Donovan Krebs, Artist
Donovan Krebs has thoughts to organize. Lots of them. The artist's mind can be filled with a maelstrom of ideas, inspirations, concepts, and tasks. Without a way to manage it all, he'd be swamped. That's why he turned to Bento 2.
If you've got data, you've got a database
"I can keep track of as many things as there are to keep track of," he says. "I have a database for my artwork, one for general creative ideas, another for possible artwork titles, one for recipes, and I even had one to keep track of my son's toy trains. I have probably about 20 different Bento libraries. Bento keeps it all organized. It's given me the opportunity to do the things that I want to do more, which is spend time with my family and make art."
Krebs is an abstract artist in Madison, CT, and the manager of Cohen's Bagel Company in downtown Madison. He's also a retired chef, a veteran of kitchens in Boulder, CO and Buffalo, NY. He's completed thousands of pieces of art and his head is full of a million recipes. Before Bento, his organizational system was a hodgepodge of paper and partial computer databases. Now everything is sorted on his Mac with Bento 2.
Krebs initially used Bento to catalog his artwork. He created a basic database to store info about each piece--dimensions, media, title, theme, price. "You're presented with templates and you go from there," he says. "Basically you just need the data to put into it. It's that simple." The artist started with a basic Bento template and expanded it. The database includes images of the pieces and links to any documents about them.
"I have studio images or scans of each piece, depending on size, and links to invoices or other iWork documents," he says. "I also keep information about their location. If someone saw something they liked on my website, I can just look it up and know exactly where it's stored."
The artist's database is also linked to his Address Book and iCal. "If I sell a piece of work, I can just drag a contact into the database from the Address Book library," he says. "I can also link things from iCal--upcoming shows or art events that I shouldn't miss. Address Book and iCal just integrate with Bento so well."
"Phenomonal" search tools
Sorting all the info about his artwork is also straightforward, thanks to advance search features in Bento 2. "I find all the pieces that were completed in 2008 that are a certain size and under a specific price," he says. "The search tools in Bento are phenomenal."
When you generate almost 100 pieces of artwork in a year, entering data about every piece can be a chore. Thankfully, Krebs can enter his data quickly and efficiently, without repetition. "I can use the fill down feature in table view to fill fields automatically," he says. "For example, I did a run of ink-on-paper pieces and instead of entering in the type of medium over and over, I was able to use fill down feature to enter that info in multiple records instantly."
Track artistic and culinary creativity
Tracking his completed artwork is key, but charting his inspiration in Bento has fueled a bonanza of creativity. Krebs has a running list of possible titles and a collection of inspiring photos, poems, and quotes. "I have a whole database of potential art titles," he says. "A lot of time I'll daydream of titles even before the pieces are created. I have between 150 and 200 titles in the database and whenever I need some inspiration, I'll open it up to see what's in there."
Krebs also uses Bento 2 to store hundreds of recipes from his days as a chef. "I've been cooking since I was 18," he says. "I have hundreds of recipes in my head and even more in notebooks and on scraps of paper. I've entered a lot of them into Bento."
The former chef can look up a recipe based on an ingredient, cooking time, style of food, or any number of factors. Once he's found the recipe he's looking for, he can switch to a customized print form and generate a PDF of the recipe. "I have a lot of notes about every recipe, but if I'm printing it out I don't need all that information," he says. "In Bento it was very easy to create a custom form that has just the information I need. Using that form, I can print out a recipe or generate a PDF to email to a friend."
The artist also uses Bento 2 to log audio and video clips when he's working with Logic Studio or Final Cut Express. "I do a lot of fun things with Logic and Final Cut Express," he says. "Often I'll bring my video or audio in and log it in Bento with notes. It lets me go back and see how I made something in the past—where a particular loop came from or a video originated."
"It's so simple... You can do anything."
Bento 2 is also coming in handy at Krebs' bagel shop, Cohen's Bagel Company. Krebs is setting up a database to track employee reviews, inventory, catering orders, and more. "We just switched to Macs at the shop and we're planning to use Bento in our day-to-day operations at the shop," he says.
Krebs can view all of his Bento libraries from a central library that draws bits and pieces from all his various libraries into one place. "I have what you might call a dashboard that has all my favorite things," he says. "I have the artist title, the recipe database, inspirations, all right there. I can add information to any of those fields and it'll go into the right library. It really speeds things up for me."
Bento 2 has become Krebs' default organizational tool. "It helps me organize, and I've never been able to organize. It's so simple to use that I can keep coming up with more and more ways to use it," he says. "It's just user friendly, very simple. You can do anything from building databases to linking documents to doing calculations. I think that anyone who has data to organize can use Bento."