“Twenty dollars worth of art, please.” By Jane Ayres

photo credit Jane Ayres
photo credit Jane Ayres

Growing up in the 60s and 70s it was a treat after school to stop by the corner shop and buy a penny’s worth of sweets.  Lemon bonbons were my favourite.  They were scooped out of the huge jar and carefully weighed out, measured to the value of a penny and then placed in a paper bag.

Fast forward around 40 years.  I’m a big fan of the US TV series Parks and Recreation, a wonderfully observed, funny, warm character comedy  which centres around the employees of the parks and recreation department in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana.   Season 2, currently on BBC 4, featured an episode in which office staff were invited to produce a design for a mural contest. Declaring he has no interest or talent in art, the seemingly shallow character called Tom decides to cheat and approaches a professional designer to do the work for him. Believing art to be simply another commodity, he requests “20 dollars worth of art”. I laughed out loud at this. (The irony is that he later falls in love with the abstract work produced, forming a deep emotional connection with his piece of art).

It got me thinking about how we measure the creative process in monetary terms.  How do we /can we value art?  And our time as creative producers?  I wonder how many artists have had clients asking how much art they can get for £10? £100? £1000?  Interestingly, commission guidelines for composers are often based on cost per minute of music, and writers can be paid per word for articles and features.

My e-books are priced between £1.95 – £3.98. Many e-books cost just 99p.  They could have taken 6 months or several years of work to produce.  What else can you get for £1.95?  Not even a cappuccino.  Is my latest book worth less than that?

Pricing and charging is a tricky arena.  Especially since creatives often do a lot of work gratis (and are often expected to do stuff for free).  I’ve done plenty for free – sometimes willingly and happily if I know that funding was a problem, other times not so much.  What is my time worth?  If no-one pays me is my time worthless? Would you ever assume that a plumber or mechanic or solicitor will work for free?

The arts make money. A recent report in the Guardian highlighted the fact that, “Analysis by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) shows that the arts budget accounts for less than 0.1% of public spending, yet it makes up 0.4% of the nation’s GDP.

The report is published amid fears that the arts will take another big hit when George Osborne announces his spending review in June.”  (Click link below to read the article).

We are all consumers.  But, as a creative, how do you value your time?  And that of other creative producers?

Links: http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2012/nov/22/parks-and-recreation-bbc4

http://www.impulse-music.co.uk/commission_fees.htm

http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2013/may/07/arts-worth-millions-uk-economy?goback=%2Egde_4148866_member_238627525

Related posts:

http://janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/is-book-simply-commodity-should-you-be.html

Work Your Way With Words – The Word Shed – Various Dates – Medway

shed_graphic1_weblogo

ME4Writers present their collective, collaborative project ‘The Word Shed’ at Fuse Medway Festival!

Come and visit The Word Shed, where inside, instead of seeds, pots and a lawnmower, and that drawer that’s full of things that you might need one day, you will find yourself in a blossoming, inspirational world of words.

During the festival, visitors to The Word Shed will help create a new ME4Writers’ publication. On the first two days, visitors will have the chance to add their poem or short story to the growing publication, on the third day, the writers will perform highlights from the new, nurtured and fully grown publication, and giveaway a free copy

The Word Shed is a Spark Commission for the Fuse Medway Festival, 14-16 June 2013.

‘ Wordshops’

ME4Writers will also be running some creative writing workshops, ‘Wordshops’, in the run up to the festival, where we will invite attendees to write short prose and poems inspired by Medway, Fuse and festivals!

Wordshops will be held at:

11 May – 1.30-3.30pm – Rochester Library

18 May – 10.30am-12.30pm – Strood Library

25 May – 10.30am-12.30pm – Walderslade Village Library

8 June – 1.30-3.30pm – Chatham Library

Places are free – but please reserve a place with the library concerned, or by phoning 01634 337799.

All submissions will then be added to our website, and a selection will be available from the Shed on the last day of the festival, printed in our new publication.

ME4Writers are known for their innovative, collaborative projects, and guerrilla publishing techniques, and have previously produced a poetry treasure hunt game played around the streets of Medway, ‘Poetrymon’, and the popular ‘Letters Home’ project, which asked people to write about home, culminating in an afternoon of readings and an exhibition at Rochester Library.

Dates: The Word Shed will be at various locations in Medway throughout the Fuse Festival. For exact locations please see their website, nearer the time.

http://me4wordshed.wordpress.com / Twitter @wordshed / http://www.facebook.com/wordshed

The Art of Crowdfunding: Presented by Crista Cloutier – 22nd May 2013 – Folkestone

Image by Rocío Lara
Image by Rocío Lara

The Art of Crowdfunding: A one hour workshop for artists, writers and creatives presented by Crista Cloutier.

Crowdfunding is fast becoming one of the most popular ways for artists and creatives to raise money. But is it as easy as it sounds? What is involved in a crowd funding campaign? In this intensive one hour workshop, Crista Cloutier will discuss the recent trends in crowd funding as she reveals the successes and challenges faced during her recent Indiegogo project.

Participants will learn:
– What is crowd funding and how does it work?
– How to choose the right platform
– How to approach budgets
– The importance of planning and implementation
– The hidden values of crowd funding
– Dealing with failures and setback
– Tips and tricks

Actively involved in the contemporary art world throughout her career, Crista Cloutier works internationally as a writer, artist, playwright, and educator. For more information go towww.cristacrista.com

Host University Centre Folkestone
Start Time Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 at 14:00pm
Entry Fee £FREE
Member Entry Fee £FREE
Location University Centre Folkestone
Mill Bay
Folkestone
Kent CT20 1JG

FREE to attend but booking essential – contact Jane Seaman

The weblink is here: http://www.canterbury.ac.uk/events/event-details.asp?eventId=3848

Art Vending Machine For Medway – Lets Do This!

ArtVendingMachine

So…Leeds have recently been featured on the BBC news website  regarding their new art vending machine, and fellow creatives here in Medway think it is only fair Medway and Kent have one too. So lets make it happen.

Included in the vending machine could be art as seen in the BBC link.

Also poetry like this carried out here: http://nicelledavis.com/2013/02/19/we-made-our-kickstarter-goal-poetry-vending-machines-are-on-the-way/

The machine could tour round different venues and events 🙂 it would be so cool!

Any other ideas?

I am apprehensive to start an official crowd funder yet. It would be great to generate interest then ask people to send the money to a certain Paypal address – or just pay in cash at selected venues in Medway.

Ed Jennings has kindly worked out we need around £200 to buy a machine and the initial containers for the machine.

Can people who are willing to support financially, even a few £  –  please add a comment or email me?

Thanks guys! And thank you to Richard Jeferies for the encouragement to do this! 🙂

Natasha x

natasha@creatabot.co.uk

Get Your Application In For Medway Open Studios 2013 – Deadline 26th April

The Hazelnut Press studio - part of The Ridley Road Group
The Hazelnut Press studio – part of The Ridley Road Group

Registration for the Medway Open Studios and Arts Festival closes on Friday 26 April. All artists and makers from the Medway area are being urged to sign up quickly and avoid missing out on being a part of this creative festival.

Now in its second year, the arts festival has increased by 100% since its launch in July 2012. This summer, 30 venues will be displaying work by more than 100 local artists and students, making it the largest independent art festival in Medway.

To encourage more artists to sign up a Makers Market option has been introduced, offering pitches inside the new emerging art venue, Sun Pier House. The art market will be open over the weekends of the festival, with various products and crafts on sale. Apply before Friday 26 April to book your place.

The festival runs from Saturday 13 to Sunday 21 July 2013. For more information please visit www.medwayopenstudios.co.uk

 

Area: Kent       South East     Medway

Survived – Chatham Clinic – Open 19th May 2013

Chatham Clinic - Open 19th May 2013

The clinic will be open in Chatham on May the 19th 2013. Book at www.survived.eventbrite.co.uk

A unique theatre experience is taking place at Sun Pier House, Chatham, on the 19th May.

Entitled “Survived”, the event is described as “site responsive interactive theatre”, which means you as the audience get to walk around the performance taking place throughout the building, and engage with the performers.

Set in the distant present, Survived is a clinic for people who have survived a nuclear explosion and need treatment for their radiation poisoning caused by fallout. You, the visitor, are in this case, the patient needing help.

This is the perfect opportunity to see how empty space can be used for unique types of theatre, as well as an example of collaboration within the community. The event is aimed to be inspiring and educational. 

Expect gas masks, steampunk and bizarre medical instruments.

Survival wear is optional.

There are two clinics, one at 7.30pm and one at 8.30pm. Each clinic lasts 45 minutes.

Tickets cost £5 and must be pre-booked at www.survived.eventbrite.co.uk

Disabled access disclaimer: Unfortunately, due to the current nature of the building in use, we are unable to provide access to this event for the disabled.

Fresh Look For Fuse Festival 2013 With New Artistic Director

Fuse festival, a free outdoor festival held yearly in Medway, is back for 2013 with a new artistic director. The festival is also supporting some new exciting projects by local creatives.

The new artistic director, Megan Donnolley, is originally from Australia, where her working life encompassed an exciting variety of comedy, fashion, dance and theatre events including Sydney’s Fringe and Comedy festivals, Megan brings an international flavour to Fuse, together with an absolute commitment to local Medway communities and artists. Based in London, most recently she has curated public art and exhibitions, worked on community art projects in the Tower Hamlets, and is Co-Director of Comica: London International Comics Festival. She has also delivered large scale outdoor events, national open access film and literature competitions and worked extensively in contemporary music as an agent and music festival producer.

MeganDonnollyFuseMedwayFestival
Megan Donnolly

Back in January local creatives were offered the chance to put forward ideas for the festival, and 3 unique projects have been awarded with the commission to carry out their ideas.

Dizzy O'Dare
Dizzy O’Dare

Dizzy O’Dare Presents…. will be bringing ‘The Wonderful World of Mr E,’ an interactive show for ages 5+, featuring puppets, clowning and story-telling.  Mr E travels through the audience’s imagination, visiting strange new lands and going on fun adventures. Mr E and his two assistants will take their audience on an expedition into imagination itself. Between shows the audience will be encouraged to visit Mr E’s intriguing Museum where they can write a postcard, draw some of Mr E’s adventures, or help create a new artefact or creature.

Rebecca Ashton’s
Rebecca Ashton’s

Rebecca Ashton’s ‘The Sirens of Cetham’ will be a visually exciting dance performance on and around The Anchor in Chatham (Cetham being the ancient word for Chatham).  The bustling setting will inspire the costume design and in turn, the choreography. A sewing group will help make the costumes and a local school will decorate a ‘Feedback Fishing Net.’  Young choreographers and costume designers will learn new skills from professionals during the project and the whole performance will be live and interactive during the Festival.

ME4 Writers
ME4Writers

Innovative writers’ group ME4Writers are creating ‘The Wordshed’ – a cosy and intimate base for creative thought.  Guided by visitors to the Festival, the writers will develop and launch a new collection of poetry and stories for (and about) Fuse Festival, festivals in general and Medway. Visitors who wish to take part will be invited to create their own piece of writing to add to the collection. On Day 3 of the Festival there will be the opportunity to hear readings from the finished publication and collect a free copy.

 Other creative projects will be involved, but this is yet to be announced.

FUSE 2013 will take place from 14th to 16th June, preceded by Lighting the Fuse. Visitors to the Festival can expect to see Medway’s streets and open spaces filled with some of the most exciting and inspiring entertainment with lots of free arts events for all the family throughout the weekend.

For more information about Fuse Medway Festival visit the website at www.fusefestival.org.uk, or join them on Facebook or Twitter.

Area: Kent   South East    Medway

Chinese Brush Painting Workshop With Ann Fairchild – 26th March 2013 – Strood

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Artist Ann Fairchild will be running a workshop about Chinese brush painting in Strood on the 26th March. She will be demonstrating how she creates her paintings and then participants will be able to give it a try.

Bring along water pots, newspapers and wear your painting clothes!

The workshop has been organised by the North Kent Art Society www.facebook.com/NKArtSociety

New members/ visitors welcome.

Members £2, Non Members £5. Annual Membership £15.

Location: Peninsula Church Hall, Cliffe Road, Strood. ME2 3DY.

Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2013

7.30pm – 9.30pm.

Enquiries:Tina Woodward 01634 725006 Email:tinwoody21@yahoo.co.uk

or

Hazel Kilburn 01634 250322 Email:hazelchristine1@btinternet.com

Area:  Kent    Strood    South East

What A Young Artist Taught Me About Crowdfunding – By Crista Cloutier

Harrison

It was Day 16 of the campaign and I had only cried in public once. Twice. Online crowdfunding is not for the faint of heart.

I’ve spent my entire career in and around the art world. I recently curated a touring exhibition of new work by Kiki Smith and Valerie Hammond. I have been a gallerist and a fine art print-publisher, collaborating with the luminaries of the international art world. I have sold artwork to nearly every major institution in the USA as well as thousands of galleries and collections.

But about five years ago I had what I refer to as a midlife “correction.” Desperate to become something different, I sold all of my possessions and used them as a ticket to a new life. I left my home in the states and moved to the south of France, devoting a year to discovering my own creative path, before moving to England where I really got down to work and became a writer and photographer.

Throughout my career I have seen how artists struggled and I knew it didn’t have to be so hard. So I began sharing with artists what I knew about how the art market works and giving them the tools necessary to create a successful career. I called my class The Working Artist and I have now spent the past three years teaching it throughout the world.

I’ve long wanted to turn this course into an online educational program, something that could be downloaded so that any artist, anywhere, can have access to this information at an affordable price. After spending nearly a year researching the options and putting a business plan together I decided to launch an online crowdfunding campaign to raise the monies it would take to film and edit the program.

The launch party was a huge success and I exceeded my initial goal in terms of donations. The next two weeks have been a whirling dervish of emotions and bloody hard work. At the computer constantly posting, begging, pleading, thanking. And when I’m not at the computer I am out on the streets handing out promotional materials, chatting with artists, lecturing, making connections, chasing leads. This month, it seems, will never end.

The biggest take-aways have been the lessons learned, the hard way, about staying balanced, about not being attached to the outcome, and about letting go of what other people think. Easy lessons none.

But it’s been difficult to keep the faith. Though I have been blessed with little moments of serendipity that give me cheer, each day that someone tells me “no” can bring my spirits crashing to the ground. And so Day 16 began. I was halfway through the campaign, I’d begged every friend, relative, and ex-boyfriend I knew and had raised just over half my goal. Now what? I was exhausted. Well-intentioned friends gave me advice about how I could be doing it better, but they only served to make it worse. I was having a crisis of faith.

Harrison

I was on my bicycle whizzing down a hill under a bridge when something caught my eye. A little boy was drawing with chalk on the concrete wall. My camera was at home with a dead battery. But I have a phone, I reminded myself. I hate photographing with a phone and I don’t photograph children but something told me to turn back. I asked his mother if I could take a picture. I tried to get a shot of him as he drew, apologizing for not having my good camera. “So do you just ride your bike and take pictures of things that interest you?” he asked. I nodded and he looked impressed, “I want to be like you.” What’s that? “An artist,” he smiled.

He showed me some of his other, earlier, chalk drawings. There was a large piece called “People Pasture” of a unicorn eating people. “But I don’t think that’s my best work,” he said gravely. His name was Harrison and he was 8 years old. His drawings filled the walls with their childlike graffiti, he’d even written poetry. “Faith. Justice. Believers matter,” he wrote.

“Sometimes,” he confessed, “I have doubts about my work.” Harrison wanted to be a famous artist. We spoke for a long time. He told me how it hurts when people don’t like what he does. I pointed him back to his own words, “Believers matter.”

I told him what it is to be an artist, how it’s important to always take chances, to make your life an expression of your work, of your self. I spoke of integrity. He drank my words in thirsty gulps. I told him how fame is a false prophet and how his life’s work, as an artist, is to work hard to develop that which lies inside and to always look for ways to express it, leaving everyplace he ever goes more beautiful for him having been there. “Like you do with these walls,” I told him.

He said, “It’s so good that I met you.” But it was I who was blessed. I told Harrison about my crowdfundung campaign and he encouraged me not to give up. “Look how much you have helped me today,” he said. “This is your work.”

I asked to take his picture with my phone and he made me wait so he could put on his glasses. As I left, he told me that he would be back tomorrow, making another drawing, should I want to visit him. “I will photograph you again,” I promised.

“Bring your good camera this time,” he said.

By Crista Cloutier

Crista Cloutier’s crowdfunding campaign ends on March 30th. Visit www.igg.me/at/theworkingartist to see how you can participate.