Friday, January 29, 2010

Make a List...

Recently KC Willis challenged us in her "Marketing Mindset" workshop to "make a list of the top 5-10 things you want to accomplish in your art business this year."

This was difficult, even after putting thought into it, I kept wanting to add/delete, change, wait, procrastinate, etc. Which certainly gives me a clue as to why I haven’t had as much success thus far as I could wish. Nevertheless, here is what I came up with:

1. Continue to develop and refine a signature style. Thoughts on this: I love doing collages; I love a vintage look, with antique imagery and texts, classical elements like architectural details, flourishes, floral and bird motifs. I also love this imagery in a “dark”, surrealist mode as in Max Ernst’s book “Une Semaine de Bonte.” I also love incorporating my calligraphy into pieces, either as the main work or as a decorative element. I love working dimensionally, as in shrines and assemblage boxes. Want to incorporate more of these into my signature style.

2. Open a shop on Café Press, called Collagitation, to sell print-on-demand art, ie, greeting/note cards, prints, etc, in the style of my “Noel” Christmas card. (I hope to open in time for Easter with appropriate holiday designs.)

3. Open an Etsy shop, also called Collagitation, to sell original collages and assemblages, including the originals of some of the print-on-demand designs on Café Press. These shops are where I really need the marketing skills, especially online marketing/self-promotion.

4. in honor of my 60th year, I want to embark on a project I call “3SIXTY5”, starting in April, and make a collage a day for a year and post them to a website (or maybe I’ll just post them on my blog)

5. Continue participating in online art swaps as much as possible—which may not be much, the way this list is going.

6. I will actually produce work for all these projects!

7. I will keep my Collagitation Blog going to record my artistic adventures

8. I will jury into Pittsburgh Society of Artists and start exhibiting locally again (or not)

9. I will finish setting up a basement studio space to expand my work area

10. I will continue to work on improving my health so I have the energy for all these goals! And I seem to get lots of ideas when i'm exercising : )

My rationale is that if I can get a nice little business going with online greeting cards and other printables, I should eventually be in a position to switch to a part time job (or-dare I say it?-quit a day job altogether!) which will allow me to make more art. Of course, I might be retired by then, and have all the time I need, LOL!

Well I’m a great list maker, always have been, but in my day book there are list items that carry over from page to page with ever-increasing amounts of underlining and trailing ever more exclamation points. In other words, I can talk the talk but too often fail to walk the walk. Ugh! I have literally stacks of sketchbooks filled with viable ideas for work, but only maybe 1% of it ever sees the light of day, if that. I may not accomplish all my goals above during 2010, but I know I well certainly grow as an artist and a person through applying myself to them. Art is a journey, not a destination, as someone said. Anytime I complete a piece, it is a gift to myself along the way (and hopefully to others as well.)

I'll be taking another workshopsoon, this one totally hands-on, through the wonderful Calligraphy Guild of Pittsburgh. the activity is collage, or, as the teacher, Suzanne Moore, calls it, “ko lazh.” I think this will be very interesting.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Slings and Arrows, Scissors and Glue

It is amazing how much insensitive, ignorant and negative people can impact an artist’s creativity. Unfortunately, when the person is also a family member sharing your home, it can be difficult to ignore and leads to a lot of energy expended on recovery of motivation and concentration, as well as anger management. However, this too shall pass. In the meantime, I’m grateful for doors.

Currently I am working small: Artist’s Trading Cards, to be specific. I’ve only lately started doing these, they are fun and challenging and a great way to network with other artists. In keeping with the ATC philosophy, they won’t ever become inventory to sell on my future Collagitation sites, but in spite of that I believe they are well worth the time and energy invested. They're also good practice for my collage-a-day project, 3SIXTY5, which will commence in April. Working small really forces the issue of making choices—this image or that one? This color or the other? These are the same decisions that are part and parcel of all art-making, but on a scale where, if it ain’t just right, well, there’s nowhere to hide! On the other hand, it’s less of an investment if the ATC turns out not to be a miniature masterpiece. So I’ve become a fan of ATCs, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what gems come my way in a couple of upcoming ATC swaps I’ve signed on for.

I will be posting my latest ATCs soon!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Yes, but how will I DO it?

I spent the weekend taking down Christmas decorations and planning my mother’s birthday dinner next Saturday. I made no art, which is rather alarming even though I can claim legitimate reasons this time. But it is scary because I’ve set very high goals for 2010, and I know from experience that transforming my visual ideas (which come so readily) into pieces of art that others can appreciate (which usually happens so slowly) is a process for which I never seem to find enough time. But boy does it feel good when I get it right!

I’ve always had a very dodgy relationship with time. I'm always underestimating the amount of time something will require—after years of which you’d think I’d have figured out how to manage better. But I simply seem to have no innate frame of reference for judging time. So…I have been giving a good bit of thought lately to how I’m going to bring off starting and sustaining an online business marketing my art. I’ve tried to do my homework, heaven knows the information is out there. But living the moment to moment life of someone who successfully operates on that plane—well, that’s another story. That will require a major shift in my habits, as well as my psyche. Still, others have done it, why not me? I see it largely as a question of self-discipline.

Then there is my 3SIXTY5 project, wherein I will make a piece of art a day for a year. Ever since conceiving this idea, I’ve asked myself: if the project were up and running now, how would I make the time, given that my days and evenings will continue to be filled with the same duties and distractions? What will change, to enable me to meet the challenge? I’ve decided preparation is the most obvious key. I’ve been making sketches for the project, assembling materials, looking for inspiration. I want to set up a specific work area just for the project, so that whenever I approach that area, my psyche will hop to attention. I will also need to develop a kind of on-going “art state of mind” that can operate without special props such as that, which looks around it and at all times sees interesting juxtapositions of images and exciting combinations of materials. This is a process that needs to be nurtured and sustained. The more art you do, the more you are capable of doing. It is built up in the eyes and hands as much as in the mind, but always it starts with the mind.

This blog is meant to be another tool to keep me on track. It has no justification for taking up anyone’s time (especially my own) unless it effectively urges me forward and keeps me on track. And if this works, my life will never be the same!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

And What Are Yours?

One of the tenets of the Law of Attraction teachers is the importance of writing down what you want. With that in mind, here are my New Year’s resolutions. During 2010 I will:

1. Lose at least 15 lbs.

2. Open my Collagitation shop on Etsy to sell original art

3. Open my Collagitation shop on Café Press (or maybe Zazzle?) to sell print-on-demand designs

4. In April, I will put up a site, 3SIXTY5, on which I will post a piece of artwork (be it ever so humble) a day for the next year, in honor of my 60th year. (Some of which will likely find their way into 2 and 3 above.)

I think this will keep me busy enough.

Another goal for 2010 is taking full advantage of KC Willis’s Marketing Mindset online workshop. So far, this has been really interesting. I’ve interacted with KC and other workshop members in the discussion forums, looked at some marvelous art by members (and got some nice responses to my own work) and I can’t wait for KC’s marketing videos to start! I love being able to ask questions and get responses and comments, not just something to read each week. (If this sounds like something you could use, the intro price is $144 and the workshop runs all year. See the link in my Cool Links area.)

As for my gardens, I plan to put in lots of bulbs, ground covers and flowering shrubs! My knees and shoulders are telling me it’s time to ease up on the farming activities, which coincides perfectly with my artly goals for 2010.

Happy New Year!!


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