Sunday, January 24, 2010

Art as Business: My Priorities

When I set out to write this Art as Business series I decided to be really honest. But as we all know it is not always easy ... and often it can be easier to admit weakness than admitting that you aim really high. Or maybe it is just me being Swedish and the Jante Law affecting me (check the link if you don't know about that law)?

Or is it the fear that if you let people know your goals, they will know if you fail reaching them? (otherwise you can pretend you weren't aiming to get anywhere in particular ... and keep the failure as your own little secret). Maybe it is better being vague about what you want?

Anyway here we go again: me trying to sort out my goals and priorities (cards on the table):

1. - What are my long-term goals?
To make really good art. Art that will be appreciated especially by other artists (my peers). I aim to exhibit in Major Art Centres, Art Museums, Biennials … and the Best of Galleries (though the last one is less important).

2. - What should I do 2010 to get closer to my goals?
  • Network with “the right people”
  • Define definite steps to get to my goals
  • Get exhibition in really good Gallery/Art Centre for the next years
  • Preferably get some press attention
3. - Incomes?
First half year I will get my incomes from giving some screen-printing workshops, making commissioned art/Public commissions and Public Art projects with schoolchildren. And preferably by selling some of my art (though how much I can not know).

4. - How do I want to spend my time?
  • I would love to spend at least 80 % of my working days (day-time) on my own projects, and the remaining 20 % on: seeing art by others/in project with other artists or creative people/working for art organizations/networking.
  • Instead of working 2-3 hours a night 6 days a week in front of the computer I would like to work just 3 hours 3 nights a week – and spend the rest of the time either with my partner or doing something different than art.
  • Weekends should be work free.
    Doing something different on a Wednesday night
5. - Is it realistic to spend my time like no 4 and manage to do no 2 and 3 at the same time?
Hahaha! No, not right now. There is a lot of administration and marketing to do that I will not manage only night-time (besides I’m tired then and not always good at concentrating). I will also have to spend time on projects that generate incomes (teaching/commissions) and that I don’t consider “my own”.

To be realistic I could manage to spend 45 % (day-time time) on my own art if I get really organised. I should try to get that time more concentrated in time (for example: February, June, August, October, November) and not mixed up with other projects.

To work less night time should be possible if I get better at saying NO to things and projects – and if I get a bit more organised… (TIME MANAGEMENT!). Blogging shouldn't take too much time and helping me to reach my goals - not something stealing time.

6. - What am I prepared to sacrifice and what not?
I am prepared to put less time on making my art than I dream of … in order to get somewhere and making a living meanwhile. But I’m not prepared to spend more than 60% of my time doing what I don’t really want to.

There are times when I wish I didn’t have to be that over cautious with money all the time – but for now it is a must.

7. - Thus what are my priorities?
  • Liberate more time by planning my time (what takes unnecessary time? What should I stop doing, start doing - and start saying no to) and getting better organised.
  • Work on my own art
  • Be more than excellent on the jobs (teaching/art projects/commissions) I have this spring + follow up in order to get more jobs that way.
  • Define definite steps to get to my goals (what galleries, Art Centres etc. and when)
  • Network and apply for exhibitions
  • Focus on getting some incomes (art related and preferably well paid) for autumn (Spring and summer already covered)
  • (get some press coverage )

So - that was that! Next week I will be giving my fourth Progress Report; how I advance with public commissions, exhibitions and time management (I've added the latter as something important to report about - not to be able to escape it).

[this is a post in my Sunday Series: Art as Business. Links to the other posts can be found in the sidebar]


aimee said...

now this is classic alexandra hedberg! a fabulous art as business post!

nathalie et cetera said...

if only weeks had 8 days and days, 36 hours...

●• Thereza said...

priorities seem to be the toughest thing for us to manage... i think it's great that you can map your out like that, it's half way there i guess...
note to self: i should learn some lessons from you and be more disciplined!!

Anairam said...

You are very clear about your goals and priorities, Alexandra - that is such an important step. And you sound determined too - another important ingredient! I am learning a lot from you ... now if someone can just teach me time management skills!

Maggie said...

"Or is it the fear that if you let people know your goals, they will know if you fail reaching them? (otherwise you can pretend you weren't aiming to get anywhere in particular ... and keep the failure as your own little secret"

I love that you admit this--it's something I struggle with as well. You are so brave!