Thursday, November 22, 2012

Castles dreams & Popsicle stick budgets

Mural pricing info and preventing hard situations.

 I received a call the other day from a past client wishing to get a quote for a new mural. Now under normal circumstances this would be good news. Only this time the client is a non-profit. A few years back I was approached by members of the “non profit “ board. At the time, I was new to town and felt that participating in a community endeavor was good for all concerned. As it turns out the board came to me “hat in hand” asking if I would consider “fixing” an existing mural pleading they had no budget. So we all met at the museum one night and discussed said mural in need of repair. Well it didn’t need to be repaired as it was done by some well intentioned amateurs about 20 odd years ago. I did the only thing I could do......replace it. Turns out they spent 5 k on a steel chest, not that it matters but imho they really have no need at this point in the game.

Now in the spirit of good will, I did the mural at cost under the inferred idea that they would do some fund raising on their own for the next one at par- “ish”.          Silly me, I should have known better!
 So this time three of us get together and the whole exchange lasted 5 minutes or less. After doing some measuring it turns out that the new piece they want is three times the size of the first one. So this time they insist I give them a straight out price for the mural which is strange from these guys (I don’t give out written quotes, just basic agreements signed by both parties when it’s money time). So I give them the straight up goods and that was it for the meeting. .......hmmm! Did I mention the mural I did helped win them an award, (as I was told this past summer by another board member) so they probably got a bursary of some sort too which is great, glad I could help.....but!!!!

Having done many meetings, there are a few things I have picked up....sometimes I’m wrong but not very often these days! This is what I think derailed the project:

Someone new (to the board with lots of plastic friends) knows an artist (that thinks they can paint murals, “some can”) and is pushing hard to send them the meeting was loaded before I even turned up. Probably even before they called me.


I’m bidding against......  a vinyl reproduction of a photograph! (which makes more sense in this equation).

A couple of things lead me to these conclusions:
 I could be wrong but I think not
first, I can paint what many can’t (that’s not say I can do anything but I have only had one complaint in almost 30 yrs), and there is no one I’m aware of any where near, that can match what I do in product or price.

What do I think I learned...hmmmm.
-If you do something for cheap/”the deal”, then expect to never ever earn more than that price point from that client no matter what they “say”.
- Never go out to quote on a job or ask for a quote unless you know what your asking for or doing exactly.
- Just because your friend is losing their house doesn’t mean they can paint murals at a professional level
- Some things just shouldn’t be done in vinyl, use the right medium for your venue (some things just look tacky no matter how "great" it looks on the screen)
- Don’t disrespect a mural artist by using vinyl all around a painted photo-real mural.....(unless its on a placard giving the artist credit and/or describing the mural its near! (it just looks tacky)
- Hire an artist/designer for artist designer’s what they do! (yes I know you’re talented...but you may not or don’t have, the training!) The difference in the end results are “Huge”!  Product knowledge is a big help to achieve quality.
- If you are not confident enough to charge, (or prepared to pay if you’re a buyer) $35... give or take $10 - $20 either way, plus materials/rental equipment, per square foot for a mural then you should seriously practice/save your money until you are.
                                                  Murals are not for the faint at heart.
An additional thought, vinyl is not for museum displays, and museum displays are not a place to practice mural painting even though you can paint 20 x 30 inch canvases of cats, dogs or horses etc! (imho of course)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Totally Out There...Must be a Weasel "or" A Weasel dressed up as Gran Ma

And now for something totally out there

Not sure how to start this one so these be the facts!!

A neighbour of mine dropped off some _ _ _ _ _ at an art/_ _ _ _ _ store in town on consignment..( I also have some of my work in for sale in said store) About 4 months ago the store sold some of his _ _ _ _ _ _ and said they would pay him at the specified numbers of days down the road....No problem right? lol......

So today 4 months and a few hundred pounds of “BS” later, my neighbour drops by and asks me to help him pick up the rest of his consignment’s. So I said “ I take it they didn’t give you any more than excuses again today” he said “no they didn’t”......All right I guess we are going to pic up some art too while we at it!

Before I say any more about this I must give you some background...... there are few other artist in the surrounding area that have work in this store as well, so a few of us have been a little concerned that they might do a “runner” with our stuff and whatever monies are owed will just vanish with them! A few weeks back while in the store I noticed that a painting a friend had done was missing off the wall.....I contacted the friend to congratulate him on his fortune and was told he knew nothing of it.

 He dropped into the store about a week later (just a little visit to see how his art was moving etc....since he hadn’t been in, in a while.... lol) Long and short they said the painting had just sold the night before (lie) and that it was going to take  the usual amount of time to get paid out (45 days)......I must also say at this point (I heard today ) that they (the said store owners) are over a year behind in their retail rent at this point too. There is more but I’ll skip it as I think you get the idea! So anyway into the store I go and tactfully let the store owner know I’m coming with the neighbour to pick up his remaining consignment pieces and while I’m at it, my art as well...(based on the circumstances).....He responds with “Can you come back at 4” .....”Sure” I say “no problem”

At 4 we turn up.........With the neighbour's _ _ _ _ _ _ _ safely tucked into the truck I start the task of de-hanging my paintings and gathering up assorted prints and sculpture salted into the decor.... In the progression of gathering my stuff up I come to two large-ish prints (un-framed/rolled) that are layed out on two desk pull outs.....So as I’m inspecting the first print for damage (so I can sign off on the undamaged return of my work) the store owner comes up and grabs the other print (incorrectly) off the other sliding drawer and promptly puts a crease in an otherwise undamaged print and ask’s me what I'm doing......I turn to him and say........ ”I’m inspecting this print to make sure it has no creases in it like the one you just made!” “Looks like you just bought a print!”(Now the..... “totally out there” part)           He (the store owner) turns to me with the print still creasing in his hand and says “I didn’t do that !” (he quickly drops the print back on the drawer)....I respond with “ _ _ _ _ _, I just watched you do it ! “. “No I didn’t” he repeats.....”I’m not paying you for that little creese” and back and forth it goes.

Eventually he sorta takes responsibility for it and promises to pay me the wholesale price at some later point in time......”Hmmmm” I think to myself and then say “like you promised to pay _ _ _ _ _ _ for the _ _ _ _ _ _ you sold 4 months ago?” to which he starts to pedal............Now in the muddle of back and forth-ness in the discussion, he claims no understanding of how said crease could be considered damaged! (So I had to ask) If you have no understanding of what your actions have done, or even what your looking at/holding incorrectly how on earth did you ever think you were going to sell it and what made you think you could just pick it up anyway? he picks it up carefully this time and asks what it is and what makes it valuable....So then the art lesson begins (holy sheet!!!!!! and these guys have been in this biz for longer than I have, or so it is commonly thought!) and is ended with the question from me to him” didn’t you attend the archivist course last year for the museum volunteers so that they could handle similar materials properly?” He didn’t respond......oh by the way...while I was making sure all my paintings were in good shape I discovered a screw that "they" use for hanging paintings wedged into the back of one of my paintings between the canvas and the stretcher bars.........fortunately no hole or permanent damage! (I coulda screamed) No wonder they're bombing, careless disrespectful weasels!

So what to do?....we were friends....but to be told basically “ _ _ _ _ off !”  and “I didn’t see what I saw” for more than an hour what........ do ya do since silencing is a no no?
GBH? Perhaps, but that might be a bit much and not really “my style”. Beside I don't own a backhoe so digging a hole would be alota work. Can't say how I'm gonna handle this but I can say well maybe not.

 This little adventure has brought to mind a few from the very distant past......I think this is what learned though (again...grrr)  Here’s a potentially expensive education “heads up” if your a neub to the art biz.....

1. If the dealer looks like they are in trouble (they didn't) “they are!” Its way easier to get your stuff back than to try and sue someone who is penny-less. Also if your agreement seems kinda weird or none existent don't do it

2.Still don’t do business with friends lol...(cash only and no custom stuff)

3. Make sure you have and use a good clause for damage/losses/shrinkage and responsibility with dealer/gallery agreements.

4. Inspect everything before you deliver, get them to not only acknowledge receipt of artwork but also the condition and,....inspect everything thoroughly that you pick up before you sign off on receiving it back if applicable (it happens)

In the end I guess after spending most of my life in the art biz, I still have lots to learn & or remember!