Saturday, April 24, 2010

Monkey and Seal update

A very short post.

Lately Seal has been very busy with work and freelance. She often has to find balance and make space for her personal art. She has been trying out new styles and ways of working. She is inspired by her colleagues who excel at digital painting. Although Seal prefers to paint with a traditional brush, she is having fun trying out new techniques. Above is her work in-progress digital painting for the Tyger Tyger series.

This week, Monkey and Seal are having a meeting with Hyphen magazine to discuss the direction of their next gallery. They are projecting to have a theme and space booked in the coming month. So, please check back soon for updates. Thank you for reading!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fillmore Art Walk tonight!

Granted, we probably should have posted about this a bit earlier, but tonight, Friday, April 23rd, we'll be selling a limited selection of our prints and ties and will be live painting from 6pm-10pm (maybe later?) at the Fillmore Art Walk!

We will be working collaboratively (!!!) on smaller canvases outside of Jazz'z Hair Salon, right across from Yoshi's on Fillmore, at Eddy. Look for the bright green tablecloth! It should definitely be a night to remember, and it's your first chance to see what an Eve Skylar-Rick Kitagawa painting looks like!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Giving Up is for Quitters

Life can definitely be discouraging at times, especially when you're trying to be a professional artist. Now, not to say that other professions don't have as much personal investment, but when you are a visual artist, it is easy to get down on yourself and quit. I think a lot of it stems from the personal investment that you have in your art, especially as a fine artist. It's not like a car salesperson is going to take it personally when a customer asks for that Civic in blue, not red. The car salesperson doesn't care - they're still making a sale. For us artists, sometimes something as simple as that defeats the entire purpose of the piece. For designers, "just change the font" can completely ruin a piece. For artists, changing color schemes (besides potentially taking a huge amount of time) completely shifts the mood/symbolism/feel of a piece.

It's easy to take stuff like that personally. It's easy to feel like crap when you don't sell anything at a craft show. It's easy to feel down when you post a new painting on facebook and no one says anything about it. But you know what? It doesn't matter. There are so many billions of reasons why XY and Z happened, and I bet you that it has nothing to do with you as an artist. How do I know this? Because art is subjective. Yes, we have classical realism which is often touted as "good" art, but even if you draw like a two-year-old with no fingers, I guarantee you that someone out there is going to dig it. It may be hell trying to find that person, but someone out there is all about your art. The trick is finding that person, or those people.

Case in point: This was a painting I did in a class at the Academy. As 1/3 of my total grade, I did not do well, grade-wise. I was told to integrate my text into the image more. I ended up barely passing the class with a C-. Not the best feeling in the world, but when I made giclee prints out of these and took them to a craft fair, I sold out of the prints. Just because my instructors (who, granted, are trying to teach classical realism) weren't into my painting, doesn't mean that others won't be.

So, what I'm trying to say is: Don't give up. Maybe you won't be able to live solely off your art. Monkey + Seal both aren't able to do that. Right now, we have to work day jobs to support ourselves. This won't be the case forever, but it is a reality right this second. But we're not giving up. We're marking ourselves and doing what we can to get our art out there, so that people who are interested will buy. It's all about finding your audience.

But at the end of the day, it really isn't about sales. It's about knowing that you're doing the very best you can on every single piece, and doing it because you love to make art. Now, just because you could spend 50 hours on a painting doesn't mean that you should. If your best is 30 hours, then spend 30. If it's 5, then spend 5. Hell, if your best, for that given time, day, energy level, and general circumstance is a 5 minute sketch, then do that 5 minute sketch. Just make sure you're doing it for yourself, and buyers, and fans, and people into your art will definitely follow.

Monday, April 19, 2010

7 Steps to Playing a Much Bigger Game

So Monkey has been on a bit of an entrepreneurial kick this past week, and as he types this, he's been feeling a twisting pang in his chest. Fortunately, it's not angina, but the feeling of a realization that is so profound and life-altering, that it is hard to put it into words. It's the feeling (Monkey imagines) of standing on a high-dive platform, really, really high up, with the (what looks like) a tiny tiny pool down beneath you. You start to bounce a bit to get into the swing of things, and then you realize that if you try to stop the bounce, you're totally going to lose your balance and fall. But if you just take a big jump, you're going to get enough spring to fling you through the air.

The trick is to just let gravity do its thing and move you along. To be a bit more personal, here's Monkey:

To be honest, this feeling is scary. I first thought "what the f is wrong with me?" but then I realized that it's the life-altering slap in the face that I needed. Being able to finally "get it" - that really my own fear is what has been holding me back all these years is both relieving as well as frightening. It feels like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders, but at the same time I feel exposed and vulnerable, as knowing that I've been hiding behind my fear and insecurities, I really have been at fault for holding myself back.

I've heard this many times, in many various forms, but the pdf. I just read touched something in me that just shook me to my core. Now, for a few quick disclaimers. 1. I was so f'ing in to this little mini e-book that I immediately signed up for the affiliate program, so if you ever buy something or anything, we'll get a cut of it. 2. Dave Navarro, the author who wrote "7 Steps to playing a much bigger game," might not be for everyone as he's definitely blunt and motivating in a "get your ass up and go" sort of way. However, if you, like me, need a bit of a heavy hand sometimes, then this is definitely for you.

Some of my fav quotes from the guide:

"Yeah, life is difficult. It really is. But it seems much more difficult than it really is because society is training you to think that it should be easy. Microwave popcorn, drive-throughs, magic pills and instant downloads have conditioned us to expect everything to be easy and push button and if it's not, then oh-crap-what-is-wrong-with-me-I-am-such-a-failure."

"Imagine: You know CPR well enough. Someone stops breathing, and what do you do? Do you start asking yourself if there are better CPR practitioners than you? Do you wonder if your certification came from a prestigious enough teacher? Or maybe you have no certification at all, someone just showed you how to do it (correctly)? Are you going to dredge up every loser feeling you've had about yourself and dwell on that while that person slips off into the great unknown?
Hell no. You're going to get on your knees, do that CPR thing, and save that person's life. Without a second thought. Because the situation calls for value, and you have value to offer."
Definitely a bit brusque, Dave's writing really hits home for me, though, and has inspired me to really start working past my fear and taking action, regardless if it ends up in failure or success, as either way, it won't really be that bad.

I highly recommend signing up for his free email newsletters in order to get downloadable access to all the free pdfs he has to offer - all of which come with little worksheets that will help you get on your way to stepping it up another notch.

Anyway, as I've been doing more and more reading, I'll definitely be posting more and more awesome other writers/bloggers/coaches/advice/etc. about making it as a creative and chasing the dream. But for reals, check out Dave's stuff, and let me know what you think - hopefully it'll give you the kick in the pants you need to get out there and change the world.