CLAUDINE HELLMUTH
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Thursday, July 20, 2006
deep breaths
I had a busy day finishing up commissions. Here's a Poppet® Sketch commission that I sent out on Wednesday.

I got a call from
DIY's Craft Lab and they accepted my submissions to tape on their second season. Yay! I was in the first season (which will start airing in Sept) so I am glad to get to go out there again. Then I started to get a migraine thinking about fitting everything in as the taping dates are right before I go to Portland to teach at Art and Soul and tape my third DVD. Deep breaths. Deep breaths.

Yesterday I had
a great session with my coach. She was talking to me about the possibility of hiring an assistant.

I probably need some help but, I am one of those people who just finds it easier to do it themselves rather than to explain to someone else how to do something.

Plus I am a teeny bit of a control freak, ahem.

But I can see there are things I could get help with which would give me more time to make art. Like packing and shipping the commissions, filing the photos that go with the orders etc. We'll see, right now it makes me all squirmy just thinking about it.
COMMENTS:
I'm thinking a high school or college student with a few hours. They could start by taking the packages to the post office and doing one or two shopping errands for mailing supplies.

You could still do the packing and everything else. I'm a control freak also and would worry myself sick that the wrong commission was in the package.

Small steps.
 
An assistant to do all those mundane things does sound like a smart idea. Just think of all the creating you could be doing during that time? But I do understand the control freak thing...I am a bit that way too. Oooh! I am exciting about the fact that you are going to tape a third DVD. I do so enjoy watching the first two DVD's.
 
well with all your traveling you will need more comfy tshirts I found a neato link http://www.katescloset.com/detail.aspx?ID=36 loved the Rhonna...have fun and take it a day at a time..you never know your assistant may turn out to be one of your best friends! Here's to many happy moments!
 
I think one of the hardest and most important things for an artist to do is create a list of priorities. What is the most important? What is absolutely essential? What are things do you like to do? What things do you not like to do? What jobs require you?

Once this list is created, it becomes easier to realize that it is more important for you, as an artist, to make work - NOT pack boxes. It is more important for you to gain inspiration - NOT wait in line at the post office. It is more important for you to be fully focused and engaged in your work - NOT be distracted.

Whenever I have a big show coming up, I always hire an assistant. Do I really need to apply every layer of gesso? Do I really need to waste time picking up dry cleaning or getting groceries? Not if someone else can do it.

It's hard to trust people to do their best. But the truth of the matter is that if you continue to grow in celebrity and demand, you'll eventually implode without getting help.

Trust me... you'll still be in control, but the pressure will be much less and you'll be able to do much more!
 
Get an assistant! It will be fun - he or she will probably be a great fan of your work and be really appreciative for the chance to work with you. I’m sure loads of people would be interested in such a position. You will soon get over the control issues once you know you can depend on your assistant.
 
just a thought...maybe rather than hire an 'asst' you might consider taking on an apprentice...like an art student...it would give them great insight to what it's like to be a 'working' artist (it's NOT just creating), you can get a little relief, and it can be 'short term' if you'd like. :)
 
WOW! You are quite the busy lady. An assistant would definately help with the "grunt work" of shipping and such....that really does take a lot of time...but i can relate to wanting to do it all yourself :) Cheers!
 
Dang, wish I lived closer. Oh, and didn't have a full time job. I'd volunteer to be your assistant! I like the idea of using an art student too. I think it could be a faboo learning experience for that person! Good luck on finding someone to help you, and mega congrats on all your success!
 
Oh yeah!

"Interns" work for free. As I hear it, Jeremiah has a fleet of them.
 
thanks to everyone for your words of advice and encouragement! I think I probably will end up getting a paid asst. or intern at some point, just not yet. If I had an intern they would def. have to be paid, to me it's just the right thing to do. I do like the idea of an internship because then at the end of the semester if it wasn't working out i could say the internship is "over" and I wouldn't have to fire anyone.

I have a long story about an artist who I assisted when I was in college. Someday I'll tell it. It could make a good podcast! It was a nightmare! LOL!

My big hurdle is getting over feeling like I have to entertain everyone. I know if I had an asst I would feel like I had to chat and be entertaining. I do this to everyone who comes in the house, the guy who came to fix our router, I was all worried that he felt bored when I left him to work on our computer. When I go to the hairdresser I come armed with "talking points" so I am not a boring customer! LOL!

I guess all that can be worked through with my coach, she's great with helping me with my neurosis!

Thanks again for the tips and suggestions! Has anyone else out there had an assistant? Let me know how it's working for you.
 
Hey, just stumbled on your blog through the fun ladies at Austin Craft Mafia.

Anyway, for real. I run a small arts non-profit. Every now and again a well-intended performer decides they want to "assist" administratively. My vote: find someone, anyone, who's a self-starter. Doesn't matter what they experience/expertise is, but if you have to monitor their every move, then they're more trouble then they're worth!
 
oh.. if I only lived in FLORIDA! I'd have a resume to you before you could blink!
;) Abbie
 
I have been an assistant--though not to an artist. I think it will take some getting used to, but if you hire someone who has been an assistant before,lay down the guidelines, and hire someone by considering personality (plus the chattiness factor) along with ability, then that might make it easier. Assistants are more than just their ability to do things, but how they do it, and their personality matching yours.

It's a challenge, but it will be good for you because as someone else mentioned, they can pick-up dry cleaning, chat with the repairmen when they do come for you and even make that grocery run.

Mary
 
Congratulations on all the well-deserved recognition and opportunities to share your unique talent with the world. I caught up on all I've missed the past week on your blog and want to encourage you to accept the suggested help. I can relate to all your reasons for not wanting, but it's amazing how much easier life gets when you don't have to do everything yourself! I wish I got the DIY channel, but I do TiVo "I Want That" (even though it's a silly show) so it will be fun to see you on there. I love Project Runway too but have to watch it on DVD when the season is over since I don't get that channel either. It was fun seeing your write up about it.
 
My word verification for adding this comment is: "Felix" I love it when they spell things out.

Anyways, since I've lived in New York, I've had 4 assistants. Not all at the same time of course. I usually hire one when I'm preparing for a show or find myself overly busy. They can be super helpful! I've gone about two different ways of getting them. One is to hire someone you already know. It makes the interview process a snap. Two is to post an ad and conduct interviews. The problem with number one is that if you know them and like them enough to ask them for their help, you'll end up getting distracted by them. The problem with number two is that it'll take a fair good bit of time to sort through the applicants, but you'll usually find someone who at least pretends to be professional in the beginning.

I hire them for short term projects only! I refuse to pay someone to check their email and chat on the phone with their friends. I give them a rough estimate of how long I'll need them for and what they'll be expected to do during that time. If they work out, you can always ask them back.

The first day, if they are unfamiliar with the studio or my apartment, I give them the grand tour - noting important things like, where the bathroom is, what is off-limits, and what beverages and snacks they can help themself to. I give them a list that's broken down into two catagories: time sensitive projects and regular duties. Time sensitive projects are all marked with windows in which they must perform their tasks. I usually build in buffers, so as to account for any unforseen obstacles like traffic or a twisted ankle.

The most crucial element of the introduction is that I tell them that I already have enough friends and I'm not paying them to be my companion. Sounds a little evil, but it quickly solves the problem you mentioned before about wanting to entertain them. I tell them to ask questions if it's serious, but to otherwise leave me to my work. I'll usually take my lunch/dinner break with them and chat with them a bit, getting to know them and also getting a mid-way report. At the end of the day, we quickly go over what they've done (good and bad) and what they need to make their emphasis for the next time they come in or any changes to the regular routines, such as, "I'm going to be hosting a cocktail party. Instead of coming here, I'll need you to go to such and such address. Pick up this catering order on your way."

I feel that a structured time saves time and reduces room for error.

That's just the way I do things. Hopefully it'll be helpful.
 
You know, Claudine, when you figure out how not to do everything yourself, let me know! Why is it so hard to let go of the reigns? Are we all crazy, or just programmed as women to take care of it all! And how do we artists also wear the business hat? I find myself lately doing nothing but the business end and very little creating. It's made me a very burnt out nasty artist. I just had to put my two cents in, for what it is worth.
 
I don't know where you find all your time from to produce such brilliant work, and blog along with everything else! If I were closer I'd offer my assistance!
Love your images!
 
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