The artwork and shared thoughts of Marlene Richey.
Q: What first compelled you to become an artist? Who/what were your influences?
A: I am not a practicing visual artist but a consultant to individuals who are trying to run an art-based business. I teach, lecture, and write about being a successful artpreneur, and consult artists/ craftspeople/businesses both nationally and internationally about how to be successful. I was raised in a family of artists, have a BA in art, and ran an award-winning jewelry design firm and gallery for 35+ years. I agree with Andy Warhol, “Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” What compelled me to be a creative consultant is that I have seen too many artists not be able to follow their dreams simply because they lacked the skills and knowledge to make it possible.
Q: What is your connection to the Melrose Arts community? Is it important to you to be part of a creative community?
A: It is vital to be a part of a creative community, whether locally or nationally. Other individuals in your field are the ones who understand the challenges and opportunities in your particular media. I am new to Melrose and wanted to participate in whatever way I could. Luckily, I have a large base of friends and peers in the art world and have been part of many organizations.
Q: What is your current work about? What are you trying to explore and how has that evolved since you started?
A: My current work is in the realm of teaching, consulting and writing. I was recently the keynote speaker at Creative Albuquerque, taught for years in NYC at the Fashion Institute of Technology, have a book out called Profiting by Design, write a regular column for Art Jewelry magazine—“Business Savvy”—and a “Business Know-How” blog for Rio Grande, a jewelry-supply company. I am working on a third book/webinar series called “A Complete Guide to Exhibiting in a Show.”
Q: What advice do you have for younger artists, particularly local ones?
A: The one word of advice I give every client, student, and attendee at events where I speak is that they have to take a bookkeeping class. It is vital. You can’t just hire an accountant. If you don’t know how to speak “accounting” then how are you going to know if your business is making a profit, loosing money, if your work is priced appropriately, where your money is going, in what areas can you save money, etc.?
Q: What kind of legacy do you hope to leave?
A: I strive to promote the idea that being an artist and making money at your art are not mutually exclusive. It is not only a good thing to make money at your art, but desirable. I want to help artists understand who they are, where they are going, strategies to get their work in front of the right clientele/patrons, how to brand themselves, and how to have a strong, cohesive, identifiable look and style.
Q: What is your artistic process? How do you get your creative juices flowing?
A: When I am writing I know it takes work and self-motivation to consistently sit down in front of my computer and write about my subject, but I get up every single morning and often work late in the evening. Just getting the first word down is the best start. Then ideas and thoughts flow.
Q: What are the challenges of being an artist today?
A: Money and cash flow. Intellectual property and protection of your ideas. Reaching the appropriate market. Understanding that you need to be branded. Having some business experience or knowledge. Taking advantage of technology. Knowing how to sell and market your work. Knowing what your artistic, personal and business goals are and how to achieve them. Clearly defining your idea of success. Having a strong, supportive mentor.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
A: If you aren’t having fun at your art, what’s the point?