May
12
2010

What's YOUR Style? by Wilson Bickford

As an art instructor, I often hear the lament of students stating that, "I don't have a style," or "My work doesn't look like ME."
Though we've all heard it before, the old saying, Don't worry about finding your style, your style will find YOU, is very true.
In the beginning, most aspiring painters learn by copying. Let's face it,....... there's not one of us who can plead innocence on this. And that's okay.

We learn by doing and by seeing what other artists do to create their unique effects. I truly think this is the best approach when starting out.
However, you will eventually come to a place where you're ready to "solo" and you try those first few paintings all on your own from an idea that YOU conceived. Yes, this can certainly be frustrating, but how you work your way through those paintings is the basis of your "style." The decisions that you make are what make that painting your OWN and what puts your personal stamp on it. As you progress, you will rely on certain techniques and approaches which are comfortable for you and give you the desired result. Then, guess what? You will have a style; one to call your own.
That's not to say that you can't dabble in a few different variations of styles and genres. With enough experience, you will be able to work looser or tighter, depending on your desired result and your mood.
While I'm more of a "realist" than anything, there are times when I feel I want to loosen up a bit and be more impressionistic. That's when I put my brushes aside and get out my painting knives.
As an example, I have included two of my paintings to stress my point.
The Calla Lilies were obviously rendered with brushes in a more traditional manner, utilizing glazing, scumbling, etc. A rather slick interpretation.

The barn on the other hand was created solely with a couple of painting knives. Pretty much the total opposite of the spectrum from the flowers, isn't it?
To most viewers, I'm sure they would assume that it was two paintings by two different artists. Nope, just one guy with a couple of opposing approaches.
In the end, the question is,................ do we really need a specific style?
I don't think so. In fact, I think it's a bad idea to get pigeon-holed into being anything predictable.
Yes, there are those who will disagree and say that your buying customers want to purchase the work that you're "known for."
The bottom line is that you should paint for yourself first. Just don't be afraid to mix things up once in a while.
Do it with conviction, do it with enthusiasm and do it with style!!
Once your style (or styles) has found you, your audience will follow.

www.wilsonbickford.com

May
12
2010

Importance of Grabbing the Right Domain Name by M Theresa Brown

I am sharing a couple of questions from artists who have emailed me with concerns about domain names. This is a great opportunity to share these discussions with other artists as the importance of grabbing and owning the right domain name cannot be underestimated! I have selected two questions that I feel are of major interest to other artists.

Question One (edited):

I use my name for one of my domain names as well as the other with my first two initials and last name. The problem with the first name is that when clients do a search, it leads to an undesirable site. The other, with the initials, simply causes confusion with my clients. What would be a solution to this problem?

The Answer:

Yep, that happens and there are a couple of ways to address it. First of all, if you have a domain name now where everything is linked to it and yet it has the problems that we just mentioned, find another domain name that is better suited to your purposes and then forward it to your established site. That way you have simply paid for a new domain name. We like www.godaddy.com as a registrar for cost effective ease in all things pertaining to websites.

When initially shopping for a domain name, try to capture your name so that it does not lead to a negative site. And while we are on the subject, go on and collect the names of your children for safeguarding. If your name is a common name (try Brown) you may want to capture the domain name JohnDoeArtist or JohnDoeArtGallery (or reverse the words) and have it forwarded to your current site.

We have numerous domain names that all forward to the same websites. It is a well known fact among marketing experts that many people still simply type in ***.com directly into the www without going through a search engine such as Google or Yahoo. For instance on our van, we have graphics that say "OnRoadArtists.com" which goes to a page that links to our websites. What that does is make it simple for people on the road to remember our domain name while we zip down the Interstate. They would NOT remember (or even be able to spell) our names ...they just don't. To double insure, I also have OnRoadArtist.com (singular) and OffRoadArtist.com in case they get confused in a search later. All 3 domain names point to our main website. None of those names are on our business cards because these domains are designed to be easy to remember "visual" reminders at a quick glance!

I also recommend having a domain name the same as the one in which you sign your artwork. It makes finding you a simpler task later on! As we know, sometimes that is not possible. So come up with something as close to it as you can. Think carefully about what you want to convey and how to keep it simple yet effective!

Since your current name is linked to a site you cannot control, GoDaddy also has a service in which you pay GoDaddy to try and capture that name the instant it becomes available. It has worked for me and I did not have to keep trying to see if the owner had renewed it. Good luck!

Question #2 (edited)

During a search on Godaddy.com, I discovered that Artist***.com is available. I haven't thought much beyond that and my family and friends are telling me I don't even know if I have a marketable product yet, so I'm jumping the gun. Would it make sense to go ahead and claim that domain name for a start? And should I stick with a .com domain name?

Answer:


There are millions of computer users who wish they had grabbed a particular domain name first, so jumping the gun? Not at all!

This is also a great example of "learn to take advice from people who are where you want to be." No offense to your family as they care about you. But in reality, they have no clue as to what you should or not do for your art career-just their opinion. So learn to trust your own instincts! :-).

You will, over the span of time of your business, invest money in many things....a domain name is less than $10.00 for a year....that's almost a combo meal at a fast food place right? So my advice is to ignore naysayers...you can still have one main website and then additional domain names you also have and like can forward searchers to your main site.

As far as a marketable product, don't let anyone discourage you! So grab whatever you feel may work, register it for a year and put it on manual renewal and then decide at the end of a year if that particular domain name was useful to you or if you want to let it go!

Most domain registrars offer you a choice or try to encourage you, along with your new domain to add .net, .me, .biz, .etc..... As in everything pertaining to marketing, some brands become generic words themselves (ie: grab some Kleenex, I need a Xerox copy, etc.) and so has the .com on the world wide web. Had the world wide web started off with a .net or a .org, then that would be the current focal point but, as it stands, the average person on a computer thinks in terms of a domain name with a .com behind it. Our recommendation is to stick with just a .com domain name. If you just HAVE to have a particular domain name and the .com version is gone, do a search before you opt for a .net or .biz.... and see where it leads because I guarantee you, when people look for you, they will head for that .com site first. See if it is worth the possible confusion.

So put your thinking cap on and look at your art business as though you were a prospect looking for YOU! What words would they use? How do they see you? Can they remember your name? Your domain names need to be simple, easy to remember and point a viewer to your site with the least possible confusion. And always try to capture your name in its various forms, preferably as a .com, and especially the name you use to sign your artwork!

Theresa

Art Career Experts

May
12
2010

G40 The Summit - The Great American Group Show by TMNK

 


I've just returned from the opening festivities for the group art exhibition created by Art Whino, called G40 The Summit. To conceive of an exhibition consisting of 5 floors, 75,000 square feet of space, and over 500 artists is quite an undertaking. To successfully plan, coordinate, and deliver said show is an awesome accomplishment, for which the Art Whino team should be extremely proud of themselves for. This weekend they wrote an important page into the journals of art history.

Honestly, I really didn't know what to expect. Like most artists, I was simply grateful for another opportunity to share my work with an audience, and to perhaps make a few sales to a new group of collectors. And given the size, magnitude and scope of G40, it was also an opportunity for me to challenge myself to create cohesive visual experience. The goal was to create a show within a show that was powerful, poignant, and stimulating. And so I painted, delivered, then hung and installed my offerings to this great American group exhibition. Then, as if a child performing in their first school production, I sang with the group, yet inside quietly waited for "my part," that brief moment where I would stand out, and my individual greatness would be recognized.

But G40 is not your typical group show, and there are literally five floors of great artists, performers, each with their own powerful and distinctive voice. And as I walked around, I began to understand what actors appreciate about being a member of a great ensemble cast. It truly is not about your own individual performance. It's about the opportunity to meet and work with other great artists whose talents you respect and admire. Artists like Aaron Martin, Remi, Joe Iurato, Kelly, Michael Owen, Sueworks, and HermLife, Kelly Castillo, Jophen Stein, and Jim Mahfood, just to name a few. It's the indescribable feeling you get when one of your peers shares that they admire your work, and wanted to meet you. I guess what I’m saying is, more than showing, it's growing new relationships.

I left humbled, honored to have my small voice included, blended in with the rest of this historic choir. G40 the Summit is not to be missed.

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