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Series: How to Present Yourself Better in Texts – Writing Strategies for Artists (2)

ENGLISH TEXT BELOW: PRESENT YOURSELF BETTER IN TEXTS – WRITING SKILLS FOR ARTISTS (2) You will probably be able to quickly draw up your own list if you are wondering why you sat around your PC and typed something for your last exhibition or participation in an exhibition. In my series, I want to tell you a little more about the differences between different types of text . This way you run less risk of wondering what exactly is being asked of you this time. You avoid unnecessary nesting or repetition and you can set up your text in a much more targeted manner. But first of all: THERE IS NO ONE RIGHT PROCEDURE! There are no set rules. In this series, I am therefore only making suggestions and offering orientation options. Nevertheless, in the end you will have a good overview of what you can still tackle for yourself. I’ll give you some general tips on how to organize yourself well from the start: What is a type of text? We generally speak of different “types of text” when it comes to classification or learning to write. For example, a resume in tabular form is a completely different type of text than a cover letter. For each type of text there are more or less general characteristics. But there are still different sub-types: If you apply for a job as a waiter in the pub next door, you will certainly do it very differently than with a highly paid position on the board of a company – or when applying as an artist * in around an exhibition space. And finally – as almost everywhere where there are drawers – there are also mixed forms. While you can, for example, neatly separate everything when displaying on your own website (if you wish), How can text modules help? For the sake of simplicity, I will concentrate on the clearest possible “drawers” ​​in the series. What you make of it in the end is entirely up to you. A good recommendation, however, is to create your own archive that you can use again and again. By that I mean that you create TEXT BLOCKS. For example, you can create a certain part in your biography or your statement (e.g. essential influences on your art or a particularly important exhibition or your main motif or your preferred technique or …. Or …) as a separate text module that you can add to others if necessary Can incorporate texts. Or you can create a fixed layout for your CV as a building block, which you can change and expand again and again. You can create the text modules themselves in various forms. Many tenders specify, for example, a fixed minimum or maximum number of words. So you should be able to write your building block in both a few and more words. Very experienced writers can also consider writing the same text module once in a very formal manner and once more colloquially. And the very creative among you may invent your own linguistic or even visual representation. Notice the W questions Another general tip comes from the journalistic field, but is also ideally suited for our purposes – and I will point this out again and again in the further course of the series: Answer the six W-questions in your texts: WHO? WHAT? WHERE? WHEN? HOW? WHY? Or. Always think about which W question (s) is or are the focus of a certain type of text or a single text module. The answers to these questions are the be-all and end-all of any informative text. And your texts are always informative about you and your art: They inform journalists, potential buyers, gallery owners, but also friends & family about what you do and why you are worthwhile to familiarize yourself with your art to employ and even buy them. Don’t make it difficult for yourself! Finally, I’ll give you the useful tip that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel again and again. Sure, artists in particular want to be special. But there are also good reasons to swim in the current. This is especially true for those who still find it difficult to write their own texts: why not see how others are doing it. Of course you can’t violate any copyright! But you can get inspiration from the endless sea of ​​already written texts. Also, it can’t hurt to take a look at the artists’ texts from last year when applying for a group exhibition, so that you can fit in and not disqualify yourself from too much experimentation from the outset.

Are you stuck in a jam of ideas?

Do you know the feeling when you have a lot of good ideas at the same time and you don’t know where to start? Or do you know the feeling when you have a lot of ideas but don’t know whether they are really good? Or do you know the feeling when you know that you are actually good, but you can’t come up with new ideas? In the end you sit there, dissatisfied & disagreed with yourself. Nothing happens and you suddenly realize that you are probably experiencing an artistic block . Blockage sounds very harsh. Some prefer to talk about a creative break , because this euphemism doesn’t sound that bad. However, the result is the same. I call this situation an idea jam . By doing this, I acknowledge that the current situation does not feel like I would like it to be, AND I remind myself that I may very well always have a lot of ideas. For me, “ideas jam” also means that I don’t just have to wait idly until it’s over, but can do something. To be artistically active often means that you are “in the flow”, that you do your own work with a high degree of passion and identify with it far more than many other people in other professions. Artists often merge with what they’re doing. In the best case, it feels wonderful. But it can also happen that this river suddenly stops flowing and that you feel somehow blocked. Such a jam of ideas quickly affects (often highly sensitive) artists’ own well-being and causes emotional stress. Lots of good ideas – but where to start? Your thoughts go in circles. Instead of doing something, you sit there and nothing happens. In the end, you are totally dissatisfied because you just wasted your valuable time. All that thinking, weighing, maybe even creating priority lists has led to nothing. You feel empty and unable to do anything. You stand in your own way. Very important in this situation: No matter how you feel now, you can just let the feeling be AND still do something!You don’t feel like you just have it. Feelings are inherent in that they come & swell and then go & wane again. Give it a try in a harmless situation: Perhaps you are currently annoyed about the content of an email that you have received. You can now decide to read the email over and over and get further and further into the anger. Or: Feel the anger, let it be and then you take care of tidying up your studio – or the kitchen. When you are done with it, look carefully to see if the feeling is still there in the same strength. Probably not, and you’ve already done the cleanup before. Lots of good ideas – but are they really good enough? The doubt, yes, the self-doubt has struck again and is gnawing at you. Yesterday evening after finishing your work you found your new work of art really great, today it looks completely different in daylight. Yesterday you applied for an exhibition space. Today you think that you should have put it off for another year because you think you are not good enough after all. Very important in this situation: Don’t believe everything you think!Thoughts are first and foremost thoughts – they are not reality. Thoughts are always in flux, they come and go. Observe yourself once for a day or even an hour. What thoughts come to you automatically without you having made up your mind to think them? Our brains are constantly sending us new thoughts, and since these are not reality, they can be like this today and like this tomorrow. An important finding! Instead of believing everything in your thoughts, you should always ask yourself if a particular thought is useful for you and your advancement. If not, leave it where it is and just wait for it to go away. If so, then thank your brain for sending this helpful thought over and follow it! Your career has finally picked up speed – of all times, the new ideas are missing In this case too, I doubt your thoughts are telling you the truth. Most artists are constantly having new ideas that just hide well at times. Very important in this situation: Take the mental focus away from what is not there right now. You have already noticed above that thoughts & feelings come and go and so probably also this feeling of emptiness. Trust that your ideas will come back. Hey, you are an artist! You keep coming up with new ideas and often spontaneously and unexpectedly. Here, too, just switch to another activity first. Let your thoughts run free and watch them. If there is a good idea, hold on to it! Write them down! Implement them! That’s what it’s about The emotional merging with one’s own art is a wonderful gift that was given to us artists. Merging with unpleasant thoughts or feelings, on the other hand, can sometimes be quite annoying. You can learn to consciously differentiate between the two. And you can learn to distance yourself from uncomfortable thoughts or feelings. Accept that they are there, but don’t identify with them. And then just paint something anyway! Or first tidy up your studio – or the kitchen. The unpleasant thoughts and feelings will go away all by themselves!

Magical art with text and images

Strange language Since my earliest childhood, I found everything to do with written or spoken language somehow “strange”. It seemed to me that reading a text was taking too long. Over the years I found that the linearity of the linguistic signs was difficult for me. I was kind of disappointed that you couldn’t see a text at a glance. As a teenager and young adult, I used “words” very creatively to express myself.  50 X 50 cm, mixed media Text becomes exotic text Since 2008 I have been dealing with the relationship between text and image in my artistic work. I use various mixed techniques. The medium of text gives verbal / written language an upgrade in that it can also be perceived as a snapshot and thus exceeds the limits of linearity. I don’t mean to say that the text that becomes an image on the canvas can be grasped “immediately” – rather the text becomes an exotic text and one can also “feel” it, regardless of its previous / original linearity. Conversely, when the text generates a visual composition, it is emphasized again by the image. In this way the text becomes exotic. The relationship between text and image is doubled or even multiplied by it. I intertwine the abstract image as a symbolic emotion with the exotic text and thus want to shape reality and change the material world. The magic seal in my pictures even expands the exotic text and includes words with meaning even beyond any kind of linearity and even beyond our limits of time. The magic seal thus refers to words that are transferred in pictures (like a monogram – see chaos magic).  9 x 20 X 50 cm, mixed media on canvas, Where do I get my inspiration from? I have always believed in the power and strength of the subconscious and have found this partially confirmed or rediscovered. The belief that I am working with the universe sometimes needs to be backed up by real evidence in my life. In addition, I have always been committed to needy animals since early childhood and wanted them around me because their love is so valuable to my heart and I simply admire their beauty. I actually wanted to become a veterinarian, but then things turned out differently. In the meantime I have been working on canvases and have discovered a new synchronicity in myself by referring to animals that have come into my life, or even working with them. My bitch Câine  50 x 50 cm, mixed media on canvas How did it all start? How did my latest and most profound works come about? I had an experience in autumn 2016 that changed my life. One of our bitches, Câine, was suddenly paralyzed and on the verge of dying. There was no longer any hope. I didn’t know that much about non-verbal animal communication back then. But I just wanted to try it out because it was our last hope. It turned out to be absolutely the right decision. Câine recovered (even though she now needs a dog wheelchair), became my animal teacher and is now the proud owner of some “abstract portraits”. I then continued to teach myself non-verbal animal communication in an autodidactic manner and thus discovered a new way Câine is the Romanian word for dog. She already had this name (perhaps originally meant as a joke) when she came to me and shared herself with me in a shamanic way. She was meant to be my animal sister and teacher. You can read more about Câine’s story >> >> here on the website of Tanja Budnick – an expert in non-verbal animal communication: Magic in my art 80 X 80 cm, THE MONOLOGUE OF A NAKED ANIMAL, mixed media on canvas I like to refer to the occult in my art and create reality with magic on canvas. I deal with animal communication or telepathic communication with animals and describe otherworldly spheres. The joy of nature is always deep inside me. I am concerned with the beauty of this different worldview that is generally not recognized in our society. The whole time I have this strong and incredibly beautiful desire to cross the boundaries of our linear language and existence. To get a glimpse of the other side, The canvas as a hologram | Magic | Eclectic | Intuition | The unspeakable | There must be more   Disturbing Language Since early childhood I have always felt that there is something “disturbing” related to the written / spoken language. The feeling was that it was taking too long to perceive a text. As the years went by, I realized that what was bothering me was the linearity of the linguistic sign. The lack of an instantaneous perception of a text grew into a sort of disappointment. However, as a teenager and young adult I was expressing myself creatively via “words”.  50 X 50 cm, mixed media on canvas Text Becomes Exotext Starting with 2008 I approached the relationship between text and image via mixed media. Sometimes I work with text. Through the medium of this approach, I am upgrading the verbal / written language providing it with a snapshot perceiving, beyond the borders of linearity. By this I don’t mean the fact that working as an imagine on the canvas the text is “immediate” – but the text itself becomes afterwards an exotext, with the attribute that it can be “felt” regardless of it’s previous / original linearity . If the text is generating the visual composition, at the same time, the image would reinforce it. Thus, the text becomes an exotic text. Subsequently, the relationships go plural and beyond. I interwave the abstract image meant as a symbol-emotion with the exotext in a natural growth embracing the intention to shape reality, to bring change in the material world. More powerful, the Sigil works as an “upgraded” exotic text, meaning words beyond any linearity, beyond the borders of time. The Sigil means words translated into images (a kind of monogram – chaos magic).  20 X 50 cm X 9 pieces, mixed media on canvas What inspires me? I have always believed in the strength and power of the subconscious and (re) discovered it at times. The belief that I work with the Universe in order to shape often acquires evidence in my life. Also from early childhood I have always wanted to be helpful for the animals in need, to be around them because their love is so precious to my heart and I dearly admire their beauty. Actually, my desire was to become a veterinarian, but things turned out a bit different. Today, me and my husband run a small family shelter for abused and abandoned animals. And also today, a new synchronicity has found its place in my existence, since I am now able to work on canvas about and with the animals who arrive in my life. My Dog Câine  50 x 50 CM, mixed media on canvas How did it start? How did start the newest and more profound stage of my works? In the fall of 2016, I had a life altering experience. One of our dogs, Câine, paralyzed and was about to pass away. There was zero hope for returning. At that time I knew little about animal talk, but wanted to give it a try, since it was our last hope. It has been shown that it has been the best decision possible. Câine has recovered (is walking now with a rolli), became my animal teacher and is today the proud owner of a couple of “abstract portraits”. I started self learning animal talk myself. Thus, I discovered a new way to transcend the borders of the linear communication, inasmuch as the animal talk is immediate. Câine is the Romanian for dog. She came in my life with this name given by others (maybe as a joke) and revealed it to me in a core shamanic way: it was meant to be that she reveals herself as my animal sister and teacher. More about Câine’s story you can find >> here Tanja Budnick’s website – an expert on non-verbal animal communication. Magic In My Art  THE MONOLOGUE OF A NAKED ANIMAL, 80 X 80 cm, mixed media on canvas I enjoy working with references from the occult and shaping reality through magic on canvas; I explore the animal talk / telepathic communication with animals and describe journeys to otherworldly realms; the joy of nature is always in my inner self; I reach out to the beauty of this different way to perceive life, which has been silenced by society most often. All the time there is a powerful and amazingly beautiful desire to transcend the limitations of our linear language and existence. To get a glimpse of the other / another side.

This is how you can find the right painting & drawing course for you

Are you looking for a painting & drawing course? Many people want to learn to paint & draw in their free time. But even experienced artists are always looking for new inspiration and opportunities for further development. No matter where you are in your career: If you are looking for a course that is right for you, the following criteria can help you make your decision. Do you just want to have a nice evening? There are countless hobby groups that are privately organized by artists, in civic centers or by institutions such as the VHS. This is where you go, meet nice people who may have been in the same group for years, and at the same time you can be creative. It is best to look for something in your neighborhood, e.g. via social network groups on Facebook or Nebenan.de, or at least something that is easily accessible for you. However, if you really want to get ahead technically, this is not the best solution. What time (s) do you have available? It makes a difference whether you want to go somewhere once a week or book a compact course over 3-5 days . The former is of course only possible at your place of residence and thus limits the choice. Apart from your possibilities, in the first case you can always try out what you have learned at home. You may also have questions that you can ask next time. In addition, there are also courses that are full-time over several weeks or even monthsgo. These are often offered by private academies or painting schools and cost a lot of time and money. Or there are holiday courses that offer a whole ambience around it, maybe with painting sessions on the beach. A compact course is very intensive and the more effective the longer it is. You can achieve a lot in a short time. But then you should plan time at home afterwards to deepen what you have learned, otherwise it will be gone quickly. If you book a compact course, you are not tied to your home town and can learn something from your favorite artist in Madrid, for example. What exactly do you want to learn? First, focus on the technique. You should be honest with yourself and first take stock of what you can already do . If you cannot judge this yourself, then you are probably still a beginner. If you want to learn a whole new technique, find a course that offers EXACTLY that technique. If you want to paint a specific subject, look for a course that offers EXACTLY this. And when you finally think you’ve found a course, find out about the exact course content . It is very important that you formulate a course goal for yourselfand you can find this in the course description. Maybe you can find out everything you need to know on a website. Otherwise, write an email or maybe even call. You can also interview others who have already taken this course. Except for hobby groups, I cannot recommend courses that tend to offer a hodgepodge of different techniques and subjects. What level should the course be? Be realistic: if you’ve never had a brush in your hand, it will be a while before you can paint a great portrait in oils. Think in years and not in weeks or months! Do not expect too much! If you approach the matter in a relaxed manner, you can also book a course that may be a little beyond your possibilities. For some, meeting a favorite professional artist and being shown advanced techniques can be a big motivational boost. Others may feel frustrated when they realize they have put too much pressure on themselves and may feel that they will never learn to do so. In general, everything that encourages you is good! But you know: You don’t make a filigree work out of a block of wood.You may also take the same course two or three times. In the long run you will definitely benefit from it – if you have the necessary patience. In addition to the choice of technique, consider other important factors. For most people, art is an affair of the heart. The best thing to do is to find an artist whose pictures you really like! You are unlikely to be open to the content of the course if you don’t like the art of your instructor or even the people themselves! Do you speak the language of the course? When booking a course in Madrid, find out which language the course is held in. If you don’t understand the language, the course won’t do too much either. Now first list all the pros and cons of the envisaged course. Then decide if what you are buying is worth your money. There is no point in saving in the wrong place . The bottom line is that a three year continuous course in your hometown can be more expensive and less effective than flying to Madrid for a few days twice in those three years. Alternatively, you can also consider taking a private course, which is of course more expensive . The bottom line can also be a balanced cost-benefit factor here. If the chemistry is right, this can be a very special and profitable experience on many levels. But group courses also have their advantages, as you get to know not only the artist, but also other interesting people who have the same passion as you. In the case of a course in Madrid, the international participants can even meet all over the world! Summarized recommendation: The best thing to do is to make a list of all the criteria that are important to you . Since you can’t always (but hopefully often enough) have everything, arrange the list according to your personal priorities or possibilities . So you have a good decision-making aid for yourself at hand. And don’t be afraid to ask all the important questions in advance. In the end, both sides want to be satisfied. Do you feel like it already? If you are interested, you can read my report from a course at Eloy Morales in Madrid > HERE in this blog post. I paid a lot of money for this and other courses (including travel and hotel), but I benefited incredibly from it and it was absolutely worth it. I have been to Eloy twice, before that once to Dirk Dzimirski (Germany) and once to Eric Pouillet (France). You see, I have a preference for compact courses!

Emotional realism

The oil painting “Summertime” (oil on canvas, 140 x 100 cm, 2016) I have 2017 >> HERE summer art blog introduced before in an image viewing. The reference photo was taken by friends on a trip through Laos. I would like to come back to it today and once again introduce you to the emotional realism that I recognized with this picture as a decisive motivation for me in my art and which I thus established. Because this approach opens up a new perspective on realistic art Disambiguation First, take a closer look at the two initially contradicting terms: The Duden describes “emotion” as “psychological excitement, emotional movement; Feeling, emotion ”. Emotions are primarily subjective, even if, of course, you can feel exactly the same way as someone else in a certain situation. But someone else can feel something completely different in the same situation. According to the Duden, “reality” is “1. Reality; 2. Real way of being; 3. actual givenness, fact ”. Thus, reality in its pure form is not negotiable, but always the same, regardless of the eye of the viewer. (Note: In its pure form, I refer to the opposite of what is going around nowadays as “alternative facts”. I would like to clearly differentiate the term “reality” from a political use and rather consider the philosophical approach.) Realism meets emotion Nobody will deny that art or viewing art arouses emotions. For me, this process begins when I see a reference photo that touches me emotionally in such a way that I really want to paint it. The photo initially depicts a section of reality. However, what it triggers in me is very subjective. As a rule, it is positive emotions that trigger me to want to paint the subject. Sometimes these emotions do not correspond 100% to what can be seen in real life in the reference photo. With the picture “Summertime” I “only” interpreted the boy’s gaze in such a way that he looks directly at the viewer. The coloring in the oil painting is also much more intense than in the reference photo. I don’t have to edit the reference photo with Photoshop first, I can see what I feel and what I want to paint in my mind’s eye. In the end, the finished picture usually looks “like a photo” again. However, it shows my emotionally perceived own reality. Summertime Vacation time is offer time I make you the offer to discover your own emotional reality. Perhaps, for example, you experienced a scenario on your vacation that triggers you so much that you want to let your feelings perpetuate. Perhaps this only happens when you sort your vacation photos afterwards and are transported back to a special moment while looking at a certain photo. I offer you to discuss your favorite photo from your vacation. Together we will find out what exactly makes this photo so special for you. And if it is right for you, you can also use this photo to commission me a painting that is unique to your experience. For more detailed information, please use this>> Contact form and tell me your email address and phone number. !! Important disclaimer !! So that the painting of a picture is also consistent for me, I reject some reference photos as commissioned work. Sometimes this has something to do with the quality of the photo. But sometimes I just can’t empathize with the subject myself. Then I cannot keep my promise to you either. Photos that show people have a high probability of acceptance, since I specialize in portrait work. Pure landscape photos, on the other hand, do not come into consideration as a painting motif for me.

The color black

It’s such a thing with the color black. Because in realistic painting and drawing it is important that there are strong contrasts between light and dark or that the whole range of the tonal value scale appears in the picture. Nevertheless, it is not always advisable to work directly with the color black here. Black in oil painting In oil painting I hardly ever use the tube from which the black comes or only very, very sparingly. Why? Because I work in shifts when painting, but also work wet-on-wet in each shift. In other words, I mix a lot in the ongoing process. The color black unfortunately has the property of soiling the other colors on the palette and on the canvas extremely easily. What alternatives are there? These four colors are my black: In fact, it’s only the first three, because roasted umber isn’t even necessary. However, you will achieve a very dark tone a little faster if you mix it with it. It is also good for the particularly dark areas in the hair. In the right mixing ratio – which you can easily find out by trying out – you can quickly get a very dark shade value with these colors. If you continue to use the same (not necessarily exactly) the same mixture in subsequent layers, the tonal value will eventually reach a nice dark depth. If you want to use an ivory black in your mixture for the right hair shade, I recommend that you create the dark areas first and then let them dry thoroughly before you overlay lighter areas with other hair colors – without black in them. Black in pastel painting For pastel colors too, black easily soils the other colors. Here, however, there is the advantage that pastel images are usually built up from light to dark. This means that you only need to work with the black chalk at the very end and there is little to no risk of creating unwanted effects. Black in pencil or graphite drawing Pencils are gray per se. Even the darkest and highest degree of softness is still an anthracite. Many professional pencil drawers just leave it at that. If the tonal range is sufficiently exhausted at the end, the image can still look very realistic when viewed from a distance. (If you see photos of pencil drawings on the Internet, however, you will often be misled, because you can of course set the black even darker or increase the contrast with any image editing program.) If a dark anthracite is not enough for you, there are also other options . What alternatives are there? In the course of time I have acquired ALL the allegedly or really darkest pens that were available and advertised on the Internet and tried them out one after the other. This includes pencils and graphite pencils of various brands as well as carbon pencils and black crayons. First of all, based on my experience, I can warn you not to believe everything that is in the product description. The General’s Layout Extra Black 555 pen or the Faber Castell Pitt Graphite Pure 2900 with a hardness of 9B (!) Are both even lighter than the Faber Castell 9000 8B pencil, for example. Second, you need to pay attention to the different compositions of black pencils. Just as you can’t just go over a pencil drawing with a charcoal pen (because the charcoal doesn’t stick to the pencil), different compositions also have a different glossy effect. Pencil is very shiny when the light falls on it at an angle. This is not always the case with other pens. In the end, when the light falls at an angle, the drawing looks strangely matt in one place. But if you have a good gallery hanging with correspondingly good lighting, then the problem – if you perceive it as one – is no longer that big. So you have to decide something according to your taste in this regard. I personally like the Bruynzeel 8805 colored pencil or General’s Carbon Sketch 595. A completely different option is to first draw very dark areas with a charcoal pen, because pencil on charcoal is possible! Personally, however, I never made it through to the end. I started one or the other drawing like this, but when I had the first sessions behind me and saw the finished picture in my mind’s eye, I was always afraid that I would invest all the working hours in vain if I might in the end I don’t like it – and then I started a new drawing from scratch without a charcoal fit …

As an artist, safe in negotiations: the Harvard concept

Artists as business people We have known for a long time: Artists are usually also entrepreneurs. However, the business side of our profession usually doesn’t fly to us as much as the creative side. Many find it particularly difficult when it comes to pricing or negotiating exhibition conditions. We often make compromises that we are not happy with in the end. Our hope is that we can negotiate a more advantageous deal next time, so that the lazy compromise can be balanced out again. Today we’re spinning over the shoulders of marketing and negotiation professionals again and see how the Harvard concept can help us here. It is important that you have a clear and comprehensible strategy overall if you want to assert yourself in the art market in the long term. Nothing is more hostile to careers than a “hot today and hot tomorrow”. You then quickly give the impression that your prices and conditions are arbitrary, perhaps based on the customer’s nose, and that you can also be easily negotiated down. The Harvard Concept But how can you represent your interests in such a way that they are also respected on the other side? It is often worthwhile to deal with (negotiation) strategies from other fields. Because they are often designed in a general way and you can easily transfer them to your personal situation. Today I will introduce you to the Harvard concept (see Wikipedia ) and explain it using the example of the pricing of a commissioned work. The Harvard concept excludes (lazy) compromises. Instead, the aim is to achieve a win-win situation that leaves both sides much more satisfied, as one does not have the feeling of having given in. How does it work? 1st guideline: Treat people and interests or problem separately You have a person in front of you and it’s about one thing. This already describes what is meant. Avoid lumping the two together. Because just because something is complicated doesn’t mean the whole person is the same. Be factual about the problem! And be empathetic with your counterpart! Example of commissioned work: For his birthday, Ms. Müller would like to give her husband a realistically painted portrait with a mat and frame of him. It should be a surprise. The birthday is in four weeks. Ms. Müller brings a photo print in the format 13 x 18 cm. It’s a snapshot from vacation. Mr Müller looks very funny on it, but the quality is generally rather poor. You can now just think: “Oh, no, how is that supposed to work? The woman may have strange ideas! ”You try not to appear annoyed, but say straight out loud and clear that this is not possible. The order does not materialize. Or maybe you get involved, although you know that you will most certainly not be able to deliver your usual quality. So from the start you go very far with the price. Do you think that you will be happy in either scenario? Will Mrs. Müller be happy? In line with the Harvard concept, you can also react very leniently to Ms. Müller, because she has probably never worked with an artist and just doesn’t know what you need for your work. Show her examples of previous commissioned work, explain how you work, and promise that you might be able to find another solution. 2. Guideline: Focus on interests rather than positions A position is a non-negotiable opinion or view. It can also be referred to as a wall: if you press against it, it not only costs you a lot of strength, but it also probably won’t really move. So find out WHY a certain opinion exists. Only then can you find out the real motivations behind the opinion and then find appropriate alternatives. Our example, the commissioned work by Ms. Müller: Do you ask what quality of portrait work you actually want? Why did she come up to you exactly? Does she like your other pictures? And why is it so important to her that the work is finished by her birthday? Don’t ask her directly how much she is willing to spend. Wait until the last step 4 with pricing. 3. Develop several options Once you have clarified your interlocutor’s interests, new opportunities are likely to open up. It is not about immediately developing ready-made solution models. Instead, you should let your thoughts run free and be open to the ideas of the other. You certainly have to keep an eye on your personal (factual and emotional) possibilities. But don’t say no right away if you don’t like something. In general, however, you as a contractor can list many more options than your potential client. Because you are usually much better prepared for such a conversation than your counterpart due to your knowledge of the subject. Therefore, you should have prepared a sample offer that is perfect for you in advance. Always keep these in focus in the course of the negotiations. Don’t hold onto it as hard as a bone. Stay open to new suggestions. But also recognize when the negotiation is moving too far away from it and then draw a line. It is generally cheaper for you if you politely decline the order than if the customer leaves the customer with a feeling like: “I never need to try again with him!” Further options for commissioned work by Ms. Müller could be: First of all, there are various painting media that you could use for the portrait. There are also different painting grounds, different frames, different sizes. With reference to the specifications given at the beginning, you can perhaps offer her that Mr.Müller can choose a nice photo himself or have a new one taken, which you can then work with better. But maybe your personal style is not that important to her and she thought of a quick sketch of how it is drawn on the holiday beach. In this case, Ms. Müller will definitely not be your customer. But maybe you can even recommend a colleague to her. 4. Establish objective and fair criteria It goes without saying that for most people a price has to be understandable. It depends less on the amount expected in advance or the maximum limit set. For most customers, it is much more important that they do not want to feel like they are being ripped off. Especially people who generally do not have much to do with art often do not understand why a picture costs hundreds or even thousands of euros. Therefore, explain your prices as transparently as possible. Apart from material costs and working time (attention: office time counts!), Experience, quality, originality and, to a certain extent, comparability and industry standards also play a role in art. With this guideline, it does not matter whether you are negotiating with Ms. Müller or with someone else, as in our example. It is always the same: prepare yourself well and draw up a general price list for commissioned work. Explain clearly which conditions this price list is based on. A note: It is not absolutely necessary to present this price list at the negotiation meeting. But you should essentially have them in your head. Also, visit and talk to other artists’ exhibitions regularly to keep track of the art market. In the end, you can answer all questions well and react confidently to all eventualities.

Art in therapy: is it art or can it go away?

Art therapy: “I can no longer hear it …!” The other day I was at a working meeting in preparation for a joint exhibition. I was greeted warmly and asked if I was well again. “Yes,” I was happy to report and then told a little more about my last year of the disaster, in which for six months I was not only unable to paint because of incredible pain, but also hardly could do anything else. And I also told about how much art gives my life a secure hold; how much I played a decisive role on the path to recovery during this long period of illness, in which I struggled with myself and my body (see, among other things, >> HERE ). Everyone present was happy with me. But then something irritated me … One in the group talked about a visit to a group exhibition where he had a conversation with one of the participating artists and then said: “I can no longer hear it! I am constantly getting to know new artists who tell me how they found art through art therapy. “ What is behind this statement? Is it the tiredness of personal fate stories? Is it an aversion to strangers getting directly personal? Is it the claim that art has to be art and not “just” a therapy result? Is therapy art art at all? I would like to bring some clarity to the discussion here and also dispel prejudices. – Is it the tiredness of personal fate stories? Most of the time, stories are particularly interesting if they are either unique and therefore special. When you experience something that you rarely come into contact with in your own life. When you have the feeling that they are taking place far away from you and then you develop a certain kind of childlike admiration for the protagonist. If there is also very special art involved, the WOW effect is even greater. Perhaps the best example here is Vincent van Gogh. We love his art, we love his story. Or stories are particularly interesting when, on the contrary, they are very close to you. When you recognize yourself or something of yourself in it. If you can even learn something from them, if at best they give you courage. Conversely, this means that a story is of no interest if it is not unique but arbitrary. Or if, instead of a role model, I see a chilling example in it. – Is it an aversion to strangers becoming directly personal? Yes. You can answer this question very quickly. Because you don’t always want to deal with personal fate when you actually “only” wanted to visit an exhibition. Or maybe it’s the artist himself who at first glance just doesn’t seem likeable enough to get personal right away. Perhaps the intention of visiting the exhibition was also to distract oneself from one’s own problems and not to come across similar life issues that one has to deal with oneself. Anyway, it might just be the wrong story in the wrong place at the wrong time. – Is it the claim that art has to be art and not “just” a therapy result? Is therapy art art at all? These questions are the hardest to answer because they are the least trivial. What is art Opinions differ on this. While some argue with “talent” and “proper training”, others speak of “art for everyone” and “art as a way of life”. I think these are two very different approaches. And I think that in most cases both more or less flow together and you don’t always – maybe never? – can separate from each other. Art as medicine Many artists describe the beneficial effects of art or the creation of art. Because, in contrast to handicraft, art is not primarily a purely mechanical action aimed at a specific and reproducible result. The creativity and the creative process have a lot to do with the unique nature of the artist. This inner being can be healthy or sick (in the pathological sense!). Art can therefore in principle also be created by a person suffering from (perhaps depression). And those who are sick may also benefit from art therapy. Whether this therapy then serves as the initial spark for a subsequent artistic career should not play a role in the subsequent assessment of the works of art, I believe. Praise to contemporary psychotherapy I think it is much more important to positively emphasize how extremely effective therapists are nowadays! Anyone who comes out of therapy as a strengthened person and has found something (in this case about art) that has a lasting positive effect on further life has gained a lot! How nice that there are so many and when so many talk about it that some people find it “annoying”! Whether in the end “art” arises or just “occupational therapy”, this question is superfluous in my opinion, since it does not depend on art therapy. Art and art therapy are two different concepts that can, but do not have to, complement each other. It depends on the individual case. So I refer back to the original question that humanity has been asking itself for centuries and what it loves to argue about: Is this art or can it be eliminated? *wink, wink*

What should the artwork tell me? Or: The (other) art of asking correctly

Visiting the exhibition for strategic reasons The other day it happened again: I attended a vernissage for the exhibition of a hitherto unknown artist, more for strategic reasons than out of the intention of getting to know the artist. It is easy to explain what other reasons could be behind this: pure networking and / or exploring a potentially interesting exhibition location for me. But can I just ignore the artist? Can I just pursue my network interests at the vernissage? In my opinion, this is a question of being respectful among colleagues and the answer to these questions is no. For us artists, visiting an exhibition is not infrequently not just a leisure activity, but part of public relations. If I know the artist by chance (and also like her * his art) or she * has always wanted to get to know him (for example because I really like her * his art), that’s nice – and the cheaper case. (Un) welcome guests But that’s not always the case. I also often end up at exhibitions where art does not fascinate me at first glance. Of course, this does not do justice to the colleague in any way! I just have to put myself in her * his perspective: When I look forward to my own vernissage with joy, but also with inner tension, then I am guests who come to my exhibition and virtually “only fill the room”, but neither with me nor with me really want to talk about my art, not really welcome. I’d rather have a few fewer guests with me than have to find out that I’m not even welcome at my own vernissage. Respectful interaction with colleagues Maybe I’m too critical or too sensitive in this regard. But I’m certainly not the only one. I have therefore come up with a strategy for how I would like to behave respectfully at such events if I want to go there for reasons other than the art on display. First and foremost: I will IN ANY CASE talk to the artist. I prefer to do this and it works best when I catch her * him in a moment when she * he is not surrounded by a large cluster of other guests, but rather stands there with very few others, or even stands there all alone. It is worth waiting for such a moment of calm. In this conversation I am NOT THE FIRST introducing myself as an artist. Rather, this conversation is primarily about the person who is the focus of this event. Give the exchange a chance But what do I do now when I can’t do anything with the art on display or when it actually doesn’t interest me? Despite everything, I will give the conversation ONE CHANCE. But that doesn’t work if I express criticism from the start or immediately admit that “none of this appeals to me at all” and “I also do completely different art myself”. If I start a conversation with negative statements, the artist is put directly on the defensive. Self-confident personalities may not mind that, but not everyone gets along with it and can counter well. In the end, you will probably see your prejudices confirmed here. Asking questions as a strategy The insider tip is therefore QUESTIONS. There is basically nothing secret about questions, but many still often forget this simple possibility to broaden their own horizons. When I start asking questions about the art presented, I give the colleague a chance to open up. And I also give myself a chance to get involved with someone and something new. I have never regretted asking questions! Because in most cases I had very exciting conversations, got to know a wonderful new person and got an exclusive insight into her * his inner life through her * his art. In the end I went home truly enriched and sometimes even forgot to continue networking! Do you know that? Of course, that doesn’t always work. Because there are certainly people with whom I do not find any overlap. And that’s OK too! But in my experience these people are in the minority. Asking questions must also be practiced a little. It is by no means intended to be a pure question-and-answer game, a kind of ping pong. The conversation can only develop if you listen carefully and respond to the answers with additional questions. And every now and then you can and should share your opinion or describe your experience on a topic – as long as you don’t “accidentally” focus too much on yourself and your art. Find the right questions Make sure that you first ask questions that your colleague cannot put directly into a bredrouille like “Have you already sold something?” Or “Are you satisfied with the vernissge?” First, stick to questions that the most artists really like to answer. Make them as open as possible to leave plenty of room for answers, and don’t use leading questions that let you know your expected answer in advance. Be open and curious yourself and let yourself be surprised. These questions are suitable as an introduction to the conversation with the artist: At the beginning, choose the work of art that you – despite everything! – Most appealing: I like this best. How did it come about? Why did it come about? Where does your motivation for your art come from? What moves you the most Then: Can you explain that to me again in detail on this work of art? Do you want to convey a message with your art? What do you like the most when you work with this technique? This one recurring motif seems to be particularly important to you. I am curious and would be happy if you could explain the background to me. What is your personal favorite work of art in this room? Why is that? When is a work of art ready for you personally? Of course, there are also artists who would rather not answer such questions. Some would prefer not to talk about their art at all. Or they don’t want to talk to you about it. Then that’s the way it is! You don’t have to impose your (negative) opinion on them. If they don’t want to talk to you, then you do what you came here for: network or inspect the showroom.

How artists survive the corona crisis

The suffering of artists in the crisis The corona pandemic has changed our world. Many people are suddenly faced with unexpected challenges. Many artists around the world can no longer go about their normal business either: Galleries have closed or at least cannot hold vernissages to the usual extent, trade fairs have been canceled, orders have been canceled due to the economic crisis, studio visits or painting courses cannot or only to a great extent due to the contact restrictions The already and often precarious living and working situation of many freelance artists is suddenly moving towards a tangible existential need. Those who are “lucky” are only part-time artists and have a second mainstay that still works. New business models are developing But artists would not be artists if they did not develop creative ideas in this situation as well. After the first shock, new business models emerge which can often be implemented with little effort and little financial investment and whose products can be purchased for little money in order to create quick and easy purchase incentives. Artists also help each other where they can. In Spain, during the tough and long curfew, an artist network developed in which artists offer low-priced works for EUR 200 in order to promote them together and sell them to artists without livelihoods or other customers. Each participating artist undertook to invest the proceeds from the sale of the fifth work for EUR 200 in the purchase of the work of another artist from the network. The SommerKunstBlog supports artists who have ideas The SommerKunstBlog would like to offer artists to the public and present such business models. These are mostly very affordable offers that are implemented with simple means in order to keep the threshold for customers as low as possible. A first contribution on the topic has already appeared: 139 | WhatsApp painting course with Alejandro Carpintero from Madrid. This example shows how you can even give great painting courses via WhatsApp. The payment model was simple and inviting: the first weeks were practically free, the artist asked for donations and in the later weeks for a small double-digit contribution for further participation. As he said, this was also done out of consideration for those who had lost everything themselves. However, since he had several hundred participants during this time and many in the groups were absolutely enthusiastic, it can be assumed that he was able to survive the long weeks well. Art as added value in a society But it’s not just about art. It is also about how we want to live together in the future and what kind of society seems valuable to us. Many people are currently consciously supporting shops or restaurants in their immediate vicinity because it is important to them that they are still there after the crisis and because there is also a personal connection – in other words, added value. Whereas the new T-shirt from the great shop in the city has not been the focus of attention in the last few weeks. Art also provides added value. Now consciously support (other) artists so that they can make ends meet. In this way, artists can create added value for society with (new and additional) low-threshold offers and expand their customer base. Two more articles will appear shortly in the SommerKunstBlog, in which other simple business models will be presented: The Indian photographer Anjan Gosh is currently promoting his new photo book in digital format. And the Cologne artist André Böxkes has developed an exciting Polaroid project. What you can do? Support artists during the Corona crisis by buying a low-threshold product from them! Share offers from artists on social media channels so that they can expand their customer base. As an artist, tell others what strategy you have found and inspire them to develop one themselves!  

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