This blog focuses on the joys, challenges and lessons of living the creative life—and make a living doing it!
Author Gayle Mahoney is an arts marketing consultant and has shown and sold her own artwork for over 25 years.

Monday, June 22, 2015

This blog has moved!

Please visit my new blog - it's now integrated into my website. I continue to post about both the creative and business sides of being an artist!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Make a great artist statement

The purpose of an artist’s statement is to introduce the audience to your art, and to enable them to engage with the art by providing a context for the work and some reference points as places to start.

Paragraph 1: Introduce the “big picture” of your work/approach as an artist. Write a broad statement that applies to all of your work, not just the work in this series or individual piece. This might include why you are an artist, what inspires you.

Paragraph 2: Describe your process of making art. Where do you start? How is your approach unique? How do materials, people, philosophies, the world around you impact your work?

Paragraph 3: Comment on specific works this statement refers to. Use one or two specific examples of work being exhibited. This is where you talk about your intent, what the work means, what you feel or think about your own work.

• Write three versions – long (500-1000 words), medium (200-400 words), and short (50-100 words). The longer version might be used by a gallery that represents you or as part of a grant application; the medium version would be on one page and would most likely be mounted on the wall with your work; the short version is useful for social media, web and calendar listings.

• Avoid artspeak and flowery language: do not use language only an art history teacher would understand. Use words the general public would understand. Remember that you are trying to engage the viewer, do not use language that could be a barrier.

• Talk about specifics: color, line, materials, imagery, symbols, etc. and mention examples in the work being shown.

• Write in first-person – use “I” statements.

• Artist statements are not meant to be biographical, so leave out your life narrative unless that is what the work is about. That’s what artist bios are for.

• Don’t list accomplishments like exhibitions, awards, etc. Those go in your resume.

• Your words should match your work – write in a tone that reflects the feeling of your work.

• Ask people who don’t know you or your work to read your statement and ask them if it makes them want to see your work, do they understand what you are talking about.

• Some questions to get you started: Why do you create art? What does your art mean to you? What inspires you? How are your inspirations expressed in your work? What message are you trying to convey to the viewer? How is your art a reflection of you? How do your technique/style relate to your medium? What is unique about your approach, how you use materials, etc.?

 “Your primary focus should be to increase the reader’s interest in your art, which usually means helping them understand the reasoning behind your art as well as some of the methods you used to create it.” 

Additional resources:

If all else fails… the artist statement generator:

Do you need more support in your business as an artist? Then please contact Carolyn Edlund at She will be able to assist you or direct you to others who can!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

100+ Calls for Artists

Hey artists, get your work out there! Here are some places to show off your talents in 2013!

I compiled this list for the monthly ValleyArts Artists' Salon in the Valley Arts District in northern NJ, but most of the shows are open calls for artists throughout the US and beyond. If you are interested in finding out more about ValleyArts, please visit

I tried to pull a broad assortment of Calls for Artists, take a little time to read through the list and see if anything touches your fancy! And if you know of any calls for artists that you don't see here- please post a comment, or email me at and I will add to the list.

Also, please let me know if any of the links don't work. I will also share a pdf of this list on request. PLEASE follow me here- also on twitter, @witheroney. And share with all your artist friends!

Two little tidbits for applying to juried shows:
1. Take yourself seriously enough as an artist to get professional photographs of your work. It will pay for itself in a very short time. If you don't take yourself seriously enough as an artist to send professional photographs, trust me- no juror or gallery director will take you seriously, either.
2. My friend Thea Clark would offer this advice: If you are hung up about whether or not your work gets into a particular show, you are not entering enough shows. Enter a whole bunch, then you will be pleasantly surprised when your work gets in. Visit Thea's blog:

OK here's the list:

Apply any time:

1. ValleyArts (Arts district in northern NJ, in New York Metro area) calls for artists for exhibitions at Firehouse Gallery, Hat City Kitchen, Luna Stage Theater Company:

2. Call for Occupy-Related Art, Photography and Video, Online. Anyone who has
done artwork, or documented the Occupy movement.

3. Experimental Performance Festival Dimanche Rouge, Paris, France; Seeking
experimental art performances/videos in all formats including multimedia, dance,
performance art, video, sound, actions, body art, interventions, street art, spoken
word and installations.

4. Tweetart! UK open call. All art is welcome.
Scroll down to Post 105 in the blog for entry directions...

5. Demonstrative- Mail Art, Bridgewater MA; Mail Art working with the theme of
DeMonstrative. All flat work accepted, any media. Online gallery, physical exhibition
in 2014.

6. Open call for all artists, professional, emerging or college students, Long Island
City New York.

7. Art In Hand Cards Looking For Artists- Artists from any medium (as long as it can
be photographed or scanned) and currently living in the USA. Please submit your
website url if you are interested in being added to our database for future decks of

8. The Critique Room, online; Any artist actively searching for growth within their
work through a critique processes, and is looking to be apart of an online community
of artists who gives each other and new comers on-going constructive criticism.

9. Rose Squared Productions craft shows- various locations in NJ throughout 2013.
No specific date, but ASAP is recommended.

10. Ongoing, Delaware, The Grand Opera House
Open Call for Proposals, 2D Media

Elements Massage, Montclair NJ: Artwork needed for therapeutic massage
salon. Artwork hangs for 6 months.
Rolling dates (multiple times during the year- check websites for more information)

12. Pierro Gallery Portfolio Review, South Orange NJ: First week of February, June
and October.

13. Featured artist on blog
Rolling submisisons throughout the year, usually ever two months. Subscribe to blog
for notifications.

14. open call: invites all artists in the United States
who are working with reclaimed materials to enter its open-juried competition to
showcase and sell works on its ecommerce site. Any original work using recycled, upcycled
and reused materials will be considered.

Dates for 2013 not yet announced

15. NJ Council on the Arts Individual Artist Grants:
Interdisciplinary Performance , Media/Digital/Electronic, Painting, Prose, Works on Paper, Folk Arts Apprenticeships, Artists and Communities Grants (Artist Residencies), Projects Serving Artists Grants- Funding for programs that serve NJ artists, Arts Management Intern Program

16. Monmouth Museum Emerging Artist Series

17. Young Artists Creativity Hub for teen artists

Deadlines by month, starting with January

18. “Mad World” National Juried Exhibit, Chicago: Deadline January 23, 2013
Art that is absurd, abstracted, imaginary, surreal, strange, or simply full of madness!

19. Tiny Art Show, Greenville, NC, Deadline, January 26, 2013 (Received), All pieces
must not exceed 5”x5”x7” in any direction. All work gets in.

20. The Art of Shakespeare, Mason OH, Deadline, January 26
Art inspired by Shakespeare

21. All Women Online Art Competition, Deadline, January 27, 2013; all women 2D
artists regardless of where they reside and regardless of their experience or education
in the art field (Women Only Art Call).

22. Devastation, Document, Drive: Photo Competition to benefit artists impacted by
Sandy, The New York Photo Festival, Brooklyn NY; Deadline January 31.

January 31. The Impossible Project is an open call for creative minds, to present
and discuss their projects or proposals in a casual open talk form....

24. Showcase Your Art in Times Square, See.Me, NYC; Deadline January 29th

The Lake George Arts Project, New York, , Deadline January 31,
Gallery Exhibition Opportunites, All Media

26. Pennsylvania, Saint Joseph’s University, Deadline January 31,
Gallery Exhibition Opportunities, All Media

27. The Maryland Federation of Art, Deadline January 23,
Open Call for Entries, 36th annual Art on Paper competition

28. The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Deadline January 24,
Open Call for Entries, 58th Annual Boardwalk Art Show, All Media

29. The Gormley Gallery-Notre Dame of Maryland University, Deadline January 31,
Open Call for Entries, 24th National Drawing and Print Competitive Exhibition,
Drawing and Prints in any Media

30. Maryland, The Laurel Art Guild, Deadline January 31
Open Call for Entries - 18+, 44th Annual Open Juried Exhibition

All Wall Mounted Media

The Durham Arts Council, North Carolina, Deadline January 31
Gallery Exhibition Opportunities, All Media

32. The Oil Painters of America, Texas, Deadline January 25,
22nd Annual National Juried Exhibition Of Traditional Oils

33. The Midland Arts Association, Texas, Deadline February 1,
35th Annual Spring Juried Art Exhibition, 2D, 3D Fine Art Media

34. South Texas College, Deadline February 2,
8th Annual Human Rights Art Exhibition, All Media

35. The Arts & Design Society of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Deadline February 4,
21st Southeast Regional Juried Fine Arts Exhibition, All Media

36. The Arts & Design Society of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Deadline February 4,
54th Annual Beaux Arts Exhibition, All Media

37. The Academy of Fine Arts, Virginia, Deadline February 8
Open Call for Entries - US Residents 18+
New the week of November 18
Annual National Juried Art Exhibition
Traditional Fine Art Media

LeMoyne Center for the Visual Arts, Florida, Deadline February 15,
Open Call for Entries - 18+
New the week of November 18
LeMoyne Chain of Parks Art Festival
Outdoor Art Fair

Deadline February 15, Virginia, The Kiernan Gallery
Abstraction Exhibition, Photography

40. The Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation, Georgia, Deadline February 16
Open Call for Entries - Residents of US 18+, Southworks: National Juried Art Exhibition,
All 2D, 3D Media

41. The Berkeley Arts Council, West Virginia, Deadline February 19, Open Call for 3rd
Annual Art and Earth Juried Exhibit, All Media

The Kiernan Gallery, Virginia, Deadline February 20,
Spring Featured Artist, 2D Media except photography

43. The Washington (DC) Calligraphers Guild, Deadline February 25
The Graceful Envelope, A World of Change, Calligraphy

44. The Rehoboth Art League, Delaware, Deadline February 28,
Art is Healing, Healing is Art, Wall Mountable Media

45. The Mitchell Gallery, Maryland, Deadline February 28,
Less is More: Small Works in a Great Space, Miniatures

46. The Pelham Art Center, New York, Deadline February 1,
Alexander Rutsch Award, Painting

47. The New York Center for Photographic Art, New York, Deadline February 1
Seasons Exhibition, Photography!winter-2012

48. The Maine Media Workshops and College, Deadline February 1
Open Call for Entries
New the week of November 25
40th Anniversary Spirit of Place
Photography, Video

49. The Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, Deadline February 1,
102nd Annual Exhibition, Fine Art Media

50. The South Shore Art Center, Massachusetts, Deadline February 1,
58th Annual Arts Festival, Outdoor Art Fair

51. Reflections: A Juried Fine Art Exhibition, Saint James, NY, Deadline Feb 1; Smithtown
Township Arts Council seeks entries for Reflections, a juried fine art exhibition at
the Mills Pond House Gallery.Juror: James H. Rubin. Entry deadline February 1, 2013.
Open to local and national artists.

52. EcoCreations 4, Longmont, Colorado, Deadline February 1, 2013 (Postmarked);
Art made with recycled materials

53. Nortwest Watercolor Society International Open Show 2013, Mercer Island WA,
February 4, 2013; Aqueous media on paper.

54. I-Park 2013 Artists-in-Residence Program, East Haddam, CT. Deadline: February
4, 2013; Artists’ residencies May-Nov 2013, most are four weeks in duration.

55. America’s ClayFest at Gladding McBean, Lincoln, CA; Deadline February 4, 2013.
Artworks in clay.

56. Postcard Sized Art (4x6/6x4), Colorado Mesa University, Deadline February 4,
2013 (Postmarked). Free to enter

57. Archetype Drift: A Call for New Methods of Photographic Making, Chicago IL,
Deadline February 4, 2013 (Postmarked). All types of photographic and lens-based
work will be considered, including video and GIFs.

58. The Darkroom Gallery, Vermont, Deadline February 6,
Lost and Found Exhibition, Photography

59. Fresh Fruit Festival 2013, New York, NY, Deadline February 11, 2013 (Received);
Submissions in all artistic disciplines & lengths are considered for presentation as
long as they highlight or showcase a spectrum of the LGBTQ experience.

. The Olin Art Gallery, Pennsylvania, Deadline February 15
Gallery Exhibition Opportunities, All Media

61. New York, apexart, Deadline February 15,
Gallery Exhibtion Opportunites, All Media

62. womyn’s work apron project, Albuquerque, NM; Deadline February 15, 2013
(Postmarked). All women are eligible to enter.

63. The Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show 2013, Indiana University, Bloomfield, Deadline
February 15, 2013 (Postmarked). The competition is open to all artist 18 years
and older creating original artworks relating to human sexual behavior, gender and/
or reproduction.

Oakland CA, Deadline February 28, 2013; Seeking artwork that incorporates words,
text or letters and that expresses a commitment to interfaith understanding, coexistence,
peace and cultural exchange. Artists from all faiths are invited to participate.

65. New York, The Limner Gallery, Deadline February 28
Art Biologic, All Media

66. The Texas Watercolor Society, Deadline March 1
64th Annual Exhibition - The Bright Shawl, Watercolor

67. West Virginia, Marshall University, Deadline March 1,
Gallery Exhibition Opportunity, All Media

68. Maryland, The Columbia Festival of the Arts, Deadline March 1,
ArtPark 2013, Outdoor Art Fair

69. Maryland, The Allegany Arts Council, Deadline March 1
5th Annual Mountain Maryland Plein Air, Painting

70. South Carolina, The Art League of Hilton Head, Deadline March 4,
Open Call for Entries, 2013 Biennale, All Media

71. The Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community, Deadline March 15,
10th Annual Juried Multimedia Art Exhibition, 2D, 3D Media

72. Sugarloaf Crafts Festival, multiple locations Mid-Atlantic, Tri-State areas, including
Somerset NJ. Deadline, March 1.

72. Pennsylvania, Art in the Wilds, Deadline March 1,
2013 Festival, Outdfoor Art Fair

73. Pennsylvania, The Wayne Art Center, Deadline March 1
7th Annual Wayne Plein Air Festival, Painting

74. Pennsylvania, The Wayne Art Center, Deadline March 1, Open Call for Entries
Reigning Cats & Dogs, An Exhibition of Companion Animals, 2D, 3D Media

75. Pennsylvania, The Misciagna Family Center for Performing Arts, March 1,
Ivyside Juried Exhibition, All Media

76. 7 Deadly Sins, Pasadena, CA; Deadline March 4, 2013. We all have a pretty good
idea of what the Seven Deadly Sins are. Some of us may have even committed a sin or
two. For this exhibition, take a few steps into the dark side and bring us your unique,
fresh take on this very classic theme.

77. The Jersey Central Art Studios, Deadline March 11,
Cranford Plein Air Event, Painting

78. New York, The Downtown Committee of Syracuse, Deadline March 15
Syracuse Arts & Crafts Festival, Outdoor Art Fair

New York, The View Arts Center, Deadline March 15,
Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors, Watercolor

New York, The Trestle Gallery/Brooklyn Art Space, Deadline March 18,
Pop Up High School Show, All 2D, 3D Media

81. New York, The Trestle Gallery/Brooklyn Art Space, Deadline March 25,
Interstice, Performance

82. WOMEN call for entries, Pasadena, CA, Deadline March 25, 2013. There’s a reason
why women are the subjects of many, many classic paintings and sculptures. What’s
your reason? For this exhibition, we’re looking for work that centers on the “fairer”
sex. Feel free to break, enforce, and comment on roles, boundaries, and expectations
with this hot-topic theme.

83. MEN call for entries, Pasadena, CA, Deadline March 25, 2013. There’s a reason
why men are the subjects of many classic paintings and sculptures. What’s your
reason? For this exhibition, we’re looking for work that centers on the “masculine” sex.
Feel free to break, enforce, and comment on roles, boundaries, and expectations with
this hot-topic theme.

84. 83rd Annual Juried Exhibition-National Art League, Douglaston NY; Deadline
March 23, 2013.

85. New York, The Bowery Gallery, Deadline March 31
Open Call for Proposals - Non - New York City Artists
Gallery Exhibition Opportunies, All Media

86. Artist Memberships at the Noyes Museum, Deadline April 1, 2013 Or call 609-652-8848 for details.
87. Noyes Museum 6th Annual Plein Air Event in Hammonton, NJ
Deadline: April 6, 2013. Open to all artists 18 & up.

88. Portrait Art Contest. International Juried Art Exhibit. April 15, 2013.

89. New York, The Bowery Gallery, Deadline April 15
2nd Annual Juried Competition 2013, 2D Media

90. New York, East End Arts, Deadline April 17
H2O National Juried Art Competition, 2D Media

91. Virginia, The Workhouse Arts Center, Deadline May 8
3rd Annual Workhouse Clay National 2013, Ceramics

92. DUALITY call for entries, Pasadena, CA, Deadline May 6. Opposites are laws of
the universe. Good and evil, love and hate, night and day, heaven and earth. Opposites
are forces that complement each other; there can’t be one without the other.
For this call for entries, we’re looking for your unique interpretation of duality for this
upcoming exhibition.

93. New York, The Art League of Long Island, Deadline May 10,
46th Annual Art in the Park Fine Art & Craft Fair, Outdoor Art Fair

FotoFilmic’13 | Attached-to-Film, Vancouver, BC, Canada, and online, Deadline
June 15, 2013. All work submitted must have been shot on film in any format including
instant film.

New York, The Trestle Gallery/Brooklyn Art Space, Deadline June 23
Collaborations, All 2D, 3D Media

96. District of Columbia, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts,
Deadline June 9
Open Call for Entries - Disabled US Residents 16-25
In/finite Earth: Paintings, Drawings, Prints, Photography, Computer-generated prints,
Digital art, Video, Film

97. Deadline November 4, New York, The Trestle Gallery/Brooklyn Art Space
Open Call for Entries - Recent MFA, BFA Graduates
Introductions (2013), All Media

The Schwa Show: National Juried Art Exhibition, Greenville, NC, Deadline
November 11, 2013 (Received). This exhibition is open to an artist in any media and
subject matter. All work must have been completed in the past 3 years and not previously
exhibited at PCAC. All pieces must fit through a standard size door.

99. Deadline December 2, New York, The Trestle Gallery/Brooklyn Art Space
Call for Curators, All Media

Calls for Artists websites with multiple listings for show
throughout the year:

Festivals (fine art and craft), indoor and outdoor craft shows. Registration is required
but free. Hundreds of listings throughout the country.

101. NY Foundation for the Arts classifieds- hundreds of calls for artists, plus
employment opportunities, residencies, fellowships etc.
also NYSource, resources for artists:

Arts for Transit- MTA calls for public art

Hundreds of listings, every kind of exhibition

104. Professional Artist Magazine (formerly ArtCalendar), searchable online
database of calls for artists

105. Find individual artist grants at the Foundation Center, a database of grant
opportunities. The online database requires a subscription, but you can go to the
Foundation Center library in NYC or other locations and access the database for free.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The summer that time forgot

Here we are three-quarters through August, what the hell happened to my summer???

June: Worked straight through, except for a lovely 4-day vacation in Saratoga Springs, totally unplugged — I recommend that!

July: Had one day off where I did no work at all: 4th of July. (It WAS an awesome day at my friend Anne Marie's though... high on a hill watching the fireworks over Manhattan and half of New Jersey!)

August: Finished two big deadlines so had more time, but got really sick and couldn't enjoy it.

SUPER big push from now through the end of the month to launch a website or two, open registration for a conference, and roll out fall programs and publicity for an arts district. Also making artwork for my friend's latest album.

Oh yeah, I have a museum trunk show this fall with a new product line designed specifically with their Georgia O'Keeffe exhibition in mind. And yes, right now it exists ONLY in my mind!

I am a nervous wreck!!! It has squeezed any remaining laid-back So Cal chill-genes right out of me! I have become so EAST COAST! Help me!!!

Last night I dreamed I was in a white-water rapids race... with Teddy Roosevelt, who was on his august steed (of course named August). Teddy was screaming "We've got to push through! We've got to push through!" I love dreams!

Note to self: My modest time management skills have been no match for the summer that time forgot!!!

What has really helped me get through is that I started keeping track of my time- all my time, not just my work time- from the moment I rolled out of bed until lights out at night. I set up a spreadsheet in 15 minute increments for the week and kept it open on my laptop. I didn't look at it evey 15 minutes, but got in the habit of recording what I had been doing every time I shifted to another activity. After doing this for a few weeks I started seeing some places where I could take control of my schedule and reign in projects and activities that were taking over my life. I also realized that there are certain hours of the day where I am most productive- for me it's late morning through early afternoon, for someone else it might be early morning or late at night. I realized I needed to set aside one day, at least, where I used that productive time to focus on my art business and push some of my client work into other slots.

Since I am not a morning person, and because it takes me a long time to be awake enough to be productive, I realized that the morning is an excellent time for me to be in "intake" mode, instead of trying to do work that requires creativity or attention to detail. So I use the morning to read the blogs I follow, see what's happening on Twitter, LinkedIn groups I belong to, check out my friends' Pinterest boards and get caught up with the news. It's an inspiring way to ease into the day.

Yesterday I saw a terrific post on a blog that I follow, titled "Control Your Time and Become A More Successful Artist." The article is loaded with all kinds of tips and tools (including a link to a downloadable spreadsheet to help you plan your ideal week).

September looks like it will be just as crazy as the summer has been, but I feel like I have more of a handle on my time, particularly how to balance rest and fun with the workload.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Hip to be Square

Thanks to all who came out to the New Jersey Metal Arts Guild sample sale at GAS Gallery and Studio. I especially thank Elizabeth, Rick, Micha and Christine for your generosity and support in making the event happen.

I had a great day! I so enjoyed spending time with the other artists and the conversations we had about design, creative process, metalsmithing techniques and how to market one's work.

I wanted to share a tasty tidbit for any artisan who a) has a smart phone and b) does retail shows, trunk sales, etc. I used my SQUARE credit card swiper for the first time. I know, I know... Square has been around awhile now... I have had my swiper but this is the first time I used it because most of my trunk shows are set up as wholesale and the merchant handles transactions.

But, if you don't know about Square, it's a small device you plug into your phone (or iPad) that allows you to swipe credit cards. It costs 2.75% per transaction. If you don't have a smart phone, you can use a computer (3% per transaction).
Find them here...

Anyway, my sales all went through and were posted to my account the next day. Soooo much easier than carting around a big machine, paying all the merchant service charges, etc. typically associated with a merchant credit card account through a bank. It did take a little time for me to learn to do a proper swipe- but the app comes with a practice tutorial... anyway, I recommend it.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Is your art website user-friendly?

It takes a lot of time and effort to keep a website up-to-date, fresh and relevant to users. We invest a lot of creativity and energy designing and launching our websites. But how do we know if the sites accomplish what we would like them to?

Here are some tools for analyzing the usefulness of your website from a user's perspective:

22 Tools for Testing Your Website's Usability