New Year's Resolutions- Better Studio Practices

When making that Post-Santa List of all the things you "shoulda, coulda, woulda" done last year, don't forget to include your studio practices under that microscope.

There are those who didn't really take care of the environmental impact of their mediums or just plain wasted working time. In any case, here are a few links, books and blogs to help you get on your feet this year.

bad disposal and safety practices

Many of us do not know the dangers of our own materials. Speaking from experience, you can be putting yourself in danger as much as the environment. I once worked as a studio assistant to a well-established, Manhattan-based artist and we used enamel paint. I worked with the stuff for almost a year, touching it, breathing it, letting it seep into my clothes, only to find out that the fumes from enamel paint can release fumes long after it has dried. You can request a Material Safety Data Sheet (or MSDS) on your specific materials from the Manufacturer.

For painters, fumes are always the most toxic part of the art. Brandeis University has put together a "Best Management Practices for Fine Art Painting Studios" document to help you set up your studio safely.

destroying your own work

There are a lot of us (including myself) who do not have the time to build or the money to buy proper art storage spaces. We end up mangling our own work to the point where it is no longer sell-able. There are a number of different resources to help you get the right storage facilities up and running, but for us painters ARTRIGHT has put together a quick bullet list of storage tips.

With all the resources around, it is nice to get a professional opinion and not a professional artist but someone in the museum/gallery scene. Studio Protector asked Harriett Green, Visual Arts Director, South Carolina Arts Commission, to put together some advice for artist about storing work from the perspective of a former museum registrar. "Keeping Your Art Work Safe and Secure" is a quick article to get you thinking about how and where you store your art.

wasting time, money and energy

Here is where I come into the picture. For many years, people have wondered at how I can produce the diversity, quality, and quantity of work that I do. In the past I have shared my secrets with select artists, starting as a drawing studio assistant in my college years. I was a double major taking 21 credits a semester, 12 of them studio art courses and 9 lab science credits, so I had very little time to waste. I developed a system that helped me stay on track with my time management. As my art career developed, I have added to my system things like "how to price work" and "marketing tools".  The complete book "Better Studio Practices in 6 Months: An Artist's Guide to a More Productive Studio Life", only about 30 pages, is is available on Amazon.

Here is a quick Excerpt:

"With the example above, even though our test subject spent a little more than 6 hours at their studio, they really only worked for 3 hours.  This is not a very effective use of your time. Figure out how much time you spent traveling, cooking/eating, watching T.V. or on the internet/phone, and working on your art. You may be surprised to find how much time is lost in a day to unproductive activity."