Artistry in Action 2017- Summary, Homework & Notes- Class #7- 4/24/17

Hello all,

Great class yesterday.  For those of you who missed class, please be sure to email me before class begins that you will not make it.   Here is the summary of the class


  • We started the class off with a musical sharing that Hector brought. (Check the link at the bottom of the page) I talked about the need to develop a good mindset to embody as people listen to or view your work. I talked about the connection of this to the attitude you carry duirng your elevator speech. It is challenging to remain neutral or even be positive as you share your work with people.  We all are pulled into the habit of making apologies, or trying to explain or otherwise deflect possible criticism.  We need to break that habit. Several of you in the class shared similar experiences and observations about this.  I also shared the Marianne Williamson quote.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people  ― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

  • Jen also shared the book and podcast by Elizabeth Gilbert called “Big Magic” that relates to these ideas.  Here’s the link to her website with both the book and the podcast

  • Then we watched the NPR video with George Clinton and rapper Big Mike, and talked about its connections to the things we talked about in this class: separating your art and your cashflow,  building community, and making audacious choices in support of your art. The other thing I took from hearing from both them is how hard they worked, how committed they were both of them to succeeding on their path. I think that is a common element in the stories of those who have found success with their work-whether it is visible from the surface or not.
  • I shared the idea of looking at your interactions with others in a flexible way. I talked about my tendency to define people by the professional role they play in my interactions with them. I tend to forget that is far more to the Fred Meyer cashier or a Tri-met driver or a physical therapist or lawyer than the professional role they happen to be occupying at the time. Remembering this opens the possibility for a range of connections or relationships as well as opportunities to connect around art.


  • We broke into groups and we talked about the Survey the Field exercise. I asked people to discuss the following questions.
How did this assignment go for you?
What was the process like in looking for people?
Did it help clarify more about what you want to do?
Did it help you see the field more clearly?
Some takeaways were that 1) You could go very deep with this process. There are a lot of people in the field.  My advice is that from a business standpoint the better sense you have of the whole field the more easily you can find places for yourself in it, and the better your understanding of how it functions. 2) People were sometimes hard to find online.  I posed the question of whether this might present a need or an opportunity, either to create a platform that makes it easier to discover people, or to figure out ways to make sure that your work is not lost in the shuffle.  This is the goal of SEO (search engine optimization) in raising companies (or individuals) online profile.
  • I introduced the “Who is your model Exercise” (see homework section below) : Choose 1 person in your field that you don’t know about and find out about their career. Be prepared to discuss in class. (You can combine this with the “Survey the Field” exercise. Make this one of the 6-8 people on your list.)
  • I talked about two useful ways to follow through on this project.  1. For each of the people who made your list, and whose path represents something you aspire to,  figure out what it is about their career/work that you would like to see reflected in your own.  Maybe it’s their balance of activities, maybe it is a personal characteristic, maybe an approach to doing their work, or engaging with their audience.  2.  Figure out a way to connect with them.  If you think of this list of being the beginning of your (national/international) community, then how do you make a connection.  One important question is: “What do I want from them?”  Another important question to answer in your own mind is “Why would they want to engage with me?”  If you can answer these questions then you are ready to approach them.
  •  After the break we looked at the “Economy of a Wedding Gig illustration (You can find it in the top menu on the blog homepage)  I talked about the need to understand the entire cost structure of an endeavor in order to figure out what percentage of the cost you should be paid. I asked people to start to make a list of what your costs are both the direct costs- expenses you incur in creating the art, and the indirect costs-ongoing expenses related to doing your art that you can pro-rate for each project or service. For example: the chiropractic appointments that bass player might need in order to offset the effects of carrying a heavy electric bass all the time.  In the next class we will look at these costs, as well as looking at the market for your work and how that affects how much you charge. Market research is something every business has to do to determine what price the market will bear for their good or service.  This information can come from trade documents-such as union price lists,  etc.  Some of it you will need ask people in your field about.  It’s important to remember that though you may not get “your price” for a long period of time, you are empowered by knowing what it is.  You can then determine whether or not to discount it, or whether you want to take your payment in “currency” other than money, such as exposure, or mission satisfaction, or barter. But this decision is really up to you as the artist. Until you have adequate information it’s hard to feel good about those decisions, or to have a clear sense of your worth.

HOMEWORK  (Be sure to refer to Master homework list for the homework that is due next class, including:

1. NEW-Who is your model Exercise” : Choose 1 person in your field that you don’t know about and find out about their career. Take some notes and be prepared to discuss in class. (You can combine this with the “Survey the Field” exercise. Make this one of the 6-8 people on your list.)-Due Wednesday, May 3

2. “Economic Chain” Homework – due date changed to Wednesday- April 26

Assignment: Make a diagram of the economic chain of your industry. What and who are the places where money flows from & to.  Remember there are many different revenue streams in every industry. For the purposes of this assignment, focus on a few. The goal is to begin to understand the flow of money in different areas around your art.  The more places in the chain that you can participate, the greater the possibilities for you to increase that revenue.

Bring the diagram  to class for discussion on Wednesday, April 26th

3. Research Your Field Assignments

On O-Net Online go to this link to the Arts, Audio/Video Technology & Communications on O-Net

or this link to Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media Occupations on BLS

Assignment: Choose one of the job fields at these links and 

A. Look for a cash-flow work area.  It can be your art form, a related field, or something different. Look at BLS for a list of work area.  Look at O-Net for a summary of skills, knowledge, education, training & other info related to the specific job.
B. Look for cities that might be good for what you want to do  Look not just at your field, but look for cities that have related communities in common & networks that might be useful.  Check out prospects in two US cities that you think you might be interested in living in.
C. Research what do jobs pay in different area of the country. Find out what the going rate is for 3 jobs in your industry.
All 3 of these assignments are Due Monday, May 1

5. Cash Flow Assignment

Assignment-  Figure out your cash flow.  Use one of the following online calculators to come up with your current monthly cash flow.  Do a second iteration that reflects your estimate for immediately after you graduate.  Print out a copy and be prepared to discuss in class- Due Wednesday, May 3





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