Your Life’s Work: The Artist's Retrospective

Virginia Folkestad discovers insights into her life’s work by using a visual timeline.

A retrospective is an exhibition that shows off the entire oeuvre of an artist’s career. Typically arranged chronologically and later in an artist’s life, retrospectives treat art viewers to the progression of the work in a single space.

I try to visit as many retrospectives as I can for artists I admire, which sometimes involves traveling and going out of my way as necessary. You never know when they will happen again since it’s difficult to borrow or gather the work in one place.

Retrospectives aren’t just for viewers. They provide an excellent opportunity for artists to examine their accomplishments.

Even without an art venue for your retrospective, you can take stock of your life’s work by creating a virtual retrospective.

Virginia Folkestad discovers insights into her life’s work by using a

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Introducing Yourself as an Artist

Stephanie Hartshorn and Holly Wilson get to know each other at Art Biz Makeover this past fall. Photo by Regina-Marie Photography.

I’ve been surprised at how difficult it can be for artists to introduce themselves as artists. “I’m an artist” doesn’t seem to roll off the tongue easily for some people. And yet it’s critical to be able to say it with confidence. It seems to be easier for people with art degrees to pronounce their profession to the world. This might be because there is a piece of paper that says you completed a curriculum to the satisfaction of an institution.

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How To Warm Up a Cold List

Icicles

You were told you needed an email list, so you asked people to subscribe, and then they just sat in your system for months. Your list has gone cold. Ice cold. You’ve realized the errors of your ways and are now ready to commit to staying in touch with your list on a regular basis, but you wonder: Will they remember me? What will they think if I just start contacting them after all this time?

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Save The Apologies For When You Really Need Them

©Casey Klahn, All The Colors Field. Pastel, 5.5 x 10.5 inches. Used with permission.

There are real things in your art business and marketing you should apologize for. Apologize when you miss a deadline, are late to an appointment, or (oops!) accidentally use the Cc instead of the Bcc line for your email blast. Of course you should apologize when you do something wrong, but don’t apologize for things that aren’t hurting people or for things you have no control over.

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Stop Typing And Start Talking

Caption: ©Tami Bone, Tributarius. Photograph. Used with permission.

If you call my business phone and I’m unavailable, you will get a recording that says I respond fastest to email. I love email. Like most business owners these days, I prefer it for my primary communications tool. There are numerous situations when you must stop typing and start talking. Here are five examples.

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Empowering Art Viewers

That’s me looking at Mel Ristau’s sculpture inside a locked building.

One of the most valuable things you can do in your marketing is to teach people how to look at and appreciate your art. It’s not just good for you, but a gift that will last throughout the lives of those who experience it. I learned long ago when I worked in a museum that teaching people how to look at art empowers them and gives them confidence. Teaching people how to look at art empowers them and gives them confidence. Empowering them with skills is invaluable – to both you and them.

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Pick Up The Phone and Dial

Woman dialing a cell phone

Email is easy. I prefer email to the phone in almost every situation. ​Almost​. Sometimes you have to talk. Email is not good for picking up on subtleties about situations and building trust. Unless we’re extra careful with our messages, email can be easily misunderstood by all parties involved.

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Are Your Viewers Looking or Seeing?

This week’s deep thought is courtesy of artist Richard Tuttle. What’s the difference between looking and seeing? Is it your job to get people to see? How do you do that job?

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You Promise Exposure, We Want to See Results

You think you’re doing artists a “favor” by “giving us exposure that we can’t get ourselves.” Artists are all kinds of tired listening to lines like these. We know how the world works and we know you’re trying to make money by – in part – using our art.

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Speed Dating for Artists and Retailers

Annie Salness

Described as “speed dating for artists and retailers,” these Portland, Oregon events match up artists and people who can help them exhibit and sell their work. Would you do it?

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