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.
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 answers 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?
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.
ONE: 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.
- 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.
- If certain tasks are dependent upon the work of others, I take into account this possible extra time.
- 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.
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.Pin It
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.
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.Pin It
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 email@example.com.
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.Pin It
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.
I have a cousin with whom I’ve only met once or twice as a child. I have no idea what circumstances kept us apart, but we never had an opportunity to become well acquainted.
We both became artists. David is also a highly respected yogi and instructor in New York City. And I, after experiencing several years of very serious back pain, have found myself very devoted to practicing yoga as therapy for my back and my psyche.
A recent trip to New York City seemed like the optimal time to develop a dialogue with David. Upon meeting, questions came pouring out about David’s choices of subject matter, the relationship of the yoga practice to his artwork, methods of drawing and painting and the figurative art scene in New York.
One of my first questions to David was an instructional one. I plan to begin doing life sketches in yoga class. Because, I haven’t drawn from life in some time and feel very rusty, I asked David, who draws everyday, and attends life drawing classes, how to begin. He told me to prepare by familiarizing myself with structural artistic anatomy. The skull, rib cage and pelvis are the most important.
David professes to be an anatomy geek and has worked with master dissectionists to study the human body. He has gone so far as to attend human body dissections that help to inform his work as well as his yoga practice and teaching. In January David will work with Tom Myers, Master Dissector, in Arizona, to learn more about human anatomy. For his personal work, David prefers to work with live models, but also uses photos.
He advised me to treat the process of drawing a person the same way I might draw an apple; as light on form. I’ll be publishing more art, anatomy and yoga Q and A with David Michael Hollander in the future. For now, wish me luck in my yoga class sketch endeavor!
Once again, I was asked to exhibit my work in several locations during the coming season. Each location sounded like a wonderful opportunity for exposure and possible sale. The downside was that few of the venues provided insurance. In fact some insisted that I sign an agreement, not holding the venue responsible for the safety of my work. This sad situation is all too common.
I turned to Sheryl Wood to see if she could enlighten me about art insurance for artists. Sheryl is an attorney who has studied the art business and fine art appraisals at NYU for the last several years and will be attending Art Law Day in November. This article serves as an overview. We’ll compile some more detailed questions about art insurance for Sheryl for a future article. Please submit a comment in the area provided below or email me to ask some of your own questions.
Please note: This is not intended as legal advice. Any advice will always depend on the specific facts and circumstances of a particular situation.
CH: Do artists need to have insurance?
SW: Dependent on value of course, it is important for professional artists to insure the work that is in their studio. Certainly galleries and museums need to be covered, but the artist cannot always count on that when consigning work or loaning out for an exhibition. It should be clear in their agreements who bears the risk of loss. Not something artists like to talk about when getting excited about doing an exhibition.
- Artists should always have an agreement.
- READ it BEFORE signing it.
- Ask questions if you don’t understand something.
Agreements are usually one sided as to who drafted, that is why it is a good idea for the artist to have their own agreements that can be negotiated. Obviously, depending on who bears the upper hand and how badly the consignee or museum wants the work will play a hand in that negotiation, but that doesn’t mean the artist shouldn’t take the lead when it comes to his or her work.
CH: how does an artist determine the value of their work for insurance purposes?
SW: If insured for replacement value, make sure it is for “retail” replacement value, not the artist’s cost for the materials (which unfortunately is what the IRS allows when the artist makes a donation of his work — as opposed to a collector who gets a fair market value deduction for the same donation). You have sales comparables for work so I would imagine you can use that for reference. Then I would think you would need some sort of schedule that allows for rotation when you make a sale.
CH: Sheryl thank you so much for your time and expertise.
SW: You are very welcome. I look forward to responding to more questions. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I recently worked with an enormously talented arts-education integration specialist and photo-journalist, Jean Hart Howard. She asked if I could add some interest to her resume. The resume was robust. It was filled with lists and descriptions of Jean’s credentials, experience, exhibits and awards. However, the text heavy resume prevented the reader from grasping her high level of creative energy and expertise.
We worked together to select photos from her arts integration teaching classes to create a grid in the center of the resume that showed the work of her students. Text was edited and headings were bolded and colored to match elements from the featured artworks.
Visual elements add more interest and “personality” to a resume or one page business information sheet.
Below are a couple of links to previously published articles about this topic:
- on my blog: http://carenhackman.com/?s=resume
- A very comprehensive article that I wrote for The Rickie Report: http://www.therickiereport.com/2012/09/20/caren-hackman-shares-resume-building-tips-for-creative-professionals/
A few weeks a go The Rickie Report asked me to complete an article about internationally acclaimed sculptor, Steve Blackwood. I always enjoy working with Rickie but this time I was particuarly excited about the request to write an article. I had recently returned from the “Reimagined” exhibit at the Delray Center for the Arts at Old School Square. I found much of the work captivating and was thrilled to learn that I now had an opportunity to speak directly with Steve Blackwood, one of the artists whose work I admired.
My focus was on Steve’s process. I have a background in industrial design and currently work as a graphic designer and fine artist. I appreciate that in order to produce the mixed-media, sculptural pieces Steve must combine numerous materials, forms, and finishes. For many of his smaller pieces, Steve works with found objects. The smaller scale permits him to experiment with the elements’ position and relationships until the assemblages look just right. The larger pieces are planned more carefully because of the time and cost involved with experimenting. Many sketches are begun in Photoshop which allows Blackwood to simulate how parts will come together. Sometimes Steve uses ebay and etsy to get parts for projects. When the items in his imagination cannot be found, he calls upon other artists and craftspersons to fabricate items.
Please visit The Rickie Report to read the entire article: Steve Blackwood, Internationally Acclaimed Sculptor, In Three Simultaneous Exhibits in Palm Beach County