Friday, April 8, 2011

Keep, Store or Bin?

Since I have more artwork to store at the moment than I am ready for, I am doing the arduous task of deciding what to keep, store, or bin. I know - its hard - but I've created a system that is working for me and I've even made a messy little flow chart of the questions I ask for each piece and an action required for each answer to those questions. It is helping me through that feeling that everything needs to be kept and everything has merit because I made it, which is much too emotional.

So I start with the top question and work my way down. 

Does this piece support my brand? Which I think means a few things. First, if it supports my brand it is a good representation of my skill. If it was a bad day or an old piece that isn't up to par - the answer is No.
Fitting in my brand also means that the subject fits into the image I am trying to portray. That might mean it fits into a series I am working on at the moment or it might mean a general idea of subject. For example I have decided that my very traditional work that doesn't have much "me" in it doesn't fit in my brand anymore even if it is a skilled drawing. So for a recap: right now I am definitely keeping things that are well done and that have a Nicole twist on them like my 6x 18's and my kitsch or box series. I am not keeping things that I made to look like classical or dutch still-life with classical arrangements and drooping lemon peels. To those I will answer "no" because I think they no longer fit in the Nicole Caulfield brand. 

If the answer was yes, I'll wrap it and keep it in the easily accessible ready for shows pile. 

If the answer was no - next question

Will this piece fit in a theme or brand of the future? This is a judgement call. I may have done one piece that is different from the rest... like maybe my eighties piece. I can look at that and ask if it might fit in in the future even though at the moment it doesn't fit in my brand. & yep, I think I may want to do some more montage or collage pieces so I'll keep that one.

If the answer was yes, I'll wrap it and keep it not too far away so I don't forget it. Maybe I'll hang it up for a while.  

If the answer was no - next question

Is this piece sentimental? A piece can be sentimental for various reasons. One that often comes up for me is that it shows some skill development.  Things that I just plain old like but have no place to hang goes in this category too. 

If the answer was yes, I'll take it out of the frame and store it in one of my portfolios. 

If the answer was no - next question.

Would a friend or family member love it? Some people think you should never do this, but I see no harm in it if it would make them happy and I don't need it. 

If the answer was yes, I'll wrap it and ship it off.  If they want the frame, I ask they give me the cost of the frame. 

If the answer was no - then it's time to Bin IT! If it hurts too much then I should have answered it was sentimental above... and I reserve the right to change my mind. 


Reflections From Life Art Blog said...

You know Nicole, if you ever need a new home for any of your artwork, I'll be a willing foster mother for it. Lol! I LOVE your work - ALL of it! :D


Anonymous said...

Very nice flow chart, simple & it works!

I think it's nice to just give things away from time to time, too. Good karma, keeps me from making everything 'all about the money'.

I know you're going to get lots of requests for those of us who'd love to be honorary members of your family, so one suggestion--how about a swap file? I bet there are plenty of fellow artists & folks with other skills who'd love to trade for your not-so-critical pieces.

vivien said...

good post - and something I need to do as well!

Luann's idea of a swap file is a good one.

Sarah Knight said...

Interesting : )

Nicole Caulfield said...

Thanks Nancy!

Good idea Luann!

Thanks Vivien!

Hi Sarah! Thanks for commenting.

Anonymous said...

Great flowchart! Made me smile with its cleverness. Thank you for sharing!

Willy said...

What a great idea for your past works. It'll clean up your inventory, unclutter your mind and make friends and family ecstatic! Since I am the proud owner of three of your pieces, I can tell everyone how much joy it brings to own one of your works. Besides the great skill you bring to each piece, the originality and personality you render in each piece is fabulous. Even though I'm not a family member Nicole, I just happen to have adoption papers ready to place in the mail lickety split! Though I may smell bad and have to be kept outdoors, I'd be great at performing all your yard work!
I wish you much luck in your Keep, Store or Bin process.

Paula Pertile said...

This is a great idea.

Carolina said...

for a fan of your art, this is almost heartbreaking! But I'm sure none of your art will ever get to the bin, that's not possible!

Laura Barber-Riley said...

Love the flowchart! I stuck two of my paintings on our barbeque last week, very cathartic!

Sophie said...

Ah, just what I was about to do, except I had no plan. I think I will follow yours...I am having my open studio soon and after that I am seriously going to store and throw away some stuff. Thanks!

Roger Brown My Botswana Art said...

This info is so great, I also have so much art stored and need to go through some of it as I am running out of space.