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lost toys

Sometimes I dream of toys I lost as a child. And I know it’s just age and allergies, but I imagine the heaviness beneath my eyes is from storm clouds ready to burst.

Every feeling comes with a diagnosis and guilt at it’s audacity. Some of us are just raw and learn to like the sting.

I find myself saying I’m sorry for not containing enough light. Winter is on it’s way, and with it, less sun. That always frightens me. I don’t have enough light for myself to bask in and for sure, not enough to share.

I can feel sad over a painting I haven’t painted yet. It’s like mourning over someone you’re afraid you won’t get to meet. When composing a still life, I hate to use purchased objects. I want to find or be given them. Picked flowers or a gifted bouquet, for the meaning. I want them to have stories and to have lived a life before finding their way to me.

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not so lucky – the white rabbit and his foot

It’s no secret that I like playing with the idea of rabbit’s feet, myths and luck. I was toying with doing an illustration like this for a while, and if you scroll down posts you’ll see a similar sketch in my moleskin.

While looking up rabbit’s feet on pinterest, I found the above pictures and used them as inspiration. It’s a combo of a rabbit, the lucky rabbit’s foot superstition and Japanese Maneki Neko/good luck cats.

I’ve uploaded my Not So Lucky print to Redbubble and Society6. Hope you dig it!

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social media – being an artist on the internet

I am not an expert at this, by no means. I’ve been an inconsistent blogger, a late bloomer with a genetic scowl and an introverted disposition. I am not an internet personality. I have not charmed the art consuming masses. That’s fine.

Remember when this was the most significant scam young artists had to fear?

But I’m wondering what is the next relevant online venue for visual artists? Most current platforms have choked out our audiences with algorithms. Every once in a while they let your work show up in feeds, giving you a taste of what you could have exposure wise if you’d just buy an ad/create a paid campaign. I don’t know many artists that bother. In fact, hilariously, many of the ads that show up in my feeds are advertisements proclaiming they have the secret to boosting your art career, and you can have all their tricks and magic, if you just buy their whatever. It’s funny. Artists trying to sell and being taunted by ads created by people who can already afford to do what the average artist can’t: pay for advertising.

Also, I’m not going to snapchat.

I’ve noticed an uptick of scammy spam from grifters trying to trick artists into paying them to be on their websites/book. They lure with promises of exposure and plastic everyone-is-a-winner trophies. And they’re soliciting through social media, pretending to have made that new relevant platform artists can use to be seen again. Which is kinda silly for even other reasons. Whatever that venue is, or should be, has to not just be for artists. It has to foster those who may be interested in their work, but without being just about selling.

Maybe I’m old-internet-fashioned, but I still depend on having a website, because, in the end, this is where my work is, and I can always be found, regardless of the latest social media fad.

I’m also still not convinced that paid ads are the answer for visual artists anyway. They seem more useful to sell fad products like scented lipsticks and cheap bathing suits. I feel like paid ads feel insincere, and as a fine artist, your perceived authenticity is valuable. I guess it depends on how far you’re willing to let your product be viewed as product. It is, indeed, product, but presented more as a piece of jewelry in a display case than dish soap on a shelf.

There are more working artists now than there has ever been before, all vying for the same relatively small audience, or trying to figure out who their audience is. Couple that with the massive talent out there as well… The audience for ultra absorbent paper towels and cheeseburgers is much bigger.

Free webinar, but not so free online course in how to grow your career as an artist. Shouldn’t schools be doing this instead?

Then there is SEO. I think the sites that get the best SEO results are the sites promising to tell you how to use SEO. You’re confusion gets you there to see their banner ads. In fact, I may just get more traffic to my blog because I’m talking about SEO for artists.

I know one thing for sure. If you don’t share your work, no one will see it. I don’t mean that in a ‘build it and they will come kinda way’. Google analytics proved that wrong to me. But still, if you don’t share your art it can’t be seen.

Friends who started their art careers before the internet was such a big player: what exactly did you agonize about when it came to finding an audience or patrons? I’d like to think there was simply less existential terror over it, since you didn’t have Facebook or Instagram to even consider, but knowing human beings, I’m sure there was some common horror.

I wish we were all more free of the fear of failure, financial ruin and desire for approval. But yet, those fears are probably part of the allure. Double edges and all that.

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noise pollution – what do you listen to while working?

Lately I’ve been developing a strange relationship with sound and making art. For months now, I’ve been addicted to listening to podcasts, but I suddenly can’t handle the noise.

My attention span gets scattered, and I grow anxious and find a hard time staying on task. This is something I have to figure out in order to make my studio time productive. Music has never been an important companion to me, unlike almost everyone else I know. When I do try to listen to music, it’s usually through a streaming service like Spotify, and I find the ads disruptive. What I find the most satisfying to listen to music wise is still downtempo-esque music and murder ballads. Murder ballads are songs passed around communities and through time to tell stories of local tragic crimes, mostly murders, hence the term. You’ve probably heard 1 or 2 before and didn’t realize it. Here is a link to my collection of them on Spotify.

Sometimes I force myself to work in silence, just for the contrast, or to not allow myself to be tricked into feeling like I have company through the sound of a tv show or audiobook. When I do this, I’m glad that I did. The same while driving. The quiet gives me more room for my own noisy head. Actually, silence isn’t the right word. I think I mean natural noise. The sounds of everyday life. For example, it’s hot today, but I can’t stand the sound of the air conditioner running. I shut it off and opened my windows so I could hear the city. I’d rather be sweaty than feel like I’m stuck in some sort of vibrating box. I don’t feel like a part of the rest of the world when I can’t hear it. I think I have a similar relationship to light. Real sunlight is a salve and artificial just does not cut it.

I used to listen to old time radio plays, horror and detective ones, while painting, but then moved on. I might cycle back to them, try to find some new unearthed series, specifically Australian ones. I’ve made posts in the past here where I shared some of my favorites. Here is another link to check to them out, if interested. I’ve noticed OTR has gotten a boost in popularity lately. You can find them on Audible and Spotify and probably other places as well. Looks like content providers have realized they are copyright free, and they can still make a buck or two off of sharing them.

I’ve moved on from audiobooks for the time being because of the cost and also because I was coming across too many badly narrated ones. Again, my tastes tend to the macabre, and I seemed to only listen to trashy true crime novels. They’re like documentaries but just for the ears.

Then I discovered podcasts! I’m always a little slow to catch on to the new thing(no shame, I can be crotchety). I’ve been listening to true crime podcasts for years now, but before the current explosion of new ones. I mainly listened through blogtalkradio, and specifically True Crime Radio(the websleuths associated podcast) and True Murder by Dan Zupansky. Yes, I’m linking everything. Those two have been around for a long time, in internet years, and are not formatted much like the newer popular ones. True Crime Radio was/is formatted more like an up to the minute, true crime news show. True Murder features a journalist interviewing other true crime authors about their books. These are pre-Investigation Discovery channel podcasts and sites. They were good road trip company, except maybe not at night.

I know that Serial is the pod that kicked off the recent true crime fervor, but I haven’t listened to it. I’m childishly contrary and can’t make myself give it a try. Luckily, I have many to choose from instead lately! The ones I listen to the most are The Vanished(concentrates on missing persons cases and actively trying to solve them), Thinking Sideways(true crime but also about mysteries, does a bit of debunking which I like), Generation Why, In Sight, Thin Air, In the Dark(about the Jacob Wetterling case, incredibly well done and ethical), Accused, Court Junkie(unique in that it covers more current cases and their trials), Misconduct, Queens of Crime(a little different in that it is made by women who are actual producers on true crime shows, but not so sanitized like a pod made by an actual tv network), Casefile(Australian podcast that did a phenomenal series about the original night stalker), Twisted Philly(the title says it all), The Unresolved, Murder Dictionary(not so serious and often crass, but still very funny/women led without playing on that ‘girl friends’ trope), Small Town Murder(another comedy one), Bowraville, Unconcluded, Mens Rea(Ireland specific), Judge and Jeremy and I could go on and on and on….I left many out, but lately these are my faves. Or were, when I could stand listening to podcasts.

The 2 themes I see continued in my listening habits are 1. creepy crime stuff and 2. storytelling. I guess I need a story, like at bedtime. Just not with pictures! I need to keep my eyes busy elsewhere.

If you have any favorites to share, please do. I could use the change in routine. And if you have experience this weird sound anxiety and figured a way around it, please tell me how!