People wonder how I have been able to actually communicate with and  solicit images from over 500 artists over about the last six months. Well I did just plug away at it quite aggressively but  I could not have done it without my excellent tool kit of programs.

Where do I find all the artists?
I keep my eyes peeled for artists whose quality work attracts my eagle eye, write their names down in my little black book then eventually look them up online and see if I wish to invite them to play in my sandbox. If I get to a major news stand or library, I check out all the art magazines and not just the main art mags. I also look at sculpture, graphic design, ceramics glass, textiles, stamping and all the international mags I have time for. I even find good figurative artists or local artists in general fashion or decor magazines, newspapers or even on TV. I don’t do too much searching online unless I just happen to stumble across them.

How do I contact and communicate with so many?
I keep it all organized with my ACT 2010 database by Sage, program is approximately $200 I think. I’ve been using Act at Kidzsmart for 10 years and honestly, having struggled up with absolutely zero office training, I think it is seriously the cheapest, easiest, most customizable, user-friendly database out there, especially for artists and those without lots of computer experience. There are lots of online instructional videos, too. Here’s a testimonial video I did for them a couple of years back. Good for single users, groups, organizations, etc.

Here are some examples of some of the things it helps me do FAST. I can sort the more than 500 artists by which database they’re in, by their art medium, location, when I last emailed them, which have blogs, my personal rating of them, who declined my invitation; ANYTHING I wish to keep track of.

Yesterday I realized I should make 2 new fields for MySpace and LinkedIN. I created the 2 fields, adjusted my layout to include them and was pasting in the info within a few minutes. It is SO easy to customize. I would be glad to share a blank copy of my database structure with fields and drop down lists, layouts already made with an art focus. This would seriously save you A LOT of time and you could customize it off in your own direction after that. If you have ACT 2010 or later, I could share this blank with you. This is NOT a free version of the program or any information about my contacts, just the field structure and some layouts. Get in touch if interested.

Act works with Outlook email (among others) and records history every time I send our receive email from contacts. Every time I have a phone call from a contact, I write a little history about the call and I can schedule any follow up some time in the future. If I’m smart, I’ll go back and glance at my notes from the last conversation before I next call that contact.

Here’s an example. A certain top gallerist recently called me and agreed to give me 3 images from their stable of artists for the slide show and the site(How cool is that!!! I’d tell you her name but then I’d have to shoot you…) and mentioned that she was going for some hip surgery that afternoon. I recorded this little history into her contact. I scheduled a reminder to send her a “hope you’re feeling better” email in 5 days and also I set myself a reminder for September to NOT miss the opening of a certain show at her gallery. All this in just a few keystrokes.

Aha! Now you understand how your insurance agent can remember 6 months later that you packed off a show to Atlanta last year and ask how it went. They probably don’t have any better memory than you do but they do have a contact management database and they probably checked their contact history right then and there during your phone call. It’s so fast and easy to use. We’re artists and creative people but we can be just as organized as those wierd “office”types but only if the lightbulb goes off over our heads and we can see the sense in keeping things in a more organized manner.

Image management, Adobe Bridge, Picasa and more next time…
Published on: Jul 12, 2010

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