Wasted Time? Business Advice from Art Blogs.

          Lately, I have been spending a lot of time trying to focus on the business end of my art career. I feel like the creating art side of my life is in a very good place right now. I’ve been working on paintings more or less non-stop for over a year now, and with every brush stroke I make, I can feel the difference that my constant practice has made possible. I would imagine that I am really close to my 10,000 hours by now, or maybe I’m already past it, I honestly don’t really keep track of my hours in the studio. All I know for sure is that this past year has done wonderful things for my art making skills, both in technical ability, and in problem solving abilities. When a painting just doesn’t work, I used to feel stuck, and I would either work myself into a creative rut, or I’d give up on it for the time being, with every intention of coming back to it later. Those aren’t problems any more, I’ve developed techniques for dealing with those situations, and I get the feeling that something wonderful could begin to come together in my work at any time now.
          But the whole marketing and business side of my life has been at a standstill. Other than the occasional website update, which I don’t do nearly often enough, or mass mailing, which I never do (How can I spam people, then expect to sleep at night?) I really haven’t done much of anything to keep up with or expand upon the business side of things.
          After the solo show at Open Gallery, and the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition and Nathan Phillips Square, I took 2 weeks off to read up on a bunch of art business stuff. I wanted to know more about branding, marketing, and presenting a more professional image to the world.
          I’ve always been the type of person to research something quite heavily before getting started in it myself. I like to know what I’m getting myself into, what to expect, and how to handle unexpected situations that might pop up along the way. I like to make sure that I’m not getting ripped off, screwed over, and most importantly, I like to be sure that I’m not making a huge mistake that I will regret for years to come.

          So, like any curious person who wants to know about something, I turned to Google. After a few keyword searches, I discovered a glut of art blogs; and much to my (initial) excitement, most of them paid a lot of attention to marketing and selling art online, and had a lot of ideas about getting noticed.
          “Perfect, thats exactly what I want!” I said aloud, without any concern for what the neighbours must think of this strange fellow talking to himself at 4 in the morning.
          I began clicking on every link that looked remotely interesting. Over 50 tabs were opened in my browser, and the next 2 weeks were spent reading, jotting down notes, and adding them to the wall of crazy that lives beside my computer. After I had taken all the information in, I began sorting through it, organizing it, comparing it, and I slowly began to realize something.

          I realized that I could have saved myself a lot of time by only reading the first post, then ignoring the rest. Out of all of those entries and tens of thousands of words, only a small number of distinct ideas were actually present. And it wasn’t an even distribution of ideas between blogs. I started to realize that every blog was giving me pretty much the same advice. The top 20 lists were each in a different order, they all had different wording, but they all had the same 20 points.

When Information is repeated like that, it can mean several things:
1. These points are the only points worth knowing, and somehow, each one of these points has been independently discovered by hundreds of different art bloggers all over the world, from every background, in every stage of the career imaginable.
2. They are all copying each other.

I strongly suspect it’s a case of the latter.

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Kyle Clements

Kyle Clements is a Toronto-based artist and nerd. During his thesis at the Ontario College of Art and Design, Kyle began working on his Urban Landscapes series, a body of work that aims to capture the energy and excitement of life in the fast-paced urban environment. After graduating from OCAD in 2006, Kyle spent a year living in Asia to gather source material and experience in a different kind or urban environment. His work is vibrant and colourful. Whether painting the harsh Northern landscape, or capturing the overwhelming buzz of life in the city, his acrylic paintings hover between representation and abstraction.

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