Thursday, 26 March 2015

Dedication, Admiration and Inspiration - Art Shows!

Wild Coast by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki, acrylic, 30x40

Yikes, a third of the year is gone! What have I done? Looking back, last few months, have been all about art shows. So here goes, lessons learned from my recent shows and those I have visited.

1. Solo Show

Boy, did I work hard all last summer to create forty pieces for my Yoho show! It was extremely gratifying to see the finished pieces, varnish glistening, nicely lined up on gallery walls. I am happy for the pieces that found homes right away, and for having a brand new body of work to share in other venues. A nice selection of works is still available in this gorgeous little gallery in West Vancouver.

TIP - It is a huge pressure to carry out a solo show. Having the works ready is just one part of the story. The other one is to advertise, advertise and advertise more - I can't emphasize that enough. Make sure that everyone who'd possibly like to visit the show gets informed about it in timely manner. It's the only opportunity to see the entire body of work displayed together. You don't want your special art-loving people to miss it.

2. Two- artists Show

The opening was bursting with art lovers. I made some wonderful friends with visiting artists and members of The University Women's Club. I especially remember four young women engineers.They reminded me of my young self. We had a fabulous conversation about having engineering career while being in love with art.

TIP - I wish I had handouts with a list of my upcoming events to share with the visitors. I was asked about that repeatedly. This could have been printed on my cards that I had prepared as my thank you gift to everyone who came. I'll remember to do this for my next show.

3. Mind sharing

Two local artists, a father-daughter team, asked mo take a look at their two-artists' show, in a charming little gallery-cafe-jazz joint, and to offer my comments. The place was cute and the show was a chock-full of paintings representing artists' work over years. The questions they had were about sale prices, quality of photos of their art on the web site, and insights about submissions to non-profit shows. This was a great experience for me in getting connected with the art community, and I hope that my input was helpful.

TIP - When doing this kind of a thing, it's best to have a clear list of questions. It would be very difficult to provide feedback, not knowing the artists' goals.  Things that first come to mind may not be things that the other party is interested at all. But when you can focus on a particular question, ideas and insights flow like a river!

4. Inspiration

Vancouver Art Gallery is just now hosting an exhibit of works by "Cezanne and the Modern". I love the Impressionism and I adore Cezanne, but the one painting that just simply blew my mind was the one and only work by Van Gogh in the exhibit (Tarascon Stagecoach). I think that he must have used up ten tubes of paint on it, and the result is the juiciest, exuberant, most delightful brushwork in that entire gallery. Just seeing that one painting was worth much more to me than the admission fee. I admired most of the works in the exhibit, and a few were really memorable; there is a painting by Manet (Young Woman in a Round Hat) that is so masterful, I could stay there and absorb each brushstroke for hours. 


There is a huge difference between admiration and inspiration. 

That special punch in the gut is a unique thing. It's rare. It's precious. It makes my neck hair prickle. My eyes tear up and my throat tightens. 

Van Gogh did it for me this time. I've seen many of his paintings in the Musee D'Orsay last year. They had such a huge impact on me, I remember promising to myself  that I shall spend my life panting from my heart, until the day I can't hold the brush any more.

These shows were great, but now it's time to go back to the studio and start planning new bodies of work!

Your inspired friend,


Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Favorite People

Mandarin Plant by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

There is no doubt in my mind who the favorite people of any artist are - beyond my dearest ones, my extended family includes all art lovers. That happens to be a huge number of people. Nowadays, when we can make friends via internet, artists cover a LOT of ground. It can become very confusing to figure out how to stay connected with all our people, in the most appropriate way.

I recently corresponded with another artist about this topic, and she liked what I had to say, so I'll share.

The question was how to organize all our "contacts". The problem is that when things get out of hand, all we can see is a bunch of "contacts", while what we want to see is all the wonderful people we met on our journey. Here's how I turn my "contacts" into meaningful lists of awesome people.

1. My Art Blog Subscribers

I invite people to subscribe to my blog if they are interested in reading about my art journey. It's all about sharing experiences. The people who sign up are tracked by the app attached to the blog, so I don't really need to do anything with this list. I just monitor the number of subscribers to make sure it's going up. If it was to go down (hasn't happened yet), I'd think about improving my blog content. I don't send any other correspondence to this list - I'm just grateful that they found value in my blog.

2. My Art Collectors

The super extra wonderful people who have purchased my art are subscribed to my Art Circle  list that I maintain in the MailChimp app. The subscription link is on my web site  although I should probably add it to my blog too. MailChimp helps me send nicely formatted invitations for my shows and any significant news about my art career. This is all about my paintings. Anyone who is interested in purchasing my art, that I know of, is in this list. There are many people missing from it, because I usually don't get to know the gallery clients, but some of them do get in touch and are added to this list.  I also add here the gallery owners and dealers with whom I had significant relationship. It is important to know that people can't be added to an automated email system like Mail Chimp, without their permission, so only genuinely interested people make this list.

3. My Art Lovers

There are many, many people I have met on my art journey, with whom I don't want to loose touch. Every single person enriched my life in some way and it's a joy to reconnect every once in a while, work on a project together, or just exchange thoughts. It's not always easy to remember every single thing, so to prevent myself from forgetting those precious moments, I enter contact information of each person into my Contacts database attached to my Gmail account.  It's a good idea to enter a few notes that will help remind me where I met the person and if there was something particularly interesting we did together. Over the years, this database has become huge so I am planning to break it down to make it easier to search. I can create categories such as friends, vendors, teachers, students, art clubs, etc. I use this list for sending of individual emails only.  Days of email blasting of innocents is long gone, people whom we befriend trust us with their contact information, so it needs to be used conscientiously.

4. Social Media

 The world of the social media has it's own rules and rewards, the best one being that everyone can subscribe to what they are interested in following. I love it! I use Social Media to stay in touch with like-minded people and topics that I am passionate about, to support other artists, and to immerse myself in the art community. I also share my blog posts and gallery announcements there, which exposes my contribution to more people who might get interested in it. So effectively, Social Media helps me grow the other three lists. I mostly use the Facebook, from which I forward to Twitter, Google+ and Pintrest.

We all are social beings, some more, some less, but we do all have important people in our lives, whom we cherish. I've found myself too busy to follow up with friends at times, which I deeply regret. But having these systems in order, and knowing how to use them is a great help to me. I hope it helps someone else too.

Your friend in arts,