There are two ways to approach this: You can announce to as many people who will listen just exactly what your New Year’s resolutions are — or you can keep them quietly to yourself. Even though mine are a bit personal I’ve chosen to put them out there:
“I’m going to improve my layered multi-tracking, both by making notes and with the use of better memory devices. This year I’ll have major simultaneity and projects will advance in tandem.”
“I’m going to stop burning incense and improve my thinking skills during my exercise and water-drinking programs.”
“I’m going to shake my bad habits which include dreaming, doodling, procrastinating, and other things.”
“I’m going to be nicer, kinder, and more thoughtfully appreciative of everybody else’s dogs.”
“I’m going to stop solving all my problems by this crutch of constant glazing with phthalo blue.”
“I’m going to always have serious paintings advancing on all my easels, and more of them are going to be funny.”
If you feel the need and would like to register your own resolutions, send them along and I’ll put them on file. I promise I’ll email them back to you on December 31 — a year from now. They will remain confidential, forever under lock and key, until returned for your eyes and satisfaction only. Have a great-leap year. (You can make it any kind of a year you want.)
PS “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)
Esoterica: Abundantly simple. It has to do with day-to-day habits and attitudes. Simple Abundance, by Sarah Ban Breathnach, presents thoughtfully written daily readings directed toward self-realization and personal joy. A bit of self-regulation never hurt anyone — even artists.
In the present
Mel Zeoli, Florida
I will try my hardest to spend each moment in the “present” and greet each day with the eyes of one who has never seen before, for it is there where I think the joy of being a person first and an artist second, lies.
Just be bizarre
Peter Collier, alias Snow Alligator Creator
I guess, for many, making resolutions is simply part of the new year’s ritual. At the tender age of twenty-one, I made a New Year’s resolution never again to make New Year’s resolutions. It’s kind of like a fellow who has a bumper sticker that reads, “I Hate Bumper Stickers.” My problem was simply that I’m very good at keeping them. Already being a tea totaller, nonsmoker, nongambler, etc. I found that, at that point in my life, each new resolution narrowed the world just that much more. The resolutions became very obscure in design; such as; never date a woman that smokes, is bigoted, or creates nicknames for people. In many ways it sounds bizarre but then one of my resolutions was to always be a bit bizarre.
Rebecca Adams, Brandon, MS
I wrote some New Year’s resolutions today and one of them was to read “Simple Abundance” every day. I tend to daydream a lot and then I’m disappointed in reality when I should be looking for things to appreciate in the present.
Don’t stop dreaming
Elizabeth Blair, Gainsville, Florida
Dreaming, doodling and procrastinating are among the most powerful tools an artist owns! It’s only when you don’t accept them (and allow for them) that they turn to poison. I am by far the most productive artist I know. I spend VAST amounts of time doing (what appears to be) absolutely nothing. But that wheel-spinning time is an essential part of the process. This is something I learned the hard way. We are not, after all, machines. Give up what you will. Fasting is good for the soul, but don’t stop dreaming.
Jill Badonsky, San Diego, Calif
As both artist/writer and Creativity Coach I am aware of the importance of doodling, daydreaming and sometimes even procrastination to the creative process. Sometimes procrastination is incubation and in the required cycle of creativity, incubation is natural and so is a little time in-between.
(RG note) Thanks to all who continue to send me your New Year’s resolutions. I’ll email them back to you on December 31, 2001. Thanks for writing.
Online gallery dept
(RG note) We have put up a few more letters on the on-line galley situation. Incidentally, some people wrote to say they were totally uninterested in on-line galleries, didn’t know anything about them, or didn’t care. The following are experiences with online galleries that were not mentioned before. I assure those that are interested that I’ll alert you to any fresh material or evidence that comes our way.
Artstar and RisingArtist
I have my work on two sites; Artstar.com & RisingArtist.com. This year I decided that it was time to ‘get with it’ and explore the cyber world. After looking at several sites I chose to start with these and see how it went. It seemed many of the sites either didn’t have web pages that were user friendly or that the art on them was quite varied in quality or that some sites only represented specific kinds of media and subject matter. I put my work on these sites in September of this year and so far haven’t had any sales. Both of these sites seem to be run very well and are aggressively trying to market themselves. The communication with them has been very fast and helpful.
In general though I feel that being online and trying to show and sell my work is like being in a VAST ocean! I’m beginning to think that either I will have to devote more time to finding ways to market myself online more effectively (which of course cuts into my time to create) or concentrate on my local market with the help of my rep.
More of the above
I’m with Artstar and Rising Artist. Artstar has lots of misspelled words and 1863 artists with names which start with “S”. RisingArtist is a slow-loader which charges 25% commission. Nothing from either since I started in October.
Ray Argyle, President, ArtCanadiana
The Internet offers an important new marketing channel but it is far from a “magic carpet” that will mysteriously bring buyers to a site. Most artists’ and gallery sites are very good as informational tools, but few are e-commerce enabled, providing online credit card buying in a functional search environment. A web site cannot succeed without extensive advertising and publicity to make potential buyers aware of its existence.
The role of ArtCanadiana.com is to partner with Canadian artists by building an effective e-commerce site, promoting it globally, and handling all aspects of customer relationship management. This includes free shipping, return privileges, toll-free advice, and customer follow-up. In our case, this has involved a substantial investment, quite in excess of the average investment to open a “bricks and mortar” gallery. However, our market is the world!
We have been careful to establish reasonable expectations at the outset, both for ourselves and our artist partners. It takes time to establish brand awareness, gain prominence in search engines, and reach target audiences through advertising, emails, pr, and other marketing tactics.
We currently represent nearly 100 Canadian artists, all of them fine professionals, and all keenly enthusiastic about the opportunity to reach new markets via the Internet. We operate on sales commissions, but otherwise do not charge artists for their participation. In three months, we have made sales for about 20 of our artists, with revenue in the high five figures. Our largest sale was a $9,000 oil painting bought online by a physician in Nevada. We have sold originals to buyers in B.C., Ontario and several U.S. states. We are doing very well with Ken Danby’s limited edition retirement print of Wayne Gretzky .
Some commercial art sites, like other dot coms, have overspent on hype and burned off their investment capital. We have taken a more modest approach, utilizing some of our existing infrastructure at our Toronto-based communications company (Argyle Rowland Worldwide). Our overhead is manageable and we are working to a three-year program in which we hope to capture one percent of the Canadian art market (estimated by Canadian Heritage at $450 million).
Larry Wagner, Nebraska
I bought a print through art.com. I thought the paper and color were poor. The free print they sent was of little interest, but of much better quality. I will probably never buy this way again.
The internet is the Burning Man of art. Anything goes, let it all hang out, taste not important; fun, joy, nudity, sex, substances. Outrageousness all up and down in a week, gradually clogging with garbage, but, eventually, self cleansing.
No time for them
Chris Rose, Quadra Island, BC, Canada
I’m listed with a number of web galleries and so far there has been no sales. Frankly I did not expect any sales either, but I look on these listings more as an advertisement and a “come on” for people who visit my studio. I find galleries are not the answer to sell my stuff and I don’t think the web galleries are any different. Therefore I did not list my things with a number of them when they approached me. The fact is that I’m now doing 25 commission pieces per year (18 trophies for the Snowboard World Cup, 5 Nokia Curling Championships and 2 Cheakamus Challenge Mt. Bike Races). These keep me busy and leaves not much time to feed and support the livelihood of galleries.
Connie Cavan, San Francisco, CA, USA
I have had no success selling my art online. I have my own website and am on several group sites, including ITheo, wwar, artnews, etc. The only mail I have received, or inquiries, was one from you which got me started reading your letters, and from other websites asking me to join — or far-off places around the world offering to show my work for a huge fee. ITheo has done nothing at all for me, although it is free.
You may be interested to know that artists from 75 countries have visited these sites since December 1, 2000. That includes Jose H Nieito of Illinois who sends the advice of the Dalai Lama:
1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three Rs: Respect for self, respect for others, responsibility for your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone every day.
9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good and honorable life. Then when you get older and think
back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
19. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.
Here’s the New Year’s Resolution of Father (and Painter) Ed Przygocky of St. Cazimir Church, Terryville, Connecticut: “I resolve not to send any flowers to funeral homes of friends who have died. I resolve to send flowers when they least expect it while they are alive.”
Take a look at the Resource of Art Quotations. As of midnight December 31, there are over 4000 quotations posted to this collection. It’s the world’s largest. It’s also the world’s best — quotes of artists, collected by artists — and it’s free. Thanks again to the associate editors who are participating in this project. Our wish is that artists worldwide will enter the new millennium better informed and more inspired than ever.