… Son of A (Catalogue Your Artwork, Please)
You know what one thing I hate more than so many other things in the world is?
The boring-ass menial labour involved in executing administration, no matter WHAT kind I am tackling and how it relates to my life.
Now hate is a strong word, and I generally don’t subscribe to hate in other areas of my life, because it’s the path to the dark side – plus it’s incredibly toxic for your mental health. But it really is a bitch to do certain types of simple and tedious planning & execution, well, for me anyway. But I know that a lot of other creative types struggle with it as well. Especially when we already know what needs to happen, and just don’t want to do it.
That’s kind of what cataloguing my art work feels like. One gigantic painful never-ending process of taking pictures, uploading files, labelling said files, and then storing them somewhere (usually an external hard drive)
Interestingly enough, I’ve already done a pretty good job of it over the years, which is the biggest hurdle, in truth. Getting a system in place – coming up with names for each piece, the dimensions, material used, and the year (sometimes even the month) the work was completed. That’s the first step to a successful inventory.
But in order for that to happen, you have to do one of two things…
- Take photos of everything shortly after completion and then label accordingly on the file name OR
- Make notes on the back of the work immediately (year, medium, title), for when you CAN get around to photography
Remember that post I wrote last week about the Allegory of the Collage series I’ve been working on for the past decade or so?
Well I was really good at recording those key details of the pieces in the series, especially at the beginning, but then I lost my stride for a bit, and figured “no big deal, I have a good memory, especially when it comes to my own art, I’ll be able to come back and write the year on these drawings,” which was true at the time.
But another year passed, and I was submitting new drawings in the series for art exhibitions, luckilyI had the foresight to write down those names too, and immediately take photos! But after that point in time, I totally lost track of the work completed in subsequent years, as second time. Until last last year, when I decided to start making the collages again, and began the process of marking the details directly on the back of each piece.
So I have two gaps in the work created, I think some of it was made in 2007, and the rest between 2009-2011, but I cannot be sure. Which sucks.
I can make a bunch of excuses for why this happened, but it doesn’t really matter because, whatever the excuse is, I still don’t know where to place about 25 of the pieces. And that sucks, because I don’t really want to guess, but in order to properly catalogue the work online, I need to have those details.
I mention this for two reasons.
First, I need the work digitized for a post I’ll be writing on Pinterest in coming weeks (which was supposed to be written a posted tonight, until I ran into the above issues)
Second, I’m going to show you in detail why it’s important to do an inventory of your work, and how to accomplish this exactly.
If you don’t have a studio inventory, you’ll be kicking yourself in a few years, and as painful as it is for me to workaround a problem of 25 images, imagine how much it would suck to do this with hundreds of pieces? Don’t fret though, this isn’t meant to scare you straight out of the studio. This is an education; it’ll get better, I promise.
For now, get started by taking photos of all of your work, including the title, the materials used, the dimensions of the piece, and the year it was made. I sound like a broken record, I’m sure, but trust me on those points. Then either store the images on your computer, a hard drive or find a place on the cloud.
I’m personally toying with Flickr option at the moment, but I’ll give you an update when I have an ideal solution, or two.
But what do you think? Have you already organized your work? How did you do it? Please leave some comments below and I’ll have some more theories tomorrow!