Thursday, January 30, 2014

Etsy Shop Sample - Free Art until Friday MIDNIGHT - HURRY

Spend $50 get one piece of free art from my NEW YEAR NEW ART SALE section.  I'm clearing space for new art inventory and the old stuff needs YOU!  For every $50 you get to choose another piece of art.  If you spend $150 you may choose 4 piece FREE.  Go!  Sale ends January 31 at MIDNIGHT.

Fine Art as a Small Business

We fine artists are walking a fine line.  (So fine!)  A line between being taken seriously by the art community and making money from the general public.  It's so tricky and here's why: Artists make art because it's our passion.  We create what we were meant to create to add to the thought process and conversation of our public.  It is our job to comment and reflect the society we live in; not to pander or grovel or change based on criticism.  We are who we are and we need not apologize.  The more authentic we are the more respect we generate.

Respect is all we can hope for in the art community.  It's the highest honor.  Respect.  It's simple and beautiful like great art.

The key is you have to be out in the public.  Visible.  Coffee shops, then art shows, then local galleries, then represented by galleries, then national shows.  If that's your path.  If that's your passion.  If you're serious and real.  Right?  This is my gut feeling.

Crafters, and I mean ABSOLUTELY no disrespect, have a job to generate business, traffic, and money.  They sell the products that you find in the big box stores with the added benefit of buying it from the person who makes it.  They are my number one favorite category of business.  I LOVE to buy from the person who made the goods.  And I love to buy from artists.  But while almost every person has very limited wall space, one can buy unlimited amounts of clothing, jewelry, knitted wears, kids toys, and such.  In fact some of these items wear out and you HAVE to buy more.  Guess what happens if art wears out - TROUBLE.  It really, really shouldn't wear out.

As a small business I'm failing.  I make a small profit every year but I'm hardly supporting my family.  I'd like to create what the crafters have - steady, reliable income in quantities that make a difference in my monthly budget.  But how?  HOW?  I want to reach people via social media but I don't want to give away my work.  I feel it devalues it.  How much are "likes" worth anyway?  While at the same time I can only create and store so much product.  Over the past 5 years I've learned a lot.  The larger the painting the slower it sells to the point that I can't paint large scale.  And yet, the galleries need large scale.  The money is in the large scale work.  But the sales are in the small scale.  What to do?

It's a trap.  I'm in my head too much.  I create art because I'm drawn to make my thoughts visible.  There's no other way for me.  This is it.  I must be authentically me and make the art only I can make.
My path is this:
1. Studio
2. Create babies and create art around their lives:
     a. sell at craft shows and art crawls and local boutiques
     b. occasional gallery shows
     c. sell online through etsy, society6, and eventually my personal website.
     d. build my brand slowly through social media using my art, process, and personality.  Not gimmicks.
3. Back to Studio
4. Major Gallery Shows after babies are not babies and are in school

If you have any not-gimmicky ways to generate income from the art you already make I'd love to hear them.  I know artists who are killing it on commissions each month.  They do well because they stick to what they do best and people are drawn to their authenticity.  My love to you.  Please share your secrets.  We are all in this together.

Lastly, I can't help but speak my truth that in then end, as it was in the beginning, it is not my job to make money but rather to create a social commentary.  I make the world a little better one tiny, happy painting at a time.  Really that's not so bad.  It just doesn't buy groceries.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Art Show Rejection

It's always the "NOs" that hit us the hardest, isn't it?  Maybe it's just me; but I doubt that.  This week I got my first rejection in a while.  It came during a week when I had planned and planned to paint but due to the cold weather my son couldn't go to school.

He only goes to pre-school 2 days a week for 3 hours each so canceling them was a major blow to my painting time but more importantly to my sanity.  And then I got a rejection letter.  BIG BUMMER!

I've heard, and I think it's true, that 1 out of every 20 applications is accepted.  So for every 19 rejections you get ONE confirmation.  Recently I'd been told yes a lot.  Yes to this craft show, yes to the next art show.  I even have a gallery show coming up at the Children's Theater, WHAT?!?!  But it STILL stung that I got this "NO."

So I've been thinking, why do the no's pack a bigger punch?

I've decided it's because they go against one's sense-of-self.  A "YES" confirms what you thought about yourself.  "I am a good artist and people should see my work."  A "NO", while generally because something went wrong with your application or perhaps too many artists applied in the same medium, says "There's something wrong with you.  You did this.  You made this happen.  Now reevaluate yourself and be better."  When in reality you don't know why you were told "NO" and you never will.

So, Dear Self, Dear Reader, take a small step back, look over your application and if something jumps out at you make a note not to do that again.  If nothing jumps out: dust yourself off, get yourself a hug, and apply for the next event.  Because 18 rejections later you're going to get some really good news.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

First Ever Artist/Mother Blog Post - So this is a blog now.

I've decided this year to use this blog for the first time as a blog.  I'm going to write about the things I'm going through, the things I'm excited about, the things I'm working on.  Well, that last part isn't new, I have shared the things I work on, haven't I?  But the rest is new for me.  I'm going to expose a bit of the ugly side of being an artist and a mother simultaneously (with out a nanny, or a babysitter, ever) in order to be a little more real and a little more connected to you, the people kind enough to read what I write on here.

So, while we're at it how about a formal introduction?  Perhaps in the past we've met in person but now my dear things have changed.  For starters I'm 18 weeks pregnant.  A teeny tiny person is kicking my insides as I write this. I think it's comforting.

Secondly, I'm living 3.5 hours north of my Northeast Minneapolis art studio.  That's just a few million blocks out of the NE Arts District.  "What?! Why?!" You might ask, as I do occasionally.  Well, my bill paying, family supporting husband needed to take a job in this location to round-out his therapy career and take care of some outstanding student-loans.  (In this circumstance outstanding means both not fully paid as well as rather large).  And guess what else?!  I will be living like this for another 3.5 years.  Away from my beloved studio, artist pals, and the arts district.  In the woods where I grew up. I never in a million years dreamt I'd return to the middle-of-nowhere-lumberjack-country to raise a family, but here we are now.

However, I still have my beloved studio (#314 Casket Arts Building 681 17th Ave NE Mpls 55413) and I'm still opening my doors on Casket Arts First Thursday Open Studio days as well as Art-A-Whirl and Cache at CasketArts.  For now.  When the baby comes I will likely limit which Thursdays I'm willing to drive down and open up.  I mean, you don't all come to all of them do you.  And how many people are shopping for art the first week in July?  Anyone? No one?  That's what I thought.  So, we'll revisit the First Thursday topic again, okay?

Now to round me out as an individual I'll share that I've been married for 9 years.  I have a 15 year-old step daughter and a 2.5 year old son, plus that tiny human currently living in my uterus.  I went to school for 4 years to earn a BA in Visual Art from the wildly wonderful Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL.  Wait a second, why don't I live there?  I forget.

Since I plan to converse with you regularly I think I can wrap up this gab session with my goals for the year:
1. Improve sales in my etsy shop. (currently having a MEGA SALE: spend $50, choose FREE ART).
2. Develop more print sales.
3. Work very hard until June, then have a baby and relax.
4. Make lino cut prints.
5. Focus more attention on the frames and expand the illustrations offered framed.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Sale Continues

I made a few graphics for my New Year New Art Sale so I thought I'd share another.
The FREE ART in this sale is worth $20-$150.  You get to choose one piece of FREE ART for every $50 you spend.  It's an AMAZING savings.
Go! Shop!


Friday, January 10, 2014

New Year New Art SALE

I'm cleaning house in my etsy shop.  In order to clear space for new work I'm giving away a piece of art with every $50 you spend.  Now here's the good news: YOU GET TO PICK YOUR FREE ART from the New Year New Art section.  Sale starts at MIDNIGHT and runs through January 31.  Now here's the really good news: the free art is expensive art.  It's the good stuff.  Please check it out! 

Here's how the sale works:
Add $50 of regularly priced art, then choose one piece of art from
the New Year New Art section;
for every $50 in your cart you get to choose another piece from
the New Year New Art section.
$50 = 1 free piece
$100 = 2 free pieces
$150 = 3 free pieces
you get the picture.