Category Archives: Art Help & Info

Everything’s Coming Up… Copied?

Original painting (above) "Everything's Coming Up Roses" by Amy Guidry; 2007; Acrylic on canvas; 40"w x 30"h; (c) Amy Guidry 2015.  Below is a copy by unknown person
Original painting (above) “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” by Amy Guidry; 2007; Acrylic on canvas; 40″w x 30″h; (c) Amy Guidry 2015. Below is a copy by unknown person

Well, I encountered one of an artist’s worse nightmares.  I found a copy of my work on the internet painted by someone other than myself.  I don’t know who did it or why they would do this, so I will limit any speculation for the moment.  I would love it if they would come forward and explain themselves, though.

So I thought I should write a post about this topic now that I have some personal insight, and as I said, I know a lot of artists fear sharing their images for this exact reason.

Okay, so you find your art being used on the internet without your permission, or worse, find it being copied by someone else.  What do you do?

– Personally I don’t mind if someone shares my work on Facebook or other social media sites, so long as they credit me.  At the very least it should say that the work was created by [your name].

-Ideally if your work is shared on social media, it should include your name, the media, dimensions, year created, and a link to your website.  **Note to everyone out there sharing other peoples’ images: please follow these guidelines.  Artists work HARD to do what they do, and it is much appreciated when someone gives them credit for it.

-Always  put a watermark on your work.  I know this can’t always be done since most online publications want to feature your work sans watermark.  Do what you can, though, to help limit uncredited images going awry.

-If you find your images shared without credit to you, first contact the person posting and send a polite request that they add your contact info.  Send them the info as you would like it listed so it is easy for them to copy and paste, thus they will be more likely to follow through.

-In the event that this person ignores your request, you can go above their heads and contact their web host or Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Explain that you asked nicely to get your work credited and since they refused, tell them you want the image removed.

-If your work is being copied by someone else… my condolences.  This is aggravating, but something can be done.  First, find out who did the copy.  Just because someone posted it on social media sites does not mean they are the one that created it- it may be a re-shared image.  Trace it back to the original “artist.”

-Contact all social media outlets and the website host of the copycat artist and explain your situation.  Provide images and information regarding the copied art, yours and theirs, with links to the posts and direct links to the work in question on their website.  Ask that the images be removed.

-Your original work is automatically protected under the copyright treaty law.  If you need to take legal action, it will need to be formally registered, which can be done after the fact.

-Social media sites and the website host should comply, but if need be, you could contact a lawyer or lawyer friend, and have a cease and desist letter sent.  Further action may not be required, sometimes this is enough.  If not, you’ll have to take everything into consideration as to whether or not it is worth a legal dispute in court.

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www.AmyGuidry.com

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New Postcards

Postcards featuring "Veil" by Amy Guidry
Postcards featuring “Veil” by Amy Guidry

My new postcards arrived!  Or if you’re a cat, a new cardboard box has arrived!  If you’d like to receive one, message me or click the postcard icon here: http://amyguidry.com/contact.html.

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www.AmyGuidry.com

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Selling Yourself Short

"Crutch" by Amy Guidry; Acrylic on canvas; 12"w x 6"h; SOLD; (c) Amy Guidry 2014
“Crutch” by Amy Guidry; Acrylic on canvas; 12″w x 6″h; SOLD; (c) Amy Guidry 2014

Some think that as a “new” artist, you have to start selling your art very low until you start selling like crazy, then you can raise your prices.  A lot of people would multiply the width by height of their art and that number would be the price.  Or if you’re “good,” you can then multiply that by 2.  What?

While there is some truth to starting out small when you are a new artist, it is absolutely ridiculous to think that a painting that took 40 (or more) hours to create should be worth a paltry amount.  Not to mention supply costs, packaging and shipping costs, and any other fees such as to your photographer or web designer.  Starting out, you won’t be able to recoup all of your costs, but that doesn’t mean you have to fall that short of doing so.

For the most part, I have yet to see any emerging artist overcharging for their work.  It’s usually the opposite.

Why is it that when we make something by hand, it must be cheaper than anything else?  Why are we willing to shell out more for some mass-produced, made-in-china crap than for something created, an original mind you, by a “starving” artist?  And why do artists feel that their work isn’t worth it?  Is it lack of confidence?  Is it because the grass is greener on the other side?  Whatever the reasoning, it needs to stop.

Be proud of your work.  It’s the only one in the world.  There are no others.  It’s unique.  And you made it yourself.  It was created from your imagination and unwavering dedication.  You spent endless hours sketching it, then actually producing it, forgoing weekends or holidays off, and time with your family just to finish this one piece of art.  Why settle for less?  Be confident in your work and the rest will follow.

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www.AmyGuidry.com

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Growing your success

Amy Guidry giving a talk at the New Orleans Museum of Art
Amy Guidry giving a talk at the New Orleans Museum of Art

I had a question from someone wanting to know my thoughts on his acceptance into a particular publication (Studio Visit, to be precise, which I have discussed before here).  Often when I would get my work featured in a certain show or a magazine, I would get questions as to whether that led to something bigger.  Because I don’t ever rely on just one opportunity, I can’t pinpoint or put some sort of quantitative measurement to it.  While it would be nice to come up with a specific formula that doing X + Y = Z, I find it is best to have a continuous cycle of productivity going.

I don’t believe there is ever one accomplishment that opens doors.  On rare occasion you hear of some now-famous artist that was discovered and then had a sold-out show.  These are the stories that artists hear and think “that could be me.”  For the overwhelming majority of artists, including the famous ones, it was a series of events that got them to where they are today.

So in the case of the artist that contacted me, I told him that it is not so much about being in the magazine, but what you do with it.

For example:

– Once he is published in the magazine, get extra copies to send to collectors

– If you can afford it, get additional copies for potential buyers as well (anyone that seems really interested in your work)

– Give copies of the magazine to galleries as part of your portfolio presentation

– Inform your local press (newspapers, radio, etc.) that you got into the magazine

Find ways to make the most of your accomplishments and extend their shelf-life.  No one opportunity will do it, but if you can make it snowball into more, you’ll increase your chances of getting bigger and/or more opportunities.

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www.AmyGuidry.com

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The what, where, why, and how’s of putting art on your wall

Installation of "Sequence" by Amy Guidry; Acrylic on canvas; 6"w x 12"h; SOLD; (c) Amy Guidry 2014
Installation of “Sequence” by Amy Guidry; Acrylic on canvas; 6″w x 12″h; SOLD; (c) Amy Guidry 2014

When it comes to hanging art on my wall, I personally like to just go with what looks right to me.  Then again, I am an artist so that may be a little easier to do than for others.  So with that in mind, I’ve found a few short, visual, and helpful articles online to give you some help on how to hang your art, where to hang it, how to arrange it with other art, and how to light it.  The visuals alone are great ideas.

From 1Kindesign– 58 Stylish Ways to Transform Ordinary Walls into Art Gallery Walls: http://www.onekindesign.com/2013/10/11/58-stylish-ways-transform-ordinary-walls-art-gallery-walls/

From Elle Decor– How to Hang Art Like a Pro: http://www.elledecor.com/home-remodeling/what-the-pros-know/how-to-home-decorating-ideas/hang-art-like-a-pro-a-68712

From DIY Network– Techniques for Lighting Artwork: http://www.diynetwork.com/decorating/techniques-for-lighting-artwork/index.html

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www.AmyGuidry.com

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Shipping Art

Bad example of packaging on so many levels
Bad example of packaging on so many levels

Occasionally I get asked if I ship my work, which is a common question among artists and non-artists alike.  The thought of packaging an original work of art and handing it over to a carrier is scary.  I will admit that it makes me anxious.  However, after reviewing the methods of other shipping companies, as well as researching the internet, I have been successfully packaging my own work for transit for many years now.  I have to say that this was not only a financial decision, but also based on a bad experience in which one of my paintings was damaged by a shipping company.  So here are the steps I follow when shipping my paintings:

– Wrap the front and sides of the canvas with glassine paper.  This can be found online at just about any art supply shop.  Be sure to tape the paper to the back, not the front of the canvas.

– Then wrap the painting front and sides with a sheet of mylar.  I like Grafix Dura-Lar which you can find on Utrecht.com.  This helps protect against moisture due to climate/temperature change.

– Bubble wrap the painting with large bubble wrap, covering the back as well.  I like to then wrap it again with another sheet of bubble wrap.  Try to limit the tape to just along the sides to help prevent someone from cutting into the painting when removing tape.

– Prep your box for transit. I like the ones offered by U-Line (uline.com) since they have boxes specifically for artwork.  I suggest getting one that leaves a minimum 3 inches of space around your painting.

– Tape one end of the box together with clear packing tape, covering it horizontally and vertically as well as along the seams of the box and corners.

– While the box is empty, I like to mark it with a permanent marker, writing “Fragile” on all sides of the box and I put an “up” arrow along where the top is.  Also, it helps the gallery if you write your name (I just use my last name since it’s unique enough) on the box as well.  Just be sure that it is away from the “Fragile” signs to help with visibility.

– Before stuffing the box, I use a few extra sheets of cardboard to protect the body of the box and the painting.  I like to have 2 sheets on either side of the painting, but if it’s really thick you can use one on each side.  The cardboard should be cut to cover the painting but be just smaller than the inside of the box to ensure a good fit.

– When shipping a larger painting, I like to use a couple of sheets of thin wood such as luan, which I get at Home Depot.  I will also add a couple of sheets of cardboard as well, if space allows.

– Line the bottom of your box with crumpled brown kraft paper or tissue paper.  I advise against colored tissue paper or newspaper in case of bleeding.  Pack the bottom well, especially the corners of the box.

– Place the wrapped painting in the box, between the sheets of cardboard so there are even amounts on each side.  If using luan, place the painting between the luan, leaving extra cardboard evenly on each side.

– Line the sides of the box with more kraft paper or tissue paper.  If the box is large, you may need a dowel or broomstick to help push the paper down the sides to ensure they are properly stuffed.

– Finish with kraft paper or tissue across the top of the painting.  If including a gallery contract or other paperwork, I put that information in a 9×12 envelope and place it across the top of the painting before adding kraft paper.  Then seal with clear packing tape, again going horizontally and vertically.

In cases where the work will be shipped back to me, I like to include a typed packing instruction sheet for the gallerist.  Make sure your name, contact info, and the name of your painting is on the sheet as well.  This way you can ensure that your painting is packaged in the same manner as it was received.

Also, I won’t promote any one carrier, but I will say that I prefer 2-day Air shipping.  It can be expensive depending on the size of the piece, but it goes through the least number of hands.  (Other than overnight, which is $$.)

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www.AmyGuidry.com

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Meeting Goals

I’m a list-maker, so when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, I already have a list at any given time. I’m constantly thinking of things I want to accomplish or improve. My lists get overgrown, they’re illegible, and I use the new year as an opportunity to purge those lists and rewrite them into something slightly more legible. With that said, there are several guidelines that have always helped me reach goals and regardless of your personal plan, can come in handy. So here’s what I’ve picked up over the years from various sources and my own personal experience:

Have a clear vision of what it is you want
Tell people about your goal- it keeps you accountable- you’ll be more willing to accomplish it when everyone is watching
List in detail steps and a strategy for getting what you envisioned
Set deadlines- literally put it on your calendar that you will accomplish something on a certain date and follow through
Have passion for what you are doing- you have to be truly excited about what you are doing or want to accomplish
Be flexible- if something doesn’t work out, alter your plan to make it happen
Be willing to take risks and get out of your comfort zone
Surround yourself with positive people
Prioritize your goals into high priority, medium, and low
Be proactive but maintain balance in other areas of your life

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www.AmyGuidry.com

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Are you passionate?

Amy Guidry discusses her work with viewers at the Paul & Lulu Hilliard Museum

Judging by my title, you’d think this was a quiz you’d find in Cosmo.  Actually, I read an article by Norm Brodsky in Inc. Magazine recently that inspired me to write this post.  He mentioned seeing a Rolling Stones concert, watching Mick Jagger performing at the age of 69, wondering how or even why he does it.  He’s not exactly hurting for money, he’s getting older- sorry, but true, and touring is a lot even for young kids, so why continue to do it?  Mr. Brodsky’s point- passion.  Clearly this man has passion for what he does.  I can completely relate.  While I am no Mick Jagger, I can completely relate to the need (yes, this is a need) to create.  That passion is what makes you get up everyday and do what you do, despite rejection, despite challenges, and despite just having a bad day in general, only to get up the next day and do it all over again.

There are some artists out there that give up because they didn’t get into a show or a particular gallery or their work didn’t sell like they expected.  There are those that give up because galleries are not knocking down their doors.  And there are those that continue to paint (or sculpt, or draw, etc.) but don’t ever expect anything to come of it.  If you are happy with that, that is perfectly fine, but if you want more for your art, then you’re going to have to give it your all.  Whatever you choose to do in life, that has to be your passion.  It has to be the thing you get up for everyday.  It has to be the thing you choose to do and do it well.  Be the best damn artist, baker, or candlestick-maker ever.  And it doesn’t stop there.  Don’t just master your craft, but also learn the skills required to make that business succeed.  Continue your education- no, I don’t mean go back to school, necessarily, but continue to learn through other sources such as the wonderful web.  And get out of your comfort zone.  Being successful at anything requires taking on new challenges or doing things we are not accustomed to.  Lastly, be flexible.  If something doesn’t go as expected, learn to adapt or figure out a new way of accomplishing the task at hand.

It seems like a given that you are passionate about your art, but that’s not always the case.  Figure out what it is that brings you joy and if need be, kick it into high gear.  Take charge of your [art] career.

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www.AmyGuidry.com

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Art and Press: Show Me Some Love

“The Wild West” by Amy Guidry as featured in Professional Artist magazine’s article “Communicating Social Messages through Art, Partnership and Publicity” by Renee Phillips

A recent discussion online brought up the lack of enough media coverage of visual art.  It is true that the number of features written about art have gone down over the past several years and it doesn’t help that some publications suffered from the economic downturn.  Some suggested that art may be too “complicated” for people to understand (bah!) while others thought bias may be given to other art forms such as music or literature.  There may be some truth to this, but I think the real reasons are much bigger.  To start, art is a luxury item and is marketed as such.  There are some smaller works that are more affordable for a wide range of budgets, but for the most part, art is a luxury item which means it is expensive due to scarcity, quality, technique, and materials, thus the price reflects this.  Part of the appeal of luxury items is that they are exclusive.  This shrinks the number of people that not only own such items, but also those that may feel comfortable enough to ask for the price.  Now, I don’t believe that art has to be completely out of reach and there are ways that it can be an easier purchase without sacrificing the artist’s own time and expense but that is another topic.  For the moment, let’s just stick with high-end luxury items.

Adding to this exclusivity are many galleries that like to orchestrate exactly which hands their works go in.  There are many blue-chip galleries which only want to see their artists in the “right” collection, thus adding to the gallery’s status.  And I have to admit that there are those galleries with the infamous “gallerina” giving the cold shoulder to visitors.  Most galleries don’t operate this way but unfortunately this is the common perception.  The “white box” psychology has taken over and makes many people uncomfortable with the art world.

To top it all off, I find that many artists and even galleries do not send out press releases to the media or when they do, it’s the same drivel that many writers receive over and over again.  It’s a boring presentation of facts- who, what, where, when, and if you include an artist statement, why.  Sure, it’s a big deal to the artist and to the gallery that they’re having a show, but why should it be a big deal to the public?  The public wants a story.  I’m an artist and even I find press releases about shows to be a snore.  I want to know the artist’s life story- why they created this work and I don’t mean some nonsensical philosophy using every vocabulary word you had to learn for the SAT’s.  What brought you to this point in your life?  What did you overcome to make this work?  What in your travels inspired this series?  It doesn’t have to be dramatic like a soap opera- although that sort of thing always interests the media- but it should be informative enough that a writer can weave this into a great story.

Even if you are lucky enough to get the elusive great review in an art magazine, these publications are for a specific niche and are not read by the general public.  If you want your art to be seen in mainstream media, as was expressed in this conversation, then you’re going to have to broaden your reach, be proactive, send press releases (good ones!!), and ask for interviews.  Be your own PR team.  Let the public get to know you as a person.

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Serendipity and Collecting Art

From my own art collection: Totem by Donald LeBlanc; acrylic on wood

I recently became the proud owner of one of local artist Donald LeBlanc’s totems.  It’s from a collection of wooden totems he produced- I believe this one is #4 (?) from 2010.  Needless to say, I love the piece.  While in the gallery, I did not immediately know where I was going to put it, but I knew I’d find a spot.  Keep in mind my home is currently in transition and many rooms have yet to be painted.  I quickly discovered that I had many possibilities for this sculpture.  With five colors in it, I found that either one or several colors were a perfect or close enough match to existing colors elsewhere in the decor.  The fact that it is wooden also works with an existing collection of wooden folk art objects that I own.  Even the size allows for many possibilities because it’s roughly 7 inches tall (just guessing off the top of my head). Not to mention that once all the walls are painted to more neutral and muted colors, it will allow for even more options.  After moving the piece to various locations, I finally settled on the bedroom.  It just so happens that my accent wall is similar enough to the base of the piece that it works.

I titled this post ‘serendipity,’ but really, when it comes down to it, there is no accidental good fortune involved.  We are visual creatures.  We respond in different ways to various colors or patterns and will gravitate to particular ones.  Take a look in your closet or in your home and you will find that there are certain textures, colors, and/or patterns that tend to repeat themselves.  Which is why when you are drawn to a particular work of art, what attracts you to it is probably the same thing that attracts you to other aspects of your life.  So the real question is not whether a work of art matches your sofa, but whether or not it matches your life and desires.  Does it evoke the feelings you wish to have when you walk in that room?  Does it bring you joy?  Maybe it reminds you of a pleasant memory.  That sofa you have may be comfortable, but it doesn’t carry the emotional weight of a work of art.  And eventually your sofa will need to be replaced- that work of art will be in your home and that of future generations forever.  Don’t worry about whether it matches.  It will.  If a work of art speaks to you, you can’t possibly ignore it.  It was meant to be.

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