About Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman

JACKIE BATTENFIELD is an artist known for her luminously colored paintings and prints of natural forces. Galleries throughout the United States represent her work including: Addison-Ripley, Washington, D.C.; Addington Gallery, Chicago, Illinois; Allyn Gallup, Sarasota, Florida, Michele Mosko Fine Art, Denver, Colorado; and DM Contemporary, New York. She is the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Award (1991), the Warren Tanner Award (1996) and the Fulbright Scholars Program (2011). Jackie was the founding director of The Rotunda Gallery in Brooklyn, York overseeing its development into a stable art organization. She has been teaching Professional Practices to artists since 1992, first as seminar leader in The Artist in the Marketplace Program (AIM) at the Bronx Museum of the Arts and currently in the MFA program at Columbia University School of the Arts. Battenfield is author of The Artist's Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love, Da Capo Press, 2009. AARON LANDSMAN’s performances combine formal experimentation and long-term community engagement. His works are often staged in spaces where people go every day, such as homes, offices and meeting rooms. Current projects include: City Council Meeting, a participatory work presented in four US cities in 2012-13; Appointment, a suite of performances for single viewers in small offices, presented so far in New York, Oslo and Detroit; and Running Away From The One With The Knife, a play about suicide and religious faith, to be presented at the Chocolate Factory in 2014. Previous work has been produced by The Foundry Theatre, PS 122, DiverseWorks and other spaces in the US, UK and Europe. Landsman’s work is funded by the NEFA National Theater Pilot, Jerome Foundation, MAP Fund and NPN. He has performed with award-winning theater ensemble Elevator Repair Service and other artists, taught at Juilliard and NYU, and guest lectured widely. He lives in Brooklyn, NY and Urbana, IL with his wife, Johanna Meyer, and their son Harold.

A Page from Our Handbook: Developing a Promotional Strategy

Penny LaneFilmmaker Penny Lane presenting on her work at the 2012 Creative Capital Artist Retreat

Every few weeks, we’ll be posting tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook—a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post will be packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops here.

Open CallPromoting your work is communicating about your art to others. It’s sharing your ideas, your dedication and your passion concerning a significant part of your life. You have made an enormous investment of time and energy in creating your art. Promoting your work honors that commitment and, as such, needs to become another part of your creative process. Continue reading

A Page from Our Handbook: Building Your Internet Presence

Every few weeks, we’ll be posting tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook—a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post will be packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops here.

Building Your Internet Presence
Because the Internet is contemporary culture’s primary means for communication and information dissemination, having an active online presence is essential for artists. The web continues to rapidly evolve, so what follows are some basic ways to think about building and refining how you represent yourself and your work online.

Keep in mind that more is not always better. Some artists use nothing but a Facebook fan page and Twitter feed as their online presence and do just fine, while others have six blogs, three websites and many social media outlets, but it’s hard to understand what they do. What’s most important is for you to find the best way to communicate the clarity, force and excellence of your work and put that online.  Continue reading

A Page From Our Handbook: Creating Your Artist Resume

Every few weeks, we’ll be posting tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook—a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post will be packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops here.

Resume Basics: An artist’s resume is a listing of your professional experiences, achievements and credentials, organized into categories for easy scanning by the reader. A resume lists the facts that place you in your discipline and reflects where you have already received support.

Length: A resume can be from 1-3 pages depending on your experience and who will receive it.

Best Practices:

  1. Maintain a list of everything you have done in your career (a Curriculum Vitae or C.V.). It may not be the document you distribute, but it will reflect your entire professional history, so it’s an important document to keep.
  2. Unlike a C.V., your resume is a fluid document that can and should be tailored for a particular opportunity. You may also have different kinds of resumes: one will be shaped for exhibition/performance/publication opportunities, while another may be used to apply for jobs or freelance situations, or to stress your activities as an educator, producer, curator or critic.
  3. As you accumulate professional experiences, begin to eliminate lesser listings. Choose only the most important and title the category “selected.” This alerts the reader to the fact that you have done more than what’s listed. Continue reading

A Page from Our Handbook: Best Practices for Artist Work Samples

Welcome to the third post of our series “A Page From Our Handbook.” Every few weeks we’ll be posting tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook, a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post will be packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops and webinars here.

What exactly is a work sample? A work sample is a representation or document of your work. It introduces your art to the world in the form of still images, manuscript excerpts, sound and/or video clips.

Length: The length or size of your work sample will depend on where you’re sending it. Organizations accepting work samples often specify the format in which they would like to receive your samples. Read application guidelines carefully, and ask for clarification if you need it.

Some general tips:

  1. Get a second opinion, and then a third opinion. Have your work samples regularly reviewed by other art professionals. They can help clarify how successfully your images represent the best qualities of your work, identify a compelling excerpt from your novel, or capture the essence of a time-based piece.
  2. High quality is essential. You’ll often have less than a minute to impress a panel, presenter or other professional with your work samples. This means that budgeting for high-quality documentation is a must. In dance, installation, theater and performance art, it may be all that remains of your work after the show closes. Continue reading

A Page from Our Handbook: Writing About Your Work

Welcome to the second post of our series “A Page From Our Handbook.” Every few weeks we’ll be posting tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook, a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post will be packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops and webinars here.

Writing About Your Work
Many of the materials you produce on behalf of your work—from artist statements to media releases to proposals to simple emails—involve a good bit of writing. In some cases you are writing about a project or series that you haven’t yet made. This is daunting, we know.

What you need to know in a nutshell is this: writing about your work is essential, but you can find a way to make it great, useful, more fun and easier. Remember that you can always get help—hire a professional, barter for services, or ask a colleague or friend. The sooner you start, the better off you’ll be.

A General Tip Regarding Tone
Artists often fall into one of two traps that can be easily avoided: Aggressive writing is language that claims to know what the viewer’s response is going to be (i.e. “the viewer will be forced to reconsider his notions of community, war, poverty, and the color “blue”). The great thing about art is that you can never quite predict how it’s going to affect someone. If you try to override the reader’s subjective response, they will trust you less. Passive writing is when you as the artist are not clear and direct about your own intentions (i.e., “I seek to explore some of the seemingly myriad possible connections between art and the color blue”). Neither of these examples answers the essential questions of what and why, nor do they help the reader get to know your work on their own terms. Instead, write directly and assertively (i.e. “I am making a series of paintings about the abstract and literal connections between war, poverty and the color blue in American history”). Continue reading

A Page From Our Handbook: Elevator Pitch

Welcome to the first post of our series “A Page From Our Handbook.” Every few weeks we’ll be posting tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook, a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post will be packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice.

Learn more about our PDP workshops and webinars here.

So what is an elevator pitch?
The term “elevator pitch” comes from the advertising world. It is a pitch that sells your idea or product to someone in the time it takes to ride an elevator. Imported to the milieu of the arts, it is a brief oral statement about you and your work. It can be general or project specific. Once you hone your elevator pitch, you can use it at parties, meetings, networking events, or any other situation where you have a brief opportunity to get someone interested in your work or your project.

Length
Fifteen seconds to one minute.

Getting started
Jot down three basic points you want to get across in response to the questions, “What is your work like?” and “What do you do?” Now spend some time figuring out how to make those points in a way that you feel good about, in one minute. Don’t forget to include obvious details like the title and medium of your project, as well as the juicier stuff like why this project is so important to you and what it’s really about. If you’re having trouble, start with the most basic, concrete details—is it a series of paintings, a dance piece, an installation made of wood chips and string? Continue reading