Monday, July 10, 2017

Documenting Artwork and Inventory Links

Post number four in this series. 

Learning about documenting artwork and applying what I learn to my own art continues. As I move forward with this it seems to me that providing links to the articles I find most helpful and reflecting upon that will be more helpful to others than me reinventing the wheel. It is also apparent that this series is better spaced out further. (The actual documentation takes time. More time than one would think.) So from here on out the Documenting Your Artwork series will post on the first Monday of the month. The Writing About Your Art series will remain the same.

Today's great find is GYST (Get Your Sh*t Together), a wonderful resource for artists about the business of art. While there are plenty of fine articles, the two that stand out as most pertinent for documenting your artwork are:



Artwork Inventory

The Documentation article has plenty of good information about the visual documenting of artwork. This is particularly helpful to those who are planning to apply for publication, exhibitions, etc. I found the additional tips section had plenty to think about.

As a mixed media artist, I took note that labeling my work simply as mixed media is not very helpful for documenting purposes.

My big take away?

Document very soon after creating your piece. My latest piece includes a strip of plastic that came from the soba noodles I cooked for dinner one night, but it looks like washi tape. The likelihood that I will remember that in years to come is... questionable. The piece I finished the day before yesterday is still fresh enough in my memory that I can jot down the full list of materials.

Here's a picture of a fraction of the items I might use in a piece:
A fraction of the items I might use in a mixed media piece. 

What you see here is gelli print on deli paper, caught color on a piece of packing paper from a fragile purchase, stamps on tissue paper, a yellow, paper crown rescued from a cracker imported from England, a fortune cookie fortune, a prismacolor marker, a Stabilo pencil, two Sakura gel pens, a homemade stencil made from a pasta box, acrylic paint, liquid pearls, washi tape, embroidery floss, lace dyed with ink, and a Stays On stamp pad. 

Do you see how it would be hard to remember all of that later? 

As for the Artwork Inventory article, there's a lot of good information for me to chew on. Honestly, they got me in the first paragraph.  

Inventory number. As a librarian I have been used to ISBN (International Standard Book Number) numbers, Library of Congress numbers, barcodes and call numbers. So many numbers. So many ways to keep track of information, index it, retrieve it, sort it, and sometimes simply play with it. I've also been used to keeping data, tracking circulation, numbers of patrons checking in, checking out, renewing, over dues, collection age, collection value, collection circulation, etc. I am used to keeping this kind of information. 

And yet it never occurred to me to give my work an inventory number, much less assign numbers which would provide information. This is another task for me to consider and employ. Watch that google doc I posted, it just might have a few additions. 

Let me know what you think of these articles and the ideas. Were they helpful to you? Was any of the information new to you? 


  1. This is an interesting idea.... the thought of documenting my artwork has only just begun to appear on the fringes of my mind. I am going to have to come back to your blog and read more. Thank you for the links. I will read those too.

    1. Thanks, Lynne, for coming by and leaving a comment. I'm glad you found it interesting and hope you will go check out the links. Documenting your artwork is a bit of an overwhelming task at first, but I am finding it very uplifting to see my work in this context.

  2. Hey Lynda. Thanks for those links - they are on my list to look up later this week. I think I will have to start making a list about each work as it is made otherwise I shall never remember exactly what I used for it!


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