Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

She had dressed up herself and the tree.
She hoped Santa was a handsome man

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

an early Christmas gift

Totally unexpected.
A parcel on my hallway floor when I came home.
For me.
From far away.
I must have been a good girl...

Aris makes the most dreamy, but still not sweet, paintings/drawings. It's different, it's Aris. And now she sent me a 3dimensional painting. I love that you can turn it around and get a new way of seeing it. Thank you, Aris!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Santa getting old

He just got out the door.
But what was he about to do?
It felt like it was something important.
Why was he holding this big sack?
Must be the garbage...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Art as Business: Christmas Vacations

I've decided that Art as Business needs some Christmas vacations (or rather me...) and will be back with next post about networking the 10th of January.

Meanwhile I will still keep posting something here now and then - but of a less serious nature

Thursday, December 17, 2009

not a good girl

She knew Santa would bring her no gifts this year.
But it was totally worth it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

drawing at the airport

Today I spend some time at the airport waiting for a guest on a delayed flight. But luckily I came prepared and didn't get annoyed - it became like a break instead. I listened to some interesting podcasts and kept myself busy with pen and paper. I love airports, train and bus stations: the feeling of transition and being in limbo...

The podcasts? Artist Talks from Tate Modern and Tate Britain (just search on iTunes U)
The guest? She finally arrived ... all the way from Guatemala (via Germany)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

House vs residency

I wanted to make a spectacular castle, he wanted to make a gingerbread house the way it should look. He got it his way...

A two months artist residency to apply for at A Foundation, Liverpool

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Art as Business: Networking II

Before getting into how you might think when networking I would really like to point out that I believe in the devise give and you shall receive.

Networking: To reach the market
Networking is about exchange of information, support and favors. But you have to network at the right place. You have to know what is your goal – to be able to target! Except for the market that you create yourself through your normal social contacts (friends, family, neighbours, acquaintances etc = “normal people”) – the market for art consist of different levels. How to network depends on where you are aiming to get. You need to channel your efforts in the right direction!

FIRST: Ask yourself this question: What market do you want to reach?
1. Just people in general to make a living out of your art
2. The serious art market

First case: People in general
  • The market from your direct social network - or - marketing your art to everybody. There's a lot written about this. See for example the post networking for designers in design sponge's biz-ladies series (I would say it goes for networking in general). At the artbizblog there is also a lot about this kind of networking
  • Internet see for example the bakery about social networking online, design sponge's biz-ladies selling promoting art online.
  • Galleries showing art targeting the general audience - which I'll get more into

1. Galleries showing art targeting the general audience (there’s a wide range within)
These galleries tend to showcase easy to understand, not offensive/provocative art and they exist in most bigger towns. If your aim is to exhibit regularly and sell your art to “normal people” – nothing more ambitious than these galleries might be your target. Cold calling might work here, but even better is to reach the galleries thanks to networking. But I’ll get back to this after sorting out “the serious art market”.

Second case: The serious art market
(this is like a ladder)

2. Good galleries
These galleries are harder to get to than the galleries mentioned before. They will get at least on artist per day cold calling and even more in the mail/post. Networking is your best shot – or to be visible in a context where they can “discover you”.
[there are some in Gothenburg where I live]

The one running the gallery will probably not be working in the gallery – or at least behind a door. Networking is your best shot – or to be visible in a context where they can “discover you”.
[None in Gothenburg where I live, but some in Stockholm]

4. Really good GALLERIES
[mostly in real Metropolis. None in Sweden]

5. “Cutting edge” Frieze Art Fair – Sotheby’s Contemporary Art – the world’s top galleries that run the market.

RESEARCH, RESEARCH – AND … RESEARCH (and being cynical)
To be able to network in the right way you will have to RESEARCH. You will need to find out how the galleries you are aiming for find their artists and see if you can be in the right spot. The gallery’s artists could be a good source of information here – either through personal connections (get them - and then ask!) – or through scrutinizing their CV:s (being Sherlock Holmes) to find some common traits. To find out how the market “work and think” you can check information directed at them. For example the art market blog: social networking for art collectors and where to find emerging artists. Seven Days in the Art world by Sarah Thornton sounds like an interesting book in the art market context.
So - in order to reach the market you can target three groups:
  1. Networking with other artists: to be seen in the right context and get more information, to get recommendations to open doors. Artists do promote their friends. (I’ll be back to networking with other artists in another post about networking)
  2. Network with people to reach gallery owners through non-artists (important clients and collectors, Institutions, other galleries, the gallery owner's friends! (= cynical))
  3. Network to be VISIBLE in media (lifestyle or interior design – galleries 1 and 2), (specialized art magazines 3 and 4). Regular media coverage in the news is great!

If you want to make a living as an artist it is only natural to try to get incomes. The market is a broad field: it can be anything from selling your art to friends or online - to getting incomes from exhibiting at art fairs and commercial galleries. But getting commercial success is not the same as making great art. Now I’m not saying that every artist has to strive for ending up in the art history books - No, I just mean you should be aware of the difference in acknowledgement. The market is more easily duped by press attention, current trends, immediate visual impact, successful appearance etc. A big part of the market for art is also conservative, only trusting other’s judgements - and not willing to take risks. Everyone having commercial success will not be remembered by history. So maybe you should network to reach the institutions or other artists instead?

Join me next weekend for Networking part 3!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

60 minutes = many animals

No, they are not pixels - or supposed to make a bigger image all together. I just spread them on the floor to dry after making sketches in a fury; animals you find in Sweden (for the commission). Indian Ink + a calligraphy brush + Mozart's piano concerts = 60 minutes of animals. And I made more than these!

[Click the image for a bigger picture]

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Gallery classes

Yesterday and today I've been giving gallery classes (schoolchildren age 11/15) at Galleri KC. First we looked at the ongoing exhibition with sculptures and objects with mosaic, then they had to get creative.

Why make it simple if you can make it hard? Sometimes I wonder why I have to try untested ideas all the's like I often jump out into the dark. Anyway - I talked about mosaic, that art doesn't have to be like in the old times ... and continued talking about pixels. Then I divided them into groups and gave them bunches of little paper rectangles (easier for me to cut than perfect squares)... and told them to build images on the floor.

The very night before the first class I had nightmares about my idea ... and about little pink and green rectangles... It would have been so much easier to tell them to draw self portraits.

The kids made really good things and had such a fun time. Why had I worried?

Ok - they abandoned the rectangles a bit. But they actually asked if they could. And I said you can always break rules if you have a good reason!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

grandma's angels

This year I dared to take my grandmother's angels out of the boxes for Christmas. I hope a little boy is big enough to play with them carefully...

Cecilia just opened a shop, and so did Thereza and Fideli. Marie-Louise has had her shop for a while. I think post offices over the world are getting more and more busy thanks to inline shopping!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Art as Business: Progress Report III

Yet another month has passed. So what has happened?

I’m starting to see some results from my hard work trying to get some more public commissions. Last week we had another lunch meeting presenting public commissions – and I think one of the contacts might lead somewhere (but that’s just a hunch). But some things I know for sure
  • The tenant owners’ association gave me the first part of the commission; in Mid January I’ll present detailed sketches, material sample (one enamel with motive) and suggested colours. If they still are pleased then they’ll order enamels for their 38 entrances!
  • In spring I’ll work on a mural for a school - together with schoolchildren (age 15)
  • Next week I’m having a meeting with several people in a municipal discussing commissioned art for schools to be constructed/renovated. The projects haven’t started yet and it is really good to be part of the discussions early on.
  • I learned that a project leader who visited our first lunch meeting had been promoting me for a commission for school/preschool. I don’t know if it will lead somewhere right now, but it means people are getting aware of my work.
  • Verified date for my autumn separate exhibition in Falun (October 2010)
  • Follow-up calls gave me verification that two Art Galleries run by municipals want me to exhibit there, but they couldn’t yet verify dates, but it should be in 2011
  • I visited gallery Jeanette Ölund in person. She mentioned we should talk soon about getting me an exhibition again. (Better not press it. She knows I’m interested)
  • I’ve gotten some good time in my studio lately and mid January – end February will be reserved for painting as well. This is crucial in order to get somewhere – my little separate exhibition in May has to be better than good.

I have set my mind on exhibiting in either one of two good galleries here in Gothenburg (let’s call them Gallery X and Y). But visiting the galleries and showing photos of my work isn’t the right strategy. (They have at least one person doing that EVERY day). I’m exhibiting at Göteborgs Konstförening - in the small gallery - in May. I will until then regularly visit Gallery X and Y and make sure they notice me – and then invite them to my exhibition in May (and hope I can convince them to go – and that they’ll love my work!). Gallery X already knows I’m an artist and my name, I’ll just have to keep it up. Gallery Y recognises me as a regular gallery visitor, but I have to become more than that.

Christmas and New Year is coming - and then I'll probably not see much progress as much isn't happening anywhere. My next Progress Report will therefore not be until 31 of January 2010.

Next Art as Business will about Networking 2

CONFESSION: I am right now very tired of being such a good girl and all the discipline. You might have noticed I'm not much fun these days. Should I just leave it all and go hitch-hiking? Just be on the road, but not trying to get anywhere special, just see where I end up...

Friday, December 04, 2009

Slaughter (bunny and kitten)

another painting completed

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Christmas approaching

Three weeks until Christmas...
Stephanie Levy is presenting an artist advent calendar every day until Christmas. Aimee has been on a virtual holiday shopping tour. Or you could drop by envelope and see if you might find the perfect gift from Thereza, Cecilia or Elisabeth. The book about Camilla from Uppercase might be your Christmas Wish - it's out now.

[No, this is not how my painting is supposed to look. Just a bit of Christmas feeling added]

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

2 x bright day

I don't know why, but I've been feeling kind of tired and sad lately. But today the bright sunlight - on its third day back after weeks of darkness - managed to penetrate into my head when I biked to my studio. Suddenly I could laugh about my seriousness.

It was pit dark when I came home after picking up my son at preschool. But there was the second sunshine today awaiting me: a parcel from sweet Esti. She sent me one of her beautiful t-shirts and some of her "so-much-esti" pins... Thank you, Esti...

How can I keep being sad now?

Monday, November 30, 2009

new constellations

When painting I mount my big papers on boards. Sometimes - when I move the boards with my paintings around in my studio to get a better look at what I'm doing - the different paintings meet or a new possibility to see my imagery reveals itself to me.

I love the process.

Something totally different: Cecilia is having a moleskine give-away!
Some time ago I guestblogged (only in Swedish) at 365 saker

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Art as Business - postponed

Unfortunately I will not be able to deliver any post in my series Art as Business this week. But I will be back next Sunday with my progress report (as promised). Networking part 2 will therefore have to wait two weeks (13th of December) - but it will be worth waiting for!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

face it

You can eat bananas almost every day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

it's all in the details

Ah - to be a true gentleman in every limb and pay attention to your look: posture, well kept moustache, the cravat ...

Kity Kilian
works with mixed media and collage.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Disney Dreams

Almost two months later I finally finished this painting. I have been looking at it and looking at it. I knew it needed something extra. I didn't know what, though. Then it got colder outside and I realized that she needed some kind of hat.

For those of you who like cartoons: HDK got a master class in cartoon as art/advanced storytelling through image (sounds very interesting - but I have to restrain myself!)

work in progress

I'm having so fun in my studio!

Thereza is interviewed at artists who blog

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Art as Business: Networking

Working in/on a net? Being a fisherman?
Working on internet? Facebook?
Net, net ... - Netotism - sorry: Nepotism?

working working working (yes, I do that)

Just thinking about all this makes it messy in my head. I just envision tangled threads - and not connections leading to clarity and salvation. I need to get some distance - Professor Hedberg, can you help me out here? (I'm putting on my spectacles and clear my throat)

“Van Gogh never sold a painting in his whole life and now he’s one of the most famous artists in the world”

If you are an artist, like me, you’ve probably had people (especially those who know little of art and art history) telling you this on more than one occasion. (Though I think he sold one, maybe two paintings). People might refer to the myth “suffering starving artist like van Gogh” to prove to you that
- The best artists will only get discovered after their death
- Great art will always find it’s way – in the end - no matter what.

The first argument is actually more an exception than the rule - most great artists (that is: what we consider great artists today) through history were acknowledged, in one way or the other, when they were alive. Second: we can not know what great art was lost and never came to people’s awareness – because we don’t know about it.

Why do people claim that Van Gogh was not acknowledged when he was alive? Because they think that the market’s acknowledgement – commercial success – is the sole acknowledgement. But in reality there are three ways you can be acknowledged:
  1. by the market (commercial success)
  2. by institutions
  3. by peers

Van Gogh was acknowledged by his peers (Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec and Pissarro were his friends for example) and therefore came to influence many other artists. This made him later acknowledged by institutions (like museums) – and the art market.

You know about the Salon des Refuses? They were exhibitions arranged by the artists who would later become known as the impressionists. They had been refused by the Salon de Printemps arranged by the institutions of that time. The artists acknowledged by the institutions – like the official Salons - had commercial success back then – but if you see it in a bigger perspective: Who are the successful now?

But what has this to do with networking?
Networking as an artist can be divided into precisely these three areas of acknowledgement! (Van Gogh was good at networking with other artists!)

Being an artist you are probably aware - deep inside even if you don't want to do it - that you should network
. You should know the right people, you should distribute your business card, you should network with everyone so people know about you and your art and come to your exhibitions. You might get the advice to constantly expand your network and you might be told that your contact list is one of your most valuable assets.But it doesn't make sense to network in the same way to reach different kind of people - does it? And what do you really want to achieve by networking?

Join me next Sunday when I get deep into how you might think when networking to reach the market, the institutions or your peers!

[this is a post in my series Art as Business. You might access the other posts through links in the sidebar.]

Saturday, November 21, 2009


a ray of light on my studip wall on Friday. So far November had only given us 3 hours of sunlight

baking the biggest cinnamon role in the world (i didn't have the heart to tell him this might not be the record...)

seeing Camilla's exhibition (hurry - this one was still unsold today!)

starting painting on a big new paper

Friday, November 20, 2009

weekword | LISTLESS

Katy (creating misericordia) chose the weekword - see her blog for links to more interpretations

Thursday, November 19, 2009

2 x sneak peak

a sneak peak of a painting in progress in my studio today...
... a sneak peak from the pre-opening of Camilla's exhibition tonight. If you want to have the chance to buy something you'ld better hang on the lock on Saturday!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I can fly

You know that they say bumblebees are not supposed to be able to fly because of their complexion - but they don't know that they can't fly, so they fly anyway...

To remind myself of the bumblebees and that we are the ones limiting ourselves (I can not do that) I keep the words "jag kan flyga" (=I can fly) on my studio wall. This is to very much amusement to my studio neighbour who keep saying things like "can you fly yet?", "you better not taste any wine as you already think you can fly" etc most times he pops over. He hasn't asked why I have that text though.

Today I mounted big new papers on boards and now I'm doing my best to start an intensive painting period... without limiting myself in any ways... (better lock the windows!)

Victor Castillo's art
amuses me.

Monday, November 16, 2009

fixing lunch in my studio

The other week I met Cecilia for a coffee and she gave me this beautiful cutting board (and we had such a nice time!). I keep it in my studio - and now I just want to make salads and cut colourful fruits and vegetables on it for lunch. Starting tomorrow I will now have a concentrated period in my studio (more or less) until Christmas. YES!

If you want to learn how to make patterns like Cecilia, she gave this great tutorial last week- part 1 and part 2.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Art as Business: Teaching/Giving Workshops II

I've had this writer's block for this Sunday Post. I wanted to be consistent, to be funny, to write about how teaching art is business... but everything turned out horribly dull, confused- and, and, and very uninteresting.

So instead of writing about making money, marketing and great plans I'll let you know how I've taken these 3 great courses through teaching art these years (and they even paid me to take them!):

- 10 people sit at their desks waiting. They are quiet, some have their arms crossed. Many are sceptic. You have to open with the right lines. (rehearsing the first little speech is never wrong)
- You learn to speak up
- Anecdotes and metaphors will help to get the message through
- Humour is never wrong
- If you manage to start out great you have to live up to their expectations - and be even better in the end. The important is to convince them to pay attention in the beginning, keep their interest during (you don't have to be as good then) - and finish by being fantastic (so they'll feel: is it already over?)
- If you can show how to do something instead of just talking about it - do that!
- If you have several different classes you can test everything on one group first - if not good change it (When I've been teaching the same subject to different groups I've tried to vary which one is the Guinea pig)
- Never give them a chance to even start doubting your competence. First impression does last and will be hard to overcome if not good.
- Confident is not the same as arrogant. After establishing that you are the authority in the class room a little self-distance will make you appear human and make you more liked.
- It is easier to be self-confident when well prepared
- If you are truly self-confident you will be able to answer "I don't know, but I'll find out for you"

- Everyone wants to be seen. Make a great effort to remember names. If you are really bad at it let people know - and try instead to remember other things about them. If you remember where they live, how they take their coffee, what they love to paint, that they have a grand child who is a dancer - they'll feel seen by you even if you forget their names... (ok, ok - I admit: I forget names!)
- To be able to read people is the key to all relations. To respect their personal space. To see when they want help even if they say nothing. To let them be when they give you those signs.
- To let some people just do what they want - they are not you. (I once pressed a little old lady too much. She was really making improvements but then she suddenly wanted to go back to painting flowers ... but I wanted her to keep improving. She never came back... )
- Don't just talk about yourself. Ask what experience they have in the field.

These three courses has helped me very much in my Art as Business when it comes to presenting sketches and ideas for boards trying to get commission jobs, establishing contacts with galleries, talking in front of (big groups of) people at meetings - and much more.

As I got this writer's block when it comes to the teaching art subject I'll not continue to force it - even though there is much more to write about. Next week I will instead write about networking as an artist!

[this is a post in my series Art as Business. see sidebar for link to the other 14 posts]

Friday, November 13, 2009


- Love, can you please sit properly when we are eating

- You are still not sitting properly. Why don't you listen to Mummy? It can be dangerous, you can slip and hurt yourself!

- That's even more dangerous. SIT DOWN!


- I told you so.
This is what happens when you don't listen to me

I chose the weekword. The other participants are Aimee, Anne, creating misericordia, Esti, Thereza, Anairam, Sarah, Cecilia, Caroline, Lotte and Aris

Next weekword will be chosen by Katy (creating misericordia)