Life Is Beautiful and I Have Proof

All is right with the world. I have proof.

I’m at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to see the Matisse/Diebenkorn exhibition. I arrive early with Rob, my trooper of a husband. He’s agreed to be my companion through the permanent collection galleries before our afternoon ticket time.

What I witness restores my faith in humanity.

Here’s how it goes down.

Is It Art?

As a former museum educator, I know that it’s wise to avoid school tours in the galleries. If I had thought about that, I might have visited later in the day. But then I wouldn’t have been fortunate enough to have had this experience.

There is at least one group in each of the galleries. Most students have assignments and a docent.

One docent teaches native Spanish speakers how to say Marcel Duchamp.

Mahr-sel’ Du’-shahn

They giggle.

She stands in front of Duchamp’s Fountain and asks: Is it art? They are pretty certain it isn’t. It’s a urinal, for Pete’s sake.

I don’t stick around to hear more of their reasoning. I already feel like I’m an intruder.

I’m less interested in the art history lecture than in the way these kids are fully engaged with the art. They are hanging on every word she says.

My husband finds me and asks what I’m up to. “This docent is awesome,” I say.

Then I catch a glimpse of another heartwarming scene.

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Multiply Your Content by Repeating Yourself

You sweat over your bio and artist statement.

You make a heroic effort to create interesting content for social media.

You work tirelessly to craft a decent artist talk that will engage an audience.

You curse at the person who told you that it was easy to use iMovie as you grit your teeth through the process of producing your first video.

You meet your deadlines for newsletters and blog posts because, ahem, somebody said you should. (Okay, maybe you didn’t meet the deadlines, but they did go out. You get points for that.)

You Are a Word Collector

You didn’t know it, but if you’re doing even a few of the things I mentioned above, you are a word collector.

Don’t worry! Being a word collector doesn’t entail heavy responsibilities. Nor is it likely that your word collection will make it to the auction block one day.

But that doesn’t mean your collection isn’t valuable. It is! I wonder if you know just how valuable.

If you’re like a lot of artists, you have all of these words that are probably being used only one time.

That’s a shame.

There is so much more you can do with your collection of words.

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In Your Wildest Dreams (Curious Monday)

No matter how many checklists you have, you can’t begin to fathom the crazy things that could happen … the wacky things that people will say, think, or do.

Has anyone ever installed your art upside down?

Has anyone ever put a weird clause in your contract?

Have you ever [fill in the blank]?

I thought it might be fun to hear about the crazy things that you’ve encountered in your art career and business.

It’s impossible to be prepared for every situation you might encounter in your art career, but hearing first from other artists might help you be ready for the unexpected.

Please leave a comment below.

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Seeking Inspiration While Topic Hopping

It’s Friday.

My calendar says “Writing Time.” Every Friday at this time is blocked out to write. I like going into my weekend knowing that I have written something that will contribute to next week’s newsletter and blog post.

I wish I could say it’s as easy as marking off to write, and it will happen.

It doesn’t always work that way for me. Actually, it rarely works that way for me.

Today I don’t feel like writing. I don’t feel like doing much of anything.

Everything seems to distract me. Do you know this feeling?

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How to Project Confidence (Even If You Have to Fake It)

Anne Shutan Door

Confidence is one of the most collector-attractive qualities an artist can possess.

You are more likely to get the commission, sell the work, fill your classes, and have your proposal accepted if we believe in you. And we are more likely to believe in you if you believe in yourself and your art.

Confidence comes with experience.

Exhibiting your art in public and having conversations with art visitors contribute to growing your confidence. Yet there are times when even the most experienced artist lacks in confidence. This comes with the territory.

The thing I enjoyed most about meeting Anne Shutan is that she was as excited about her work as I was. When I complimented something, she said, “I know! Isn’t that cool?!” I love

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3 Thought-Provoking Questions for a Better Artist Statement

Vickie Martin collage

A strong artist statement is essential to the effective marketing of your art.

There’s no skating by on this one. You need at least one artist statement for each body of work you create.

Writing your statement is a process. Like any other type of writing or artmaking, you can’t expect to nail it in a single sitting. And, like all good things that take time, it will be time well spent. The process helps you gain clarity about your art.

©Terri Schmitt, Lemons and Ball Jar. 16 x 20 inches.

If you can’t define your art in a statement, you will likely face difficulty marketing your work. Where else will you get language for wall labels, brochure and website text, informal presentations,

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Speak Up on Behalf of Your Art Career

In her book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg says, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” She encourages women, whether they are in the workplace or at home, to “lean in” to their potential rather than sitting back and accepting unfavorable situations. I’m asking you to speak up.

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Art Bloggers: Write for Your Readers

Cynthia Morris

Many artist-bloggers bemoan the fact that they don’t have the engagement they want on their blogs. If you’ve been wondering why your posts aren’t encouraging comments and dialogue, you probably puzzle over why you’re spending your time blogging at all. Let’s start with what an artist-blogger might want for her reader. While I encourage you to generate your own list, here are five things I want for my readers.

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When The Thought Of Talking About Your Art Makes You Cringe

Most artists I know cringe at the thought of doing an artist talk. This is what they tell me: I’m not a performer! I’m not a public speaker! I don’t want to explain what my art is about! I don’t know what to talk about! I don’t think it will make sense! I don’t have anything to wear! The list of objections goes on and on.

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How Your Artist Statement Can Engage More Eyeballs

In I’d Rather Be in the Studio I lay out guidelines for your artist statement, where I say that my litmus test for an effective artist statement is that it compels people to look at your art. Think about it: What good is your statement if people only read it and then move on to the next label, the next statement, the next page, or the next artist?

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