What is a self representing Artist? one with an entrepreneur attitude.

In the world of art, there are essentially two kinds of Artists; self-representing and gallery or dealer represented. So what is a self-representing artist? Quite simply, self-representing artist means time spent on the art making is equal to time spent “on the business”.  A challenging juggling act for many artists, moving between artist brain and salesperson brain. I’m constantly thinking about where I can take my business and how I will get there. I am also continuously thinking about what I want to paint next, often times with a series of already painted works sitting in my frontal lobe waiting for excavation. Shifting between Artist brain and art sales brain, requires rigorous dedication and a tireless focus. That’s not to say I don’t get tired, or take a pause from my work, it means I am fully consumed by my work.

what is a self representing artist

Inside the studio of Canadian artist Brandy Saturley

In every Art there are purists, those that hold fast to tradition and structure. When I began moving forward with my art, in a professional sense, I sought out the experienced, the Icons and the elders in the field of Canadian Art. Mentorship, connection and validation is what I was seeking, and I found it and learned much from these relationships. I met a lot of Artists and Gallery Owners who had established rules and guidelines for how Artists should be and what they needed to do to be successful. I found so many rigid structures within the Art business and amongst artists here in Canada, I moved from group to group learning about what made their way ‘better’. In the end what I discovered is I did not fit into any group or way of being, I was building my own path based on the knowledge I was gaining along the way. For me, rigid structures go against everything that Art represents, which is the freedom to paint the world the way I see it. There are many misconceptions out there about what makes an artist or art good or even valuable, more so in Canada.

So, lets tackle a few of these misconceptions about self-representing artists;

Self-representing artists aren’t good enough to be in a gallery.

WRONG: being represented by a commercial gallery in Canada does not mean the artist is any more skilled at making Art, it does mean that the artist follows and falls within a structure set by an association of dealers across Canada.

Artists should focus on making Art and not on business, they should focus on their expertise.

BOTH RIGHT AND WRONG: some artists are good at both, it comes down to experience, alternate skill-sets and enjoyment – I enjoy learning about both sides of the business and am driven by both aspects, the convergence of artist/entrepreneur, this is what invigorates my work.

Self-representing artists charge less, because their work is less valuable.

WRONG: as a starting point, artists should look at their market and price their art within the market. As the artist develops and expands their market, their prices are determined by market demand and a variety of others variables including press coverage, artist reach, recognition, cost of living, and fame.

Self-representing artists should concentrate on selling Art in their local market.

RIGHT and WRONG: for me, the focus from day one has always been to sell my art nationally and internationally. Since day one I have always been looking towards my end goal. I also focus on selling my art where it is loved and where people most respond to the work. I have established a fair bit of latitude with my Art, in that I don’t just focus on painting one thing. While I have branded myself as the ‘Voice of Canadian Pop Art’ and the ‘Iconic Canuck’ and am known for paintings influenced by the iconography of Canada, I am not hyper-focused on any one subject. For example, while I have painted ‘hockey goal tender masks’ that is not all I paint. This is my approach. Another approach may only be focusing on local and painting local scenes, which quickly establishes a local market for an artist. I think the biggest key in deciding what you can manage as a self-representing artist, is important. I have big audacious thoughts and dreams, I like to go big, which means if the idea doesn’t work, I fall hard. But I like the challenge. I remember going to an artist talk in Vancouver by Takashi Murakami, prior to the launch of his solo exhibition tour for ‘The Octopus Eats His Own Leg‘. He gave a masterclass of epic proportions of the challenges and pitfalls of self-representation and artist as entrepreneur. It helped me figure out where I wanted to land within the Art market.

One of the greatest challenges for a self-representing artist is finding buyers.

RIGHT: Unlike a gallery, where the buyers come to find art, a self-representing artist typically has to go to the buyers. No two sales are the same, and every sale must be approached differently. I have had collectors come to me from a myriad of ways, on and offline. Roughly 2% of my sales come from social media, the rest come from a combination of finding buyers, working with my suppliers, connecting with artists in other fields and with different skill-sets, and working my network of collectors. This year I am putting more focused time into developing my website and online sales than I have in the past 13 years. Certainly spurred on by COVID, but also because I am not on the road as much and therefore the focus on the business side has become even more concentrated. Thankfully all the travel and in person connecting of years past, is paying dividends in this time of isolation.

a self representing artist at work

Brandy Saturley at opening of ‘Canadianisms’ in 2017 – Okotoks Art Gallery

So, this is what a self-representing artist is, one who works full-time at the career of Artist. While Art comes from a purely creative, abstract and fluid part of the brain, it’s wiring is similar in many ways to that of an entrepreneur, and it is a PROFESSION. I have always enjoyed this quote from a favorite portrait artist from NYC by the name of Chuck Close, “The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.”

Back to work!

 

Sincerely Yours,

Brandy Saturley

Behind The Scenes: Packaging Fine Art

When it comes to shipping artwork, whether it be across town, across the country or shipping artwork overseas; the packaging of artwork is serious business. About a decade ago I invested time in searching out options for protecting and shipping my paintings. There are many options available, from reinforced cardboard shipping boxes to wooden crates and aluminum crates. I found my ideal solution for art shipping in VEVEX Crates. VEVEX makes crates for demanding cargos, and fine art is a specialty of theirs, which is why I confidently call on them anytime I need to ship my work across Canada, the United States or overseas to galleries in London. Last year they celebrated making their 10,000th crate and they have many more to build.

From antique Raven Totem Pole’s being repatriated to Haida Gwaii, monumental photographs by Ian Wall to galleries overseas or The Artwork of Brandy Saturley to galleries in Toronto; these crates are one-of-a-kind custom works themselves designed to protect the fine artworks stored within.

We recently popped into VEVEX crates to visit CEO and head engineer, Rod Russell. We were excited to see two monumental crates being built for an upcoming exhibit of Ian Wall’s photography in galleries in London and Australia. Here are a few photos inside the shop where Brandy Saturley’s art crates are made in Vancouver, BC.

Maximum protection for artwork from penetration, jarring, vibration, crushing, thermal changes and moisture.

Boxes have thick walls and additional framing, making for a very robust box that will stand up to repeating handling, storage and re-use. Providing the maximum in protection for customers that are highly risk-averse, such as fine artists and art museums.

Boxes have bolted lids and can be top loading, side loading and platform loads are accomplished through separate designs. Lids are provided with compression seals. Boxes are sealed with a satin outdoor wood finish, or painted. After receiving my crates, I paint the exterior with The Art of Brandy Saturley branding and logo, including signature colours of white, red, black and gold.

When you buy a painting from The Art of Brandy Saturley, you can feel comfort knowing your precious original piece of Canadian art, will be protected from weather, handling and transfers between couriers. Boxes are lined with 3/4″ thick expanded polystyrene foam. Lids are secured with Unidrive screws, accepting both Philips and Robertson drivers.

CEO and Crate Maker, Rod Russell with client and artist, Brandy Saturley

Next time you find a new painting to collect, rest assured you will receive your artwork safely and securely inside a handsome crate that can be kept to store for future, or can be recycled into many uses. Find a beautiful new artwork to put in that crate, now.

Japan’s Warhol Brings His Art to Vancouver, Canada

Takashi Murakmi: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg – opening February 2, 2018 at Vancouver Art Gallery

The last time I was on the road for the work of Art, was in November last year when I visited Vancouver for the opening of the new Emily Carr University and a variety of art openings around the city. It’s 2018 and I’m back on the road taking in the Art, and the city of Vancouver.

DAY 1: Takashi Murakami Lecture at SFU

Takashi Murakami Lecture at Simon Fraser University – January 31, 2018

At the end of January I joined a crowd of enthusiastic artists, collectors, curators, fans and students of the renowned Japanese contemporary art star, Takashi Murakami. Japan’s answer to Andy Warhol, there was significant media in town for a few days leading up to the main event at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

In Vancouver for his first major retrospective presented in Canada, ‘The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg’ at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Murakami works in a multitude of traditional art media (such as painting and sculpture) as well as commercial media (such as fashion, merchandise, and animation) and is known for blurring the line between high and low arts. He coined the term “Superflat“, which describes both the aesthetic characteristics of the Japanese artistic tradition and the nature of post-war Japanese culture and society, and is also used for Murakami’s own artistic style and that of other Japanese artists he represents.

Takashi Murakami Lecture at Simon Fraser University – January 31, 2018

Murakami is the founder and President his own art corporation, Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd., through which he manages several younger artists. He was the founder and organizer of the biannual art fair Geisai.

I thought his lecture was very honest; for an artist that employs 300 people, owns his own galleries, restaurant, manages other artists careers, is an entrepreneur, and geek at heart. His approach to art is one that I have taken in my own career, and Murakami has found his own niche within in a business that is continually morphing into new forms. While his contemporaries such as the YBA (Young British Artists, Damien Hirst)  and Koons, who also took an entrepreneurial approach to the Art business, have somewhat changed their course in recent years, Murakami continues to push the ‘Artrepreneur’ envelope as his consumption of all things visual and aural continues to drive his world domination forward.

DAY 2:  Polygon Gallery in North Vancouver

Polygon Gallery North Vancouver

It’s another day of grey and rain on the ‘wet’ coast, dark and damp days mean I am searching for new indoor art experiences, and thankfully North Vancouver has a new one I was anxious to visit. After a walk, and a 15 minute ride on the ‘Seabus’ I found myself at the Polygon Gallery. The Polygon exhibits contemporary art with a focus on photography and Canadian artists.

Operating as Presentation House Gallery for forty years, the organization presented more than 300 exhibitions, earning a reputation as one of Canada’s most adventurous public art institutions. Some of the most important local and international artists have been featured—from acclaimed Vancouver photographers Stan Douglas and Fred Herzog to world-renowned artists Ansel Adams and Andy Warhol—as well as the work of North Vancouver students participating in innovative education programs, such as Gallery School and Chester Fields.

 

North Vancouver Exhibit – Polygon Gallery

Polygon is a stunning new space with lots of windows and open beam ceilings, allowing natural light to diffuse the space below. The Patkau Architects-designed gallery offers jaw-dropping views of downtown Vancouver from Lonsdale Quay. I could not think of a more fitting space to host the inagural exhibition, ‘North Vancouver’. In its new home, The Polygon will expand on the organization’s long history of presenting the work of artists who respond to transformations taking place in the world.

Day two down, tomorrow I am headed to the big party at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

DAY 3: Takashi Murakami Birthday Bash & VIP Preview Vancouver Art Gallery

Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg at Vancouver Art Gallery – image: Brandy Saturley

The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg in Vancouver, and by Octopus the artist refers to himself, his art, his career, and his consumption of all things that influence his art.

Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg is a major retrospective of Takashi Murakami’s paintings, presenting more than fifty works spanning three decades of the artist’s career. The first survey of Murakami’s work to be shown in Canada, this exhibition showcases the artist’s paintings from his earliest mature work to his recent large-scale projects, including a newly created five-metre-tall sculpture and three multi-panel paintings created specially for the Vancouver Art Gallery exhibition.

Anticipation was the feeling and sensory overload was the experience upon entering and moving through the exhibition. Japanese pop art, employing a team of 300 assistants and artists, from silk-screening to anime and painting to graphic modelling, a feast for the eyes and the brain. Attendees were encouraged to dress in a creative, colourful and fun way to compliment the exhibition. The people watching at the event was as entertaining as the art itself, and with a cast of Vancouver Art world characters, ready to meet the cast of characters presented in the art. The after party hosted at the Commodore Ballroom offered the chance to mix and mingle and dance the night away in Murakami-land. With items up for auction going for upwards of $160K. A fascinating experience from all angles, and a grand opportunity for Murakami’s launch into the Canadian art market.

The exhibit is an antidote to the west coast greys and rain. A rainbow party with a deeper message. Technical excellence and idealized characters blurring the lines between high brow and lowbrow. This exhibition is accessible to all and offers something for all ages and walks of life.

That’s all from Vancouver folks! Until next time…

Brandy

 

The Work Behind The Artist – Looking Back at A Year Celebrating Art in Canada

Every year I look back at the work behind the artist, meaning I celebrate the work behind the final product that is art. It is a behind the scenes view for my readers and a reminder that much goes into an art career, beyond the art itself. With 2017, also celebrated as Canada150 here in Canada, it was a celebratory year for my art career, and an opportunity to present my work of the past half-decade to art lovers across the country. Here is my month-by-month highlight reel from the year of ‘Canadianisms’, which continues to bring opportunities and feed my work in 2018.

JANUARY Edmonton/Victoria

2017 began with the grand opening of ‘Canadianisms: A Half Decade Inspired by Canada’ at Strathcona County Gallery @501 in Sherwood Park, just outside Alberta’s capital, Edmonton. Thank you to Brenda Barry Byrne and her team at Gallery @501 for a successful event which included me delivering an artist talk about the work created over the past five years, inspired by my travels across Canada.

Canadianisms kicks off 2017 at Gallery @501

FEBRUARY Edmonton/Vancouver

‘Canadianisms’ continues at Gallery @501 an interview with Sherwood Park News and a special event final week of the show as the gallery hosted Salvi Group (Homes). The end of the month offered an art trip to Vancouver to see the truly remarkable and inspiring, ‘Spindle Whorl’ exhibit featuring a retrospective of the career of Susan Point.

Interview with Sherwood Park News about Canadianisms exhibit

MARCH – Edmonton/Vancouver

On the heels of the closing of the first ‘Canadianisms’ exhibition in 2017, I head to Edmonton in March to present a Professional Development Talk at Visual Arts Alberta/CARFAC about building my career as a Canadian artist. My ‘Poppies For Lousie’ painting inspired by Lake Louise, and my ‘Canoe View’ painting, graces the cover and interior of the 2017-2018 brochure for Music In The Morning Concert Series in Vancouver, BC.

Presentation at Visual Arts Alberta/CARFAC in Edmonton

Music in the Morning is a distinctive morning concert series that inspires its audiences with masterpieces of the past, while challenging them with music of our time performed by the finest local, national and international talent – all at affordable ticket prices. In its 30th season, Music in the Morning is known for uncompromised quality, intimate setting and friendly rapport between artist and audience. With sell-out crowds, Music in the Morning fills a unique niche in the city of Vancouver appealing to people who prefer their cultural events with coffee in the morning.

Art Licensing – Music In The Morning Vancouver, BC

APRIL – across Canada
My exhibitions in 2017 offered a chance to talk about the People of Canada portrait project. A crowdsourcing, collaborative portrait project between myself and Canadians. Many more photos received, and more portraits painted. This project began in 2014 and I will be painting more portraits in 2018 with a planned 2018/19 exhibition. Accepting photos until year-end! www.peopleofcanada.ca 

Portrait painting from People of Canada Portrait Project 2017

MAY – Victoria/Calgary

Preparing for the second solo exhibition of ‘Canadianisms’ in 2017 – creating and printing a second exhibition catalogue, selecting artwork to ship, preparing the crates for shipping.

Canadianisms exhibition catalogues 2017

 

JUNE – Victoria/Edmonton

As I was preparing for my second solo exhibit in 2017, a few opportunities came my way to talk about art, the current climate of the Arts in Canada, collaboration, and the future of Art in Canada. SHAW TV came to the studio and interviewed me about The People of Canada Portrait Project – The Canadian Art Junkie featured my work as part of their 150 artists for Canada150 – I joined the CARFAC AGM hosted by Visual Arts Alberta/CARFAC at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta.

Brandy Saturley – talking People of Canada with SHAW TV

JUNE/JULY – Calgary/Okotoks

Art on tour, second showing in 2017 for ‘Canadianisms: A Half Decade Inspired by Canada’ @ the OAG in Okotoks, Alberta, just outside the metropolis of Calgary. Thank you to Okotoks Culture & Heritage, and to all who came out to the opening, and to see the show over it’s three month run at the gallery which offered visitors worldwide the opportunity to experience a Canadian artists’ perspective on her own country.

JULY – Calgary/Okotoks/Yellowknife

Interview with the Okotoks Western Wheel about the show and my journey of the past half decade.

Brandy Saturley Western Wheel

Brandy Saturley talks with the Okotoks Western Wheel

A painting featured in the exhibition, ‘The Getaway’ also appears on the cover of Reader’s Digest More Our Canada magazine for the July 2017/Canada150 issue – with an article I penned about my time exploring the landscapes and art of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada
This experience inspired many a painting when I returned home to my studio on Vancouver Island. These people have heart and grit and talent beyond whatever expectations I had going in. I love you, Yellowknife—see you for the freeze!

On the cover of More Our Canada – The Getaway, Brandy Saturley

AUGUSTSeattle Art Fair/ Seattle, Washington USA

August found me on another art trip, destinations; Seattle Art Fair, Mt. Baker, Seattle Art Museum & Paul G. Allen Institute for Brain Sciences, which presented Allen’s private art collection at Pivot Art & Culture. It was a remarkable and eye-opening art trip. I love Seattle. The Art, Tech, Food, Kitsch…it all feels like home to me.

Seattle Art Museum – Andy Warhol Inkblot painting – Brandy Saturley

SEPTEMBER – Victoria/Calgary/Montreal

In September, I finished two commissioned paintings and penned an article for ArtInCanada.com, the first of a four-part series with Alberta Artists for Canada150, beginning with Chris Cran. I take on very few commissions, however I was delighted to take on these two commissions after hearing the clients ideas – one being 4 ft high by 7.5 feet and the other, a very special piece using a reference photo from an iceberg loving photographer, Doreen Dalley, who has been shooting these lovely moving landscapes for over 30 years. It was a delight and a privilege to interview celebrated

OCTOBER – Victoria/Winnipeg

October was all about in studio as I began working a new body of work, began upgrading my studio to include two new wall easels and got ready to launch a new website. After hosting with another provider for years I moved my website to a Canadian company in Winnipeg, Art Moi and am thrilled with the new and improved website, my online portfolio for a worldwide art collecting audience.

In the artists’ studio – Brandy Saturley 2017

NOVEMBER – Victoria/Vancouver/California

In November, I was back in Vancouver checking out the members opening at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Portraits of Artists, a show from the collection of the Royal Gallery in London, Queen Elizabeth II private portrait collection. From the 1700’s onward an immense show of some of the most detailed and highly skilled classical mezzotints, etchings and paintings, an ode to the old fashioned ‘selfie’. I also had the opportunity to see the beautiful, custom, Fazioli Piano at The Fairmont Pacific Rim at the #fightforbeauty exhibit.

Fight For Beauty – custom Fazioli piano Fairmont Pacific Rim

Art Licensing: From time to time I license my work to great organizations, who make exceptional products. I was approached by a US company called ThinOptics – a company who makes a great product that fits in a case on the back of your mobile phone, offering portable reading glasses. You can now find three of my most popular paintings from ‘Canadianisms’, including the hockey themed painting sold to the Colart Collection in Montreal, on the cases of these great specs-to-go. Now I can see myself taking a selfie and see the details of my paintings much clearer!

Art Licensing – ThinOptics Canada collection – On Guard by Brandy Saturley

DECEMBER – Hawaii/Alberta/Victoria

In December, I took off to Maui, Hawaii for a couple weeks. I was eager to read a book about American painter Georgia O’ Keeffe and her time in Maui and subsequent 20+ paintings that came from her trip, which were later exhibited at American Place Gallery, owned by Alfred Stieglitz.

Current Inspiration – Georgia O’ Keeffe’s Hawaii

The trip offered the chance to explore by foot, helicopter and car. I had some time to write, sketch, take photos and capture digital video. Returning home, I was in the thick of Christmas mail-outs and on the receiving end of many new things for my studio. Gratitude!
Art Licensing: From time to time I license my work to great organizations, who make exceptional products. I was approached by an Alberta art publisher, Island Art Publishers, with interest in re-producing my ‘Rocky Mountains’ series of paintings created back in 2011. You will find these beautiful reproductions through Island Art in early 2018.

Island Art Publishers – I See Mountains series by Brandy Saturley

 

That’s it! Some of the highlights from my year. It was incendiary! Thank you to everyone for the incredible support during 2017. Wishing you all a remarkable 2018, filled with great adventures, and beautiful moments. Cheers to 2018, and all the new work to come!

Canadian Painter, Brandy Saturley on her hand painted art crates, 2017.