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Through this website and blog it is my hope to offer news bits about current graphic design challenges (my own and others) as well as fine art news. To continue with the theme of my new book, "Graphic Design Exposed," this blog will expose the development of graphic design and fine art projects. From time to time I will invite guests to blog here in order to keep the news and views fresh and informative.
Please click on the orange and white envelope icon to receive email updates.



Canine art

On 29, Mar 2016 | No Comments | In Blog, Design, Fine Art | By Caren Hackman

I had a blast working on a new piece of art in honor of my sister, Naomi’s, birthday. The piece depicts her dog, Jake, and her sentiments for her beloved canine companion. The work was painted digitally. I sent two versions to Naomi. One is printed on outdoor vinyl banner material. The other is printed with archival ink on fine art canvas.

Many thanks to my canine nephew, Jake, for posing so beautifully. And a big “thank you” to Adam Jeffrey, my human nephew, for taking nearly a dozen reference photos from which I worked.

I enjoyed this so much that I would like to create more. Would you like to have your pet’s image as an art piece?Jake-web

Sharing my passion for communications design

On 22, Mar 2016 | No Comments | In Blog, Design, Fine Art | By Caren Hackman

purchasing-cards

Guest, Susan Cooper, with Hackman art card, “Palm Tree Seeds”

Thursday, March 17, I was honored to be the guest speaker at a luncheon hosted by the Boca Raton Branch of the National League of American Pen Women. During the talk I traced my career in industrial design, painting, illustration, graphic design and as author of Graphic Design Exposed (Amazon $9.99). I stressed the importance of good communication design and offered guests many tips for creating their own outstanding communications materials on the web and in print. It was a great pleasure to speak on a subject about which I am so passionate. Please contact me if you would like me to speak to your organization.

“All our members and guests at the luncheon enjoyed your discussion and the information was relatable to all of us. I thought you were one of our best speakers all season,” Carol White NLAPW board member

The National League of American Pen Women was founded in 1897 to promote the development of creative women in the arts. Members include newspaper and magazine writers, screenplay and book authors, sculptors and painters in all media, photographers, public relations and advertising experts, musicians and composers. The Boca Raton Branch routinely reaches out to the community with writing programs and contests, as well as public art shows.

Me with NLAPW member, Dayle Hertsik

Me with NLAPW member, Dayle Hertsik

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2016

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By Caren Hackman

Email signatures-what’s best for you?

On 15, Mar 2016 | No Comments | In Blog | By Caren Hackman

Keep it simple. That’s the best design advice I can offer to anyone.

pre-design-barthle-signature

Original email signature

For some of us, keeping an email signature simple is difficult. Many professionals are in the same situation as my client, accountant, Eileen Barthle. Eileen had numerous ways for people to reach her. She also stays active with social media and is certified by several accounting software companies. All of this made for an extended, rather cumbersome email signature. After I completed the design of  a new logo, Eileen wanted to include that in her signature as well. She asked me to suggest the best way to accomplish this.

I explained that there are two ways to include logos in email signatures; as an embedded image or as a linked image. I sent her the table below so that she could evaluate the pros and cons of each method.

Embedded Linked
What is it? Sent as hidden email attachments and referenced in the source of the message using a unique Content ID Located on a web server and downloaded into the message each time it is viewed by the recipient. Referenced in the source of the email using their web URL
Displayed automatically when the email is viewed Yes Depends on the individual settings that the recipient has selected for mail behaviors
Can be viewed when the email client is offline Yes No
Not affected by external factors Yes Yes
Can be blocked by antivirus software Yes No
Increase the size of emails Yes No
Add paperclip icon to messages Yes No

As a side note: I’ll admit I am personally prejudiced in favor of the linked images. When I work on graphic design projects, clients typically send me a couple of Word documents with the approved text and a half dozen images to use. What they don’t realize, is that in addition to these half dozen or so possible images, they are also sending me:

  • their organization’s logo
  • Facebook image for their page link
  • Twitter image for ther account link
  • instagram . . . well you get the idea. . .

Why does this matter to me? I am able to download and save all the images at once. This is fast, but it fills my digital files with extra copies of the logos. If I prefer to download and save only the items that are relevent to the project I must save each of the possibly 10+ items individually. It is a cumbersome, time-consuming process where I could easily miss downloading an image.

Barthle signature design

NEW email signature

Back to Eileen’s dilemma. Eileen gave the choice some thought and discussed it with her son Chris, a former Oracle, now Spotify software developer. Chris’ directive, “link the logo image.”

I suggested that we group her corporate logo with all of the social media links and Quickbooks icon into one clean “simple” icon. For the time being this image will be linked to the home page of her website. In the near future we’ll have a friendly new landing page that will help visitors find all the contact methods, social media links and professional certification.

Do you need an email signature make-over?

Fringed All-Stars Worn by a Real Star

On 01, Mar 2016 | No Comments | In Blog, Design, Fine Art | By Caren Hackman

Nina Lares performing with Dave Schultz at Honey Del Ray 20160219

Thanks to photographer Sandy Schwartz for this great photo of Nina

When Trina Slade Burks told me that the Converse All-Star high tops I embellished with fringe, had sold at the Art Synergy/Continuum auction to benefit Faith’s Place, I was thrilled. I was even more thrilled when I met Nina Lares, the shoes’ new owner. How could I not feel exhilarated? This recent California transplant has an awesome singing voice, an effervescent personality and a great love for the arts. I had an opportunity to hear her sing last Friday evening at Honey in Delray Beach, performing with a group of California musicians led by Dave Schulz, a former band member of the GooGoo Dolls.

Nina’s Jazz Ensemble performed regularly in the Los Angeles area. She is also a makeup artist and along with hairstylist/musician Alfonso Afanador, founded The Factory Hair & Makeup Studio in her former hometown. Named “Best Of” in several of Pasadena’s publications, The Factory is home to both an art gallery & DJ booth – furthering the unique location’s magnetism and chic ambiance.

Welcome to Palm Beach County, Nina!

 

Do Artists Need Special Insurance?

On 16, Feb 2016 | No Comments | In Blog, Fine Art | By Caren Hackman

As a regular columnist with The Rickie Report, an online news source for artists in Palm Beach County and beyond, I interviewed attorney Sheryl Wood. Sheryl has spoken to me in the past about legal issues for artist. In The Rickie Report article Sheryl discussed insurance issues for artists. Below is an excerpt from the article please click here to read the article in its entirety.

CH: Insuring artwork and the contents of my studio makes sense but the task is daunting. Can you help clarify the process?

SW: Looking into insurance coverage for a professional artist is a sound business move. The cost of business insurance is not prohibitive, however, replacing your studio and not being able to work are. You may have a homeowner’s policy if you work in the home, but be sure to read your policy, they typically only provide up to $2500 for business equipment or no coverage at all for business related assets. It is estimated that less than one third of artists have their works covered under business insurance.

There are three types of coverage you may want to consider:

• For Buildings, to cover the physical structure of your studio;
• For your Personal Property, to cover the contents of your studios such as tools, equipment, raw materials, works in progress, finished works, important papers and electronic records; and finally,
• Business Interruption, that covers loss of business income due to time studio is closed for an emergency.
If you can’t afford complete coverage, purchase what you can. Some is better than none. But carefully assess what you need and avoid unnecessary coverage. It is important to insure all works in the studio, including works in progress.

CH: How will the insurance company determine what rates the artist pays and what is covered?

SW: An insurer will determine insurance based on the artist’s stance in the marketplace. What do the paintings, sculptures, or works on paper sell for? If an artist is dealing with a well-established gallery, they should have coverage spelled out in the consignment agreement. However, even some of the established galleries may require artist coverage so they don’t end up covering those losses. Larger insurers typically cover mid-level to blue chip level artists. The reason is that it is easier to underwrite them. An insurance company looks at the way your art is consistently handled. For instance, do you transport your art in a vehicle vs. using a professional shipper and do you make individual miscellaneous sales vs. selling your work through galleries and auction houses.

To see answart-insurance-brushers to the following questions please visit The Rickie Report

  • How would an artist find insurance for his or her artwork?
  • Will an insurance company cover the all of the artist’s works, both finished and works in progress?
  • Could you give me the names of some insurance companies that cover artworks about which you have knowledge?
  • Are there other avenues that an artist might consider when shopping for insurance?
  • How can you be reached if readers have further questions?

My 4 tips for completing projects on time

On 09, Feb 2016 | No Comments | In Blog, Design, Fine Art | By Caren Hackman

I like to submit completed projects on time or in advance of their deadline. Truth be told; if a client needs something ASAP, I will do everything within my ability to complete the work on short notice. However, I do try to avoid the frantic round-the-clock-all-nighter project mode of work. Below are some steps I take to complete projects on schedule. Although I’ve described the tasks as being part of a graphic design marketing or visual communications project, the steps can apply to nearly any project.

business-project-timeline-01ONE: Review the entire scope of the project with the client.

 TWO: Develop a timeline by breaking the project into phases and setting a deadline for each.

  1. In addition to setting a deadline when all work must be complete, I ask the client what a reasonable amount of time might be for them to review each phase. I include their review time and turnarounds on modifications of the work in the timeline.
  2. If certain tasks are dependent upon the work of others, I take into account this possible extra time.
  3. I determine two phases during the project development where I compare project components’ compatibility with the final output requirements. This might involve communicating with outside vendors such as a printer; a production company for trade show or; an online source where I might want to check placement, browser compatibility and loading time. Checking for compatibility, running a test or trial or submitting a rough concept to those involved in the projects’ production will eliminate last minute unpleasant surprises.business-project-timeline-02

THREE: Allow ample time for proof reading. Ask someone who has not yet reviewed the project to look at it for content and clarity. Those involved most closely with the project might consider a piece of information common knowledge or after revising it too many times, may skip over necessary edits, such as an incorrect URL or missing phone number. Having an outsider, or member of the target market group review the communications piece will make the end product more successful.

FOUR: Be vigilant about adhering to the timeline. Check often to be certain that all involved are keeping up with the planned goals and their individual timelines for each phase. Troubleshoot, as needed.

Do you have tips for completing projects on schedule without entering the panic mode near the finish line? If so, please comment.

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“Our Sweet Tropics” Art Exhibit

On 19, Jan 2016 | No Comments | In Blog, Fine Art | By Caren Hackman

I’m thrilled that I’ll be showing a selection of my paintings from my “Our Sweet Tropics” collection at the Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center at Palm Beach State College in Belle Glade January 20 through January 29.

On January 22 I’ll be sharing the spotlight with Jarrod Spector, the singer/actor who played Frankie Valli in Broadway’s Jersey Boys.  He’ll be performing his latest show, featuring songs from the Jersey Boys era and talking about his time with the Broadway hit.

Palm Beach County friends: I hope to see you in the lobby exhibit area before and after Jarrod’s performance on Friday, January 22.

Location: Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center at Palm Beach State College, 1977 SW College Dr, Belle Glade FL 33430

Hours: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM Monday – Thursday and 9:00 AM – 12 noon on Friday.

Information: Please call the Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center at  561-993-1160.

pineapple-and-watermelon-web

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Commissioned painting is a recognition gift

On 29, Dec 2015 | No Comments | In Blog, Design, Fine Art | By Caren Hackman

It’s always a wonderful occurrence when I am able to use my fine art skills for clients with whom I’ve been providing graphic design and vice versa. I am happy to share with you a recently completed watercolor painting. The painting was commissioned by Palm Healthcare Foundation in recognition of Mark W. Cook’s significant contribution to the work of Palm Healthcare Foundation and the Mollie Wilmot Center.

Mollie Wilmot Center painting

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The Artist – The Dealer – A Match Made in Heaven?

On 15, Dec 2015 | No Comments | In Blog, Fine Art | By Caren Hackman

Have you ever wondered if a person or company was acting as your art dealer, or was the relationship something else? An art dealer is any individual, group of individuals or company that buys, sells or trades in art. The dealer may or may not have exhibition space open to the public. The dealer can operate within varying commercial structures -from an individual in their home to a corporation with gallery space. There are neither government regulatory requirements nor a licensing body for art dealers. Many are members of professional organizations that provide education and networking opportunities.

Sheryl G. Wood, Esquire, discusses the artist dealer relationship in this article. Sheryl specializes in representing collectors, artists, dealers and those with an interest in the business of art. Sheryl has been generous with her time and expertise by contributing to this blog. She can be reached at artlaw@earthlink.net.

Please note: This is not intended as legal advice. Any advice will always depend on the specific facts and circumstances of the situation.

Most artists like to sell their work and to be treated fairly in the process. A good art dealer can be a significant asset to an artist. But, it is important for both the dealer and the artist to think about the relationship before entering into any type of agreement. A written agreement is very important to both! It is the framework for the artist-dealer or principal-agent relationship. A written agreement should include the following:

  • how the artist gets paid
  • the degree of artistic control the artist has in staging an exhibition of the works
  • the amount of commission payable to the dealer and how it is computed.
  • any other terms specific to a particular artist or dealer
  • counsel to review the agreement
  • a sales or consignment agreement for each piece of art to be transferred. The consignment agreement can be part of the original agreement or an attachment. Both the agreement and consignment form(s) must be signed by both parties. In addition, each time you consign work(s), a consignment form should be drafted and signed.

So how does a sale occur?

It could be an outright sale from the artist to the dealer. While this is rarer than consignment arrangements, a written document should still be drafted and signed to protect both parties, even if payment has already been made:

  • proof to the creation and ownership of the works,
  • confirmation of any agreements on reproduction rights or
  • any other portion of the copyright that is to be retained, licensed or sold.
  • mention of the right to collect royalties or the right to borrow back for exhibitions.

A consignment arrangement is usually how most art works are sold. And again, there should be a written agreement signed by both parties. In Florida, where I live, if the sale is for more than $500, without a writing evidencing the sale, the agreement is generally unenforceable. Under Florida law, consignments are presumed when an artist delivers a work of art for sale or exhibition and the art dealer accepts that delivery. In a consignment agreement, the dealer becomes the artist’s agent and owes a fiduciary duty to the artist. This means the dealer must act in the best interest of the artist. The dealer must care for and manage the works prudently; deal fairly and honestly with the artist; periodically account as to the dispositions of the works; and disclose all information relevant to the works and the artist.

An artist must also make a determination as to whether or not to grant exclusivity to the dealer. There are generally two types of exclusivity arrangements:

1) An exclusive agency arrangement where the dealer is the only dealer, but the artist can also sell their own works without paying the dealer a commission.

2) An exclusive power to sell is more advantageous to the dealer. In this arrangement the artist cannot sell on their own without paying their dealer a commission for the work sold.

Enforcement can only be realized in most cases with a signed agreement. The artist-dealer relationship can no longer be built on a conversation and a handshake; many artists and dealers are now entering into written agreements. This is not an insult, but a part of the economic times and legal realities of today’s art market. It is important that the agreements be as specific and as clear to each party’s intentions. If not, even with a written agreement, you could leave yourself open to court or other administrative determination.

Here are examples of two opposing court rulings:

  • Georgia O’Keeffe’s dealer of many years never requested a written contract. Even though the dealer had been promised many things by the artist, when there was a falling out and no written contract could be produced, the court found the alleged oral promises to be unenforceable.
  • In contrast, the artist Peter Halley entered into an oral agreement with his gallery. When the relationship soured the artist alleged that written contracts had been discouraged by the gallery and therefore there was no contract to be breached when he found alternative representation. The gallery alleged it had built the artist’s career and reputation and had incurred costs of over half a million dollars in doing so. After some preliminary rulings by the court, the parties settled with the artist paying undisclosed sums to the gallery. 

So what are the lessons to be learned? There should always be a written agreement/ contract that is clear and complete, otherwise it can require interpretation by the courts. The agreement should be drafted by professionals looking at your specific circumstances. You can start with a template, but should be customized for both buyer and seller. The need for written agreements should not discourage artists; if done properly, these agreements can be a tremendous help in the long run by ensuring those tough conversations are had before the parties enter into a relationship. It is never a good time to review those terms after something has occurred to the artist’s detriment. This creates a more professional relationship between the artist and dealer that will hopefully last a long time and be mutually beneficial.

art-brushes-in-pot-dealer

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Sea Gull Paintings

On 01, Dec 2015 | No Comments | In Blog, Design, Fine Art | By Caren Hackman

I would like to introduce two of my newest artworks; “Gulls Conversation” and “Orange Feet.” I chose this subject matter because I enjoy the graphic quality of the birds’ markings against the background of their environment.

I enjoy exploring visual intersections; observing the edges of things where the light meets the dark, where the natural meets the human-made, where the old meets the new, land meets water.

During the recent few years, my concentration has been the development of textural techniques with 2-D media to better express the qualities of the subject matter. The recent works use many techniques to depict and express the mood of the birds in relation to their environment. The process is an integral part of the product. I work freely, incorporating materials and tools that satisfy the mood and spirit of the painting. For these pieces, I used traditional watercolors, gesso, acrylic paint, thai unryu paper, mat board scrapers, sponges, button thread, a stiff bristled oil painting brush, traditional watercolor brushes, my fingers, a toothbrush, and spray water bottle.

Gulls orange Feet inspired by sea gulls flying close to the Singer Island beach. Mixed media on 100% rag Arches; 22" x 15"; $750

Gulls Orange Feet inspired by sea gulls flying close to the Singer Island beach.
Mixed media on 100% rag Arches; 22″ x 15″; $750

Gulls-Conversation inspired by sea gulls flying close to the Singer Island beach. Mixed media on 100% rag Arches; 22" x 15"; $750

Gulls-Conversation inspired by sea gulls flying close to the Singer Island beach.
Mixed media on 100% rag Arches; 22″ x 15″; $750

 

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