Recently I helped my daughter archive her work. She is way ahead of me. Photographing the work is basically the first step. I have known this for a long time. I have also kept a running list of inventory numbers. Gradually I added more information such as whether it sold and sometimes to whom….
With this vast experience under my belt I am consequently in an excellent position to advise my daughter on what not to do.
More information is better
Certainly, the more information one has the better. I have not been with Artwork Archive for very long. Most regrettable. This excellent and inexpensive tool has immense capacities to store vital information, information I no longer possess. Although I managed to record the year I created a piece, I did not indicate the month or the day. As well, I can cite the year something sold without precision as to date or amount, or even to whom. Sigh.
How to name the photos
Along with the photographs, I included a list for my daughter about how to name them. Being consistent is really key. Every submission requires a particular set of parameters, so they do need tweaking. Nonetheless, a consistent method of naming will give the artist easy access to a lot of information. My suggestion was: NameOfArtist-NameOfWork-Medium-Size-Year-SizeOfPhoto-jpg. The best photos are then stored in a folder on the computer in categories such as <1M, 1M, 2M, 4M and >5M. Easy access for a quick emails or something more detailed for a special submission. As well, I add a sixth folder named Extras to hold all the extra photos generated during the photo session. If there are more than two extra photos for a piece I create another folder for that piece, for example: “Errant”, to keep things organized.
Consistent with the photo, I use Word to add poetry, a blurb on where I was and why I was inspired inserted beside the photo of the work itself. This is another way to inventory a piece besides Artwork Archive. Inside a file on my computer I keep each page with two photos, the blurb and important information on the size of the support, the medium and the price. These pages I use for display in a folder for each series. Or I print them on better quality paper and cut them in two for display with the painting itself.
The archive is essential
The Archive is an essential tool in the artist’s repertoire. Start early, right at the beginning. At the moment I only have about twenty years of slides to digitize. At least I wrote the name of the work on the slide, I think… These are waiting in the wings as I endeavour to keep up to the present production. A challenge to which DEVENIR has contributed lately. I am certainly not bored. Life is good.
Do drop in on the VASA opening this Thursday evening, 6 December at 7pm. Fun times and good fellowship.