Glass artist Rhoda Powers presents her portfolio and talks about the business of art.
ABI: How has your business background helped you in developing as an artist?
RP: When I started creating my own work, I believed having a business degree instead of a fine art degree was a disadvantage. Instead, I have found during my 8 years as an artist, it occurred to me I must see it from a professional perspective. I must create art to appeal to clients and serve their needs. Finding ways to incorporate art into people’s lives beyond something lovely on display.
Looking at what I do as a business allows me to adapt ideas often utilized in other types of businesses to my creative work such as selling photographic prints of my art glass. It provides a customer no risk of breakage, with the same depth of color and visual drama of my original art glass at a lower price. I create multiple income streams in an effort to manage cash flow, curating a local gallery, landscape design. (I believe in art inside and out; it’s a way of life.)
ABI: Explain your process and the types of glass work that you make.
RP: For much of my work, I cut and layer glasses, fire it flat and then fire it a second time to give it function or shape. I’m inspired by color and texture. The initial firing is at a lower temperature. Then, full fusing temperatures assure my art glass sculptures have rich color and texture, and I make every effort to take full advantage of transmitted and reflected light. I’ve created exterior lights, unique art glass deck panels, an art glass return wall in a shower, corporate gifts, food and dishwasher safe functional serveware as well as architecturally styled pendants.
Commission work is a big part of my business. I want to help a client create a sense of “ahhhh and awe” when they walk through their door. I am a facilitator, a translator, a collaborator; I turn ideas, dreams and musings into a beautiful tangible reality.
ABI: Tell us about your home/gallery space and how it is working for you in your business.
RP: I’ve been an art collector for over 30 years, so when I built this home, I wanted to showcase my collection of work from other artists as well as have a home gallery and studio to create and show my own work in a home environment. It suits me to have my studio just a few feet away. I can safely work at all hours of the day or night.
If I come to a problem that requires me to step away for a fresh perspective, I can go inside to work on another project until I think of a solution or return with fresh eyes. It’s the perfect live-work space for me. Allowing a client to visualize how my art can be displayed either inside or outside of the home increases sales.
ABI: What are your ultimate goals?
RP: I have been taking steps to learn how to enter and navigate the public art realm. It seems a natural step to me as my private commissions seem to be getting larger and larger. I truly believe art is for everyone. I want to provoke thought, conversation and a sense of awe through public art. I have been creating to suit specific clients for several years and I look forward to taking that step forward.