by Michael Damico
I’ll get to it later. Wait until tomorrow. We all procrastinate. I’m an offender myself. Especially with things I think are going to cost too much or take too long. But the funny thing is, they almost never turn out to be time-consuming or too much of a financial burden.
With that in mind and spring upon us, this time of year is usually perfect for many artists to plan for their art season and get ahead of their busiest time. Summer can be lucrative for many artists, but slow for others. Either way, if your busiest time as an artist is summer or even fall/winter, then spring is the right time to get prepared.
I always encourage artists and other visual professionals to prepare for what they can ahead of time. Then, handle the rest as it comes to you. This is nothing to get stressed about. It doesn’t even always require spending money during the preparation time.
Art Season Planning Basics
The place to begin thinking about your upcoming art season is actually on your calendar. Mark all the deadlines for shows or submissions and work backward from there. Think about how much time you want to prepare for each. Then set notices to remind you on your phone, printed, or online calendar. It doesn’t matter what method you choose. Simply find a way to remind yourself, “Hey! It’s time to get started on this!” Then, consider what items you need to create or have on hand.
There are more considerations, depending on your style of art. For example, if you’re a painter, you might want to think about getting as many of your works scanned as you’ll need to show during the upcoming seasons. We scan artwork for shows and the like on a regular basis. Doing so allows our artist customers to be postured for whatever opportunities arise. Plus, scanning ahead of time is a good way to get some of the heavier costs out of the way early in the season.
Conversely, I see something else happen pretty frequently. Artists will sometimes wait until the busy art season has begun, then sell a piece to finance the cost of the scan. Inevitably, this leads to a lot of pressure to do everything too fast. This definitely increases the chances of someone getting grumpy. Particularly, the person to whom you’re trying to sell artwork. I’m certainly not 100% opposed to financing your scanning sales when you sell an original. Sometimes that is quite literally your only option. But let it be your last option because it always complicates things for us, you, and your customer.
Planning for Unexpected Opportunities
As an alternative, I suggest marking up your originals to the amount needed to cover the cost of scanning. Yes, you still incur some up-front/out-of-pocket costs. But in the long-run, you’ll be capitalizing on more opportunity because of how quickly you’re able to provide a client with a result. Additionally, prepping for your art season ahead of time means you’re already prepared for anything unexpected. For example, you may be presented with a sudden opportunity to do a show. Since your items are already scanned and in our files, you can get your products so much faster than if you had to go through the entire process of scanning, proofing, printing, and framing just before the show.
Consider Your Art Season Objectives
Finally, if you’re on a limited budget, then make simple determinations about your body(s) of work:
- Must have it for the season to come
- Would be really nice to have it
- Can take it or leave it
Now you are better equipped to analyze according to your seasonal needs: if the whole group is too costly to scan for your current finances, you’ll know what can make the cut immediately without having a great negative impact on your overall objective for the seasons to come.
Believe it or not, the world of “on-demand” printing has made maintaining a large stock of your work a thing of the past. These days, we can create what you need in a very short period of time. So, you can get what you need, as you need it, for any given venue. Therefore, I’d much rather see you put your dollars into scanning now for digital storage, rather than stockpiling tons of prints that you may not even need.