwether for the rest of Europe, where politicians have been making noises for years about cutting back historically generous government support of artists and arts organizations and moving in the direction of greater privatization.
2. The NEA Charts a New Path
We knew that when Rocco Landesman arrived last year to take over the reins of the National Endowment for the Arts that, whatever the results, they would certainly be interesting. On that score, the agency has delivered in 2010. "Creative placemaking," the role of the arts in revitalizing local communities economically and otherwise, is emerging as Rocco's signature issue, with a raft of urban-focused Mayors' Institute on City Design grants given out in 2010 and more coming in 2011 under the rubric of a new program called Our Town. The NEA has pursued a public engagement strategy beyond any in the agency's previous history, webcasting the meetingsof the National Council on the Arts (the NEA's equivalent of a board), accepting questions via Twitter during panel discussions, and inviting a huge bevy of service organizations to take in the announcement of its strategic plan for 2012-16. It's gone on a hiring spree, bringing marquee names like the Commonwealth of Massachusetts's Jason Schupbach into the fold. A revitalized research department is pumping out new publications at a rapid rate, incorporating new media elements into some of them, and embracing its role as a convener, having brought together an A-list group of practitioners to consider how to measure "livability" this summer. What may turn out to be Rocco's most far-reaching project, however, is his efforts to make inroads with heads of other federal agencies around ways in which the arts intersect with their work. Given that the budgets of departments like Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development, and Transportation dwarf the NEA's and that the Endowment has continually been vulnerable to attacks on culture-war battlegrounds, this attempt to break down silos and "embed" the arts in other arms of the federal government is one of the smartest gambits we've seen in a long time.
1. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Passes
For years, the high cost of health insurance, especially for freelancers in our employer-centric system, has been identified by researchers and advocates as one of the biggest impediments to a thriving artist workforce. In 2010, after decades of failed attempts, Congress finally passed a comprehensive health insurance reform bill designed to counter some of the worst excesses of insurers while sharply reducing the ranks of the uninsured. To do this, everyone will be required to purchase insurance, even healthy individuals (although this mandate is currently being challenged in the courts). Fractured Atlas has a primer on the implications of the health care reform act for artists here; the short version is that by 2014, insurance companies won't be allowed to discriminate or charge you a higher rate based on your gender or health status, take away your coverage after you get sick, deny you coverage based on a pre-existing condition, or set annual or lifetime limits on benefits. Although you will be required to buy insurance, if your income is in the low 40s or below, you'll qualify for government assistance in paying for it. And if you're a small business (like a theater company or gallery), you'll likely be eligible for tax credits for giving your employees health insurance. While the full impact of the law won't be known for years, if not decades, its provisions should disproportionately benefit artists and faciliate a significant improvement over the status quo.
Honorable mention:
  • Low Power FM Radio bill passes
  • Americans for the Arts introduces the National Arts Index
And as a bonus, here are my picks for the top five new (in 2010) arts blogs:
5. NYFA Blog (Michael Royce)
4. ArtsAppeal (David Zoltan)
3. 2am Theatre (various)
2. Your Town Performs (Craige Hoover)
1. Jumper (Diane Ragsdale)
(Note: had Devon Smith started 24 Usable Hours a couple of months later than she did, it surely would have made this list.)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

BBC E-mail: Colourful ancient art 'is alive'

I love petroglyphs. They are one of my favorite arforms. I saw this story on the BBC News website and wanted to share..
Colourful ancient art is alive;
A particular type of ancient rock art in Western Australia maintains its vivid colours because it is alive, researchers find.
(spoiler- it's fungi in the pigments, not the actual rocks that are alive.)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Spinning Tag Device

Spinning Tag Device: "


“Looptaggr” is a graffiti tagging invention by Ariel Schlesinger and Aram Bartholl. Learn how to make your own tagging tool here.

From Scene 360 Illusion
How much fun does this look like?
Ript Apparel
MLK Studios

Friday, December 10, 2010

How to Create the Illusion of Distance in a Picture

Excellent advice from Shana James by way of the always helpful Empty Easel. I enjoyed her blog at
How to Create the Illusion of Distance in a Picture: "

Recently a couple of my students have asked questions about creating distance in a picture. Luckily, whether you’re drawing, painting, or printmaking the principles are the same.

To start with, you’ve got to get the structure of your picture working first. By that I mean that the perspective (and the relative scale) of different objects in the picture need to be accurate.

But even with all of that correct, you can still have problems with depth. And although you want your picture to create the illusion of depth, and you want to feel like you could walk into it, instead it feels flat.

You may have even seen a painting where the background is coming forward or the foreground feels like it is going back. If that describes a picture you are working on at the moment, then read on. . .

4 general rules for creating an illusion of distance

1. High contrast comes forward, low contrast goes back.

If you are working in black and white, you want black and white near each other in the foreground, less contrast in the middle ground and less again in the background.

Less contrast can mean going greyer and paler in the background, or it can also work going darker into the background. (Choose one or the other but not both.)

2. Bright colours come forward, dull or neutral colours go back.

This rule is relative to other colours in the same picture. You don’t have to have bright colours in the foreground but if they are brighter than those in the middle or background they will come forwards.

If you want to put a bright colour in the background you may need to add a bit (and I mean a tiny bit) of the complimentary colour to push it back a bit. For example, adding a bit of purple to a yellow makes it a slightly duller yellow. (If you get brown you’ve added too much!)

3. Warm colours come forward, cool colours go back.

Again, this is relative to other colours in the picture and requires all other things to be equal. The previous two rules trump this rule.

4. Large marks come forward, smaller marks go back.

This one is pretty obvious. . . if you are painting, use a smaller brush for details in the background than you did in the foreground. If you are drawing, use larger marks in the foreground than you do in the background. If you are carving a linocut, use a larger cutting tool in the foreground.


Of course in art rules are made to be broken, and for any rule you can find an artist who has broken the rule and made it work. But these four rules should get you started. Now go back to your flat painting and give it some depth :)

To learn more about Shana, please visit her website at


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

.Best blogs for watercolor & other types of artists.


cost cutting for small businesses, and a bunch of stuff on webdesign and keeping clients happy.

50 Best Blogs for Watercolor Artists

Watercolor artists have a tight-knit community of talented, ambitious and inspirational individuals. With the use of blogs, watercolor artists can share their work and kindly critique each other, as well as exchange insider tips and business strategies. For those who want to expand their knowledge, improve their skills and get their art into galleries, here are the 50 best blogs for watercolor artists:
Watercolor Demonstrations
These watercolor demonstrations will keep you on your toes and challenging yourself every stroke of the way.
  1. Watercolor Artist Blog: Watch online seminars, browse art videos and enhance your painting skills with this interactive watercolor art blog.
  2. Create38: Artists of all skill levels will learn something from this watercolor instruction blog that has demonstration videos, painting tips and a public forum.
  3. Art Instruction Blog: Here you’ll find helpful watercolor painting tutorials and interactive videos from watercolor artists like you.
  4. Watercolour Courses: This blog collects instructional YouTube videos and lessons that teach artists about different watercolor techniques.
  5. Creative Spotlite : Check out this site’s free watercolor lessons and techniques donated by professional artists.
  6. Splashing Paint: Here you’ll find watercolor painting demonstrations and tips from this artist’s watercolor workshop experience.
  7. Debi Watson Watercolor: Try your hand at painting sea shells, sunsets and clouds with these watercolor demonstrations from professional artist and teacher Debi Watson.
  8. Roland Lee: Art Lessons : Acclaimed watercolor artist, Roland Lee, provides more than 40 step-by-step watercolor painting demonstrations that will blow you away.
  9. Yong Chen: Learn Watercolor Painting: Learn how to paint a watercolor portrait from a photograph, mix colors and properly care for your brushes with these step-by-step demonstrations from watercolor artist Yong Chen.
  10. Art Graphica: Get free lessons on how to paint landscapes, animals, still lifes and other beautiful images using these simple watercolor demonstrations.
Watercolor Artists
Get inspired, improve your painting skills and receive helpful advice from one watercolor artist to another.
  1. Frank Eber: Frank Eber, a watercolor landscape painter, blogs about his latest pieces and discusses techniques and tips you can use at home.
  2. Carol Carter: This accomplished watercolor artist talks about her travels and current collection of Italian-inspired art on her blog.
  3. Watercolours With Life: Check out the fine art of Jean Haines, whose watercolor paintings focus on nature, animals and the beautiful things in life.
  4. Carol King: Check out this New York artist’s rants and raves about painting, drawing and everything in between.
  5. David Lobenberg: Follow this art professor, workshop instructor and commission artist as he paints still lifes, landscapes and portraits in watercolor.
  6. Brush-Paper-Water: Check out the exquisite watercolor paintings from this blog’s featured artists of 2010.
  7. Leslie White: Browse this artist’s watercolor paintings and mixed-media artwork for inspiration and education.
  8. Stephen J. Quirke: Check out this watercolorist’s paintings that almost always come from an everyday observation or adventure.
  9. A Painting A Week: This watercolor artist has challenged himself to do at least one painting a week, in which he focuses primarily on real life experiences and people.
  10. thomas w schaller: Check out this watercolor artist’s fine details and excellent use of color in his graphic architecture paintings.
  11. Davidtripp’s Blog: Follow this watercolorist’s blog, as he paints the rugged landscapes and nostalgic images of Texas and the great Southwest.
  12. Watercolor Works: Check out this Florida-based artist’s landscape, portrait and beach scene watercolor paintings from start to finish.
  13. A Painting A Day Blog: This watercolor artist is challenging himself to do a painting a day, while exploring a variety of subjects he is not used to painting.
  14. A Passion for Watercolour!: Take some pointers from this watercolor artist, who paints vivid images of animals, flowers and landscapes.
  15. Doris Joa: This watercolor artist loves to paint little girls, flowers, cats and all things that are pretty and share them on her blog.
  16. Keiko Tanabe: Follow this award-winning watercolor artist as she travels around the world, painting Parisian cafes, California beaches, Venetian gondolas and other lovely sites.
  17. Watercolour Artist Diary: Check out this watercolor artist’s nature paintings and see how she achieves such fine detail on her colorful blog.
  18. Watercolors by Laura Trevey: Get inspired by this artist’s colorful blog that features her lighthearted images of beach chairs, high heels and flowers.
  19. Watercolors and Words: This watercolor artist always accompanies her paintings with something insightful, including personal critiques and questions to her readers.
  20. Watercolorings: This blogger took a 20-year hiatus from painting and returned as an eager student who has produced a lovely collection of watercolor paintings.
Art Business
Improve your marketability and get your art into a gallery with the help of these art business blogs.
  1. Art Biz Blog: This inspirational blog will help any artist learn how to promote themselves and sell their artwork.
  2. Art Licensing Blog: Artists who are interested in licensing their art or learning more about the process should check out this helpful blog.
  3. Art Print Issues: Learn how you can get your work in galleries and make a name for yourself with the helpful advice of art marketing guru, Barney Davey.
  4. Absolute Arts: This contemporary art blog sells art, discusses current art trends and provides useful information for artists of all fields.
  5. FineArtStudioOnline: Increase your exposure with the help of this web site creation tool that artists can use to make their own web site and start selling their art.
  6. Original Impulse: Find effective ways to market yourself, maintain creativity and get helpful feedback from this experienced writing and creativity coach.
  7. Making a Mark : This industry insider shares her art business and marketing strategies that could help you launch your work online.
  8. Fine Art Tips: Take some tips from artist Lori McNee, who blogs about standing out in the art industry, achieving your goals and maximizing your profits.
  9. Daily Painters Gallery: If you’re a daily painter and want to get your work in a gallery, you may want to join this large gallery that is home to more than 30,000 paintings from 150 daily painters.
  10. Joanne Mattera Art Blog: Check out what this artist and writer has to say about marketing artwork, gallery representation and professional ethics for the art industry.
Art News and Reviews
Stay in the know about the latest art happenings in your area and around the world with these news blogs.
  1. ArtsJournal: You’ll find just about everything you wanted to know about visual arts, culture and media on this comprehensive art blog.
  2. Art Blogazine: Peruse this online art ‘blogazine’ for current art news, marketing and hot topics within the industry.
  3. Alltop: This blog sifts through online art news to bring you the most popular articles and hot topics in one convenient place.
  4. Artworld Salon: Get the latest news and debates about the global art world from this moderated discussion blog.
  5. Akrylic: Here you’ll find tons of reviews, artist interviews and essays from this accomplished art critic.
  6. The Art Law Blog: Read news reports and cases involving copyright and plagiarism, art theft and much more.
  7. ArtsBeat Blog: The New York Times art blog is a great source for the latest art and design news, must-see exhibitions and artist updates.
  8. WetCanvas: WetCanvas provides a professional forum for artists of all fields and skill levels to discuss techniques, art news, products and even critique each other’s work.
  9. Here, watercolor artists can have their work critiqued by fellow art lovers and discuss techniques, business practices and any other art-related matters.
  10. NEWSgrist: This blog focuses on the politics of art and culture today, specifically copyright laws, censorship and intellectual property.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Where do ideas come from?

From the frequently brilliant Seth Godin
Where do ideas come from?: "

  1. Ideas don't come from watching television

  2. Ideas sometimes come from listening to a lecture

  3. Ideas often come while reading a book

  4. Good ideas come from bad ideas, but only if there are enough of them

  5. Ideas hate conference rooms, particularly conference rooms where there is a history of criticism, personal attacks or boredom

  6. Ideas occur when dissimilar universes collide

  7. Ideas often strive to meet expectations. If people expect them to appear, they do

  8. Ideas fear experts, but they adore beginner's mind. A little awareness is a good thing

  9. Ideas come in spurts, until you get frightened. Willie Nelson wrote three of his biggest hits in one week

  10. Ideas come from trouble

  11. Ideas come from our ego, and they do their best when they're generous and selfless

  12. Ideas come from nature

  13. Sometimes ideas come from fear (usually in movies) but often they come from confidence

  14. Useful ideas come from being awake, alert enough to actually notice

  15. Though sometimes ideas sneak in when we're asleep and too numb to be afraid

  16. Ideas come out of the corner of the eye, or in the shower, when we're not trying

  17. Mediocre ideas enjoy copying what happens to be working right this minute

  18. Bigger ideas leapfrog the mediocre ones

  19. Ideas don't need a passport, and often cross borders (of all kinds) with impunity

  20. An idea must come from somewhere, because if it merely stays where it is and doesn't join us here, it's hidden. And hidden ideas don't ship, have no influence, no intersection with the market. They die, alone.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

The #1 Marketing Mistake Artists Make

I find it really difficult to talk about my art. Often I can't figure out what niche to put it in. My category classifications are vague and broad. I don't enjoy marketing at all. When in school, I never cared for the critique part of things. It doesn't really matter wat the artist is trying to say. I think it only really matters what the viewer is hearing. In the best of all possible worlds, someone would market my art for me and I would be free to create all day.


Sent to you by bodyartist via Google Reader:


via Fractured Atlas Blog by Ciara Pressler on 11/23/10

It happens with every client whose product is their art. Whether I'm advising on a promotional campaign, revising previously written copy, or advertising a new production, the artist's reason to produce is all too often presented as the audience's reason to care.

This is when I put on my Serious Consultant Face and say, "If you only learn one thing from our work together, it is this: (pause, make eye contact) You must explain why it matters to the audience."

B E N E F I T. This is the word to remember when creating any marketing, from promotional emails to event invitations to fundraising appeals to status updates. Explain to me why this product, this piece, this production, is not just special to you, but why it will be special to me.

When you're marketing, it's not about you. Like it or not, especially in the social media/reality TV age, it's about ME. My status, my tweet, my vote, my opinion. Which translates to: my money, my ticket, my butt in your theater's seat and my name on your company's mailing list.

Your marketing is not a mirror, it's a window. Rather than reflecting on you, any pitching of your product or production must explain to the potential patron why their hard-earned money or precious time should be spent here when there are so many other options out there.

In school, it was enough to expect your friends and family to show up for your shows out of pure love and support for your art. But once you're in the professional performance world, you've got to pitch your audience, not just hang a shingle/put on a show/open an Etsy account and wait for the traffic to roll in.

So roll up your sleeves, artist-preneurs! Let's play a little game of devil's advocate with some common non-reasons and turn them into benefit-laden pitches, shall we?

Give Us Your Vote/Money

It's about you: Vote for us to win this contest / donate to our project at this link!

(Potential Audience, Still Skeptical: Why? What will you do with the money? Why is your cause more worthy than all these others? Am I going to end up on some mailing list?)

It's about them: Thanks to our awesome audience, we're up for Best Company in Town! Can you help us win by taking 15 seconds to vote at Direct Voting Link?

(Motivated Action, Semi-Sold: I'm helpful! And awesome! 15 seconds? That's nothing if it means reinforcing my identity as a helpful and awesome person!)

We're #1! (reference unavailable)

It's about you: Amazing Jewelry is the most amazing jewelry.

(PASS: At that price, it better be amazing. Know what I think is amazing? That jewelry I saw at the mall the other day on sale. At least I've heard of that brand before.)

It's about them: Amazing Jewelry is dedicated to creative design for creative people.

(MASS: Dedication, how admirable! I am pretty creative… I'll click on this link and check out their designs, which I will find creative because a creative person like me recognizes creativity, and will value it accordingly.)

Non-Editorial Process Disclosure, aka, Oz Was Behind a Curtain for a Reason

It's about you: After one year of development, we present: Our Show.

(PASS: Why did it take so long? How long is it supposed to take? Man, if I took a year to do something at my job, I wouldn't have a job. Just sayin'.)

It's about them: Be the first to see Our Show in its limited Our City engagement.

(MASS: Oh yeah, I'm an early adopter. Just check out my iPad! I can't wait to tweet this to all my followers while I check in on Foursquare. I hope I can still get tickets.)

No One Puts Baby in a Corner

It's about you: Unsigned Indie Band is completely original, no-genre music!

(PASS: Eh, this clip sounds like something else I heard once but I don't have the available brain space to connect it to anything I already like. Next.)

It's about them: The progressive orchestration of Arcade Fire meets the ethereal vocals of Florence and the Machine - with a beat you can dance to.

(MASS: Who are these guys, my perfect Pandora station? It's about time someone mashed up two bands I've heard of with an activity I'd like the option to take part in.)

Make sense? So next time you're composing copy intended to persuade, write the love letter to your clientele rather than your art.  Infuse it with reasons your target audience will want to become loyal customers and you'll make a connection that inspires action.


Things you can do from here:


Friday, November 26, 2010

Chronicle Books :: Celebrate the Haul-idays with Chronicle Books

Chronicle Books :: Celebrate the Haul-idays with Chronicle Books

There's $500 worth of really interesting looking books up for grabs.

Wow. It would be so cool to win these books. Just click on the link or leave a comment.
The ones that have already been on my wishlist are

Lennon Legend: An Illustrated Life of John Lennon
The Exquisite Book: 100 Artists Play a Collaborative Game (one of the artists is Dave Eggers...and I L-O-V-E his writing. Please read What is the What)
Sketchbooks: The Hidden Art of Designers, Illustrators, and Creatives
Artist's Color Manual: The Complete Guide to Working with Color

Friday, November 5, 2010

How to Wire a Painting.

How to Wire a Painting.: "

1. Wire Cutter
2. Framers Pro Picture Wire- The professional grade with the plastic around the wire is the best. :) This is the secret sauce.
3. Ring Hangers-
4. Plus screw driver.

PS- check your art supply store for the wire/hangers. They buy the stuff in bulk and is cheaper is then the Hardware store and cheaper then Michaels.

1. Attach rings to either side of the frame. You will want them 1/3rd to 1/4th from the top of the frame. and put them at a little but of an angle.
2. Cut your piece of wire with a 2-4 inches extra wire for each side of the frame. So if you have a 10 inch width you want at least 14-18 inches of wire cut.
3. Thread the ring hangs. Leave the wire a little bit of wiggle room- and don't thread it too tight. When the wire is pulled tight like it's being hung you will want it 2-3 inches from the top of the frame.


I am not going to tell you how many mistakes I made and how long it took me to figure this out. I walked into the hardware store and they sold me the wrong stuff several times.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Athenaeum

The Athenaeum: "

The Athenaeum: from the collection of The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

The Athenaeum is essentially a virtual museum, in some ways similar to the Art Renewal Center (my post here) or the Web Gallery of Art (my post here), but with its own focus and strengths.

As of this writing, The Athenaeum lists their online collection of art images at 43,339 (with 14 added in the last seven days), making it one one the largest art resources on the web, perhaps second only to the Art Renewal Center.

The Athenaeum is one of my favorite online sources of images from art history; they frequently have good selections of a given artist’s work, reproduced large enough to enjoy and with well balanced color (which can be a problem on some art image repositories).

You can search the archive via Google with the search box on the home page or the “Visual Arts” landing page.

You can also browse alphabetically by artist name, or even name of the work.

In the lists for individual artists, be aware that there are frequently multiple pages of thumbnails, linked from small numbers at the top of the list. You can sort these lists by title, date and medium and toggle the order of each.

Click through the thumbnail or title link to the detail page for the work, and click on the image again for the large reproduction.

You can also browse a museum list; these lists can be sorted by title, artist or date. In the museum listing details click on “Artworks at this museum” at the top to see works in the Athenaeum archive from that museum’s collections.

This can be a fascinating way to browse, in that it produces an interesting mix of artists and styles.

The above images, for example, are all from the collection of The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (from top: Edmund Tarbell, Raphaelle Peale, Thomas Eakins [no longer in the collection, alas], Cecilia Beaux, Winslow Homer and Theodore Robinson).

(See also my posts on Edmund Tarbell, Thomas Eakins, Cecilia Beaux and the web site of The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.)


Monday, November 1, 2010

"This is the more agreeable one..."

"This is the more agreeable one...": "How To Explain It To My Parents: a video series from Lernert & Sander where conceptual artists explain their work to their parents.

Featuring Arno Coenen (shown in the main link), Martijn Hendriks (Previously), Martin C de Waal (website), Harm van den Dorpel (Previously), and Bart Julius Peters (website).

from metafilter

Art IS a weapon

Art IS a weapon: "The CIA spent 20 years promoting modern art as a propaganda tool: 'We wanted to unite all the people who were writers, who were musicians, who were artists, to demonstrate that the West and the United States was devoted to freedom of expression and to intellectual achievement, without any rigid barriers as to what you must write, and what you must say, and what you must do, and what you must paint, which was what was going on in the Soviet Union. I think it was the most important division that the agency had, and I think that it played an enormous role in the Cold War.'

From Boing Boing

Saturday, October 30, 2010

You Can't Tell Your USB from a Hole in the Wall

You Can't Tell Your USB from a Hole in the Wall: "


Aram Bartholl is mortaring USB drives into walls, curbs, and buildings around New York. These dead drops, as he terms them, are peer-to-peer file transfer points with true anonymity. Bartholl has a residency with EYEBEAM, a truly fascinating incubator of and studio for new ideas in technology and art.

The project has five initial locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, with more to come. Bartholl has posted a photo gallery of the installations, too.

The furtiveness of squeezing your laptop or mobile against a wall is rather intimate--these may be dead drops, but they're also data glory holes. And one more thing, too. The concept pricked at my memory, until I remembered the Finn from William Gibson's Neuromancer universe. In Mona Lisa Overdrive, the Finn has lost his corporeal form, but Molly seeks out his advice in a disreputable alley.

A tight beam of very bright light...descended until it found the thing at the base of the wall, dull metal, an upright rounded fixture that Kumiko mistook for another ventilator...

Sally stepped forward, the beam held steady, and Kimiko saw that the armored thing was bolted into the brickwork with massive rivets. 'Finn?'...

'Moll.' A grating quality, as if through a broken speaker. 'What's with the flash?'

Image by Aram Bartholl via Creative Commons.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Maggot paintings used to interest kids in forensic entomology

Maggot paintings used to interest kids in forensic entomology: "

Steve Silberman sez, 'A forensic entomologist -- who calculates the time of death in murder cases by studying the presence of insects and larvae near (or in) the corpse -- uses maggot 'paintings' to get kids interested in science. 'I stay away from talking about murder with elementary school children,' says Erin Watson, 'but there's still something for them to learn.''

Maggot art is made by gently dropping the larvae into blobs of non-toxic, water-based paint. As the maggots crawl across paper using their hook-like mouths, they drag streams of paint behind them creating what Watson calls 'Maggot Monets.' After a little coercion, children become enthralled with the project, says Watson, which has caused throngs of eager youngsters to crowd around her table at past exhibits.

Maggot Monets
From boing boing

Saturday, October 16, 2010

quintessential quotes

quintessential quotes: "

A work of art is finished, from the point of view of the artist, when feeling and perception have resulted in a spiritual synthesis.

Hans Hofmann


Benoit Mandelbrot, RIP

Benoit Mandelbrot, RIP: "

Nothing in the news media yet, but many folks on Twitter and colleague Nassim Taleb are reporting that the father of fractal geometry is dead at age 85. We're not there yet, but someday Mandelbrot's name will be mentioned in the same breath as Einstein's as a genius who fundamentally shifted our perception of how the world works.

Tags: Benoit Mandelbrot fractals mathematics obituaries"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What’s Your Boomerang?

What’s Your Boomerang?: "

Think about that thing you keep coming back to, no matter how hard you try to suppress it.

It could be writing. It could be painting. It could be coming up with funny one-liners. It could be a particular skill or perspective that we picked up during a formative period of our development that really frames how we operate in the world.

I call these things boomerangs. No matter how hard you try to throw them away, they keep coming back. They creep up in your thoughts when you let your guard down or you find yourself doing them when you’re in the flow. You suppress them one year to have a manifestation of it come up three years later.

Some people spend their entire lives running from their boomerang. This is especially true when accepting your boomerang makes you a weirdo.

Try as hard as you might, you will never be able to get away from your boomerang – it’s a part of who you are. Running from yourself is an exercise in futility because wherever you are, there’ll you’ll be.

Once people accept and lean into their boomerang, they start thriving. Great companies are built on boomerangs. Great careers are built when people use their boomerang rather than continually try to get away from it.

Not only do people become happier when they accept their boomerang, their lives become a lot easier. All of the energy they spent trying to throw and run from their boomerang can now be leveraged in their lives. Time, energy, and attention are finite, and, really, how much of your precious resources do you want to spend avoiding the thing that will help you come alive?

Dig deep for these questions:

  • What’s your boomerang? You already know – you just need to name it.

  • Are you allowing yourself to use it or are you resisting it?

  • If you’re resisting it: what if you could be happier being yourself and accepting your gift rather than struggling without it? (You’re not in high school anymore.)

When it hits you this time, it might have a little additional force. I take full responsibility and I’m not sorry. I want you to flourish, even if I need to nudge you out of your own way. :)

If you liked this post, you might like these, too:

  1. When Will You Let Go? It’s sometimes hard to let go of what you’ve built,...

  2. Don’t Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth Ever heard the saying, “Don’t look a gift horse in...

  3. There Will Always Be Challenges I was walking with my mom up to Sherrard Point...


The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Artists

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Artists: "

In the early 1990’s Steven Covey wrote a book entitled “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” which became a huge best seller and still sells well today. It was a book that provided a holistic and a principled approach for problem solving, living and adapting to change by seeing opportunities rather than problems.

I believe that there are also seven habits which artists should follow to become highly effective and successful. And, though I am detailing only seven, I am sure that the readers of this article can contribute other successful “habits” as well.

The seven habits of highly effective and successful artists are:

1. Being passionate about your art

Foremost, the artist must have a passion for their art and everything that is associated with being an artist. Why? Because there will always be barriers to being an artist. . . but, if you are passionate about what you do, these issues will be perceived as challenges or detours to success, rather than “problems” that halt your progress.

2. Staying focused despite distractions

A successful artist will not be distracted from their art and their commitment to achieving their goals. To be successful at most things requires a focus and a “singleness of purpose” and art is no different. Successful artists are focused, and their art is a priority in their lives.

3. Having a specific vision of your success

Artists who are successful have a vision and see themselves achieving great things in their chosen profession. Despite any roadblocks, problems or defeats, their vision kept them working towards their goal. Then, after achieving a goal, a successful artist will create new goals and a new vision to work toward.

4. Being persistent in the face of adversity

Most people face adversity and quit. People who get past the adversity do so because they persist towards their goal. Persistence is the difference between a successful artist and an artist who quits.

5. Choosing professionalism in all dealings

A successful artist is a professional in all of their dealings with the public, gallery owners, art reps and suppliers. It is as simple as that. If an artist is not professional, then no matter their talent, they won’t be successful for very long.

6. Open to maximizing all opportunities

A successful artist is ready to leverage any and all opportunities that come their way. Whether that opportunity is to fill in quickly for another artist at a gallery, give an interview, write an article for a blog or give a speech to a group, a successful artist sees that as a chance to network, promote their art and build their brand.

Unsuccessful artists see those opportunities very differently—as situations that interrupt what they were doing! But any artist who is engaged and ready to capitalize on those opportunities will get a LOT back in return.

7. Willing to view art as a business

Successful artists see themselves as business people. They understand that other people who they are connected with in the art world are also business people and they conduct themselves in that manner too. Now more than ever in today’s marketplace art is a business. Art is a competitive business and an artist will learn how to successfully operate it as such or they will eventually fail.

As I said previously, there are other habits and traits of successful artists beyond what I have outlined above. But I truly believe that if an artist is talented and applies these 7 habits to their craft, they will be successful.

For more articles from John R. Math, please visit


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lego Letterpress

Lego Letterpress: "

My heart be still. Lego Letterpress by Justin LaRosa and Samuel Cox, via Craftzine. They're selling prints, and at reasonable prices.

(via BB Submitterator, thanks Rachel Hobson)