Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

July 6, 2007

ArtBiz101 – Organization

Filed under: Art Market, Photography — Doug Stockdale @ 9:42 pm


Options (from the series: Insomnia: Hotel Noir)

…When working on the business plan, the first part deals with the company and its organizational structure, as well as the qualifications of those who are responsible. Next Friday I will discuss the legal asepects of the company for doing business within the U.S.

As an artist who is a small business as most of us are, you end up wearing a LOT of hats and have a lot of responsibilies. You create the art but you all also take out the trash, eh? But there are three key responsibilies: Creating the art, selling the art and managing cash flow. We could also call these three repsonsibilities: Operations, Sales and Finance. If there are more than one of you, you may already know your strengths and weakness with respect to these. The artist is the person who usually works on new ideas (Research), how to get those ideas on canvas/paper (Development) and then finally getting the work finished for the collector/gallery (Production).

The same is kinda true for Sales, someone has to let the public know that the artwork is available (Marketing) and then selling the artwork, either direct to a collector or through a gallery or other third party. Someone has to be responsible for getting the artwork sold, otherwise, no money. Plain and simple.

Then someone needs to keep track of the cash flow (Accounting); what is bought to use as creative raw materials, what is sold, perhaps getting the money from the gallery, making sure that the right percentages are paid, what’s left over and making sure that all of the taxes get paid. This needs to be done on a day to day basis as well as budgeting for the future investments and potential cash flow.

Organization also considers the needed facilities, infrastructure and equipment needed for the business. Some of these are very expensive, some not. And you may need a local permit to do some of these from a home studio.

You will also have to decide what you want to do and what not. If you don’t want to keep track of the IRS (U.S.), then you may want to hire an Accountant to take care of the quarterly reports and end of year taxes. You make like to print but not do the matte and framing, thus a picture framming shop will be one of your suppliers. Same is true for the other artist materials you prefer not to make your self.

Then you also need to think about the qualifications to do the job your responsible for. If someone is going to do the accounting, taking a basic accounting class may be very helpful.

If you may perfer not to talk to the public, or know who to contact or you just want to only create the artistic works, you may decide that you need a gallery or other representive to sell your artworks. A gallery needs to survive for you both to be successful, so they get part of the sales of the artworks, and that is usually half. Trust me, they work hard for the money and they are taking risks as well.  But choose carefully, they essentially become your indirect business partner. More about that at another time.

So again, there are three main responsibilies, just agree who does what goes a long way in creating harmony and having a nice creative lifestyle.

Best regards, Doug



1 Comment »

  1. Doug, great advice! I’ve worn all of the hats for software development for years and years. As you know, most of your time will be spent running the business (80%), with the remaining time (20%), spent doing actual artwork! For my particular business, it was most time spent doing software, but then, I did that 8-12 hours/day.

    Keeping the IRS happy and staying out of their sight is of prime importance! :-) I did my own quarterlies and had a CPA do the yearly, as it was a bit more involved with depreciating assets and the like.

    I think think, too, that a business plan is a great idea, even if you aren’t trying to get startup money from investors. It’s just a good baseline to give you an idea of what you want to do at this moment and plants the seeds in your mind of how you want to get there.

    Again, good advice. Thanks!

    Comment by paul — July 7, 2007 @ 11:48 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: