Studio Visit Book Vol. 1

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Pennylane Shen: The Art World’s Trailblazing New Age Artist Consultant

Art is a captivating and mesmerizing language that goes beyond boundaries and connects with everyone. It reflects our inner emotions and allows us to express feelings beautifully. Women have always played a crucial part in the art world, from ancient times to now. They have shaped the artistic landscape with their insightful, meaningful, and innovative ideas..

And as a platform for passionate women creatives and artists, the Arts to Hearts Project is proud to feature one of our own, Pennylane Shen. With her extensive background in art consultation, curation, and education, Pennylane has helped over 1000 artists each year to build financially successful, fulfilling careers through her company Dazed and Confucius.

Pennylane’s impact on the art world goes beyond her successful company. As a Master’s Degree holder in Visual Culture Theory from New York University and an experienced speaker, her knowledge and expertise in the politics of representation, race, and fine art have contributed to the art world’s ongoing conversations.

Pennylane’s work in commercial galleries, such as Bau-Xi Gallery, has given her a unique insight into the operations of the industry. She’s used this experience to help curate events like Creative Mornings Vancouver, the NYC Crit Club, Visionary Art Collective, and The Vancouver Mural Festival.

But Pennylane’s approach is not only business-oriented. In her role on the board for the Vancouver General Hospital and UBC Foundation, she collects notable art pieces to be displayed in hospitals, advocating for the role of art in wellness.

Pennylane Shen’s dedication to empowering artists and curating meaningful works is a testament to the power of art to transcend boundaries. Her expertise is a guiding light for women creatives and artists looking to succeed in the art world.

About Pennylane Shen

pennylane shen

Pennylane Shen is a fine art curator, educator, and artist advisor. Her company, Dazed and Confucius Consulting coordinates seminars and advises emerging and mid-career artists on how to achieve their career goals in the fine art industry. In addition to one-on-one consults locally, Pennylane has lectured on the art industry and business practices in New York, Amsterdam, Chicago, Seoul Korea, and London, England.

Pennylane teaches Conceptual Photography and Marketing to Fine Artists at Langara College and by day, she works as a representative of the Bau-Xi Gallery – celebrating its 50th year as the oldest commercial gallery in Canada.

Pennylane also manages artists independently, including the Vancouver figurative artists’ collective Phantoms in the Front Yard, featuring 8 prominent figurative artists that exhibit bi-annually.

An avid supporter of the benefits of fine art and wellness, she is an active board member on the Vancouver General Hospital and UBC Foundation art collections committee.

About The Dazed and Confucius

Dazed & Confucius works with visual artists around the world helping them achieve their goals in the fine art industry or in their own practice. Artist consultants Pennylane Shen and David Ellingsen assist over 1000 artists a year through personalized one-on-one consultations alone. Outside of consultations, Dazed and Confucius offers seminars and workshops on navigating the fine art industry, and provides tools such as website building, art writing, and professional documents tailored to the artist.

Consultations include but are not limited to artwork critique, building an audience, focusing and strengthening skills, developing a unique concept and identity, gallery and industry outreach, online marketing, and business practices.

Services Provided By Pennylane Shen & David At The Dazed and Confucius

1- The Website

Selecting from a range of professional templates we build a custom website for you based on your discussions with Pennylane and David.

This template process provides benefits such as extensive customization, responsive design to ensure your website appears properly on mobile devices, automatic site updates for new software that arises in the marketplace, excellent ongoing tech support, and an efficient back-end user interface with no coding. In addition, the use of template architecture helps keep costs down for future updates – by you or us.

2- Catalogues

These multi-page PDF documents are an excellent way to catalogue a body of work for potential release.

Electronic or print, catalogues present work in a concise and professional manner, offering the viewer multiple ways to engage with the work. Email to prospective curators or galleries, share with your collectors, offer as a download from your website, or print and mail to your selected clients. Embedded hyperlinks – to your website, socials, hidden content, etc – make these documents truly interactive. They can also be an elegant way to reveal pricing, with a separate section at the back or throughout the document.

3- Take-away Cards

Take-away cards are a crucial part of any artist’s promotional toolbox and we offer design services to create these cards for your next exhibition, mailing campaign, or many other marketing uses.

We’ll match your website or branding design, font, and colors, add your images, and deliver the finished design to you in PDF and, for your digital marketing needs, a JPEG with both sides combined into 1 file. If needed we can suggest reputable printers in the Vancouver and Victoria area.

Our standard offering is a 5×7 inch card, double-sided, full color but if you would like something different we can accommodate pretty much anything. For any custom work, we will send a quote for your approval before commencing design.

Furthermore, they provide a plethora of additional services. To explore these offerings in detail, simply click on the link below. It will provide you with comprehensive information on all that they have to offer.

The Artist consultation

Pennylane and David offer consultations of 30 or 60 minutes and small-group critiques. Individualized consults are an intimate one-on-one critique of artwork and goal-setting. Consultation itineraries vary depending on the artists’ needs. Topics may include feedback and criticism, creating a body of work, developing promotional tools, approaching galleries, and identifying an audience. Small-group critiques focus on guided discussion, brief critique, and guidance to groups of 8 or less. There are a variety of seminar topics based on Professional Development for Artists, see below for more.

Pennylane Shen X Arts to Hearts Podcast

In an enlightening episode of the Arts to Hearts Podcast, we had the pleasure of hosting Pennylane Shen, who generously shared her invaluable insights and advice for artists. Titled “How Can Artists Create a Thriving Career?” we engaged in an engaging conversation where we delved into various topics and now I’d like to share some highlights from that conversation with you.

Charuka: What do you believe are the major issues? What are the top five things you believe are the most stifling to artists in today’s world?

Pennylane Shen: I won’t talk about the top five issues, but perhaps the top five major tips that I find across the board are as follows:

First– I suppose time is an important factor for any type of artist. with so many of us, artists don’t have enough time to pursue their careers. They have either another part-time or full-time job.  They could be a parent or a caretaker of any kind. And they’re just being pulled in different directions.

Your art does demand quite a lot of you, both emotionally and physically, so without that time, it is very difficult to move to that next step; it’s nearly impossible.

Actually, I can only help so much with that, and, you know, we’re talking about tips for making the most of your time. but without that forward momentum. It is one step forward and two steps back, so time is the first 1.

The second– would be research; many artists do not conduct enough research in their work. They don’t expose themselves to enough artwork, even. Not even artwork, but just different types of fine art, from writing, of course, to music and dance. Whatever it may be, other types of creative fine art and just knowing in general where their work sits in the larger canon of art theory is, I feel, a bit of a blind spot for many artists, so exposure and research are the second 1

 Third– I would say, “Ah, so this kind of has to do with work ethic and failure, and so artists are very.” Some artists are a little bit too precious with their practice and their work, and there needs to be a level of disability. Yeah, because they need to fail and fail fast, and they need to be able to do studies and understand that some things don’t work. There will be a lot of failures, so there is something about being less precious with the work but also being a little less precious with the failure and understanding that that is part of the journey.

Fourth, I think there’s, of course, the inner critic. What is the point of what I’m doing, and why does this field seem to carry so much more weight than others? I believe there is a much louder inner critic there. Because the work is good, the inner critic is loud, so the louder the critic is, the more you care about what you’re doing, and so, yeah, you know it’s going to happen in many ways.

It’s going to come, but you also have to see it, as you know that this is. because I’m invested in it. You don’t care if you’re not invested in something; you don’t care if it’s working out or not. But if you’re invested in it, you know your judgment about it is slightly higher, but you have to be aware of that. That’s exactly what it is: judgment—flawed judgment—and you have to take it with a grain of salt.

This brings me to my final point: some artists lack critical feedback on their work, even though you know they’re very talented. They’re very much in an isolated practice, sometimes not all of the time, and they don’t have regular feedback on their work, and artists do need that regular feedback on their work as much as working alone, in solitude, and with their heads down and focused is really useful. Um, I think that having feedback and other eyes and ears on the work is invaluable.

Pennylane Shen X Tedx Talk: Building Your Art Bucket List: A Visual Pilgrimage

Pennylane reflects on four important works of art which over the years appeared on what she calls her Art Bucket List. Not necessarily the most popular or beloved, these pieces nevertheless had such a significant impact that she eventually made pilgrimages to see them, arranging her work and travels and, truly, her life in order to do so. The goal was in part to witness artistry of tremendous cultural and political power–artistry that broke barriers and challenged the status quo. But more importantly, she sees now, each pilgrimage allowed her to travel back in time to a moment when an indelible mark was left and to honor a time and space in which she gained strength to endure and grow through life’s challenges.

In the end, I would just say that Pennylane Shen’s contribution to the world of art is truly remarkable. Her passion for art, her expertise, and her drive to help artists and businesses succeed make her a true inspiration for aspiring women creatives and artists.

If you want to get in touch with her you can find her on:

We consider it an honor to have known and worked alongside her. We are proud to highlight her in our ongoing series entitled “The Women who are Shaping the World of Art,” as she embodied creativity, passion, and excellence in all that she did.

With this, I will take your leave and will come up with another talented personality from the art world. Till then take care of yourself and keep creating the magic that you do. Good Bye!

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In The Studio of Nicole Young- Studio Visit Book Vol. 1 Artist

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