How much am I worth?

Setting prices or deciding how much to charge for services is something that I haven’t really thought too much about, but a lecture that we had following Xmas break spelt out everything which should be taken into consideration when costing our work.

Your work is worth what people are prepared to pay for it, but also, as much as you are prepared to do for it.

Costing work – Look at the costs you incur throughout the year, which should include the lifestyle which you aspire to, and calculate what you need to earn to meet these costs.

The biggest expense is generally accommodation and all associated bills and living expenses

  • Rent/Mortgage
  • Heat/Lighting
  • Water
  • Council Tax
  • Insurances
  • Food
  • Clothes
  • Entertainment/Holidays

Other things to consider

  • Transport -own car or public transport
  • Work equipment -computer, software, camera, printer including consumables
  • Work expenses – promotion, website, phone
  • Legal Fees – Accountant, indemnity Insurance, professional body fees

This would give a figure for expected expenditure, and a minimum amount required to earn per annum, tax and national insurance is approx 22% of gross earning so that would also need to be budgeted in.

Based on your figures,  allowing for 4 weeks holidays a year, you work out a monthly, weekly, and hourly rate. You should factor in any additional costs should a job require any additional expertise.

NB to maintain business, you should double your calculated hourly rate

Useful sources of further information

Following on from this lecture, I calculated how much I should be paid for a recent piece of work for my studio practice module, and it seems that I need to do a few things to be able to earn a living as a freelance artist.

  • Make some cut backs with personal living expenses
  • Work quicker, therefore more economically
  • Spend less on consumables

This was a useful exercise which made me think about how long I sometimes spend on a piece of work, and has also made me think about looking for other paid employment which could supplement any freelance work that I undertake

 

 

 

 

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The Venture Programme

Following the meeting with Kirsty Badrock, I signed up to attend The Venture Programme organised by Careers & Employability department. The programme is made up of different events, I chose to attend Collaborate, this is designed for people who have a business idea. The event was held last week over 2 evenings, Monday 8th and Tuesday 9th

Since doing the workshops at Mostyn, I started to think about how I could do this and earn a living at the same time. My business idea was to host children’s birthday parties, I have enjoyed the workshops and enjoy working with children but don’t really want to go into teaching.

There were mentors at the event who talked to the group about how they started their business, then we had the opportunity to tell the rest of the group what our business idea was. Although this was a bit daunting as I felt my idea was a bit sketchy, it was really useful as the rest of the group gave feedback on your idea, it offered another viewpoint. It was suggested that I could extend the workshop idea to an older age range as well, possibly in Old people assisted accomodation.

During the 2nd evening we made appointments to speak to various organisations, such as representatives from a bank , an accountants, an insurance broker and a legal clinic. The mentors from the previous evening were also there so we could speak to them on a one to one basis.

Some of the main pointers which I will need to bear in mind

  • Create a business plan
  • Continue to be self reflective
  • Build up a reputation
  • Be aware of Google ranking
  • Consider promotions
  • Is there a gap in the market?
  • Is the idea unique? If not think of new ways to deliver
  • Regulations of working with children
  • Advertising
  • Insurance – Public Liability
  • How much I need to earn
  • Start up costs
  • Set yourself time bound goals
  • Registering with HMRC

Above list is a starting point for myself, and things which I will need to consider on an ongoing basis. Meeting the experts was really useful as they had ideas which I hadn’t considered, and also gave me generic advice regarding setting up your own business.

 

Guest Lecturer – Mireille Fauchon

 

Mireille Fauchon came into Uni last week to speak to the photography students. I was interested to meet her and hear her talk about her books as I am very keen to present some of my work in a book format for my end of year show.

She asked us about the sort of work we did, which was unexpected but also useful, the more I speak about my work, the clearer it becomes in my mind what it is that I want to say about it.  Mireille then went on to tell us about her education and work history, she calls herself an educator and a practitioner, working from her own studio and also as a guest lecturer in a number of universities.  She realised in her 2nd year of her degree course that she was a storyteller by nature with a special interest in local history specifically the familiar, where strange or unusual have happened.

 

Mireille showed us some slides of her previous work, she also brought some of her book projects including The Highgate Vampire, which was part of her degree work. She spoke in detail and with obvious passion about this project, and about her work generally.

 

Some sound advice offered…

  • Immerse yourself in everything to do with your subject
  • The work that you’re doing now could shape the rest of your career, don’t dismiss any works
  • Being experimental is key
  • If working on a book, consider an some sort of introduction so that the viewer is able to read the images
  • Don’t fall into a style or aesthetic
  • Think about your concept, learn the skills to transfer these ideas
  • Enter competitions, you could win!

I found Mireille’s visit really interesting, it was really beneficial to be able to handle her books looking at how they had been constructed, and to be able to ask specific questions about the process of making the books.

Ethics – What does it mean for Me?

Ethics 

Definition

The basic concepts and fundamental principles of decent human conduct. It includes study of universal values such as the essential equality of all men and women, human or natural rights, obedience to the law of land, concern for health and safety and, increasingly, also for the natural environment.

 

Ethical behaviour or having good morals is a personal quality which is individual to a specific person, they set standards of behaviour both in personal and business life with the list seemingly endless.
We learn a lot of this behaviour from our upbringing, our culture, religion and beliefs,  I felt that if you have good ethics in your personal life you will usually carry them through to your professional life.
Working in the competitive world of creative arts has the potential to open many an ethical debate.
From our recent lecture, I have noted a few ethical standards which I felt are important, and whilst I would like to feel that I will adhere to these, I am also very aware that there are others who would not share these standards.

The artist or designer:

  • Should maintain respect for the profession, for colleagues, clients, audiences, consumers and society as a whole
  • Should acquaint himself with clients business and design standards, acting within the clients best interest
  • Should not work at the same time on similar projects which could cause a conflict of interest without the prior knowledge of the client
  • Should treat work in progress and the clients intention as confidential
  • Should not accept a commission which would violate another artist’s ethical standards
  • Pursuit of opportunities should support fair and open competition
  • Should not agree to complete someone else work unless satisfied that the other contract has been properly terminated
  • Must not attempt to obtain commissions by means of unethical inducements
  • Be objective and balanced in criticising another professionals work
  • Don’t take instruction which would infringe on another persons property
  • Observe the relevant code of conduct if working within another culture
  • Do not have any hidden charges, such as handling fees or admin costs
  • Do not deliberately mis-statement competence, experience or capabilities.
  • Do not claim sole credit for a collaboration

 

This list is not exhaustive, and in a more basic list, the following are the morals which I try to live by

  • Honesty and trustworthy
  • Do what’s right
  • Self-control
  • Integrity
  • Fair and just
  • Respectful of others
  • Tolerance
  •  Take personal responsibility

February Live Project @Mostyn

These monthly gingerbread art workshops seem to come around quite quickly, for this session I had decided that we would be painting stones. I thought this would give scope for the children to work at an age appropriate pace.  For this workshop, I first had to collect some stones, so it was a trip the the beach with a carrier bag then laying them out to dry thoroughly prior to painting a selection of them white so that the children had a clean page to work on. I also found a selection of images from Google images to give the children some ideas as to what they could paint, this ranged from ladybirds, butterflies, flowers and abstract patterns.  I arrived at Mostyn at 11am and set up the workspace, the parents meeting and workshop are held in the meeting room behind the shop, I’m aware that the space is also hired for meeting by other organisations so I’m concious about keeping the area as clean as possible without spoiling the children’s enjoyment

 

Once the group had had their lunch they joined me for the workshop, there were 7 children today and there now seems to be an even divide of older and younger children, most of the children I have now seen on a few occasions and they are all quite comfortable with me. The older 2 who have attended every session are usually the first to arrive and are always keen to find out what we will be doing, they chat quite openly with me about what they are doing at school, about what they like and dislike doing, and they often hang back at the end to help tidy up and offer suggestions as to what we could do next time.  I like that they do this as I feel that I have built a connection with them.

Once again, the children seemed to enjoy the activity, some of the younger ones did seem to get quickly finish painting a stone before moving onto another one,  at this stage I encouraged them to leave them to dry and then go back to them to work on them again. I think they all produced some great painted stones to take home with them, however I think in future I need to consider how they are going to transport things home at the end of the sessions. I do also need to start clearing up a bit earlier than I have been, the meeting finishes at 2pm and most of the parents are keen to leave then, instead they are kept waiting whilst we sort out the children’s work, next time I will start to clear up at 1.50, then hopefully I’ll be able to get out on time too.

 

At the end of the workshop, I had a chat with the meeting leader and one of the parents, I told them that I have taken photographs of the work at each workshop and told them if they wanted to use them they were welcome to. They invited me to join their Facebook group where they would be more than happy for me to post the photographs in order to encourage more of their members to attend the meetings. From my own point of view, I was offered a six month contract to run the workshops, this is more likely to be extended if attendance continues to improve, by sharing the photos, it will hopefully show that the children are enjoying themselves.

 

Updated c.v

I’ve applied for a job with Cheshire West and Chester Council as a Visitor Assistant, which meant that my c.v needed updating.  As the vacancy is a “0” hour contract I thought it could fit in around uni work until after I graduate.

I wrote and created the images within the c.v in level 5,  for the purpose of this job application I have updated the text but left the images as they were, however this will need to reviewed to reflect more current imagery.

CCI03022016

chester ad

 

Right Here Right Now @ The Lowry

I spent another Saturday in Manchester last weekend, this time my main focus was to go to The Lowry, Salford Quays. I wanted to see the digital art exhibition Right Here Right Now which I had seen advertised on their website.  The exhibition features the work of 16 international contemporary digital artists who through a range of processes have explored themes such as surveillance, artificial intelligence and social media interactions.

My favourite pieces have to be installations Darwinian Straw Mirrors by Daniel Rozin and Snowfall by Fuse* (a collective of Italian Multimedia artists)  both of which respond to and change with audience participation.  With both the viewer stands in front of a view camera and their figure is projected onto a huge screen as a series of lines or a snow silhouettes.

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Daniel Rozin’s Darwinian Straw Mirror

 

Fuse* Snowball

With this projection Installation Fuse explored the potential of artificial viewing techniques in the artistic field for the first time. The system processes the images captured by a number of video cameras in real time

The Lowry

 

I really enjoyed the playful feel to this part of the exhibition, it really brought out my inner child, and introduced me to a technology which I had very little knowledge or experience of.

Some of the other installations were

  • Corruption by Thomson & Craighead, the artists discovered that by using certain software they could create bright colourful imagery using the data of corrupt digital files, hence making something beautiful from something which can potential cause viruses within computer systems.
  • Planthropy by Stephanie Rothenberg another interactive installation where the artist explores the idea behind crowd-funding and social media.
  •  Oil Fields by Mishka Henner. First impressions are that it is an abstract piece of work but are actually a series of aerial shots taken from Google earth which have been stitched together to make a very large piece of work.

 

 

Overall a great exhibition, consisting of a wide range of digital art and technology parts of which making you consider the information we that we so readily share online. The gallery flows easily from one exhibit to the next,  I really like that on the 2 occasions I have been there that there have been some exciting installations which requires audience participation, it’s an excellent way to encourage children (both big and small) to become involved and interested in contemporary art.