Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Weekly Skirt Report - Hear Me Out - Do You Care?

This is from last February... please excuse the lateness...

I love a good complaint because I think there's room for reasoning... And after the Grammys a successful art show and such. I think I am line for a bitch fest. So put on your helmets, your goggles and leave ears open!

I am a visual artist in the music industry that has worked with amazing talent from local bands to legends. Some you've heard of and some you haven't but most of it you've heard some how some where. I have worked with visual artists from all levels - over the past few years and if you wanna reach back to my Nexus days - I worked on one of Radcliffe Bailey's first installments. I think after almost 16 years chasing musicians I can say I am a veteran. I don't think about myself that way but...I'd like think I know a thing or two about the importance of art and how it gets under your skin.

I remember from a young age, I would watch all the music shows and then afterwards write my acceptance speech. I was 10 folks. But I wanted to be Elton John, Billy Joel, Linda Ronstadt, Pat Benetar and Blondie all wrapped up in one. I have always thought if the song doesn't move me then forget it. Sometimes it wins me over note by note but not all the time. I looked the credits over to see who wrote what and if I loved the song I went back and found THAT songwriters stuff and listened to it - I would read over their lyrics see how poetic it got.

As a visual artist, I would do the same thing. I was drawn to color, texture, composition and if it moved me I'd stand there for a long time. I like work from abstract to photos - the work doesn't matter as long as the eye is good. It could be the worse colors but the composition would grab me. I thought concert photography was brilliant - capturing that second - from a 2 hour show get that inner thought on the outward face. I love layered work, I love political work - I get it more so than most because I don't know...actually - but when some one else doesn't I respect it.

And I am also an art director - so I see it the pain and joy of being in a gallery and the hardship it is to get out there and present it. It takes alot of guts. The effort to get it all together no one understands the process than artist. It's like a music show... the same process different medium.

So why do not care about the quality? One word - Acceptance.

What I am getting at is - do we care anymore - I know alot of you will argue this and or agree - but as a whole group of people. I don't think we do. That's what is missing from art- not the creating spirits but the ones that come and see. As I watched the Grammys and the Allman's - Beach Boys - Sir Paul Mc - it was interesting on two parts: 1-we aren't paying attention to the main center of it all -human connection and 2-we are cheapening something we all take seriously - our record collection...
I don't think he (Dave Grohl) was putting down the creative spirit just how it's presented wrapped up and thrown at us... either you catch it or you don't. If you gonna be creative be honest about it. If you wank a note fine... I think as a society whole - we see that as failure. When it just shows you're human. That's why Adele put everyone in their place with her voice problems after she put out her album - she couldn't do a thing. But the music spoke for her until she was healed. We are so pressured to be perfect all the time when we misspell we go back and *correct* ourselves. Dave feels like alot of artists that we are not connecting anymore. As humans with any medium. And it's not just the successful ones - uber rich - it's all over the map.
it's a fear of confidence a fear of failure a fear of losing... that's what life is about and as a creative spirit we are very vulnerable to that emotion.
So as art comes and goes, we as creative spirits, there are moments as viewers and artist where we attach our selves to that moment. And when it doesn't go the way we wanted it to go - and we let it make us, creative spirits, get miserable. Then you hear speeches like Dave Grohl's last night - saying folks it's a human thing to give you this - art - this creative thing that makes you feel - so please let us feel that too from you. There's a certain energy that comes from an audience to the artist that makes the creativity flow out. That's probably why Bruce Springsteen's shows are long... the energy is a conversation that won't stop.

As for visual art people are people just not into it anymore? Is there too much going on for our senses to stop?

So start caring about what you listen to and watch and view and read... it's important for us that created it because it's our spirit that is getting thrown about.

The Ballad of Marcus Dupree

Burned rubber on the green green grass
Airborne into the light unknown
Covered in old Mississippi Mud Pie Clay
He sits at home looking for love

Someone to hug
Without a pick pock
Someone to love
Without a traveling bone

Given any Friday, Saturday or Sunday
Taking it all in like a Christmas Tree
Glittered from head to toe
In stickers and in rings

From a tiny town with very little
From a scar that had overgrown
Ball was the only glue that stuck
And he was the their streak of luck

All he wanted was a friend
One he could count on
Like you; like me but never again

His smile and laugh are contagious
But his fear is driving him home
Back to Phily Miss
Back to hit or miss

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Good Morning Sunshine

This is a great view point on what we should do when the world doesn't get us:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Mid-Summer Art Reception For Helen Ferguson-Crawford

A Mid-Summer Art Reception For Helen Ferguson-Crawford
July 19th at The Defoor Centre

Atlanta, GA- The Defoor Centre once again brings the cool to you, with a mid summer art reception with Forum Gallery artist, Helen Ferguson-Crawford and her abstract paintings. The party will be on July 19th from 7-9PM with wine on hand.

Helen is apart of the all female artist show The Paper Dolls, with 6 other artists from all over the world. With a foundation of architect Helen walks a crooked line on her journey when she approaches the canvas. She plays with adjacencies of color, form, texture and line to uncover the sublime nature of familiar places and situations. This wraps the viewer into her story and leaves them breathless.

About the Defoor Centre:
The Defoor Centre is located off Howell Mill Rd in Atlanta in the reviving Westside neighborhood, where a lot of local vendors that cater to the interior designers have been going to for years. The Centre has been a growing facility hosting major fundraisers to corporate meetings to private weddings all in house catering with a full bar. 100 years ago this place was a hospital for the soldiers fighting at the Battle of Peachtree Creek and to this day they are “still there.”

For more information on the Defoor: or just come by Tues-Friday to get something to eat and browse – 1710 DeFoor Ave Atlanta GA. On or search for the Defoor Center ARTS group!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Good Afternoon Friday Clock Watchers...

Or should this be called "I'm sorry that you don't like my art but thank you for telling me, so NOW I can finally delete someone off my list":
I saw this link on my news feed and I probably wouldn't thought much of it but Preston Synder said this before the link:

"no such thing as "bad press".....?....hmmm.......come and form your own opinion, Rich Gere's closing Saturday from 7-9...."

THAT caught my eye. I am a PR chick during the day and I've seen my share of the good, the bad and the f-ugly. BUT oddly enough, there's an unwritten law about music reviews... if you don't like it don't review it. NOW AH NOE - this happens and some writers can do this tactfully. And some can't. My husband reviewed a cd YEARS ago and it was called "I Hate These Songs" and he reviewed with: Me too.

Classic... we all loved it. Not because it was mean or hateful only because it was gonna happen and thank God we took it in a humorous manner. You know the times when you say something... some one says... "well you walked into that one..." 

NOW - I have seen/heard bashing, I've been told to expand my vocabulary and I have witnessed my canvas being destroyed all because my horizon line was off. A tad. 

And after years of being in the music business, I"ve been yelled at by the best of the best where the best words were used. So I can honestly say I have thick skin. I can refer my years of being in my high school marching band for my preparation of growing my thick skin. Thank you FCHS. 

OK now, back to the article written by Karen Tauches on 

I am all for voicing my opinon and writing hate mail when I see if it fits. BUT there's a small problem with this - it seems like she's not paying attention. She took the artist statement to heart and expected better than what she saw. And that's gonna happen. We as artists know that. Already. I get the disappoiintment factor. It happens. 

I can see her suggestions aren't too crazy and I too have a HARD TIME with titling work. It's unfornate we can't just say this is it and be done. We have to put a title to it so the viewer can be guided towards a conclusion. And for songs it's usually the hook, the main line of the chorus and it's just for organizing at stores and on radio... or we'd all hear the song " I Love You and You Love Me" a million times a day. 

But after a few paragraphs of the massive let down she had she began to turn her head towards the Ponce Crush galleries which are located down by the Poncey-Highland area of Atlanta. If you eat at Fellinis on Ponce you can see it. 

BUT what she doesn't understand is this: Galleries are already hurting. Artists are STARVING. And to kick the dead horse one more time and REMIND US is tacky. We are working on being more financially succesful, better at promotion and bring an "experts" is probably harder than you think.

Being the Art Directior at the Defoor Centre I am in charge of over 20K square feet of keeping art on the walls. The artists are DIY when it comes to the hanging, their display cards and the over all presentation. We're aren't the High or the old Nexus buidling but we are there. We are supporting local and emerging artists, where we could just go buy hotel art and be done with it. Then you'd have something totally vaild to talk about. BUT until you have walked a mile or a just a few feet in our shoes.

The musicians, the visual artists, the book writers, the journalists...we are paying attention to the world around us with magnifiers. We are what you say back: "Wow I love it or I hate it." but do us a big favor lay off the snarky comments. Please. 

So when I read this type of thing it seems lazy as if she was done with gallery showing and had extra room to write, so she babbled a little to far... if she had a problem or wanted to express her disappointment she should've made an appointment with the gallery and discussed it with them. 

As for as the artist, I am sorry that he had to endure this... I mean getting press for anything anymore is truly the hardest thing to get so we get desparate and take it all. Why? Cause it makes US feel better. 

In the wise words of an old client of mine once said: "They didn't get me..." 

So to Karen Tauches I say, please rethink and see if you have one article or two or maybe one article and a good meeting with the gallery.... and we are truly sorry that the lighting wasn't up to par. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Annie Strack's Article on Pricing

Annie Strack, Developing a formula for pricing.docx
Developing a Strategy for Successful Pricing
How to create a sensible formula for pricing your artwork.
Several variables factor into art pricing.  To begin with, prices reflect the level of the artist’s recognition.  Paintings by well –known artists always command higher prices than work by unknown artists, often regardless of the skill involved.   Experience and credentials play a role in pricing as well, and works by artists who have acquired a history of awards, prominent collectors, and prestigious exhibits are perceived as more valuable than works by emerging artists.  Researching the prices of artists in your market who have a level of experience and style that is similar to yours can provide a starting point for formulating your prices.  
Market demand is also a large element in considering prices.  Artwork is worth what people are willing to spend on it, and the more people who want it; the more value it has.  The geographic area also plays a part in pricing, and art can be marketed easier and at higher prices in regions that are more affluent.   Art displayed in prestigious galleries in metropolitan cities is usually perceived to have more value than art exhibited in small town gift shops.  This doesn’t mean that an artist can charge different prices in different regional markets, or in different venues.  Artists should change venues as their prices rise, and recruit new sales venues and markets that can sustain those increased prices.  
Another factor in pricing is the choice of medium used.  Some mediums are perceived as being more valuable than others, and buyers are usually willing to spend much more on an original oil painting than they are for watercolors or other types of paintings.  Generally, oil paintings are at the top of the food chain, followed by acrylics, watercolors and pastels, hand-pulled prints and drawings, and reproductions.  
Most artists price their work according to size, and the most popular method is to formulate a base price unit for each square inch.  But the value of art is only what someone is willing to pay for it, and an artist needs to know what the current value of their art is in order to accurately create a formula for pricing.  A simple way to determine current value is to compare the retail prices of the paintings that have recently sold, and determine which sizes and prices are the most popular sellers.  Knowing which painting sizes are the most popular, an artist can then develop a base price unit for his work by dividing the retail price of the painting by it’s total of square inches.  For instance, if most of your sales have been for 16 x 20 paintings at around $900 to $1000 each, then your most popular paintings are valued at a unit price of about $3 per square inch.  This price per square inch can then be used as a base unit to ensure consistency when calculating prices for new artworks.  
If you compare the unit prices of the paintings that haven’t been selling as well, you may find that the reason for some of the more sluggish sales could be because some of the prices are inconsistent or out of whack with your base unit price.  Paintings that are priced considerably higher than your current unit price may be over priced for your market, while other paintings with price units that are considerably lower may be sending the wrong signals to your customers about the value of your art.  Whether too high or too low, inconsistent prices are confusing and sometimes even suspicious to buyers, and can severely hinder sales.  That’s not to say that every painting of a certain size has to be exactly the same price; allowing a small range of about 10% when setting prices provides adequate room to allow for exceptions in pricing, such as paintings that may be slightly more or less complex, or paintings that have received awards or other recognition.  Additionally, having a sliding price schedule where larger works are priced at slightly less than the base price and smaller works are priced at slightly more will alleviate huge price differences between sizes.
For instance, this sample is a sliding (10%) pricing schedule with a 10% range, and with the median painting priced at $3 per square inch.  
8 x 10 = 80 sq in, x $3.63 = $275 to $305
12 x 16 = 192 sq in, x $3.30 = $602 to $665
16 x 20 = 320 sq in, x $3 = $912 to $1008
20 x 24 = 480 sq in, x $2.70 = $1231 to $1301
24 x 30 = 720 sq in, x $2.43 = $1663 to $1838
So if the retail price of a 16 x 20 painting is $1000, and the artist pays an average of 50% commission on sales, then the artist is getting a wholesale price of $500 for the painting.  However that $500 is not all profit, there is still the COGS (Cost Of Goods Sold) to calculate before a profit can be determined.  COGS include all the supplies and materials used to create the artwork, as well as equipment, overhead, marketing, professional, and other expenses related to the sale of the final product.  To determine these costs, a business adds the totals of all the expenses for a given time period (such as quarterly or annually), and divides this figure by the number of items sold during this period.  For instance, if an artist’s business expenses were $10,000 in a year and he sold 50 paintings, then the COGS average out to $200 for each painting.  If the paintings sold at retail for an average of $1000 and the artist received an average wholesale price of $500, then he is making a profit of $300 on each sale.  Although this sounds like a successful profit, there’s still more to consider.    The sale of 50 paintings at a profit of $300 each means his total profit for the year is $4,500.  If the business is a full-time endeavor, then this breaks down to an hourly wage of a little more than two dollars an hour for the artist.  Even if we re-calculate this as a part-time business, the wage then climbs to only a little more than $4 an hour.    
Many artists choose to supplement their sales income by providing art related services, such as teaching lessons or workshops, painting custom ordered paintings, consulting, and other services.  Just as with anything else, artists need to figure out just how much time and expenses are actually involved and calculate an acceptable wage for their service.  
Artists also need to understand the differences between wholesale prices and retail prices, and what circumstances are appropriate for wholesale.  Many artists mistakenly set higher retail prices on works that they place for sale in galleries and other venues that charge a commission.  This unprofessional practice of wholesaling directly to the public results in artists underselling and alienating their galleries, and even alienating their customers.   Artwork should only have one retail price, regardless of where or how it was purchased.  Some artists try to justify the practice of setting duel retail prices by believing that direct sales encompass fewer sales related expenses, such as paying sales commissions.  However the actual costs related to selling still exist, even when selling directly to a customer.  For instance, direct selling at an art festival has the expenses of the booth fees, travel and lodging, equipment and merchandising displays, marketing, and other costs that can quickly add up to hundreds  of dollars or more per festival.  Not to mention, for every festival an artist attends, he loses four or five working days that could be spent on production.  These extra costs of sales can easily equal or even exceed what an artist would pay for sales commissions to galleries.    
When to discount artwork, and by how much, is another axiom that artists often face in routine business.  It’s perfectly acceptable to offer a wholesale price to galleries, decorators, and other professional retailers.  And if a retail customer is purchasing three or more paintings, I have no objection to offering them a ten percent discount for a preferred or loyal customer.   But an artist can’t discount everything for everybody who asks; the profit margin simply isn’t large enough to allow for this, and consistent discounting can have an adverse effect on the value of the artist’s work.  When bargain shoppers ask me if I can give them a discount, I politely tell them that I have some paintings that are similar but less expensive, and then direct their attention to those instead.  Another alternative that I’ve found effective is to counter-offer a discount request with an offer of something else instead, such as free shipping or an upgraded frame.  This type of negotiation allows the price of the artwork to remain constant, but still lets the customer believe that they’ve still managed to bargain for a better deal.    
Knowing when to raise prices, and by how much, can be a bit trickier.  All artists want to get the maximum price for their work, but raising prices too high or too quickly can cause sales to stagnate or fall.  Ideally, prices should rise when they are justified by a steady and sustainable market demand.  In my own art business, I consistently raise my prices once a year.  If I’ve had a particularly good year, I might raise them as much as a whopping five or six percent, while in slower years I might only raise them one or two percent.  These small increases may not sound like a lot, but they add up over time.  The knowledge of impending price increases also increases customer confidence in the value of the artwork, and helps them to self-validate their purchases.  
There are no set rules for pricing artwork, and there is no single formula that is going to be perfect for every artist.  But these examples and guidelines can assist you in developing or adjusting your own pricing formulas and standards.  By adhering to policy standards you will ensure consistency in your pricing, and portray your business in a professional manner that will help to instill your customers with confidence in their purchases.  

Monday, April 23, 2012

How Young We Used To Be

How Young We Used To Be

You know how young we used to be
2010 - Jill Kettles
You see my picture on the wall
I was young and no good at 6ft tall
Strung out through my mind
And robbing myself blind
That was back awhile
Long time ago and just the other day
It was a birthday
A wedding and a funeral
that just passed by
You know how young we used to be
Just me you and free
Nowadays I wear a St. Michael Coin
Hoping it will see my crying
It keeps me safe at bay
I kiss it every night when I pray
You see how the clock has got me
Right between the eyes
With a busted nose
To match my heartbreak
You know how young we used to be
Just me you and free

the Willard

I'm Going to the Willard (March 1 2008)

Came in May 1860 with a ringing in my head
By 1866 I was dead at the Willard
This is my story, the life I led
A silver coach dropped me
Off at the dumping ground
Wearing nothing but a long gown

This place is dangerous
As nails and boards
Fly out at me
My hands are callous
Trying to flee
By crawling on the floor

Walking up and Down the halls
It never quiets nor stalls
nothing like having a demon
Inside you screaming
Against your will
At 3 AM

The walls ring out a tune
of dark and black
Drowning in my fear
Of losing myself at the Willard

My cries My screams
Are silenced by a pill
It sits and dissolves
Chaulks up  my tongue
Gazing out the window
I count the headstones

So I'm going to the Willard
Where the rooms are big
And the head posts are tall

I'm going to the Willard
To drink whiskey with the men
And dance the Charleston

So here I lay
I've gone to the Willard
To go play dead

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

naw it's not you.. it just needs to be worked on..

I don't think Dave Grohl was putting down the creative spirit - just how it's presented, wrapped up and thrown at us... either you catch it or you don't. If you gonna be creative; be honest about it. If you wank a note; fine... I think as a society whole - we see that as failure. When it just shows you're human. That's why Adele put everyone in their place with her voice problems after she put out her album - she couldn't do a thing. But the music spoke for her until she was healed. Dave feels like alot of artists that we are not connecting anymore. As humans with any medium. And it's not just the successful ones - uber rich - it's all over the map.
So as I think about the efforts put in to music, art and even sports – there’s a humanistic part of that method or approach that is uniquely yours. You might beg, borrow and steal from around you but it’s you. Your brain, your eyes, your heart and above all your time.
I think when you hear a singer like Whitney Houston or Dave Grohl or Hank Williams, there’s a rasp or drop in the note tone, you hear that and you think, “What is wrong with them?” Go back and hear George Jones, who once had perfect pitch sing in the 60’s and then now. Blech. He sounds like a warbling old lady in church. Go back and hear how Elvis grew into a totally new voice. No one TOLD him to that he just had reached a point of not able to sing the same way he had when he first sang Hound Dog. Try listening Etta James, her voice wrecked but what? Her demons. What about Janis? Demons. I could go on and on. I am preaching to the choir on most of this and trying to convey to the congregation that it's ok to be imperfect.
As a visual artist, you are at the mercy of the walls in the gallery when sometimes you don’t hear a word. So you are left wondering, what am I doing – until someone tells you – yea or nay. And sometimes a simple closed door or no sale or a glowing review is all you need. We have to wait it out.
As a culture we are driven for perfection to the point of in humane. We don’t account for failure. Why? Well when an artist – any medium – doesn’t prevail like we want them to, we get let down and tell that artist by booing them or not buying their works or talking smack. What makes us do this? Are we insecure of ourselves that we look towards them to make us feel better? And if they didn’t well then forget it? Why doesn't any one respect us as artist to be honest with us? THAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU COULD DO...
There are plenty of passionate artists out there that have thick skin and move on trying to regain their level of importance. It’s scary to make that journey - some make it some don't.
There’s an old rule in the music band business: Don’t piss off the soundman. It’s been replaced by: Don’t piss off the fan.
You may never see the light of day again.
So back to Dave Grohl, even HIM went back to ‘correct’ himself. You know the other rule, if you have to explain the joke – it’s not funny.
At all.


The Defoor Centre Blooms into Color Wheels

March 18th Party for Artists

March 18th Reception from 2-4PM

Atlanta, GA- Color always blooms at the Defoor Centre for Spring and this season is the one the most quirkiest and playful yet. With creatures, flowers, dream-land subjects we will be mesmerized with them. There are some local artists, Philip Myrick, Jennifer Squires, Suzanne Huff, Carla Powell as well as Rebecca Caringella from Salt Lake City and Ashley Cooke from Maryland. The exhibit will be up from March 18 to May 31 with a Sunday afternoon reception on March 18th from 2-4pm. The event is free and a cash bar will be open.

The Forum – Philip Myrick – local artist and always using great combinations of found objects and textural paint this will be a huge endeavor for Philip being in the big room. He will be showing his creatures called the Dunces – who look mischievous and silly but always questioning us- as well as some new works with found objects. The different things he finds and tells a new story from them is quite a conversation.

The Encore – Jennifer Squires – as you view Jennifer’s work you will get the sense that she dances as she paints the movement and the vitality of her brush strokes are contagious so you begin to dance too. Jennifer’s work comes from within, as she states, “I work until the paintings have acquired an essence of time, depth, presence and, most importantly, grace.”

The Rhombus – Rachael Caringella – The girly girl from Salt Lake City, Rachael takes her fondness for tea parties and her love of the tree, and depicts these quirky faces, trees and other subjects turns it in to poetry. She is an avid Etsy seller who takes all her favorites things, including her pink hair and makes a day of it. Visual poetry – isn’t that was it all about?

Bar/CafĂ©-Suzanne Kennedy Huff – Our art teacher from Hiram, GA ! Who uses escapism in her visuals by using birds, dragons, swirling colors and many lines to that make them attention grabbing. She has been a graphic artist, a sign creator and hand painted clothing! Her work has been seen and bought from all over the southeast. A very encouraging person at heart and I bet her students love catching her spirit!

The Gatsby - Ashley Edmonds Cooke – a psychologist from Annapolis with a macro-lens for an eye towards flowers. She like Georgia O’Keefe meets Kodak – up close. The element of abstract and expression of the images that come after the photo has been taken are quite adventurous. This is like a personality test in a way for when viewing them, for there’s a question being asked: are they talking to you or you talking to them? If you can pass their test they are yours….for life.

Lobby – Carla Powell – Using a process that is used commercially, Carla takes sublimation to another level. Sublimation is a chemical process that transfers the dye by transforming it directly from a solid state to a gaseous state and then back to a solid state, without ever becoming a liquid. As a creative mind, Carla uses satin to create a mono print type image, using it alone or freehand embroidery or the loom. The final result is elegant and one of a kind.

These artists are a wide vast of the many materials, surfaces and colors that are used to get their pieces just so. I encourage you come and have your breath taken away, your eyes transformed and your whimsy tickled. Come out for lunch, a coffee and a dessert or just to stroll around to see what is going on.

About the Defoor Centre:

The Defoor Centre is located off Howell Mill Rd in Atlanta in the reviving Westside neighborhood, where a lot of local vendors that cater to the interior designers have been going to for years. The Centre has been a growing facility hosting major fundraisers to corporate meetings to private weddings all in house catering with a full bar. 100 years ago this place was a hospital for the soldiers fighting at the Battle of Peachtree Creek and to this day they are “still there.”

For more information on the Defoor: or just come by Tues-Friday to get something to eat and browse – 1710 DeFoor Ave Atlanta GA. On or search for the Defoor Center ARTS group!

Monday, January 23, 2012


Hey there I am behind I know...
Well our first 2012 Art Reception was a hit! The MLK Mural Project is up and wonderful - filled with many views of MLK and his life's achievements! It was good meeting Louis Delsarte, the main muralist, that so kind in bringing in a gilcee of the the MLK mural located at the MLK Museum on Auburn Ave.

So come by the Defoor Centre from 10AM to 5PM - and view it - maybe get a bite to eat -

As for me, I am still working on my site... I've got to finish it... it's so laborious. I have got to do it!

Our next show-party will be on Feb 12 w Sharron Ragan - Called "Healing Hearts" where she will have her new works plus her past works on sale... Come out! February 12th from 3:30PM to 5:30Pm