Posted by: Liz Massey | December 7, 2008

Surf’s Up: Creativity Links for December 7, 2008

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Image courtesy SXC.

The state of artistic community building, making art a lucrative career choice, and a wildly new take on opera librettos are the gleanings from the cyber-fields of creativity this week. Plus, the bonus links section provides a couple of fabulous lists: one to fill your 2009 calendar with creativity gatherings, and one that explains why business “innovation” initiatives frequently fail.

1. Katherine Tyrrell at Making a Mark blog recently posted a review of the development of online communities of interest for artists during 2008. She did a similar study last year and this most recent post finds that, since the end of 2007,

“The blogosphere for artists seems to have matured in 2008. The rate of increase of blogs for artists seems to have slowed. At the same time there seems to be more and more efforts to create the communities of interest which I predicted would emerge.”

She mentions how Ning and Flickr have eased many into the community-building arena, and also notes the many wonderful online initiatives dedicated to making art for art’s sake, such as the Flying Pictures project (which I have also blogged about), as well as sites such as The Portrait Party, Virtual Sketch Date and Sketchbook Month.

Katherine ends her informative report by discussing trends in blogs and communities aimed at selling fine art, including The Fine Art Department and Small Art Showcase. This trend toward team- based promotion is particularly worth noting in the current stormy economic climate. The entire post is a must-read for any visual artist wishing to get online and expand their market—as well as their creative world.

2. On a related note, the New York Times ran an article, “Shifting Careers: Transforming Art Into a More Lucrative Career Choice,” during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend that discusses how artists are becoming more entrepreneurial in their approach to making and selling their work. It mentions several young artists, one as young as 14(!), who are using business savvy to market their work and generally make a better income by thinking of themselves as artist-entrepreneurs. It also mentions several private and public universities that are adding business components to their fine art and design degree programs.

One of the most creative approaches has been that of Tristan Hummel, 22, a senior at the Art Institute of Chicago. Three years ago, after reading that Chicago’s El trains were available for rent, he got the idea to bring artists together to create an art show on wheels. This fall, his idea came to fruition with “Art on Track,” an eight-train car on the orange line that traveled Chicago’s loop while displaying the work of more than 200 emerging artists.

Whether you’re just now trying to figure out how to make a living making art, or have been doing it for many years, this relatively brief article will definitely prime your pump and provide some resources for learning more.

3. Finally, two not-so-different (from a storytelling sense) media blend in a riotously creative way when opera meets anime! The Arts Journal tipped me off to a post on the Opera Chic blog about the Vancouver Opera producing condensed versions of opera libretti in the anime & manga format as a slick promotional and education tool to entice the under-30 set to learn more about and attend the great operas.

My gut reaction was—way to go! Not only do you show new opera fans-in-training how exciting and pulse-pounding the “old classics” can be, the libretti are themselves a new interpretation of the works that will be worth reviewing later.

Opera Chic was even more enthusiastic:

“We hate to gush with lust for the VO, but this is one of the most innovative culture jams we’ve had for opera … We’re just down on our knees thankful that they did just straight up manga. We don’t want to see Fidelio in a little schoolgirl’s outfit attempting physically impossible ~things~ with tentacles.”

Bonus links!

2009 Events: International Forum of Creativity Organizations

IFOCO is a global network of creativity-related organizations. In addition to this year-long overview of events, they also offer a month-by-month calendar.

56 Reasons Why Most Corporate Innovation Initiatives Fail

From the Heart of Innovation blog. Written in laundry-list (summary) style, but a nice overview of why pasting “innovation” into a corporate culture hostile to the needs of the creative impulse won’t work.

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