business of art

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ARE YOU READY TO SELL YOUR WORK OVER THE HOLIDAYS?

Published September 29, 2017 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

The holidays are fast approaching, and with them comes craft fairs, booth events, and other ways to show and sell your work I call events where you bring your work out and set up a mini art gallery “Booth Events” because usually you will be selling your own work. As a rule, there are 3 types of these events Outdoor, Indoor and Tabletop. Some of these Events will be geared to sell art only; some will allow different types of vendors and you may find yourself set up next door to a food vendor. Outdoor events are usually larger than the Indoor ones and attract a larger crowd.  A Tabletop can be either indoors or outdoors; the main difference between a Tabletop and the others is the space size. Most booth events allow you a 10’ x 10’ space. With a tabletop you have a space about the length and width of a table (usually 8’ long by 3’ wide) to display your work.

Your booth set up should be light and portable, easy for one person to set up in about 20 minutes, and fit into your vehicle along with the products you are planning to sell. To take part in booth events you should have the following items:

OUTDOOR EVENT

Pop-Up booth: Pop-Ups come in several price ranges and styles. Ideally, you will have help setting it up, but I would recommend the E-Z Up brand with the white top because it can be set up by one person. If you have never set up a booth, I advise a couple of practice trials setting it up in your yard before you go out to the event. The best Pop-Ups for displaying art have white tops and straight sides. The white top provides more light to see the art and the straight sides give you somewhere to fasten display racks. You can also purchase sidewalls to hang from the sides of the booth. You will need these if you are taking part in an event that lasts several days; you can use the sidewalls to enclose the booth when you go home for the night. FYI, unless the event has very good security, I wouldn’t recommend leaving your work out, but you can leave your display stands set up inside.

Display stands or racks: You can buy display set-ups from the art supply catalogs; but these can be pricey. However, it is possible to make your own. I bought 8’ wire closet shelving from the local hardware store. Turned on end, they can be fastened together with plastic tie straps or Velcro. The wire bars make ideal places to hang different sizes of art. (This portable shelving can also be made into stand-alone shapes: boxes, triangles and rectangles). For all events, I suggest that sandbags or weighted milk cartons be fastened to the corners to prevent tipping and as additional security for stand-alone shapes.

Portable easels can also be used as a part of your display. The art supply catalogs have some excellent display easels that hold multiple pieces of art and they look very professional. You can also make display easels yourself out of copper, PVC pipe or wood; just make sure they look professional. Remember you are going to be carrying them so they should be very light-weight!

Small fold up tables with a nice tablecloth to hold your cash box and give you a hard surface when making out receipts. They can also be used to display very small or 3-deminsional art, cards, etc. Just don’t make your space so crowded buyers won’t enter it. In addition, if your work is light, cardboard boxes covered by tablecloths or white sheets that reach the ground look very professional and provide a good backdrop to show off your work.

Sandbags or weights to hold down the booth in case of high winds: Weights of some kind are a must. A Pop-Up booth makes a big kite when the wind blows and it doesn’t have to be hurricane strength either. You need about 20 to 30 lbs. on each corner. Many booth events are on blacktop so you can’t use the handy stakes that come with the Pop-Ups to secure your booth against winds. Sandbags are available either from the Art Supply warehouse where you got your Pop-Up, or from the hardware store where you can also obtain clean, dry sand. You can also fill empty gallon milk cartons and use the handle to fasten to the legs of the booth.

Cash box: a locking cash box to keep change for cash sales and checks can be bought at the local office supply store.

Chair to sit in; while you will be spending a lot of time on your feet, it’s nice to have a place to sit down and relax so potential buyers don’t think you are just waiting to pounce.

Your work and any other items you plan to sell: Plastic boxes with good, snap-lock lids work really well to transport small items. They are waterproof and if you are doing a lot of events they hold up much better than cardboard. If you are going to be carrying your product in a pickup bed, make sure the lids of the boxes are fastened down and won’t blow open (bungee cords work well here). You will need either bubble wrap or some type of padding to wrap around or separate delicate items. For larger pieces of art such as framed paintings or photographs, I recommend that you carry them inside your vehicle (in which case they can be separated by large pieces of foam board or cardboard to prevent scratching the frames), or wrapped in bubble wrap. The thing you are most looking to prevent is damage caused by the items moving around when you stop, start and turn the vehicle. I also carry either a large, wide-tip marker in either brown or black to touch up frames.

A hand truck or dolly: You may have park some distance from your booth set up. While most places allow you to drive into the event area to set up your display, it might not be feasible for you to do so. A hand truck or dolly will enable you to haul your art, display stands and Pop-Up into the area without having to transport everything a piece at a time. This is a big plus because you may have a limited time in which to set up your booth.

A way to take debit or credit cards: If you want to make sales over $20, you will need either an I-Pad, I-Phone or some other brand of smart phone and the APP enabling either Square technology or PayPal. Both companies provide  a small square you can order off the internet free, attach it your smart phone  or tablet It’s small, portable and easy to learn to use. The company takes a small percentage of each sale as a fee (2.75% per swipe) and the money is in your account the next day. The site is https://squareup.com/  or https://paypal.com check it out. Although other companies are beginning to develop this tech these both have a proven track record.

Sales Receipts, a calculator and bags: A receipt book is a handy way for you to keep track of cash sales. Don’t spend a lot on the bags; you can get small paper bags and larger plastic ones with handles at the local Dollar Store. A small printing calculator because some customers who buy large ticket items are going to want a printed receipt, even if you are also e-mailing them one.

INDOOR EVENT

Requirements for an Indoor event will be slightly different. Some indoor events will allow you a 10 x 10 area, but you may find the spaces allotted aren’t exactly that size or aren’t square, so there will be difficulty fitting the Pop-Up frame into the space. In addition, the top cover will keep the overhead lighting from coming through, and the ceiling in the room may not be high enough to accommodate your booth. Even if the cover is white, poor lighting will make your booth dark and unattractive. if the canvas or vinyl cover is removable and the ceiling is tall enough, you might still be able to use only the Pop-Ups frame.

Stand-alone display racks are best for an indoor event. I use the same 8’ wire closet shelving from the local hardware store I used for the outdoor event, except that I fasten them together in a shape instead of to the booth. An indoor event is more likely to be crowded than an outdoor one, so to prevent accidents if your display is bumped, I suggest that sandbags or weighted milk cartons be fastened inside the shape to prevent tipping if someone does bump into the display. However, you can purchase this type of display from Art Supply catalogs and warehouses.

If you use portable easels to display your work, they can serve the same function indoors as they did outdoors.

You will also be able to use the small tables with a nice tablecloth used in your outdoor display

TABLETOPS

If you do a lot of Church or School sponsored Boutiques, a Tabletop Event is the most common type. At a Tabletop, you are probably going to be given just enough space to set up one 8’x2.5’ table with room for a chair behind it, so be prepared to cut your display down and bring only what you consider the most “sellable” items.

When I go to an event, especially an Indoor event, I always ask for access to electricity. Since space is usually at a premium it is difficult to display a lot of large art so I seldom take many large pieces of art to these events anymore, instead I take a plug-in digital picture frame (you can do the same with either a laptop or a tablet) loaded with photos of my work. I have a power point presentation showing my work set to music. The moving slide show and music attract a lot of attention and I can display more art.

Remember to have fun and talk about your work.

Good Luck

Gail

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COMFORT = PRODUCTIVITY

Published September 11, 2017 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Why is it important for a writer to have a comfortable space to write? As a writer, I have to say that if I’m uncomfortable physically, it makes it much harder to concentrate on being creative. If I am in the creative zone, I may spend 10 or 12 hours at my terminal with only short breaks for food or to use the restroom. Fatigue or even repetitive motion injuries from typing on a regular keyboard or sitting in a poorly designed chair decreases my abilities and concentration. However, these things can be avoided with a few inexpensive fixes.

Several years ago, I was introduced to ‘ergonomic furniture and computer accessories”. What is that you say? Ergonomic furniture and accessories are designed to reduce physical stress on the person using them, and help prevent repetitive strain (Carpal tunnel) or musculoskeletal disorders in those of us who spend a lot of time at a computer screen. Which is something I badly needed because I do spend a lot of time on a computer terminal: I write fiction, I’m a blogger, I run two online/print newsletters, and I am webmaster for several web sites. In between that, I am also my husband’s office manager in his business.

This brings up a comparison point: which system provides more comfort; a PC or an Apple product. I ask this because some time ago we made the decision to switch from PC products, which is supported by Microsoft to Apple products because of the increased security from online malware they offer.  The relative freedom from Malware attacks does have a drawback. Unfortunately, while Apple is way out in front in designing products for mobile use, they are far behind the PC industry when it comes to ergonomic accessories for its users. In fact, they do not actually offer any ergonomic keyboards or mice in the Apple Store (or is it mouses when talking tech?). While there are companies who do manufacture ergonomic accessories that are compatible with Apple products, they don’t integrate as smoothly with Apple as does Apples own products. Apples products are usually rechargeable; sadly, the substitute stuff sold by other manufactures is not.  Keyboards and mice are either plug in or if they are wireless, they require batteries.

Is it worth it? Well, that depends on how much your hands and wrists begin to hurt using a non-ergonomic keyboard for lengthy periods. The difference in appearance between a standard keyboard and an ergonomic one is obvious once you have seen or used one. The standard keyboard is flat and rectangular, whereas an ergonomic keyboard actually looks quite different. While it is still longer than it is wide, an ergonomic keyboard is slightly curved, allowing the user’s hands to rest at a more natural angle when typing. The keys are also slightly larger with a tiny bit more space between them. As you can see, Ergonomic keyboards also come with a wrist support.

I did a run on the internet and three Ergonomic keyboards that came most highly recommended on the reviews on Amazon are shown here. However, all the reviews did mention that not all of the keys were functional straight out of the box, but with the additional purchase of USB Overdrive (free program app) the keys worked fine. This was an overall view expressed on all of the keyboards I found.

This item Perixx PERIBOARD-512II W, Ergonomic Split Keyboard – White – Natural Ergonomic Design – Wired USB Interface – Recommended with Repetitive Stress Injuries RSI User. This one retails at about $50.00. 4 ½ stars on Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0076KUTKS/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1455230248&sr=8-1&pi=SX200_QL40&keywords=ergonomic+keyboard+for+mac

Logitech Mk550 Wave Wireless Keyboard/Mouse Combo (It got 4 ½ stars on Amazon). This one retails out at about $50.00 on Amazon.com. Logitech is one of the most trusted computer accessory brands worldwide.

 

Adesso Tru-Form Media Contoured Ergonomic Keyboard (PCK-208B) got 4 stars on Amazon. This was the least expensive one of the three ($30). It was specifically mentioned however that this keyboard was not good for gaming.

 

TO DONATE ART, OR NOT TO DONATE…THAT IS THE QUESTION…

Published September 4, 2017 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

By the Practical Artist

http://www.thepracticalartist.com/the-practical-artists-blog.php

This is the time of year when creatives like us get tapped to donate our work to worthy causes. The phone rings, and some well-meaning fundraiser on the other end wants you to donate a work of art to their charity auction. Usually this goodhearted fundraiser will promise you a tax deduction, great exposure, enhanced publicity, and public exposure if you agree; sadly, most volunteer fundraisers don’t know what they are talking about as far as the actual benefits to you as an artist. Should you do it? This really depends on several things; how much do you support the cause itself? Are the benefits going to out-weigh the costs?

Well lets deal with the tax deduction benefit first. It’s not great. Generally speaking, you as the artist are allowed to deduct only the cost of creation (materials, etc.) unless you have had an appraisal done by a qualified art expert. This is no problem if you are a big name artist whose art is going to bring in thousands of dollars to the charity because the charity will usually have the art appraised by their expert, which you can then attach to your taxes. However, if you are donating to your child’s school, your church, local hospital, etc. chances are the charity is not going to pay for this appraisal because they can’t afford it. Sometimes the charity is worthwhile (in fact most of the time), but unless they follow my rules for donation, what they are really doing is training whoever comes to their event to devalue my art and disrespect me as an artist. This may sound really harsh but it has been proven to be true.

The next two items typically promoted by fundraisers are “enhanced publicity and public exposure” which sounds really good, but what exactly are they actually talking about? A line in the auction catalog and announcing your name when they bring up your art? Please. Remember that most of the fundraisers who do telephone contacts are volunteers with no actual experience in the field. In other words they really have no idea what they are talking about. Enhanced publicity should mean your name in the newspaper, on the radio or on the charity’s Facebook page with a link to your website. Public exposure should mean that instead of just pointing to your art and asking for bids, the auctioneer talks about you, what awards you’ve won, how good the art is, etc. to encourage the audience to bid higher. He or she should also mention your web site, and the brochures advertising you as an artist, which should have been available when the bidders were doing the walk-through.

Predictably, at most of these charity events, they practically give away the art because the bidders are not art collectors, they are there to support the charity and are looking for two things—something they can afford to bid on to satisfy their tax deduction and to support the charity. A lot of them might be even comparing your fine art to canvas prints they can get at a department store! Auctioning your art for much less than you normally sell for undermines the art market in general, and makes it seem as if the artist (you!) didn’t deserve the real selling price. Another negative side effect is to encourage your regular collectors and potential buyers to wait for events like this to buy your art cheaper than they could if they purchased it directly from you.

The “public exposure” thing is problematical; unless the auctioneer makes a really big deal about your art business and how valuable your work is, everyone present is likely to still think you have a nice hobby. I was once asked by my church to design a poster/logo for a women’s retreat. When the event coordinators husband saw it he remarked to her that it looked like a “real” artist had done it. I find that no matter how good the art I donate to their event is, my circle of acquaintances in my church, my children’s school and my family almost all still believe that my art is a hobby, so I don’t donate unless the charity agrees to the following ground rules:

 

  • I set a minimum price for original art. If it doesn’t sell, I get it back. This is absolutely essential because unless you have an appraisal from a respectable appraiser attached to the art; all that you can take off on your taxes is the cost of material used to create the art.
  • I qualify the event by making sure there will be folks there who can actually afford to purchase the art (this means getting actual names of who will be attending or at least who has been invited), and that the event will be well publicized: this means actual ads on TV, Internet, and Radio, hopefully with a mention of the art you are donating.

Once charities learned I stuck to these rules, I found that the requests dropped off dramatically. This doesn’t mean that I am wholly against art donations; I do donate my art to worthwhile charities, but I find that it usually pays better tax deduction-wise to donate a good quality print than the original. If you donate a print, you can deduct the entire printing cost, framing and matting which is a much better deal for tax purposes. To sweeten the pot for prospective buyers, I do always sign prints that I donate, and make sure I tape information about myself, my website and the art to the back of the print.
Good Luck

Gail

ADVERTISING YOUR WORK USING NETWORK MARKETING

Published August 28, 2017 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

ADVERTISING YOUR WORK USING NETWORK MARKETING

By the Practical Artist

http://www.thepracticalartist.com/the-practical-artists-blog.php

There is a lot of talk these days out there about using social networks to market your art. You can certainly reach many people with your message, but simply reaching them is not good enough; you need to make them want to buy your stuff. One of the key ingredients in successful social media marketing is creating “social authority”. When you establish yourself as an “expert” in your given field or area you can become an authority (someone others listen to). You can establish yourself by writing on-line about stuff you know about. Your field of expertise doesn’t necessarily have to be art because if you want to sell, you will need to reach outside the sphere of artists you know to your target audience. It is a funny thing, but having social authority in one sphere will give you authority elsewhere; just bear witness to all those celebrities who endorse presidential candidates and influence public thinking!

Because of social media – and the direct/indirect effect of social media marketers, the buying public is more likely to make decisions using what they read and see in social networks, but only if they hear about it from someone they trust. This is the reason a focused, carefully designed social media strategy needs to be a basic part of your marketing plan. At its best, network marketing is very similar to the multi-level marketing plans used by home based businesses such as Avon and Amway. The key to the success of these businesses is that everyone connected has some type of positive incentive to promote the products. The positive incentive can be a good feeling or something physical. The first step in using social media to market your work may be uncomfortable for you, but do it anyway: Ask friends and family to spread the news on their networks about your products and then DON’T FORGET TO THANK THEM IF THEY DO THIS!!!!!! You might consider offering a free product or discount (preferably something that can be sent on-line) as a reward for helping you. Perhaps if you are selling a painting, a small print (8×10 or smaller) of their choice, etc. If you are selling a book, offer to do a neighborhood reading, a book signing at a venue they choose with a percentage of sales of the book going to the charity of their choice. These are just ideas, I’m sure you can come up with more.

Social Networking sites are shaped to allow internet users to connect with each other. The primary types of social networking sites service groups, i.e. former school classmates, a means to connect with friends (like Facebook and Twitter), etc…; most of these sites also feature a recommendation system linked to trust. Most social network sites are web based and provide means for users to connect over the internet via e-mail or instant messaging. Because most networking services do run on “friend recommendations” it can be difficult to create a network of buyers if you are not already acquainted with them. If you want your message about your art to be picked up and sent “viral”, you must create a message that is both interesting and attention grabbing.

Viral Marketing, Viral Advertising, Or Marketing Buzz refers to promotion practices that use pre-existing social networks. The goal is to create viral messages that attract people with high social networking potential (SNP) so that these people will tell everyone about the message. It’s like a game of gossip.

As a rule, three basic conditions must be met for your communication to go viral. 1) A “go-between” or “transmitter” must pick up the promotion. There are three types of “transmitter” required to change an ordinary promotion into a viral one: market devotees, social hubs, and salespeople. Market devotees are among the first to be exposed to the promotion and transmit it to their immediate social network. Social hubs are people with a large number of connections; they often know hundreds of people and can serve as tie-ins between groups with different interests. Salespeople receive the promotion from the market fan, amplify it by making it more relevant and persuasive, and then send it on.

2) The promotion must be memorable and interesting. Only promotions that are both will be passed on to others and spur viral marketing. Making your promotion more memorable and interesting (or more infectious) can be a matter of minor adjustments.

3) The environment needs to be favorable: The timing and context of your promotion takeoff must be right too. If there is something much more interesting going on like the Japanese earthquake and tsunami a few years ago, your chances of getting a competing promotion out are poor.

Question: how do you find people who do these things? Chances are you may already be a member of a social hub. Is there any one person who seems to be very active with a large circle of friends? Ask them for help with your promotion. You have to put in some time developing on-line relationships. It will be necessary for you to express some type of interest in what they are doing so that they will reciprocate. I am not advocating spending hours on the net; in fact, just the opposite. However, you will need to be able to make a connection with them on some level. Keep your communications short and only respond to stuff that actually interests you because a phony interest can be easily spotted.

Want to know how effective you are? Here are a few free social media monitoring and measurement programs and tools. I haven’t used any of these so I don’t know how easy they are to use or how accurate.

How Sociable? A simple, free tool that measures the visibility of your brand across the web.

Addict-o-matic A nice search engine that aggregates rss feeds, allowing you to see where your brand is lacking presence.

Socialmention is a social media search engine, offering searches across blogs, and microblogs with a social rank score.

 

FRAMING ON A BUDGET—PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Published June 19, 2017 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

By the Practical Artist

http://www.thepracticalartist.com/the-practical-artists-blog.php

Framing fine art can enhance the overall appeal of a piece of artwork. The drawback is if you don’t frame your art wisely it can ultimately ruin the paintings appeal altogether. Choosing the right frame for the right art looks simple, right? Step one is choosing the right type of frame. Wood or Metal? Wide or Narrow? The most important rule is to make sure the frame you choose doesn’t clash or overpower your art. A too-small frame around a large painting or a large frame around  a small artwork can overpower it and ruin the presentation. So first consider what type of art you will be framing and decide what type of frame will make the best presentation of your art. When choosing a frame it may be helpful to take the art with you and put it behind the frame choices. Ask yourself, what is the first thing you notice about the painting? Is it the art or the frame? If it is the frame, then you should consider selecting a different frame. If it isn’t practical to bring the art with you because of the size, you are going to have to use some imagination. Personally, I have found that the simpler the frame, the more attention is drawn to the art. There is a wide variety of ways out there to frame photos and other art. It may be a good idea to assess putting your art into a frame with as much consideration as you took with the actual painting. After all, your painting and its frame are going to be spending a long time together, so it is important to make sure they are a good match.

Types Of Frames: Frames loosely fall into three categories: traditional (often wood frames with some embellishment such as ornate carving, Oriental accents, appliqué curlicues, or canvas or linen inserts), modern (metal or ultra-plain wood, perhaps only a sliver of it showing as you face the picture) and transitional (minimal ornamentation with a moderate amount of frame showing on its face). Frames designed for canvas (oils or acrylics) usually have a linen mat and then a small wooden piece rounding off the inside frame, although some more modern frames have dispensed with this feature. Metal frames with glass or plexi-glass and a thick paper mat are generally used with watercolors or pastels. A word of warning here: most pastel artists prefer not to use plexi-glass because static electricity is picked up from it and the pastel chalk may be attracted away from the paper and onto the plexi-glass. Don’t underestimate a good frame; I have assisted at many art shows and I can’t remember how many times I overheard a judge say “The art is good, but that frame just (ruins, overpowers, clashes, etc.) it. Framing and matting should enhance and compliment your art. Have you seen the effect an ornate baroque frame on an abstract painting? Or maybe a steel frame on a lovely still life or floral caught your eye? Not Pretty was it.

Matting: The correct mat can enhance the appearance of a frame, hence your art. While some modern frames or Plein Aire frames come without mats, traditionally most art frames include some type of mat. A simple rule for choosing a mat is, do you like the look of it around your art. Usually, you want to select a lighter tone or neutral color than the dominant color in your art. You can look for a paler version of a color that is within the painting itself. If the mat color is too dark or too busy with designs, it will overshadow the image and detract from the art. Check the proportions of the mat to your art. If your framed art looks off, then your mat maybe either too big or too small. Black mats can be powerful, but be careful. They are so dark they will overpower most art.

The back can be as important as the front in an art show. I once saw a judge reject a lovely piece of art because she didn’t like the way the frame appeared on the back! Very seldom is art left naked on the back. While the backs of Oils are sometimes not covered in order to allow the canvas to breathe (oils take a long time to dry), most framed paintings have a backing. The most commonly used material is acid free brown paper but more decorative types can be used.

Gallery Wrap Framing. Gallery wrap does not have a conventional frame; in fact the edges of the art are painted and left bare to the eye, sometimes giving a wraparound effect to the art. A gallery wrap canvas is stapled on the back of the stretcher bars so the staples can’t be seen. Historically gallery wrap has had a wider edge than regular canvas (1-1/2” to 2” wide). Some confusion has arisen recently because art stores have begun selling canvas that is ¾’ wide and calling it gallery wrap since it is stapled on the back and not on the sides. FYI here, most commercial stores no longer sell any canvases stapled on the side. Be warned about this type of “gallery wrap”: many art shows and galleries do not consider this “true” gallery wrap and will not accept them into a show or gallery unframed. Another type of Gallery Wrap is not canvas but clayboard, ampersand board or gesso board. These also come in the 1-1/2” to 2” wide varieties called “deep cradle”, and can be painted around the edges and so considered gallery wrap. Typically this type of Gallery Wrap can also less expensive than some canvas sizes and so preferred by artists on a limited budget.

Gallery wrap is a preferred arrangement with certain types of art where frames would detract from the presentation, such as triptychs (three paintings presented as one) or multiple pieces of art that must be presented as a unit.

Showing Professionally. If you are planning to enter your work in art shows you can run into pitfalls with poor framing or the system used to hang your work. Hardware and art stores sell a wide variety of systems to hang art and while they will all work in a home setting, some of them are not suited to venues where there is a lot of public traffic. Most art shows have very specific framing dos and don’ts about how art is to be hung and they will only accept art that meets these standards. The following is typical:  Flat hangers only, no Saw-tooth, eyelet hangers or quick frames and no screw eyes. The ends of the wire must be taped or sleeved.  Screws for hanging must be no more than 4” inches from the top of the frame and the wire must not show over the top of the frame. Some shows and Galleries will accept the wide edge Gallery Wrap, some will not.

Art for The Home or Décor Market: Keep in mind also that framing art to go in the home or office as a decorator accent is not the same as show presentation. In show presentation, if the judge notices the mat before the art you may be in trouble. In the decorator market, you want a frame and mat to go with the style and colors chosen by the decorator for the room. Often, the decorator will pick the mat and frame to go with or compliment the colors in the room, not necessarily the painting.

Using Celebrities As Art Subjects

Published March 20, 2017 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

The Practical Artist’s Blog

http://www.thepracticalartist.com/the-practical-artists-blog.php

Have you ever been tempted to include a celebrity portrait in your art portfolio? Say you are entering a theme show and there is a celebrity whose very image just screams “I am this theme” i.e. General Patton or Pappy Boynton for WWII, Clint Eastwood or John Wayne for western art, Mohammed Ali, or an Olympic swim star for a sports theme, etc.? Well if you do use a celebrity without gaining the proper permissions, you could be sued for copyright violations under something called “the right of publicity” laws.

I became curious about this when a young artist used a drawing of a western icon as an entry in a local art show. I remembered reading about the case of a company being sued when they used President Obama’s image advertising a product on their billboard. I did some on-line investigating and found some interesting information. I discovered that public figures could actually copyright their image under some state copyright laws. This was especially informative to me because I had always thought that copyright was a federal law, not a state one. In my research, I discovered that both are true. In other words, you have federal copyright laws and the states can make additions to these laws that could affect us as visual artists. Copyright law may also vary from Country to Country.

What exactly are the rights copyright concerning publicity laws in regards to public figures? Public figures include politicians, celebrities, and any other person who has put themselves in the public spotlight or has greater than normal access to the media.

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personality_rights, defines these laws, as “The right of publicity, often called personality rights, is the right of an individual to control the commercial use of his or her name, image, likeness, or other unequivocal aspects of one’s identity. It is generally considered a property right as opposed to a personal right, and as such, the validity of the Right of Publicity can survive the death of the individual (to varying degrees depending on the jurisdiction). In the United States, the Right of Publicity is a state law based right, as opposed to federal based right, and recognition of the right can vary from state to state. The Celebrities Rights Act was passed in California in 1985 and it extended the personality rights for a celebrity to 70 years after their death.” There are other portions of California’s privacy laws to protect non-celebrity individuals but they not the subject of this blog and may be covered later.

Further reading tells me that even if your artistic source matter is a photograph taken by you of the celebrity or public figure in question, you might still be liable for violation of the right of publicity act if you invaded the privacy of the person in question to obtain the reference photo. An individual’s right of privacy or publicity is infringed when their name, voice, signature, photograph or likeness appears in a work of art and (a) can clearly be recognized as the subject shown in the work, (2) the subject has not consented to their image being used, and (3) the circumstances under which the photo was taken fit one of the following scenarios. Invading the subject’s privacy by encroaching into their private affairs. This covers events occurring in private or semi-private places: i.e. someone’s home or an invitation only event. Invading the subject’s privacy by the public disclosure of embarrassing facts not generally known. For instance if you take a photograph of a celebrity and then use the photo to paint them in the nude, or publish a photo of them embracing someone not their spouse this might be construed as being invasion of privacy. Invading the subject’s privacy by commercial appropriation. Using President Obama’s image to sell a product on the billboard was a clear example of this type of invasion.

Now I am not a lawyer, but common sense tells me why take the chance? Even if you win, a lawsuit is expensive and time-wasting and just being dragged into court over something like this could damage your reputation as an artist. If you would like more information on this subject, there are several good sites on the internet.

 

http://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/can-i-sell-my-own-artwork-depicting-a-celebrity–435063.html

This is a Case out of New York State concerning a sculpture using Cheryl Teigs legs in a sculpture. Recent verdicts expand artists’ rights in celebrity depiction …

http://www.owe.com/resources/legalities/7-issues-regarding-use-someones-likeness/

 

Is Your Work Ready For A Gallery?

Published February 23, 2017 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

A great many artistically talented people are discouraged from pursuing an art career because agents and gallery owners won’t consider their work. In many cases, this lack of interest on the part of galleries is not because the art is bad, but to the work being poorly prepared for showing on a professional level. Most Art Associations attempt to help teach beginning artists how to frame their art for art shows and presentation to galleries. This helps beginners learn how to prepare their work to be shown at a professional level.  Most groups have learned the easist, fastest way to teach this is by setting framing standards for their own shows.

Framing fine art can enhance the overall appeal of a piece of artwork. The drawback is if you don’t frame your art wisely it can ultimately ruin the paintings appeal altogether. Choosing the right frame for the right art looks simple, right? Step one is choosing the right type of frame. Wood or Metal? Wide or Narrow? The most important rule is to make sure the frame you choose doesn’t clash or overpower your art. A too-small frame around a large painting or a large frame around a small artwork can overpower it and ruin the presentation. So first, consider what type of art you will be framing and decide what type of frame will make the best presentation of your art. When choosing a frame it may be helpful to take the art with you and put it behind the frame choices. Ask yourself, what is the first thing you notice about the painting? Is it the art or the frame? If it is the frame, then you should consider selecting a different frame. If it isn’t practical to bring the art with you because of the size, you are going to have to use some imagination. Personally, I have found that the simpler the frame, the more attention is drawn to the art. There is a wide variety of ways out there to frame paintings, photos and other art. It may be a good idea to assess putting your art into a frame with as much consideration as you took with the actual painting. After all, your painting and its frame are going to be spending a long time together, so it is important to make sure they are a good match.

The back can be as important as the front in an art show. I once saw a judge reject a lovely piece of art because she didn’t like the way the frame appeared on the back! Very seldom is art left naked on the reverse side. While the backs of Oils are sometimes not covered in order to allow the canvas to breathe (oils take a long time to dry), most framed paintings have a backing. The most commonly used material is acid free brown paper but more decorative types can be used.

Gallery Wrap Framing. Gallery wrap does not have a conventional frame; in fact, the edges of the art are painted and left bare to the eye, sometimes giving a wraparound effect to the art. A gallery wrap canvas is stapled on the back of the stretcher bars so the staples can’t be seen. Historically gallery wrap has had a wider edge than regular canvas (1-1/2” to 2” wide). Some confusion has arisen recently because art stores have begun selling canvas that is ¾’ wide and calling it gallery wrap since it is stapled on the back and not on the sides. FYI here, most commercial stores no longer sell any canvases stapled on the side. Be warned about this type of “gallery wrap”: many art shows and galleries do not consider this “true” gallery wrap and will not accept them into a show or gallery unframed

If you are planning to enter your work in art shows, you can run into pitfalls with poor framing or the system used to hang your work. Hardware and art stores sell a wide variety of systems to hang art and while they will all work in a home setting, some of them are not suited to venues where there is a lot of public traffic. Most art shows have very specific framing dos and don’ts about how art is to be hung and they will only accept art that meets these standards.

Why are they so fussy? The principal reason is no one wants to be responsible for damage to your art. Typically sawtooth and quick frames are put in with tiny finish nails and are too fragile to hold a heavy painting for very long. Screw eyes extend backward and could potentially poke a hole in the standard or the wall where the art is hung if an accident causes the art to be bumped. If you follow the rules given below your art will probably not be knocked out of consideration because of the framing.

General Guidelines

All paintings should be framed; gallery wrap (1.5” to 2” wide on the edge) is acceptable. Frames should be in good repair and ready to hang. The art show director may set size and weight standards, so read the show prospectus carefully!

Use flat hangers with wires only, no Saw-tooth, eyelet hangers or quick frames and no screw eyes. The ends of the wire should be taped or sleeved.

Screws for hanging should be no more than 4” inches from the top of the frame and the wire should not show over the top of the frame.

All oils should be completely dry. Watercolor, Pastel, Drawing and some types of mixed media should be under glass or plexi-glass, unless larger than 24” x 28” and then plexi-glass is may be required.D

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