$140 Million Picasso - World's Most Expensive Painting at Auction

In May, Christie's will offer Picasso's iconic Les Femmes d'Alger (1955), a painting that comes with a whopping $140 million estimate. Having already notched the record for the highest ever painting at auction—Francis Bacon's Three Studies of Lucian Freud sold for $142.2 million in 2013—it seems the auction house is talking aim at the same nosebleed territory once again.

More details at: artnet.com

  • Published in News

Should Artists ‘Brand’ Themselves?

The term ‘branding’ is one which divides opinion in the creative arts.  For fine artists, it smacks of corporate business (which does not sit well with many in the field), for craft makers it might seem completely appropriate.  Whatever your view, and whichever medium or process you work with, if you sell work, you are (hopefully) generating an income and could probably be described as a business.  If you are a business, then ‘branding’ happens and it reflects back on you as the artist.

If we simply remove the emotive nature of the word ‘branding’ and consider what it does, there are aspects of the process, which can be relevant to artists across many disciplines.

As artists we like to consider ourselves to be creative, free spirits, developing our work and ideas, rather than marketing an exclusively commercial product, but - even if we do not actively market our output - we often do it subliminally or subconsciously.  If you have a website, for example, it is a marketing tool and, as such, gives an impression of you as an artist.  

You have probably visited art, craft and design sites and made an immediate decision about the competence of the artist being shown.  An unprofessional website suggests an unprofessional artist.  Life is too short, we have lots to do and that does not include wading through messy sites with badly presented work and awful navigation.  It is a small issue, but has an immediate impact.

This is not reserved to online presentation.  Print suffers from the same issue, meaning that if you photocopy your information badly (and your work is not about the ‘instant’ or issues of duplication) then you appear slightly ‘cheap’, disorganised or unprofessional.  Sometimes this impression is so slight it is almost not something that we might not even be aware of it, but cumulatively it can make an impact.

Even very simple actions can help you with your own promotion and present a coherent view of who you are and what you do.  We know several graduating art students who have taken some time just to coordinate their ‘visibility’.  They use the same typeface across all their information, they use the same colours in headings and layout for their public profiles, so their website, twitter and facebook pages have a similar (professional) look.

Now - we are not suggesting that all artists conform to a corporate mantra and present themselves in a coherently bland fashion!  That professional ‘look’ might be chaotic, spectacularly strange or cleverly ‘messy’, but what it needs to be is in your control.  We do not all have to be as commercially and financially driven as contestants on 'The Apprentice', but artists are smart and clever at taking things, which are out there, in other industries and disciplines, and then adapting them to their own needs.

The simple fact is that YOU are your ‘Brand’ - it hurts to say it, but it is true, and often people are engaging with your work because it is independent, innovative and made by a person, not a corporation.  There is flexibility in how you present that to the outside world.

If you would like to dip your toe into the slightly unnerving field of branding, Enterprise Nation has a clear and free e-book explaining some of the aspects you might like to consider - they do this through a number of small business examples.  Some will not be immediately relevant to artists, but the issues they deal with can be simply translated into our own field.

5 Steps to Building a Business Brand

More details here:  www.enterprisenation.com 









  • Published in Advice

Self Promotion for Artists

Self promotion is often a difficult aspect of professional life for artists to deal with.

We are constantly told NOT to blow our own trumpets but still need to let people know how good we are.  There is a fine balance between arrogance and clear self-promotion.

Over at RedBubble, which works with a wide range of artists to help them produce and distribute physical products, they have an insightful overview, by Beth Douglas,  about how to deal with self-promotion. Some of the techniques might just fit the way you would like to be ‘seen’.


  • Published in Finds

Working for Money or Passion?

It is an age-old question and one which troubles artists of all flavours.  

Do you do what you do JUST for the cash - to fund an exciting lifestyle?
Do you do what you do to SURVIVE - simply to pay the bills?
Do you do what you do because it excites the hell out of you - the PASSION

Over at the lovely Red Lemon Club, Alex Mathers has written an interesting overview of this ‘sticky’ topic. 

He writes:- "Your creativity and love for the work should not be compromised and doesn’t have to be, even if money is guiding the way."

Take a look at the full article here and, while you are on the site, have a rummage around - it has a wealth of practical advice for ‘creatives’ of all types, written in an accessible and direct style.  You might want to sign up to their mailing list to receive updates and news - we did.


  • Published in Finds

Selling - A 'Dirty' Word

Artists struggle with selling - not just practically but psychologically!  For many of us it is a bit of a ‘dirty’ word.

Many artists don’t consider themselves to be a business - they are ‘artists’  - it is different.  That’s fine but there are elements of business which overlap into an artist’s life.  We can be a bit ‘sniffy’ about the idea of branding ourselves - promoting our work - or ‘selling’.

Helen Aldous, an artist herself, has published some helpful advice on the subject over on her blog www.artonomy.co  “Selling Your Art Is Your Duty! – A Passionate Plea From The Heart…”  are the views of Martin Stellar who takes a look at one of the really significant issues many artists have - that of coming to terms with the intrinsic value of what we create.

It is hard to sell anything but even more difficult if you are unsure of its value in a world which revolves around unit prices and added value.

Take a look at the article and have a wander round the rest of the site which has some really valuable material of use to a wide range of artists and makers.

Selling Your Art Is Your Duty! – A Passionate Plea From The Heart… 

  • Published in Finds
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