Sunday, February 28, 2010

Art as Business Interview: Daniel Milton

Daniel Milton Gap
90x90 cm, mixed media, 2009

1. How would you describe your art?
I combine large digital collages with classic old school painting. More about my art can be read at my website.

2. Do you make a living out of your art and related practices – or do you combine it with another job?
Yes, I make a living of my art. I’ve been struggling for years while my partner has been paying most of the bills. So now it’s payback time for me.

3. How long have you been working professionally as an artist?
Professionally since I quit my day job in may 2006. Finished art school in 2005.

4. Have you had a big break? If not; any turning point?
There was definitely a turning point when I first showed the first works in my current technique in 2007. Still waiting for the big break, but there’s no hurry.

Daniel Milton Some Schuss
90x90 cm, mixed media, 2010

5. What is your primary client base?
Art galleries and private clients. I also sell quite a few prints of my paintings through Konstbar.

6. Describe your work environment. Do you work alone or with others? In a studio or at home? Does this arrangement work for you, and if not, what would your ideal work environment look like?
I work from a small studio in central Stockholm. It’s been working out just fine but it can get lonely (even though I don’t mind being by myself). My ideal work environment would be a large (private) studio in a big collective with other artists. Like the years in art school.

Daniel Milton's studio in Stockholm

7. Do you have a typical workday? How much time do you spend creating and how much on business related activities?
No, no typical workday but I spend most of the days (and evenings) in the studio. I go there in the morning (not too early though) and stay until I’m done or it’s not fun anymore. It’s a job, but I’m the boss.

I would say that business related activities takes about 50% of my time. This might seem a lot but I don’t mind that much (well, sometimes I do) because you need periods when you don’t have to be creative and just do boring things. But an assistant would be heaven.

8. Which marketing strategies have/have not been successful in advancing your career?
Very hard to say. What I learned over the years is that it’s better to say ‘no’ than to take whatever comes your way. But on the other hand, in the beginning of the ‘career’ it’s often better to take what you can get, rather than not getting anything at all. You can always cover things up in your CV as you go.

A successful way to get what you want is often to ‘just do it’ and don’t think too much. I hooked up with my Stockholm gallery at Market (the leading Nordic fair for contemporary art) this way. I mean, what’s the worst thing that can happen?

Solo Exhibition, July 2009
NEON Gallery, Brösarp, Sweden

9. Can you share any tips on business organization or financial planning that have worked well for you?
Get an accountant!

10. Do you have any advice on how to rebound emotionally from rejection or difficult client situations?
Being rejected comes with the package when you work with art. But nowadays it’s mostly me who does the rejecting (apart from scholarships though…) so it’s not that much of a problem. I never experienced any difficult clients, a few dodgy gallerists maybe, but it’s like with all things – you learn how to deal with different kind of people and after a while you quickly figure out which ones to stay away from. Sorry, not much of an advice…

11. Based on your experience, what suggestions or lessons learned would you give to someone starting out as an artist?
Never stop believing in yourself and prepare to be broke for many years. If you’re talented and prepared to work hard - success will come. Don’t be shy or hesitate to contact people you think might be helpful to you, no one will ever do anything for you if you just sit and wait. Build a good network and use it!

Daniel Milton Nobody wants reality
90x90 cm, mixed media, 2009

12. What would you like to accomplish in 2010?
Since I’m going to New York in April for a couple of months I hope good things will happen over there. I don’t have any set goals for this year, just taking everything as it comes. A solo show at a museum would be great.

13. What are your long-term career goals as an artist?
My main goal is to make a good living as an artist and travel around the world to show my work. I want books to be written about me and movies made. I want it all.
Daniel Milton Skippy Alvin
90x90 cm, mixed media, 2009

14. Finally: Can you share something inspiring?
Book: ‘Seven days in the art world’ by Sarah Thornton (maybe not so inspiring but very interesting)
Film: ‘Basquiat’ by Julian Schnabel
Artist: Matti Kallioinen
Link: The Post Family
Excursion: Wanås
Exhibition: My own of course! March 4 – April 4 at Galleri Mårtenson & Persson
Whatever: Tokyo. One of my favourite places on earth.

Daniel Milton in his studio

Note from Alexandra: Daniel also got a blog (in Swedish)


●• Thereza said...

great interview Alexandra! i like his work very much :)

Esti said...

I find this interesting. He sounds bold.

Alexandra Hedberg said...

Yes - he is very forward!

Another thing: I find the blog world I know dominated by women so I will do my best to balance that by presenting interviews with both sexes. Could also be interesting for comparing. Are there differences in strategies and preferred working environment? Or maybe it is not?

Daniel Milton said...

Alexandra: Is that why the first interview got 13 comments and this one only 3?

Alexandra Hedberg said...

Daniel - it is just Tuesday today!

But, I also know that many of my readers also read Gracia's blog

Lotte said...

Übercool :)))

Aris said...

I like his work and his confidence!