Portland Bound

I don’t normally ask for help. I’m normally a I-have-a-handle-on-this, I’ll-figure-it-out type of gal. This could be seen as a fault of mine. And it’s not so much that I don’t let people help me, it’s that I insist on doing and giving something in return, I don’t like the feeling of “owing” someone – this will be no different.

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Here goes… I need a bit of a break. I need to go explore another place and meet and work with new artists and creatives. I love Indianapolis, but have been itching to get out of town for a while.

Along came an opportunity. Artist and photographer, Sabrina Ward Harrison, whose work I adore and admire, is offering a workshop/retreat this August in Portland, OR and I’m doing everything I can to be there.

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With that, at the suggestion of a friend, I’ve created an Indiegogo campaign to help raise the funds so that I can participate in this artistic retreat. In exchange for a donation, I’m offering a series of perks ranging from a personal thank you postcard sent from Portland all the way up to original artwork. These perks are based on the level of contribution and are a steal. I normally sell a 10 X 10 commissioned painting for about $200, but will make something custom for just $100.

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I hope you’ll consider helping out with a donation, no matter how small, and you’ll get some cool stuff in return. I can stress that while I will be having fun, this is not a vacation. I’m going to get re-inspired and re-fulfilled so I can come home brimming with new ideas.

I also plan on blogging while I’m there and keeping everyone up to date on the trip.

For all the details on the campaign itself, including the full budget, the list of perks and how to give (!), click here. Despite the lofty Indiegogo campaign goal, I’m looking to bring that number down. With plans to eat cheap and surf someone’s couch if I can, the total will be less.

A big thanks in advance for any contributions!

Million Miler

I recently completed and delivered a special commission for a friend to give as a Christmas gift to her boyfriend (is that the right word?). Anyway, Sarah and I worked together, mostly via e-mail and text to come up with the right image for Pete.

Pete recently surpassed the million-mile mark with United Air and the painting commemorates that milestone.

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The idea was to take my recent paper airplane obsession and work it into an airport scene complete with a business traveler (Pete). The first sketch is above.

Million Miler Seated Sketch

The idea morphed a bit to have the traveler seated (above).

million miler complete

And finally the finished painting! Sarah and Pete liked the sketch quality of the original drawings and so they were incorporated.

This was a fun commission to do, I don’t pick them up often. Thank you Sarah and congrats to Pete on becoming a Million-Miler!

Hey All, I’m (Finally) Teaching a Class!

Hey everyone, I’m going to teach a workshop for the first time ever and you should join me because it will be real fun!

In January, I’ll teach a real class for the first time (yes, I’m scared so you have to be nice to me). It’s all about social media for creative people.

It wasn’t too long ago that I jumped on the social media bandwagon with (gasp!)- a MySpace Page. Then a dear friend told me about this thing known as Facebook and I knew I was in trouble.

I already had a no-direction, what’s-this-thing-all-about blog at the time that was going no where fast. I felt pressure to post everyday and say deep and witty things, but that just didn’t happen and I shut it down. When I opened my studio at the Stutz Building in 2006, I tried (and failed) again. I would go weeks without posting anything new and felt like a failure as a result.

Speed ahead a couple years and Facebook has become a wee bit of an obsession. I had a personal page and a business page (then it was a ‘fanpage’) and things were pretty good. I had re-launched the blog again, this time without so much “what if they don’t like it” concern and, while it didn’t see the value in it immediately, I was occasionally tweeting. Mostly I was watching what others said and either agreeing, disagreeing or laughing in my head.

One day I overheard (okay, I was eavesdropping, get used to it) a conversation about my workplace wanting to try out this then-emerging avenue for marketing and volunteered to help. It turned into a job for a quite a while and then into private clients who wanted me to either teach them how to use the wonderful and sometimes intimidating tools of social media of manage the whole thing for them. Then came the words “Hey, you should teach a class!”. And so it begins.

On Saturday, January 19, 2013 I’ll partner with my friend, fellow artist and studio mate, Emily Schwank, to bring you Social Media for Creatives and Photography for Social Media. This two part workshop will cover a lot of ground, but will be done in a very easy-going, conversational way. The description, costs and how to register are below. I hope you’ll join us, if only to see how I do as a teacher. No matter your goal, we’ll have some fun and some laughs, I promise.

Social Media Workshop Icon

Social Media for Creatives (session I)
9am-12pm
Kate will show you the tips, tricks and techniques for starting up and/or maintaining a social media presence to promote your creative endeavors. The session will cover the use of Facebook, Twitter, blogging and other platforms as time allows, as well as very basic photography and editing.

Photography for Social Media (session II)
1pm-3pm
Whether you use a top-of-the-line DSLR, your iPhone, or something in between, Emily will cover the best practices for shooting and editing photos for various social media platforms.

Stay for lunch! Brown bag it (or pick up something at one of the many nearby restaurants) and join us for lunch in the studio where you can get additional questions answered! Microwave and limited refrigeration available.

Cost:
Social Media for Creatives (Session I) – $75
Photography for Social Media (Session II) – $50
Both sessions (must register at the same time) – $100 (save $25!)

What to bring:
Laptop, tablet, and/or smartphone; notebook, lunch and/or a snack. Free wireless access is available.

The workshop will be taught at Seed & Star Studio (Kate and Emily’s studio) at 2070 East 54th Street #3, Indianapolis, 46220.

How to register (and other nitty-gritty details):
Contact Kate at kate [at] kateoberreich [dot] com or Emily at raincliffs [at] gmail [dot] com. Payment due at registration and is accepted by cash, check or charge. Space is limited to 12 per session. Must register by Wednesday, January 16, 2013. No refunds after Friday, January 11.

Artist Statement for ‘The World Went On’

I hate writing artist statements. But, I realize they are necessary. I’ve spent quite a bit of time helping and encouraging others to work on and work out their statements in the last few years via workshops and one-on-one coaching, but taking my own advice hasn’t made it any easier.

That said, this one came pretty easily. I do believe it makes a difference when the work you’re writing about makes a difference to you. So, for those who can’t make it to my opening tonight, or those who can and want to read it again, what follows is the artist statement for The World Went On

The World Went On – paintings on canvas by Indianapolis native Kate Oberreich.

The common thread that links us to humanity at times binds us to islands of isolation. View one woman’s story on canvas, as she eloquently translates a journey at the borders of a world she perceives has gone on without her. In this, she asks the viewer to examine connectedness, disconnectedness and the surprise between.

In March 2011, I found myself without a job for the first time since I was fourteen years old. As someone who was entirely used to balancing multiple jobs at one time (in recent years, I’ve had as many as four at once), it was a strange experience to have none. My goal was of course to search out new employment, but also to spend my new found free time working in the studio. Both proved harder than I thought. While I was fortunate enough to find part time employment within a month, I found that I lacked any creative drive and, for a time, contemplated closing my studio.

Feeling somewhat isolated, I spent the better part of a year polishing my resume, going to interviews (seventeen in ten months), trying to paint something worthwhile and getting all too familiar with daytime television. I watched others live their lives going to and from work, unable to make plans because they had to work and complaining about work. The world went on without me.

It wasn’t until I finally got back to work in January 2012 that I began to create meaningful artwork again (at least to me). As the prequel to what I hope will become a much larger show at a later date The World Went On is what’s come out of a year of longing, loneliness, disconnectedness and the hope that comes with new employment and a better sense of place. Maybe you’ve been there, too?

 Kate received her BFA in painting in 2005 at Ball State University (Muncie, IN) and is a 2006 Stutz Studio Resident and 2008 Beckmann Emerging Artist Fellow. She has worked for and with multiple Indianapolis-based arts organizations and corporations.

In addition to her work as an artist and at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Kate keeps busy with projects that include social media coaching for fellow artists and managing her new studio, Seed & Star. Her combination of painting with drawing, collage and other materials often reflects rich personal journeys and experiences.

An Art Buying Guide – it’s not all about the wine.

Technically, I swiped this blog post from the StutzArtSpace blog. But, is it really stealing when I wrote it for them?

I wanted to share the wisdom of art buying with my audience as well as their’s because, well, I’m tired of people telling me they’re only at a show for the wine and cheese.

I get it. Most of us are cheap or poor or both, but can you at least pretend you’re interested in the art before you empty the snack tray?

If you’re really interested in starting your art collection, I can’t recommend a better how-to than the Be Indypendent Art Buying Guide.

Hope to see you this weekend at the Open House. If you see something you like (besides the wine), ask about it.

M’kay.

–Kate

With the Raymond James Stutz Artists Open House fast approaching - as in  THIS WEEKEND - we like to remind visitors, patrons and party-goers that while the free wine and cheese is, well, awesome, the Stutz Artists would also like to sell you some art. This can be an intimidating prospect for any buyer, new or seasoned.

We want it to be an enjoyable experience for all and so what follows is a handy-dandy guide to purchasing art and maybe adding to your collection or getting it rolling. This art buying guide comes from our friends at the Arts Council of Indianapolis and the Be Indypendent Movement. Yay, local!

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Nothing says, “I collect art” like actually collecting art. Ask the walls in your home or office. They know. But here’s the thing: You’re new to buying art. You know next to nothing about what’s good, how to shop for it, even how much you should pay for it.

Or you’re not. Maybe you’ve already made the scene and hit the galleries a few times. Now you’re ready for the fine art of buying art and ready to learn about sophisticatedtopics like negotiating, payment plans and acquiring as an investment.

Great – you’re in the right place. Because this very guide will help answer many of your questions whether you’re a newbie or a (mildly) seasoned veteran.

Let’s start with the rules for building an art collection. The first rule in building an art collection is this: There are no rules. None. The truth is, good art is what you like. It’s kind of like when your mom used to say, “You’re the one that’s going to have to wear it.” And you are – you live with the art you buy every day. So buy what you like. Trust yourself. Go ahead.

Still, art has its own “world”. And if you’re going to be a part of it (think of the perks – the wine, the cheese, the wine), learning the language and understanding the customs will make everything that much more meaningful (not to mention, fun).

 FAQs For Beginners

1. How much will I need to spend to buy local art?

Okay, so here’s where the rubber meets the road. Or better, the canvas hits the wall. How much does local art cost? And how much should you spend?

There is locally created artwork that fits nearly every budget. Start first by giving yourself a budget that works for you. If you want to test the waters with your first purchase, works on paper (drawings, mixed media, photography, prints) can range from $50 to $200. Also, purchasing something unframed will cost less than if the work is framed. Keep in mind that works by emerging artists will be considerably less as they are trying to build their careers and clientele.

The bottom line is – whether you have $50 or $15,000 – there is no shortage of styles and price ranges. If you find an artist that you like, but the price for the work is beyond your budget, ask the artist if they have anything (maybe a print or smaller work) that is within your specific range. There’s no harm in asking!

2. What are the benefits of buying directly from an artist?

Buying directly from the artist may mean you’ll learn more about the work. And in Indianapolis, there are hundreds of artists that aren’t represented by a local gallery so you will need to find them and contact them directly. They’re still easy to find (the Arts Council of Indianapolis’ artist database is a great place to start. IDADA -Indianapolis Artist and Dealers Association is another good place to start).

If you find an artist whose work appeals to you, contact the artist to arrange for a studio visit. Most artists understand that a studio visit means you are interested in their work and that you would like to see more of it. This can really be fun. Take your time and feel confident that while the artist would like to make a sale, they fully understand that you may not purchase anything during your visit.

Many emerging artists do not have commercial gallery representation either. So what does “being represented” mean? It means the artist has been chosen by a gallery to be on their “roster”. It also means the artist has agreed to a contract that regulates the price of their work, the gallery’s commission and sales of the artist’s work in the region. But you may not be comfortable seeking an individual artist on your own, especially if you’re really new to art. If you’re unsure about what you want or the process, it’s nice to bring in a professional from a gallery. The gallery rep will be able to explain things to you and walk you through the process if it is your first art purchase.

3. What are the benefits of buying through a gallery?
Buying art is an investment of your time, money and in many ways, yourself. And working with individual artists and studios the first time out may not be for everyone. Working with a gallery can make you feel more at ease with the entire process. Plus, a gallery representative will discuss your likes and dislikes, your price range, your space requirements or limitations and more. Like anything else, if you work with a gallery over a period of time you’ll develop a relationship – one where they have a chance to learn about what you want and like. Invitations to artist’s lectures, and chances to meet the artists. The personal touches that make buying art even more enjoyable and meaningful. The gallery can also take care of the logistics of framing the work, delivery, installation, proper lighting and so on.

4. Should I buy for pleasure or investment?
Let’s just start with pleasure for now, okay? Buy just one piece of art and chances are you’ll enjoy it far more than you thought possible. Plus, it will become a focal point and conversation starter you can share with your family and friends at your home or office.

Still, if you do choose to invest in art, and are contemplating making a substantial investment then you’ll need to do some research and ideally, seek the advice of a professional art consultant. Besides books covering the topic that are readily available, you’ll find tips at http://www.paigewest.typepad.com, art expert “Dr. Lori” at http://www.drloriv.com, or a downloadable, helpful guide from the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) at http://www.artdealers.org.

5. Can I talk to the artist?
Let me check to see if he’s available. May I say who’s calling? Of course you can talk to the artist, and you really should in order to learn more about the artwork – the concept of the work and the process used to create it.

6. What questions should I ask the artist?
What do you want to know? You might start with topics like inspiration and influences. Or if there’s a work you’re drawn to but don’t quite understand, ask the artist to describe the work and why they made it. Ask if it’s typical of their work, or a departure, and if so, why? Sometimes asking the artist to talk about the work reveals a deeper meaning or sometimes, like music, it reveals the work is as much about rhythm and energy and really doesn’t require an additional explanation.

7. Will the artist think I’m stupid if I ask a lot of questions?
No, the artist will think you are interested in their work and want to have a deeper understanding of the piece.

8. So what’s with the dots?
In an exhibition or show where the artwork is for sale the red dot on the label beside a work indicates that the piece is sold. The half red dot indicates that the piece is on reserve, but if you really like it, go ahead and ask about the reserved piece. If the original sale does not go through you may have an opportunity to purchase the work (you might also visit the artist’s studio to see other pieces).

9. Can I bring my children to an art opening?
Sure. Most galleries in Indy are family friendly, and it’s a great experience for many children. On the other hand, their attention spans are shorter which means they may get restless – and no one wants that. And if you do bring your kids, there may be expensive artworks within arms’ reach. Check before you go, though, because some venues offer special activities for kids, or a more family-friendly day or timeframe.

10. Besides galleries, where can I go to see and purchase artwork?
There are plenty of options in Indy. Pick up a free copy at the Artsgarden downtown (or download one) of the Arts Council’s Visual Art Indianapolis: Your Guide to the City’s Galleries, Museums and Public Art for a comprehensive list.

Can’t wait that long? Try these:

Artist studio buildings (many of which have regular open studio nights involving multiple artists, music and a really fun atmosphere) such as:

Harrison Center for the Arts

Wheeler Arts Community

Murphy Art Center

Stutz Building (Stutz Artist’s Association) <– Hey, that’s us!

Alternative, nee, Indypendent Spaces

Coffee shops, cafes, restaurants and the like are great spots to check out work from area artists, especially emerging ones. If the work doesn’t have a price, ask a staff person about the artist. A brochure or card should be available. Exposure to a broader public is usually why artists show in alternative spaces – so look around next time you’re in your favorite coffee shop – you never know what you might find.

Arts Council of Indianapolis Artist Database

Here you’ll find samples from more than 400 visual artists working in the area (plus information on another 200 performing artists). The database includes links to many websites for individual artists; in some cases you may be able to purchase work directly from those sites. You may also receive an invitation from the artist to visit their studio to look at past and current work. When buying artwork, there is no substitute for seeing the work in person – often on a computer screen or even in a photograph you can lose the sense of scale, texture, color – or more. Tour the studio and ask to be put on the artist’s mailing list to learn about new or upcoming exhibitions.

FAQs for (Mildly) Seasoned Buyers

1. How is artwork priced?

How artwork is priced has always been a bit of a mystery. But there really is a method, and before you give up and head for the nearest discount store because you think real art costs too much, try to understand it. You’ll feel better.

First, there’s the artist. Work from an accomplished artist whose work shows up in prominent collections is more highly valued and simply costs more than work from an up-and-comer. Along with pricing based upon their past sales, many artists factor in how much time they’ve spent on a particular work, accounting for various phases including concept, drawings or models all the way to completion. So there’s that.

Then there’s the overhead that goes into the work itself, which includes:

  • Studio rent, utilities and insurance
  • Materials like paint, brushes and canvas
  • Property (inventory) insurance
  • Phone, Internet, website
  • Healthcare
  • Marketing
  • Retirement accounts, etc.
  • Years of education and training
  • It all costs money.

Although this may vary from artist to artist, some use a formula that factors the costs listed above into a singular number that is multiplied by the square inches of the work. (Of course there are exceptions such as: If a painting on canvas and drawing on paper are the same size, generally the drawing costs less). This formula or other variations makes their prices consistent and if the artist sells work at the same price point on a regular basis, expect the price to increase from 5-10 percent annually.

Now that you know the secret, you’ve got to ask yourself what the value of the work really is to you. That formula should look like this: Piece of happening original art, $X. Piece of happening original art your neighbor doesn’t have (nor ever will): Priceless.

2. Can I pay in installments?
Most galleries and many individual artists will allow you to pay for a work in installments or on some type of payment plan – just ask.

3. Can I negotiate a price with the artist and/or gallery?
It is not uncommon to negotiate for any major purchase and artists who sell their work for a living understand that art is a business and with that some negotiation may need to take place now and again. Although these artists are usually eager to sell their work, the price they have chosen is based on a specific formula as we saw earlier (see # 1) and is what they have determined to be the appropriate and fair price for that particular piece. With that said, some artists are more willing to negotiate than others and depending upon your comfort level with the artist,
it is not considered disrespectful to ask. Most artists would like to make a sale and will try to work with you. If they are unable to negotiate on the price they will offer a similar piece that fits your budget or offer a payment plan.

If the artist is represented by a gallery the price of the work sold from their studio should be consistent with the work when it’s sold from the gallery. As for negotiating directly with a gallery, discounts are typically reserved for repeat clients – and those who purchase several pieces at a time.

If you’re really brave (and have a true marketable skill or trade) some artists will barter with you. Like most of us, they’re commonly in need of legal, medical, dental and other types of assistance and may in fact be willing to trade their work for yours – if there’s a specific value involved that the artist needs. Of course, this may be more useful when buying from emerging artists.

4. When buying through a gallery, what percentage does the artist receive and what effect does it have on the price of the work?

Galleries and artists typically negotiate a percentage of the sale price. Some split the sale down the middle, and for good reason. The gallery provides the venue, security for the work, the marketing, an opening reception and most importantly the audience. The gallery is responsible for building the reputation and furthering the careers of the artists it represents. Over time, this increases the demand and value of the work and creates more opportunities for the artist to exhibit and sell. As a rule, galleries do not mark up the price, but take a percentage of the established selling price.

Percentages for alternative spaces such as coffee shops and cafés are often very little or nothing at all as the venue benefits from having the artwork in their spaces and are not obligated to market and/or sell it, only display it. Many sales happen through these alternative spaces and are usually a good place to find work from emerging artists. Most non-profit venues will take a smaller percentage as well, usually in the 15 – 35 percentage range.

5. Will I get a certificate of authenticity? A receipt? A lock of hair?
Your artwork should always come with a receipt or bill of sale and possibly an artist’s statement (a general statement about the artist’s work, why they do what they do, the material (medium/mediapl.) they use and what they are exploring or trying to achieve with their work). If you purchase a limited edition or another “multiple” of some sort, be sure to request a certificate of authenticity. Keep all this paperwork together along with any other information you may have such as a postcard or brochure from the exhibition for your own interest and the authenticity of your collection – or in case a descendant ends up on Antiques Road Show someday.

Surfacing

It’s kind of an icky, squishy rainy day here in Indy. This after a near perfect weekend complete with intense morning storms and our first day of the year over 80 degrees! I love spring!

Despite today’s grayness (or maybe in spite of it), I’ve started on a few new paintings that are, for now, bright white with a focus on the surface. As I often do, I’ve recycled some canvases that were just making me gag. The beauty is that because they had already had another life, they had some killer surfaces. The addition of white brings the focus back to the built up landscape that already existed.

I’m not against the addition of color, they’re just not ready for that yet.

KO

Horizon Line

I’m playing with some new horizon lines in collusion with my ‘excavation’. This digging has lead to the idea of underground caves and what might be lurking around beneath the surface.

My plans are still evolving. Yesterday I painted a hole in the ground, not sure yet where it leads, but the hole was a good first step. Here are some possibilities…

Some will cringe at this, but I just obliterated two older paintings with plans to paint something new. But it’s okay, I hated them and after about 4 years with no takers I figure it’s time for a new life. 

XOKO

Mona Lisa

Master forger I am not.

I’m sharing today an early, early photo of  a project I’m working on for the Indianapolis Art Center. This 3 x 6′ painting of the Mona Lisa will be on display at next weekend’s Penrod Art Fair on the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Imagine it with the face and hands cut out allowing you to step behind and become part of the painting (don’t forget your Mona Lisa smile)…yeah, that’s the plan.

It’s well on it’s way now, but no sneak peeks ahead of the big reveal at Penrod…sorry. Obviously, it won’t be an exact copy of the Mona Lisa. The background will include a view of the Indianapolis Art Center’s building. It’s been fun to work on a project for someone else for a bit, but I’m ready to get back into the studio this weekend.

Enjoy this fab weather!

XO-KO

Remnants Opens at the Indianapolis Art Center

A bit late, yes. But, I wanted to show off some behind-the-scenes pictures of the installation of my new show ‘Remnants’ at the Indianapolis Art Center

Remnants is a series of small collage paintings that evolved out of my lack of ability to throw anything (art material) away. Each piece is made from the odds and ends of other paintings and collages. They are my ‘triumph over failure’ so to speak. I took artwork that simply wasn’t working and re-imagined it into small-scale collages. This is me ‘up-cycling’.

Should you become the proud owner of a Remnant (which is easy to do- more than 30 are available at the Art Center now through August 1), you should know, for most of the pieces, the paper surface has been left exposed. I therefore, recommend that you not hang or display your Remnant in areas with high humidity, such as bathrooms or near stoves. You wouldn’t be happy with the result.

Melanie Reckas hanging Remnants

 Remnants is on view in the Basile Studio Shop Hallway now through August 1. Plenty of time to get out and see it.

–Kate