My latest Instagram crush is a surprising and welcomed find --- Swizz Beatz, and his latest venture with the Dean Collection. I can't say I knew anything about him, although I'm definitely familiar with his work (DMX was a staple in my Discman growing up) but what I'm really fascinated with is his fabulous contemporary art collection. Ok, so I know Kehinde Wiley (his painting featured above, a whopping 8'5" x 25' piece!) is probably the most famous contemporary artist of the last 10 years but what I'm really excited about is SB's interest in up-and-coming artists. As much as I enjoy Andy Warhol's faces and Damien Hirst's dot paintings, it's refreshing to find someone seeking out new, sometimes little-heard-of artists, purchasing their work, and adding fuel to their hype.
Tryptic by Maya Hayuk, part of the Dean Collection
Not to mention I think he has pretty fabulous taste.
After finding his Insta feed, I pursued the internet looking for more information about SB. I got a charge after reading this interview with him and it started a chain of thoughts about how I approach my own artwork and looking at the business side of it.
It's been over a year since I decided to prioritize my art life and now I'm starting to feel the need to really establish it as a business, as much in my own head as anything. Until now, I guess I was just doing it to see what could happen and now that I've figured out what I'm doing, established myself a bit, and gotten some feedback, I feel ready to take things further. I've gotten to a point where what was started as a hobby, has now become something more, I want it to be more, so I need to reframe some of my intentions towards where I want to go with all of it.
Works by Saner Edgar, part of the Dean Collection
For one thing, I need to stop underselling myself NOW. You can only short-change yourself for so long before you become thoroughly sick of it. I'm setting prices and sticking to them -- I still want to be accessible to all kinds of people so that means making art within a variety of price ranges, not adjusting prices to what you think the crowd can afford. Or feeling bad about valuing your art at a certain price point. If you don't value it, can you expect other people to?
Another one is making sure I show up in my studio like it's a job. Frequently, my studio time can get bumped to the wayside, especially since it is at my home and I could run to the grocery real quick to get food for dinner, or I could start that load of laundry -- NO -- I need to create working hours and stick to them. It's amazing what you can come up with when you're surround by all your tools and materials, even if you don't feel all-together inspired. My biggest hurdle right now is making as much as I can. My smaller pieces (like the houses and toothbrushes) have proven to sell when I make them...so that means I need to keep making them. Like Swizz said he learned from Peter Max, art is like manufacturing your own currency.
Even this blog, it started as something that I only wanted to do as it pleased me, allowing it to be an organic expression. If my art is a business, then I need to make it a priority to share what I'm making regularly here, and my other social media outlets. This blog has become so much more for me over the past couple years. Not just a place to share but a place to process my journey, to document my learning curves, and help express myself through writing. When I first started blogging, I hated writing anything -- I felt like I sounded so dumb -- and would just post pictures. Now I have the confidence to verbalize in ways that I was too shy to do before. And the greatest thing is, when I meet people in person, I know how to verbalize to them what I'm doing because I've taken the time to do it here. Seriously.
BUT anyways, really excited to see a guy like Swizz Beats buying art instead of cars and I am interested to watch where he goes with The Dean Collection. I don't know if I have the gumption to go back to school for business like he is doing but I will do my best to put my business hat on more frequently. It's almost kinda fun sometimes, I mean not knitting fun but a girl's gotta give her hands a break sometime :)
Got any Instagram crushes you wanna share?