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In which real life makes its presence felt

Post #837 • July 25, 2006, 12:26 PM • 37 Comments

One: Today I enter the world of health insurance for the self-employed. Massachusetts is so heavily regulated that doing so is neither exorbitant nor especially affordable, but fortunately the state recognizes freelancers as small business owners. At any rate, I'm now a proud new member of the Graphic Artists Guild, a related but not requisite development. I think it's on the wrong side of the Google Print Library issue, but otherwise does a great job fighting for artists.

Two: I had decided that now that my silkscreen class is coming to a close, I would not take any more classes until after my Dorsch show in October, aside from a gardening workshop at the Arb which I doubt will be offered in the New England winter. But today I discovered that MassArt will be presenting a course in bladesmithing. The very thought makes my Y chromosomes tingle. (Ooh - in August the Arb is doing a workshop on chainsaws! And another on Indian survival skills! I like being a guy.)

Three: Since my arrival in Boston I have made friendly contact with Matt Nash, JL, Paul Graham, and Bill Marx, ranging from politely returned e-mails to great conversations over drinks and food. The warnings I heard that New Englanders are aloof and condescending? Utter twaddle.

Comment

1.

Jack

July 25, 2006, 2:16 PM

Yes, but can they drive really badly and dangerously while constantly talking on their cell phone, and then still give you the finger when you honk the horn at them?

2.

oldpro

July 25, 2006, 2:20 PM

How friendly was your response from Graham? I find him particularly interesting.

3.

Franklin

July 25, 2006, 2:42 PM

Jack, I was warned about the Boston drivers too. By the time I was driving around up here, I couldn't figure out what the problem was. Miami drivers are a whole different species.

OP, his was the e-mail. I figure he's as busy as all get-out and I'll bother him some more once I get the review of his book up.

4.

Marc Country

July 25, 2006, 6:03 PM

Mmm... "Freindly Contact"... my favorite....

Marx's 'free agent' status is interesting too... it'd be nice to woo him over here, or maybe you should start a Siskel&Ebert gig with him, Franklin.

5.

Franklin

July 25, 2006, 11:18 PM

It's like a cross between friendly and feindly. I'll go fix it. Marc, can I just get an e-mail next time?

Regarding your suggestion about Marx, well, we spoke on the phone this morning. Hold that thought.

6.

Franklin

July 25, 2006, 11:22 PM

I just click the bladesmithing class link and noticed that the next class is "The Art Of Negotiation: 'Getting More Of What You Want': Effective Negotiation and Dispute Resolution Skills for Artists." Those courses combined would make for a highly compelling negotiation.

7.

oldpro

July 26, 2006, 12:21 AM

Ken Moffett just told me that Saatchi has opened a web site where all artists can put up images and infoirmation.

http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/yourgallery/

I find the site very badly organized and difficult to navigate, and I don't see how it can benefit anyone much, but check it out. Can't hurt. At least I don't think so.

8.

jordan

July 26, 2006, 2:27 AM

How are you a freelancer Franklin: art, yoga...
What constitutes 'freelance' activities in order to obtain insurance?

9.

Franklin

July 26, 2006, 8:07 AM

OP, that's been up a while. The site is actually not as bad as it could be, considering what it's trying to do, but it's still a mess. I've heard of some people selling work on it, and I probably shouldn't have written it off as quickly as I did when I saw the name attached to it.

Jordan, first question, art. (Yoga?) Second question, I was asked to provide recent 1099 forms (statements of nonemployee income) or a Schedule C. Remember, though, that this is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and your situation could be totally different. The Graphic Artists Guild has an affiliation with the USFSB, and they broker the policies.

10.

DayStar

July 26, 2006, 11:32 AM

The Saatchi site is actually very well organized and very interesting in the fact that the established (Real) artists in Mr. Saatchi's collection are organized in the same way as the emerging unreal non established artists (an alphabetized drop down menu)...there is real sense of balance....and equalization. (The "established" artists work can be enlarged for a better view...that may be the only difference.)
I have created a page and have used it to email people who are interested in my work. It's free. I even gotten tech advice when I had a problem with the site.
What is Mr. Saatchi's motive?
Does he occasionally log on the site to find new work? doubtful.
I give it two thumbs up.
why does oldpro find fault with someone else's generosity and enthusiasm?

11.

Franklin

July 26, 2006, 11:51 AM

Why can no one criticise OP without backup from an army of straw men?

It really is equalized, to its discredit. Since the only organization is by artist's name (every single one of which appears in the pulldown menu!), the most interesting view of the site is the one loaded at random in the front. Even though it loads slowly enough already, they should expand that to include more images. I agree, it can't hurt.

12.

DayStar

July 26, 2006, 1:17 PM

I'm just asking a question.

It should not matter if my name is Tom, Dick , Harry, oldpro, nopro or mofo.

y'know

13.

oldpro

July 26, 2006, 1:47 PM

Daystar, I do not begrudge Mr. Saatchi any benefits he may derive from putting up the web site, but please understand that for a very minimal investment he has what looks like every unattached artist in the world looking at his site and apparently a lot of collectors too. He is in the advertising business, as I understand, and he is very good at it.

I am not criticising him. Please read what I said. I said there were problems with the web site. Some of it may be my computer, but I was only once able to even find the drop-down window that will scroll throughj (of you are lucky) the tens of thousands of artist who are presumably in there. there is no search functiokn. Clearly it would be better to do it by an alphabetized list, like ASKART does; this would benefit everyone, which is the given reason for doing it. Good for him for a good idea, but, I'm sorry, it was not well thought through.

14.

George

July 26, 2006, 1:48 PM

I'm in agreement with DayStar's observations per comment #10.

I didn't get the jist of #11, didn;t seem to apply to #10, so where?

15.

oldpro

July 26, 2006, 2:33 PM

George, I know you will agree with anything that takes issue with something I said, but have you really tried to navigate the site?

16.

DayStar

July 26, 2006, 2:52 PM

oldpro, thanks for the Askart mention, I have found a very useful tool for work and for kicks.

I didn't spend too much time there but can an indvidual artist upload their own work or do they add only the artists they want?

Regarding the saatchi site I highly doubt too many collectors look for and find artists there.
Most collectors are automorons with no real idea of what to buy....a few collectors can make decisions...but many have consultants (glorified interior decorators) making choices for them.

You can browse the Saatchi site buy skimming the thousands of pages or you can look for a name from the million mile long drop down menu.

Nothing makes up for getting out and standing in front of a real work of art.

17.

George

July 26, 2006, 3:09 PM

re #15, OP

Frankly, what I said, was EXACTLY what I meant.

I thought DayStar had a good take on the Saatchi site.

Using the link you gave, I did NOT have any problems negotiating my way around.

It's a slow loader, but it hosts over 1000 artists for FREE, how cool is that?

18.

jordan

July 26, 2006, 3:29 PM

Would you say that freelancing consists of the creation of illustrations, fine art, cartoons, etc. with or without recieving payment ? Or does the term ' freelancing' inherently imply a monetary transaction of some sort?

19.

Franklin

July 26, 2006, 3:36 PM

how cool is that?

It's nice of Mr. Saatchi, a fact not lessened by the publicity he gets out of it. How cool is the site? Well, as the signal:noise ratio crawls towards zero as the number of users increases, it looks doomed. I'm amazed that nobody's posted their porn on it yet. I'm not sure what advantage it has over a MySpace account. Assuming you only ever want to find artists by name, it's adequate. I don't feel inclined to spend a lot of time there.

Jordan, as far as the insurance company is concerned, you ought to be receiving payment. As far as I'm concerned, it just means that you're having a go at being in business for yourself.

20.

George

July 26, 2006, 3:52 PM

re #19
Franklin sez It's nice of Mr. Saatchi, a fact not lessened by the publicity he gets out of it.... True, but how much does this matter to him? As if he needs the PR?

There are other slide registries that are easier to negotiate (i.e searchable) but I dout they get the hit rate of Saatchi"s site. With any aggregation of unedited artists works one should expect the normal distribution of quality is skewed towards the less than interesting. Just like the REAL WORLD.

21.

Franklin

July 26, 2006, 4:00 PM

He's in the publicity business. I would guess that it matters to him a lot.

One could ask what good the hit rate is doing if the site isn't searchable or navigable.

22.

oldpro

July 26, 2006, 4:02 PM

Let's say an artist's name begins with W. How do you get to it?

23.

DayStar

July 26, 2006, 5:13 PM

OP I would recommend scrolling to W.

24.

oldpro

July 26, 2006, 6:06 PM

OK. Has anyone actually tried this? I have. It took me 2-3 minutes to get to M and then froze. Is this good design? George?

25.

Marc Country

July 26, 2006, 6:44 PM

Send you an email, Franklin? But I'm trying to build an international online reputation for insufferable pedantry...

Oh, and since we're all dying to have this thoughtful question seriously addressed:

why does oldpro find fault with someone else's generosity and enthusiasm?

My guess at an answer: It's called criticism.

It comes in many different forms. For example, sometimes, a person's generosity and enthusiasm lead them to, say, make and exhibit artworks in a public forum. Then, other people may 'find fault' with their offerings. This is called 'art criticism'.

...let me know if any of this is still unclear...

26.

oldpro

July 26, 2006, 7:37 PM

Insisting on clarity again, eh? Pedant!

Anyway, this ungrateful gifthorseinthemouth old fart is still waiting for all those who love the Site of the Great Satch to please instruct me how the hell to get around in it, or at least admit that it is virtually impossible to get around in. Daystar recommends scrolling to get to my "W" artist, but I can't even find the scroll mechanism. There is no search function, There is no alphabetical listing. There is no plain old categorization.

So?

27.

Marc Country

July 26, 2006, 7:53 PM

Maybe it's your browser, OP... I dunno... I can scroll ok... and, as I expected , there are a few Triple-A Aardvark Hotel-types out there to make such alphabetization almost as pointless as no order at all...

28.

Marc Country

July 26, 2006, 7:55 PM

Hey, wait...

"The order that artists appear is random and changes regularly. The most recent entries or edits go to the top, until the next random re-shuffle."

It IS random!

29.

oldpro

July 26, 2006, 9:03 PM

Yes Marc, you can scroll what's there, maybe a few dozen artists, but there are thousands and thousands orf artists buried beneath. They could be dead before they get randomized to the surface.

30.

Jack

July 26, 2006, 10:31 PM

I'm not sufficiently interested in this Saatchi business to spend time checking the site out in detail, but it sounds rather surreal. It may make artists feel better to camp out there, but I expect the yield is quite low for the vast majority of those who are not already "names."

31.

Katie Hoffman

July 26, 2006, 11:17 PM

re: # 26- OP, there is an alphebetical pull-down menu listing in my browser, anyway (safari) but I agree that it is generally poorly organized. Stuffed and confusing. Have been spending some time there checking it out as I found a solicitation in my spam trough asking me to submit ("We found your website to be top-quality" or some such nonsense, shades of the Florence biennale scam..) and was curious. There are some listings already that I believe are spoofs and though it is free I've been wondering if it's worth the time it would take to put together a page here. Still deliberating.

32.

oldpro

July 26, 2006, 11:35 PM

Hi Katie, so nice to hear from a skeptic who actually thinks things over. I get a pull-down menu also but it is only maybe 100 artists and they seem to be attached to Saatchi somehow. Once, by chance somehow, I got the one that goes to all the artists but I would estimate from my brief encounter were over 5000 listed there, maybe a lot more. Tomorrow at work I will try another browser and see what happens.

33.

nemesis too

July 27, 2006, 12:21 AM

[Gosh, these guidelines are just fascinating!]

34.

jumpin' jack flash...

July 27, 2006, 12:24 AM

There is a categorization: it's first names first, last names last.
A thru Z.

35.

Marc Country

July 27, 2006, 12:45 AM

:o

36.

Marc Country

July 27, 2006, 11:26 AM

Man, I slept GREAT last night...

37.

Jack

July 27, 2006, 12:23 PM

The trouble with Saatchi is that he had the money and drive to be taken seriously--far too seriously--by those who are far too impressed by money and drive--and such people are far too numerous, certainly in the art world.

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