Is it time to get your art life organized?
This time of year I always promise myself that I will finally get my messy artist's life better organized. I drool over Container Store catalogs and check out inventory management programs online with the best of intentions. Everywhere I turn, I see this product or that software that could help me find my stuff and be more productive. And it's all so pretty and clean and neat and clearly labeled! Yes! That's what my studio is going to look like in 2016!
So I buy dozens of cute matching boxes and sign on for some big annual fees to try and keep all my artist's stuff together. And some of it helps, and some not so much. The reality is this:
If an artist is serious about making art and committed to living an artist's life, they will create and accumulate a ton of stuff. And a lot of that stuff will need to move around all over the place and not get lost or damaged.
I currently have hundreds of artworks to keep track of whether they are sold, on exhibit, or in storage. Then there's the pieces that need to be photographed, varnished, framed, or shipped, and those that are not yet finished. Add to that all of the precious art supplies and studio equipment, and both my head and my studio can get pretty crowded in there.
Start by focusing on the basic tools.
All of us creative types have our own personal organizational needs depending on the type of art we make, how big it is, and how productive we are. Most of us are limited in both studio and storage space, and we often have to use our art making space for other functions as well (like an office, classroom, garage, etc.) But there are some basic tools that every artist needs no matter how big or small their work space is:
Put it in writing!
It is so important to have a user friendly method of documenting artwork and the art making process. Right now I'm using a combination of cloud based inventory software, Photoshop for storing and editing photos, and my trusty hand-written spiral notebook. I've used several different kinds of software for photos and inventory over the years, and I've lost all the documentation and photos they held due to computer problems and software upgrades too. Not fun. So I'm so glad I've kept up with my old spiral notebooks.
I started keeping track of my artistic output and ideas in a simple, cheap spiral notebook quite a few years ago. At first, it was just to take notes and doodle while in the thinking and planning stages. But it grew into more of an all-in-one scrapbook, journal, and inventory document that has out-lasted all of the other organizational methods I have tried. It is the permanent hard copy that has pulled me through computer crashes and out of date software program glitches.
How do you keep track of your artistic output and ideas? My system is not ideal, and I'm always looking for a better method. I'd love to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by and I hope this post gives you some new ideas.
I obsessively make bold and vibrant abstract paintings. I can't help myself. It's just what I have to do. But I am passionate about art of all kinds, and I love to think, talk, and write about it, then share it with you. Please sign up for my Insider's List so we can keep in touch.