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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

The Tide Rises

I have been giving quite a bit of thought as to what the first post was going to be for the blog.  I really want to set the tone and lay out my philosophy for art business and the art world.  Sometimes,  I think I think ‘too big’.  Maybe it is best if we break the philosophy down into little bits that we can explore together.  And with that….we should start at the beginning.  Makes sense right?

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 ‘A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats’

This is one of my favorite sayings.  And it definitely relates to my art journey, my art business, and my life.  At its core, it is about supporting those around you.  When you support others we all win.  Let’s look at that in the context of the art world.

I volunteer quite frequently in my local art community.  Here in San Francisco, my main point of volunteering is with ArtSpan, a local arts charity that supports artists through year-round resources as well as hosting the nation’s largest and longest running Open Studios program.  I have done a lot of amazing things with ArtSpan.  From painting giant murals to doing community outreach and youth art programs.  I love volunteering for them.

When you volunteer you meet lots of interesting people.  Artists, non-artists, collectors, etc.  And as you work alongside these folks you are automatically building your network.  If you leave a good impression on people in these interactions you never know how that is going to come back to you later.  So that’s one way the tide lifts.

Another way to support others is simply by going to their shows, celebrating other artist’s victories, and getting rid of the ‘art is a competition’ attitude.  Look….If someone is selling art you should be psyched.  That means ‘Team Artist’ is doing well.  That means somewhere out there someone is buying art!  They could be buying your work next time.  So lose the competitive attitude.  Jealousy and grudges leave a terrible impression on people.  And people will always remember the way you made them feel.  Be happy for those around you as they will return that favor when it’s time for you to sell art.  Support “Team Artist’.

When you support those around you, you build really strong bonds with people.  Your immediate community becomes stronger.  Your ability to access resources grows tenfold.  You start learning new and better ways to deal with huge challenges.  And, at times, when mighty obstacles arise you will have a network of people willing to help you overcome them.  That is the nature of ‘A rising tide lifts all boats.’  Treat people well and they will be willing to help you succeed as well.

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“Desafiando la Marea”  – Oil on canvas, 48″x 24″ by Claudio Talavera-Ballon

Lastly, I am here to share what I know and to support YOU.  In this blog I want to talk about art biz stuff.  All things pricing, dealing with galleries, connecting with people, art archiving, etc.  I am sharing this stuff because I hope that it helps you.  Much of it I learned from people that I look up to….So it’s kind of like a tradition being passed down.  In supporting you I am sure I will relearn a few things.  But please feel free to ask all the questions you can along the way.

So for the remainder of this blog I will likely reference this phrase.  It is something that I strive to live by.  And it definitely is something that I have built ALL of my art philosophy on.  So if you haven’t heard it before….let it sink in a little.  How are YOU going to lift the tides a little?  What can you do to support those around you?  I would love to hear your comments and answers.  Until next time.

 

 

This post was written by Joshua Coffy and edited by Harmony Anderson.