Friday, May 27, 2011

Now what?

Source: Keri Smith

  So you may be wondering how I plan to get out of the funk I can't seem to shake surrounding my art and Etsy shop. Well I'm always big on plans and I've started an epic one that I hope I can maintain and find useful. I've taken on the task of doing "The Artist's Way" 12-week course. This is something I've thought about doing for years and haven't done. I was always used the excuse that it was always being borrowed at the library. The truth is that I've always been afraid to do it.

I was talking to a friend of mine and I mentioned that I might close my shop and maybe do this course. Of course the said friend, who is also an artist, had the book and said she would lend it to me. I had forgotten that years previously she said she was doing the book and was finding it very helpful to overcome her fears and anxieties about being an artist. "It will break you but it will be so worth it". I've been lucky to see first-hand how confronting your own thoughts and insecurities can help you grow as a person . The friend I'm talking about is Danielle Krysa who writes the fantastic and inspirational blog The Jealous Curator. This blog began as a way for Danielle to get past her jealousy of other artist's and their abilities and really talk about them in a way of admiration and inspiration. If you haven't seen the blog yet you should. Danielle talks with such an authentic voice and finds such amazing artists that the blog has taken off like wild-fire. She's gone from feeling "not good enough" to loving her day and the ability she has to make some other art lover's day.
Danielle has seen me a couple times with tears in my eyes about my frustration around not yet "succeeding" as an artist and she is always compassionate. I'm lucky to have her there as someone who understands that my soul goes into my art and it doesn't feel like it's being acknowledged. I KNOW that she knows what that's like.  Thanks so much Danielle. : )
Can I count this as one of my Artist Way thank-you letters to one of my Champions? Please do.
So far I've been able to keep up with the course. I'll write here about every once in a while to let you know what it's been like for me. Have you done the course? Did you find it helpful?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Why I've decided to close up shop

A little under three years ago I was just getting back into the studio after having my second child. I was just getting back into creating when I heard about Etsy and thought that by promoting and controlling the sales of my work without the help of a gallery that I might just be able to find my path to my true livelihood. My work doesn't fit into the typical gallery genre in Vancouver so I thought if I broadened my scope to world-wide that surely I would find a market for my work. Thanks to my online exposure I've been able to reach a much bigger audience than ever before. For several years now I've been promoting, marketing, connecting and learning as much as I can to forge a career as an online artist. It's been a great learning experience and I'm pretty proud of the amount I've accomplished.

Here's the catch.....I have found that I have a real problem with selling my artwork, or rather NOT selling my artwork and feeling as though that's a reflection of my self-worth. I struggle with any large dips in sales and wonder if there is something wrong with me as a person. I know this kind of sounds silly but it still happens to me. Because I have wanted to be an artist for so long and have felt that being creative is really where my talents are, I get down on myself when I feel no one is willing to pay me for those talents. I can get paid (minimally) for baking and for serving diners or working at a bookstore but I almost always pay to create and share my artwork. "Do what you love and the money will follow" still hasn't happened for me. I think it's following a bit too far behind and my persistence and optimism is being drained. I know that I can't give up creating (I've tried several times before) but I think I need to release the pressure to sell my creations as a livelihood. I need to find a way to make a living creatively AND happily.

I will be closing my shop starting June 1 for an indefinite amount of time so that I can really examine what I need in my life, what I need to be happy. I will still be blogging and tweeting because I've found my online friends, you, to be a great source of encouragement and inspiration. I do hope you keep checking and sharing your ideas with me. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts and how you've dealt with any money versus creativity issues. Am I the only one?

Dundarave 40th Anniversary Show

I almost forgot to tell everyone about Dundarave 40th Anniversary  Show that is going up soon. I printed at this co-operative shop after graduation until I got my own printing press.
This was a juried show of current and past members and it will display a great range of printmaking techniques to be sure. If you're down to Granville Island make a point of going into the gallery across from the market, in the Net Loft and take a peek.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Local Showings

Just thought I'd let let you guys know that I'm currently showing works in a couple places right now. I have one series of landscapes and moon images hung up at the Terry Fox Library in Port Coquitlam. If you're that far into the 'burbs you take a look and take out a book.

My second show is hung in the Upper Rotunda of the Richmond Brighouse Library. This new series is all about mushrooms and I taken the theme and explored it in a variety of ways. I really enjoyed creating the works for this show because I gave myself permission to experiment and learn things that I had been putting off for ages.

If you happen to be in the downtown Richmond area, take a look and you'll see monotypes, watercolors,photography, digital painting, encaustics and linocuts all inter-mixed. I haven't yet properly documented this work but once it comes down I will and I will start adding the pieces to my shop. As always, these pieces have spurred some new ideas. If only my studio time were more often.

Friday, May 6, 2011

I have an addiction and I need your help

I have an addiction. I have a constant need to create and I become lost and sullen when I feel like my habit might be threatened. I'm my happiest when I'm in my studio discovering some new technique or idea. I become consumed and the need to create grows more. Unfortunately this constant thirst to create makes it so that I have produced work faster than I can sell it. My print drawers are overflowing and my art supplies are taking up more and more floor space. I have told myself that I mustn't try any new artistic techniques in case I get hooked and insist on getting more supplies and tools. I've already broken my promise with encaustic painting and polymer clay.

Although I've given plenty of my work away for free, I'm thinking that I would like to donate a substantial amount more. I need to find good homes for my work and I need the space to create more. This is where I was wondering if you could help me in my quest. I'm looking to give away some of my larger pieces, particularly my monotypes, to reputable and worthy charities for fundraising or simply display. Do you know of any organiztation who puts a call out for an artists talent? Do you have a favorite charity yourself? Is your local hospital needing something visually stimulating on their walls?

I'm willing to give some of my work away as long as the donation fits a few specific criteria. I don't mind submitting to a jury process but I can't afford an application fee. I would be, however, willing to take on the responsibility of financing shipping and insurance of a piece. Although I love to do theme specific artwork I am looking to donate solely from my current stock. As a final wish, I would prefer my pieces to be displayed in a public space for some period of time. I want my work to be enjoyed and as relevant to someone else as it is to me.

What do you think of my idea? Have you got a few ideas of your own? I would love to hear them.