TBBCATL Art is King 2012: Recap

Daniel Flores, Deborah Gonzalez, Gilbert Young

Daniel Flores founded The Black Book Conversations ATL group (http://www.tbbcatl.com) mid-2012 to offer a series of artist workshops focused on artist career development where he shares tools and tips to get an art career off the ground and running. To end the year off right, he decided to organize the Art is King 3-Day Event (http://www.artisking.org) at the Holiday Inn Express in Camp Creek.  Art is King offered artists a unique opportunity to learn from industry professionals and each other tips, tactics, strategies and more to take their art and their careers to the next level.  Sponsors included AT&T, Binders Art School & Store, Alexander Photos, iNetworkInc.org, and many more (http://www.artisking.org/sponsors.html).  I was honored to be asked to do the morning keynotes on Saturday and Sunday (see my notes below).  But even more so I was honored to be a sponsor of such an important event for ATL artists, so necessary as the economic marketplace for art is dramatically changing.

One of the things I enjoyed at the conference was the opportunity to meet and speak with the different artists themselves.  To learn about their craft and their projects and what makes them do what they do.  They shared their art, their stories, their dreams, and their challenges and struggles.  Legendary artists such as Neal Hamilton and Gilbert Young, among many other panelists (http://www.artisking.org/panelists.html), offered insights and inspiration to the younger generation and a call to action – honor your elders, learn the artistic history of your place, practice your craft, work hard, and elevate each other.

Below are a few of my notes for your reference.  I was not able to attend all the events, but this is from what I experienced.  Enjoy and be on the lookout for Art is King 2013 – I have already committed to being there – hope to see you too!  Were you there this year?  Share what you learned.  What was the most important thing you learned to help you in your career?

Saturday Keynote:  Copyrights & Trademarks 101 for Artists, Deborah Gonzalez, Esq.


Saturday Panel:  Digital Art: Not Just Games

Panelists:  James Eugene, Kevin MisterSoul Harp, Charles Moody, Nathan McDonald

  • We take the Internet and everything with us.
  • No paper portfolio/now on tablets, etc.
  • We don’t go to browsers we are going directly to the app. Ex. CNN
  • Anything you do has a visual aspect to it. Art and design connects us.
  • Digital format gives you scalability and versatility to put into different media/formats.
  • Software is key to digital art for gaming industry.
  • Marketing v networking. Different approaches.   Create the relationships ESP people outside the art world.
  • School v self taught
  • Not either or.
  • Mentors are important
  • Hustle your art to make a living
  • Read online magazines, podcasts, etc. to keep you up to date on technology and your field.

Saturday: Proper Posture for Artists, Injury2wellness

  • This is one of the signs that Daniel and TBBCATL is ahead of the curve in understanding that an artist’s needs includes more than just the right materials and brushes – artists also need to watch out for themselves physically and this presentation was right on point.
  • Another important issue Daniel brought up was PROTECT YOUR HANDS.

Sunday Keynote: Social Media Legal Issues for Artists, Deborah Gonzalez, Esq.


Sunday Panel: Art Industry Advice from Industry Professionals

Panelists:  Neal Hamilton, Dawud Anyabwile (Brotherman Comics)

  • As artists you will be surprised where life will take you
  • Believe in what you put your free time in and eventually it will lead to $ opportunities
  • Brotherman: Retro industrial
  • Entrepreneurial ship, creativity, quality
  • What do artists have access to when they are young? Comics, tv, etc.
  • Be inspired by others but don’t imitate them. Be YOU. Find your voice
  • Realize I had something to make a living at my dream
  • Mnnguitarproject.com (Neal Hamilton)
  • Talent + commitment (dedication)
  • Artists fall short without a plan
  • There is time you have to spend with your art before you market nd sell
  • Need to learn and develop a business side
  • There are no shortcuts
  • Be a businessperson so they know they can’t play games w you, carry yourself as a professional
  • Book This Business of Art
  • It may look easy but you put in hours to make it look easy so charge your value
  • Minority superheroes (topic idea for a session), discrimination and racism in the comics
  • It’s not up to Disney to tell stories of me it’s up to me to tell stories of me
  • School is not everything but good foundation

Sunday Closing Keynote: Gilbert Young

  • Felt he had to earn every award he was given.
  • 5 days to paint a portrait of then-Senator Obama, but 40 something years to learn to paint it
  • Do you have your paintbrush with you?
  • Take criticism well, you do not create alone
  • The most difficult thing about being an artist are the decisions that you make in everyday life
  • I’m not plugged into the wall. I have a notebook and can go anywhere.  Vs today’s artists who use so much technology
  • Seduction is never obvious
  • Have you ever been somewhere you didn’t want to be that you took yourself to
  • A decision is only a start.
  • If you don’t claim it, it won’t happen
  • Artists need to elevate each other to elevate the entire group including themselves
  • Politicize ourselves as an organization
  • Be anxious about living
  • Struggles v failure
  • We have a long way for us to travel and we need to work together
  • Some will rise and some won’t rise as fast as others
  • The younger generation of artists need to elevate, remember, and acknowledge older artist. The artists that came before them. Respect your elders. They are the legends.   They don’t fade away. They are forgotten.
  • Who is your artistic hero?
  • They don’t have YOU.
  • Somebody has to take my place
  • I am the fleeting moment. I am the old man.
  • Don’t waste your time not creating art.
  • To be a great artist, bare your soul because life has an affect on you, we are all overcoming something.

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