Saying Yes And No

Episode 60 · February 23rd, 2019 · 33 mins 46 secs

About this Episode

A lot of us are inclined to say yes to any art opportunity—always looking to advance our art careers and open up new pathways. But how can you keep your
calendar clear enough to stay focused and do your best work?

PODCAST notes:
Saying YES: how to decide
Follow up to Pacing Podcast—

Intro: A lot of us are inclined to say yes to any art opportunity—always looking to
advance our art careers and open up new pathways. But how can you keep your
calendar clear enough to stay focused and do your best work?

Talked in previous PC about pacing and our inclination to say yes ; overload from
an abundance of opportunity’/ meeting your personal needs for time and energy

What can you say no to and not hurt your good trajectory? What is smart to say
yes to??

Best Attitude: A lot of this is guess work…do your best to research, understand --
but know we all make poor decisions at some point as well as good ones.

Don’t beat yourself up for bad ones—this is all unknown territory as we go
forward. Artists encounter a lot more of these kinds of decisions than many

Many so-called opportunities are presented as sales pitches. A good sales
pitch that you say yes to is aimed at something you actually want and is not
inflated or dishonest

Considerations that might lead to a NO:

Not meant to be overly negative, just to help you make decisions.
Is it legitimate?

Previous PC about scams and schemes/has been discussed; avoid pay
to play situations unless co-op, art fair

Is it mainly Exposure: so often the carrot dangled in one form or another.

Does the opportunity actually allow your work to stand out in some way?

There are a lot of publications, vanity galleries, solicitations to show at art
fairs etc. Will you just be lost in the crowd? Or is there something unique/better
about this particular situation?

Offering “exposure” alone is generally a red flag that you will not be
compensated in any real way

Putting up work in restaurants/banks etc.

Be realistic, do your research.

Donating time /art work: often uses exposure as hook. Only participate if
you actually want to support the cause or there is tangible benefit to yourself.

Are there other aspects of an offer that sound good that may not add up to

Don’t be swayed by things like a New York location unless it is a recognized
and legitimate gallery.

A line on a resume is only that; meaningless if there isn;’t substance behind
it that you can really use in publicity, self-promotion

Overly time consuming: Very important yet hard to judge ahead of time if
it is something new. Like house repairs—figure it will take at least twice as much
time as you expect.

If you suspect it will take too much time it probably will.
Be wary of people trying to convince you it will be simple or easy.

You have a Crowded schedule: related to the above

Financial considerations: legit opportunities may still involve $ outlay—such
as juried shows ---shipping, framing fees. Weigh possibilities of return on your
investment (sales) or possibility of other gain. Will this take you anywhere?

Example: Participating in group show at gallery—may lead to
representation there, or sales. Juried show less likely.

Quality of opportunity: is it respectful of your work and your experience?

Will it add to or detract from your professional image?

If you encounter really poor behavior once you agree, feel OK about
withdrawing even if it means accepting some loss; cut your losses--

BIG ONE: Does the opportunity fit with your overall goals/plans? Keep your
focus on what you want for your art career.

For ex: if trying to get into a commercial gallery, building your resume for a
while with juried shows in art centers etc. is good. But you don’t need to keep
entering juried shows for years.

Recognize when a stage of your career has served its purpose but is over.
(juried shows, teaching workshops in venues that underpay, showing in
community spaces in which you have to do all the work of publicity, reception

Avoid stepping down—A gallery contacts you with interest; look at their
website and have doubts about the quality f work they handle.

This becomes a pretty gut response over time

Say YES when:

You have the opportunity to do something with a legitimate, respected

You can identify clear benefits that you can be pretty sure of happening

You have checked out the situation with an objective mindset (online,
talking to other artists, evaluating your own experiences)

You understand and accept any risks involved

The opportunity suits your overall goals

It fits your schedule

Your intuition says yes—that does play a role but balance it with these
other considerations

Wrap up:
Again, be realistic about the outcomes that are likely, do your research, avoid
being overly swayed by sales pitches—there are lots of great opportunities but
sadly plenty that are aimed at taking your time and money.