We are always looking for good blog content from CDPUG members and friends. Contact the blog master for details at firstname.lastname@example.org
It was an evening jam-packed with information. Six artists (Keith Allen, Cathie Bleck, Hilary Gent, Mike Guyot, Jess Sheeran, Salli S. Swindell) sat down with Linda Barberic to discuss selling artwork. This is the last in a three part series of blog posts. Part One discusses the artists’ best advice, Part Two gives tips on how and where to sell art. In this blog post artists share how they stay fresh and inspired.
Salli has a daily routine in the morning – her most creative time of the day. Her routine involves coffee, cats, colors and posting artwork on Instagram. Creating artwork just because Salli wants to, as opposed to what clients want, is where her joy resides. Interestingly this artwork is what people want to buy.
Cathie enjoys experimenting with different art mediums. Fluidity and energy are important to her artwork. She helped form the Northern Ohio Illustrators Society. Cathie feels Cleveland is a great city for creating art in a supportive group atmosphere. Organizations such as Zygote Press, BRICK Ceramic + Design Studio, Morgan Conservatory and Praxis Fiber Workshop are great ways for artists to meet other artists and try new mediums. She is inspired by creating art with friends as well as tending to her garden.
Hilary advises artists to get out of their own headspace and think about what other artists are doing. Let other peoples’ art be an inspiration.
Jess was inspired by a creative group of friends and colleagues. She would wake up early before work to sew new creations. Jess takes January off as a way to recharge. Including time for herself everyday is important also.
Keith, inspired by colleagues at American Greetings and their art blog posts, started to make small three dimensional paper toys and post them on his blog. This led to a bigger pop-up book passion that he admits is good for his soul. His kids’ tidiness, or lack thereof, was the inspiration for his pop-up book “What a Mess”. The Movable Book Society is full of inspirational and helpful pop-up book artists such as David Carter.
Mike keeps artwork fresh between traveling art shows by finding out what is unique in each city. He gathers these unique “must-sees” by stopping in a bar and asking the bartender where they would take an out of town guest. Mike then illustrates these iconic locations.
It was suggested that an artist should take the word “work” out of your art keeps it fresh. Every artist is given a gift of creativity – enjoy that gift and try not to squeeze money out of every piece of art.
What inspires you? How do you keep it fresh?
Become a member of CDPUG now to have exclusive access to informative, innovative and fun programs! Most meetings are held at the Garfield Heights Public Library. They have a great Innovation Center just waiting for YOU!
It’s already been decided to repeat this successful program! Save the date – Thursday, January 28, 2021 for the third edition: “Successfully Selling Art: Completing the Triptych.”
Save $! Treat your clients, friends, family and yourself to Antigone at the Cleveland PlayHouse. Discounts offered on March 29, April 9, 14 or 18. BONUS: Pre-Show Conversations happen 45 minutes prior to the start of each performance.
Offer good for members of CDPUG. Renew your CDPUG membership HERE!
Offer ends Tuesday, March 10.
How about dinner before the show? Check out these nearby restaurants.
Six diverse artists (Keith Allen, Cathie Bleck, Hilary Gent, Mike Guyot, Jess Sheeran, Salli S. Swindell) sat down with Linda Barberic to discuss selling artwork. It was an evening jam-packed with information. A previous blog post covered the artists’ best advice. In this post I will condense their thoughts on how to get art ready to sell and where to sell it.
These artists want to present their artwork in the best light. Professional photography certainly helps. Gallery Owner/Artist Hilary Gent commented that she does not want to see “crappy cell phone pictures” and instead will push an artist to get professional photos. Jess Sheeran started small but eventually purchased better photo equipment and does not just set her handmade critters in her yard for photos anymore.
In addition to photography artists can have their two-dimensional artwork scanned. Cathie Bleck hires a professional photographer to scan or photograph her work. She wants to have a high resolution digital image of all her artwork. Other artists mentioned utilizing the Cleveland Institute of Art scanning services. Mike Guyot does his own scanning at the Cleveland Public Library digital library. Best of all these high-end scanners are free to use. He recommends calling in advance to reserve a scanner.
A tangible way to introduce your art is a small portfolio book of artwork with a bio. Cathie Bleck prints these books through Blurb and distributes them to gallery owners. She feels these portfolio books are a good business investment. They leave a great professional impression and are portable. Gallery owner Hilary Gent agreed that receiving a portfolio book of Cathie’s would make a great first impression.
Many artists sell reproductions in addition to originals – such as Salli Swindell’s cooking calendars, Keith Allen’s pop-up books or Mike Guyot’s prints. The process Keith went through to get his pop-up book published was detailed in his prior CDPUG presentation. Keith was able to generate interest in his pop-up art by posting short how-to videos. Keith created a fan-club of sorts that contributed to his Kickstarter Campaign to successfully publish a pop-up book. He said to gather your crowd, and advertise on the site before starting a Kickstarter campaign.
Of course artwork reproduction does not have to be limited to print on paper. Cathie Bleck has her art printed on tea towels and leggings! This way she can have a variety of price points and appeal to a wider sales audience.
All seemed to agree that having a variety of price points is important. Jess Sheeran felt that having a less expensive hand-made critter “nugget” generated more income overall. Mike Guyot sells many reproductions of his originals. They are priced less and appeal to a wider audience.
Licensing artwork and contracts are both big topics. Salli Swindell creates social expressions art for greeting cards and believes that licensing is not always best and a flat fee is sometimes a better option. She explained, if artwork is licensed to a company that makes a product but does not sell anything – that is a bad deal. Sometimes she would rather get a flat fee up front. Salli admits there is a lot to learn about licensing. An artist can license artwork for web use only, one time only, thus a wide variety of options exist. Salli may be in the minority in thinking it is OK to give up the rights to artwork. She may never use the artwork for another purpose and is a very prolific artist. It has worked well for her but most people do not want to give up rights to their art. Salli believes having a good Rep helps with contracts and negotiations. Cathie Bleck hired an entertainment lawyer to assist her with negotiations and licensing. She said it is best to know your negotiating position and to not be afraid of negotiating. It was suggested that it is best to select a rep that works with artists in your art genre and that reps can be found by searching online.
Selling art online, in a gallery or art show was discussed.
All agreed an online and/or social media presence is necessary. Most artists mentioned success with their own website, Instagram and/or Facebook. Some artists had a preference for Instagram as it was a more visual social media platform. Salli Swindell usually posts an original piece of art daily and uses her Instagram site as a mini-portfolio. Jess Sheeran has found Etsy easy to use and advised the audience to not be intimidated by it. As mentioned previously Keith Allen built an online fan club by posting helpful videos and daily pop-up art updates on Facebook. Since great visuals are so important Hilary Gent hired a photographer to handle her Hedge Gallery social media.
Mike Guyot cautioned about posting too much personal information on social media. His insurance agent mentioned that a thief could take advantage knowing when Mike is out of town.
Hilary Gent opened Hedge Gallery to exhibit her and other emerging artists work and make art more accessible to all. She likes to exhibit artists that have the ability to talk about their artwork and tell the story behind it in a way anyone can understand. Being willing to share the emotional story of the art, in a personable way, is the key to making a connection with an audience. She does work with artists that are shy and not outgoing but feels that they do well as long as they can share the story of their art and not be afraid to let their personality shine through. Of course having professional images online or in a printed portfolio helps her get to know the artists work. When reaching out to gallery owners make yourself stand out from the crowd by including a video of how you create your work or a photo of yourself are a couple of suggestions. There are so many ways to get your work noticed in this age of digital hashtags. Hilary encourages people to not be intimidated.
Even though she is a gallery owner, Hilary never discourages artists from selling their own work online and believes social media can work with the gallery to the artists benefit. Visitors to the gallery take photos all the time and Hilary encourages them to link the photos to the artists’ website/social media; thus introducing the artist and their work to more people.
In addition to art galleries, art shows are another way to reach a wider audience. The art show application process starts online months in advance and usually requires a fee. Mike Guyot recommends reading the application and contract carefully. Some shows do not allow art reproductions to be sold. He admits art shows are hard work and long days. He recommends going to art shows at the set-up to see what is involved. Mike has a large van to transport artwork and modular artwork display walls. One has to be ready for any weather at outdoor shows. Due to hot weather Mike lost a ton of weight at a four-day art show in Ann Arbor. More experienced with art shows now, he prefers shows that are easy to set up and have good food. Some shows he recommends are Cain Park, Boston Mills, Lakewood and Ann Arbor. Jess Sheeran tries to create an atmosphere at art shows and likes to know the dimensions of her display area in advance. She wants to utilize all the allocated space wisely and displays her handmade critters vertically so they can be seen from far away. Jess also displays any awards or magazine articles about her art.
So much fantastic insights and advice from talented artists! What advice do you want to add to the conversation?
If you missed this great meeting, do yourself a favor and don’t miss any more! Become a member of CDPUG now to have exclusive access to informative, innovative and fun programs! Most meetings are held at the Garfield Heights Public Library. They have a great Innovation Center just waiting for YOU!
Six artists Keith Allen, Cathie Bleck, Hilary Gent, Mike Guyot, Jess Sheeran, Salli S. Swindell shared their best advice during a lively panel discussion held at the beautiful Keith Berr Productions studio. Just to see the studio alone was worth the trip. Bonus to hear nuggets of wisdom from these dynamic talented artists. Moderator Linda Barberic kept the conversation moving and hosted the event with aplomb. Kudos to Spike Radway, CDPUG Programming Director, and Linda Barberic for pulling together such a diverse group of well-spoken artists.
The evening covered so much ground, we’ve decided to break up the discussion into several posts.
When asked “What was the best advice you were ever given?” each artist had something to say:
Salli S. Swindell: Don’t be so rigid in where you think you’re going. Be willing to meander. Let one thing take you over here and correct course if it is not right. Relax your expectations – that opens up room for you to surprise yourself. I graduated thinking I was going to be a fashion illustrator and I am very, very far from that. I never would have thought that I would be co-founder of a large online illustration community but a couple things happened, we (my brother and I) followed them. It turned into a whole new business for me. Let your career open up in a more organic way.
Cathie Bleck: I got my first job walking in off the street to the Chicago Tribune without an appointment. Be fearless. Be very resilient. There is a lot of rejection. There is a lot that happens in a very organic way. For instance my last show in Chicago, the curator was from L.A. This curator was the person that used to give me advice in NYC when I was there. She closed her gallery there and became a curator. I knew she was showing some work in Chicago so I went to their show and I brought my leggings to give to her because she was so nice to me for so long. I didn’t mean to have anything happen. She was talking to Bert Green the gallery owner and mentioned she’d like to give me a show. So, I really like the idea of doing small products as gifts. Many people buy them as gifts. I use them as gifts too. These gifts are a way to spread the magic around.
Hilary Gent: On that note of rejection – I remember being in art school. I had some pretty intense professors and I am really thankful for them because they taught me a lot. I learned a lot about constructive criticism and not taking things personally. If someone critiques your work and it seems really negative and you are not impacted positively by it, don’t take it personally. Think about what they are trying to help you do; even though their commentary might seem like it is jarring. Some people just react that way when they see something they like or don’t like. Don’t take too much personally. You hold baggage that way. I think sometimes it prevents creativity from flowing if you are overthinking something that someone said about your work that hurt or made you upset. Just don’t take things too personally. Just keep going.
Jess Sheeran: I definitely echo that. If I took the things that people said to me at art shows personally I probably would not be working in art anymore. In fact, I have a notebook dedicated to the weird things people say to me at art shows. I share them on Instagram. For example someone said, as they were looking at my critters while I am standing right there, “I would scream if I had to wake up next to this every morning.” So, I took that quote, made a little caption on top of the critter they were talking about, and posted it on Instagram. That post blew up – it was hilarious. So now I expect it and I want it. Someone else said: “What kind of drugs are you on?” I don’t even drink. I don’t take drugs. If I took these comments personally I’d probably get really offended by it. Another thing is price point too. A lot of people when I first started out said I was not charging enough for these handmade toys. I said this is crazy; I can’t charge more than $10.00 for a stuffed animal. No one is going to pay that. But I started to up my prices a little bit. Looked on Etsy and saw what other sellers were selling stuffed animals for. Look around. Ask your friends. Ask someone ‘would you pay this much money for this’, or ‘do you think this is enough?’ Or ‘is it just high enough that you would want to save up for this?’ I definitely have different price points also. I started making $20.00 nuggets because it is just so easy for people to hand you a twenty dollar bill. I really should be charging more but I don’t think I would make the amount of money I do.
Keith Allen: Do the work that you are passionate about. I feel like those are the projects that really shine through. Those are the projects that people relate to. And it is good for your soul. I think sometimes flipping through Instagram and things like that you’re thinking: my stuff should look like that, or this seems really popular now maybe I should do that. But I think listen to yourself and do the work that you have a passion for.
Mike Guyot: Best advice I ever got: tons of Gatorade and at least half a dozen clean sweat tops – you really need them after you set your booth up. One thing about social media – I just use Facebook. I don’t tell you what I had for lunch or anything like that. I’m just posting new paintings. George, my insurance agent, told me one time: “I see that you are posting your shows on Facebook and where you are going to be. Don’t do that. People know you’re not home. I bet people break into homes because of this.” So, the next day I got ADT security. I don’t post it on Facebook now. But I have a very large email account with anyone that has ever bought anything. We send them individual little posters of shows. Then I found out people are printing those and framing them and not buying anything.
If you missed this great meeting, do yourself a favor and don’t miss any more! Become a member of CDPUG now to have exclusive access to informative, innovative and fun programs!
It’s already been decided to repeat this successful program! Save the date – Thursday, January 28, 2021 for the third edition: “Successfully Selling Art: Completing the Triptych.”
Don’t miss the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get up close and personal with the drawings of this master! The holidays would be a great time for a visit with family or friends.
I visited the exhibit earlier this month and truly enjoyed it. It was amazing to think I was viewing Michelangelo’s 500 year old drawings from about 18 inches away! His own sketch pad with partial figures and studies of a shoulder or the expressive bend of the torso.
Many drawings are shown in association with finished works such as the Sistine Chapel and the sculpted tomb of Giuliano de’ Medici. This allows you to see how Michelangelo prepared and planned his paintings, sculptures and architecture.
I’ve always found artist’s sketches to be more lively and interesting than paintings. You can see underlying structures and the artist’s thought process. Sketches also take me back to art school days when we had time to enjoy the feeling of chalk and charcoal on paper as our mind translated poses onto the page.
The exhibit, showing 25 drawings from the Teylers Museum in Haarlem, the Netherlands, is the first time the works have been on view in the United States. The drawings are so rare because Michelangelo destroyed many of his drawings to keep others from stealing his ideas. Can you imagine what he produced in his 88 years that we haven’t seen?
On a cold, crisp December night, with one of the best views of our beloved Cleveland nighttime skyline, this was a memorable holiday evening. Coming in from the chill (parking right outside the door!) and into the warm and tantalizing scent of a Italian food, we said “hello” to Judy (Membership Director) and Jim Beveridge who greeted us with festive smiles, behind them a table full of brightly wrapped gifts for the gift exchange. We’ve got to hand it to Spike for picking a really swell place to celebrate and mingle with our party-loving CDPUG members – some we only see once a year.
The service at Sainato’s at Rivergate (our main CDPUG pizza supplier) was fantastic, the buffet table was packed with delicious entrees like mushroom and pepperoni pizza, lasagna, stuffed mushrooms, risotto balls in sauce, and lots and lots of pasta. There may have been a salad. The dessert table featured a variety of Italian cookies with adorable melt-in-your-mouth mini canollis that disappeared as quickly as you can say “canolli”. While the restaurant was more crowded than our usual venues, the well-stocked bar was very easy to get to and the drinks were affordable.
Before the annual gift exchange, Chris Woodman dazzled us with a couple of nifty magic tricks involving the eight of diamonds and Kevin Bacon. You had to be there. The gift exchange was full of surprises – some smiles, some puzzled looks, some trades – you can’t always get what you want. And, for an election night we can all be happy about, every one of the officers was voted back for another term, with Henry Lee volunteering for vice president – in fact, he was a popular write-in anyway.
The CDPUG holiday parties get better every year, so make sure to come next year – and bring a gift. Happy Holidays to you and yours!
CONGRATULATIONS to all of our 2020 CDPUG Officers!
President – Brian Butkowski
Vice President – Henry Lee
Treasurer – Ron Skoczen
Secretary – Michael Schwartz
Also, a big THANK YOU to the following CDPUG members for volunteering their time:
Programming – Spike Radway
Membership – Judy Beveridge
Social Media – Janet Dodrill and Henry Lee
Blog – Chris Kaminski and Laura Dempsey
May Showcase Video Editor – Sarah Coggins
WE LOOK FORWARD TO ANOTHER GREAT YEAR!
Cleveland in 50 Maps
Edited by Dan Crissman
with Cartography by Evan Tachovsky and David Wilson
It is obvious from the multitude of successful local T-shirt businesses that Northeast Ohio has a lot of Cleveland pride. With so much interest in this city, Dan Crissman, Evan Tachovsky, and David Wilson – each with ties to the area – have compiled a visual presentation of just what makes Cleveland so unique. Using data gleaned from a multitude of sources, these three work together to clearly present a wide array of knowledge about this singular city.
If you have a hard-to-buy-for Cleveland-lover on your gift list, this book is sure to be a hit this holiday season. It’s so interesting, you might just want one for yourself!
Coming in at just over 100 thought-provoking pages, this book is split into five logical sections:
1) Physical Characteristics (including water features, borders, and flood zones)
Ever thought about what the tree coverage of Northeast Ohio is? How about the surprising vast differences in Lake Erie Ice Coverage over the past four years? You’ll find it here.
2) Infrastructure (like bridges, roads and car accident data)
Did you know that avenues run mainly east and west; with streets running north and south? I certainly didn’t, but for much of the city, this holds true. You’ll find out how much of Downtown Cleveland is dedicated to parking lots. Consider the answers to walkability questions like: who lives within 15 minutes walking time from: a supermarket, a farmer’s marker, a library, a theater.
Statistical data relating to Cleveland’s population and particular groups within it are apparent when seeing how the Cultural Gardens has grown as a beautiful tribute to our immigrant roots. Back in the 1930’s, Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) unfairly ‘evaluated’ neighborhoods for mortgage lending risks and many of those designated areas have never recovered from this discrimination and still struggle with attracting investment.
4) City Institutions
I learned that Cargill Salt Mine is nearly 5 miles long and dwarfs the downtown area. Founded almost a century ago, the expansion of the Cleveland Clinic is shocking from an aerial perspective. Think our city is saturated with breweries today? You should see how many there were in 1910!
5) Looking Forward
This section focuses on the opportunities for the city’s future and how investment will improve circumstances throughout the region.
Take 25% off* with code DEC25 at checkout.
Plus, free shipping!
*Offer ends December 25. Unable to guarantee shipping on orders placed after December 18.
Belt Publishing is a small, independent press founded in Cleveland in 2013 as a platform for new and influential voices from the Rust Belt, the Midwest, and beyond.
Exclusively for CDPUG Members: Entertain your clients, friends, family and yourself with tickets to Clue at the Cleveland Playhouse. Special deep discounts on January 26, 30, or February 4 and 5.
Bonus Fun: Pre-Show Conversations happen 45 minutes prior to the start of each performance. Special talk back Feb. 4 @ 4:15 – 5pm.
Don’t delay! Offer ends December 11.
Wishing our members a happy new year filled with good health and good times. Get a Clue and start it off right!
• Akron Art Museum •
Saturday, December 7
11 am – 5 pm
Join us at this family-friendly event
and try out some of the most classic video games of all time, including
Super Mario Maker, Tetris, Street Fighter II (on a giant screen),
4-player Zelda: Four Swords and more,
all on real, vintage console and arcade hardware.
Your ticket gets you
• Access to an amazing arcade of indie video and tabletop games •
(several created by local game designers)
• Access to the arcade of classic video games •
• Gallery admission to all of Akron Art Museum’s galleries •
(including Open World: Video Games & Contemporary Art)
Choose from 3 arcade sessions:
• 11 am – 1 pm •
• 1 – 3 pm •
• 3 – 5 pm •
(you are not required to leave after your session)
Free for children 12 and under
(Children must be accompanied by an adult)
Open World Arcade is a perfect way for adults to connect
with kids & young adults who love technology.
Anna Richard presented an engaging overview of typography and type design at the October CDPUG meeting.
Her passion was quite evident throughout the talk. She started at the beginning, her beginning. From an early age she enjoyed math and rarely missed an episode of the TV show Numbers. Anna also enjoys art, creating her first book at two-years old!
At Kent State University Anna realized her analytical and artistic skills are great qualities for a type designer. For her first typeface design assignment she went above and beyond – creating an entire typeface – in one weekend. Her professor was amazed but then challenged her to consider how each letter looks next to each other.
This challenge started Anna thinking about the design choices faced when designing type. She presented a number of visuals illustrating what works and what does not.
Anna explained that typefaces are code. The current font standard, Open Type, is coded by hand in the computer language Python, a relatively easy language to learn.
She mentioned copyrighting fonts is easier in other countries than the United States. Evidently this is a gray area. Some larger U.S. corporations have been able to protect their unique font by trademarking the name of the font.
Currently the largest selection of online open-source (free) fonts can be found on Google Fonts. Designers are paid up-front for their font design but not per time used/downloaded. There is controversy in the type design community surrounding this. Some designers just want to give away their fonts for free exposure.
Anna has downloaded and used fonts only to find out later about licensing issues. Some fonts have complicated licensing such as not permitting use in logos or “high-risk” businesses like airlines. It is best to read the fine-print in the beginning than have a problem later. She indicates there are many inexpensive quality fonts and does not mind paying the designer for their hard work.
The first typeface Anna designed is Noether Sans. This name is a nod to the female mathematician, Emmy Noether. Fitting name since math plays a large role in font design. Anna admits that she may never be completely finished with a typeface. She is always expanding upon and improving the font.
Anna worked at Google Fonts, first as an intern then a contractor. She designed the font Cutive Mono for Google. The team critique atmosphere at Google was a plus. She found their insights and advice most helpful.
Currently Anna is a graphic designer at designRoom where she assists with production and design on a variety of projects. She created the branding typeface, Rascal, for designRoom. Anna wrote a fascinating blog on design choices and thought process behind the Rascal font.
TypeCon is a yearly meeting of font designers and fans. Anna had a presentation there on the visual personality and history of handwriting and culture. In the 1800’s handwriting was based upon gender, education and class. Merchants wrote in legible fonts for bookkeeping, scribes in ornate blackletter for contracts, secretaries in script and women in “frivolous” fonts. This just enforced social classes.
Anna found alot of useful information on handwriting in the book Handwriting in America – A Cultural History by Tamara Plankins Thornton.
On to the present day, current studies have shown that 75% of the time people can correctly guess a persons’ gender after studying their handwriting. This holds true even across different cultures. Men’s handwriting is typically seen as slanted, spiky or rushed and childlike. Women’s handwriting is typically seen as curly, bubbly, fancy and neater. Anna emphasized that this is all just generalizations of course
She mentioned some font trends including variable fonts. Not widely used currently they can be used in Adobe Illustrator.
Trending font design also includes the use of movement and color. Other upcoming font trends see a fusion of different cultures and styles blended to create something unique.
Anna was generous with her knowledge and answered a number of questions from attendees.
To find high-quality fonts Anna suggested David Johnathan Ross’ website djr.com, for Mac users and 1001 fonts, dafonts, and Google Fonts for windows and Mac users. For fonts designed by small design firms or solo designers she suggests Creative Market. This is also a great option for fonts since they provide a default user agreement.
When creating your own font Anna suggested creating an imaginary company logo, then create a font to go with it. Keep in mind the considerations discussed earlier (spacing, kerning, similar style).
Anna finds inspiration for a new font with just one interesting letter or character. Popular for inspiration are the capitol R, lower case a or ampersand character. These all have straights and curves to inspire. Other inspiration comes from unique or foreign signage.