Guest Artist: Paul Mays

Emerging artist (& recent intern) Ryan Pack is querying artist members about business of art tips. Watch for new artist interviews regularly. This week’s query is to Paul Mays from OKC.

RP: What has been the toughest aspect for you as far as creating your art is concerned?

PM: I think that the toughest part about creating artwork is making time to do so. I am married and work a full time job and sometimes the last thing that I want to do when I get home is go back to work. Sometimes, I have to set a schedule and follow it strictly to make sure that I make it to the studio. Once I become involved in a project I can never figure why it was so hard to start. I become immersed in the artwork and work eagerly towards the finished piece.


Tip: Researching Online Galleries, a few facts

As a follow up to the last post about researching online galleries, here are a few facts about OVAC’s Virtual Gallery.

-The Virtual Gallery averages 2,800 unique monthly visitors and 25,000 page views.
-Over 400 Oklahoma artists have work on the site, making it a clearinghouse to find area artists’ work.

-In the past 3 months, visitors from all 50 states have looked at artists’ work.

-The site is nonprofit, run as a service to artists.
-Participation is not juried. Artists must be members of OVAC ($35 a year) and submit their images.
OVAC just published a full color brochure about the website that will be distributed this year to key potential users in Oklahoma, like architects, interior designers, gallerists and curators. This Virtual Gallery brochure also is included in packets to 500 curators across the country.
OVAC received a Google grant to make our website easier to find, which will give us advertising funds and optimization.
-Curators in Oklahoma already visit the site frequently. In the past few months, Clint Stone from City Arts Center, Scott Perkins from the Price Tower Arts Center, and romy owens from the OK Heritage Center have told us they used the site to invite artists to exhibit.
Please let us know if you have questions.

Tips: Research Online Galleries

Alyson Stanfield is quite timely with this message in her Art Marketing Action newsletter about researching online galleries. OVAC’s Virtual Gallery has been hit with lots of “offers” and “opportunities” for artists to show online lately.

We’ve had many emails from artists wondering if the businesses were legitimate… well, I can only say, “we don’t know.” We can’t keep up with all the websites out there. As with all offers, artists have to do their own research to determine the worth. I certainly encourage artists to take advantage of online marketing, but consider your time… with how many websites can you keep up? Where do you most want to spend your time.

Thanks Alyson for this, as usual, timely and solid reminder. Here’s a brief excerpt (subscribe for the whole message):

“Every day there are new opportunities to show your art online. Every day you have to make decisions about what is a real opportunity, and what is a waste of your time and money. How do you know which ones are legitimate? As with everything in your art business, the onus is on you to trust but verify the source. You can’t blame anyone but yourself if you don’t seek all the facts.”

Copyright 2009 Alyson B. Stanfield. Alyson takes the mystery out of marketing your art and making more money as an artist. Visit to get articles just like this one delivered to your inbox.

Report from Art Chicago

Chad Mount, an artist in Oklahoma City, recently recieved an OVAC Education Grant to help fund a research and networking trip to Art Chicago. As part of his grant requirements, he has provided this report of his trip to share some of what he learned with other artists.

Art Chicago was a great experience. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I had not attended an art fair before. I did know there would be galleries representing from around the world and that I’d get to peruse them, looking for galleries that I felt would be a good fit with my art. I found fewer than I expected, but really I did come away with one or two.

The nice thing about a fair is that once you find a gallery in which you feel you may fit, there’s an opportunity to engage them in discussion about the artists they currently represent. From that exchange you can determine, if you would want this gallery to represent you. I found plenty that were not personable and do not represent their artists well.

It’s hard to measure the value of an experience like this. There was some great work, but some pretty bad work too. The good and the bad both have their inspiring qualities. The good left me wanting to strive harder to push myself in new directions and the bad, for the sake of this report, I’ll play nice and say, Art Chicago was not the end all be all.
There were many lectures. I attended two that left me inspired. One was with
Nick Cave and Cynthia Rowley. They talked about innovative thought, breaking out of customary roles with regards to living and working as artists, and the birth of less conventional ways of showing ones art, like turning home spaces into galleries. The art world was in a bit of a bubble with some outrageous prices. With the financial crisis in this country and the world, the art bubble popped, bringing prices down to more realistic levels. Many of the current trends they discussed I already see happening in Oklahoma which was nice to learn.
I also learned of new strategies for acquiring art that some collectors are exploring.
The Collectors Fund is an organization of American art collectors lead by Sandy Kemper. They are all about shared collections, where the art has rotation periods in the collectors homes. The Chambers Luxury Art Hotel seems like an amazing place and they collect contemporary art from the very established to the student and have video artists screening throughout the hotel 24/7. UBS secures works directly from the artists for their collection.
I encourage you to check out these websites,, and the

Reading: 7 tips for artists

Practical, but fun, list of tips for artists. Nice ideas for those artists who like some little prods and reminders.

Shout out to Molly O’Connor, Arts Learning in Communities Director at the OK Arts Council, for linking to this.

Help: Want to help design an arts space?

Living Arts Contemporary Space is inviting aritsts’ input for designing their new gallery at 307 E Brady Ave. You can be involved with brainstorming and planning creative ways to make the venue for artists.

Meeting: Wednesday, May 13 at 7:00pm at the new Living Arts Contemporary Space, 307 E Brady Ave (Parking in back or along Brady). Call or email Living Arts for more info.

Guest Artist: romy owens

Emerging artist (& recent intern) Ryan Pack is querying artist members about business of art tips. Watch on Mondays for new artist interviews. This week’s query is to romy owens from OKC.

RP: What made me want to become an artist?
ro: i still remember the sunday in april 2003 when i walked out of the darkroom with an absolutely beautifully perfect fb print of the best image i’d captured at the time, and i realized that maybe i had a future making art. i experienced a personal epiphany. and from that point forward i never thought i wasn’t an artist. i still love that photo. (it’s attached.)
RP: How did you get started?

ro: i finished school in 2005, and is it weird that i kinda feel like i’m still getting started?
art, group shows, art, ovac e-newsletter, art, opening receptions, art, portrait photographer, art, nice to meet you, art, art, wedding photographer, art, art, art, portfolio building, art, wedding photographer, art, art, art, art, nice to meet you, art, art, special event photographer, art, art, art, art, study, art, apply, art, fail, art, apply, art, succeed, art, eyes on the prize, art, just keep swimming, art.
that, and my friends and my family were incredibly supportive, so i never had to worry about being hungry.