Monday, August 21, 2017

A Portfolio Career as an Artist

A portfolio career is defined as a career which involves different clients/employers, different activities and income streams.

Thus rather than being just "an artist" you can be:
  • an artist and an art teacher (face to face or online or both)
  • an artist and an illustrator
  • an artist and a curator
  • an artist and a gallerist
  • an artist and a musician and a boring job which allows you time to be creative
  • an artist and an art teacher and another job which pays the rent
  • or any combination of your choosing which allows you some time for the activity you really want to pursue
This post explores the notion of a portfolio career and provides some food for thought.
  • What is a Portfolio Career?
  • Why do people have portfolio careers?
  • More (reading) about portfolio careers
The rear of Norman Rockwell's studio
Is this the ideal of every artist - the studio at the bottom of the garden, one major client and blue skies every day?

What is a portfolio career?

I first came across the notion of a portfolio career while studying for my MBA at the London Business School (see references to portfolio careers at the end). I was very fortunate in being taught by Professor Charles Handy, the Irish author/philosopher who specialised in organisational behaviour and management (and even became a global management guru). 

He wanted us to explore and develop our understanding of the cultures and ways of working of different organisations and what sort of people fitted them best. (e.g Handy’s four types of organisational cultures) I've kept my written assignment for him on the topic of portfolio careers - complete with his feedback notes which have had a major influence on my life and ways of working and how this has progressed over time.

He defined “portfolio working” as being a lifestyle in which the individual holds a number of “jobs, clients and types of work” all at the same time. 

For me, having a portfolio career is when you have a positive intent to develop a portfolio of interests, jobs, clients and types of work and ways of working - as the way you live your working life.

For example, I retired from my full-time professional occupation some 11 years ago and yet I've never stopped working at my interests - and don't suppose I will for many years to come.

I find aspiring artists often have an extremely unrealistic idea of how many professional artists actually spend all day making art

Very many of the professional artists I've met have recognised the reality of needing to reduce stress in their lives to remain creative - and that sometimes this is best met by introducing some level of certainty into their income streams. Which, in turn, can sometimes be best achieved by having a portfolio of interests with varying degrees of certainty as to the level of income that might be produced eg everything from
  • steady and unspectacular eg regular tuition fees from teaching art
  • feast or famine - from making art
Some individuals who have been very successful as artists have managed to combine this with having a full time career doing something completely different. 

It's all a question of how you manage your time and what your other personal commitments - for example in relation to the familial such as bringing up children, keeping a partner on happy and on speaking terms and looking after elderly parents. (While she's an author rather than an artist, I'm always reminded of PD James whose husband was in a psychiatric hospital for a long time before he died. She had to take over the role of full time provider for her daughters - became a hospital administrator and then a civil servant - and wrote her books starting at 5am every morning before she went to work for many years. Most of them were written while she was a senior civil servant at the Home Office.)

Why do people have portfolio careers?


People pursue portfolio careers for a number of reasons - the drivers are essentially economic and a blend of psychological and social.

Friday, August 18, 2017

President's Committee on Arts and Humanities resigns in disgust!

Yet another council of eminent people - the President's Committee on Arts and Humanities - is walking away in disgust at the "equivocation" of the President of the USA. Only one did not resign - it's chaired by Melania Trump.

Speaking Truth to Power READ THE LETTER HERE (link is via Politico)
Below are the reports of the resignations of members of the President’s arts and humanities committee. I'll add more in as I find them.

I'd like to say I tried very hard to get the most culturally appropriate screen for the Committee's website - but it was accidental!

website of the Presidents Committee on the Arts and Humanities

Television



Newspapers

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Shipping artwork internationally - how to send art to overseas exhibitions and clients

Many artists sell art across borders to other countries these days - but there's not a lot of help out there in terms of:
  • what you have to do to move art through Customs
  • what's the best way to pack and label art and ship it internationally
a new resource for artists - all about how to master customs tariffs, documentation
and services to get artwork from your studio to its final destination in another country

My very first serious exhibition 20 years ago was in the USA. I had to learn pretty fast about how to pack art so it arrives safe and sound and which service works best for getting the artwork there by the due date - and the customs documentation and tariff codes required and how to display it so that the package actually got out of Customs and arrived at the Gallery!

Everything went fine - but it was a long wait until I got the confirmation everything had arrived safely!

Since that date I've heard of numerous artists who have messed up on sending their artwork to other countries. It's hugely disappointing to the artists who have invariably made their best efforts - but just didn't get everything right because they'd never ever done it before.
  • The artwork often remains in Customs while the exhibition goes ahead without them!  
  • Or the artwork arrives damaged because allowances were not made to what can happen to artwork moving overseas. 
  • Or it just disappears......
Which is how come I've remained interested in the topic and developed a site to share the information with those for whom sending art overseas is a new and mysterious challenge!

I've now transferred that information to my art business website.

Guide to how to send art to other countries


This is my new page about How to ship art internationally on my Art Business Info. for Artists website

Information is divided into two sections.

The paperwork for Customs


  • How to produce an export invoice
  • UK Trade Tariff - export commodity codes
  • HOW TO: Complete Customs documentation in the UK
  • ​HOW TO: Complete Customs documentation in the USA
  • The ATA Carnet​

What else you need to know


  • Size, Weight and Content Restrictions and Prohibitions (International)
  • ​HOW TO: write an international address correctly​

The page is part of a major section on my website which is all about....

How to pack, post and ship art


This is what my section on How to pack, post and ship art covers:

Packing your art

  • How to pack, post and ship art (Section HOME Page) including 10 Top Tips for Packaging and Shipping Artwork
  • How to pack artwork for shipping Overview: Generic advice about packing and shipping
    • Tips from artists, photographers, galleries, curators, museums, conservators, art societies, art collectors, shippers and more
    • How to create an internal package which protect and cushions artwork
    • How to create an external package for artwork which survives transit.
    • How to pack framed works
    • How to pack fine art prints and works on paper
    • How to pack pastel paintings​​
  • Packaging Materials for shipping artwork
    • The pros and cons of different types of packaging for the external and internal packages
    • ​warnings about how packaging can damage your art
    • how to be sustainable and reuse materials when shipping​

Special Shipping Challenges for Art


CN 23 Customs Declaration form for artwork valued in excess of £270
  • How to ship art to exhibitions Exhibitions bring a particular challenge when artwork needs to be submitted minus packaging!
  • How to ship internationally Information about all the documentation required for international shipping
    • How to produce an export invoice
    • All about export commodity codes
    • How to complete customs documentation 
    • How to write an international address correctly

Postal, Parcel, Courier and Shipping Services for Art


Royal Mail Services

Feedback please


I'd love to get any feedback
  • either in terms of practices or services you have found helpful 
  • or about queries you have which are not answered by this page or this section on moving art from studio to exhibition, gallery or art collector
Thanks in anticipation....

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Compilation - Van Gogh's Sunflowers on Facebook Live

This is a catch-up for those who missed the Facebook Live event when five Van Gogh sunflower paintings were reunited from five museums around the world yesterday.
(see my earlier post for what this event was about Five Van Gogh Sunflower paintings on Amazon Live on 14th August 2017)



Below are links to the videos on Facebook. Each post is also embedded. The links go to the Facebook Pages and relevant posts of each of the participating museums

Enjoy the FIVE VIDEOS BELOW - and take a look at my comments at the end.

Monday, August 14, 2017

65 years of Royal Gifts exhibition at Buckingham Palace

As Prince Phillip retires and the Duke of Cambridge steps up to his new role of representing the Queen on a full-time basis, there's a certain sense of an imminent sea-change in the operation of the British Monarchy.

It's not at all surprising therefore to find that there is a retrospective exhibition at Buckingham Palace of a very tiny sample of the Royal Gifts that the Queen has received in the last 65 years - since she ascended to the throne on 6 February 1952.

Put simply there will never ever be another exhibition like this one - simply because it will be a very long time before any monarch reigns for more than 65 years...

Also - if you enjoy the British Museum and its ethnographic displays of people and their heritage then you will enjoy this exhibition - where you can see some of the very best of the very best examples of craftsmanship, skills and materials from around the world.


Royal Gifts exhibition 

A view of the Africa Exhibit in the State Dining Room gives you a sense of scale
The extremely popular Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace (until October 1st) has an exhibition every year.

It's not at all surprising that this year's exhibition looks back at one particular aspect of the very long reign of Queen Elizabeth - and also one which will be of much interest to people from all over the world.  Which during August is most of the people on the streets of central London! ;)

I visited the exhibition last week (for a special Bloggers Preview) and was able to see and admire the gifts on display. (PS I had intended this post for Friday but Blogger went on strike!)

All the gifts were presented to the Queen
  • as part of official duties - such as state visits and audiences. 
  •  during visits she makes in the UK for various events - such as a visit to a School (and it was very pleasing to see a number of gifts related to children)
The exhibition explores Her Majesty's role as Head of State, Head of the Commonwealth and Head of Nation through gifts presented by people from all walks of life and from over 100 countries and territories during State Visits, overseas tours and official engagements both at home and abroad.
The exhibition is an excellent example of ritual and decorative art and has been organised by Sally Goodsir, Assistant Curator of Decorative Arts. She told us that she  aimed to select one piece from all the countries visited and to make that selection representative of the country and in particular of particular materials or skills unique to that place.

I'm going to give you a sample of images of items below from the different continents.

Plus an insight into the nature of the Tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales which comes at the end of the exhibition - to mark the 20th anniversary of her death at the end of this month.

Display of Diana Princess of Wales personal possessions
within the context of her timeline