My Books

My Books
These books may be purchased from Schiffer Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Walmart, Target and in many other fine stores.

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Art Press and Gifts

As artists, we all seek out and enjoy media recognition for our work whether it comes in the form of a newspaper article, magazine, blog or television and radio coverage.

But did you know that you should not offer compensation or gifts to individuals writing articles about you or providing you some form of press coverage? Most reporters, magazine writers, etc. will not accept anything beyond a glass of water if they are offered it by an interviewee. To accept more than that, could cause someone to claim that the writer was biased and received the gift or compensation in exchange for the article. The reputation of the writer and the publisher could easily be compromised.

Artists should not be offended when professional media members and other writers decline even simple offers of food because of this "appearance" concern. While you may view it as a simple offer of food, the general public might perceive it very differently. The ethical standard is the "appearance of impropriety."

I had a recent experience for the book I am writing where an artist contacted me many months after the book deadline for photo submissions had passed. I politely declined her photos and informed her the book was already organized, and it would have required me to spend a week or more to reorganize and recaption the book. She responded by offering me a bribe of her jewelry for "my time." When I informed her I could not accept bribes, she became outraged and said it was not a "bribe" but was for my "extra time" to place her photos in the book! Her reasoning was way off since this was clearly a gift (and outright bribe) in exchange for my reopening the closed book process just for her. And to be honest, her work simply was not at a level that came near to matching the expertise of the artists in the craft and formal sculpture section.

If as an artist you are in the "writer" position, be cautious in such situations. It does not matter how the gift may be categorized by the giver, such as "it is just a trinket","I do not expect anything in return", "I was going to throw it away anyway", or "it is not connected to the book." You should not accept any gift or compensation. In addition, if you accept such a gift, this gifter could later claim that there was some form of an agreement or an "understanding" in exchange for this gift, contrary to what they may have claimed earlier.

In addition, while your personal motivation may have been pure for offering that writer a sandwich or a cookie, be a sophisticated artist by showing recognition and respect for the journalistic standards of a writer.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Time Management 101

I have been asked often how I stay so organized as an artist and meet deadlines and always enter the calls to artists, etc. that I plan to enter, meet commissioned work deadlines, and still work a full time day job and a full time artist job.

First, get a large monthly calendar and a pocket calendar appointment book. I am always surprised when I encounter people who claim how busy they are yet they do not carry an appointment book or will always ask me the key "when" and "where" details. When an event passes and they miss it, these people will be the first to say someone "should have reminded" them. Unless you can afford a personal assistant,your time management is your responsibility.

When I have some interest in applying for a grant or exhibit, need to look into something, etc, I immediately print off the information (I have a wireless printer), place it in a folder (called pending show entries)and note the deadline on the calendars. I give the paperwork a quick read to see what I need to submit. I then note the deadline in both calendars and also make a notation of the deadline, and "warnings" 2 weeks and 4 weeks in advance. Typically you will have several months notice of a deadline. My pocket book calendar/appointment book it small enough to fit into any handbag and it is not one of those huge organizers that people drag around. You just need a small book to make a notation, you do not need to write a novel (i.e,. x show deadline...submit by x date, mail entry or email).

Next, I check my saved art photos to see my most current work and make a decision if I already have photos of what I would like to submit or if I need to create something new or have some recent work professionally photographed. Typically, I have 4-5 pieces of work shot at once.

Third, do not make excuses. If you are constantly procrastinating and things are always "slipping through the cracks" or you are constantly forgetting something you wanted to do art wise, you might want to revisit your business plan or goals for the year and determine what is and is not working. Do you need additional training in your medium? Are you lacking the equipment or tools to do the job? Are you in the right art medium for you? Is someone discouraging you? If so, avoid the source of the discouragement. If you have to reinvent the wheel every time you want to build your resume, you will just create an increasing level of dread due to the disorganization. And if a bigger and better opportunity pops up and you need to drop something off your calender, you will have that information handy.

I make things simple for myself and avoid last minute scrambling. You cannot develop a resume as a visual artist if you do not reach out and enter shows and build your name.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Book on Recycled Glass Sculpture and Design

I have made a lot of progress working on my book and am in the process of fine tuning some chapters and verifying captions with the artists in the book. Since this will be the first book to be devoted exclusively to the topic of recycled glass in art and design, I am releasing little information on it until we get closer to the publication next summer.

I felt that it was critical to keep a wide audience for this book by not just addressing recycled glass sculpture but also including products from manufacturers who are pushing this material in interior design and in other applications. Anyone who is choosing to work with recycled glass deserves to be applauded!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Recycled Glass as Insulation

The expanding number of uses for recycled glass continues to amaze me. A company called Ecobatt in Shelbyville, Indiana, manufactures an insulation product that uses sand and also a minimum of 30% post-consumer recycled glass content.

"Knauf EcoBatt Insulation products with ECOSE Technology form a new generation of glasswool insulation, which combines sand and post-consumer recycled bottle glass with a revolutionary, new bonding agent made from based on bio-based materials rather than the petroleum-based chemicals used in traditional fiber glass insulation binders." The product has a natural brown color so it is easy to spot.

Check out the company and its product at:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Las Vegas Bars Are Recycling Glass

On the Las Vegas Strip, 200,000 pounds of bottles mixed with cement (this material is known as "Green Stone") are being applied to the headquarters of Realm of Design, which manufactures Green Stone.

The other key players are Luxor and Mandalay Bay, which provide glass bottles from their bars and restaurants, and Evergreen Recycling, which collects and transports the glass.

While Green Stone actually costs more to manufacture than raw building materials, it provides a reuse for glass bottles that would otherwise need to be landfilled or shipped to recycling centers in other states.

According to the Review-Journal, Evergreen Recycling hopes that finding a local demand for the material would increase the likelihood that a glass processing plant is built in the area.

One of the other advantages of this process is that the glass bottles are essentially downcycled into sand, so there’s not as much of a concern about the condition of the glass. While glass bottles can be recycled into new bottles in about a month, this process requires color separation and removal of any broken pieces, since you can’t make new clear glass bottles with brown or green glass. That places more responsibility on recyclers and collectors of the material.

Read the full story at:

Monday, July 12, 2010

Update on Park Project: Revised Schedule

The dragonfly installation is now scheduled for the later part of August so that it can be coordinated with some decorative plantings that are going around the sculptures.

I cannot wait till this happens!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Artist Calls for Submissions and Writing an Art Book

As professional artists, we all spend a fair amount of time entering artist calls for submissions, whether it is for grants, solo exhibitions, group exhibitions or art related books. In the beginning, I received a lot of "no's" before I started to receive an occasional "yes, your work was accepted." No artist, even if they are in major museum collections, receives a "yes" to everything they enter. In any call to artists or grant process, personal preferences of the jurors can vary and such matters are always subjective on some level.

But one of the key things to keep in mind, is that the decision is final. Chances are you will come into contact with one or more of the jurors again in future calls (perhaps for the same call if it is held yearly)so debating that your work was just as good as anyone else is a major career ending mistake. My process is that for each "no" I receive, I study the level of the work that was accepted and view that as a learning experience. And, as we all know, there is always another artist call around the corner.

Photo driven art books may also have a call for submissions. Since these books are often updated after several years, debating over your selection may effectively torpedo your career. Although I have found my art book writing process 99% positive, I have been surprised over one artist's continual tirade over her non-selection and her ongoing solicitation of a formal role in the book. Of course, if you are writing an art book and hold an international call to artists, you open yourself up to dealing with all types of individuals. Unfortunately, this person's work had poor photography and was not even close to the technical level of expertise and originality submitted by virtually all the other artists. The photos showed very unfinished work with sharp edges.

As an artist, if you ever selected for and enter into a contract with a publisher to write an art book, stand firm to your submission process and deadlines. Your obligations are to the publisher first and foremost. Be wary of individuals soliciting for a role outside of the artist call for photos. Your contract is between you and the publisher and no one else is involved. If someone you do not know offers to take on a role in the book for "no charge" and says "they expect nothing" in return, say "NO" and do not get involved there. If they refuse to accept the "no", this is a red flag.

I was always clear that solicitation for other book services was NOT part of the call to artists. In my personal opinion, if someone you do not even know is offering to perform some work or service for you, you are likely entering into a contractual relationship with that person regardless of what they may say now.

Again, have some fun in participating in artist calls and writing books but scams can come in all forms, even under the cover of another "artist." So maintain a reasonable sense of scepticism for all unsolicited offers.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth of July

You're a Grand Old Flag!