Archive for the ‘Other Stuff’ Category

DayJob v ArtJob, Round 1 goes to DayJob

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

I’ve been busy at work. 12 to 15 hours a day busy.

I hope that it will mellow out today, and I will be able to get back on schedule.

I have an ambitious schedule of art production after all. I paint on Monday and Tuesday, draw on Wednesday and Thursday, and work on print projects all weekend.

The impact on my “night” schedule when I am this busy at work are two-fold:

  1. I spend many hours at work, hours I planned to spend creating art. I was at work till 10 pm last night, but my schedule has me painting from 7-10 on Tuesday nights. No painting got done.
  2. After 12 hours at work, I am too tired to get anything done at home, even basic stuff like clean up. Last weekend, after working over 12 hours on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, I had to spend most of saturday doing chores like laundry, dishes, running errands and cleaning my apartment. I didn’t get to spend 4 hours with the brayers and blocks, making prints, as I had planned.

When I have to spend my nights working at DayJob, not only does it displace the time I scheduled that night to work on art, but it displaces time afterwards that I have to spend catching up.

It has been a conundrum, and not how I planned to start the year. I set a rigorous schedule of art production for myself so I could start strong, right out of the gate. Instead I got put in another race.

It’s not necessarily bad, because the work I am doing at DayJob right now is decent, and I have gotten some assignments that I am interested in, and bestow me with greater responsibilities.

When I come home from work however, I see my art supplies waiting for me, and I see my calendar listing out what I planned to accomplish that night, and I know that it is too late, and I am too tired, to get it done.

When I get set back liek this, and I get tired like this, it has a toll on my emotions. I feel dissappointed, and I end up feeling sluggish. My energy levels go down.

What I am learning is that some days, and some weeks, I will have to put art on the side, so I can do a good job at DayJob, bring home the bacon, and pay the bills. It may set me back a week or two, but it is what will create success for me in the art field.

The trick is to realize that I have not gotten behind, but have just spent my time in other ways. I don’t focus on what I didn’t do in the past, but what I will do in the future.

Where’s Waldo Proves I Have Tech Cred

Monday, January 4th, 2010

There is a walkway between the contemporary art gallery and the rooftop garden terrace at the SF Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and it overlooks some of the adjacent rooftops across the street. The view is pretty boring, unless you are a mechanical engineer, then all of the rooftop equipment you can see from this walkway is fairly interesting.

Every time I cross this walkway, I stop and look at all the equipment across the street.

Last time I was at the MoMA, I noticed a couple stopped in the walkway, taking a photo of the rooftop across the street. I was a little surprised, because I thought I was the only person who looked at the rooftop air conditioning equipment installed on the adjacent roof. “Must be another engineer”, I thought to myself.

It turns out that I still am the only person that checks out A/C equipment. They were only interested in Waldo:

Where's Waldo? Hiding behind that supply duct fromt hat packaged rooftop A/C unit!

Where's Waldo? Hiding behind the boiler water piping from the water side heating system!

That equipment that Waldo is hiding behind is probably a boiler, supplying hot water to a hydraunic heating system or something like that. The hot water from the boiler gets pumped through pipes to coils that sit in the airstream, heating up the supply air, keeping the people inside warm.

I know this because this is the kind of stuff I design at DayJob. I design a lot of Air Conditioning, Ventilation, and Heating systems. In fact, I took this photo last time I was at MoMA, because I thought all of that rooftop A/C equipment looked pretty interesting.

I was all over that rooftop before Waldo ever showed up

I was all over that rooftop before Waldo ever showed up

This is the blessing and the curse of being an Engineer. I can’t help but notice examples of the type of equipment that I design. Plumbing vents? Cool. Fire Protection system risers? Fascinating. Rooftop equipment? Stops me in my tracks.

Anyway, I took a picture of that rooftop long before Waldo showed up, making anyone else care about this roof.

That, my friends, is street cred.

At least for technical nerds.

Christmas Comes Early

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

…when you buy yourself gifts!

I received my order of supplies from McClain’s today. In addition to a selection of about a dozen very small woodblocks and a sample book of Washi papers, I got a set of good ink.

Gamblink Relief Inks

Gamblink Relief Inks

Getting new materials, especially new inks or paints, is hard to explain. It is a bit like getting a new car. Everything you do with them stands out as fresh and new.

I opened up the jars of ink as soon as I got home from work and got to printing. I did not have plans to print a particular run yesterday evening, but I wanted to try out these inks. They are smooth, almost runny. When I rolled out the ink and rolled it onto the block, I was surprised… these inks didn’t feel like they were mixed with oil at all! They feel like they are mixed with butter.

They roll smooth and evenly on the block, and just do what they are supposed to. This is a far cry of difference from the Speedball inks I have been using from the local art store.

I love these new inks, and I am eager to print an edition with them on nice Washi paper (once I finish the 101 Woodblock project early next year).

Quality materials are incredibly important, last night reminded me of that.

= = = = = = = =

On a side note, I highly recommend McClain’s for relief printmaking supplies. Their website is incredibly informative, easy to use and purchase from. Shipping was very fast, my order was in the mail the day after I placed it, and it arrived 2 business days after that. I will be buying a lot of stuff from them in the future.

My Art Thanks

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

It is a bit cliche to write out a list of things to be thankful for on Thanksgiving.

Oh, well.

I’m thankful that I started my current series of prints, it was the kick in the butt I needed to start making art again.

I’ve tried a lot of things over the last few years, coaching, teaching, blogging, and design, but none has felt as satisfying as art. I’m pretty sure I’ve finally landed on the thing that I’ll stick with for quite a while, and find my fortune and glory from.

I’m thankful that I know what is next. I have been working on completing this current series, and until I’m done, am not starting any other projects. I’m hoping to be done by the end of 2009, and can start the next project on Jan 1, 2010.

Ideas aren’t the problem, it is the time to execute, and the time to invest in getting my chops back. With that in mind, I’m thankful that I am dedicated to this. Fortune and Glory does not come to the timid.

I’m thankful to every one who has bought one of the prints (30% sold out already, sign up for the newsletter to get in on the pre-release sale). It has been an encouraging way to start this pre-launch of my art.

The truth that I am discovering is that success with this “art thing” takes a ton of work. It is a job to make art, and another job to market and sell it. Both benefit from full time engagement. Working this in with a full time DayJob gives me a more work than should be possible. It’s a good thing I am a little obsessed with this, so, strange as it is, I’m thankful for my obsessive and compulsive tendencies.

Please, feel free to subscribe to the RSS feed or check back frequently, because I am just getting started with all of this. It is going to take a while, and you are invited to watch it happen.

By all accounts, I shouldn’t be Writing

Monday, November 16th, 2009

I had a busy weekend.

I redesigned this site, and I wrote the first draft of a number of pages on this site that will be the lifeblood of sales.

I created a checkout cart and a gallery of art. The foundation is in place to actually make sales.

I signed and numbered the 101 Woodblock Series. That itself is a lot of work.

I have spent an unholy amount of time in front of two computers all weekend. In fact, when I was going to sleep last night, I had some some great ideas for the sales copy I have to refine this week, and had to wake up, grab a pen and paper, and write down the ideas.

I shouldn’t be sitting in front of my computer again this morning.

The prints that I have been making and discussing on this site are going on sale this week to Insider Newsletter subscribers. Selling art on the internet takes a whole lotta work. Who woulda node?

There are some changes coming down the line to BDD.

The best content, and new, better, multimedia content is going to be moved to an Insiders Only area. Don’t get me wrong, there will still be good stuff here, but the best stuff will be Insider-Only.

The newsletter is available to everyone, but you have to want it. That’s the key. This is a two way relationship, and you have to want to build a relationship with me as much as I want to build a relationship with you.

Now may be your last chance to sign up for the newsletter on the old, not very good sign up page.

You see, I showed the signup page to a friend of mine that is actually good at writing sales copy, and he revised and tweaked the copy on that Newsletter signup page. I haven’t changed it to the new and improved copy yet, but let me warn you: the new copy will force you to sign up. The new copy is so good that you will actually lose control over your free will when you read it and sign up for the newsletter.

Once I use the new copy, that is.

The old copy leaves it up to your free will to sign up. Free will is pretty cool. I guess.

Click here to sign up for the newsletter.

So anyway. I may be writing more on this blog about the sales and marketing of art and the culture of art, in addition to just the production of art.

This should be a nice resource for artists, collectors, and most of all, folks who just like art.



Harder Than Art

Friday, November 13th, 2009

When I was in school getting my art degree, guest lecturers would speak about how to be a successful professional artist. They made one thing was abundantly clear: being a professional artist is two full time jobs, one as an artist, and one in sales and marketing.

Back then, I always thought to myself, “whatever. Sales and marketing can’t take that long.”

It turns out, I was wrong. The 101 Woodblock series is almost ready for a pre-launch, available for newsletter subscribers. Putting everything in place to start marketing these things has been a lot of work. Far more than I imagined when I heard guest lecturers say this back in college.

Anyhow, the prints I am making for this current project will be available only to Newsletter subscribers, for a cut rate. The pre-release price is just enough to cover my materials and mailing expenses.

I’m doing these as a crash course in fine art printmaking after all, and, well, as a marketing gimmick. The best marketing is done by giving people far more value than you ask in return after all.

Details will be coming out next week on the Insider Newsletter. If you want to get a head start on signing up, click here to get on the newsletter.

If you have to ask, you don’t get it

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Either that, or I am just f**king around.

This is not an apple or something

This is not an apple or something

Please, imagine that the above is some sort of thought provoking art.

Small posters of this photograph are available for $75 each. Contact me for details.

I can’t get no satisfaction

Monday, November 9th, 2009

I’m sitting here in my apartment, eating dinner and watching some TV to relax on Sunday night. I’ve been working a lot this weekend. It’s actually been all work. I worked till midnight Friday on a run of prints, woke up Saturday, and headed over to Dan’s house (my former roommate) to work on a new demo for our band.

I had a little powwow with Dr. WordPress afterwards, and we talked business plans and such. Got home Saturday night, printed up another run on my prints, and got to sleep.

I cleaned up my apartment today (it needed it), printed yet another run of prints, just a few today, an additional run on about 10 prints. I’ve been carving a woodblock for a few hours, and that brings me to where I am at the beginning of this post, dinner and TV.

I just looked over at this block I carved this afternoon, and I know I am gonna print it tonight.

And I won’t be satisfied.

I know artists are always self critical. Yesterday, with Dan, we were listening back to one of the takes we recorded. He mentioned that he messed up his drums a few times, but I didn’t hear it. He was far more critical of his craft than I was, because he was closer ot it.

This is a plague that infects a lot of artists, from what I have noyticed. I know I have it.

Pulling that first print off the block is exciting, but once it is hanging to dry, I start to see all the flaws. I see every misstep with my carving knife, how the color would look better if it was a shade different, the uneven pressure I put on the block when I printed it, making the final ink coverage inconsistent, or the lack of balance in the overall image.

I can’t get no satisfaction from my work.

When I say this, I hear the song in my head, except I hear the version by Devo, rather than the original version by the Stones.

Actually, I hear that version now, since I threw on Q: Are We Not Men? onto the speakers.

Usually I would sit around and stew in my dissatisfaction with what I am making, but instead I think I can address it by writing up this post and letting you sit there and read about how art is such a frustrating endeavor.

I think that the frustration that I feel with the art I make is the entire point.

If I could make the perfect print, then I wouldn’t need to make any others, I would have “accomplished the goal”.

Creating a work of art may be a goal in some respects, after all, I want to make art, give you an inside view of what it is about, and get it in to the hands of you folks. That certainly is a goal.

The entire reason I make art, however, is a process. I could be making tons of other things that might be far more profitable than art, but art is what I like to do. I’ll just have to work ten times harder to get rich off of my art.

The process of creating has meaning to me, and that process wouldn’t be important if I was satisfied with everything I do. I guess that lack of satisfaction makes it worth doing.

Anyway, back to dinner and Devo.

Are we not men?

We are Deacon.

Lessons From Blog World Expo: Quality Content Above All

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

I a weekend at Blog World Expo recently. The best way to describe it is as a conference and trade show for folks that create content and distribute it via the internet.

They like to call it “New Media”, but really it is just old media distributed in new ways.

There was a whole lot of talks given about how to make money by producing content on the internet, but one point was driven home more than any others: the importance of quality content.

Without quality content, readership, followers, subscribers, etc, just won’t come.

This point hit home for me, specifically as it relates to this site and my overall goals – fame, fortune, and glory through art.

Amazing content is not easy, and it does not come naturally. It takes hard work, and a lot of it.

Printing may be like riding a bike, but that first mile or so on a bike after ten years without riding is going to be a little shaky and wobbly. This is the reason for the 101 Woodblock Series.

It’s been a long time since I spent the majority of every day in the printmaking studio, knocking out lithograph after lithograph. The 101 Woodblock Series is my chance to get reacquainted with an old friend, and catch up over a long night of drinks and stories from the good ol’ days.

My goal for this series of prints is to make each one different, no two are alike. Each one requires thought and consideration to balance the image and the colors and decide what else is needed.

The result is that this series takes a lot longer than a standard woodblock edition, where each print is the same, and also that I am having that long night catching up, telling the old stories that we remember, and reacquainting ourselves with an old friendship.

In other words, I am forcing myself through a crash course of printmaking to re-learn the means and methods required to make beautiful art.

Of course, my work is your benefit, because when these are all done, I will be giving these out for a fraction of the real value. I want to celebrate this old friendship with printmaking by putting a piece of handmade artwork in your hands for less than the cost of a burger and a beer (my favorite meal).

If you’re not already signed up, head over to the 101 Woodblock Series page, and sign up for the newsletter for updates on the series, and notice of how to get one of these hotcakes into your hands.

This Post Is Too Personal For A Title

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

I have a new habit of writing for an hour every morning. I’ve been struggling to write something this morning. I wrote, deleted, wrote, abandoned, and now, in frustration, am writing this.

Life has always felt like it takes a lot of work. Without constant, diligent work to stay on top of everything in my life, it quickly falls apart, and I am left in a river that ebbs and flows and takes me wherever it happens to turn.

Entropy is the scientific term for “things fall apart”, and my life feels like entropy in action. Constant work is needed to keep everything in place, or it will fall out and go its own direction.

The crazy thing is, when I start to feel like things are flying off every which way, and I am just struggling to reign it all in, I feel like I am the only person who has ever felt this way.

I’m the only one. Maybe other people have felt something similar to this, but I’m the only one that actually feels this way this much. It is my personal struggle.

(This, I have learned, is wrong. One of the little secrets of humanity is that the more and more something feels intense and personal, the more universal that feeling is)

Making art is one of the ways that I reign it all in. That is why I am making myself do this 101 Woodblock Series.

When I make art, I feel like that crazy river that bends, turns, and roars every which way… mellows out. The river widens, slows down, and the rapids disappear. I can think again, and more so, I can breath again. Life doesn’t feel as chaotic.

I don’t make art because I love to, I make art because I have to.