Article written by Erika Block
Schneider & Schneider Mechanical Inc. is a family owned and operated plumbing, heating and mechanical contracting company located in Mt. Calvary, Wisconsin that has rapidly become one of Wisconsin’s top industrial contractors since their establishment in 2000. Joann Schneider, the company’s owner and president, was interested in purchasing artwork for the company’s meeting room – something special that reflected their industry with honesty and integrity. Extensive online searching yielded no results, and Joann wasn’t sure where else to look. It certainly wasn’t something she would find at a retail store.
That’s when she ran into Kim Pigeon-Metzner, owner of KPM Arts Consulting LLC, who specializes in pairing businesses and organizations with high-quality, relevant artwork to enhance their working environments. Joann was able to convey exactly what she was looking for – retro-style industrial workers from the 1930’s or 1940’s era, which spoke of nostalgia and strong work ethics. In many cases, KPM Arts is able to find existing work from one of its many carefully-selected artists, but this was going to be a unique case calling for the artwork to be custom made.
The Schneider family worked together, in close collaboration with Kim, to agree upon what they’d like to have created for their meeting room. Kim commissioned Molly Johnson, the owner of Molly Johnson Studio, as well as The Academy of Fine Art and the Mill Arts Center in Demark, Wisconsin. Molly and Kim had worked together on many projects and exhibitions in the past, and looked forward to collaborating again on this very special project. With 30 years of experience creating amazing commissioned works, they were both completely confident Molly could produce exactly what the Schneider family had in mind.
Molly thoroughly enjoyed the process of researching the industrial revolution, including learning about the clothing, tools and color palette of the era, in order to tell the proper story visually. She created color studies and sketches, which were approved prior to beginning the artwork. Both the client and the artist thoroughly enjoyed the process, with KPM Arts skillfully managing the project from start to finish.
Molly created two large-scale masterpieces that fit seamlessly together, a welder and a pipefitter, making sure everything from the composition to the color palette of each piece were in complete compliment. Not only is the Schneider family extremely pleased, but the artwork is also greatly appreciated by their clients, contractors, vendors and staff – many of them tough critics who understand the industry well and would expect nothing less than an accurate depiction.
Joann Schneider highly recommends investing in original artwork, describing the process of working with KPM Arts as easy and well worth the expense. KPM Arts was able to create just what they were looking for, and well within their budget. Molly Johnson, the artist selected for this project, was also very pleased with the process and its outcome, and would love to be called upon again by KPM Arts
Pigeon-Metzner helps match businesses with art
Tina Dettman-Bielefeldt, For USA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinPublished 11:31 a.m. CT Sept. 18, 2017
Building and Growing a Successful Art Business Presentation at the 2017 Kinnektor Networking Event
Photo by Mary Lou Mayr
On Wednesday Oct 18th, Frank Juarez, owner of Frank Juarez Gallery and I took the stage at Kinnektor (formerly Launch Wisconsin) at Lambeau Field. I was the moderator for Building and Growing a Successful Art Business. Below is the transcript of our 25 minute discussion.
Kim Pigeon Metzner: Can you tell me a little bit of how and why you got into the gallery business?
Frank Juarez: I remember being curious about different facets of the art world back in 2005. I was already teaching and creating art, but I felt that I could learn so much more such as the business side of art, marketing, advocacy, and selling art. It made sense to me that figuring out how to get those type of experiences were a necessity.
KPM: What types of artists do you typically work with?
FJ: Through a variety of projects I oversee such as the 365 Artists 365 Days Project, Midwest Artist Studios, and Artdose Art Guide, I work with all types of artists. When it comes to my own gallery I work exclusively with 6 artists whose work focuses in the realm of Contemporary Art.
KPM: I know you have developed several artists workshops that teach artists business skills. Why do you feel it is important for artists to develop their business skills?
FJ: Artists need to learn how to market, promote, and engage others about the type of art they create. Making art is expensive and time consuming. Our time in the studio making art should be balanced by the business side of art. Developing necessary skills that will help bring revenue into the studio is a great way to invest in a sustainable practice.
KPM: We both know a lot of artists that are part time artists trying to make that decision as to whether they should become full time professional artists. How does an artist know if he/she is prepared to make that leap and become a career artists?
FJ: It starts with the artist’s vision of what their career may look like. Chances of being an overnight success is pretty slim. Therefore, artists need to be honest with what they want out of their studio practice. I remember being in college and I had a professor ask me where I would be in five years. The bigger question is where I would be in one year. This is a big difference, which can have an impact on what direction you need to take your career.
KPM: What do you think the myths are of being a career artist?
FJ: I think sometimes artists feel like they are waiting to be discovered or that their art will speak for itself. I never understood why artists do not want to talk about their work. Now, this is a generalization, but I do know several artists that do not like to. What better way to engage an audience than sharing a few things about their vision, process, and practice. Having a career in art is an investment.
KPM: We have been hearing about the shift of traditional commodity based economies to creative economies what do you think will make artists successful in the new economy?
FJ: First of all, artists need to define what success means to them and their world. Success is not defined solemnly by money. One of the things I like about this event is the idea of building community across the state and through various means of innovation, entrepreneurship, and networking. I think artists should adopt this philosophy and apply it to their own [art] communities and personal practice.
KPM: How do you think the Internet has changed the opportunities for artists?
FJ: Things today are way different. Everything is online and we are bombarded by images daily. We need to embrace the technology we have today at our fingertips and figure out how to maximize it to benefit our artistic and studio practice. Opportunities are out there. The only difference is being able to spot them. If you do not have an active online presence it can be difficult to find them.
KPM: Do you think Midwest artists find it difficult to be successful career artists compared to those living/working in California or New York?
FJ: The media plays a big role in defining a successful artist. When people think about successful artists chances are they are not thinking about Oskaloosa, IA; Ann Arbor, MI; Rushville, IL; Sheboygan, WI; to name a few. It is difficult to give everyone the spotlight, which is why we need to champion artists in our own communities. There are a lot of talented artists living and working in the Midwest. If things are difficult to be a successful career artist, then you are not looking hard enough.
KPM: What one suggestion would you give to artists considering a career as an artist.
FJ: One suggestion I would give artists is to follow the beat to your own drum. Sounds cliche, but makes total sense to me. Don’t worry too much about what others think about your work. If you feel proud of what you are doing, that is most important. Be true to you.
KPM: What other projects or events do you have lined up this year?
FJ: I will be presenting at the Wisconsin Art Education Association Conference in Fort Atkinson later this month. I will be presenting on A Meditation in Movement: Exploring Space and How to Start Your Own School’s Artist in Residency Program as well as co-presenting on the DIY Gallery: A Deeper Look Into the 365 Artists 365 Days Project. In November, I will be participating in the South East Wisconsin Resource Fair at the Wustum Museum of Art in Racine. In December, I will be a keynote speaker at the Illinois Art Education Association Conference. I will be speaking about how I balance my life as a gallery owner, art educator, and artist.