the Sound of Online Silence

pen&ink drawing "pullman 90"

Sorry to all for the long silence from my blog for the last several months but have had to deal with a lot of my family issues which have kept me from having a clear mind to sit down and write to all of my followers. My Instagram has been getting more dedicated time as I try and deal with work,getting my mindset back into a proper mode to work on the many aspects of the business both online and off.

As I use my state of mind, the emotions to drive my work ,I sometimes feel that as if all is growing a bit too fast and my mind is split in more directions than before. Yes, media presence is growing to be more important with our creative process, but too many spend their energies in this direction and less in a more creative sense of artistic development of style, product and imagery to help expand our horizons and business…

For myself, I have decided to sit back and place only essential information and inspiration on my blog to those of you that follow and use the visual imagery of Instagram (@the_horny_potter) to fulfill the day to day updates of what I am working on at the moment.

As the holidays near,and commissions continue to be knocked out one after the other, I am fortunate to say that my following has grown and sales have been good. I am concentrating on making new prototypes, and using new materials to keep my followers interested in what I do and continue to inspire the followers with new products at an affordable price. Prices has gone up due to increase in shipping and gas prices so my prices out of consequence have risen slightly.

My aim is to make affordable handmade items for what I deem is affordable price. I am going back into my illustrations in black and white (see image above) to make original small format pieces for the holidays. My apprehension in making reproductions has kept me on the fence for too long. I see, as many of my fellow artisans have chosen to follow the reproduction route, that after a while this is all that they sell and the originals remain in their studios or stores. I have decided that artistic integrity and original art is: my road to follow. And will pursue this route of original art work though it is more difficult road to follow. We all want to inspire and have our work bought and hung in the home or studios of our followers, I hope to  concentrate a smaller group of artistic followers that crave original art versus artistic” reproductions”. Less sales maybe from the start ,but I am able to attract a group of individuals where original art and handmade is important aspect to their creative choices.

This is the road that I have chosen and maybe not for everyone,To each is own,we all are different and based on what we create and the affordability of our creative efforts need to make decisions are best for our business . All for now, sorry once again that it has been to long since my last entry……

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

Holiday Open House and Del Ray Artisans show 2016

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Just a quick shout out to all of my followers,even though it is late notice I would like to invite everyone to my annual Holiday  show from December 16th( Friday evening) until December 18th (Sunday evening) at the Del Ray Artisan Gallery in Historic Del Ray, Alexandria. For more information please click the following link: http://delrayartisans.org/event/holiday-market-2016/ to see dates,times and other information for the show.

This is a small show that I participate each year where local artists make and sell their art. I have been a member of this organization for a couple of years now and believe it is important to sell LOCALLY and have the support of your community. Making everyone aware of what you do and to exchange ideas and information with other artisans to be able to make the artistic community stronger and where the local community has the possibility support us during the holiday season. I hope that you will all come out and support your local artists where ever they may be. Most artists will tell you, that it is not easy to put yourself out there , but necessary to stimulate new ideas and learn the ropes of artistic commerce.

Some, are better than others, but it is important to participate and take in the feedback from your followers, patrons and other artists in order to move forward with your craft or even change direction.

(Above) is a picture of my shared studio where the opening was last week. Sorry ,that I have only posted it now, but since the Thanksgiving weekend, myself and my studio partner have been preparing and cleaning the studio so that it was presentable for our studio open house. Hope you will all come out and visit me either at the holiday show in Del Ray or at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in studio #332

The Dark Series

 

black on black rake box

Since my last post, I have been immersed in a busy teaching schedule, one of the side lines of work to help keep me in touch with others to inspire and stimulate so each one of those individuals may learn a bit more and start to create a part of their lives whether they draw,sew or throw ceramics or what ever they puts their minds to.

It is important to stimulate the soul sometimes, especially times like these, when it is better to leave the technology behind for a while and concentrate on a creative task to learn  something and use our emotions to help create. In other words, Turn your emotions into artistic expression. This is the catalyst for the work that I am doing now for A Holiday Season show. I am more content to slave away in my studio after hours to create something that has been drawn out of my emotions : a dark and black on black series of new works to express my feelings of late.

I do not know where this desire came from, but I am trying to channel the energy to work in a bit of a different direction. Less of what is expected of me…. where the making and creating is gratification enough, made a couple of prototypes of things that i have in the works, and some patrons came and bought them right away. Good sign in these trying times.

In my new space, I have met many interesting people and patrons and hope that this surprising twist to my work might take some people by surprise. Dark and a bit daring, to fit my mood which lately has been very dark and moody…

Stay tuned for new Works from the DARK Series for the Holidays…

Blogging in these days and times

studio-332-3

I really want to discuss blogging after so many comments on my blog. In order to help others understand what I do, in my daily life of an artisan. After much reflection,these are the points that I find vital to a good blog, and increasing the number of followers may they be fellow bloggers,fellow artists or normal people that just want to be inspired:

  1. Be concise and to the point. So many blogs out there tend to be long and drawn out trying to cram a lot of information in a short or long entry….No drama or storytelling. Get your point across with the lowest word count possible. In these digital days, people are continually flipping from one thing to another and the problem with so much information. There is a growing lack of FOCUS. I switch to another blog due to too many words..BORING , to much BS out there that I do not need to look for it on the web.
  2. Try to inspire the creativity in others. Be humble and honest in your views but make your point. You do not need to convince everyone, but most of all you must convince yourself in relaying your message to others, whether they agree or not. BE YOURSELF when you write.
  3. If  you cannot say something nice, do not blog about it. Projecting a positive image of your creative process will bring you a positive following of like minded people. It’s about Karma, good writing and good vibes attract good people. One of the elements of blogging was to explain,in few words, what you’ve been up to…..There are many other platforms out there where you can vent your anger or frustration or opinions….Lately, there seem to be too many #twitter-twats and #blog-hogs that are trying to become personalities and reality stars than really saying anything, it’s more about creating and audience. Warhol’s 20 minutes of fame… You get my drift….
  4. This is a answer to a question that I am asked over and over again. I am a part-time blogger, I blog about my process and how I interact with the public, art lovers and patrons and possible followers. I do not do it full time, because I have enough to do when creating my art. I do not need other writers or interns to help me do this part of my business, I blog when I want or need to say something to all of  you that are waiting for my next entry in this online generation of creative processes.

I thank all of you that feel that what I am writing is inspiring .

My hope is that others will do the same.

This is my aim, we need more creative minds out there with different ways of thinking and doing.

To inspire as an Artistic Community, each with their own message and hoping that through the millions of blogs that are out there on the web; A community of the Creative Class will grow to inspire others in what we do and how we write about it.

Think about these points and the word that I have written, How do you think you can help our artistic community grow? THINK then WRITE…..all for now. Namaste

Product Development and Variations of Techniques

 

underglazed beads

Hey there once again..

Been a while as I have been plowing away at my studio and working on some new directions with my Ceramics. August is here, and it seems that everyone except me is on vacation as visits to the studio have been few and given me the opportunity to explore new directions with the work at hand, to develop new ideas and push the boundaries of the usual techniques that I implement in my work. (Above) you can see a picture of my hand decorated beads which I spent over a day just decorating and glazing. Meticulous and detailed oriented as I am, I sometimes regret that taking my art in the direction of wearable art might, not have been such a good idea , due to the time spent painting tiny spheres to transform them into jewelry takes a lot of time, work and focus. It is sometime easier to decorate a large object than a small one. WHY? you ask? Sales is the answer. I have sold my hand painted jewelry and continue to make more due to the laws of Supply & Demand.

GIVE the consumer or Art Lover what they are asking for…..

In the same vain, I am working at the moment with a wood turner and trying my hand at high-fire firings with some other potter friends. WHY? Curiosity mostly, but also to push my work into different areas of research to try the products out on the public, to see their reaction as new ways to generate sales.

For Art lovers, there comes a time that as an Artisan you need to provide new work in a new direction to continue to generate interest in your creative energy. Many times, too many times. I see fellow artists fall into the trap of  ‘boxing themselves in to a corner’ because they think that they will continue to sell what they have always sold.WRONG!

Changing out techniques and diverse styles challenges ones self to “test the market” and to see the direct response from fellow artists, the public and a new groups of consumer/art lovers.Forcing yourself to test a certain direction,or newer type of products must be observed first hand to understand what attracts the consumers. One can never fully understand why things are are attractive to different groups or cultures of the consumer market. Our aim as artistic souls is to provide a diverse line of creative expression that can attract different consumer groups to expand our following.

Believe me it works. I have a couple of pieces that I have done for and International Cup Show and people see it and want to buy it….

It is up to you to switch out materials and techniques once in a while to keep your creativity  interesting.

DO NOT GIVE THE PUBLIC what they expect. Sales are increased when, there is a bit of variety and might attract a whole different set of art enthusiasts. Take it from me, who is use to playing monkey in a cage in front of the public. Customers return for the things that they know they can get from you. But do not limit yourself to the usual. Consumers crave to find something new from an artist that they follow. Never limit your creativity, it has no boundaries. You set boundaries on yourself when you become too comfortable with a certain form of creative expression or easy income or just plain lazy to push yourself to the next level or out of the usual box.

Stay tuned for my new T-shirt designs that will be ready shortly and I will post the new design when they are ready for sale….. All for now.

A Room with a VIEW

studio316

As I promised, here are a couple of pics of my Summer sublet space Studio #316 at the Torpedo Factory Art Center on the Third floor right across from the elevators. Great natural light and a bit off the beaten path in the Art Center so I can get some of my work done. I am learning to pull down the shades to be able to get my work done. When procrastination sets in I open the shades and look out onto the marina…..see photo below.

studio view

Please come and explore my work and the Torpedo Factory Art Center

Torpedo Factory Art Center

105 North Union Street studio #316

Alexandria,Virginia 22314

studio hours: Thursdays,Saturday,Sundays,Mondays 11-6

or by Appointment write me at: marcel@d-drawn.com

summer sublet at the Torpedo Factory Art Center

still life blog pic2

Hey everyone! sorry that it has been a while since my last blog entry but been busy at moving and preparing for a summer sublet at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in studio #316 that I will share a studio space with a brilliant Glass Artist, Lea Topping. Her space is quiet and with a magnificent view which doesn’t help me concentrate on my work but has wonderful natural light.

Along with other artists that were juried into the Art Center this year in 2016, Catherine Hancher, Michael Fischerkeller, Naomi Christianson and I hope that the our summer stint will help build a followings for our artistic endeavors. My hours will be Friday to Monday for the most part and I am working hard on making the studio my temporary work space for the summer.

(Above) is a picture of some of my larger works that helped get juried into the Art Center along with a couple of private pieces that I kept for my private collection. On the backdrop is an old collage of work done during my years of fashion. The tones work well with my work and like the overall composition of the collage.

A lot has been going on since my last entry, and have been mainly been collaborating with another artisan on a new ceramic project and upcoming show. Will post more pictures and my work progress from the studio in future blog entries, I promise to try to be better at blogging more during this summer to show some of my work processes and new ideas that I will be working on.

Come and visit me and check out my space:

Torpedo Factory Art Center http://torpedofactory.org/?gclid=CMzZr5vw2c0CFZRahgodoSAOeQ

105 North Union Street studio#316

Friday- Monday from 11-6 pm

for appointments please email me at marcel@d-drawn.com