About Zen of Hustle

My name is Joshua Coffy and I am an artist living in San Francisco. You can see my art at www.undersong.com as well. Thanks for your time.

Saying YES!

I am sure you have heard the first rule of improv right?  The first rule of improv is to always say yes.  When you say yes you keep the movie rolling.  You advance the story.  You help sell the jokes and make the show memorable.  Sometimes our art business can feel like that,  We say yes to all kinds of things.  I am here to tell you that saying YES can be a good thing….a great thing.  But it has it’s limitations too.  If you missed the last blog post about saying NO you should read that first.

jon-tyson-qazo-wu3tik-unsplash.jpg

Saying YES can be super.  It can also create a lot of burdens for yourself.  So let’s look at YES and how to more effectively take on the things you love.

1. Be Ready To Say YES – Make sure you cab do the gig.  As artists we get asked things that may be outside our wheelhouse from time to time.  And sometimes its OK to sya yes to these things but other times we end up promising things that we cannot deliver.  SO try saying yes to the things YOU KNOW YOU CAN DO.  Like if someone came to me and said I need a painting of several irds…..YES.  That is exactly what I do.  So make sure you CAN do it first.

2. Bite Off More Than You Can Chew – Not every time….but once in a while it’s a good thing to go big/  Bigger than you are used to.  Saying yes can help you see what you are made of.  Youve never painted a 6000 square foot mural before….but you will have help and you can see it happening.  Say YES.  You will learn a lot of things.  You will work with great people and  communicate hopefully better than before.  But you can’t do this one all the time.  You gotta know where your limits are.  So be ready to say NO.

3. Integrity is EVERYTHING – I never tell people yes unless I am absolutely going to do it.  I have had a whole slew of health problems over the last few years.  But even though that is an issue I have always given the projects I say yes to my 100%.  Last year I worked at a Arts Center teaching young people to make art.  I wan only there a week….then my kidneys failed.  I shit you not I was actually considering still going to the class on the last day….even when I was so sick I couldn’t stand up.  When you say you are gonna do things….do your best to do them.  But don’t die trying to do them.

beata-ratuszniak--6mZyblCys4-unsplashSaying Yes can help you make great connections, pay the bills, show in new spaces.  Just be careful with it.  Think of it like this….You can only give out so many Yeses cause  that means time and energy, and you only have SO MUCH of that.  So sprinkle them around….say no in between.  And live happy.  You MUST take care of yourself.  You have to guard your time and choose the things you really want to do.  If you say yes to too many things you will eventually have to say NO to some really good ones.  It takes practice.  And then there is always y motto….Go big or go back to the hospital.  Until Next Time.

When to say ‘NO!’

Are you overworked?  As an artist do you find yourself saying ‘yes’ to every show, every gig, mural, commission, one off show piece, etc.?  Do you do this because you are scared that if you don’t it will mean you’re being lazy?  Or maybe you won’t be able to pay the bills….In my first year, I basically said to anything and everything.  I still get do it sometimes and have ended up stressed out and even in tears.  Meeting all the deadlines and keeping it all organized can be a five ton 18 headed snake monster.  It can get even worse when it drains your creativity that you NEED at the crucial moment.  So let’s examine why we do this to ourselves, why it can be detrimental, and learn how to say NO and be happier.

Tired artist leaned on easel, closeup

Like I mentioned before, sometimes you need to pay the bills.  That’s completely valid.  I have heard artists say that they feel like if they say ‘no’ that they won’t get asked to be in more shows.  Like their response will somehow put them on the ‘naughty’ list.  Some people I have talked to are worried that people may perceive them as lazy….they themselves would think that so why wouldn’t others think that?  There are a ton of reasons we take on everything we can.  And sometimes it’s killing our creativity, our reputation, and our production.  The truth is when you don’t have enough time to make your best work you cut corners.  You stay up late nights freaking out about things and skipping details.  I have done it….a lot.  I was once the master of painting things a day before the deadline….or so i thought.  When I look back at any of that work that I crammed for….it’s not awful but its not nearly as good as the stuff I gave myself ample time to work on.  Saying no to more projects will create that time for you to not cram.  Give yourself the right amount of time.

Yeah we all need to pay the bills.  I am so broke half the time and the demands of my 9 year old grow each day, money wise.  When we take on more work from this perspective we can sometimes sell ourselves short.  Have you ever taken on a commission for cheap because you really need it?  Had you just stuck it out and asked for what it was worth you’d obviously be better off right?  I always run into this.  I will take on some job for cheap thinking…damn I need groceries.  Then while I am in the middle of that project someone comes along with a great project with a box of cash and I can’t say yes cause I literally can’t work 24 hours a day.  So the cheap project killed my chances for the better more lucrative one.  I have even been dumb enough to try and take on BOTH.  And both of them were…well….weak.  I am so unhappy with both of them that I don’t usually include them in my portfolio.

Being scared that a gallery won’t ever ask you to be in a show ever again seems so real.  You maybe just started working with a super great gallery.  you had one successful group show and they even sold your piece.  Now they are sending out a call for a new show and they need it done in 2 weeks.  You wanna say yes so they keep calling you.  I mean you tried for 2 years to even get them to let you be in a show in the first place right?!  So you say YES even though in the next two weeks you have 2 surgeries, a wedding, your kid’s birthday and a trip to Disneyland planned.  Oh and you have to finish a solo show in 2 months but you know…..YOU KNOW you can squeeze it in.  After all it’s just a 16×20….how hard could it be?  Then the day before the deadline you wake up in a panic.  Today’s the day.  Shit.  I haven’t even done a drawing yet…..oh man.  Tears at the easel.  Sound familiar?  Over the last ten years I have done this kind of thing a thousand times.  STOP.  STOP it right the fuck right now!  Galleries will still work with you if you say no.  Gallerists know that sometimes people are busy.  They get that you got hustle.  They know about 100 other artists that they may be able to ask to be in the show.  Saying no can be hard but here are a few things to make it easier for you.

Male graphic designer with hand on head sitting at desk in a modern office

Saying NO 101

1. Say NO as soon as you can.  –  My good friend and mentor Eric Rewitzer at 3 Fish Studios taught me this.  When you just can’t play along in a show or cant take on more work and you need to say NO….Do it early.  Giving the gallery or the patron your ‘NO’ right away allows them to cross you off their list and look for other artists that might say yes.  It’s a respect thing.   Don’t leave them on the hook wondering if you can or can’t.  They have shit to do.  Shows to prep and such.  So tell them as soon as you can that you cannot do it.

2.  Refer someone that may say yes  – Sometimes I can’t do a mural or a pet portrait.  It makes it easier for me to say no when I have a referral of someone that might be able to do it.  The client may or may not call them….that’s not your problem.  But it makes it easier on ME to give a referral.  Sometimes it works out and you may get a referral yourself from someone in the future.  Remember a rising tides lifts all boats so tell your clients about your favorite artists in your community and let’s all win.

3. Say NO to the right stuff…..erh the WRONG STUFF  – This one has taken me some time to learn.  But it’s best summed up by the amazing Kenny Rogers song ‘The Gambler’ where Kenny says :

He said, “If you’re gonna play the game, boy
You gotta learn to play it right
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run

 

You gotta take on the right stuff and say no to the wrong stuff.  By that I mean, as a policy there are some things I just won’t do anymore.  I won’t draw your tattoo.  I don’t design logos.  I will not paint portraits of your kids.  I do not paint nudes….no matter how bad you wanna take your clothes off for me.  This year I have decided that I can no longer do murals.  Every time I go out for a mural I end up in the hospital….so no go for me on the wall stuff.  I won’t do free stuff.  etc.

Maybe make a list of things that you must say no to.  Stuff that drives you crazy or isn’t in your skill set.  It will really help you with those crazy requests….and it will help you even more when you try to talk yourself into a gig.  ‘Maybe I could paint their baby,….I mean how hard can it be?’  NO!

4. The Blacklist Nonsense  –  Look the work will always be out there.  Stop thinking you wont get asked for the next show.  Say no in a good way and they will come back around.  And if they don’t ask you anymore maybe they weren’t all that great to begin with.

Portrait of an attractive female artist.

I promise saying no more often really will make things better for you.  Also if you are still worried about paying the bills….maybe more work isn’t the answer.  Are you charging the right amount for your work?  What is your sales percentage like?  Are you doing all you can to sell it?  Maybe a review in some other areas will help kick things into gear.  So take a look at the other stuff.  Like I said you need to leave yourself the time and sanity to make your best work and if you are really doing that then you can charge correctly for it and SELL it.

I hope that this helps you think about being less stressed out.  Less deadline crazy.  Less panicky.  And you won’t always get it right.  But do your best to really consider things before taking on more work.  It will pay you back every time.  Please leave any strategies you have for saying NO in the comments.  Take care.

Piecing Together A Story…Working In A Series

Hey all,  I am so sorry for the very extended break.  As you may know I am facing some tough health challenges.  But I am recommitting to be back on track with at least one post a month.   Thanks for you patience.

Have you ever worked in a series?  Have you ever staged a show that added to that series and gave many layers of story and depth to the work?  My good friend Shane Izykowski has done just that very thing with his latest solo show ‘Midnight In The Garden of Goodbye.’

Shane is a fantastic painter, make up artist, production designer, and host of the ‘Drawing From Experience’ podcast, which is available however you stream podcasts or on the show’s website.  Currently his show is on exhibit here in San Francisco at Secession Art and Design.   And it is a masterclass in not only painting skill but also in building depth, story, and interaction into the work.

Shane had been kicking around an idea of people letting go of their regrets and was struck by images of a night time garden where people could do just that.  After all to find peace, we all need to let go of some things.  This idea conjured up several images in his art brain and as a superb storyteller he has created a three act story with a dark and brilliant cast of characters…each one moving you towards liberation.

F2F1A77F-E1BE-471E-B085-E54B08CDD021

To create more depth, Shane placed a podium in the gallery with a lovely old typewriter, and asked people to share their regrets.  Near the end of the show Shane will be Burning these regrets live on Facebook.  Some of the things people wrote are a little funny and comical…but several of them are real burdens.  It’s a very exciting idea that will force each participant to connect to the show as well as be excited to see what Shane comes up with next.  They will indeed follow more of his story.

This is how Shane seems to work out shows.  Working out a concept, visualizing ideas, creating work in a series, staging a show that entices people and draws them in.  And it is incredibly successful.

B3921F5C-F119-44B9-BEF7-18F921BE1B93

Here are a few reasons I like working this way.  One – The story dictates the direction of the work.  If you’re gonna paint all the Greek gods….you’re not gonna sit there and think of what to paint next.  You know you gotta do Zues and Herra, etc.  So it can help with making some of the imagination stuff happen quicker.  Two – By adding something to your show that deepens the story and experience you are showing people things that they may not see the first time around.  Each time they see the show they may realize new things.  Some of my favorite albums were made 20 years ago and I still find new things.  That is artistic genius.  And Shane is definitely there.

Now I’m not saying you have to go create a whole experience for each show you have.  You don’t even have to work in a series.  Shane has been working like this for some time and has a lot of experience.  If he didn’t, this might seem gimmicky.  But that is certainly not the case.   I am saying to give it some thought and see if something like that would make its way into your work.

I am also sayin that you need to go see this show.

The show ends Saturday June 1st. 

Also….I was one of the models for he show….so ya know.  Say hi.

So you wanna sell a painting?

Recently I asked for readers to send in their questions about art business. And one of my favorite artists, Frank Gonzalez, asked ‘How do you sell paintings?’

I thought to myself ‘he must be kidding…I mean by all accounts he is doing well and has more experience than I do at selling work.’ And I kind of wrote it off as a joke. But as the days went by Frank’s question stuck with me. It burrowed it’s way deep into my head…how do you sell paintings? I don’t really believe in luck…and this IS my full time job. So let’s take a look at how I sell paintings.

In your quest for the red dot you will have to overcome a few obstacles. The first of which is something that happens in your studio. You are going to have to determine if the work is done or not. Of course you can paint the sides of your panel, varnish the work, and even put hangers on it. But what I am getting at has a lot more to do with ‘are you done?’ Are you happy with it? One thing you definitely don’t wanna do is put out something that you feel doesn’t best represent you. Sometimes fast approaching deadlines can make you cut corners or turn in work that you don’t believe in. I have also made work for shows and commissions that weren’t in my normal realm of what I do….and have made weak work because of it. Other times I have made some of my best work with these limitations. So stand back….take a break (I take naps) and come back and look at your work. Are you 100% on board with it? Can you fix it so that you would be happier with it? Make good art that you believe in…and finish it.

Another step in your bid to sell work is one that I personally find is one of the most important pieces to the puzzle. You have to have a story. We are not simply image makers. If we could got paid just to paint pretty pictures that would be great…and some people actually do…they are illustrators. But as artists we are expressing our own ideas, feelings and stories through art. The things we create are self driven. Even when we enter work into shows with themes we are responding to the theme the curators set forth. And often times at art shows and such I am asked ‘Why do you paint these birds?’ Or ‘what is your connection to these animals?’ I find that it really helps to have good and interesting answers. For instance…’I paint birds because my grandmother was a big bird person. And she was the kindest person that I ever knew. So for me, birds represent kindness and love…And that is what I am focusing on with this piece.’

Saying what drives me to make this art and connecting my story to the painting is something that can deepen people’s interest in the work. They are still free to assign their own story to the work, which I enjoy hearing as well. Sharing my story sounds a whole heck of a lot better than saying ‘uhm, I don’t know why I made it…it just popped out.’

Sometimes I don’t sell my work. Not even a little bit. Nowadays a lot of the selling of my art happens in a gallery setting. Yes I go to the openings and meet folks and tell my story. Yes I email folks and invite them to go see the work on display. Yes when I talk about my work I speak positively about it (see my earlier blog piece about talking about your work). But a good majority of the work is done by the gallery owner. They reach out to the collectors that they believe would like my work. They talk about me and my work. They make the sale. And the galleries that work hard to sell my work definitely earn their commission. So work with galleries that will work hard to sell your work.

In an open studio situation or if you stage a show yourself, YOU are going to have to do that work. If that is the case a few things can help. Look approachable and inviting. The last thing you wanna do is just hang out in a corner with your friends all night drinking and telling in-jokes. I have been to a lot of open studios and the ones that don’t do well are easily the ones where I felt like I wasn’t invited. For me, sobriety is a big one. I am a sober person. You don’t have to be sober. But getting hammered and partying isn’t ok either. A drink or two to loosen you up may be fine. But stay in control. You need to be able to relate to people. Remember that for you, this is a work event.

Clean your space…set up lights, and be ready to make the sale. No one wants to see you scramble through drawers to find your Square Reader or price labels to put on your work. Treat your space like your gallery. After all, you are the one earning that commission…so get your shit together.

I am sure there are lots of other answers to Frank’s question. I am also certain that it varies greatly from artist to artist. But this is some of the ways that I have found to help me be successful in the art game. I hope that helps you on your quest for the red dots. Go forth and kick ass.

Now for some announcements. Thank you.

This upcoming weekend (Dec. 1-2) I have two shows to tell you about. The first is at my studio at Arc Gallery (1246) Folsom St. in San Francisco. Dec. 1st. From 12-3. So much art. Please stop bye.

The second show is Sunday Dec. 2nd at this he Richmond Art Center in the East Bay. See you there.

The Price Is Right

Recently I made a social media post asking for folks to post their art business questions.  And boy, did I get a lot of responses.  Thank you so much.  Here is the first one in that series.

Artist Rosie Garcia asks “How do you price work, for example if you sell through a gallery or not. Do you have same price either way?”

That is a very good question and one that I get asked a lot.  So let’s look at some pricing tips.  I have 5 helpful pricing tips and #3 definitely answers Rosie’s question.

13575864_10155558363827837_8286182255819185721_o

1.  Separate Feelings From Facts – I don’t know about you but for me, when it’s time to price my work DOUBT shows up in a big way.  I often hear my brain say things like “there’s no way it’s worth THAT much!” or “I wouldn’t pay that kind of money for this, it’s not that good.”  Doubt creeps up.  Stop that shit right now!  Galleries, collectors, and patrons don’t get to see your feelings and your doubt.  They are looking at prices based on external facts.  They see the market (other art like yours), size, materials you used, and hear your story as to why you created this piece (artist statement).  They aren’t inside your head being told it’s not worth it.  So when you are pricing get in the mindset of basing you prices on facts NOT feelings.

2. What ARE the facts? – You need your work to cover a few costs.  Your time and materials should be factored in.  It also helps for you to go do your homework.  Look at other art that is similar in your area and see what it is selling for.  Does your work fit into that range?  Are people buying it at certain price….Should you charge more or less?  Also look at work you have sold in the past….is your pricing consistent with older work.  You can do some research and figure out the numbers that may work for you….You don’t have to pull the price out of thin air.

3. Set It And Forget It – I know it sounds like an info-mercial.  But I have a policy that when I am done with a piece I set the price based on facts….and THAT is the final price.  It never changes.  Why?  Well mostly I want my prices to be consistent for my collectors and my galleries.  I wouldn’t want a person to buy a piece at a gallery for say $1000 and then go to another gallery and see the similar series paintings for $600.  That collector would feel stiffed and ripped off.  ALSO the galleries that find you changing your prices may not want to work with you ever again.  This is also true for my Open Studios shows.  The price is the same at my Open Studios as it would be in the gallery.  My good friend Jennifer Farris the Owner of STUDIO Gallery told me a bit of wisdom years ago and I live by it.  She said “You deserve 50% of the sale for making the art, and someone deserves 50% of the sale for SELLING the art.”  So if a gallery does their job and works hard to sell your painting they totally deserve it.  And if you work super hard on your open studio and make the sale….YOU deserve that half.  So keep your prices consistent.

4. Stand Behind Your Prices – Once you have done the research and homework.  You have factored in all the things like costs, times, materials, other art, etc.  You have a a number that looks right….feels right…and is backed up by the facts.  You may also want to get some outside help.  You can ask your peers if your pricing seems on target.  You can even talk with the gallery owners and curators sometimes and find out if your pricing fits for their gallery.  Often times I have found that I was undervaluing my work (see tip #1).  So don’t be scared to ask for some outside help.  And once you have it….stand on it.  You are the only person that makes work like yours.  You have worked for years to get to where you are now in your art journey.  You have spent countless dollars on supplies, bills, and education.  You have put in so many grueling late night hours perfecting your thing.  You have a style.  You are bold.  You are strong and courageous and you believe that your work is worth it and you have the facts to back you up.

5. Overall Prices Of Your Body Of Work – I tell artists this next sentence a lot and sometimes i jars them a little bit…so get ready.

“You don’t owe it to anyone to make affordable art”

I hope that doesn’t scare you.  Here is what I mean by that.  Over the course of your art career you are hopefully going to make a LOT of art.  Some big things….some small things.  Some good…..some not as good.  You are gonna price things wrong sometimes….and sometimes you will nail it.  Many artists I talk to tell me that they make art that is cheap for their friends and family.  And when they talk about it you’d think they didn’t even cover their costs.  That only hurts the artist.  As artists we don’t always have a lot of income steams….so undervaluing your main source of art income only hurts you.  Price things correctly. If someone likes one of your larger more pricey pieces but cant afford it….maybe they can afford a smaller piece or a commission.  You are going to make art with all different price points and sizes.  Maybe one of the other price points will fit their budget.  Maybe they aren’t that serious about it in the first place.  I mean…if someone is really in love with a piece….Nothing is going to stop them from having it.  So keep that in mind when you are looking at pricing your current body of work.  You owe it to yourself to get this right.

I am sure I could spout off plenty of more things about pricing your work.  Heck I am sure I could talk my way into a book deal about pricing.  Artists all over the Bay Area have asked me for pricing help.  It is a topic that comes up at every workshop I give, even if it’s not a workshop about pricing.  Take these tips and go forth.  You will get it right.

Photo on 1-14-18 at 2.37 PM #2

As for more questions, I would love to hear what you wanna know about art inspiration or art business.  Please Comment with a question and I will work to get in on the blog.  THANK YOU!

How to have a Victory with Open Studios!

Here in San Francisco we are just a few days away from open studios. (Mine is on Oct. 12, 13, 14….oh man)  ArtSpan’s SF Open Studios is largest and longest running Open Studios program in the country. This week I am frantically making lists of the things I need to do, and fighting off the panic. As the co-chair of ArtSpan’s Open Studios committee I get asked a lot of questions on how to prepare for the event. Over the last 6 years of doing it I have a good amount to share. Here are some key incites that will help you to have a some victories with Open Studios.

JoshuaCoffy2

First Stop – The Toolkit – Did you know that ArtSpan volunteers have comprised a toolkit to help you succeed at Open Studios?  It has a wealth of information in it.  Anything from postcard designing, to sales receipts and what food to set out in your studio.  If you have questions….hopefully its in the toolkit.  So stop there first.  One of my personal favs in the toolkit is the timeline….showing you when you should be ordering postcards and getting ready.  I find that super helpful.  Check it out here…

Check The  Variables… – Look…there are things you can control about Open Studios and things you cannot control.  You can say to yourself I wanna sell all of my work and make ‘X’ amount of dollars during my Open Studios.  But that is not something you can control.  There are things on your list that are NOT variables.  Like, you can invite 50 people by phone.  You can go door to door and tell all ten of your neighbors about your Open Studio.  You can give out 100 postcards to people.  You can make sure that the coffee shop down the street has SF Open Studios Guides.  Do you see where I am going with this?  You can do action items that are attainable and if you do that to the best of your ability you will have a successful open studios.  Which brings me to the next piece…Victory.

3bdfa8fc7552656ff3ae438968031691-rimg-w640-h480-gmir

Defining Victory – What does it mean to be successful at Open Studios?  Is Open Studios a good place to sell your work?  Can I pay my bills with this event?

Certainly for each of us the answers vary greatly.  I have always approached Open Studios as a ‘get to know me’ event.  Since I can’t control if people buy my work or not, I tend to not look at it as a SALES event.  My mission is to show people my work and studio and get them acquainted with my story.  I work to get names and emails onto my mailing list.  I give out commission information.  I talk and tell stories all weekend.  I work really hard to invite a lot of people to my event.  And I curate and present my work in the best light I can so that people can enjoy it and start to follow what I do.  And if that is your goal and you put in the time and work….you win.  Even if no one buys a single painting, you nail all the things that you can control and have a victory in that.  THEN when someone does buy a piece of work its like a bonus round.

Approaching the event this way has really helped me on the days that there were no sales.  It has helped me see that maybe I didn’t make much money one day, but I did get 46 new people on my mailing list….and as I have managed that list over the years, some of those people have followed me and come out to shows…and even now collect my work.  So for me, Open Studios is about playing long-ball.  It’s nice to sell stuff…and I usually do well with prints and things, but its really great to meet new collectors and get people excited about what I do.

Now I know this approach may not work for all of us.  Some folks are in this event to pay their bills.  More power to them and I hope they kill it.  Even still….look at the things that you do have control over and make sure that you do that work.  Then you will have a victory either way.

I hope to make it out to all of your open studios this year.  Its a huge event.  Go kick buns.

See you soon.

guideheader.png

SF Open Studios  – Check out over 800 participating artists over 5 weekends of SF Open Studios.  Its a huge part of the SF art community.  Artists are happily welcoming YOU to their studios…so please check it out.

Change of Seasons

This Saturday was the first day of Fall.  And for a lot of us, it’s our favorite season.  This got me thinking about how the light changes.  How the sun hits the trees from a different angle and how the shadows all change from how they were months ago.  And it got me thinking about big projects.  I work in series very often.  And a few years ago I came up with a metaphor that works for ANY big project.  Especially art stuff.  Check it out.

You can look at the nature of big projects like the seasons of the year.

13897-free-spring-animal-desktop-wallpaper_59052

Spring –  Ah Spring.  The fresh air and smell of grass and flowers blooming, so vibrant and so alive.  Spring is like the place where your ideas are born.  And sometimes they run fast like a raging river.  They bloom almost by instinct.  You have all these fresh ideas and you just do your best to write ’em down before you have MORE new ideas.  When you are starting a project this is certainly the brainstorming and also the planning part.  You are excited, alive, and ready to make the magic.

blue_sunset_summer_sky_orange_sun_lake_green-989165.jpg!d

Summer –  Summer, the days get longer, you do cool stuff like play in the yard with the hose.  Or in your studio.  You are doing the WORK of your project.  It’s fun and memorable but it can also be challenging.  Just like Summer can be too hot, you may find yourself pushing hard to the end of each day.  You planned 20 paintings in this series and now the rubber has met the road and you’re on painting number five.  But hey, enjoy it.  The parts that you love in the end are the work.  I mean, this is what we signed up for, right?

Autumn in Boston Public Garden

Fall – This is it…all the work is done.  All the preparations for the show are finished.  No more work can actually be done.  All the seeds were planted, the plants were tended and now it’s time to harvest.  You are going to present your series in a gallery or your giant sculpture to the world for public consumption.  You will gather and garner all the support and nourishment you can from them.  THIS IS THE HARVEST.  Enjoy it.  You earned every bit of it.

imrs.php

Winter –  The harvest is over.  The food is stored.  The crowds all go back to their homes and now you are left alone to rest and hibernate.  You need time to fully see the scope of what you did.  You need time to rest.  To sleep.  To get solid.  Often times, you need to repair the things you have been neglecting while you were out working.  So take the time to repair.  Soon enough you will see signs of spring again.

And the whole thing repeats.  Sometimes our society heavily values Spring, overvalues Summer, and is obsessed with Fall and pays very little attention to WINTER.  If you look at folks working big career jobs in the United States, their time off is rarely valued.  As artists we get told that we are lazy if someone should see us resting and refilling our brains with ideas.  Sometimes that person telling us to get to work is ourselves.  You must take time to refill the batteries.  So don’t discount Winter.

On that same note, try and find a balance between all the seasons.  You can certainly work way too much in the Summer.  It happens.  That is kind of why the days get longer.  You can work on your stuff and turn it in half-assed just because you need the Harvest so much.  So I see a lot of artists rushing things just to be in shows…..maybe that isn’t the best way to go.  Although I have done it too.  And Spring can be deceptive as you have all these amazing ideas springing forth you forget that eventually, you gotta get to work.  Spring slips into Summer somewhere.  You can’t stay there forever and NOT do the thing you came to do.

As an artist do your best to check in with the seasons and see where you are in your project.  That certainly does not mean you have to line it up with the actual seasons. It’s a nice way to keep you and your time in check for a project.  This is one thing that has really helped me a lot over the years.  Kind of a Zen way to see it.  See if that resonates with you.  Till next time.

 

 

 

Written by Josh Coffy and edited by Harmony Anderson.