Aug
3
2013

An Inspirational Journey

 

Reflections from Ira Goldstein, President of Jerry's Artarama

 

I love to travel and one of my favorite places to visit is New York City. This past weekend I made a pilgrimage to New York that included a stop at the Museum of Modern Art along with a visit to Soho both for artistic fuel for my soul and inspiration for my ongoing photography project. 

As I travel I love to collect. I collect small toys, interesting doodads, artwork and lots of photographic images whenever and wherever I travel, and this trip was no exception. I picked up a small metal toy bird that sits on a pile of blocks, a laser printed skull and some great handmade masks.

In addition I got to see and take some pictures  of the recently closed "Rain Room" at the MOMA as well as making a pilgrimage to some of my favorites from the museum's permanent collection including Van Gogh's "Starry NIght."

  Starry Night

 

The Rain Room, MOMA

 

Also along the the streets of Soho I found great street art, urban decay and a deep blue construction wall that originally had "POST NO BILLS"  painted every couple of feet on it, the original "Post No Bills" messages were transformed by someone or some group to express somewhat different messages.

 

 

POST NO BILLS

Along the way I always ask myself what is art?. Is the "Rain Room" art? Are the altered messages on the blue construction wall I came by art? For me, both of these endeavors are definitely art and both were inspirational. My photography feeds on inspiration and for this I am very grateful to be a part of the art world which continues to amaze, surprise, and constantly inspire me to continue to move on. I like to think of myself as an artist as well as a photographer with an artist's sensibility. 

The images here shot both with my iPhone and my D-SLR are not actually a completed part of any of my photographic projects but are as I saw them along the road I traveled this past weekend. Do they represent art and inspiration for you? Only you can answer for yourself. Would you have picked them out as I had from the millions of impressions and objects I saw this past weekend? One of the things I take pride in about being an artist, is that I am also part of a creative community that shares their ideas and views. And that's just a wonderful part of being me!

 

-Ira Goldstein

Jerry's Artarama President, Photographer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aug
1
2013

Whats the Buzz

 

The SoHo Urban Artist A & H Frame Studio Easel 

In today's round of Whats the Buzz we are taking a look at two of our most popular products: The SoHo Urban Artist A-Frame and H-Frame easels. Our artist friends rave about these two easels saying that not only do they look great, they also perform great. So now lets take a look at what SoHo's fans really have to say and check out the buzz on these two fan favorites.

First up is the SoHo Urban Artist A-Frame Easel. Artists adore it for its classic mahagony finish, that it can hold large canvases, and that it makes a great display for finished pieces. But let's hear it from the fans:

"I love the way this easel is easy to move around and the tilt is great to help eliminate glare. The adjustment lowering and raising are very easy to use also"-Kim, Florida

"This easel is amazing! I love how easy it was to construct, its incredible durability, and just how sturdy it is. I paint with really aggressive brush strokes and the easel just takes it. I have used everything on it from pastels, acrylics and oils, because I'm still a beginner painter! This easel was really one of the best purchases I've made in some time, and definitely the best one I've made in my new life as an artist in America! "-Bence, Utah

"The A-Frame easel from SoHo meets all of my needs as an aspiring artist. Its a great quality easel at an unbeatable price. I love it's smart looking finish. It has done wonders for my paintings and I leave it up in my living room so that all of my friends can admire my artwork on it. Its an amazing easel."-JoeyMeatballs, New York

"I bought the SoHo A-Frame Easel awhile ago and I have never been happier with any easel, and trust me, I've been through a few. I love art and having this easel on my screened in porch brings me much happiness. I feel free to express myself with the colors of the paints and this easel just inspires me to paint more and more. "-Adam, Italy

An amazing easel is right by the sounds of it. The A-Frame certainly performs to standard. The height adjustment system transfers smoothly to hold many different sized canvases. One artist we talked to even said that they covered their SoHo A-Frame with plastic so it wouldn't get messed up when they painted. And we're okay with that!

Next Up is the brother to the A-Frame, the SoHo Urban Artist H-Frame Easel. This particular easel is notorious for being very stable, usable when sitting or standing, and that it is easily movable from room to room or studio to studio with its lockable casters and wheels. Now, lets get the buzz straight from the proud customer's mouths:

"I have used a tripod and field easel and this H frame is far more sturdy and holds my large canvas without a problem. The mast raises and lowers easily even with the larger canvas on board. I chose to leave the wheels off because I have hard wood floors and just applied slider pads. Works great."-lajtd, Montana

"This is my first really good easel; I am well pleased with it. It is sturdy, the finish is pretty and it rolls easily from one room to another. So far, I am very well pleased."-Artist on the Backside of 70, Alabama

"This product surpassed my expectations. It is surprisingly high quality considering the reasonable price!"-Erin, Massachusetts

"I had been looking for a sturdy & adjustable easel for my husband for years and this is it! Its wood and adjusts up to 71" high and will hold a canvas up to 2 1/2" thickness. It has rollers at the bottom for easy moving and storage. It will fold flat both vertically and horizontally, so its easily stored in a corner, closet or even under the bed. It was fairly easy to assemble and was at my door 3 days after ordering. We are very pleased with this product and you can't beat the price!"-Kristen, Virginia

"This easel is great, I've bought other H-Frame easels in the past, but SoHo's is the only one I've kept. I can move it wherever I want because of the wheel and caster system, and use it to display my art after I finish painting in my dining room. My girlfriend says its the nicest piece of furniture in my apartment. I can't express how happy this easel makes me and I love how solid the wood is. I've bought other easels where the wood splits almost immediately, but after 2 years of heavy use, this easel still holds up like its brand new! "-Ming, Mississippi

Wow. We here at Jerry's are ecstatic that you love these high-performing easels. The H-frame is a classic, and from these rave reviews, its obvious the buzz is real on these! And remember, we love to hear what you have to say about our products. And who knows, someday you might see something you said on here! So be sure to tune in next week for another edition of Whats the Buzz!

 

 

 

 

Jul
30
2013

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.

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