Saturday, June 20, 2009

Discoveries, Delights and Deals # 1

I found a great book for artists!

It is not one of the art books I usually purchase, with lots of colour photos of inspirational artists' work. These books usually contain so many pieces of work that you suspect the featured artist must have found a tear in the time/space continuum and has access to much more time than other less fortunate mortals... Lots of colour, lots of shiny pictures, right brain porn books.

The book I want to draw your attention to is not like that. It will make your left brain and your concerned relatives happy. It is about the business side of art, and contains lots of great information that was never mentioned in the Pure-and-Unsullied Halls of Art School. The book, “Artist Survival Skills” is by Chris Tyrell, whose editorials are featured in the newsletters of Opus Art Supplies. The subtitle, “How to Make a Living as a Canadian Visual Artist” tells you that the copyright and taxation information may not be of use to you if you reside elsewhere on this big planet. However there is much information in this book that would be of interest to many earthling artists.

Now I am in the lucky position of knowing nothing about the business of business so almost everything in this book is a shining revelation to me. An example of information that was worth the price of admission:

For artists trying to figure out what price to sell their work for, Tyrell suggests a “Pricing Bee”, where a group of artists get together to make anonymous suggestions to each other on what they would be willing to buy various pieces of artwork for. (good suggestions on how to conduct this on page 28)
He suggests several other methods for pricing artwork that seem rational and stress free.

Check out the website:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mishap, Mistake, Mayhem or Mess #1

It is always tempting not to wear a safety mask:

Wearing a safety mask will guarantee a bad hair day so bad that one’s hair is probably reprogrammed at a molecular level to asymmetrically kink long after the current crop of hair has all been cut off.

Wearing a safety mask while opening the door will only confirm what the neighbours have been too polite to even think.

Wearing a safety mask might leave your face swollen and red in a sort of post apocalyptic fashion statement if you make the mistake that I did.

Let me take this opportunity to say that it is very important to wear a safety mask.

A serious craftsperson should have one for chemical vapours, and one for airborne particles. These masks should be stored properly, kept clean, and have their filters changed regularly. They should fit your face properly, not allowing any leaks.

A proper mask will care of your lungs, and oxygen is one of the few natural non-fattening pleasures that we have left in this information rich world.

But don’t do what I did with my mask.

I had the proper mask, with a proper fit, and I was using it in an area with good ventilation (the outdoors). When all the Toxic Fun was done, I waited a reasonable amount of time for the fumes to subside, then took the mask off and laid it on a nearby rock while I prepared for the next round of Toxic Fun.

Once preparations were complete, but before the fumes began, I carefully put on my mask, and adjusted the three straps so it would fit tightly against my face, and began playing with my Toxic Toys.

Soon I knew that something was very wrong, but I managed to turn off the torch and set it down in a non-life-threatening position before beginning to fumble with the three straps that remove the mask. My face felt like it was burning, which distracted me somewhat from removing the mask in an efficient and elegant manner. The howling, and improper language was probably not a surprise to the neighbours.

Once I had the mask removed, I realized that my face was red, and swollen and painful.

Looking inside the mask, I discovered the obvious reason why. The mask, in the time it had waited patiently in the sun on the rock, had been colonized by ants. The ants, industrious creatures that they are, were busy starting tunnels and securing emergency exits around the edge of the tight fitting mask. Luckily for me they were ants, and not large snakes. My allergic reaction to the ant bites soon subsided, and I was able to continue with my Toxic Fun.

So now I watch where I put my mask down, and check it before I put it on my face. A well designed and fitted mask will only protect you from things outside the mask.

Learn from my mistakes – I’ve got plenty of them…