WHO WE ARE
Hi. We’re Getting Your Shit Together (GYST). We’re a small group of dedicated artists and educators who live to help artists everywhere learn the business skills they need to maintain successful careers on their own terms. We develop GYST business software for artists, teach workshops at arts non-profits and art schools, run a blog about professional practices, edit artist statements, scan slides, manage a job skills bank, document artists’ work, and really just work to help you get your shit together. We are always creating new services and information to add to our resources for artists, so check back with us often. www.gyst-ink.com
WHAT IS THE GYST SOFTWARE?
The GYST software is the most affordable and comprehensive business tool available to artists. It has everything an artist needs to manage their career. It’s an archiving system, mailing list, image database, and textbook all rolled into one easy-to-use resource. It covers way more than we have time or space to list here (or you want to read), but if you download our demo at www.gyst-ink.com/buy/buyonline you’ll see what we’re talking about.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
We’re asking you to invest in our mission by funding a campaign to completely rewrite our business software for artists. We will use the funds to:
- pay our programmers
- buy new software to write new features for the program
- conduct research and development
- pay for beta testing
- print and distribute our software
- donate free software to underserved low-income graduating High School students in Los Angeles.
WHY WE NEED YOUR INVESTMENT
The art world is a much different place than it was when we first started programming our software in 2000. Artists have to know about changes in artwork documentation, copyright laws, gallery practices, marketing techniques, new exhibition opportunities, and a host of other issues. Also the technology available for creating our software has changed. In our continual efforts to help artists make this transition and thrive in today’s art world, we’ve decided to completely retool our software with an easier to use design, new functionalities, and totally new resources and texts.
We’ve decided not to look for big investors, who might not have the best interests of artists in mind, and would make a lot of demands on our small fledgling company. Instead, we’ve decided to reach out to the people who will benefit from our work: the artist community, you, your artist friends and colleagues.
Writing, designing, and coding software isn’t cheap. We started rewriting the software in June of this year, and we’re about half way through the process, but we need $10,000 to complete the project. We are calling on all artists, and artist supporters, to join us in making this a reality.
We are dedicated to keeping our prices low so that most artists can afford our software. Comparable software on the market, which does about 80% of what GYST does without the tons of informative texts and tutorials, usually retails for about $1000. Our software retails for $149. We also know that some artists have trouble affording $150, so we also give discounts to members of art non-profits and schools. Other companies are run by CEOs hell-bent on making as much money as possible off of artists. We are an artist-run company, working in the art world, for the benefit of our peers. Our reputation matters to us, so the software we produce includes real-world experience, sound advice, and much-needed tools.
WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU
We only collect your investment if we get pledges for the full amount of $10,000. If we fall short, nothing will happen for either of us, so please help spread the word! We are firm believers that artists should invest in themselves, especially when times are tough, so that when the good times roll around again (and they always do), they will be ready to take advantage of the situation.
The best thing about investing in us is that you actually get something of real value in return. For specific details see the side bar at the right.
* If you invest only $100 you get a copy of our software for WAY below the retail price of $150. It makes a great gift for you or that special artist in your life. If you can’t afford $100, we’ve got some cool stuff and valuable services that you, or a friend, could probably use. If you can invest more than $100, we want to thank you personally, and have even more cool stuff for you. If you can invest more than $1000 we want to kiss you (but don’t worry, we won’t). Instead, we’ll give you a ton of really valuable stuff and personally talk with over the phone about whatever you like.
Your investment can be tax-deductable If you go to our website and donate through our fiscal sponsor, Fractured Atlas. If you would like to make a large contribution, please contact us. We rely on these contributions to offer scholarships for low-income artists to attend our workshops and to give away our software to low-income artists who need it, but can’t afford it.
All the details about this are over there on the right-hand side of this window.
But wait, you probably want to know more about GYST before forking out your hard-earned cash. We don’t blame you, so here’s the 411:
The GYST software was developed over five years, from the ground-up, by our founder Karen Atkinson. She’s been teaching professional practices at Cal Arts for many years, and for many more years in the city of Los Angeles and around the country. During this time she’s seen the art world change drastically. Back in the day, Karen used to give her students a monumental binder full of a whopping 800-double sided pages of Xeroxed research about how to start and maintain a professional art practice. Back then most art schools didn’t even teach artists how to put together a resume, let alone how to deal with tax issues, gallery contracts or how to simply keep track of their art. Artists were routinely unprepared to deal with the demands of the art world. Karen was sick of artists being treated like unprofessional flakes, and decided to do something. She put those 800 pages into an easy-to-use, comprehensive and, above all, AFORDABLE, database software program. She named it GYST, and it was good.
The software will keep track of all your artwork, archive your images, and track your exhibitions. It has a fully functional mailing list so you can do effective marketing and keep track of who owns your work. The software creates invoices, budgets for exhibitions, and expense reports. It helps you write and archive your artist statements and resumes, as well as your press releases and project proposals. It also has all the legal info every artist should be familiar with, like contracts, artist rights, and copyright regulations.
For DIY non-gallery-driven artists, the software has lots of information about alternate exhibition venues for artists, and provides links for where to get more information. This software is great for DIY artists who need to keep track of everything themselves. That entrepreneur side of you will rejoice that this easy solution exists.
There’s also a step-by-step grant writing tutorial and grant application database, which makes applying for grants easier than ever.
The GYST software also has over 400 pages of information every artist needs to know, such as how to get a business license, start a fundraising campaign, apply to art school, conduct studio visits, approaching galleries, curate, and much, much more. Oh, and there’s hundreds of web links and a comprehensive reading list too. You name it, it’s in the software. And if it’s not, we’re working on adding it to the new version.
Now, of course we are not making a claim that if you buy the software and get your shit together, it’s going to solve all your problems. Making great work is something we leave up to you. But knowing how things work will save you a lot of time and headaches and keep you from making career-damaging mistakes. It will also get you organized. You will save tons of hours on the business side of your practice, so you can get back into the studio and make more work!
ARE YOU REAL PEOPLE?
Yes we are. And we’re artists too! Or company may be small but we’re dedicated.
• Karen Atkinson, President and Founder, Artist
Karen Atkinson is a media, installation, public artist, independent curator, and collaborator. Atkinson has published and guest edited a number of publications. Exhibiting and curating internationally, Atkinson's work has been shown in South Africa, Australia, Europe, Mexico, Canada, throughout the USA, and in the Fifth Havana Biennial in Cuba.
In 1991, she was a co-founding director of Side Street Projects, a non-profit artist-run organization in Los Angeles, which continues to thrive now in Pasadena. Atkinson has held a faculty position at CalArts since 1988, teaching Foundation Seminar, Context Revolt (addressing installation, public and net art), and her renowned Getting Your Sh*t Together class. She has taught workshops for over 20 years, both regionally and nationally, for organizations like the California and Boston Lawyers for the Arts, Side Street Projects, The National Association of Arts Organizations, and dozens of additional artist-run spaces and non-profits. A list is on the GYST website.
Karen now spends her time making life better for artists as her art practice. She still contributes to exhibitions now and then, but this takes up most of her time.
• Tucker Neel, Vice-President, Artist
Tucker directs GYST's overall marketing, PR, sales and advertising program. He co-teaches GYST’s Spring and Fall classes and is also the co-editor of Artists*At Work, GYST's blog and newsletter. Please direct all sales, marketing, PR, and editorial inquiries to him.
Tucker Neel is an artist, freelance writer, and independent curator living and working in Los Angeles, CA. Embracing a polymorphous practice, Neel utilizes drawing, painting, sculpture, video, installation, and online communication to create works that investigate personal, public, and political attempts to solidify memory in a material form. To view his complete projects please visit tuckerneel.com
He holds an MFA from Otis College of Art and Design and a BA in Art History and Visual Arts from Occidental College. As a curator he organized exhibitions for The Regent Galleries in downtown Los Angeles and the Bolsky Gallery at Otis College of Art and Design. His work has been reviewed in the LA Times, ArtWeek, The Loyolan, L.A. City Beat Newspaper, The Tennessean, Art Week, The Nashville Scene, The L.A. Times, on artforum.com, and on Flavorpill.com. He regularly contributes art reviews to Artillery Magazine in Los Angeles, CA and ART LIES in Houston, TX. You can read these reviews at www.tuckerneel.wordpress.com.
• Monica Hicks, Operations Manager, Artist
Monica Elayne Hicks is an educator, writer, event planner, and accessory guru living and working in the Los Angeles area. Monica focuses on her traditional drawing skills coupled with basic 'science' and curiosity of surface characteristics to describe her perspective and lack of experience as a woman of color in American society through the photographic history of her ethnicity. Her works are about the paradigm between integration and difference. Her education is based in biochemistry with an emphasis in pathology, but holds a BA in Studio Arts from the University of California, Irvine and an MFA in Visual Art from the California Institute of the Arts. She has an arsenal of skills, including and not limited to: acoustic shower singing, couture fashion accessories, 1970's slang, and interior design (making a small apartment look huge). If you are not a jive turkey and you want to view Hicks' work, visit MonicaElayne.com
• Chris Bassett, Web Guru, Artist
Chris Bassett is an artist living and working in Los Angeles. He received his MFA in Art from CalArts in 2005 and his BFA in Graphic Design from Western Michigan University in 2000. Chris’s recent work focuses on the forces behind Mystical Capitalism and their role in shaping contemporary culture. He currently co-directs Monte Vista, an exhibition space in Highland Park.
He is responsible for development and maintenance of the GYST website. Prior to working for GYST, he worked as a freelance web developer and server administrator for a mix of business and arts clients.
• Calvin Lee, Scanning Technician and Photo Documentation for Artists, Artist
(website coming soon)
Calvin Lee is a conceptual-based photographer from Boston, MA. He recently received his MFA in 2009 from California Institute of the Arts in the Photography & Media program; and a BFA in Visual & Critical studies and photography from School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 2007. Calvin works mainly in photography, sculpture, and installation. His work combines intelligence and humor to explores the connectivity of images, the repression within representation, and the rhetoric/visual semiotics of an image. His analytical, emotional, and experiential practice deals with multiple theory based discourses in conversation that questions technology, culture, representation, and language. His work has been exhibited in Boston as well as recently in Los Angeles.
Calvin's specializes in fine art/editorial contemporary photography and provides skills in artwork/gallery documentation, portraits, scanning, photo retouching, and digital archiving. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.
• Freddy Bustillos, Programmer, Artist
Freddy Bustillos is an artist, independent FileMaker contractor, entrepreneur, restaurateur, father, husband, assistant wrestling coach and licensed EMT.
Under the direction of Karen Atkinson, Freddy Bustillos manages the development of the new GYST software. Freddy’s work includes custom-built database solutions for companies such as GYST, Ingram Micro [a Fortune 100 company], Resonance Records, Ocean Medical, Torok Design Solutions and EDS Financial Services, Inc.
• Michael Grodsky, Finance and Health, Artist/Musician
Michael Grodsky’s mission is to create vibrant and interesting educational experiences for artists on the topics of financial planning and health insurance at various locations in the Los Angeles area.
A specialist in socially responsible investing and an Accredited Investment Fiduciary, Michael holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Classical Guitar and a Masters in Music Theory and Composition from Cal State Fullerton.
His firm, Aquarius Financial (aquariusfinancial.com) provides employee benefits consulting services, helping businesses and non-profit organizations implement retirement and group health plans.
Michael lives in Los Angeles with artist Mara Lonner and their two rescue dogs, Nancy & Henry.
• Bernard Brunon, Writer, Artist
(website coming soon)
Bernard Brunon, a French born and U. S. resident since 1978, is an internationally recognized artist, writer and curator. For the last 20 years, he has run the house-painting company THAT'S PAINTING Productions as a conceptual art project. THAT'S PAINTING Productions has done paintings in North America, Europe and Asia. Bernard has curated shows for museums and non-profit galleries in Europe and the U.S. He moved to Los Angeles from Houston in 2008.
So, please contact us if you have any questions, check out our website for information and resources and PLEASE invest in us, so we can invest in YOU.
- (71 days)