As Video Game Developers Tale of Tales Change Direction, A Look Back on Their Career So Far

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In June, video game studio Tale of Tales announced they would stop making video games after lackluster sales of their most recent game, Sunset. The news has widely been distributed throughout the gaming world with sadness–Tale of Tales create moving, poetic video games that are art works in and of themselves. Their Creative Capital project, The Path, for instance, was praised as taking the concept of video games to a new level. We checked in with Tale of Tales to revisit their career so far and to find out whether there was not a positive spin to their announcement after all.

Alex Teplitzky: I read that you met on the internet in 1999.  Meeting people online is more common now, but less so then. What platform did you meet on, and when how did you meet IRL?

Michaël Samyn: We were both members of an online artists collective around the hell.com domain. A bunch of us had gathered in a videochat application (quite rare in those days) to see how it could be used for artistic purposes. Auriea was broadcasting blurry black and white webcam images of herself and I was posting pictures of fruits and vegetables (I didn’t have a camera connected to my computer and my modem connection wouldn’t have been up to a stream either). The application had a mode to speak privately and when Auriea and I started talking it was like a stream of poetry, a very rich and sensual exchange. It was only after we stopped that we realized we probably had a sex chat.

The next day I posted a web page on the members-only part of hell.com that included a link to a page that didn’t exist. Auriea responded by creating that page, with a new link. And so on. This romantic exchange of images and text became our first collaborative project called Skinonskinonskin. Continue reading

Lessons Learned From a Life in the Arts

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Sixteen years ago, when venture capital frenzy was sweeping the country, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and its partners decided that our nation’s boldest, most inventive creative artists would also benefit from many aspects of the venture capital approach, such as providing comprehensive, flexible, and ever-evolving structures of support. They launched Creative Capital and hired Ruby Lerner as its founding executive director to lead what was touted at the time as a major new experiment in supporting individual artists.

Ruby Lerner has spent a lifetime in the arts since her graduate student days acting and producing theater in North Carolina. She went on to work at Manhattan Theatre Club, Alternate ROOTS, Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers, and for the past sixteen years at Creative Capital. The GIA Reader asked Ruby to look back on lessons learned during the evolution of Creative Capital and to share her thoughts with independent consultant and fellow Southerner Melanie Beene on funding individual artists and on her life in the arts.

Melanie Beene: For the benefit of newcomers to the field of arts philanthropy, can you sketch out the personal trajectory of your long career in the arts? Where did you start, and what steps did you take to get where you are today?

Ruby Lerner: My interest really started in grad school, running the student-run part of the theater department at UNC Chapel Hill. Then I managed a summer theater in Charlotte, worked at a community college in western North Carolina, and then moved to New York in my late twenties. I studied acting and did a bit of directing, but running the department was actually more rewarding than performance work. Basically, I’m bossy! So for me to be an actress waiting to take direction from somebody is… well, you can imagine how well that sat with my personality. And I was pretty good at running things. I think arts organizations are art projects too. That is certainly how we think about Creative Capital.

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Marketing as Self-Definition

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¡Viva las Roots! at Intermedia Arts, Robert Karimi, 2011

If marketing leaves you feeling uneasy, reconsider how you approach it. For artists, marketing is an exercise in self-definition, not self-promotion. Your marketing strategy should echo your ideas and intentions. Creative Capital consultant Brian Tate identifies seven principles as a framework to implement and analyze his own strategic marketing plan. This post looks specifically at the elements of the story, the message, the audience and call to action. Brian will discuss using the seven principles in depth on Monday, July 27 in his popular Seven Elements of Strategic Marketing webinar.

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Snapshot: Taller Profesional de Desarollo Para Artistas

“No one is coming to save you. You are enough,” Ela Troyano assured her audience of eager and talented Latino artists with one of the favorite maxims of longtime Creative Capital consultant Colleen Keegan. “I googled every one of you. The amount of talent in the room is incredible.”

Ela led Taller Profesional de Desarollo Para Artistas alongside her friend and fellow Creative Capital grantee Chemi Rosado-Seijo at Creative Capital on Monday June 22. The workshop includes lectures on Strategic Planning and creating a Business Plan; breakout groups on Verbal Communications and Art Business Management; and an interactive exercise on Targeted Marketing—all geared to Spanish-speaking artists who often work in different countries and cultures.

Taller June 2015

Making New Friends at Taller Profesional de Desarollo Para Artistas

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Artist to Artist: eteam and Center for Land Use Interpretation

In our “Artist to Artist” series, we invite two Creative Capital artists whose art practices rhyme in some illuminating ways. Recently, we got the eteam (2009 Emerging Fields) duo and Matthew Coolidge from Center for Land Use Interpretation (2009 Emerging Fields) in our offices to talk about the anthropocene, what they’re working on lately, and of course, the implications of a pile of rocks. You can read the full transcript below or listen to the podcast above. Continue reading

5 Quick Tips: Negotiating for Artists

Don’t buy into the myth that getting to make your work is payment enough. Artists have the right to fair compensation for their time. Determine how much you realistically should be paid to successfully execute your idea and negotiate the terms that make it possible. On September 28, Creative Capital will launch Effective Negotiation for Artists, a webinar to help you get to “yes.”

No one is a better advocate for you than yourself. If you don’t ask for what you deserve, no one is going to hand it to you. Creative Capital consultant and PDP leader, Andrew Simonet put together 5 quick tips to help you prepare the negotiation process for your next project.

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15 Stories for 15 Years

I am thrilled to share Creative Capital’s 15th Anniversary Publication, celebrating our long-term dedication to supporting artists in all disciplines across the country. We asked 15 people from our community—grantees, board members, supporters, consultants and other friends—to share their Creative Capital stories with us. I hope you will enjoy hearing what Creative Capital has meant to them.

Click the icon in the bottom right corner of the black bar to view full-screen, or download the publication here.

In creating this publication, it became clear very quickly just how many people have contributed to Creative Capital’s success over the years. Our community is really what makes Creative Capital unique and we couldn’t do it without you! We will be expanding on this publication with a series of other CC stories in the coming months. Click here to share your story, and you could be featured on our blog!

Photo Gallery: What Exactly Does a Producer Do?

Independent Producer Meredith Boggia will sit down for a discussion with MAP Fund Program Director Moira Brennan on themes and trends affecting artists working in the performing arts as a part of our Conversations Inside series. Register for the webinar to take part in their conversation on July 9, 7:30-9:00pm ET

Meredith Boggia & Friends

Meredith Boggia and Friends in Alaska for a production of Catalyst Dance’s Shore

So, what exactly does a producer do? The short answer: they make things happen.
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Taylor Ho Bynum Turns a 2000 Mile Bike Ride Into a Performance

In 2014, Taylor Ho Bynum, a world-class cornetist and composer, set out from Vancouver, Canada with his bike and musical instrument. As he made his way down the west coast, he stopped in various towns presenting solo concerts and playing with ensembles of area musicians. The Acoustic Bicycle Tour, Taylor’s Creative Capital supported project, saw the musician turning a bicycle tour from Canada to Mexico into an “act of composition.”

Read more about Taylor Ho Bynum and Acoustic Bicycle Tour here.

A Letter from Ruby Lerner to the Creative Capital Community

Ruby Lerner

Eighteen years ago, Arch Gillies, then President of the Warhol Foundation, took me to lunch to talk about the seed of an idea: a new initiative that would support individual artists in a radically different way, combining money with advisory services and making long-term commitments to artists and their projects. I could never have known what a journey we were embarking on with that meeting! Working closely with Arch, a core group of 22 funders and a small but dedicated staff (many of whom are still with us today), we launched Creative Capital in 1999 and invented a new kind of philanthropy. The success of this ongoing experiment has surpassed all of our wildest dreams, ensuring that bold artists have a voice in America and that they have the support and resources they need to sustain their careers.

After nearly 17 amazing and inspiring years, I have decided that 2015 will be my last full year at Creative Capital. I could not be prouder of what our growing staff, our dedicated board and I have built, and the incredible things our artists have accomplished. Creative Capital is in an exceedingly strong place programmatically and financially, and I feel that the time is right for me to pass the organization on to its next leader. Continue reading