The Art of Business Plan (not a tutorial)

Last weekend I was invited to a birthday party of a Gallerist Friend, apart from the lovely scenery and the fact that it was the first time since my youngest daughters joined us that I could go to such an event it was an uplifting event.

But mainly for one specific talk with a fellow artist, after me, telling him that “I plan to keep my path of art and focus on social topics”, bluntly provoked me by saying that an artist needs to challenge himself to reach a new limit every time, to boldly go where he had never been before. It wasn’t a great revelation and I wanted to diminish it. But there and then I realized that this time around I’m already doing it differently.

For the first time in my artistic career, I sat for the two weeks prior to this talk and (drum roll) wrote a business plan for an art project.

Writing a business plan for an art project was never on my mind before that, it was something I hoped would get sorted in the end and sometimes it even did. To some extent for a long time, I thought that I was doing one but it was all in my head. I didn’t know it doesn’t count until at one point during the last part of Lipstick Leaders the sensei/guru herself Georgette Vun shouted at me – “You didn’t write a business plan?!?”.

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100 Portraits 100 Leader 100 Women – “Lipstick Leaders” premier, June1.2018, Zurich

Even then it took me way too long till I dared myself to do one, so the one that I did do was in retrospect a few weeks after the initial show (1.6.2018). Let me tell you it was gloomier than you might expect. It was depressing I was in enormous debt after this project and if had to pay myself a salary it would have been much more significant.

But this time from my own device I set down in advance, like an adult, and did a “business plan”!

Since it was more intuitive than intentional, I had to ask myself why am I doing it this time so differently. At first, I thought, I had done it because I’m of “growing up” (which is also true) but then I realized that it all has to do with what I aim to follow with this new Art project.

In short; in my past projects, I focused on parts of society and created a space where these parts can be included too. This time I’m focusing from the start on society as a whole. I want to build a community with Art.

The first set of numbers I crunched showed me that on its own this project is out of my financial league. I had to take a break only to overcome the idea that I couldn’t do it. But then I realized that I only wrote the costs of the Project but not how I wanted to finance it.

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Mix Technique (Oil Pastels, Aquarelle, Graphite) on Paper 21x29cm 2016

This process required also a few days as I wanted to be realistic but not without hope or ambition. Which proved itself much harder than you might imagine (When was the last time you bought original Art?).

But in addition to that it was actually a very big personal transformational step for me. It was the first time that included a salary for myself and a realistic profit margin that when achieved I could invest in future projects.

Through writing these lines I realized, that through working on the business plan I started to create this future community with a clear and clean intention, with no illusions.


I want to create a “Truth” based community.

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Out of the concept of my new Art project “Das Abendmahl” that will follow the creation of a Community

Since by now you are probably asking yourself what this project I am talking about, here is a small taste :

“Imagine a large hall with 10-12 large pictures framed in dark, heavy wooden frames on the walls. The images differ in color and style but unite in theme and story. They show 13 people who had come together to break bread with strangers and to share communion. 12 stories of encounters and discussions, one story of a supper that brought them together. – a community. ”    

      let me know what you think      


While digging through and sorting out Material, and looking for the right stuff to create content with (I’m a slave of the machine). I encountered old Fotos from a Foto-session that friends of mine did with and for me. We took Pictures of works out of my first “Art-Project”.

In addition, I had an inspiring talk with Daniel Perez Whitaker about his current goals and a very interesting new Interview series he plans to do. We talked about many things but what was left with me was a sense of a Personal necessity to back to my artistic roots and fundaments. What moves me? How do I create? How do I approach my Projects?


For the first 10 Years of my career, I was mainly teaching and showing my art in every possible way. Today I know that I was only training, mastering skills, and figuring out my path in and around Art. It’s not only the craftmanship per se that needs endless practice but also how to speak about my art, how to present it, and how to take it seriously but not too personally. But I never focused solemnly on painting, there was just so much other stuff to learn…

And then came “The God Project”: It was after a long break and after experimenting with new styles (abstract) but also from very encouraging encounters that I started to look again at going back to my roots and painting people or Life painting as it is usually known. I attended open drawing sessions and was getting the hang of it again but it was too confined to structural and not deep enough. And then in a talk with a Lover, in bed late at night we talked about the concept of God (as you do). She said that for her God was a “big black Woman, with big heavy breasts”. I don’t know what moved me so much in that sentence but there and then I knew that I had to paint that “God”. It wasn’t a challenge calling a jest or a goal setting. It was more a child-like open-hearted decision: this is what I’m going to do!

Secured with my experience with approaching models for my classes and knowing that I had a good reputation around that topic. I decided to approach three Women in my network that fitted the personality and physique needed for the part. I got a very fast Yes from one of them and we set up a time to meet in person to talk details.

In our Talk a few weeks later she told me she was in her first stages of pregnancy. For me and for her that was a big confirming “go ahead” sign for the project. We set some dates for the painting sessions and decided that we will take as near as possible to her due date.

I had a very clear idea of what I wanted the poses to be like; God was standing with all her capacity looking forward, powerful and mighty!

On the day of our first session, she came in and said that she can’t stand for too long and would like to sit or lie down. There and then I realized that it was my time to learn and listen to what “God” wants and do as I was told. What followed was around 5 months of regular sessions of “God” coming into my Livingroom taking her close off, resting on my couch, and cracking jokes. I was able to create numerous works, experimenting with materials and flexing my craftmanship. The God Project brought out a softer side of me that I didn’t know was there. Some work out of this series was eventually shown in a small museum and are very dear to me since then. 

This Project set some premises for my artistic work after that and gave me a glimpse of what is possible for me. Working on the God project was exhilarating a playful but also very serious in the scenes where we both had a look at our humanity and our fundaments. Some years after in a talk I gave about my art, one of the guests said that when I talked about this project I sound like a “fundamentalist of Art”. This stuck with me I liked it.   


The Budget question

How do you Start your Art-projects, how do you define your budgets for them?

It is not every day that someone asks me questions like these it’s not every day that I ask myself questions like that. When Ruzbeh asked me these very questions on a long overdue lunch the other week it provoked me to sit down and write it down.

Art projects start themself; I have around 5or6 different Art-projects flying around in my head they are some time, to overlapping topics and often they are also similar in their intention. They come and go and if one of them pops up too many times I’ll write it down. But even before that, I’ll talk about them with different people on different occasions. Apart from the feedback I get, doing this makes me listen to how I’m talking about them.  It helps me understand what I want to say with this Art-project and deepens my understanding of what’s “at stake” for me in it.

The last point is maybe the most important one, if I can’t pinpoint the most personal core motivation that moves me to initiate this Art-project, it usually won’t work in the long run. This core motivation can be sometimes superficial and even stay in contrast with the “result” or outcome of the Art-project. But without it, there is usually no project.

With time I learned that this process enables me to spar with my Ego and free myself from the judgment and self-doubt that come with creating art and will appear for sure at one point during the work process.

After doing this comes the step of the “three Yes`s”. I need a specific OK from my environment for example OK from models/subjects to participate, Ok for Location, and more than often financial OK. From the moment of getting these OK`s its usually hard work and if I’m lucky a lot of painting.

As to the budget question (how do you define your budgets for them) …

The easy way to describe it is; I don’t, or if I would want to go easy on myself in most cases I don’t. But I am starting to. As the Art projects I’m focusing on are getting more attention and my level of my craftsmanship raises (getting older) I have no way around it.

The next Art project that I intend to work on, has already a gallery, a location, and a date set. But in the last few weeks, I realized partly due to talks I had and partly from a deep feeling that emerges more than I would love to admit, that this one is a bit more urgent and bigger than it originally seemed to be.  So apart from the obvious budget points like – Martials, Rent, PR, F&B, Vernissage, and salaries (with age I learned the hard way that this point includes my salary too) I need to figure out in the coming time how I want to present the project in the first place.

And this is the tricky part. Because I relay want to do this project no matter the cost…

But here comes: I need to do it in order to sustain this one and create the space for it to impact and grow as I have the feeling it ought to.

I’ll keep you posted on how it goes 😊

Old Road, New Path

Working on my website for some months now. Looking at my past, scrutinizing projects, and evaluating them. And then a tedious sometimes painful process of asking myself;

Why am I doing this (Art)? Do I want to do this? And if so; how do I want to do it? And then adjusting it reforming and crystalizing what I want to say and do in the coming future. And then realizing that I have done this process many times before.

But this time it seems more urgent, there is more at stake for me here.

What started in a journey to Kyiv at the end of 2013 with a project depicting Ukrainian and Russian Mothers, got me to Belarus to work on an LGBTQ project and portray refugee children on the Turkish-Syrian border. This journey took me also to high places, portraying Women leaders in the castles of power, and then was brought to an abrupt end in 2020 with covid19 and a shattered Pop-Art project about displaced Women.

I thought that I was done with art on a professional level. I have done my share of the limelight and even got paid for it. It was good while it lasted and it was time to settle down, learn a decent profession, and grow a family (both I did: Three daughters and I’m a certified Social Care Worker now).

But as it often happens in my life at the moment, when I think can let Art go, it will just smile and let me do my thing and then slap me in the face and wake me up. During the last months of 2022, I got depressed and was officially burned out. This wasn’t out of the blue but it took me by surprise in its magnitude.

As often happens in my life during the same time an Art door was opened and I got a free hand to work on a new project. Little did I know that this project has set the premise for my next journey.

Inspired by an Article that explained that: when a couple sits together with their Smartphones on, their Brains are actually transmitting loneliness, so even if they are together, they are in fact lonely. I picked up an old idea and worked on a Project about “intimacy” portraying couples and asking them about what dose intimacy means to them.

Painting these unions, and seeing them in their “intimacy” brought me back to Art as understood it; “Serving the Tribe”. The developments in the AI front and the deeper look at our relationship with technology that I gained through the project, cleared the path for the new journey to start.

In the Time to come, in a series of Projects, I will be focusing on the questions:

How do communities form?

Will we be able to form or maintain a community under the influence ever advanced “communication tools” and AI?

In an attempt to go after this question my next stop will be in November, where I’ll be painting a contemporary live version of the “Last Supper”. The basic idea is to invite 13 guests for dinner and paint them while they are following the ancient tradition of creating a communal bond and “Break-Bread” together.

Thank you for reading so far, more info will come soon…