Monday, July 25, 2011

The Business of the Artist

This past Saturday, I had the great good pleasure of sweating it out (ah! the HEAT!) with book-loving folks at the yearly Harlem Book Fair on 135th Street in Harlem, NY. I had a booth set up for my debut novel, BUTTERFLY RISING. Thanks to all the folks who stopped by, said hi and bought a book. I LOVE to hear back from people after they've had a read, so make sure to drop me a line at!

I also taught a free class for folks who were interested in starting a business using their art and wanted a little bit of direction and advise. My Business of the Art class is a combination of short writing, physical exercises-- and LOTS of questions!--designed to help you unlock what's holding you back from achieving your creative goals.

I left the class feeling exhilarated! We were filled to capacity--standing room only-- and I could see countless folks having these mini-break throughs! I felt like I was really helping them achieve their dreams, which seems to be a recurring theme in my life...

For those of you who weren't there this weekend, here's a quick re-cap. Think of how these might be useful to your own creative business and apply them!

1. Think about how you can create VALUE for your creative idea. Why does the the world NEED what you have?

2. Complete this sentence:

Success is _____________________.

The answers here will vary for a great many people. In American culture, success is largely defined by cold, hard cash. Be honest with yourself and what you really want. And about who it might help.

3. Brainstorm educational institutions, cultural organizations, corporations--are you in a fraternity? sorority?-- who will help you get the word out and ultimately BUY what YOU have to SELL?

The truth is, small business is the ONLY way this country's gonna get out of its economic jam. Help the country by HELPING YOURSELF! Unemployed? This may be a perfect opportunity for you to do the thing you always wanted to to do. Invest in YOU. Now, starting a business is not without endless hours of hard work, dedication and commitment. The word SACRIFICE will become your friend, LOL! Keep your eyes glued to what motivates you, the thing that's gonna keep you going when you're tired, broke, or hell, you just don't feel like it! That's what's gonna get you through the rough spots.

Lastly, many creative folks divorce "business" from "art"; all artists MUST be in control of their business in order to succeed. Use the same creativity you use in your art to create your art and apply it to the business side of things! After a while, business--and all things money-- won't be so intimidating.

XO Tanya XO

TANYA WRIGHT plays the role of DEPUTY KENYA JONES on HBO'S TRUE BLOOD. She is the writer/director of the upcoming indie feature BUTTERFLY RISING and author of the book of the same name.

Monday, July 18, 2011

FAITH, LOVE AND GRATITUDE : what I learned about the horrific death of 8 year old Leiby Kletzky

Like most New Yorkers, I was shocked and deeply saddened by the extreme death of 8 year old Leiby Kletzky. As he was walking to meet his mother, he lost his way and asked the wrong person for directions—Levi Aron allegedly killed and dismembered the boy, storing his remains in his refrigerator and disposing the rest in a nearby dumpster. Folks say it's “every parents nightmare,” but you don't have to be a parent (I'm not) to feel the impact of the brutal slaying of this innocent young boy.

This made me think: do we EVER know what's really going on with people? In the depths of their hearts, minds and souls? Their fears? The thoughts they think, the things they do in the quiet hours of the dark? Chilling.

The thing that really, really moved me, however, was the statement given by the Leiby's parents:

...we are forever grateful and thankful to Hashem (G-d). We would also like to express to each and every individual -- to our friends and neighbors and our fellow New Yorkers and to all the volunteers and to all the agencies from the local, city, state, and federal, who assisted us above and beyond physically, emotionally, and spiritually -- and to all from around the world, who had us in their thoughts and prayers.

From the depths of our mourning hearts, THANK YOU!

The fact that Nachman and Esther Kletzky would express GRATITUDE to God, friends, neighbors at such a time in their lives is a true testament of their FAITH. When I read the statement, I was stunned. It was like their hearts burst so wide open they turned inside out and the result was---gratitude. And love.


My 83 year old grandmother died the week before little Leiby-- she was, indeed, the great love of my life! I have learned so much from Nachman and Esther and I am grateful to them for teaching me, in their simple message, the true meaning of Faith. It is perhaps the hardest thing to cultivate—the most extreme of life's human lessons—but if we can dig a little deeper past the pain and grief...


XO Tanya XO

TANYA WRIGHT plays the role of DEPUTY KENYA JONES on HBO'S TRUE BLOOD. She is the writer/director of the upcoming indie feature BUTTERFLY RISING and author of the book of the same name. Follow her on twitter @tanyaTTwright!

Monday, July 11, 2011

RECESSION? WHAT recession? One thing an artist can rely on is that their jobs WILL come to an end

I was just thinking how this recession is impacting artists-- if at all. In times like these, you might seem tempted to chuck those lofty dreams of changing the world through your song or your dance and do something more-- I dare say practical. Stable. Reliable?

The truth is, we need art now more than ever. Artists are—and have always been—on the front lines of society. The ones who are questioning The Establishment on How Things Are Done. The ones who are creating alternative means to-- well, just about anything! Traditional modes of distribution for the artists—via publishing, music and movies-- are crumbling all around us. There's more opportunity now for an artist to connect with their audience than there ever has been!

All this got me to thinking: how is the recession affecting YOU? I mean, the truth is, EVERY job that an artist has is finite. Every one. All the time. Whether you're an actor on a TV series or a feature film, a designer for a book or a musician on a gig, there is always a beginning and—you can be sure-- an end to your job. Finite endings are built into the profession of the artist! It ain't for most folks but, for some of us, there's just nothing else we can do but our art and so we endure those indefinite periods of “unemployment”--whether it be a few days, months or years.

What do YOU do in your “down” time? And how is this recession affecting you and your life?

TANYA WRIGHT plays the role of DEPUTY KENYA JONES on HBO'S TRUE BLOOD. She is the writer/director of the upcoming indie feature BUTTERFLY RISING and author of the book of the same name. Follow her on twitter @tanyaTTwright!