I really want to discuss blogging after so many comments to my blog which helps others follow me, 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,artists or normal people that just want to be inspired:
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.
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.
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 something true and deep, it’s more about creating and audience
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 BLOGO-sphere.
I am trying to answer many of you that feel that what I am writing is inspiring others to do the same. This is my aim, we need more creative minds out there with other ways of thinking and doing. To inspire as an artistic communities, 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. Think about it! that’s all this blog entry is starting to become to long for my tastes… later all..
It is hard to understand the amount of discipline to both sell and produce your art in a commercial surroundings and whether the constant flip-flop between sales and client following can inhibit the concentration levels in your work. I am finding that in my first month of residency in a quieter studio , something that I now miss, it was easier to create and concentrate on my creative process and production of my work, in the second month of my residency, in a studio with more foot traffic and more sales I suffer with having to have a more disciplined level of concentration when working on my creative production. With a series of continuous interruptions stop and go btw customer’s questions and feeling like a monkey in a circus and perform for the visiting audience. stricter discipline in concentration has helped me to overcome when to focus and when to stop and follow sales. I think that this a problem of many artists as the come to grips with selling our work in a work/sell environment. multi-tasking has become the norm for many creative people who work in this style of environment and even though it is a challenge and quite different to a space with less foot traffic, it is important to discipline one self to pick and choose when to turn on or off the creative juices, in order to make a sale. The decision depends on the individual. There are times to close your studio door to deter you from distractions and customers who are really determined and attracted to your work will enter your space nonetheless. this has been my experience so far during my second month of my residency. Creative focus is something that has to be learned slowly, learning to zone out all around you, in order to concentrate on your creative process and learn to zone in when necessary. Eventually, you will learn that there are various grade of concentration and not only one level. Those who like to observe the artist at work will understand the nature of your work and will either observe and admire or admire then buy…..
Needless to say, the picture above shows the t-shirt created at the hands-on workshop that the visiting artists at the torpedo factory auto-produced . After a leansubmission of images, the image chosen was the one that i had designed. a rat called the VAP RAT with a bit of ironic humor for an image that represented the visiting artists in the building. this project was brainstormed to create awareness and visibility for the visiting artists in the art center as they worked and the hands-on process of working together to produce a piece of wearable creativity as a keepsake of our residency at the torpedo factory art center. many artists may disagree about making and selling printable art or reproductions of their work. It is not for everyone but it is a vital marketing tool that can be used to show your work on the street , in the studio or at the office. like it or not, we would all prefer to sell our hand made creations but sometimes we need to fill a market request of affordable art for sale with certain consumer groups in mind especially in the summer season. Though this tee shirt was produced with the help of the other artists for the artists. The attention drawn to the hands–on event in it self drew interest of the public and further interest in the t-shirt and asked if it was available for purchase. with the help of one of the fellow artists, steve prince ( http://www.onefishstudio.com ) we are developing a piece of saleable art in limited addition of t-shirts to answer the requests for the shirts by clients and the public.
Last week a customer sent me a picture of my ceramics in her new home and I would like to share it with all of you. Thank you charlotte, and your lovely family for patronizing an artist while on your vacation in the united states. this is a segment from my old blog d-drawn.com blog which you will be accustomed to; posting pictures of my work from my clients and followers as they are sent to me. To see how my ceramic creations are placed in homes around the world and how they are used in their daily lives. I think that it is increasingly important to be able to understand how your pieces are placed and cherished in different environments. Those who can understand your aesthetic and creative thoughts also, how they are placed and collected. It gives me pleasure that my pieces are set among the MCM furniture and how they are mixed with the other pieces of artwork in a home. Understanding the way people see your work in their homes is a way of sharing a common need . A similar vision for your artwork in the homes of others. many might use them daily as a teacup or dish for their daily consumption of food . Yet, others may display them as a trophy of sorts among the eclectic mixes of handmade artisan creations as food for thought and inspiration of a certain place, voyage or remnants of the past. We are all collectors of keepsakes and these pictures are to share with you to ask you: where do you see the things that you create?
I know that it has been some time since my last posting and a lot of things have been happening since my summer residency at the Torpedo Factory Art Center (http://torpedofactory.org). The most important fact was that after the residency program ended, I needed to cocoon a bit and take the time to work in my new space organizing my studio and home life which I sort of put off on the back burner during my residency. I am cocooning in a new space which is close to the place where I teach classes and trying to get the feel of the new space. The most challenging aspect of the new space is that it is completely with internet and I have had to make many adjustments to learning how to work within a space where the web is not as accessible, besides the smartphone to receive emails or write blogs until now. Finally, after some time I have found a way to utilize the web and wifi when at work or in the cafes of the area . Being in seclusion of living and working at home (cocooning) withOUT the web is sort of refreshing and takes me back to the days when technology didn’t have such a hold on the artist’s mind and we could focus on the creativity from within without regards to what happened on the world wide web. Now there are many new ways to visualize your artistic endeavors through social media. I guess you could consider me “old school” where i like to keep a delicate balance between the artistic side of my work and the use of modern technology to promote it. I have been doing a couple of shows and working on some new project both online and off. welcome me back to the web world of bloggers and artists at heart. Sometime, we need to step back and cocoon a bit to understand what is really important to us, before continuing on the road or direction which we have chosen. I am getting back into the groove of posting more often…..
After the end of my visiting artist residency at the torpedo factory art center , I thought that it was important to talk about the importance of display simplicity and design when putting your work into a retail style environment for art and hand made items and products. (above) are two photos of my work to demonstrate the importance of artist to learn how to properly display their creative products and artistic endeavors for potential clients and customers to be able to focus on the work proposed by a zen style philosophy of “less is more” concept of display. In this fast paced techno world of supply and demand there are key factors to consider.let the customer focus on the art and let them visually be able to understand the products before them. small signage helps understand the techniques of construction and explanation of the items on display. The DIY eye sometimes is timid to ask prices and prefers to explore the range of artistic works by themselves and price points of affordability. It is always up to the consumer to decide what he/she can afford at a certain time and relies sometimes on the advice of the artist to help them decide by explaining the concepts of creation behind the work. It has been my experience in these two months of retail sales of my own work that customers and admirers sometimes are less willing to spend if pressured and ask what is behind the design or source of inspiration, helps the customer feel more included in the creative process. Life is full of choices especially when buying art and the creator needs to relax and be confident of their work and observe which pieces attract different target groups of consumers from other artists or tourists on vacation to serious art lovers to shopaholics… The world of art is sometimes a place where people who do not have that artistic inclination feel closer to understand the ideology behind each artist and in a small way help them support the arts by simply buying pieces created by you or other artists. Think about a range that meets the price points of diverse target groups of consumers and try to provide something for everyone. this helps attract a diverse following of followers and admirers. At least this has been my experience at selling and creating my work at the torpedo factory art center as a visiting artist.
Every now and then, when I feel a lack of inspiration with for the things that i do with my ceramics, I shift mediums and concentrate on a different medium ,in this case : sewing , which has a whole different set of restrictions and rules to follow and to continue on a project that is a never ending, ongoing adventure that I started on a whim. An Italian friend and skipper asked me to come up with an idea for the sails of his sailboat when they were changed and in state of dis-use. the” second sail project” was born . A little over 3 years ago and has been continuing ever since. (above) is a picture of a new sail acquired from a fellow artist that i unwrapped and slowly started to cut up and make a new series of useful up-cycled materials,sails and other nylons and straps used on boats and in shipping. the concept was a series of guy-inspired accessories that were durable and hand made. I have started a series of tote bags and shoppers and some new smaller accessories with a maritime style with the use of these nautical materials. this project is very close to my heart trying to reduce my carbon footprint and up-cycle as much as possible to make new products that can sustain the wind ,rain and wear and tear of my lugging around everything from artist materials to my weekly groceries. Art does not always have to be ONLY creative but sometimes can be functional. Products used everyday making me feel good about myself by sharing a concept of up-cycling products that are no longer used for their primary purposes. By re-inventing new ways to use all the materials and make them into new still-useful things for our common day to day existence. (below) Is a picture of the 35ft sail that I cut apart on the floor which had the biggest amount of space to lay out and decide the piece of choice material.
On some occasions, there are times when some of my artist friends call on me for help on installations and set ups in diverse spaces and galleries such as the one above at the O on H Street gallery in DC where I helped install a painter friend of mine and studio partner, Marsha Staiger’s work for an upcoming collaborative show, in this recently renovated space in a new and upcoming part of the District of Columbia .
It is important to be able to collaborate and hang shows with other artists to assist them with another set of eyes to make sure artwork is properly represented in different environments and spaces it increases a stronger sense of an Artist Community. Hoping that it will inspire each creative person to open themselves up to the opportunities to do set up and help other artists hang shows even if your experience is limited. In this way, you can discover the diverse venues and spaces where art is shown and meet other artists normally outside of your network. Artistic expression is diverse as the artists that create them. Meeting other artists helps broaden the artistic network from gallery and business owners to artists and art lovers. We sometime do not know if all locations and spaces that we look at are the right fit for our work, through the networking system between artists and primarily through word of mouth. You can open the horizons to places and contacts to show your work or at least come in contact with another part of the creative art market and the individuals that run them.
New venues sometimes have technical restrictions set into them like the work which we hung (above) , the restriction was that nothing could be nailed to the walls and the use of the hanging system had to be used for all pieces in the show. how we see our in different spaces sometimes has to be modified to fit in the technical requirements of a show. While at the gallery , I was able to meet a couple of the other artists as well as the show organizer of the upcoming show .
The space is fantastic. Just another place and space to put in my address book for future reference. Be open to giving yourself new opportunities to meet and discover places where your work can be shown. Increasing the eye traffic on your art and learning those that run the galleries to help promote art in your neighborhood.
Sometimes when decorating a piece and not really in the mood , or the hand just isn’t right I sit back and imagine if the piece i am making is something that I would keep and not sell and this gets me into my o.c.d. mode of obsessive compulsive drawing and decorating on pieces which I would otherwise put aside. I imagine that it is better to over work and decorate a pieces with details that I can only see that maybe others might not really pay attention to. Details sometime, so minute and meticulous , that my eyes get tired and I have to take a walk away from the piece to re-focus and rest for a few minutes. Case in point, is the photo of the teapot which I am working on (above). My main intent was for it to be a show stopper and make patrons and potters alike, look at it and be in awe of the amount of detail work going into this piece. my creative O.C.D. helps me bring out the best of efforts for my creative endeavors and make my following realize that yes, I actually paint these piece one by one and no, I do not make many of them, in the standards of other potters, but my aim is to give a higher quality of works of illustration and handmade ceramics fusion of creative energy that sets my work apart from the rest. I often find myself in asking a price per minute for these endeavors and know that this is a continual and constant thought in the minds of creative souls. What is all this work worth? Does the price point of a piece constitute the mores of working and maintaining ourselves from our art…… Profound thought on ideals and where we see ourselves in the niche of creatives at home, online, in galleries, here and abroad…..Questions that I still ponder and cannot answer….. I know that there is a magnitude of mediocre everywhere and that the local artisans strive to make an imprint on the market by differentiating from many brands produced abroad mostly (PRC) which now seem all the same and undistinguished or ordinary from the mass market. My creative o.c.d.-ing will set apart from the pack of mediocre and strive the main point of my ceramics and illustrations: work that is well made by my hands and o.c.d.-ed by my decorating skills to leave a strong reminder that yes , there are some of us out there can stand by the quality of our work and command the prices we want in order to continue to recreate….. What’s you view on this topic? Where do you see yourself fitting in?
Every now and then the need to diversify your product and step out of the box of my comfort zone to use a ceramic technique of firing to make new products that help attract new customers to my following. Pictured (above) is a client’s necklace which I just finished hand knotting and posted on my blog to give her the heads up that the item in question is ready for pick-up. Potters and artisans alike some times get comfortable into to a certain way of producing wares and sometimes the “focus” can be a bit narrow. After years of making wares for home accessories, I decided to branch out and try my hand at hand made jewelry. Same clay and materials but a new set of rules to follow and respect when making wearable art. My focus was more minute in detail , though some of the motifs are the same. I found that working on small pieces like beads was the same amount of work as decorating a small bowl or square dish. Happily after endless times of trails and errors I have gotten it down to a science where I can produce small amounts of beads to supply myself with a decent amount to mount 3-4 necklaces at a time. In the end we must challenge our capacity and creative endeavor to try and fail in order to master the various techniques of ceramics and explore new markets for wearable art. Sometimes our efforts do not come to the ideal that we have set in our minds, as to what we would like to accomplish. Trying and getting closer to” that “ideal will help each one of us master our craft whatever the medium. Too many times artists like to stick with what they know best and I feel that there is no growth in exploration of materials and technique. We as artists need to step it up and learn the craft from classes and workshops and books and the web, then tweak and turn the techniques on their heads so we can see all the possibilities that are out there for personal satisfaction in what we create. It depends on the personality of an artist… Many prefer to remain safe in the things that they produce and have no foresight into how to keep repeat customers and art advocates involved and interested with new products that are not only mugs, cups bowls and vases. I prefer to keep my customers and followers guessing…. It is a way to keep you audience engaged in your creative process.and always has them coming back for more……..