Video lecture by fantasy art master Charles Vess! Enjoy!
Archive for ‘Education’
I’ve been trying to figure out how to frame this for a long time. How to make a point that everyone can and should make art if they want, while at the same time, making the point that creating art that is actually good, or of cultural value, or even salable, is not so simple.
The Gurus of Art Twee disturb me, because they sloganeer at people, convincing them that Anybody can Make Art, and conflate the work of little Timmy with the Mona Lisa, as if art is one thing that encompasses any recorded emotional human experience, and not a vast bell curve of value quite beyond your personal investment and values.
When someone creates a work that is something beyond personal value, something that is of value to others, or culturally important, then that is something that is rare and precious. And not everyone can do that, or gets to share in it beyond being a consumer or patron. It’s not something you get to make for yourself just by wanting to.
Art may be easy, but stop lying to people Gurus of Art Twee. GOOD ART IS RARE AND IT IS HARD.
It is right and proper to encourage those who want to make pictures or write stories, but there is also a lot to be said for moderating the discussion with reality – the reality that you put it out there, that thing that is a part of you, and that you love – and the world will judge, and that judgment may be rough.
Go for it.
Do it. Dream.
But DREAMS DON’T COME TRUE UNTIL YOU WAKE UP.
Gurus of Art Twee are trying to sell you a t-shirt with a slogan on it, or they are trying to contextualize the good feeling of their pep talk about how you too can be a wonderful artist with whatever book or album they are trying to sell.
Anyone can open their mouth and sing. Not everyone is good at it. Sing in the shower, by all means. Bless you. But the right to make art is often confused with the right to be perceived as being good or successful at it.
The Art is Easy! slogan is nice, because it is encouraging and tra la, but it’s twee. Being an actual professional artist is not easy. I mean, bricklaying isn’t rocket science either, but no one devalues the labor that goes into it.
Every time someone twees Art is Easy! Michelangelo’s ghost is forced to haul another cart of Corinthian marble in Hell.
My blog is full of examples of my encouraging people to make art. But I ALWAYS temper it with a dose of reality. Making art does not make you a professional.
Not being a pro does not mean you can’t live an art centered life and be perfectly happy.
I have wasted much of my precious time on this earth worrying about whether or not people thought I was a good artist. If I’d put all that time into actually working harder on my art and blocking out the noise, I’d be a much better artist today.
Finding the right advisors to help you become the artist you want to be is difficult. Your internal voice is tough, but judging the verity of the external voices can be even tougher. Sometimes they are ignorant and cruel, and sometimes they are simply telling you what you are not prepared to hear.
You may very well be a wonderful artist or writer or musician.
But it will have absolutely nothing to do with what someone is trying to sell you.
It will have everything to do with what comes from inside you.
It’s yours and you don’t need slogans. You don’t need gurus.
And this post is way too big to fit on a t-shirt.
So, have it for free.
Art is easy? HAH! Art is hard.
Art is a matter of the heart, as easy as falling in love and just as common; but falling out of love is just as common and never easy.
And art is love and lack thereof, every single day.
Legal Rights and Issues
Presenter: Linda Joy Kattwinkel, Esq.
Wednesday, March 13th, 2:00 PM EDT (1 pm CDT, 12 pm MDT, 11 am PDT)
Free to Guild members! Members attend our webinars for free, can access our archive of past webinars, and receive a copy of The Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines. Isn’t it time you joined the Guild?
On Wednesday, March 13th, join copyright, trademark, and art law attorney Linda Joy Kattwinkel as she answers some of the most common yet complex questions that surface for creatives almost daily. In fact, you are invited to submit your questions prior to the event to help guide the dialogue.
Submit your question for Linda Joy Kattwinkel by emailing us at [email protected]
Currently planned topics of discussion for this live webinar include:
Dealing with late payments from clients
Publicity rights when working with the likeness of someone famous
Copyright issues, infringement and fair use
Agreements and contracts
Difference between common sense and the law
Dealing with unauthorized copying of your work online (The Digital Millennium Copyright Act)
Learn more about this webinar and register here.
About Linda Joy Kattwinkel
Linda Joy Kattwinkel is a visual artist as well as an attorney. She practices primarily copyright, trademark, and arts law. Ms. Kattwinkel received her arts training at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she graduated cum laude in 1975 with a B.F.A. in communication arts. Thereafter she worked for thirteen years as a graphic artist in editorial, corporate and advertising design and typography. She has designed many corporate and product logos, and has produced illustrations for educational books and other publications. Today she paints in plein air and at her studio in San Francisco, where she sometimes participates in Open Studios. Her artwork has been shown in more than twenty-five museum and gallery exhibitions.
Ms. Kattwinkel received her law degree cum laude from Hastings College of the Law in 1991. At Hastings, she co-founded, edited, and designed the logo for the Hastings Women’s Law Journal. Ms. Kattwinkel published an article and artwork in the journal, On Motherhood and Working, 3 Hastings Women’s LJ1 (1992). During law school Ms. Kattwinkel externed with the Honorable Marilyn Hall Patel, United States District Judge for the Northern District of California. Ms. Kattwinkel was admitted to the California Bar in 1992. Before joining Owen, Wickersham & Erickson, Ms. Kattwinkel served as a long-term judicial clerk to the Honorable Claudia Wilken, United States District Judge for the Northern District of California. Ms. Kattwinkel received her alternate dispute resolution training from California Lawyers for the Arts and The Center for Mediation and Law. She has been mediating and arbitrating intellectual property and arts related disputes since 1987.
More tips from my FB page, with some added commentary
I know a lot of you out there are dying to get into publishing, but many of you don’t go about it the right way. Here’s a few simple tips that will help you target your efforts more effectively.
It is very easy to put off a potential client, or friendly contact, with one simple mistake: failing to research the person whose attention you’re trying to get.
One of the worst and most common mistakes is to send emails, particularly those which include manuscripts or artwork, as attachments to artists and writers. I don’t know any creators who are happy to get those unsolicited works. I got five this week.
Most of us have lawyers who tell us not to look at anything we haven’t solicited. We live in a very litigious society, and unfortunately, professionals also have to deal with unbalanced people who seem to think we’re getting all our ideas from their stuff. Stuff we could not possibly have seen. Ideas are common, similar ideas are common, and throwing around accusations of idea stealing is so common it is not funny. Which is one reason why many creators won’t look at unsolicited work at all, or even do portfolio reviews.
Creators don’t do the hiring as a rule, publishers do. So you are wasting your time sending your work to a creator.
Sending your work to a creator also proves right away that you are not serious about being a creator yourself. You show that you don’t know what you are doing right out of the gate, and didn’t bother to find out what to do. That’s cute when you’re 14, but it’s not so cute when you’re 30.
A serious creator will do some research, and will check out publishers and their submission guidelines.
If you are emailing an artist or writer like me about how to get hired, asking who the editors are, where you should send stuff, and if I can make an introduction for you, I know right away I am dealing with someone who is trying to take shortcuts. The names of editors are easy to find. You need to scope out editors, look at the kind of work they edit, scope out publishers, look at their submission guidelines, and then proceed accordingly. Asking me what publishers want to see wastes your time and mine because there are no hard and fast rules about submitting. Every publisher has different rules.
There are no shortcuts to getting published. It isn’t “Who you know,” so trying to be best buds with an artist or writer online will not get you very far unless you have good work to show someone, and you show that work to the right people. If you send spam emails, and clog up FB and twitter feeds with your stuff, you will not make an ally of a creator. You will just piss them off.
Your target client is not other creators, your target client is a publisher.
Find the publisher that suits your goals, and do what you should do.
Remember, a publisher speaks business, but an aspiring creator speaks need. You need to learn how to speak the publisher’s language. They already know how to speak your language, they hear it from 100 people a day. Your need to be published is common. What you must show to a publisher is how your needs are congruent with theirs.
So, don’t waste your time targeting creators.
On occasion, a creator will get you a job. I’ve done it.
But I’ve never done it for someone who sends me huge email attachments and spams my feed. That trick never works.
Something you guys have got to understand: this is our job. This is what we do for a living.
To an aspiring creator, it’s a dream. Their identity as creators is a core tenant. The need to be acknowledged by a respected source is crippling to some artists. And almost everyone says, “Oh my God, I love it so much I don’t do it for the money! I’d do it for free!”
And that is why it is hard to move from pro to aspirant. That is why you can’t connect: we speak a different language.
To you it’s a vacation, to us it’s a vocation.
If you want to be a pro, you need to tune in to pro values and language.
One of my publishers (a big one) who reads my blog regularly wanted me to pass this on:
He doesn’t want to work with people who don’t care if their work makes money, who’d do it for free. He wants to work with people whose work makes money. Because if the work he publishes doesn’t make money, he goes out of business.
If you want to make love to the world with your art, by all means do so. No one is stopping you. It does not devalue your art in any way.
But if you want to be a pro, you must learn to think like a pro. Informing a client you don’t care if the work makes any money is not going to impress the client one bit. You can be sure the client wants to make money on what you are hoping he’ll publish.
Some emphasize the importance of networking, getting to know pros who will put in a good word for you.
That’s not really networking, because you are not in the network until you’re a part of the scene. You are not part of the program, any more than you’re on television because you know an actor.
There is no value in knowing a pro unless you have good work to show. No pro is going to push you unless you have something to offer. They’re not going to give you an introduction without a reasonable belief you will be able to pull through on a job. If you flake out or screw up, it reflects badly on their judgment. I’ve had reason to regret a few people I’ve pushed forward. Big time.
Knowing a pro is absolutely useless without your good art samples or a good manuscript. It is not really that hard to get published somehow or somewhere in this business. This industry is crawling with small publishers, and anyone can publish on the web.
Getting published is common. Getting published well, not so simple.
Cozying up to creators will avail you very little without quality work. Work on your art. Your art will get you much farther than hitting the like button 1000 times on someone’s FB page.
The work first, worry about the pro life second.
Do good work.
Then be a good pro.