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FINDING THE RIGHT SUPPORT AS AN ARTIST

Published August 26, 2019 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

When I started to take my art seriously, I knew that peer group association was important for me to grow as an artist, but finding the right art group to join was a little frustrating.  Why is it so important to associate with other artists? Well, although you can create art in a vacuum, if your art is never evaluated by your peers, you may simply be stuck repeating the same type of art and art subjects at the same skill level forever. Peer groups challenge us to stretch our skills, reach for new goals and generally provide support when we are feeling down. Therefore, it is important to seek out those who are Sympatico with our ideals and feelings about our art. Local art groups can be invaluable in this area. Let’s face it, while our friends and family members may oohand ahhover our art, they really can’t provide an informed opinion about it. In addition, most of us suspect they are praising our art because they love us, and not really because they actually love our work or are really interested in art. Close family and friends also seem to devalue our work as artists because they consider it to be of secondary importance to our place in their lives.

I was sure that other artists usually wouldn’t fail to recognize how important my art was to me in the way friends and family might, because their own work is just as important to them as mine is to me. Therefore, I went looking for other artists to spend time with. I found the easiest and fastest way to meet many other artists was to join a local art group. However, as I said, I knew virtually nothing about any of the local art groups in my area, so I simply joined as many as I could find. In fact, until I got to know and talk to some of the members of the first group I joined, I didn’t realize how many other groups there werein my area. I then went to as many activities sponsored by each group as I could to get to know how each group functioned. To my surprise, I discovered that while most of the same local artists also belonged to many of the groups, each group didhave a different “feel” to it, depending on the group’s mission statement and who was actually directing the groups focus.  In my area alone there are five or six art groups, all with different standards and goals. One of the coalitions is simply a painting group that gets together to talk, paint or draw and critique each other’s work twice a month. Another aims its standards for professionals and is very picky about what they accept in their shows. A third group is warm and welcoming to new and beginning artists and seeks to encourage its members to strive to improve their skills. A fourth group is a very loose association that tracks events from all the others and tries to find places for artists to exhibit and show. All of these groups have valuable insights into the local art world. While I do maintain my membership with most of the original groups I joined, I did finally find the group I consider my “home” group. Once you do find the right fit, you will also find the friendship and support you are looking for in your peers.

However, If you are not feeling the love in the group you joined, then you need to do some honest evaluation of that groups focus and aims and what you were looking for when you joined. You need to decide what it is about each particular group that makes you comfortable or uncomfortable. While only you can draw these conclusions, I do have some markers that can be used to aid you in making your assessment.

What are the goals the group has set for itself? Do you agree with them?

What were yourgoals when you joined this art group? Friends?  Career advancement? Improving your skill set?

Has it met your expectations? If not, why not?

Have you been a member long enough to have made a genuine attempt to get to know the other members? Do you attend all their functions? Are youfriendly and approachable to other members?

Are you comfortable with the majority of the group’s socio-economic status? Why or why not?

Are you comfortable with the majority of the group’s education level? Why or why not?

Are you comfortable with the age/sex of the majority of the members?

Do the other members respect you as an artist? As a person?

Do you feel the criteria used in selecting winners at the group’s sponsored shows are fair? Why or why not?

Can you find topics to discuss with members at group functions?

Are the other members friendly to you? If not, they why do you think they are unfriendly?

Are these people you would enjoy spending time with outside meetings and group functions?

After evaluating your feelings about the group, then you need to make a decision as to whether to stay with the group or move on. Sometimes you may find that it is not one, but several local groups that give you what you need.  Once you do find the right group fit, you will also find the rapport and encouragement you are looking for in your colleagues.

CREATING AN ART CULTURE IN YOUR COMMUNITY

Published August 19, 2019 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Do you live in a community that supports the arts? The sad fact is that art-wise, not all communities are created equal. In California for instance the Bay and Central Coastal areas are a lot more “arty” than the Central Valley. I live in one of these “art challenged” areas of California and for many years I listened to my fellow artists whine (yes, I said whine!) about needing to travel to the coast to find buyers for their work. It is true that there are very few galleries catering to local artists here in Fresno and Clovis. All the galleries here only show art by dead masters or don’t open their doors to local artists (Fresno Art Museum) or they are privately owned by one artist or by co-op groups of artists. These galleries do an excellent job of helping to create a local art culture, but most of them are full.

Since moving to the coast wasn’t an option (my husband’s pool service business is located in Fresno), I decided to become proactive about the situation. I decided I needed another option to show my art.

It seemed to me that the chief issue was the general opinion apparently held by the public that my community didn’t have prominent artists. This is simply not true; while a Thomas Kincade or a Bev Doolittle doesn’t live here, Fresno, Clovis and the surrounding cities in the Central Valley are home to national and internationally known artists. We also have many very talented local artists. The big secret is no one knows it. So how do we as artists raise the social awareness of art in our communities? After some consideration, I realized that the best way to raise art awareness was to put art out in places where John and Mary Public would see it. We do have a monthly art event here called Art Hop, where the public is encouraged to tour as many galleries, restaurants and businesses who show art. This would be a wonderful opportunity to raise art awareness if we could persuade our local schools to participate. Unfortunately, the sad fact is that except for a small percentage of the population John and Mary Pubic are too busy working non-stop or taking their children to sports activities and have very little time to take in local galleries. They will however, take their children to the library. If art is displayed in that library, it gives parents and children the opportunity to recognize and see the local art culture. Historically, libraries have always been centers of the arts and culture for society. Artists who support this by displaying their art in the library are doing a great service to the community. Even though artists might not make many sales displaying art in the libraries, our contributions to the art and culture of the area is immense. When we put our art in the library, we not only remind the public what talented, creative artists live here, but how much we care about the community as a whole. One of the things artists contribute to our community as is culture. By displaying our stuff in the libraries, we bring art to life for the general public. Although it is not directly about sales, one of the ways that we artists in Fresno and Clovis convince the buying public how wonderful is our art and photography (and indirectly to buy that art) is the development of a reputation for being a center of art and culture. Sometimes we have to give before we can get.

 

COMMON AUDIT ISSUES FOR ARTISTS & GALLERIES

Published August 12, 2019 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

By the Practical Artist

Information for this blog was taken from REG 121584-05 page 523 http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=254019,00.html– 77.3KB

 

Probably the one agency that terrifies Americans the most is not the NSA, but the IRS and being audited by the IRS ranks up there with being on some mobster’s hit list. The best way to avoid being audited is to know what items will considered red flags by the IRS. The following are a few audit issues looked at by the IRS that may be found in the examination of an art gallery or home studio.

Unreported income through cashed checks from galleries to the artists leading to related returns to be examined;

Barter transactions between artists and others in the art field;

Taxability and inventory assessment issues for trades between gallery owners and artists;

Avoidance of state sales taxes;

Treatment of ordinary income as capital gains by mischaracterizing inventory as investments;

Identification of sources who failed to file/report transactions through “cost of goods sold” by studying cancelled checks and payment/transaction records;

Framing costs not properly recorded;

A History of losses or very high travel and entertainment costs with low gross receipts suggesting potential Activity Not Engaged in for Profit pursuant to I.R.C. § 183;

Sales of artwork disguised as “loans” secured by art as collateral and possible “money laundering”;

Other “financial status” indicators which show an artist’s or gallery owner’s reported income is incompatible to his or her lifestyle;

Potential issue on Non Resident Alien Artist, Art Galleries, Dealers and Brokers (International Referral Required);

Artwork being deducted as a charitable contribution at fair market value rather than adjusted cost basis and/or not being taken out of cost of sales;

Business use of the home.

If the gallery purchases its inventory, there should be a very detailed inventory listing showing the purchase date, the purchase price, any restoration and framing costs, the sales date, and price.

If the gallery sells on consignment, there will be a system in place to track consigned items. This system will generally contain the artist’s name, his or her address, a description of artwork, the date on which the artwork was received by the gallery, the asking price by the artist, and any other specific terms. It also indicates the date the piece was sold, the sales price, and terms of the sale.

The sales invoice for an art piece needs to  display the buyer’s name, address, date of sale, amount paid (if not fully paid), terms of any installment plan, sales tax, shipping charges, and framing charges if it is the type of artwork that would require framing.

Since artists are not offering a service, galleries are not required to complete a Form 1099 for the payments made. However, artists should receive a consignment check either monthly, at the time of sale, or at a time specified in an agreement between the artist and the gallery.

The best way to keep issues like those above from impacting your career as an artist is to keep good records for your home studio/gallery. If you sell your art, it is considered income and over a certain amount, it must be reported as such to the IRS on your federal taxes. If you participate in a booth event, you are usually required to have a seller’s permit, collect sales tax, and then report and pay that sales tax to the State.  Art is a business as well as a creative endeavor. Losing your art can be a financial loss. Not being aware of losing money because you don’t keep track of costs can create a huge problem.

Hey, relax; this isn’t as difficult as it sounds! Let’s take this one step at a time, using one piece of work. Step one: decide in what form you are going to keep your work log.While it is very helpful to have this information stored on a computer, artists were tracking their work using paper files long before computers became popular. I personally prefer using a computer worksheet, however, all of this stuff can be put on a sheet of paper and kept in a binder. For the initial record, I recommend a single sheet or worksheet per art piece. (Please see the Art Information Sheet in the Sample section)

ITEM 1—a pictorial image of your work. This can be in the form a printed photograph, a slide or a digital image. If your work is 3-deminsional, be sure to take photos of all sides of the work. Since this image is not going to be used to reproduce the work, a small, low-resolution image will suffice. The image should be large enough to see details of the work, clear and without blurring.

ITEM 2—the title of your work, size, style/genre and when it was finished.

ITEM 3—a brief description of the work (use complete sentences—why will become clear later). Optional—I also like to keep a kind of diary as to what I wanted to achieve, why I chose this image, and what was going on in my life when I created this art piece.

ITEM 4—Keywords to be used when downloading the photo of your art to your web site or other internet media.

ITEM 5—Show and exhibit record is a list of what shows or exhibits were entered, when they took place and if the art won awards.

ITEM 6—wholesale and Retail price. This is probably the hardest thing for an artist to decide on—how much to charge for an artwork! What is the difference between Wholesale and Retail? Wholesale is always lower than Retail. Your wholesale price at a minimum should cover the cost of what it cost you to create the art, plus any gallery commission fees and hopefully with a small profit margin. Retail price for an art piece should cover all this plus what you as an artist feel the art is worth. I realize this is very subjective but most of art issubjective.

ITEM 7—Incidental information such as the date you formally copyrighted the work, cost of the copyright, etc. More about copyrights later in the Copyright section.

ITEM 8—If you had limited editions of a painting or photograph or copies of a sculpture made, when, how many , how much it cost to make them, how many sold and how much you made when you did.

ITEM 9—the date you sold the original art and the name and address of the Buyer.

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