Thursday, January 6, 2011

Take a Step Forward

Here at Monkey + Seal, we think we're off to a pretty good start for 2011. We just published two free guides to help other artists sell their art, and bum-ba-da-dum! We're here to announce that a full course on how to start selling your art is in the works. It'll be at least a few months worth of materials, advice, how-to's, worksheets, and more, starting from the very beginning, assuming that you're starting from scratch.

Anyhoo, we just wanted to take a bit of time to talk about the necessity of moving forward. Often, we think to ourselves "Only if X was true, we could do Y." But in reality, we are probably making excuses for ourselves.

Sometimes the "X" seems like it's something that we could never get. Whether it's a million dollars, or job security, or more free time, or feeling less tired after work, we always seem to talk ourselves into thinking that there will be a better time to do something. "If only I could save enough to quit my job for a few months, I could finish my portfolio." "If only I had more energy after work, I could work on my art." Phooey, we say.

Like we've said before, it all comes down to a matter of priority. If money is in the way, then I suggest you take a good hard look at your budget. How much do you spend on coffee, or eating out or on drinks? If a lack of energy is your issue, what sort of behaviors (like staying up late, or going out to party) could you cut out so you'd get more rest?

Often at Monkey's retail job, when he starts talking about the opportunity for people to take workshops, if they aren't interested, they usually give the excuse "I don't have enough time." Well, while this may be true for some people, Monkey seriously doubts it. How many hours do you spend on facebook, or watching TV, or playing video games? How many movies do you watch? The truth is not that they don't have enough time for workshops, but that they choose not to make time for workshops.

One thing to note is that while we highly endorse prioritizing your art (that's what we're here for, after all), we understand and recognize the need for a life as well. Sometimes you need that coffee, or need to take a break and spend an hour (or two) playing video games. We just hope that if you're really in pursuit of a more artistic life that you learn to strike more a balance between your art, other fun stuff, and the stuff that pays the rent.

That said, when you're going to sit down to work on your art, how many times do you let something (a phone call, or a text message, any sort of interruption, really) distract you? Now think about when you're hanging out with your best friend or you're on a date (an enjoyable one, that is), how often do you let something interrupt you in the same way? Chances are, not as often. While we don't endorse necessarily putting your art over the rest of your life, we do want you to analyze your priorities.

It is an amazing human quality to be able to somehow find a way to make things happen if you really want them to. If you can see your dream in front of you, all you have to do is take that first step, and you'll start setting things in motion that will make it easier for you to progress.

If you start managing your priorities today, you'll start to rewire your brain in order to make new habits and new routines that will be more conducive to your art. And if you think it's too late, you're wrong - it's never too late. It'll just be later.

Let us put it this way. If we could guarantee that if you worked hard for 5-7 years to chase your dream you would get it, would you start today, or wait a few years? You always need to start sometime, so why not today?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy Year of the Rabbit: Certainly a Friend of Monkey + Seal!

Hi Everyone!

Thank you again for another awesome year with us. We’re so happy to have a humble rooftop above us, brushes and canvas to paint with, and a tomorrow to look forward to. We hope you were able to reflect on your year with plenty of gratitude, forgiveness, lessons learned, re-commitments, and more space for a creative and adventurous life.

Here at Monkey + Seal, we have so many things to be grateful for over the past year. Through generous gifts, support, and chance meetings, we were both able to finish art school. We produced two successful gallery shows “Out of Place” and “Alienation.” (There have been talks for potentially a third show). We’ve both been individually scouted and booked for a collaborative show this June! Through all your wonderful responses, we’ve been able to blog three times a week and share our love of art, grow from one show a year to almost one every month, and offer more free guides to empower artists into making a living with their art. We’ve also ventured into our love of screen-printing and created some fun Tshirts. (We hope you like them too). Thank you to everyone who purchased our charity Tshirts, we’re very proud to announce that with your help, we were able to donate a subsequent amount to La Casa de La Madres, whose dedicated and constant work is to offer shelter, advocacy, and support services to battered women and their children.

Thank you dear old and new friends alike. We hope you’ll be along with us for the next phase of our adventures! This year, we’re looking to make a grand entrance in out-of-state art shows, publish a Monkey+Seal book, and perhaps dabble more into our love for animation. (Monkey also said he would take a dance class with Seal).

We would also like to always thank our readers and we hope to empower more artists to pursue their dreams by offering local workshops, words of wisdom, more free guides, and a more personal inner glimpse into our lives as working artists.

It’ll be a festive year! Without further a do:

Workshops in January

This January, we’ll both be teaching workshops at Big Umbrella Studios. To see the workshop schedule, please click here. Come spend time with us. It is our mission to make the classes affordable and a small teacher to student ratio. We’re very excited to see you flourish in your art whether through our class on with your own projects.

Free Guides

To start off the New Years, we’re giving out presents in the form of free guides. We're big advocates of artists in getting their art our there. Want to know how? You can download "The Psychology of Sales" and "7 Tips to Better Customer Service (for Craftspeople)." You can download the guides for free here!

Upcoming Monkey+Seal Shows

  • Monkey (Rick Kitagawa) will be in a show in early March alongside with Grant Gilliland at Big Umbrella Studios. They'll be bringing the beasts back in their show "Bestiarum vocabulum."
  • In June, both Monkey+Seal will be doing a collaborative split showat Oz Gallery in the Mission. Final dates TBA.

What are your goals for this year? What new horizons will you explore? What new heights will you reach?

“Unless you make the decision that things will be different, they most decidedly won’t be. This decision comes from a sense of hope and eagerness, and is centered in certainty that what you want is not only possible, not only probable, but inevitable.”

– Deanna Davis