This month I will be having an open studio weekend to attempt to sell some of my art, because not having a gallery close by/venue does make it difficult to sell work (apart from my smaller pieces which I sell on Etsy.) So I thought I would share the journey.
First things first!
I have three weeks to get things organized. I have enough art, I just need to sort it all out and get the word out. I think the sooner I get the event advertised the better, so this week I am going to get the promotional aspect sorted and ready to go next week, if not sooner.
My to do list looks something like this:
My to do list for this week is:
Wish me luck!
Here is a visual story board of my latest work in Progress! The artwork below is where I am as of today! Slowly coming together!
I woke up today with the sobering realization I have such a big hill to climb and I am not sure how I am going to do it. I guess if I let my thoughts talk too much then I might as well pack it in because the journey isn't going to get any easier, in fact the opposite.
My CG (Creative Genius) keeps telling me, 'you are where you need to be at this point in time,' but my ego says I'm not. It says you're wasting your time, money, and energy focusing so much on something which you have dedicated six years to and still can't make a living from.
My CG says 'keep following your dreams and the rest will come.' My ego says that is not reality, that is not the real world, and that life is full of broken dreams.
My CG says 'hold your passion, stay focused, and you will be rewarded for your efforts.' My ego laughs in my face and calls me delusional, it laughs so hard its belly aches, and just for insult it tells me I have no chance in hell of getting anywhere because I live in the middle of nowhere.
My CG says that by sharing my journey I am helping so many people become better artists, my ego says that by sharing so much, some people are only going to take and use me for my knowledge and then kick and discard me like trash.
I was listening to my fav spiritual teacher Dr. Wayne Dwyer yesterday talking about thoughts because I needed some words of advice apart from the ones coming from my own head.
He said 'Just like you shouldn't believe everything you read, don't believe everything you think.' I get it, I get what he is saying, and for the most part I can stop the destructive self critical thoughts, but today the hill seems steep, so very steep.
My CG says 'don't focus on the past or the future because only the NOW is important and relevant.'
So listening to my wise little inner voice, that is what I will do today, 'one foot in front of the other.' Focusing on each step...
What is your definition of a true artist?
Can you be an artist if you call yourself one?
It seems that everyone can be an artist these days, if I got a dollar for every video or blog I have seen over the past 6 years with people saying 'If you want to be an artist you can, if you want to call yourself an artist you can, you ARE an artist.' But come on, can you really call yourself a true artist? Just because you make a handful of artworks from time to time, do you have the right to call yourself a TRUE one?
It takes 3 years baby!
When starting out many 'artists' want to be good straight away, and they inadvertently put a lot of unnecessary pressure on themselves to be the best. They seem to want and almost expect that they will start creating fantastic work straight away or at least in the first year.
I've seen it time and time again, people giving up because they don't feel they are good enough or they can't find their 'niche or style.' Also, living in such a busy 'results' driven society, we have all been conditioned to seek some sort of 'result' quickly, after all the school system is all about results. Art is different.
I'm going to say this and I know not many are gonna like it or agree but this is something I feel strongly about. It takes at LEAST three years from when you start on a creative journey to even begin to get half decent (unless your one of the lucky talented few). You should be trying every style, every genre of art to work out where your talent lies.
Being a well rounded grounded artist.
How do you really know where your strengths lie if you're just pursuing one genre or style? What if you only stick to painting and unbeknownst to you sculpture is where your real talent is hiding? One thing my mentor drummed into my head from the beginning was the idea to try everything even if you didn't think it was 'my thing.' She showed me some of her sculptures which she then used to create 3d drawings from. Learning to sculpt and see things in 3d helps you to draw/paint better. Sculpture helps you see things from all angles in your mind.
That is one thing I appreciated about the discipline of academic study. In the first year you are made to try everything, painting, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, drawing, digital and conceptual art. Then in second year you would decide on a handful of subjects, then the year after that you would narrow it down further to just a couple of areas of real dedicated study. The most interesting exhibitions I have been to are where artists are working in many different mediums and genres to get their message across. So, they have paintings, drawings, some sculptures, video installation, prints and merchandise. Because not only are they becoming a better artist but by working in different discipline, they are getting their message across in different ways which helps get the message across to all sorts of people. OK, let me make one point, I am not saying if you choose to work in just one field that you are not a true artist! Being a true artist is about the discipline and dedication to your craft and putting in the time to mature!
Give yourself a break!
Before you beat up on yourself for not being good enough, or for not having the technical skills to create what you want, remember, give yourself three years to develop. Be like a sponge, try everything, even if you don't think you will like it.
Don't be too eager to want to get to the top. Keep your ego in check because no one likes an artist who constantly blows their own horn 24/7 especially when their work says other things.
My opinion is that to be a true artist you need to do the time. The whole 'Oh you can be an artist if you want' just degrades and cheapens the true meaning of what an artist is. True artists take time to develop themselves, they are consistent, dedicated, and focused on learning all the time. It's about developing a set of skills which can only happen over a period of time.
I get asked to critique people's work and it is something I love to do, but generally if I know the person hasn't been creating for about 3 years, then I will not take too much notice of what they are producing. Sure, I can guide them and give them all sorts of advice about painting techniques, rules, etc., but it can take years before someone finds something they can really sink their teeth into. In fact, it can take a lifetime.
My role as an arts educator is to help people develop skills, not only technical but psychological as well. So give yourself three years, after that you can begin to pick on yourself a little and then so will I! Have a great day ;)
So today I thought it was about time for a clay day, time to create some little creatures. These are going to be pretty detailed when I am finished. Today I just created the basic body and face shapes, I will wait a few hours for the clay to firm up and dry out a little before I begin carving out all the details. I am going to fire them in sawdust until they are black then scrub away at them to reveal the colour of the clay. I am only working on three because there are a lot of hours involved with transforming them into little works of art.
I create my faces from a mould which I made out of plaster. I got the original face design from modifying a dolls face and casting several clay masks from it slowly carving and reshaping it until I got a 'basic' design I was happy with. I then recast that final face to create the final basic mould which I use to turn out my faces. I do have several different moulds with all slightly different face proportions.
To stop the clay from sticking to the plaster I use baby powder and sprinkle a coating on the inside of the mould. I then wipe out the excess using a dry paint brush, a technique I picked up from a ceramics class at university.
Here is a selection of different faces which were commissioned a few years ago for a boutique hotel. The client wanted to fill a specific bowl with the faces. All have slightly different expressions and designs.
I only create a certain number of masks each year, usually around ten, depending on how much time I have. As I mentioned they are time consuming to make and may take me three hours to complete just one. Then there is the firing which I do myself, which begins with the initial bisque firing done in a home made kiln followed by a second firing done in a pit. There is something I love about pit firing, it is like a connection to the past and your'e using real fire.
My masks have even featured in some of my scanner art photography projects. They are weird, ancient, some say cute, some say disturbed, but one thing you can't dispute, is that they are definitely unique. In this photo I look just as disturbed as one of my masks, LOL.
The events which have transpired over the last few days have been mind blowing to say the least. Having someone contact you to say they want to buy not just one large painting, but four, is surreal and I am waiting to wake up and go 'Damn if only it was real life,' but it is!
As many of you know, I live pretty far from any decent gallery with the space to hang my large works, so unless I sell them at art fairs or privately then it is pretty difficult to shift the work. And lets face it, it is pretty hard normally to sell larger works over the Internet, especially to buyers in other countries.
So I was pleasantly, OK I was jumping out of my skin when I received the email, and at first i was skeptical 'as you are' because I receive a ton of emails weekly from all sorts of art related galleries and businesses. But everything proved legit.
But I had been wondering for ages 'what am I going to do about all of my larger works' because I love making them, but my problem is what to do with them. My first idea was to try and set up a scheme where companies or businesses could rent the artwork for their space because I hadn't really seen anything like that here and I know of other artists who do this and make an OK living from it. And having sold a large abstract work a few years back to a Norwegian shipping company it kind of made sense.
Now, I have several collectors already who purchase my work but it is generally more smaller pieces (and i am so grateful for their support) and to find a collector willing to invest in me financially on a different level is just gratifying and it is a nice feeling to feel your work has been recognized by someone who has the resources to invest in your development, it is a totally wonderful feeling.
So the three works I sold are below:
I have had a few artist friends email me to ask how did they find me, well it is always the same way, through word of mouth, Google and YouTube.
This particular Russian collector has been following my development for the last three years and decided it was time. So there you have it, now back to reality and OH BOY I GOT TO PACK THESE BABIES UP!
So I want to end by saying a BIG thanks to everyone who has purchased work from me in the past, not only are you helping me to live my dream, but you are also supporting the arts!
What makes one person stand out amongst the sea of others? What is it about someone who has that special personality that we all fall in love with? What makes them different from the average Joe?
I ask myself "What is that quality?" Is it because of their self belief in what they do? Or is it their pure passion, determination, and drive to succeed?
I was recently watching a Beyonce Doco YouTube video (which is posted below) and it really struck a chord with me for all sorts of reasons and I think it answered my questions.
It's nice to see someone who is successful and isn't completely lost in their ego or their need to prove to the world that they are the best. It is refreshing, it humbles me, and makes me think about my own journey and what do I offer to the world apart from the artist. I think that it is good that we all reflect from time to time on who we are and what message we are sending out to the world.
I'll end this little blog with the words Beyonce said at the end of her video.
I am learning how to drown out the constant noise which is an inseparable part of my life. I don't have to prove anything to anyone, I only have to follow my heart and concentrate on what I want to say to the world. I run my world!
Today I reached the '5000 Subscriber' mile stone on my YouTube channel 'Capricornartist73'. I have to say 'What a F***king journey' it has been getting there. I remember back MANY MOONS ago, reaching the first 100 subscribers and thinking OMG how bloody bizarre that people want to listen to what I have to say. I mean no one has ever really taken any notice or listened to me before, he he he. I was the kid/guy who kept my thoughts and opinions to myself, but that all changed almost 6 years ago when I relocated to Nowhere, i mean Norway. That's the title of my autobiography, by the way, 'Destination to Nowhere'.
Documenting one's journey is definitely an interesting experience, especially looking back after many years of filming. It is only now that I can look back on some of my early videos and go 'WOW! Who was that STUD?' NooooCH, I mean 'nervous guy who took an hour to process his thoughts into something half understandable to people'.
And to prove to you how nervous I really was at one stage, here is an early CA73 video. So if i can do it...so can u! (Maybe not in jocks though he he.)
Sharing your journey with so many strangers is both thrilling and scary because you're opening yourself up to ridicule, judgement and criticism from people, who will either love you and/or hate you. I am pretty happy to say that over the years I haven't attracted too many haters to my channel. I think I have had around 5 really nasty, uneducated, personal attacks, and on YouTube that is pretty good I have to say!
I think as human beings we all want to feel like we have contributed something to the world, we all want to give something of ourselves unconditionally that will be remembered 'hopefully' for a generation to come.
I would like to think that CA73 has given many people hope that they can make a difference. That being 'STUCK' in the middle of Nowhere with life commitments doesn't mean you can't follow your dreams or passions, and that you CAN have an impact on people's lives through the sharing of that passion.
You know I look back at all the 100's of personal emails I have received over the years from people who had lost their passion, their hope, their inspiration, and how my act of sharing has changed their lives and attitude. That is a pretty powerful thing to reflect on and I find myself welling up with tears thinking about. That a little country boy from Innisfail has changed the lives of so many by simply 'sharing' the passion!
'A personal joy'
One of the greatest joys for me through this whole process is seeing all the friendships which have been formed over the years as a result of people connecting through CA73 and my art social network 'Loving Mixed Media'.
It is such a great feeling to know that I have played a very, and I mean very, small part in bringing so many artists together to create friendships which will last a life time.
The evolution of CA73
There is nothing that has stopped me from pushing my own boundaries in terms of the art I create. Different styles, techniques, mediums you name it, CA73 is there pushing it all the way. I am the mixed media KING, and I'll take that crown! he he he
We are all destined to be great, we all have it in us, but unfortunately some of us don't realize or believe it. In order to find that greatness we need to explore ourselves on all levels, we need to try new things, new ideas, and new approaches. 'Everyday is a brand new day' and I wake up thinking that, even if I don't always believe it!
I've created many YouTube channels over the years, all for different reasons and ideas. But you see being a 'live in the moment' type of artist that I am, that is how I function, that is what keeps me fresh and alive with ideas. I follow my instincts above anything else, above rationality and reason, because the moment I don't listen to those instincts, that is the moment I lose. I have been criticized for starting things and then losing interest, but that is my nature! I run with my feelings and convictions passionately and when I lose that, it is time to move on. And people have to accept that about me and if they don't get it and appreciate it for what it is, then they need to move on. That ability to constantly chop and change in an instant has kept me fresh. I have pushed myself in all sorts of directions whether it is dancing in Lycra with crazy wigs, to singing naked in the shower, to teaching workshops, to burning 90 artworks, to making parody videos about other artists, to creating all sorts of art. All of this has been an evolution, not only for me, but for many other people too, and I think it has all been worth it! I have No regrets!
So what is the future for CA73?
I don't know.
I try not to think about it, I'm taking one day at a time, reacting and following the creative passion as it happens. I will continue to document my journey on YouTube and hopefully that will mean something to someone, and if not! That's life!
So I want to end by saying Thank YOU, thank you for your support and friendship, and I hope you all continue to "Take your passion and make it happen!"