By Carolyn Edlund
Artists talk about the year just passed, and their resolutions for 2012.
Some took risks, or had tough learning experiences. They all grew in their businesses and their art. Here are their stories:
2011 has been a year of reviewing my true vision as an artist and making necessary adjustments. It has also been a year of growth for my art business as I have gained representation with new galleries due to my diligence in marketing myself via LinkedIn and other online venues.
Being added to several art consultants rosters will bring new commissions and sales for 2012. I already have several acceptances for juried fine art exhibitions across the US so 2012 will be a continuation of the progress made in 2011 getting my artwork out for collectors to see and purchase.
This past year has been pretty good, and I’ve had a slight increase in sales over the previous year. Every year I add a few more goals to my list, in addition to ones that carry over from previous years. For instance, one of my annual goals is to add another gallery, and I try to find at least one new one every year. I usually lose one every year, too, due to closing or performance issues; so it’s actually very hard to gain ground on this one. Other goals that get repeated every year are things like booking workshops, writing magazine articles, entering juried shows, earning Signature Memberships, teaching classes, etc.
This year, the extra goals on my list include joining more artist societies near my new home, more plein air painting, expanding my online sales, and producing a new DVD. This doesn’t sound like much, but it’s on top of everything else I already have on my list that gets repeated each year, so it’s enough!
I definitely want to spend more time making art in 2012 than worrying about art business. In 2011 I had the busiest exhibition schedule of my career with five solo shows spread over four states. I met several benchmarks such as showing at a large public university in a large city via the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. It was also a big step to show my work for the first time in the leading art markets of Miami and New York. Meeting many of my online contacts in person was a great experience as well which has led to other opportunities in the pipeline. But promoting shows back to back while dealing with the logistics of organizing so many large solo exhibitions was a real wake up call.
Managing life beyond art plus all of that has left me just plain worn out. I haven’t produced much work at all this year, which has been frustrating. I’ve learned my lesson though. From now on, the core of my energy will go towards time in the studio. As artists if we lose sight of that, we run the risk of leaving out the joy of discovering the full potential of our creative path. I’ve already started some new work. I’m really excited to ring in 2012 with momentum!
This past year has helped me figure out the direction I want to head with both my art and my business. It has included gaining the courage to turn down areas of work I no longer wish to provide, rekindling a passion for areas I thought I would no longer pursue and struggling with time management.
This January 2012 I hang my solo show at The Delaplaine in Frederick, MD. I’m excited to share my new body of work, Beautiful Silence, which features winter landscapes in and around Carroll County, Maryland. The reception is February 4th, 2012. I hope to build print sales through my online store. And just like in this previous year, I would like to hang my work in at least a handful of shows, not limited local venues.
This new year should also include some site updates for myself and to feature other artists on my site, an idea I pushed last year but that lost momentum. Over the past three years, I’ve improved my skills in business, marketing and relationship building – not to mention I’m more and more excited by my designs and I can manage my own website! And the drive to do more and get better just keeps on coming!
In 2012 I will continue making art about medicine and health, but with a stronger focus on internal and emotional issues in addition to my interest in the body. This past year I continued with my “Scarred for Life” project, in which I make body prints from people’s scars and collect their stories of trauma and healing. I shot a television pilot about this process, and how the experience serves as a cathartic expression for many of my subjects, a cap to their “story.”
I also started a new series of paintings in which I embed photos and documents from my parents and grandparents into the compositions. I recently visited my brother, who has a serious longterm illness, and got some of his creative notebooks from his youth as a folk singer. I’m starting to collage these fragments into new paintings about him, exploring the effects and his suffering of dementia and Parkinsons. It’s possible I’ll also mix human ashes (my mom’s) into these paintings. Finally, I started a business called ArtandMed.com last year, and in 2012 I’ll continue to present lectures to health providers and patient groups about art and medicine.
My hopes for 2011 were big. At the end of 2010, my boyfriend and I began subleasing a retail space that we turned into an art gallery/portrait studio. I was really excited that it would allow me to reduce the number of art fairs that I was doing, help my boyfriend build his new photography business, bring in new customers and start moving in a new direction.
Long story short, after a long winter that came with huge snow plowing bills, light rail construction in the area that kept people away, crime on the rise in the neighborhood, and not being able to keep regular hours because of my schedule, I came to the conclusion that getting into a retail space was a huge burden that came with a big lesson. I realized that I was continuing to fall back on the safe decisions of more of the same (though it took on a different form) to avoid the big scary decisions I needed to make to make significant changes to my business. I spent the year spinning my wheels instead of making much progress.
In January, I’m taking a four day mini-retreat to a family cabin to get away and focus on what I really want for my 10th year in business. For 2012 my biggest hope is that I can find a wayto travel more so I can create new artwork which will in turn expand my licensing opportunities. I’d also like to take a bigger step towards doing more corporate art. My resolutions are to ditch the toxic part-time job, stop resisting the really big changes that will take me out of my comfort zone, as well as stop putting off the little things that could make a big difference down the line.
December 25th marks my second year of selling pet portraits on Facebook. I have continued to work with watercolor and acrylic on a daily basis. When not busy with pet portraits I would paint different subjects such as flowers and carousels which are located in three small local galleries. Painting every day is not a chore for me and my love for my art and for animals brings me much support from a vast network of people. It is important to me to share my natural talent with others and to give back as often as I can. My fan page grew to over 7,000 and my sales are steady.
For 2012 my goal is to learn how to create portraits with graphite and color pencil in addition to my paintings. Many people seem to be drawn to the simple elegance of graphite. So, my first free portrait for 2012 is going to be a 8×10 graphite drawing. Fans are eager to see my work progress and they encourage me to continue.
What’s Your Story and Your Vision for the New Year?