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Today I am writing about some of the incredible innovative improvements that have happened in my 50 plus years of art practice.

Stiffy Bags are a good example. They were introduced a few years ago and made quite a difference to the way to package and store artwork. Simply put they are padded metal foil bags for paintings etc. that can be used over and over. They have replaced use of corrugated cardboard and bubble wrap in my studio and store-room. I found that they were also a super way of stacking and carrying an exhibition of art in a car or van. They can even be used on a trolly on the bus or train.

Stiffy bag

Please note that I am not asking for, or getting, any reward for telling you about them. I just want to share it with you.

But looking back a bit further there are other even more remarkable things than Stiffy bags. There are acrylic paints. There is the Internet and there is Photoshop. Plus there are computers, mobile phones. drones, Google, Amazon, Uber, and loads more.

The point is that things are changing, constantly. And all small one-man businesses, like mine as a professional artist, should take note. Because this can be a good thing or a bad thing.

A good thing.

Dramatic and far reaching changes like the list that I mention can be good because…

You can create better. Acrylic paints and Photoshop are great examples where an artist can create art in wonderful new ways.

You can market and sell better. The Internet with your own website and the ability to cheaply reach billions of potential collectors world-wide is an obvious case.

You can overall perform better. Using Google to explore, Amazon to buy or deliver, and mobile or cell phones to communicate are some prize picks here. But above all the use of computers for book-keeping, record keeping, editing, designing, publishing, and writing, has transformed the way I can run my business. These were not there when I started.

A bad thing.

Remember that all the good things are available for your competitors too. They could get ahead if you slacken. So you should keep a watch on them to see what is happening. Don’t be afraid to copy techniques. Why not share?

The rate of change can be overwhelming. We are all aware that it is so tempting to spend much more of our precious time on social media etc. So ration and plan your focus and attention.

Your audience will be confused as well as you. Some potential buyers will stick to the old ways of seeing, choosing, and buying. Others will not. They will expect you to be right up to date, so our range of tasks and demand increases. But our available time doesn’t.


Remember that we professional artists are small business owners. There are five main areas that must be equally understood to survive. They are making art, marketing and selling, office, networking and learning, and development. I have written about these five things many times already. They are all affected by the mind-boggling speed of change around us.

Stiffy bags are a simple example. I have seen other similar products, some are even better, but I still come across artists who use inferior ways of storing their work or transporting to shows and exhibitions.

Even more alarming than Stiffy bag ignorance are the head-in-sand professional artists who haven’t learned enough about the Internet to be able to design and produce their own website. Others who don’t take advantage of computerized accounting, storing image records, contact details, and marketing. There are some who will not read and share this blog. But I reveal my own self-interest and bias here.

There is a massive difference between making art for your own amusement and making art professionally. It is not because artists of either extreme make better art. It is instead about how well they fulfil the other four tasks. And paying attention to the extraordinary innovative changes available is crucial.

And thanks to Stiffy bags we can now store and transport our art in better ways.

Here is their website for more details.

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