Saturday, July 30, 2011

Celeste Prize Deadline Extended to Sunday 7 August, midnight

Celeste Prize has sent this announcement:

Artists entering the prize may also be selected for other exhibitions organized by Celeste, residencies, an art course, receive priority exposure for their work, and of course our continued pledge to open and verifiable selections by our prize committee:

How do artists submit artwork to the prize?Link
If they are already registered onsite: simply click on the orange button 'Buy / Renew Prize 2011' in their personal admin.
If they are not registered onsite: they should register , and then upgrade by clicking on the orange button 'Buy Prize 2011'.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Business Plans

It's popular now for emerging artists to have business plans.

I think it is important for a beginning artist to not have a business plan. For the first few years out of art school, or the equivalent if self taught, the artist needs to be concentrating on her art practice and, as far as the business end of it goes, learning what's out there -- going to galleries, juried shows, other venues. A sort of post graduate course if you will.

When the time comes to enter the market, a business plan is often a good idea. But the main advantage of making one is thinking through the possibilities and working out which seem most suitable for your particular type of work and personality. The document should never be the goal; it should be the result of working out which plans of action seem best, at least for now.

It's important to get as much feedback on the plan as you can. People may come up with objections or cautions or courses of action with things you hadn't thought of. And keep in mind, that every criticism is simply data; it's what you do with it that counts. A negative comment may make you re-examine an idea or belief but ultimately cause you to be even more firm that it would be the right thing to do.

The odds are that as you get more information, as various things happen, as you carry out your plan, you'll have to change it. There's a character in Joseph Heller's "We Bombed New Haven" who says something like, "Things never turn out the way they were planned." The guy to whom he is speaking says, "That's really cynical." To which he replies, "No, I didn't say they turn out worse, only different. Sometimes better, sometimes worse."

Virtually every business that stays successful makes changes, sometimes radically so. Shell Oil, for instance, was originally a shipping company. They got stuck with a couple of tankers full of oil the intended recipients couldn't pay for, so they sold off the oil and discovered selling oil was more profitable than simply transporting it.

I forget their name now, but the biggest computer company in the UK for a long time started out as a pie company. In the early days of mainframe computers, they needed a program to keep track of all their orders and deliveries. One didn't exist, so they started building one. Soon, no more pie, but maybe pi.

The goal of a business is to make the biggest profit it can for as long as it wants to, while avoiding those things that would get it in trouble with the law or the taxman.

The goal of the artist, however, is to keep painting. And the reason for painting is not to produce paintings but to make the discoveries that end up in the paintings. And here we get into a realm too difficult to articulate in a few words, but you know what I mean.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

How to figure your price before commission.

If you know how much you want (your share) for a particular work you have entered into a competition or are showing in a gallery, how do you figure out the selling price?

If the commission is 50 percent, it's simple: just double your price.

For any other commission, the basic math is really the same, but since the relationship between the two numbers isn't as obvious, you have to do step by step what you did so easily in your head above. And here are the steps.

1. Change the commission from a percentage to a decimal. To do this, simply remove the percentage sign from behind the number and put a dot in front of it. Thus 40% becomes .40 (or .4; they're both the same).

2. Calculate your percentage; that is, the percent of the selling price you get. To do this, subtract the commission (expressed as a decimal) from 1. Using .40 from above, you'd get .60 (1-.40 =.60). If you can't do that easily in your head,, add two zeros to the 1 and remove the decimal point from the commission, so 100 - 40 = 60, then put the decimal point back, so it becomes .60.)

3. Divide the your percentage (the result above) into 1. Go ahead and use a calculator if you need to, but if you can do simple fractions in your head, you'll quickly see that .6 is the same as 3/5 (6/10) and that dividing any fraction into 1 is simply turning it upside down, so that you'd come up with the number 5/3, which is the same as 1 2/3. If you did this with a calculator you'd come up with the number 1.67, which is the same.

4. Multiply the result from step 3, above, times your share. So if your share -- the amount you want -- is $1000, the list price will be $1670, which you could round off to either $1650 or $1700 if you want.

The formula is list price = 1/(1- commission) x your share.

Using the figures above:

list price = 1/(1-.40) x 1000
list price = (1/.6) x 1000
lit price = 1.67 x 1000
list price = 1670

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Macs Now Vulnurable to Malware

Many artists use Macs, because of their longtime reputation as being more user- and image-friendly than PCs. Windows machines are now probably just as good in their ability to handle images, but they don't excel in any sort of comparison except one: the number and variety of malware -- viruses, spyware and such -- that infects them.

Until very recently, Macs simply didn't have malware. That changed with the recent introduction of a very nasty program that puts a warning on your screen saying you have a virus. The warning is a lie but it could turn into a prediction. When you first see the it, you don't have a virus. If you believe it and download the fake antivirus software as instructed, however, you will. And that new malware will steal your personal and financial information. Big problem.

Apple has released an update that will protect against these new forms of malware, at least the ones that are in the wild. Not only should you get that pronto, make sure you have Software Update set to automatically check and install any new updates. That may not be enough but it is a start. What will help even more is if you do not believe any warning that pops up on your screen -- or comes via email. Google it to see what it really is. Prefer accounts on reliable sites such a,, or even Apple's support site (which unfortunately can be a little slow to react.)

For more information, see and or ).