Saturday, February 24, 2007

Sacramento Magazine Article March 2007

The following are selected quotes from an article published in Sacramento Magazine March 2007. For the complete article see or my website

So You Want To Be An Artist
photography by

By Joan Waters

Advice from regional pros about selling your work and surviving the process.
The Artist as Businessperson...Art is business...

Sunny Dahlias, by Eileen Downes

...That’s how Sacramento collage artist Eileen Downes sees it. While some artists struggle with the business side, Downes takes a realist’s approach. “I find being successful involves a lot more than talent,” she says. “You have to be a business-minded professional. Everything you do marketingwise has to fit your plan. It’s important to tell people you’re an artist. My e-mail has my website and tells people what I do—that I’m an artist who paints with torn paper.” Recently, Downes received a commission while she was making reservations at a local bed-and-breakfast inn. “The owner looked at my website, liked my work and commissioned a large piece,” Downes says. “You don’t always know where your business is going to come from.”
Stephen Simonson, gallery manager at 20th Street Art Gallery in midtown Sacramento, calls Downes a “dream artist.” “She is doing a lot to try to make it happen,” he says. “She comes in with a passion and a drive that makes the gallery want to do more for her.”

My Favorite Red Heels, by Eileen Downes

Once you have a good relationship with a gallery, maintaining it probably means you don’t show in another gallery in the same geographic region or sell work right from your studio. “Although I do not have an exclusive contract with 20th Street Gallery or any other gallery—and I caution artists never to sign any totally exclusive gallery contract—for any local sales of my originals, I like to refer my collectors to the 20th Street Gallery for purchase,” says collage artist Eileen Downes. “If the buyer is out of the area, I try to match them to another gallery that could sell my work—for example, the Woman Made Gallery in Chicago. I think it is better to use a gallery for the sale of my originals, and working like that always encourages good artist/gallery relations, which is very important to the success of the artist.”

Friday, February 16, 2007

Please take a look at my new release of Signed Limited Edition Giclee Prints from the Stepping-Up Series which are available now, for a limited time, at select Sacramento California area Famous Footwear locations. More can be seen on my website:

Friday, February 09, 2007

Eileen’s Helpful Tips
For The Beginning Art Collector

1. Buy art if you absolutely LOVE the art piece. This seems like a simple premise, but so many beginning collectors get caught up in the “investment perspective” of art collecting. If a piece of artwork speaks to you on an emotional level by appealing to your memories of childhood, for example you will always be happy with your purchase regardless of any perceived investment potential of the work.

2. Visit art galleries, museums, and artist studios often to get an idea of what the art world is like. Many cities have gallery walks in the art district where galleries open their doors and offer refreshments, music, and the artists are there to answer questions about their work. This is a non-threatening way for first-time gallery goers to observe. Don’t be afraid to ask the artist questions; we really like to talk about our work! You are not “bothering” us, and there are no “dumb questions.”

3. Revisit a few of the galleries that you found particularly interesting at a less busy time. Spend some time in the gallery, sit in front of the piece you are interested in, ask the gallery staff questions about the work and questions about the artist. A good gallery will know about their artists: Where did she get her training? What medium is the work? What is involved in the artist’s creative process? Where has she exhibited? Does she work full-time as an artist? Where can her work be seen in any public or corporate collections? Where has her work been published?

4. Some galleries allow the work to be purchased on a conditional basis, and if the buyer doesn’t like the piece in his home he may return it (in good condition of course). Other galleries offer a representative to go to your home and install the piece for you. Don’t be afraid to utilize the expertise and services of the gallery – that is what they are there for!

5. Don’t ever allow yourself to be intimated by an art gallery. If the gallery staff acts snobbish, go somewhere else. You are the customer, you are buying art, and they are there to help you. There are many very pleasant galleries in which to invest your art collecting time.

6. Find out about the artist. Ask to see the “artist binder” where you will find an artist statement, bio, and exhibition history. An artist who has experience in exhibitions will be more collectible than one who doesn’t. You can also search the artist online to discover more information about her. Never try to “undercut” the gallery by contacting the artist directly. A professional artist will not shortchange or sell-out her gallery. Look for published articles about the artist and her work. An artist who has some media following will be more collectible than one who doesn’t.

7. Does the artist release Signed Limited Edition Prints of her work? Popularity of these prints often makes the originals more valuable.

8. Buy art that fits your own family budget. If you spent more than you really should have, you may have a negative connection to the artwork every time you view it in your home. There is artwork available to fit every budget, from high end originals, to Limited Edition Giclee Prints, to posters.

9. Have the prices of the artist’s work been steadily and gradually increasing over the years. This is a sign of a strong career development; artificially inflated prices are often just fake.

10. Is the artwork framed using archival materials? Is everything that comes in contact with the actual piece acid-free? This insures that your art investment will remain protected and sound. Ask the gallery if there are any special precautions about how and where the work should be hung. Certain media should not be hung in direct sunlight, for example.

Enjoy your art collecting experience! check our my website at

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Kitty in the Studio

Our family cat, Emmy likes to keep me company when I work in my studio, as she happily involves herself in my artistic activities. I hope you enjoy seeing the pictures of her and the collage portrait that I made of her. Feline curiosity can be a problem though, as I must keep a close eye on her so that she does not get into anything dangerous. For some reason she likes to sit on papers on my computer desk. Are they warmer? I wonder.