Artists: The Creative Entrepreneurs

“Artists want money so they can make more art; entrepreneurs want money so they can make more money.” – Andrew Horwitz

Spring Green 2012 Prize

Receiving my “Best of” Ribbon at Spring Green, WI Art Show. (Summer 2012).

I’m not sure I completely agree with the entire article but it raises some good issues.

Tragically, I do think we live in a culture that believes, “because artists don’t hold the making of money as their highest value, [artists] must therefore be simple and naive.”

Talk about stereotyping!

The truth is, I do everything any other self-employed small business entrepreneur does. I manage my cash-flow, I create a brand, I promote my business and search for the right market that allows me to sell my work for a profit.

And I work hard.

And, like any other good business owner, I reinvest my profits back into my business so that I can continue to grow.

Ford makes and sells cars, Nucor makes and sells steel and I make and sell vintage and Americana themed oil paintings and murals.

I see little difference in our goals, just our Visions.

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Wisconsin residents are the country’s most extroverted. Really?

MichiganAug12 020

One of my bohemian friends in Levering, MI.

TrainGermany89

Traveling Germany by rail, 1989.

So I travel. A lot.

I’m blessed to be able to live a bit of the bohemian life style so I participate in art shows all over the country. Some of the events are high-end museum shows while others are rocking music festivals or community events. As such, I meet an enormous cross section of Americans.

It is always interesting what sells from one show to the next. I may go to 10 shows and no one looks at a particular original or print and then in one show sell a half dozen in a weekend.

You just never know.

What is more fascinating to us is how people react when you say “hello.” At some shows a “hello” will run people out of the booth – they don’t want to talk to anyone. In other regions, if you give them space they think you are ignoring them.

CMK & Michael 19

My bohemian friend, Michael. Also, in Michigan. That is weird.

And don’t even get me started on how different parts of the country perceive the art of negotiation. We won’t get into that here.

Which is why I find this article so interesting. It tries to quantify and qualify the “mood” of a state.

I thought you might find it interesting. Take the quiz and see if your mood matches your state. Check out how your state stacks up against the rest of the country by clicking here.

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What would you take? An essay on perspective and values.

shipAs an entrepreneur and artist I am always trading off one thing against another to make way for my Vision.

As such, I enjoyed this excellent article on The Art of Manliness website about the Ernest Shackleton expedition to cross Antarctica in 1914.

It was a disaster.

The Endeavor was eventually caught in an ice flow and chewed open by the grinding of the ice against her hull. They were forced to abandon ship and make their way nearly 650 miles across the frozen landscape.

Remember, they did this before Gore-Tex, GPS, cell phones, radios and a host of other modern “conveniences”.

To aid survival Shackleton allowed his crew to take only two pounds of personal belongings on their treacherous journey.

shack2

The essay highlights what they kept and what they left behind and then draws some parallels to the modern issues of American life.

I thought it was interesting essay and wanted to share it with you.

To read The Art of Manliness article click here.

Food for thought

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There are a lot of reasons to love street art. It is more than simply the scrawl of anarchists and bathroom stalls. Check out this fantastic article about street artists taking over a soon to be demolished building in Paris.

And if it is Paris why is so much of the work in English?

Hmmm…

Three Suggestions for Success

HIghSCArt

Me. A long time ago…

Recently I was drawn to a conversation on Linkedin about the proper etiquette for using photography as a source material for other creative work.

The exact question was:

As a painter, is it OK to create a new work on the basis of a photograph that’s not mine? And should I request permission to acknowledge, even if the painting looks different?”

If you are a member of the Art Business group on Linkedin you can find the complete conversation here.

After some thought I decided to respond – since I actually have experience on the topic and not just an opinion. I think it bears repeating here because I know as a creative person sometimes I get the sense I am on an island doing this alone.

Below is my response:

As someone who makes a good living utilizing vintage and Americana photos as source material for my paintings, I will make three suggestions based on my actual experience.

1. Ignore the critics.

My partner describes it as the 10/10/80 Rule. 10% of the people are haters and will hate it regardless of what you do or how you do it. 10% are going to love it (sometimes even if it is slop). 80% won’t even remember it. Focus on the 10% that matter. Paint what you like. Snobs are snobs. Ignore them.

2. Do what you love.

I have a good friend that only paints plein air. He can’t understand why I would paint “dead things”. I on the other hand doubt the world needs another painting of a birch tree, cardinal or a barn – let alone another photo. We are good friends because we both appreciate the work and lifelong dedication to our own vision…but we certainly don’t critique each others art either. LOL – at least not face to face! lol

3. Listen to your Vision.

If your Vision tells you to paint something you see in a vintage photo, paint it. Stop worrying about what other people think. I like vintage, Americana, history, genealogy and portraiture. What I choose to paint touches all of those themes.

Sometimes I use photos I have taken as source material as in Bill’s Garage and the Magic of Junk

Sometimes I use old photos from my family The Regular Dinner.  

Often I use images that were donated to me by supporters and collectors of my work such as Seriv-car and Billboards.  

On VERY rare occasions I use found materials but always ask for permission and check on the rights. I NEVER thrift shop for images as I want to know the history and stories behind my paintings.

So there.

In a nutshell. Ignore the critics. Do what you love. Listen to your Vision.

If you do those three things then you won’t have to worry about copyrights and infringing on other people’s work. Actually, as I’ve discovered, you will end up being the one copied.

Happy Trails.

If you are a member of the Art Business group on Linkedin you can find he complete conversation here.

Vintage Painter Art Auction on eBay

Abby In Spring

Original: Abby In Spring

In the spirit of spring, I’m trying something new.

This weekend I will be auctioning off one of most popular prints on eBay. I have mixed feelings about this doing this but if I want something different for my life I have to be willing to act differently.

That means not relying so much on juried art shows (travel expenses are huge), galleries (galleries typically keep 30% to 50% of the sale price) or simply commission works. Auctions on my eBay account, promotion of a monthly newsletter, exhibiting at non-art related events and periodic sales are all attempts to act different.

The Beer Can Collection canvas print is 16 inches by 40 inches and is framed in an original, one-of-a-kind, industrial frame made of old ductwork created by a master craftsman friend. I want it to go to a good home.

Click here to go to the auction and learn the details.

The auction ends 3/9/13.

I’m going to experiment with this periodically with originals and canvas prints and see what happens. I’ll keep you posted.

Beer Cans

Original: Beer Can Collection

In the frame the dimensions are 24 inches by 48 inches.

Framed Print: Beer Can Collection

Framed Print: Beer Can Collection

 

Trip to Texas

Deep Ellum Art Festival 2012

Deep Ellum Art Festival 2012

Spring is sprung! Almost!

In four short weeks I will be leaving for my first show of the year at the Deep Ellum Art Festival. I can’t believe it has been a year already.

Last year was my first major road trip with my partner and we had an amazing time stopping at Bill’s Garage in Lebanon, MO and seeing hundreds of other wonderful people, places and things.

This year will be even better. I won’t be towing a trailer (because I bought a large cargo van), I have a new high clearance tent and the show promoters at Deep Ellum assigned me an end booth on a high traffic corner! It’s going to be a good time.

Plus I have new work. Check out some of the images below.

My partner can’t wait. He went and bought a CB radio just for this so we can chat with the truckers on our 20 hour drive.

Lebanon Missouri

Painting: Bill’s Garage

This year I will be in Texas for two shows back-to-back.

Obviously, April 5, 6 and 7 at the Deep Ellum Art Festival. If you will be there come see us, I’ll be in booth 127. The following weekend I will be at the San Antonio Fine Arts Festival. I will let you know exactly as soon as I get my booth number.

Either way I hope you will come see me.

We will be making a detour to Houston and Austin between shows for my partner’s business. He has to still work. If you are going to be in the area please let me know. We would love to have lunch or dinner.

We are always interested in meeting new people and lovers of art.

Happy Trails!

My new van.

My new van.

Here are some samples of the new work I will be bringing with me.

Framed Print: Bill's Garage

Framed Print: Bill’s Garage

Framed Original: Brains and Donuts

Framed Original: Brains and Donuts

Original: Jim's Music

Original: Jim’s Music

Original: Piddle

Original: Piddle