Every artist has an inventory to manage. Not every piece is sold, and the process of art making involves creating many pieces that may or may not fit into the next body of work, all of which cumulate over the years.
Doing a complete inventory of my art has been on my mind for some years now. A daunting project that I wasn’t sure how to handle. Fortunately, we have a good artist’s association in Montreal, the RAAV, that provides a regular flow of seminars on the many aspect of an artist’s career, from using social media to the intricacies of keeping your archives. After attending two seminars on this topic, I boiled down the information with the help of a librarian friend and defined my own simple but adequate system.
Why would you do a comprehensive inventory? For your own sanity, obviously, as it is much easier to know what you have and where it is. I tend to be organized and have kept a record but there are gray zones and some tidying up to do. It is also an opportunity to review and document what my journey has been so far. And last, but not least, my art is part of my legacy, whether of personal or local cultural relevance remains to be determined, but as such, I care to make it easy to access and manage.
Did I mention daunting? Admittedly it is a long and fastidious process. To be sure the task got done without absorbing too much of studio time, I decided to hire an assistant. After establishing a budget, and again with the help of the art association, I found one with the clerical skills and office experience needed. Louise-Andrée is a fellow artist: she understands my specific needs and provides useful suggestions. Part of our deal is that I teach her how to keep her own inventory, which makes for an affordable and stimulating collaboration.
As a visual artist, I am accustomed to doing a lot of things in solo. But some tasks are better tackled in tandem and it’s more fun too. So far, meeting every Friday since mid-January, we have completed approximately 25% of the task. This may be optimistic, but the main thing is, I see light at the end of the tunnel.