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 visual timeline.

I was delighted to come

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Are You Decorating A Space?

Deep Thought

I’m throwing you a curve ball . . . a Deep Thought on a Monday. Who knows where this unorthodox behavior might lead? When you loan images directly to a workplace, are you decorating it?

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Provide a Resource Guide for Local Artists

OVAC Resource Guide & Member Directory

Attention arts councils, arts organizations, and anyone else serving local artists . . . Here’s a plea to put together a resource guide and member directory like the one I received from the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition (OVAC). In addition to the staff and member directory, the OVAC publication includes local and national resources to help artists build their businesses, enter exhibits, apply for funding, or join a local artist organization. (Thanks, OVAC, for including Art Biz Coach!)

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Enlist Help Promoting Your Art

©2011 Howard Cowdrick, Oneness #2. Mixed media.

There are plenty of people who are willing to help you promote your art, but don’t expect them to know where to begin.

If you’re one of the many artists who are showing in non-art venues like restaurants, coffee shops, and bank lobbies, you might be resigned to the fact that these venues can be challenging for sales.

But if you’re an art ninja, you will never tell yourself such a story. You must believe that any venue is the best venue for you at the moment.

Vow to make the most of your opportunities by going the extra mile to enlist others to promote your work for you – wherever you’re showing your art.

©2011 Howard Cowdrick, Oneness #2. Mixed media, 14 x 11 inches.

Scratch the back of the person in charge. Your contact at a venue

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An Idea for a Gallery or Studio Entrance

Gallery C Stairway

If you have a space that is open to the public, do they know they’re invited? Check out this photo and you’ll understand why I just had to walk up the stairs to the gallery.

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Starter Venues for Beginning Artists

Art doesn’t go from studio to museum overnight. Nor is art by beginners usually ready for fine galleries. So what are your options when you’re just starting out? It can be daunting to take the first steps to selling your art. You want to grow, but you also know you need to just get your feet wet. Think about these starting points.

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Stop Handling Your Art Like It’s Homeless

There’s much to learn in is video of Polly Apfelbaum installing her work at the Museum of Modern Art. In particular, pay attention to how she cares for the individual components. You have to start treating your art like it belongs in a museum. If you don’t, no one else will.

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Paying extra for viewing a single masterpiece

What’s it worth to you to view a masterpiece? Should art be for the masses and available to view free of charge? This is a follow-up to last week’s Deep Thought Thursday.

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Take over a vacant storefront--legally

This economy is producing surprising opportunities for those who are willing to think outside of the box.

Take for instance, artists in the United Kingdom who are turning vacant storefronts into what are being called “pop-up galleries.” The name aptly describes art spaces that show up out of nowhere and then, Poof!, disappear after an exhibit closes.


Jackie Tice, Light Beam. Oil on canvas, 72 x 24 inches. ©The Artist

The spaces for pop-up galleries are given to artists and curators to exhibit art at no charge. The arrangement is a win-win-win for all involved. First, these phantom galleries are a solution for landlords and property managers who try to keep empty spaces attractive to potential renters. Second, city leaders embrace them because they make shopping areas more appealing and bring in new visitors. Finally, pop-up galleries are another

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Podcast: Appraise an online gallery

Every day there are new opportunities to show your art online, but how do you know which online galleries are legitimate? Appraise an online gallery by asking questions and assessing its components. Asking questions is not a sign of distrust, but a hallmark of a responsible professional.

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Art Marketing Action newsletter (a written version of this podcast)

Summer Blast Off! Get clear on priorities, establish boundaries, and gain courage in this 28-day class that begins June 3.

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