Call for Entries and The Digital Divide

I thought That I would write to you all about something that has been currently occupying my time as of late, Calls for Entries and other submissions to Regional and National competitions where there is the opportunities to see where we all are in the life of Creative Souls and what the reactions is to the our work that we put out for artist calls for entry.

Not just in you neighborhood or local places but reaching out , to new venues that are done through the calls for submission of work, based on a specialized theme and the possibilities of getting into a group or solo shows that is not on your home turf…

As many galleries and creative venues are beginning to open and the hope that a return of a “New Normal” ,the various Art Spaces are having events to attract back the crowd that disappeared during the Covid Lockdowndue to restrictions. During that time, under the COVID lockdown, I focused my thoughts and energy more to the online reality and promised myself to apply to at least 3 calls during the year, regardless whether I get accepted or not.

It is really important that we all discipline ourselves to put our work out there and see how we measure up to the rest of the art communities. Depending on your medium, there are a lot of sites out there that are dedicated to the open calls, the fees, the image formats and how things need to be named and size restriction. and shipping back and forth, commissions taken by the organizations and the list goes on and on…..

We as Creatives need to grow a thick skin and put ourselves out there with the best. Painters, Fiber Artist or Potter/Illustrator like myself. The challenge of wading into” the unknown” is frightening and exciting at the same time. For those of you that are not exactly tech savvy, this is the opportunity to better your skills to the practical sides of the creative process, and Learn to do it better than before. Take pictures , re-size images, pay the fees and read the fine print is actually an important part of the Creative process. I especially am speaking to the generation of mid-life artists that are not so tech oriented. For them and all of you I want to say that with the advancement in technology and the internet. THIS is now part of the game. Everything is done online and we all need to get accustomed to it as it will not go away. We need to change with the times and adapt and learn the new ways that Calls for Submissions are done now and not 20 years ago.

Knowing that many of the older artists and some newbies too, do not know what to do….I will give you an example .Case in point, working in front of the public, I encounter many “wannabe artists” that want to show me their work on their phones, sometimes it can be actually decent, but most times it is mediocre…. Not to be mean, but this represents a lot of wannabe artists that are in mid-life, and have no idea how these things are done in regards to getting their work out there, where to take classes, the venues etc…. This happens to me quite frequently and am amazed that some people regardless of age , have seemed to miss the boat about the internet, social media and how things are done in the real world, especially during COVID and the lockdowns The virtual reality became very important to us as it was our escape from isolation….. Still I see many that have missed the boat…. As an artist we all need to be informed and it is ALL out there at the reach of you smartphone.

Where are you in this moment?

How many artists calls have you done during the COVID lockdown?

How many virtual shows or gallery submissions have you done that are OUT of State and not local?

Do you have someone help you to do the technical things associated with an artist calls for submission?

Do you fear of being rejected from these calls, because you feel others are better, so you continue to do the same things you know and do only this every year?Or some other excuse?

TOUGH questions, I know but this is what is called “growing” and “growing a thick skin” which we all need to do when, we put ourselves out there. Never easy, always difficult and time to stop making excuses and get on board. Many of my fellow artists are great people, but they only want to do the things they know…The reality is that if you do not put yourself out there, you will never know of all the possibilities of new venues tops your work, or grow a bigger audience that is attracted to your work, followers and perspective clients…

Do yourself a favor, look in the mirror and be honest with yourself and see where you fall in the TOUGH questions above, and do something about it. My blogging is not here to nag you, but INSPIRE you about all the possibilities out there….

Until next time, peace out….

The Art of Pivoting in Times of Covid

As most of you can see, it has been some time since my last entry and I want to let you all know that I have been around and creating but ALL has changed with my business and creative process during these trying times of Covid-19 for all of us in the artist community. While off the grid and making and concentrating on the new ways to Pivot my work towards online platforms, I wanted to give some feedback to many of you in the same situations to learn to put yourself, and your work online in these uncertain times.

This might seem like another job but is extremely necessary for all of us to use our creative energy to make, design and produce work that is geared more towards the onset of working from home, studying and working online and the other virtual realities that BEFORE we didn’t seem vital to artist engagement and participating in show, fairs or other competition to put our work on display.

Now we find it necessary to update, websites, create online stores, participate in virtual shows and indirectly keep followers informed on what you are crafting, asking for support from the public to #buylocal and #supportlocalartists through social media and other online outlets where the online world can see what you have been up to. There are many people and organizations out there that have created ways to support the artist community in these times of Covid and many opportunities from to take advantage of where funds are available to artists and makers, that we should all explore and take into consideration.

“Pivoting ” your work and the ways you work is a game that not all artist feel comfortable with. But, as we are all in this battle against the pandemic and in for the long haul, this game now becomes essential. We all need to hone in our skills of participating online, selling online or engage online through social media and other platforms. The learning curve might be steep for some, but there are many DIY videos on YouTube or other platforms that help you understand the way to better your skill set.

Thankfully, most of my Social Media posting and interacting with followers has helped keep me afloat with commissions,(on a consistent level) from followers that want to support me and the arts community in general, and they do so through social media.

I have had to create an online shop, Linked to my social media account as sort of a look out point for my work for sale and a starting place that people can check out what i have to sell, pricepoints, shipping costs or booking appointments to come to my studio, if they want, or just to start a conversation of possible custom work….. While cocooning from home people are now investing in their home studios and work spaces, many are fortunate to be able to WFH(work from home) and our looking to make the cocoon a nicer place to work and dwell.

How do you change your work to adapt to the Pandemic? Inspire through social media how your art work can work into these environments, learn to profile your target customer and the their needs in order to generate work that can generate sales…. These are few thoughts that I want to leave you all with to ponder until I write again…Sorry again for the silence but 2020 was an atypical year for all of us. Be safe, Be kind and will be back to blogging on a little more regular basis now that it is a new year….

Social Conscience While Returning to the Studio

Been a bit since my last entry and as we are cautious getting back to work, I have spent many sleepless nights thinking and about what it means to getting back to work. Things will not be like they were before.I work in a studio that is open to the public where visitors can wander in and out of our studios as we work on our artisan crafts ,and even though we are ALL starting to go back to our workplaces,many of the other artists raise concerns about safety and measures to protect those of us, working with the Public.

There are many sectors that I am observing as the reopening go through the various phases, mask protection,hand sanitizers and deep cleaning of areas in and around our structure, but Alarmingly I still observe too many people on the streets without masks,even children that seem oblivious to the health concerns that effect all of us and it causes me to pause about opening up my studio to the general public.

I look for feedback from other artists that may, to some degree be in the same/similar situations.I know all to well that we all have taken a serious bit to our financial situations but also fear, like many the right balance between financial security and health risks while dealing with the public. Please give me your opinions on how you are starting up your businesses and what the precautions you are taking. In some way or another whether going back to the office, restaurants even drinks with friends are all now subject to new ways of getting together while remaining safe. Your opinions on this subject and I will be open to input or advice in how to structure the re-opening to my workspace as we weave in and out of the various Phases…Guys ,The “new normal” of doing things.

What will be the precautions are we going to take when our studios open up to the public, for our protection and the protection of those visitors and arts supporters. How do we implement these personal protection techniques to our business and studios?  A lot of questions to think about and ponder as the various Phases of re-opening  during this Pandemic.

Creativity &the New Normal

picture for online store

Since my last entry and still today , many artists and creative professionals have had to adapt to the closures of business due to this pandemic. It is essential at this time, that we continue to create and find other methods to move our work online which is slowly becoming the new norm. Our Creative Community is one of the many places that due to lock downs & social distancing, We have to use this time to alter our game plans of ways to create in our spaces,if possible, and find new platforms on which to participate to let your followers, public and patrons can Be aware that “Yes” we are still hear, and the online presence is more important than before.

I work in one of the few artist community where, due to the Pandemic, Our studios, (usually open to the public) are still closed even though were are still able to work from our spaces and finding new ways to sell our work is imperative to pay rent and the bills just like everyone else. Some artists have closed up studios and look for a new place to work, others have been concentrating on opening online shops and revising their websites and most importantly, many have continued to apply to VIRTUAL shows to get a bit more traffic and interest in their work and exposure.

We have to realize that things will never be like it was before, and a return to a “New Normal” is going to take a longer time than most realize. Galleries,Museums and Art spaces all have to create a new way on how to do openings in a Safe and Social Distancing manner.

We have not experience this before, The Creative community needs to observe the other sectors that are also being effected by this crisis,Restaurants,Hotel&Travel Industries are all looking a new ways to serve the community while keeping everyone safe. We need to watch what is happening in those sectors and use the good ideas,that will effect all to our advantage.

Remember, we are all in this together. We need to help our fellow artists in their endeavors, regardless of their own personal choices. Share our thoughts when asked, and most importantly, Do not be scared to try new things in order to continue to making your art. It is so important to not get discouraged from all the isolation we have experienced in the past weeks. Share with your artists community and support them in any way that you can. Be nice, but also be open to change. It might not feel comfortable but it is necessary.

I would love to have some feedback or links to creative ways that are out there or that you have tried or experienced. Till the next time , Be calm, take a deep breath and continue to create.

thehornypotter

Creativity in Times of Pandemic


SINCE the last time I had the time to sit down and write in this blog, I find myself like many others in self-isolation and practicing social distance from others. Like many other creative people, my livelihood has come to a standstill which many of you are experiencing some of the same things in this moment as well….What to do?

We need to keep ourselves in check, look at options and alternatives for our creativity and source of income in times of crisis. My daily routine now consists of deciding on whether to go to the studio which is closed to the public, or remain within these 4 walls to create something and make alternative plans on how to move my work more online by studying those that already have an online presence and sell online. Looking at competition that have similar product and look at the different ways these individuals have set up shops, and the different ways they try to move their creative products thru online sales and social media.

We are the first to feel the crunch and downward turn to sales online and off. But I think that it is essential that WE, as a creative community can support each other even in small amounts of moral and financial support of our community, patrons and supporters. My main focus until now has to be online through social media to provide an idea of my work process, day to day progress and creating a space for myself that before was not there.

Important is to start to create and grow an online presence whether social media, online store or art network. Whatever stage each of you are, beginning to focus more on the digital world of art is essential to create and produce and experience with new ways of moving your creativity and sharing it within the creative community.

Many of you can be cynical or scared about having your ideas of artistic expression stolen or copied. I use to think like that also….. My frame of mind has changed after I came to certain conclusions and facts about commerce and online presence: There will always be some other maker that is better than you,more successful than you, or sells more than you do. Well, stop comparing yourself to those people that have similar expressions of creativity as yours, Use these creators as inspiration and not competition. We each will move ahead at our own pace, some faster than others. The experiences will be different and what we should take from this is that it is IMPORTANT to share our online/offline experiences with others in order to make the artistic community stronger by sharing info and your experiences…

The ego of the artists, makers and creatives is the first thing that kills creativity. We, as individuals are all different and we need to learn about our limitations and work on them.

Most artists are not good business people. Learn how to hone in on the all around skills and make them better. Learn to be professional online as well as off. The sooner you start, the better and more control you will have over the financial success of your creative endeavors online and off line .


The common law of no loss/no gain rings true especially in a moment as this pandemic. I hope that many of you dwell on the things that I have just written, and consider them when you feel that you are ready to commit. We all have our priorities at the moment, but the creative output online should also become a priority when you have the time to think and research it. ALL at your own pace. Be well and hoping that my next entry will be sooner than you expect….