Creative Food for Thought

It has been a while since my last blog entry and seeing that it is cold outside, and that I have had a couple of productive days in the studio painting these little bud vases  with micro designs and loading myself with caffeine and focus, I think that it is time to blog about where the creative process takes an artisan when selling to the public and about one’s ability as an artist to change or alter direction of art object in order to drive commerce and thrive.

Many creative spirits seem less determined to to bending to the rules of Supply and Demand,in order to turn a profit or make a sale. In this generation of online stores popping up on the Web, the Creative community needs to take note of the way people make and sell “Handmade” works of art,design in the digital age.

Those of us that choose the brick and mortar method of having a physical shop, studio or atelier, need to do a bit of research on how the new technology has altered and increased the  competitive way people buy art and handmade items.

Your presence, online is vital where people, followers and possible patrons can catch a glimpse of your artistic endeavors via social networks, websites or other online platforms.

I am a bit “old school” as for my own operation, I prefer to sell out of my studio but use all the tools available for a limited glimpse of  my endeavors to the online audience and focus on the direct approach to selling face 2 face with clients,art lovers and patrons.

You might think that it is it enough? This is a question that we all have to ask ourselves when putting our work out there. How much do you really want to produce? What are the personal limits that set you up to making hand made goods without the quality starts to suffer, less then your personal potential to create.

All good questions but the answer is different for each one of us in an artistic community of creatives.  Sure, everyone feels great when they make a sale, but at what point do you compromise, what you do in order to make a sale……

This is a common dilemma for many and the  reality of this dilemma has many answers depending on :

  • what you make
  • your price point
  • your competition and competitors
  • willingness to compromise your style or format in order to make a sale
  • unwillingness to change you artistic direction in regards to format, style or more

We as creative individuals, have to make serious decisions on how our products can compete with others in order to drive sales and financial security. Trial and error is part of putting yourself out there to learn the ropes of commerce and good or bad decision making.

In the art studios where I work, I often time go around and see what other artists have done to make more affordable art and the decisions they have made have been surprising.

They are divided into the following groups:

  • HARDCORE artisans: do what they want and try to dictate their style, color and format to their public with a take it or leave it attitude.
  • Wannabe Artisans: makers of an mediocre work and worst of all make bad decisions of art reproduction that has its limits on taste, quality or style. This is a growing group of middle-road artists that are trying to compete with many online stores and chains that have made sketchy choices on how to reproduce their art relying on online vendors to cheaply reproduce their work on phone case,mugs, etc.etc.etc.
  • Freestyle Artisans: Those selected few that have done their research online, in their workplace, to scout out what competitors do, at what price point? and at what quality level. Artisans that know who they compete with, and who are willing to compromise in order to stay competitive…..

Which group are you part of ?

Simple question but hard to answer depending on your artistic medium.

Economically, these are hard times, I do not think that we will see the glory days of the 60’s- 90’s ever again. With the costs to make art, the prices of materials, rents, technical assistance, can we make something that will not leave us in debt? A question we all need to ask ourselves as we create and when we consider the price of our artistic products.

Sorry, this blog seems to stir up a lot of questions, and does not provide a lot of answers, we must all ponder in thought to come to what is the right conclusions for our work.

Think about these points and reflect.

Art for Art’s sake seems to take on a whole different meaning in these times. With all the political and social unrest, I see that the ability to create and defy is greater than ever. The art that is coming out of these times is quite inspiring to me, with a strong sense of purpose to creatively produce as a way to speak out about our world now, what we want and do not tolerate. An artistic approach to protest,resist and ridicule…..

I am stirring up a lot of thoughts to encourage all of us as an artistic community to speak through our work and hope that the questions that are put forth in this blog have given you all some food for thought….

Sage Advice to Inspire and Create

I spoke to a young couple, today, in my studio, that asked various information about the place where I work and possibilities and manner of jurying and residency programs and other possibilities in the Industry. This conversation, I have many times with many visitors, where for the most part are sincere but, sometimes all too often, I hear that phrase,“Oh I can do that!”. It comes with the territory, when work in front of the public. It is a fact, that with the advancement of technology. There are a lot of people, that think that they can do the same things that many artist do because of DIY videos, and other platforms for digital storyboards and workshops. That they can do the job that I have chosen to do.

It is part of the problem with all the mediocre stuff out there, today. There are many that are tech-sauvy individuals, but because of technology, there is new majority of a growing groups of crafters, weekend-artists and Yes, frustrated people that need an outlet to their creativity.

Well, those of you out there that pertain to any of these group, take the following advice:

  1. Seek out the information from those(artists) in your line of creativity and speak to them about how they got where they are Today.
  2. Learn that the business of art has changed and always continues to evolves.
  3. Participate in a series of workshops, residencies and Jury processes to know what is expected of you and what is thought about your creative expression. 
  4. Put your ego and thin skin on HOLD, and listen to constructive criticism of your work, and learn to work on how to make it better, more up-to-date, or sometimes, change of directions.
  5. With the business of Art, there’s a lot of sacrifice and work to make ends meet,  just to be able to create, sometimes for no financial rewards.
  6. Most Important, Be honest with your skills and capacity as a creative individual. There will always be someone out there, that will be better than you. Concentrate on the aspects that you are lacking to grow into a well-rounded creative spirit.

A more, well-rounded artist/business-minded person has to be aware that the mores of the art world and the art/business worlds are vastly different. You can have an online store. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can sell.

Brutal Honesty with yourself and your capacity will be the only way to know if you’ve got what it takes.

I try to encourage as many people seeking this sage advice, and frankly, I know, because I have been down this road. With odd jobs, teaching, and other gigs in order to do what it takes. And, it has taken me this far that I can write about it and share the advice and experience.

There are “many” that just talk , but few that will choose this difficult path of the artist. It ,depends on your perspective, different points of views, open-ness to criticism and focus most of all. Many want my job, because they think its cool…. Try it, and learn that it isn’t as easy as it might seem…..

We as artists need to inspire the curious, respect the creative forces out there, in order to, become a Creative Force of Creators and Community. Think about it and let me know what you think.

 

(above) A cropped version of my best selling postcard and a marketing tool to know what people are attracted to and what they think about my creative expression. Till my next entry…..

New start, New Year, New Direction

It has been quite a busy and industrious past year and I am glad to say that It is over. Today is the first time that I have spent away from the studio and cleaned and begun to organize my home studio space.

At the end of each year, after the shows and sales of the holiday season I always take a look at the amount of chaos and clutter that I have left untouched since the beginning of the holidays. It is amazing to me, how much we collect in the form of clutter and useless objects that we think we are going to use, and yet I have accumulated piles of empty boxes and left things at home in heaps of “I will deal with this later” and finally I dedicated one entire rainy day to stay home and sort, clean and organize my home studio for the upcoming year.

At the start of each creative Year, I begin to assess what of my work was successful and the others that were not. As artists we are our own worst enemy and being critical of our own creative output is vital to know the real distinction between what is popular and what we personally like to create. My aim, as I did the cleaning today, was to see what, in my mind, is profitable and what needs to be tweaked or entirely eliminated. This, in order to move forward in one or more directions. Too many artists like to stroke their egos by continuing on the same line that they have always done and do not put any or little energy in how to continue with their work in order to satisfy their patrons and followers. Patrons and followers will not continue to to buy the work if it is always the same and will look for other artists who are willing to  bring new inspiration to their work by means of format, evolution of style and naturally PRICE. I frequently ask, when I view other artists work if they sell well. When they reply “no”, and continue to make the same type of art to continue not to sell, this puzzles me about the lack of perspective.

In a time, when the change in the air politically and socially. We as artist, need to focus on this change of events to bring out other sides of our creative selves.  Do not hesitate to create something dramatically diverse from what you have always done. It  is more important to face the challenge and change your work, but more importantly see and hear the reaction to this new direction from others. We, as creative spirits, are at the mercy of our patrons, followers and new clients in order to pay for our artistic strife. Life of an artist is difficult,to be continually  inspired in order to create. Especially in a time like this, where there is so much unrest and tension in the air of the things that will come.

In another blog entry “The Dark Series” my mood was too create darker images and versions of my work and have to say that I was able to channel my frustrations into something that was accepted with great enthusiasm and more importantly, GREAT sales.

As this year starts, I am planning to use the successes and failures of the last year in order to move forward and I have chosen some quite radical forms of artistic expression for 2017. I hope that you will continue to follow me and I hope that all of you will be able to choose your roads to creativity and be happy with your decisions.

#torpedofactory #delrayartisans #The_Horny_Potter