One of the Yule gifts I received this year was a book I recommend to anyone who is interested in being a professional artist. It’s called “How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist” by Caroll Michels. Get it. Read it. Share it.
My health problems forced me to stop taking sewing commissions, so I’m running with it. I have re-written my artist statements, created an artist resume, and begun preparing solicitation and promotional materials for possible future exhibitions. I have been practicing and experimenting, and researching ideal materials for framing with minimal cost and highest quality (specifically aquabords, clayboards, linen panels, and varnishes). I’ve also been researching possible funding sources, like kickstarter.com. I’ve re-evaluated my prices and found them VERY lacking, so they have been adjusted to an amount I could live on were I to sell consistently, even with galleries typically taking 40%-50% commissions. I’ve also researched exactly where I want to make limited edition prints, and have deleted almost all my print-on-demand, which never sold anyway.
In the meantime, I’m sorting out different marketable and showable bodies of work I can conceivably create, and prioritizing how to achieve them. Oil paintings must dry for a full year before varnishing, so I’m going to keep creating oil paintings that take my fancy with the expectation that I won’t have a showable body of work for about two to three years. Minimalist works are very quick to make, so if I can fund the materials I should be able to have a body of work within about three months of funding. I love the Celtic work and want to resume making it from time to time, but the hours of work involved make the sale price of individual pieces prohibitive of a full exhibit at this time. Same story with the colored pencil drawings, but they’ve sold well individually so I’ll still keep creating solo pieces. I’m practicing with calligraphy, but I’m not sure if or when I will have a body of work in that area which is marketable for exhibition. That takes me to my pen and ink work, and steampunk drawings, which is doable with funding, like the minimalist work. I’m hoping to make one or both of those start coming together this summer or next fall.
The other avenue I am working on is publication of my instructional writing. This month I am working on a How to Make a Corset contribution to “Steampunk Projects from the Gaslamp Garage”, a steampunk DIY book to be published by McGraw Hill. Next month I am going to re-vamp my “How to Floss a Corset” booklet, add a couple more stitches, and make it available for Print on Demand through Blurb. Eventually I’d like to work up to publishing a complete guide to drafting and creating a corset, and I also want to write more materials about art creation.
I still have three outstanding corset commissions I am working on, all of which are intricate and interesting. I’ll be photo-documenting those, and preparing instructional materials as appropriate. Next month I’m also embarking on a collaborative pan-Atlantic art-corset effort with the artist/model/photographer in Belgium for whom I made the black satin ribbon corset. We’ll be photo-documenting the processes, she’ll be taking professional photos of the finished products, and together we will be publishing on the project. We’ll possibly also be making an art corset or two to fit me as part of the project, but that creates additional funding issues to pay a professional photographer and studio, so with all the other commitments I’ll just have to see when that works out.
Add to that my pending involvement in illustrating an RPG, and I’m one busy, busy girl.
BTW, I finally got an account over at Fine Art America, so if any of you have an account there look me up: http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sidney-eileen.html
In other news, I have spent a lot of time this past week tweaking and improving my web site. In addition to a new front page, I have re-structured my sewing portfolio and improved how my site handles 404 errors. Today I also installed plugins which will auto-detect mobile devices and switch to a mobile-friendly theme. Last month I received almost 500 visits from mobile devices, so with the expectation that number will grow I want to make my site more friendly to readers on the go.
If you happen to visit my site with a mobile device and run into any problems, please let me know. My ability to test the new functionality is very limited, and I maintain my own web site.