Tag Archives: art

Artypants Update….

15 Sep

Helloooooooooooo bunnies!!

Just a few little artsy announcements to fill your Saturday afternoon (which I hope isn’t as unseasonably hot for you as it is for me… because it’s like hell took over outside here in too-sunny Huntington Beach- and it’s GROSS!!).

TONIGHT!!!….  in beautiful Asbury Park, NJ (I love this town) at the AMAZING Parlor Gallery (I love this gallery even more) I am in a wonderful group show called “We Find Our Way”.  Artists in this show include Michael Mapes, Paul Romano, Scotty Albrecht, Jody Travis Thompson, Bryn Perrott, Brandon McLean, Ray Sell, Andy Pawlan, Kevin Hebb, myself, and Dennis Lee Mitchell.  It opens tonight, and if you’re in the area you should go.  For reals, yo.

“We Find Our Way” Group show at the Parlor Gallery in Asbury Park, NJ

The next show coming up is local for me (which I hardly ever do local shows, so I don’t have to travel for this… YAY!!!!).  I am participating again in the wonderful “Monstoberfest” group show at the fantastic Rothick Art Haus gallery in Anaheim, CA.  The opening is October 13th, and it is always a blast!


Aside from works for upcoming shows, I’ve decided to start a couple huge paintings (which I always regret doing because they take so damn long to finish and cost a fortune to ship- but I apparently am in an abusive love affair with stress, so I will continue to keep doing this to myself), and have been doing silly drawings.  To put giggles into your day, here is some of my new silliness:



I did a bunch of these… they’re my “Hare Studies”… get it? “Hare” studies?! Well… it made me laugh. 🙂

I’ve been posting a bunch of my “works in progress” on instagram.  So if you want to find me and be a friend with me on there, my username is kristenferrell.  I also post way too many photos of my dog, my cats, and all the ridiculous plants I grow in my backyard.  That is all I have to say for today.  Until we meet again, my darlings, I will leave you with some glorious photoshop magic performed by my dear and wonderful Stevil Kinevil on a photo of me and Brad …. enjoy.


How to degrade your scene and be a scumbag at the same time!…

7 Jun

There are many things about my fellow humans that make no sense to me.  This is one of them:

Jenny Hart’s Embroidery Artwork Stolen from Exhibit

Riddle me this…. you’re a fan of an artist.  You see that artist has taken the time and effort to make new pieces, and a local gallery has taken the time and effort to put together an exhibit to display these pieces for fans like you.  Huge efforts and expenses are taken on with displaying the work and promotion and preparation so that this event can take place- just for fans like you.  So opening night when you go to the show do you:

  • A.  Enjoy the artwork, have some free snacks, make a pleasant evening of it, and leave feeling you go to experience something fun, creative, and beautiful?
  • B.  Enjoy the artwork, have some free snacks, make a pleasant evening of it, and grab a couple of the pieces of artwork off the walls on your way out- stealing from the artist that you admire and the gallery that brought them to you?

If you chose option A, then you are a good, normal person and are liked and appreciated by the art community.  If you chose option B… then you are a complete shit-stain, and I hope your friends beat you down when they find out what you did.  Seriously… you fully suck.

Art theft happens all the time, and it makes me furious.  I’ve had it happen to me at 2 different galleries because some of my pieces are small enough to easily slip into a purse or pocket.  It’s happened to too many friends of mine who are artists or who own galleries.  What I can’t wrap my brain around is why someone would take the time to go to a gallery opening of an artist they like, and then steal from them?  Yes, art can be expensive… but I guarantee you the artist and the gallery don’t profit that much from art unless they’re dealing with the arty giants out there.  Let me break down the grown up financials to you so that you understand where the term “starving artist” comes from…

Let’s say I have a little painting in a gallery and it’s priced at $1,000.  Holy shit!  That’s a lot of money!  Who the hell am I to charge that much for 1 tiny painting?!  Let’s do the math, and then you can see just who the hell I am.  If that painting sells, the gallery get’s 50%.  Yes… 50%.  That is normal.  They promote and get the people in the door to make the sale- so that’s their cut.  I try to make it out to all my gallery shows, so let’s say my plane ticket and expenses comes to a low-ball price of $300 (this doesn’t include money lost on time off  I’d have to take from the day job to go to the show).  I’m now down to only making $200 on that $1,000 painting.  My small paintings that run around $1,000 usually take me a couple weeks each to do… so if I worked 3-4 hours a night on the piece, that’s around 50 hours of work.  If I only make $200 for that painting, I worked for $4 an hour on it.  Did you get that?  $4.00 an hour. (And that $4 an hour doesn’t even include the cost of the materials to make the piece and get it ready to present).

The gallery doesn’t do a whole lot better.  They have their overhead (rent/utilities/maintenance/insurance/etc).  They have staff to pay.  They have to pay for promotion (ads in magazines, postcards, flyers, etc).  They have the set up, all that free wine and cheese that people wolf down at the opening, they usually will provide a place for the visiting artists to stay, etc.  After all their troubles and expenses, their profit isn’t much better.

So why do we all do it?  Because we love it.  Because it makes us happy.  Because something in us makes us do it.  And even though we’re almost always taking a loss, we still make our art and bring it to you because it makes you happy.  The drive of visual communication is a powerful one, and I’ll do it without even questioning that measly $4 an hour.  So when an artist does all this work for very little financial pay off, and then the work gets stolen… that breaks hearts.  It’s like punching a toddler in the face as it runs towards you for a hug.  To say it’s discouraging is an understatement.

This doesn’t just happen in the art world, though.  It’s common in the music scene.  My husband’s band has been robbed more times than I can remember.  Once, on the 2nd night of a 3 week tour while he was on stage some stupid punk kids smashed out their tour van’s window and only had time to grab his bag… which contained all his spare cords, his laptop, all his clothing, phone/computer charger…. everything.  He was left with his guitar, his wallet and the clothes on his back.  Kids steal from the merch table.  Kids steal gear.  They steal anything that isn’t bolted down… and these are the kids that come to the shows because they are fans of the band!!!  Band’s don’t make any money anymore.  There are no longer record sales because downloading has taken over.  There is no such thing as “label tour support” anymore because the labels are broke.  They only money bands make is on tour- and after gas and vehicle rental and food and hotels and getting merch made  and time off work and then splitting any profits between all the band members and paying the techs or merch slingers… it usually averages out to the same as my painting sales.  A few bucks an hour.  Only to get robbed by the “fans”.   It’s disgusting.  And for any of you little punk kids out there who have stolen anything from any band… you’re not “punk”.  You’re a fucking tourist to the scene, and I hope your Discharge/Neurosis/Nausea shirt sets itself on fire in protest of you the next time you put it on.

In summary… artists in every field do not make art to get rich.  That is a ridiculous concept because only a handful of artists every decade ever do get rich.  They do it because they love it.  They do it because you love it.  And if you are a fan… act like one.  If you want your favorite artist to keep showing their artwork or playing their music in your town- then make sure that they aren’t fucked under when they do!  If you see someone being sketchy at a show and stealing or causing trouble- stop them!  Or rat them out.  There is no shame in ratting out shitbag behavior.  Because whether you’re an artist or an admirer of art… we’re all in “the arts” together.  And if it gets too difficult to bring the art to the people, then the only way the people will be able to see art is online or in magazines.  And that’s lame.  So let’s all participate.  Be sure and share the link above on whatever forms of social media you play around on and try to get Miss Jenny Hart her artwork back.

Thank you for enduring my long winded soap-boxing.

In appreciation of art, the most beautiful FoxyGoat Lisa made an amazing portrait of me and sent me one of her beautiful necklaces.  She is a wonderful (and amazingly witty) artist and lady… and I super love her.

Click this image of me with her necklace and portrait of me to go to her website, and be sure to check out her etsy store!!

Big love to all you bunnies, and have a great night!!  xoxox

HORRAY for mediocrity!!!

16 Jun

Brad left for tour a week ago, kicking and screaming (and I mean that almost literally).  He’s recently developed a severe phobia of flying- and add to that the fact that it’s been ages since he’s been on tour, so he’s grown a little too comfortable being at home and didn’t want to go “back to work”.  I lovingly shoved him out of the car at the airport, told him to go earn a goddamn paycheck- and it’s been me and Sully flying solo.  I’ve got no problems doing the single-mom-thing while Brad is away (I did it before Brad was in the picture, so I slip back into that role with ease).  And there are perks- like less Man-mess infiltrating my clean home.  But this month was a pretty shitty month for Brad to go earn his paycheck.

He had to leave a few days before Sully’s birthday- which Brad was BUMMED about.  And in 2 days, Sully’s school year ends and then it’s a couple weeks of “what the fuck am I going to do with this kid while I’m at work!!” stress.  But my parents (being the AMAZING people that they are) are coming out for a week to hang with the little fella while I work- so that lightens my load considerably.  And the folks are coming into town just in time for Sully’s “Graduation”.

Here’s where the title of this little posting comes into play.  Sully is moving from the 5th grade into the 6th grade.  As proud of him as I am that he survived another year of existing in the academic world- does this really warrant a “graduation”???

This is one of the MANY examples of why the youth of our country are growing up to be spoiled lazy brats- and things like this drive me fucking batty.  Going from the 5th to the 6th grade is not a ceremonious accomplishment… it is a social expectation.  Ceremonies are supposed to be special things, marking a major life accomplishment, or a rite of passage.  Graduating from high school is the embarking of adulthood.  Graduating from college is the beginning of new major life paths and the celebration of a difficult accomplishment.  Weddings, funerals, birthdays, baby showers, etc… these are all ritualistic ceremonies that celebrate the beginning or finalizing of different important stages in life.

The problem is when we start having ceremonies for simple and expected behavior, then nothing is sacred anymore.  When children are praised, rewarded, and put on a pedestal for doing things that are simply expected of them- then why work harder for that higher goal?  Kids are SUPPOSED to move from the 5th to the 6th grade.  This isn’t something that deserves a fucking ceremony- it’s something that a kid should just DO.  We’re not supposed to shit our pants, either… so should I get a round of applause every time I don’t shit my pants?  No… because I’m EXPECTED to not shit my pants.  But it’s cute to dress our kids up in little hats and robes, and it’s precious to parade them across a stage and give them little computer-print-out diplomas and make a little event out of it.  But in reality, it’s celebrating the mundane- and tainting the specialness of REAL accomplishments that are deserving of a ceremony.  And what it teaches our kids is that all they have to do is the bare minimum- and they’ll get a fucking party. Total bullshit.

But yes… I’m attending Sully’s little “graduation” because it would be ultra shitty of me to be the only parent not there because I see the ridiculousness of it all.  But no, we’re no making a big thing of it, or inviting all the family, or having a party afterwards.  When he graduates from high school and college- both of those will be deserving of festivities.  But moving on to the 6th grade?  Gimme a break.  This is deserving of a special “end of the school year” trip to the ice cream parlor…. NOT a god damn ceremony.

On a lighter note… there are 2 gallery shows that I’m currently in that if you’re in the neighborhood you should go and check out.  First is the current exhibit at the Strychnin Gallery in Berlin, Germany titled “Midsummer’s Night Madness”.  It opened a couple days ago, and there are TONS of artists that participated.  You can check out pics of the opening night on their official blog HERE.

The second show I’m in is in Brooklyn at the Eastern District.  The show is titled “Plenty of Room on the Couch”, and again there are TONS of artists in this show.  AND all the pieces in the show are under $300!!!  I’m super giggly about this show because my pieces are in another show with the diabolical Steve Smith– a glorious fella and amazingly talented artist that I’ve had a show with before (and we’ve been aching to show together again).  Click on his highlighted name above and check out the wonderful things he does.

Finally… I’m doing oodles of “Tinys” drawings again.  If you’re unfamaliar with these little guys, they are drawings no bigger than 3 inches by 3 inches.  They come framed in tiny ornate frames- and they make me giggle.  I’ve got a few on the webstore– and there are more to come.  Here’s a couple of these little guys…..

Tiny Oops! There goes my hand!

Tiny Hauntings

Tiny Hauntings

That’s all the love I’ve got to give for tonight.  Off to vaccume the house, and make some cookies for my folks arrival tomorrow afternoon, then more drawing drawing drawing.

Go-Go-Gadget hugs to you all!

Fires, Death by hair, and arty nonsense…

16 Nov

Southern California is ablaze.  Massive fires all around us… but we’re safely tucked away by the beach, surrounded by miles and miles of concrete and stucco to keep the fires at bay.  Apparently this happens every year… instead of the Fall season, we have the Fire season.  Last year they were in Santa Ana, and it was snowing ashes for days.  This year, they’re a little further away- but the air is thick with ash and dust and you can feel it when you breathe.  Brad and I drove into Hollywood last night, and there were big spots of glowing red on the horizon where the fires are… it was creepy.  Here’s what the sky looked like yesterday afternoon as the smoke and ash started to blow through our neighborhood…

Creepy.  As the sun set, everything was glowing this eerie sickly yellow, and it had a very post-apocalyptic feel.  Yuck.

In other Kristen-events… I got my hair caught in the ceiling fan a couple days ago.  Yes… in the ceiling fan.  How does someone do something so unbelievably stupid?  It isn’t hard when you’re the Queen of Freak Accidents (which I currently hold that title).  My hair is so long that some of my dreads are down to my knees.  I keep it wadded up in a giant knot every day so it doesn’t get caught in car doors, drawers, the garbage disposal, set on fire, etc. (which all of the mentioned have either happened or almost happened multiple times… yes, they have caught fire before… don’t ask).  So while in a rush to go get Sully from school, I hurriedly was putting my hair up in my office.  I flipped my head down, separated my hair into 2 gigantic sections to knot together, and flipped it back up to tie it up… and SNAG… my head jerks back- and I immediately know what has happened.  As I flipped my head back up, the longest dreads got caught in the ceiling fan above me, and off I went.  So my head and the ceiling fan are in a tug-o-war with my hair.  I’m trying to pull it free- but trying not to pull too hard because I don’t want to pull the fan down on top of me and get another head injury.  I’m really glad that Brad wasn’t home to witness the battle, because instead of helping he would have grabbed his camera and started taking pictures.  Obviously, since I’m sitting here typing this, I was able to get free.  But I did have a nasty headache for the rest of the night.  Stupidest thing to ever happen to me?… not even close.  But it does fall somewhere in the top 20.

On to arty things…. since I’m most productive with deadlines, and I’ve been feeling unproductive lately, I’ve decided to kick myself in the ass.  I’ve started a little project called “A Drawing A Day”.  Every day, until December 15th, I’m going to create a new piece of art or craft to sell in the webstore.  Some may be great, and some may be totally ridiculous… but they’ll all be on there.  Each one will come with a little card stating which date the item was completed on.  Little crocheted creatures, drawings, tiny paintings, felt plush animals, etc.  As much as I hate crazy pressure- I work best with it.  So we’ll see if I finish it completely.  Yesterday’s finished drawing is on the webstore for sale…  here it is:

There was all kinds of other stuff that has happened, but my memory isn’t allowing any of it to be accessed right now.

So off I go to watch “Dirty Jobs” dvd’s with Sully and work on today’s crafty adventure.  Yay!!!!

Back from Berlin, and searching for the motivation to function

19 Sep

I got back from Berlin on Sunday night.  The flight back was more grueling than the elderly infested flight out there…. but I’ll save that story for another day.  The show was fantastic, the Strychnin crew are all among my “top 10” people on the planet, and much fun was had.  I posted a bunch of pictures on my flickr page of the show, some that I took, but mostly ones that Iris Bitter (one of the lovely Strychnin folks) took. I’m really really bad about remembering to take pictures wherever I go, so thankfully Iris was there with her trusty camera to capture memories that will soon be flying out of my head.

Something interesting that I discovered at the show while talking to some of the locals is that apparently the Germans’ don’t know what a cupcake is.  I have cupcakes in a few of my pieces, and I was asked by more than a few people what exactly those were.  This kindof blew my mind, because I rely on cupcakes for the bulk of my dietary intake.  Not to mention I have framed photos of cupcakes around the house because I love them so.  But to try to explain what a cupcake is to someone who’s never had one, and then try to explain why it’s important and has become such an american cultural obsession is difficult… not to mention it makes you sound like a crazy person.  Because they are silly and insignificant.  But they’re so much fucking fun!!!   So for any German out there reading this who doesn’t know what a cupcake is, here ya go (and I stole these off flickr, and I don’t remember who I stole them from so I can’t give proper credit… so sorry to whoever these pics belong to… bla bla bla whatever)

There.  Cupcakes.  Do ya get it?  With cupcakes, everyday can be your birthday.  It’s your own little personal cake, but small enough to where you’re not obligated to eat an entire regular sized cake.  And they’re pretty.  And made of magic.  Maybe it’s just an American thing…. but the Japanese have caught on, and they understand it too (but it’s probably because cupcakes are small and adorable, and Japan has perfected the art of creating things that are small and adorable).  Yes, it’s probably moronic that we’re obsessed with something so insignificant just because it’s small and cute and yummy… but that’s kindof what the U.S. is known for- being obsessed with stupid things for ridiculous reasons.  IE: Paris Hilton, Pokemon, the pet rock, Cabbage Patch Kids dolls, porn or anything related to sex that causes a juvanile reaction, Urkle, Bay Watch, Pogs, flip flops, designer sweatpants with stupid phrases written across the ass…. should I go on?  I’d rather not… it kindof hurts my feelings and makes me wish I was Canadian.

So since I’ve been home, I’ve been in a slump. I’m not sure what’s wrong with me.  Maybe it’s because I was running on manic for so long that now I don’t know what to do with myself (because I’m not good at sitting still, or slowing down… it makes me weird).  And I KNOW part of it is because of money, and that forever-growing virus in the back of my brain that says mean and horrible things to me all day and night because I’m bound to financial struggle (I fucking HATE being broke… I don’t want to be rich… just stable… for once…. please?).  But I’ve just been tired and non-responsive and unimpressed with everything.  I’d like to have this go away and go back to perky.  Maybe I’ll make some cupcakes and it will all be better.  Brad says I need to get a part-time job somewhere I like to get out of my head for a couple days a week.  It’s probably a good idea.  Because right now I’m sick of my head.  Anybody know anyone who’s hiring?

For now, lets all watch something that makes everyone happy……

Oh yeah… I have a couple drawings for sale on the webstore that weren’t needed for the show, so go take a peek.


Before I go…..

19 Aug

Today I’m off to fetch my son from Kansas.  This little journey back to the wheat fields is filling me with anxiety because it’s taking time away from massive amounts of work I have to get done here at home.  I wish there was some “Child Delivery System” that exists so that Sully can be safely transported back home to me.  Unfortunately, there is none.  So back to Kansas I go.  He’s been visiting his dad for the summer, and it’s the longest we’ve been apart.  Brad says it’s good for us, because both of us desperately cling to the umbilical cord like it’s our lifeline.  Sully has no desire to even put one toe into adolescent independence, and I am so very very ok with that.  Brad says we’re creepy.  I say “Fuck you, Brad”.  Sully’s 10 and still wants to always hold my hand, and give me hugs and kisses on the cheek, and is openly affectionate in front of classmates and in public.  I like this.  I prefer this to those kids who are all “too cool for their parents”.  And before I know it, he will be too embarrassed to be seen with me….  so I’m taking advantage of my cuddly little boy while he still is a cuddly little boy.  And as stressed as I am about having to go to Kansas to fetch him… I am delighted that he will be home with me.

But before I leave, I’m posting everywhere that I have new stuff available on my webstore, AND I put a ton of the older stuff on super-sale.  Almost the entire line is now available, and the more stuff that sells, the more stuff I can make.  So YAY for new stuff, right?  Here’s a few of the new items….

With all the clothing-related insanity going on, I’m trying to get ready for my upcoming solo show in Berlin at the Strychnin Gallery.  100 new pieces.  I’m kindof losing my shit.  But I’m trying my hand at teeny-tiny drawings, and I’ve fallen in love with them because they’re so tiny it makes me laugh and laugh.  I found these insanely decorative antique looking frames for them, so they look ultra fancy all framed and everything… here’s a few of them (and these pics are still larger than they actually are… they’re all only about 2 inches by 3 inches):

If you want to see all the pieces I’ve posted on line for the show, they’re on my flickr page. I still have to post a bunch more… but you’ll get the idea.

Off to gather my things and battle the crowds at the LA airport.  God…. I really HATE the LA airport.  Can someone PLEASE invent “The Jetsons” form of transportation where you just step into a tube and are at your desired destination in a matter of minutes?  PLEASE???!!!!  ugh.

More advice than you probably wanted to know….

16 Jul

… “Unprotected sex with multiple partners” by Against Me

I was talking the other day with a close friend of mine who is a painter and is wanting to get her work out in the public eye and to a point where she can rely on it a bit to support her because her “day job” is killing her soul (day jobs can do that, ya know). I was giving her all the tips that I knew, and she told me that I really should share what I knew with “the world”. Art school (or most college programs) teach you what you need to know for your “trade”, but don’t prepare you at all for how to make it happen once you graduate. You give your university shit-tons of money and time, and then upon graduation you’re tossed out into the “real world” with no knowledge of what to do with all that expensive information- and end up working that shitty coffee-shop or retail job for the next 10 years. It’s really frustrating.

So here’s my knowledge. All of it (or all that I can think of right now). It may pertain to you… it may not. But this is what I’ve learned from years of trial-and-error trying to survive as an artist. I’m still learning, and still have a long way to go- but it’s what I’ve picked up so far. Some of it might be a little harsh…. but if any of it hurts anyone’s feelings, then choose another business to go after.

1. If you have aspirations of becoming rich and famous from your art- get over that NOW. If you want to be rich and/or famous- this is not the business to do it in. Realistically, you will probably live your life barely able to make ends meet, and fame usually comes after you die. The competition out there is extreme to the highest extent. So if fame and fortune is what you’re wanting- find another profession. But if all you can imagine doing for your life is making art- no matter what the cost- then continue to read on. Life in the arts (ANY type of arts) is difficult- so be prepared to fight, and be really realistic about it. This is a fickle business, and mean, and expensive, and 100% unnecessary (people NEED food, shelter, clothing, and water- they don’t NEED art). Always be aware of that, and ALWAYS be thankful if you’re able to sell your work at all (especially in our declining economy).

2. See what you do as a product. Yes, you are an artist… and what you make is deep and meaningful and profound and earth-shattering and bla bla bla…. BUT you are trying to do the same thing that Toyota and Wal-mart and Starbucks and Microsoft and The Gap are trying to do- sell products that aren’t entirely necessary to the public in order to make a profit, and be able to continue to make and sell products. YES- your art is a product!! Let go of the idea that it isn’t. The moment you put a price tag on a piece of work, or an album, or whatever- it becomes a product. It may be a really expensive earth-shattering emotional product- but it is no different than anything you’d find in a store. If you don’t like the idea of your art being a product, then give it away for free and keep your day-job that you hate.

3. Since your art is a product, that means that you are a business- so act like it. This is the really really important stuff. And this is where all the shit that your parents preached to you that made you roll your eyes comes into play.

First: Get good credit. Seriously. If you have bad credit, clean it up now. Make paying off debts be a top priority, and getting bad credit marks taken off your credit report (if anyone is interested in how to do this- just respond in a comment and I’ll explain how… it’s really easy). If you’ve refused to get a credit card because you’re boycotting the system or whatever- get over it and get a card. Having no credit is just as bad as having terrible credit. Get a card with a really low balance, and use it every once in a while for small things- then IMMEDIATELY pay it off in full, every time. If you do this enough, they will raise your limit more and more, and your credit score goes up. Why is this important? Let’s say that you someday want to start a small art-related business (like I have with my clothing company), or you need a small loan for art related stuff, or you need the money for travel to gallery openings or whatever…. banks rely solely on your personal credit history in order to issue loans. Trust me on this one, because I learned it all the hard way!!!

Second: Since you’re a business- you can set yourself up as such. This is the fun part. Being a business, you can get an EIN (Employee Identification Number)/ Tax ID Number from the federal government, and purchase items wholesale (art supplies, wholesale clothing for screenprinting/alteration with your art, etc etc etc). This ID number is free, and can be obtained online at http://www.irs.gov (just do a search on the website for “EIN Number” and it will bring up the form to fill out and submit online). This Tax ID number also states that you are a business, and are able to deduct business expenses- travel, art supplies, internet bills if you have a website or sell your art online, your cell phone bill if that is the phone you use to conduct business, etc. Anything you use for business, you can deduct- but ONLY the stuff for business (not personal purchases). BUT this means that you have to do business taxes… and they have to be done correctly or the IRS will get angry. So make sure during tax season that you keep ALL receipts from what you want to deduct and get a good tax person to do your taxes every year (it may cost a bit, but it is worth it in the long run in case you’re ever audited or whatever).

**Third** (and most important): If you don’t already have one, GET A GODDAMN WEBSITE!!!!! I cannot stress this enough. Really. The days of mailing in portfolios are dead. Galleries don’t want them, they’re bulky and expensive to put together, expensive to ship, and a pain in the ass all around. If your university is still teaching you that you need to know how to put together a portfolio, tell them to wake the fuck up and get out of 1982. Your website doesn’t have to be astounding and filled with all kinds of flash graphics and whatever… it’s just needs to be a clear and easy reference to your work. If you’re still in college, take a course in some sort of web design or graphics or something so you can do this yourself (I like to do everything myself because web people are sometimes hard to find, and can be expensive). If you don’t have the time/money/web knowledge to get a site up and running- use the free resources available on line. Set up a myspace/facebook/etc account for your art, or set up a portfolio on flickr or a blog or whatever. You just NEED to have a place to direct potential galleries, buyers, etc to your work so they can see it. If noone knows you’re out there, noone will buy your art. Period. There are also TONS of places where you can sell your work online without having to pay for an online storefront… http://www.etsy.com, http://www.ebay.com (though that has turned into a giant online garage sale and kindof devalues your stuff- but if you find that it works, then go for it!!), etc. If you do know a little about html or site building, you can build your own site from scratch from all different kinds of resources, and just insert paypal “Buy Now” buttons on items you put on the site. I built my website myself using a company called “Homestead” (www.homestead.com). It’s about $15 a month, they host it (so it won’t ever crash), and you don’t even have to know any html or anything to build it. It’s really easy… but that’s just the one I used- there are tons out there to choose from. I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH HOW IMPORTANT HAVING A WEBSITE IS!!! It is your link to the rest of the world. Seriously.

And once you get a website- “network”. I hate that word, but it’s the only one that really applies. Send your link to the contact person at galleries, magazines, and anyone else that you want to see your stuff. Trade links with other artists. Use it as much as you can. It’s the quickest, easiest and cheapest way to get your work seen and out there. If you’re a business, then advertise. This is how you do it.

Fourth: Take what you do seriously. Not in a “wow, I’m important!” kindof way… but in a professional way. If you opened a store, and only went into work 6 hours a week, and didn’t let anyone know you were open, and didn’t advertise, and didn’t keep financial records- then how the fuck would you be able to survive? Even if you work a “day job”- you have to treat your art like a 2nd job. I don’t care how tired you are when you get home from work. Or how much you just want to sit in front of the TV and turn your mind off. If you don’t care enough about your art to really go after it- then noone else will. Period. I’m not trying to sound preachy or “holier-than-thou” here- but when I started doing gallery shows, I was a single mom, in college, and working 2 (sometimes 3) part time jobs… and I still made time to get shows together and create work. And because I fought so hard for it, I can now spend my days in my pajamas painting and designing my silly clothing. That kind of work REALLY REALLY does pay off. So if can make my lazy ass do that, you can too. I promise.

4. Get really thick skin. Not everyone is going to like your work. You will get criticism. Sometimes it will be really mean. You will get shot down for gallery shows. This is natural. Expect it. DO NOT take it personally. It isn’t a personal attack on you. It’s hard, because you’re emotionally tied to your work- so rejection hits a little deeper than if you were selling blenders or life insurance. BUT like I said above, it is a long hard road to get somewhere with your art, and it’s a very fickle and petty business. So you have to REALLY believe in what you do, and be able to brush off negative reactions. It’s also important to try to learn from those reactions… when you get negative feedback, really listen and try to look at your work from an outsider’s point-of-view and see if it’s valid. If it is, great! Use it!! If not, fuck ’em and keep going.

5. (and this has nothing to do with business- it’s a personal pet peeve).. Remember where you come from. I can’t tell you how many artists I’ve worked with have gotten too “big for their britches”, acquire this inflated nasty ego because of a little bit of press attention, and turn into a gigantic pile of grossness. There is nothing more disgusting than the “pretentious artist attitude”. Remember what you do for a living- you make art. You’re not saving babies in Africa from AIDS. You’re not running into burning buildings saving families from death. You’re not curing cancer or helping with world peace. You’re making art. Art is important- but not important enough for you to get some “I’m SOOOO important” attitude and treat others like shit. Getting attention for your art doesn’t make you better than others… it makes you really fucking lucky for being able to get some attention when there are hundreds of thousands of other artists out there fighting just like you- so be humble. And thankful. Because there is ALWAYS someone out there better than you, and we are all fully replaceable. (I REALLY REALLY can’t fucking stand the bullshit “artist ego”… if you can’t tell).

And with this, try to participate in the “artists community”. A friend of mine who I adore and respect greatly, David Hochbaum, does things like put together free workshops to teach people how to make frames for their paintings, or has screenprinting parties and such. Help each other out. Don’t see other artists as “competition”- see them as your peers. The more you grow as an artist, the more you can share with others… and there is always something to be learned from other artists out there. Yes, you’re all fighting for the same thing- but there’s safety in numbers.

That is my lesson for today. I’m not AT ALL saying that this is the way to go for everyone- but this is just what I’ve learned from working in this business for years. It’s the stuff they don’t teach you in school (and I’ve lectured at my old college a couple times BECAUSE it’s the kind of stuff that they don’t have classes in, but it’s what you need to know). And I’m sharing it all because I wish that someone would have told me all this stuff when I started out, because it would have made things much easier. And I want to make things easier on other artists out there. No one should have to struggle if they don’t need to struggle… it’s just not fair. So take it or leave it. But hopefully this helps someone.

Back to work I go.