June 30th, 2014 / posted by paularath
Ira Ono's Wisdom Mask

Ira Ono’s Wisdom Mask

Being an artist is not an easy career choice. (Or is it a choice or a destiny?) For most artists, the business of selling art is far, far more treacherous than creating art. I absolutely do not agree with Andy Warhol, who once said “Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” I see the business part of art as a necessary evil, but the operative word here is “necessary”, not “evil”. The reality, for better or worse, is that if you want to make money from your art, or increase your profits, you need to know more about business fundamentals. I know, I know….ugh. Enter Ira Ono, a successful Big Island artist and businessman who has made his living through art his entire life. (I hope you saw my story in the June issue of Hawaii Business magazine about four artists who turned their passion into a successful business. They are Roberta Oaks, Leighton Lam, Kawehi Haug and Ira Ono. Now Ira is going to share many of his business secrets in a workshop addressing “The Business of Art and the Reality of Art as a Business.”

Artist and entrepreneur Ira Ono.

Artist and entrepreneur Ira Ono.

The one-day intensive workshop will help artists navigate the basic business principles. From the initial pros and cons of being your own boss to copyright basics to branding your product, he’ll help you figure out what’s right for you and your art. Topics will include:

  • Pricing your product for profit
  • Focus on galleries/gift shops
  • Trade show merchandising
  • Affordable display techniques
  • Fool proof presentations
  • Internet marketing
  • Getting free publicity

The workshop is co-sponsored by the Volcano Art Center and the Hawaii Museum of Contemporary Art. Here are the details:

  • Date: Saturday, July 19
  • Time: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Location: Hawaii Museum of Contemporary Art in Hilo
  • Cost: $36 for members of Volcano Art Center or Hawaii Museum of Contemporary Art; $45 for non-members

Participants are encouraged to bring sample art for Ira to review. To register, contact Volcano Art Center at (808) 967-8222 or visit www.volcanoartcenter.org. If you’re traveling from another island and need a place to stay, I highly recommend Ira’s Volcano Artist Cottage. Jerry and I stayed there during our recent Big Island art retreat and we loved it. It is absolutely charming and comfy. There’s a full kitchen, gorgeous bathroom and private Jacuzzi tub in the back yard. There’s even a pet goat named Ernest. Find out more at VolcanoArtistCottage.com. – Paula Rath

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