Artistry in Action 2017- Summary, Homework & Notes- Class #8- 4/26/17

Hello all,

Here is the summary of the class yesterday.  Lots of very interesting discussions.  A couple of notes. I understand that the first link in the cashflow assignment is not working for some people.  If this is true, you may want to use the 2nd link instead.  Note that a couple of the longer-term homework assignments have some components due next week.  Specifically the “Write your onw Obituary exercise which is due by email tomorrow. and an assessment of your progress in the “Find a Mentor” exercise.


  • I started the class off reminding folks to let me know in advance when they’re not going to come. I talked about the reasons for this. 1) because doing so is contradiction to the resistance  that would have you blow things off and just not show up. 2) because doing so is a contradiction for me as an instructor.  As I try to occupy a growth mindset in teaching this class it is helpful to have the clarity about why people might be missing, as a contradiction to the fixed mindset stories I might be pulled to create about it.


  • We had a very good discussion about the economic chain homework. Jenna, Chris & Eric shared some illustrations from their fields.  (See Board Photo) We looked for ways in these different fields that they could contribute both upstream of the position they started as well as downstream.  I talked about how the place you start the chain is simply a vantage point.  You don’t need to be held to it. Nor do you need to have the official title to operate from that point in the chain. For instance, one not need be bestowed the title of Art Director in order to do the work of an art director.  The other thing to remember is to look at the underlying skillset rather than the job title.  An author is really a purveyor of ideas.  She may write them in books or blogs. She may pair with an illustrator and put them into graphic novels or illustrated books.  She may write them down and deliver them as lectures.  Don’t get hung up on the job title.  Finally, it is important to remember where the inputs ultimately come from- audience, readers, viewers, and look for different routes to connect with the ultimate users.  Sometimes this is through partnerships- I gave the illustration of my partnerships with non-profits to increase my musical audience of folks who shared the same values.  Sometimes this is through alternative forms of distribution that avoid the traditional middlemen.


  • We broke into small groups and looked at some fields on the Bureau of Labor statistics and the  O-Net online.  I talked about the importance of getting real data on employment in different fields.   I talked about looking at places outside of the top markets for different fields.  Often there are opportunities in surprising places that may be more conducive to the activities you want to pursue or the places you might prefer to live.


  • We spent the last part of the class exploring the economics around the profession of tattoo artists.  I talked about how we might be able to adapt or adopt some of those aspects into our own fields.  One interesting one the exclusivity that functions in tattooing, which turns it into a specialty good as opposed to a commodity.  Since the amount of work one can purchase is limited by the actual square inches of body space, people are very selective.  Also tattoos are deeply linked to self image, so people are willing to spend extraordinary amounts to get exactly what they want because it’s deeply tied to their own sense of self-expression. Is there way that other art forms can create similar perception?  Are there ways that other  art forms can achieve this idea of exclusivity or limited availability. Zoe told us that tattoo artists tour around the country much like DJs or musicians.  They’ll “open their appointment books” for a certain amount of time for bookings and then travel around to do the work. Another interesting aspect of the economics of tattooing is that tattoo artists are also paid an hourly for time. This is different from the usual artistic model which is paid by the project.  One thing I was curious about is that tattooing as a business is not collaborative.  Most companies divide labor into specialties to create more efficiencies.  But tattooing is less about perfection than personality. Someone who trained assistants in their style could make much more money, by focusing their time on what they were best at, or on finishing the end product.

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

  1. Write your own obituary exercise

Download and read the PDF below for this assignment. Due by email, Friday, April 29th, Also bring a draft to class Monday, May 1


2. 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

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

4. 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


5. Find a Mentor” Project
Choose an artist that you feel would assist you on your artistic path and make a connection with them. You want to put yourself more in an apprenticeship role, and establish an ongoing relationship.  Keep a weekly log on the process to be assessed in Week 5 and turned in at the end of the term.
Assessment Due- May 3




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