As my artist's statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance. -- Calvin and Hobbes

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Jury rigging. It's not just for lawyers!

How to build a transitional dirt cheap paint booth in about 30 minutes!

Eric built me a bookcase to paint. I bought an HVLP paint sprayer. Problem is he's a woodworker, so his man room, the garage, is always very dusty, even with his vacuum system. So, I thought I couldn't do any painting in there. After a month of frustration, numerous unsuccessful attempts at painting in the driveway because of the typical breezy afternoon in Atlanta, or the freakin' rain never letting up, it was time to build a paint booth. Plus, I'm painting cabinets for clients and furniture for my itty bitty retail venture down the street, so I really needed this thing!

I found a terrific Wiki entry on a first class poor man's paint booth with PVC for around $100, it said. I am an artist, so therefore, I take 2 courses of action based on that foundational fact. First, I'm poorer than most poor men, so I had to rig something up even cheaper than that of the Wiki entry.

Second, I'm creative with a small budget.

It's very shoddy, but hey, it works! Here's what I came up with.

Supplies needed and approximate cost:

One bag of 4mil plastic sheeting (about 25' x 8') found in the paint section at home depot $14.00
One drop cloth. $5.00
Duct tape (never a waste of money) $4.00
One bag of clothes pins $1.79
One cheapish air filter 20"x20" $4.00
One box fan $10.00 or free if you've already got one!
One garage door left open (comes with house)
A short ladder or your garbage can (free)

Total cost: ~$38.79

Cut out lengths of sheeting a little longer than the length from the garage door track to the floor.
You should be able to get 3.

Start pinning the sheeting around the garage door frame with the clothes pins, beginning at the center of the outside of the garage door. The plastic will wrap around the side of the booth and half way around the back, leaving another seam for exiting. You will not exit the booth to the outside, only to the inside of the garage. Repeat for the other side of the booth.

Tape the seam, then position your ladder or garbage can at the opening to the garage and place your fan on top to determine the positioning of the air filter, which will provide your ventilation system to the inside of the booth. Cut out a hole for the air filter. Tape it in the hole.

Position the fan in front of the air filter and turn on to a low setting blowing into the booth. This will not blow your paint around while you're spraying, it provides fresh air to the space.

Lay your drop cloth down in the booth and you're done.

Tip: Don't forget to pull everything down before you close the garage door!

Here's the original Wiki entry if you wanna build a nicer one!


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Go commercial or keep it to yourself?

At some point in an artist's life, she has to decide if she is creating for her own private collection, or if she actually wants to earn a living at it. It is at this point where you have to make up your mind whether or not you will alter your own creative urges in order to satisfy a larger demographic.

I'm not saying you should sell out or abandon what it is that you do best (in your own opinion, anyway), I'm merely suggesting that with a little research, you may find unobjectionable alterations which will allow you to thrive as a quasi-ubiquitous artist. Then, with a little luck, perhaps that will finance your underground operations!

The other night, at a meeting at the Atlanta Artist's Center, Elsie, a 44-year veteran member discussed the arduous process of getting a book published. It was fascinating to see her driven spirit at 82! She told stories about pieces that didn't make it into the book and provided insight on how she chose what was relevant to the subject matter, even though it meant eliminating some of her favorites!

One of these was a beautiful landscape, set at water's edge in a wooded area of North Georgia. She encountered a future patron who said this was the exact place that her late husband used to hunt, and it carried sentimental value for her. She said she would purchase the painting when it was done if only there were a dog in the composition. Elsie painted a dog and sold the painting! Smart lady.

I'm not saying..., I'm just saying...!

By all means, do what you do best, but it's not 'selling out' to be willing to modify on occasion to suit your target audience.

Perhaps you may find a little niche that is not well represented and make something unforgettable that will fill a current demand trend (to finance your other work, naturally). Make a point to frequent home decor boutiques, design and furniture stores, restaurants and bars, even, to perform your research. You never know, this new observational practice could become the very process by which you find your greatest inspirations!

Marketing is important, and many of us fall short in this area. We know how to create, but we aren't always sure how to go about selling our work. If you're interested in learning about how to hone in on the right target audience and market your work, I recommend a couple of approaches.

First, get your name out there by networking on the web. A quick and easy way to get started is to create a blog and post your portfolio there, until you get your own site. Next, join online artist communities. It's a great way to showcase your work and be seen by others. This serves to familiarize yourself with what's going on in the art world, and it's a great networking tool for meeting other artists and getting critiqued. Finally, use your social networking sites, like Facebook, MySpace, etc, to your benefit. Find art galleries on one of these sites, for example, and add them to your friends list. Look at their friends, too. When they become your friend, they are more likely to see your work and want to show it! You'll be invited to their openings, too, so go and meet them in person!! Plus, others viewing their profiles may in turn see yours. You can post your latest show, or simply your latest painting on a bulletin board and begin the succession of followers.

Some helpful reading/workbook material may include the 2008 Artist's & Graphic Designer's Market, by Erica O'Connell. It's a great resource for the entree into the art world. It highlights successful practices from actual working artists, and it teaches you what magazines, galleries, ad agencies, etc are looking for and how to approach them. In addition, this book lists thousands of contacts nationwide for submitting your work! Also important is finding a way to stand out among many very fine candidates, and there are many ideas that you will employ to find favor in your prospective audience.

Now, more than ever, learning to disseminate information is key. The greater your audience, the more likely you will be to find success in selling your work!

Good luck in your pursuits this fall! Let's check in again, soon.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Road To Success..

An man was walking down the road when he met a guru.
Since these men are so wise, he thought he would ask the guru which way he should walk to find success.
The guru said, "The road to success is that way!"
So, on his way he went, in the direction the old sage led him. He traveled down the road a little way and "Splat!" He got the #*@$ kicked out of him. Hobbling back to the guru, he begged, "Why did you lead me down that road? I just got my a*# kicked. That surely can't be the way!! Which way is the road to success?"
The guru pointed in the same direction and said, "It is that way, for sure!"
So, the man went again down the road, and "SPLAT!" Again, He got the #*@$ kicked out of him.
This time, crawling back to the guru, crying, "Why did you send me down that road, I just got my a*# kicked again!" Pleading, he asked, "Please, tell me which way is the road to success?"
The guru pointed again in the same direction, "Success IS that way...just beyond the splat!"

Monday, September 8, 2008

Hmmmm, when you feel like garbage, trash it good!

I was feeling like garbage, a little under the weather....
Snap out of it! Throw those yucks away!
I painted a waste basket and got rid of them!!!
My little fleur de lis design on a crumbling fresco....

I feel much better now.

(What do I charge for this little baby?)

Things to Ponder

Don't pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches. -Andy Warhol

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
-Walt Disney
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