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Internet for Artists – Kumbaya Wrap-up

Posted in A Day in the Life, Internet for Artists, Workshops | No Comments »

tea-overflowing cropped
A college professor once went to see a Zen master to learn more about Zen. When the professor met her, he told the Zen master everything he knew about Zen — all the scriptures he had read, all the knowledge he had, all the facts and figures he knew. He said that he would like her to tell him all of her knowledge so that he could know everything there is to know about Zen. The Zen master responded by asking the professor if he would like some tea. The professor said that he would.

The Zen master filled the professor’s cup with tea, and then continued to pour, making the tea overflow onto the table. The professor, watching the Zen master continue to pour tea even though his cup was full, yelled, “Stop! The cup is full. There is no room for more. Why do you keep pouring?”

To which the master responded, “Like this cup, your mind is full. How can I teach you about Zen unless you first empty your cup, empty your mind?”

This weekend’s “Internet for Artists” workshop was a breakthrough of sorts for me. The rooms were filled with energy and creativity, and a sense of sharing. After spending a weekend with these artists, I can’t help but admire their dedication to their art. There is a discipline represented, that musicians don’t always have, which I can’t help but respect.

Being in a group of artists this weekend reminded me that it is still February Album Writing Month, whose month-long songwriting bootcamp is still in session. Tomorrow night is the 3rd year anniversary of the Brooklyn Songwriter Circle, and now that my 4-month entrepreneurial class with WIBO is done, I can return to this vibrant music community on Mondays. It’s time to set up this week’s songwriting session with my writing partner. And complete a personalized song commissioned for a pair of soulmates celebrating seven years together.

Gotta go! I have music to make.

For more information about the Internet for Artists workshop, visit http://Creative-Capital.org

*Meaning of Kumbaya, thanks to Wikipedia

Internet for Artists – Day 3

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dread scott and mathew delegat

Ooh, the last day of our 3 day “Internet for Artists” workshop, and it ROCKED!!!

Reductive Artist Matthew Delegat started the day by teaching folks about WordPress blogs, and how to install it. I could have cried – WP is such a fantastic blog platform that can be learned in a few hours, and I was grateful that he was teaching artists how to fish by teaching them how to create a blog. LIBERATION!!

I’ve been to tons of internet workshops and rarely do you get tutorials on WordPress. Steve Lambert, one of the artist course leaders (not in attendance, but oft-quoted), has even built a theme for artists, WPFolio, an easy way to post your art portfolio on a WordPress blog. I’ve installed my share of a few WordPress blogs, and was still blown away at how easy WordPress is to teach newbies. Great idea!!

After that was “Sticky Websites”, which was led by public artist Eve Mosher and filmmaker/storyteller Michelle Halsell. This might have been my favorite session of the weekend, as Eve and Michelle took us through websites that are “sticky”, as in your eyeballs “stick” to the page. Sites such as Garbage Revolution, Learning to Love You More, and ceramicist Ayumi Horie were terrific examples of sticky websites that I look forward to revisiting (and studying! ;-))

Next up was Dread Scott’s session on “Generating Revenue”. Dread gave us a tour of Etsy.com, which is an option for the artist who also has drawings, jewelry, or other objects available. By the way, musicians are also selling their CDs on Etsy, so I’ll have to take a closer look.

He then turned us on to 20×200.com, a website curated by a gallery owner to sell art at multiple price points, from $50 to $3,000. I found this idea quite brilliant actually. Artists can sell their art, and “regular people” can afford to enjoy it. Simple and effective!

This session also covered crowdfunding, getting a group of your fans to donate to your project. We also learned about DJ Spooky (also known as artist Paul Miller) who built an iPhone app (and sold over a million of them). Dread then rounded out our session with eTicketing and affiliate income. Wow, having to type all this out now, I really realize how much info we got today!

THEN photographer Sue Schaffner taught a kick-ass session on “Being Efficient”. That woman has lots of tools and tricks up her sleeve! We learned about Merlin Mann’s “Inbox Zero” technique of email organization. I’ve been ignoring people’s tweets about “Inbox Zero” because the idea sounds impossible to me.

But since Sue gave the basic premise (Only 5 things to do with your emails when you receive them; If you can’t take action, why are you reading your email??), I have to give this technique a shot. So maybe one day I’ll be the one tweeting “Inbox Zero”! Don’t hold your breath, but it really seems like something I can actually do!

After lunch, we had one on one consultation sessions. I met with Sue Schaffner to talk about generating revenue tips. Even better, she gave me insight into grant applications for artists. Apparently New York Foundation of the Arts (NYFA) posts new grant opportunities each week. The Foundation Center is also a place online to discover grant opportunities. Only over the past few months have I started to explore what grants are all about, and I was pleased to learn from someone who’s received a number of them.

After my consultation, I went to the main room where the group was reviewing their notes. Eve Mosher invited me to share some of my music marketing lessons with the group, and thanks to the announcement made by the dashing Triple Edwards, most of the artists gathered round to listen. I shared a modified version of “The 4 C’s of the New Music Biz”, wanting to be mindful of the artists in the room who might find some of my promo tactics to be inappropriate to what they do. Thankfully, my talk was well-received, but it was easy. It felt more like a conversation with a group of people – my new friends!

Special thanks to Creative Capital, New York Foundation of the Arts (NYFA), Alyson Pou, Ann Marie Lonsdale, Rebekah Meola, and Jon Carrero at NYFA. It takes a lot of work to put a workshop like this together, and it is much appreciated! I’d also like to send a shout out to Liora Beer from Boston’s ARTMORPHEOUS who attended as an observer. She’s now interested in having an “Internet for Artists” workshop in Boston. Lucky them!

For more information about the Internet for Artists workshop, visit http://Creative-Capital.org

Internet for Artists – Day 2

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dread scott and mathew delegat

Day 2 of the Internet for Artists workshop was pretty intense! Today we covered a lot of info. I’m familiar with most of the material, but my brain is still processing it all! We focused on setting and clarifying our internet goals. As much as I help others, it’s kinda nice to be on the receiving end of advice for my websites.

Here are some highlights from my notes from Dread Scott’s breakout session:

* We show our work to avoid obscurity; Obscurity is a bigger problem for us than piracy!

* All knowledge we have comes from sharing.

* If it’s difficult, then you have something to learn!

* RTFM= Read the Fucking Manual (Has its own Wikipedia entry)

Musicians and artists can learn a lot from each other, and it’s been a great experience to stay open and receptive to learning something new. On the subway ride home, I learned about mixed media from artist Cecile Chong, and once again, I’m reminded of the plethora of talented artists who live in NYC!

So much more I could write, but I gotta go! When all of this is over, I will transcribe my scribbles, and add them to the workshop’s Wiki at http://ifa.wikispot.org/

Internet for Artists Workshop – Day 1

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dread scott and mathew delegat

Woke up early this morning wanting to blog before today’s session, so here I am.

I have to say that I am impressed by the caliber of artists in this workshop with me, visual artists in particular. As a musician, I admit to being primarily led by sounds and voices, and other random things that I hear. So for me to spend extended amounts of time experiencing visual art is delightfully refreshing! I suppose that my recent forays into video will be enhanced as well.

Not to mention that most of these artists have their online presence. The 24 of us were each chosen by lottery supposedly, but when I look at the depth and breadth of talent displayed, it makes me wonder. It doesn’t matter, though. I’m just glad to be here, in the company of ARTISTS. I needed this workshop even more than I thought!

I did get to meet the artist who I had been randomly paired with. Now that we’ve met, I can tell you that she is Shimoda Emanuel, a Harlem jewelry designer. We met for the first time during the workshop, when we each gave a 2 minute presentation on what we found when we went looking for each other online.

Shimoda and I hugged when we met, which was nice (During our break, artist Barbara Ellman told us that she gave us her “Cute Award” for that), and shared what we learned about the other’s online presence.

Since I have already built a strong online presence (and teach online marketing), Shimoda asked the question why I was in the class. At the time, I said that I wanted to learn more about generating revenue. But even now I have other reasons. For one thing, it has been incredible being in a room with artists who are actively working artists. I LOVE that! There are lots of grant recipients in the room, and I have no experience with that yet. But I will!!

It happened to be an excellent exercise to have someone research you, using just your name. Google searches for some of the artists turned up branding issues: What if you have a common name, shared by a few others? What if you don’t show up at all? It was interesting to see how a stranger may find you on Google (or not). I have a feeling that I’m about to have a fantastic weekend!

Already I’ve made some new friends: Triple Edwards is more than a triple threat with his acting, artist, musician, entertainer experiences. Alfonso Munoz (who came all the way from Puerto Rico for this workshop) taught me about Artist Statements, and Vivian Yang brought a writer’s perspective to the mix.

I’m having an awesome time. Don’t wait up!

Internet for Artists Workshop: Bringing Sexy Back!

Posted in A Day in the Life, Internet for Artists | 1 Comment »

This is going to be a mixed bag blog post, and I don’t care. For one thing, I revisited my
blog again and thought, screw the life lessons, where is the ROCK STAR????

Once again, I get caught in the BUSINESS of music. I admit, it is very sexy to me. Especially
because I’m built for it. But I’m also built for MUSIC, which creates an unsexy tension.

This weekend I get to be an artist AND a student during Creative Capital’s Internet for
Artists Workshop this weekend. This evening, and full days Saturday and Sunday, I
will participate as an artist seeking to use the internet to build her career. As I’ve been
doing a lot of business stuff lately, I welcome the opportunity to wear my artist hat.

The Internet for Artists Workshop is sponsored by Creative Capital, a national nonprofit
organization that provides integrated financial and advisory support to artists pursuing
adventurous projects in all disciplines. Their pioneering approach combines funding,
counsel and career development services to enable a project’s success and foster
sustainable practices for their grantees.

One of the prep assignments I was given was to research another participant in the
workshop. We were told that we were not to try to contact them, just look ’em up
online, and give a presentation on what we found. I can only guess what she’ll say
about my business antics on this site, but I’m not feeling it right now. I’m gonna move
those WIBO posts to another blog too…

But I digress, the point is, the first part of the workshop is tonight, and I feel compelled
to update my blog (especially since I know folks will be studying it – Eek!)
However, the person I’m researching featured an inspirational video on their blog, that
I can’t help but share. Enjoy!

Krista Vernoff, Commit to Thrive

So while I can’t contact this person before we meet tonight, I can at least be viral about it! 😉

Make no doubt about it: I’m bringing SEXY back to this blog!