Starting a Business...
I've been really hell bent on creating a business out of my art. Not a simple task so far! I'm pretty committed to make it work. I have been looking for a job for the past 6 months or so with no luck. I am thinking that perhaps I am too old, or too honest. I answer all questions honestly. Very often I hear "thank you for your honesty" or "at least you're being honest." Honesty and truth are not currently in vogue. My other thought is that I am too terribly overqualified or too startlingly attractive to hire. It may be my sarcasm as well :) It is the lowest form of humor.
I have my made to order business up and going, have sold some things, starting to get more traffic. I have 13 subscribers to my email newsletter list, 3 of which I think are me:) You must have a blog to have an online business, that is the chant. So I hack at it. My blogging has been spotty at best. I have no theme or style. I'm thinking my theme might be honesty. Honestly I don't really like writing as a past time. But it is a good way to try to express one self and connect with other humans. Thus I persist. This blog post is going to be about art, business and me.
Let's start with me. I have been struggling with many things you seem to need to do to have a business. You need a professional head shot if you have a business they say. People need to connect to a person... hmmmm... I don't have a lot of pictures of me. My selfie game is not strong. I have given it a shot but I feel stupid doing it. I did have professional pictures done once and I almost became deceased. It was painful! (That brown thing that looks like a dick in the bottom right corner is a ceramic turtle. Honest. Plus I have a lot of recycling and a golden moose.)
giving it a go
'People need to know who you are' they say, and you need to form a relationship with them. Make a FB group, do a live video, put yourself out there! Oh boy. I talk to flies and dogs and grasshoppers and myself. I have a handful of friends. My Venus is in Aquarius. Relationships are honestly not my thing. So this part of having a business may take awhile.
The name Natural Icon is actually from an artist statement and a series of work. The idea is that there are things in nature more miraculous than any story that humans can write. The icons in this universe are animals, plants, stars, planets. Not dudes in robes in stories. I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic Church and a Catholic school. That meant daily religion classes and sitting through so many assemblies. It meant drawing many a scene from the bible in scribblers and scrapbooks. I shall see if I can dig some up. So that's where I did most of my drawing to begin with. I liked to draw St. Francis the most because this meant I could draw all the animals around him. I feel ok talking about this, it is my life, my past and culture. I believe there is a higher power but I don't believe humans know much about it. So my art is a celebration of nature, the animal kingdom, sometimes the sacred feminine and what it means to me to be me as I am in this world, the moon sun and stars, the creative spark and sometimes science. Ultimately I always made art so I didn't have to speak or write. Sometimes that works but more often than not writing ensues. I do so appreciate emojis ❤❤❤
I have three...
Making and selling art....well I sell some but certainly not enough to keep me and five dogs fed and watching HBO. Selling original art can be a challenge. Making enough of it and then selling enough of it. The made to order nature of what I am building makes it so I don't have to buy or store wholesale amounts of stock. I can sell prints in many sizes to whoever orders one. I can still make and sell originals, but I have created a variety of price points with prints and products. My goal is to be able to paint more but not have to paint so much that it becomes a chore. I think they call it work life balance:)
these guys have all found a good home.
Trying to Be Good
Everything that I am offering is made in an ethical and sustainable way in Canada. I use birch panels for my original work that are made in Canada. Birch is a fast growing tree. My metal leaf is made in Italy but I buy it at Mona Lisa Art Supplies which is a Calgary institution. They've been around for 50 years. I also buy my gold leaf adhesive there and paint brushes and what not. I buy my birch panels at Inglewood Art Supplies which is now in Bridgeland. So I'm trying my hardest to support other local small businesses and Canadian manufacturers. The made to order model means I will never have waste!
The Actual Art
The actual art! I have finally found a way to make a painting that works for me. I draw it onto wood, burn in the lines, add gold, copper and silver metal leaf and then paint it. I paint a lot of animals usually with stars, trees, leaves and halos, which could also be suns or moons or whatever you like. The circle is important to me. I don't like writing about the meaning of my work too much. I was always of the opinion that the art should be able to stand on it's own. If I wanted to be a writer, I would have become a writer. It's not always a popular opinion! I'm totally open to questions, but I don't write artist statements unless I have to.
I'm really excited about the stuff! Originally I was just looking to get prints made, then I stumbled upon a company called Art of Where that prints whatever you design either in wholesale quantities or one by one. It is all made and manufactured in Canada, so it is employing many other Canadians as well as myself. This pleases me. The stuff ranges from prints to flare skirts, beanies to leggings, tote bags to carry alls, dresses to scarves and many other things. It is adding form to function and function to form. When I say that it is art for the everyday, I mean you can incorporate art into an object you use all the time, like a bag or a pair of leggings. Adding art to your everyday life is not a necessity but it is a pleasure.