Stan Herd


“Countryside,” Organic Materials, 250′ x 250′, NY, NY.  Stan Herd.

No time to do this justice this evening, as I’ve got a rollerblade date.  But I had breakfast this morning in Lawrence with Scott Richardson, who sort of represents Stan Herd.  There’s a movie being considered about a piece of crop art that Stan  did in NY 10 years ago (image above, note car for scale), with some homeless folks.  Upper West Side, along the Hudson.  Scott and a screenwriter wanted to discuss the project.  So we did, over cappuccino and crumpets.

Stan kills me.  While some people might think I’m a character, he’s a real character, no bones about it.  He’s from southwest Kansas, lives in Lawrence, and is the best damned crop artist in the world.  He would have joined us this morning, but ABC just hired him to do a logo for a fall show in some big freaking wheat field.  So he was out on his tractor.  Too bad.  Always dig his stories.

It’s 95 degrees here.  I’m going blading.   

Paducah Artist Relocation Program


It was a year ago, as the spring leg of my book tour was winding up, that I spoke in Paducah, KY.  This was my last gig after Cincinnati, Columbus and Indianapolis.

Why, after LA, Yale and Chicago, did I speak in this relatively small city?  Well, as many of you may know, Paducah undertook an ambitious program several years ago to help artists migrate there.  Basically you could buy an old building or house very cheaply, provided you renovated the thing and moved in.  As a consequence, scores of artists did.  I toured at least a dozen studios and galleries.  Very cool how this thing has come together.  It took guts, risk, and years of hard work.

My signing was in the Maiden Alley Theatre, a stone’s throw from the Ohio, which Jim and Huck had once planned to sneak up, had they not taken a wrong turn at Cairo.  I love the big rivers, and river towns.  Paducach is one of the few to have pulled off such a cultural coup.  Well worth a visit.

Sculptural Logo


Here’s an image of a logo we interpreted as sculpture for one of my clients.  The backing is made of aluminum slats finished with three different textures.  The lettering and logo are made of cast glass, 2″ thick.  I like the way it turned out, but the lighting isn’t dramatic enough yet.  Those changes will be made later.

Logo design and sculpting by Erik Beier and 3-Axis. Glass casting by Dierk Van Keppel and his studio, Rock Cottage Glass.

Julie Hansen, Jon Bidwell


Began hanging works for one of my corporate clients the other day.  These are two out of dozens we’ll be installing.  Julie Hansen’s abstracted landscape is in the background, photography by Jon Bidwell in the foreground.  Very nice pieces, but they don’t reflect the tendency of the collection, which will vary from highly contemporary pieces in all media, to figure, to landscape.  Variety is a good thing.

I’d identify the client, but most of mine don’t like to be discussed via internet.  Even so, I’ll have plenty to show on this project as it matures over the next year.

Oh yeah, the photo.  Hey, I know it sucks.  I’m no great shooter.  Besides, the client prefers to keep things vague for now.

Susan White into Collection


“Digital Rift,” by Susan White

Helped an artist named Susan White gain acceptance into a significant corporate collection.  But now I’m being absurd.  “Helped.”  She did the work, and exceptional it is too: a patterned burning technique on archival paper that is exquisite but must be tedious to execute.  Me?  All I did was arrange the matchmaking.


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Rejection / Perseverance

Artists have�frequently asked�me, how does one go about getting accepted by a�gallery?� That’s a complex question, to which there is no easy answer.� In fact�it’s similar to asking how an unpublished writer goes about getting published.� My first answer in either instance?� Prepare for rejection.� So before we even begin to get into the business of gaining gallery representation, let’s discuss�this common experience.��

I feel�it�s best, as your career travels�its twisting course,�if you acknowledge that your work will probably be rejected several times initially, and that finding the right gallery will be no simple task.� Therefore, let me give you one piece of advice about rejection: get used to it.� Let me also give you another: determine to persevere beyond it, no matter what.

Perseverance is the quality that enables you to handle rejection after rejection, then more rejection, then further rejection, then perhaps a few more years of rejection after that, and still snap back.� I�m not saying that those rejections shouldn�t depress or anger you, or at times make you want to abandon the whole bloody business.� They should, and will.� But you�ll have to persevere nonetheless�that is, if you want to succeed.�

You�re the one creating the work.� You�re the one who has to believe in yourself.� You�re the one who has to know whether your work is any good.� If you do know this, and are certain of your artistic destiny, then no amount of being turned away should make any difference.� Sure, you may punch a few holes in some walls before it�s over, but after the dust has settled, and you�ve mended your knuckles, go back out and make the approach again.� And again and again.� And again.

Don�t get desperate.� Don�t give in to despair.� Listen to your inner voice, the one that has assured you about your work, and your place in the world, since the day you first began to create.� Voices like that rarely lie (which isn�t to say that we don�t on occasion misinterpret them).� Listen to the reassurance it gives you, assuming it does.�

As you listen, and as you prepare to send your work out once more, try to employ resiliency, combined with stubbornness, mellowed with humor, strengthened with discipline, bound with humility.� And hell, enjoy yourself while you�re at it.� You�re alive, you�re free to create, you�re work is maturing.� If you learn to take the rejections well, you�ll gain strength and character from them.� In time, this can lead to one formidable artist, and career.� Decide that it will, and that the day is coming when the galleries will be happy to work with you.� People respond well to confidence�which should never be confused with arrogance.

Determine that the rejections will help build these things up in you; they can, if you decide to take them that way.� They can also destroy you, if you let them.� Don�t.� In the end, the only person who truly has the power to destroy you, is you.� That�s a tough one to remember, and a tougher one to practice, but from everything I�ve seen in the world, I believe it to be essentially true.

As for gallery acceptance, we’ll get to that�in a later Friday Tips.��

William Lobdell, Sculptor


“Bridgesphere,” Cedar, by William Lobdell

Found this rather amazing dude, William Lobdell, in St. Louis.  He’s executing a monumental wall piece for one of my corporate clients.  The work above is a slight indicator of how it will look.  Cedar and metal.  Believe it will be extraordinary.  He’s been a pleasure to work with, and I don’t expect that to change.  Not looking forward to hanging the blasted thing though: 300 lbs.  Great.

Things to Do in Denver When You’re Alive / Denver Galleries / Screenplay Finished


Our last night in Colorado was spent in Denver, where an old friend and I took my teenage sons on a walking tour of downtown.  Place was hopping. 

There was a gay “cowboy” in leather shorts and hat who followed us around Union Station, rather forlornly I thought.  That made me a little sad for him.  A drunk British chick, maybe 32, stumbled out of a bar and began hitting on my 18-year-old son.  I stood nearby and listened, amused.  Embarrassed, he wasn’t interested in any “old lady.”  That was even more amusing.  We rode the trams, wandered through some very edgy galleries–unlike most of those in CO–and ate at a gourmet pizza joint.  Good pizza.  God I do love Denver.

Finished screenplay upon arriving home.  Off it goes to the critics on Wednesday, final draft later this month, then to an agent in NY.  We’ll see how it shakes out.

Now for the 4th: picnic tomorrow, ball game to play, homemade ice cream to eat, a few fireworks to blow off, and a family to love.  Also ample time for mischief.