Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflecting on my Arts Practice 2010

Well what a year 2010 has been. I became a mum for the first time, and while trying to me a mum I (stupidly) held my first solo exhibition, eScapism, in November. It was certainly a challenge, but somehow I got through it. (Probably because I missed out on alot of naps I should of taken). The first few months was ok because bub slept more, then as time got on, and naps became fewer and shorter I found finding the time to paint even more difficult. So I put bubba into daycare 2days a week. This was a godsend as it meant if didn't have to spent as many late nights working on my paintings for the exhibition. 

So I accomplished 12 paintings for my exhibition from large to small. I even managed to paint 2 small postcards for two gallery's annual members auction exhibitions during this time (and I SOLD them!). And when my exhibition was installed, it meant the last two months of the year were free to do my own painting. So my first piece was the Whimsical Bird Tree featured earlier in this blog. Then I was on a roll of creativity, bursting from my seams...I started doing some pen ink drawings, and ink and wash drawing, and a few more painting (4 finished and 2 works in progress).

Visit my gallery here to see the most recent works I painted this year; Whimsical Bird Tree, Oriental Lanterns, Chocolate Cupcake, and Wrapped Sweets. And sold paintings include; Botanical Garden Bridge, Garden Flowers in Vase, Breaking Wave, as well as two paintings sold from my exhibition eScapsim and a commission.

I had two articles published in Artist Palette Magazine; one a feature article on Cell Art Space, the management committee I was a member of, and the second was a feature article on demonstration on me. 

I started my Redbubble and Zazzle store sites. I have bought some products and very impressed by the quality. Great for gifts! Check them out. You get unique products with my original art images on them.

So all in all, completing 16 paintings in a year is a mighty feat to have been a new mum, working part time and having my own exhibition! So I think a pretty successful year of creating art. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Contract to Commission Art Template

As an Artist progresses in their art career they may be approached to do a commission.


A commission is a contract between you the supplier of a service (for work and materials) to the client. Basically someone is hiring you to create an artwork for them and in return pay you for your services.


Just like any negotiation, it is important steps are taken to ensure your rights are protected. So drawing up your own Contract to Commission Artwork document protects you, explains what both parties expectations and responsibilities are, and is a legal binding document.

A legal document does not necessarily mean you have to have a witness or get a JP to sign it. It can be a verbal agreement. It is always better to be more prepared and take safer measures to ensure you do not get screwed over. So having a contract in place is a great idea for Artists. I send mine to the client while in the enquiry stage so they know what to expect and are aware of the conditions.

So some things to consider in your commission contract:
  1. Your details of course
  2. Describe what is the purpose of this contract -what is being commissioned
  3. Discuss payment options and methods
  4. Give details on timeframe to complete artwork and for payment to be made
  5. Delivery details e.g. insured, shipping? When?
  6. What happens if the client does not like the finished product? How flexible are you? What is your 'policy' for returns or refunds?
  7. How can the client take care of the artwork to ensure its longevity?
  8. Most importantly -COPYRIGHT -clearly state your rights

Other links which may be of use to you creating your own contract:

Links

Creating Art on Commission Without Getting Burnt: A Short Guide for Artists, Empty Easel, 27/05/2008. by Dan.

Commission the Artist  by Jan Keen 

Sample Art Commission Contract by Kelly Borsheim 

Commission Contracts by The Art of Business

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How to write a Letter of Support for Grant Applications

During my years of TAFE and University studies in the arts, we have learnt and studied much about grants and applying for them, even practicing with made up grant applications to get the experience in filling out the forms. But until you either finish your studies and are ready to embark on your professional art career do and actually do one for real, do you come across things practicing does not inform you of. 

For instance, we know and are told and learn that you need to get quotes, budgets and letters of support...but it wasn't until I was applying for my own first time real grant application did I find it a bit of an obstacle.

There is not really a "formula" on how to write a letter of support (LOS) nor really what to do. Yes some grant applications do describe the  things they require, but it is not always clear what is actually required. 

For me I am someone who likes to know the 'structure' or template to follow something.

So from my experience of securing my own grant therefore have completed the relevant components such as acquiring LOS and also writing them for fellow colleagues here is some information on what could be required and what you might include. The easiest example I can tell you is think of your LOS like a job application cover letter (but written by someone else).


Things to be included for someone else writing a letter of support for you, the artist, applying for the grant or vice versa if you are writing a LOS for someone else:
  • Who is the artist/Who are you
  • What is your relationship to the applicant? How do you know them?
  • At what stage is the applicant in their arts practice (ie emerging or professional) 
  • What qualifications do you know of the applicant possesses
  • What similiar experiences in skill or knowledge whether work, volunteer related or other do you know of the applicant has which could assist completion of the project. 
  • Provide information on you, the referee, to give credence to the applicant. E.g. Your professional background. Your profile in the arts industry if applicable. 
  • Summarise how the applicants' project would be beneficial to the arts and therefore should be funded 
Tips:
  • Give your referees as much notice as possible. As they have to find time to write this for you.
  • Give your referee a sample of what is required to help them know all the facts and what to write. I.E. Sent them information about you and the grant you are applying for. It is better to provide more information then what is required as sometimes it can take a couple of days for them to get back to you.
  • Give them a deadline a few days or so before you need it. As sometimes they will take right up to the deadline or over.
  • Include this information on a letterhead if you have one

HERE IS AN EXAMPLE TEMPLATE TO FOLLOW:

  • Your Details
    DATE
    Funding Body
    Grant
     
  • Re: Letter of Support
     
  • To whom it may concern,
     
  • Opening:
    a) I am writing in support of (Artist Name) application to recommend the support of his/her activities in the request for funding for his/her project…
    b) (Your Organisation name) is delighted to support (Artist Name) in his/her project…(explain project)
    c) I strongly support the application for project grant funding by (Artist Name)…
     
  • Go onto explain your knowledge of the Artist’s work and work experience background –like a mini CV. For example;
    a) I have known/worked with (Artist) for some time and have been impressed by his/her dedication to supporting the arts through his/her volunteer contribution (list organisation and responsibilities/tasks)….
    b) The Artist has (list degrees), work experience in/as (list previous volunteer or paid employment), other commitments he/his has embarked on include…His/her continual enthusiasm, motivation and support for the arts is met with encouragement and support from myself…
     
  • Back up the Artist by saying how beneficial the success of the grant funding will be for the artist’s project and community, e.g. public participation will encourage cultural awareness, incorporates the wider community to interact with the arts/their community, encourages educational development with children etc.
     
  • Conclusion:
    Ending sentence should reiterate your support for the benefits of the project to the community
     
  • Kind Regards,
    Sign
    (Name) 
HERE IS AN EXAMPLE LETTER OF SUPPORT
 
Chrissy Dwyer
2 Scarlet Rd
Forest Green Gardens
Artland 1234
 
10/6/2010
 
Artland Art Council
Art in the Communities Funding

Re: Letter of Support

I am writing in support of Crimson Phathlo’s application for funding to conduct a two-week
children’s art workshop. I have known Crimson for a number of years as a fellow peer through
our studies -having completed a double degree (Bachelor of Visual Arts/Bachelor of Education)
together at University.
 
As a professional art teacher myself and Crimson’s colleague, I support and encourage her in
her endeavours to become a successful art teacher through gaining the experience necessary to
develop her career in teaching children. Crimson has shown her enthusiasm for advancing her
career by volunteering during the school holidays to assist me in my children’s art workshops.
She is passionate about teaching children art, and educating them through art. Her dedication
to her arts practice is demonstrated through volunteering her time, and with developing her
own lesson plans.
 
By funding the application to support Crimson’s children’s art workshops, she will be able to
deliver the opportunity to a broad scope of children the availability to participate in educational
creativity for minimal or low cost, making art more accessible to the wider community.
Therefore I wholly support Crimson’s request to gain funding to conduct children’s art
workshops.
Sincerely

Chrissy Dwyer
Artist
www.chrissydwyer.com.au
http://artycraftystudio.blogspot.com/


I do not profess to know if this information is correct or true to what the funding bodies seek. Each organisation is different in their expectations. Read through your submission guidelines on what they require, they do say what they want, read between the lines. Always go back to how the grant will benefit your project (and them of course).

Resources:
Grant Application Writing Factsheet from AbaF