Monday, April 13, 2009

Software For Artists

A big problem I face and one that keeps me from moving forward in my true pursuit, that of being in the studio and making art, is being organized as a business person.  Most businesses today employ software to keep them organized.  They can check their inventory, its location, listed price, cost of materials, etc.  Why not the artist?

Read the following to understand how I arrived at this blog entry (blogs are journals, after all) . . . or skip to the bottom for the chase.  

Long ago, after reading several books on the "business of art", I set up this elaborate system, all in one huge 3 ring binder.  Way too big for me to ever want to pull it off the shelf and use it.  I did, however, use it for a while and it definitely helped.  Eventually I broke it down into individual binders, but by then I was floating off to a space of ambiguity and indifference in regard to my business practices.  I'd looked around.  I seemed to be the only artist I knew who was concerned about all this record keeping and documentation.  And, as I'd been accused on occasion of being a little compulsive, I decided "what the hey" and ditched any and all record keeping.  (the all-or-nothing attitude)

Several things happened as a result.  As my inventory increased and spread throughout, I had trouble remembering where everything was.  As my office area became more disorganized, my studio became more disorganized.  And the worst thing, I became more disorganized in my personal business.  This happened over the course of several years.  

The dawning realization for me is that everything is inter-related.  Duh!  And in the challenging economic times when artists may be impacted more than others (although I believe we, through the profession of art, have tools that may serve us well in these times), it is more important than ever to hone up on our organizational skills.  This allows us to be on the top of our game, to notice small nuances, when they appear, that might direct us in our approach to the business of our art. I believe the easiest way to do this is through computer software.

I've done some quick research and the following websites are a few of what I found.  These are by no means all that exist.  AND I am not advocating any of these.  (The last listing is from Art Biz Blog, which I have added to my blog list.  It has more listed.)  Check them out, draw your own conclusions. I will soon be choosing one and implementing it.  I'll keep you posted.

Remember, though, nothing works if you don't work it.


  1. I would steer clear of Arawalk... saying that you make applications with Filemaker Pro is akin to saying that you're programming in Cobol. (sheesh)

    Archer Artist looks the most interesting. But I'm a little concerned that they aren't showing many screen shots of the software. Hmmmm....

    At least eArtist and Working Artist have a downloadable trial so you are not going in blind. I guess I would start with those.

  2. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  3. Thank you both for your comments. Yes, BitLizard, I'm in agreement with you. I do like to try things out before I commit. I'll keep you posted on which one I give a test ride and my "test results".

  4. I've been looking of a way to track both original art and limited edition prints for my site and exhibition on for several years now. I asked John Paul Caponigro what he uses and he said FilePro with is like the Mac version of Access. I've though about using access and even once a million years ago tried to code something in Visual Basic way back in college. Recently I stumbled across which sounds pretty good. (I would SO love to avail myself of their data entry service, but its only available in LA :( I'm definitely going to research the ones you list and try one out. Thanks for thinking along the same line.

  5. I appreciate your post, thanks for sharing the post, i would like to hear more about this in future.