Putting yourself out there: Coffee Shops and Art


Espresso yo self

Your local coffee shop: the smell of coffee brewing and the sounds of the milk being steamed and frothed are iconic to most of us. We know from pop culture and television that your local coffee shop is the coolest place to be and hang out (maybe with your Friends?). But did you know, that coffee shops are also great places for young, local artists? 

For aspiring or new to the scene painters and photographers, the locally owned coffee shop can be your best friend. Many coffee shops look for a group of artists and photographers to rotate their art on the walls as a way to attract new people, and create an artistic and creative environment. It allows them to engage with the community while showcasing local artists. It gives guests something unique to look at, and by switching out artists every now and then, gives customers a reason to return to see the new art on display.

For artists, showcasing your artwork at the local coffee shop can have many benefits. Coffee shop and cafe owners are often happy to give you a free or cheap place to publicly display your art or photography. If they agree to adorn their walls with your art, you receive a much bigger exposure with a wider audience. Art galleries often have peculiar hours and only cater to a certain crowd and community or demand an entrance fee. Meanwhile, coffee shops appeal to lots of people for free. For artists trying to sell their artwork, with a wider audience to see your art, you are far more likely to sell something. Additionally, there is always the possibility that a painting or other piece draws the attention of the local media and both the artist and coffee shop get noticed for their artwork in the local newspaper or news where they can gain massive exposure.

So, if you think you are ready for a coffee shop display of your own, getting one can be much easier than it seems at first. Like a lot of things in life, the art is in the asking.

First of all, you want to seek out a locally owned coffee shop. So, avoid the big chains like Starbucks, Caribou Coffee, Dunkin' Donuts, etc. These corporate giants will not display your art. Instead, look for the popular hole-in-the-wall type coffee joints. Make a list of the coffee shops in your area and check them out in person to make sure you like the vibe of the place and it would make a good venue for your artwork to stand out and contribute to that vibe. 

Next, talk to the manager of the shop. This is also best to do in person. It is easy for a busy manager or owner to ignore an email or say they will call you back, but a face-to-face encounter is much more likely to elicit a positive response. And typically, the response will be based on your timing. A general tip is to not bother the manager when the coffee shop has a long line to the barista or is very busy or crowded. Find them when business is a little slower. Also, some businesses are more welcoming than others, so if you get rejected, don't take it personally. 

You should also remember that the coffee shop may want something in return for hanging or selling your art on their walls. It's not uncommon for these shops to take a percentage of the profits on the sale of your artwork. Just remember that it will still be cheaper to hang your artwork at a coffee shop than your local art gallery. 

After you get the "yes" you want from a coffee shop, there are a few things you will need to do to prepare your artwork for the shop. 

  • You will probably need a good artist statement about you and your work. This will help people get to know you and your art or photography and help people connect with your work.
  • You will probably have to supply your own frames for your paintings or photography. Something simple and classy like our Nielsen Wood Frames make an excellent display and are more likely to get your artwork noticed.
  • Coffee shops are probably not the best place to display your larger works. Often, smaller pieces work better and you can hang up more on the walls. There is always the chance you are competing for wall space with other artists, so the more small pieces you contribute, the better. People are also more likely to make impulse buys on smaller works. And you can always mention your website or gallery page in your artist statement to let people know about larger pieces or photos.

And once these things are done, enjoy all the benefits of the exposure you'll gain from supporting a local business and having a wide audience see your art. At the very least, it will boost your self-esteem and its much cheaper than renting out gallery space. 

If you have had any experience displaying your art in a local coffee house or cafe, let us know about it. We'd love to hear your story, so be sure to tell us about it in the comments below.


Get Social (networking) and Share


Tips for the best times to share your artwork online

What's your first instinct when you've finished a fabulous painting or an interesting arts and crafts project? You want to share it with the world, right? Well, in one way, you are very lucky because the internet provides so many different platforms, allowing you to reach a larger audience in and outside of your social circle. Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest and even Reddit are all great outlets for keeping in touch with family and friends, but did you know they can also be utilized for promoting your art? To gain the most exposure though, the trick is to know the most ideal times for posting on each of these different networking sites.

A lot of people spend their weekend time perusing their newsfeed or their favorite Pinterest boards. However, if you own a business or are in the market of selling your art or related services to the art world, the weekend is actually the worst time for you to be posting and sharing. Studies have been conducted on the best times. Let us share the info with you here:

Facebook and Twitter: A lot of people use these sites while they are at work. Users are most active during the early afternoon typically from 1PM to 4PM. Lunchtime is typically considered the worst time to post. Facebook can be great for posting artwork since you can post pictures directly to the newsfeed. Twitter is a growing resource for artists since you can now post twitpics and vines of your artwork. Just remember to keep any messages you have for your followers short and snazzy and get the most out of your 140 characters. 

Google Plus: Due to the fact that most people check their email and news sources first thing in the morning, between 9 an 11 am is the best for sharing and getting views of your artwork on Google Plus. Its is also good to provide links to your artist site or page on this particular outlet, as it can help increase your website's ranking and create better search engine optimization for you and your business.

Pinterest: Probably one of the best sites to post your arts and crafts online, the best times to post will be during the afternoon and late at night. Studies have shown that the site is busiest between 2 and 4PM or between 8PM and 1AM making it very popular with night owls. 

Reddit and LinkedIn: For both of these sites, best times of the day for people to see your posts and artwork are early morning or after the end of regular business hours. Between 8 and 9am and from 4 to 6pm are the best times for this site. It has also been said that posting on tuesdays or thursdays have proven to be particularly effective as these days are typically less busy than Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays.

Although this matter has been systematically explored, another upside to the social media world is that most of these websites offer you free insights as to how effective your strategies are. Facebook lets you track your likes and shares while Twitter shows you your retweets. In other words, pay attention and track your statistics to find what days and times work best your posts are most popular. Social media can be a great resource to show off your artwork, gain some exposure and show off your artwork!


Whats the Buzz


Practica Canvas & SoHo Acrylic Paints

In today's round of Whats the Buzz, we are looking at another two of our most talked about products: the Practica Stretched Canvas and SoHo Urban Artist Grade Acrylic Paints. Artists frequently talk to us about these products telling us great things, so now we want to share with you the Buzz on these excellent items.

First Up is the Practica Stretched Canvas. Artists claim to love how nicely they are stretched, and because they are pre-stretched, how they save artists lots of time. They also act as an inexpensive alternative to canvas panels and are great for beginners and students. Now lets see what real artists have to say and see what the Buzz is all about:

"Practica Canvases are perfect for teaching and very economical. They are classy looking in that the staples are on the back and not the side like the more expensive brands. Yay for Practica and Yay for Jerrys. Thanks."-Nogrits, Ohio

"If you are a freshman in college, studying art (especially drawing and painting majors) invest in a few boxes of these canvases in different sizes. I wish I had! These are a good quality for the price. I find the canvas is stretched much tighter than those in the same price range."-Allreba, Missouri

"I purchased these canvases to use when teaching oil painting. They were a delight as they are very smooth, saving my students time and their brushes. They are an excellent value."-Sue, Florida (see how well the canvas holds paint below)

 "I paint florals and pet portraits on the canvases. They are first rate-and the price is the best I found after many hours of research! Thank you!"-Sally, Florida

Sounds like these have become extremely positive because they are the best price around and great for quick paintings and studies. If you like to paint, give them a shot and let us know what you think about them. We love to hear what you have to say!


Next up is SoHo Urban Artist Grade Acrylic Paints. Artists won't stop talking about how much they love these acrylics because they leave a lustrous finish, provide excellent coverage and have a great range of brilliant pigments. But lets put it to the real test and see what the Buzz is all about:

"Good bang for the bucks. Great paint for Landscape painting. Easily applied with brush or knife. Tends to dry quickly so be ready to paint. Blends good and great color values."-Louie, Texas

"I used this product for a painting in my home, it worked great for the canvas I had and the colors are gorgeous. It was super easy to clean up afterwards with little to no dripping and came off easy with water alone. I haven't noticed anything bad about these paints, I am very happy with the results!"-Just a beginner, North Carolina

"After getting a few of these colors and trying them out, I went and purchased about 30 more colors. They are very smooth right out of the tube. They also work well with other company's mediums. I love these colors and for the price, they are much better than some of the other competitors."-Jason, Arizona

"These are excellent acrylics-the color is intense and the texture, buttery. I love using them and I've tried several brands. Many are quite good, personally, I find SoHo Urban as good as any of the best and they are more economical. I don't see how you can go wrong. I use them for fine art work, both abstract and representational and get excellent results."-Graybird, Connecticut 

Looks like the artists have spoken and proclaimed SoHo Acrylics as "top of the line". Thanks again for all of the input and remember, we love to hear what you have to say! We love to find out where the buzz is with the latest art products, tools and mediums. And stay tuned for next week's Whats the Buzz!


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