As the warm weather approaches and I look out at the beautiful new views that surround me, I am excited for the warm weather and all the fun that is to be had this year. Sure, as artists, we can go weeks locked up in our art studio creating and only emerge when the pantry is down to one can of random beans. However, there really is nothing like creating out in the sunshine and surrounded by amazing folks.
I am proud to announce that Klee and I will be two of the amazing artists that will be creating awesomeness at FAM JAM. You may be wondering, “What the heck is FAM JAM Rafi?”
Well, let me enlighten you to the awesomeness that is about to hit the scene in Oil City.
FAM JAM is an epic extravaganza of creativity, bringing you something unique and fun to kick off the warm weather that is about to grace us all. Enjoy the waterside views, the delectable food, the rare sight of live artists in the midst of creating, and live music artists bringing immense joy to your eardrums.
Come and be part of the first event of its kind in the area, and don’t miss the awesomeness. You will get to see Klee and I awkwardly trying to get back into our creative groove and other fantastic artists creating things that will make you gasp in astonishment. To say that we are excited is an understatement.
Oh wait, there is more.
So, not only will your eardrums and eyeballs be tickled with phenomenal joy, but your tastebuds will explode with pleasure. Oh yes my friends, there will be food trucks.
Beautiful views, amazing art, wonderful music, great food, and magical people… what a superb way to bring in the warmth!
WHAT: FAM JAM
WHEN: May 14th, 2022 2PM – 8PM (We will be there between 2-5ish)
WHERE: Justus Park, 1 Seneca Street, Oil City, PA 16301
WHY: Because it is going to be AMAZING!
Check out the event poster below for more information:
I am honored and excited to announce that I will be talking with some amazing creatives at TAGG (Transit Art Gallery And Gifts) on Friday, April 29th starting at 7pm. You are invited to this laid back discussion about the importance of having a personal web presence, making it awesome, and how to demystify the entire process of putting yourself out there online using a simple approach and mindset.
What Will Happen At This Discussion?
We will begin with a little about us, who we are, what we have (online presence), and how we got there. We will talk about our amazing online community (The Rogues), and why we believe they follow two artistic dorks.
This is a very laid-back meeting where we will discuss:
Why Would You Want A Website?
What If You Don’t Know Technology?
Easy Ways To Get Started?
The Basics Of An Artist Website?
The Rogue Mindset And Approach To The Interwebs.
How To Get People To Visit Your Site.
How To Avoid Internet Antarctica.
What Is Mutual Excitement?
How Artists Are Powerful At Online Presence.
Throw Marketing Away And Create. (Marketing Book)
What Will It All Cost?
We will then be opening the floor to questions and discussions of experiences of having a website and overall badassery of being an artist. My goal with this discussion is to empower people to simplify the process of opening and running their own website without a bunch of needless jargon. Hope to see you there!
WHAT: UNTANGLING THE WEB, A CASUAL CONVERSATION ABOUT WEBSITES.
WHY: Because it is going to be freakin amazing!
WHERE: At Transit Art Gallery & Gifts – 206 Seneca Street, Oil City,PA 16301 – (814) 676-1509
HOW: Tickets are $5 and you can purchase at the gallery, call number above, or email email@example.com.
There comes a point in life as an artist where you reach a milestone. This is it for me. It is happening on Tuesday, June 29 from 6-8 pm. I have admired and loved what Luna Fine Art Gallery has been doing for the last couple of years and have wanted to feature my art there and be a part of that creative family. Anyone that knows me knows that the connections I make in life with other humans are meaningful beyond measure. I have loved the friendships I have cultivated with people who have supported and rooted for both Klee and me during our creative journey.
In working with Luna, I have become friends with two extremely creative and giving people that I am honored to share this milestone with.
The Stuff of Life: Depictions of the Human Experience of a Rogue Artist.
I know that this show is a celebration of my creative career, but I wanted to make sure I celebrated Luna’s efforts and encouragement. My exhibition would not be what it is without their creative ability to see something that may not have been so clear to me. I am beyond excited to share my solo exhibition with you because of this. So a big shout out to the gallery directors, Lisa Puzon and Shaughnessy Johnson for being so absolutely amazing.
If you are reading this, chances are you have followed me throughout my creative journey, some of you have been there since the beginning. I adore you and I want to give you a shout-out as well. The thing that makes this show so special to me is that some of you have had a huge impact on my life and it is reflected in the art that I create. This is our show. An exhibition of the amazing moments I have shared with you in the last decade or so.
The Exhibition is called The Stuff of Life: Depictions of the Human Experience of a Rogue Artist.
This exhibition is a testament to the human spirit. To the beauty and power, we all possess as humans. It is the culmination of a 10-year creative journey where I challenged myself to stand in my own skin and allow myself to see the beauty in the world. This is the sharing of the calling within each work that I create to explore and understand the human experience.
There will be seating, some words will be spoken by some amazing humans (including Klee, she is nervous and would appreciate your support), and refreshments on opening day. I would love it if you joined us. We will also have a special unveiling and a lot of fun so prepare yourself for an epic time.
WHAT: Art Exhibition – The Stuff of Life: Depictions of the Human Experience of a Rogue Artist. WHEN: Tuesday, June 29 from 6-8pm – Ballroom A WHERE: Luna Fine Art Gallery, Hilton Pensacola Beach,12 Via De Luna Dr, Pensacola Beach FL 32561 WHY: Because this is going to be amazing. You are going to want to bring friends as well so you can show them how cool you are.
Find out more about the show and how awesome it is going to be by watching the video below:
For all of the amazing humans that follow us online and are from all parts of the world, we will be recording the event and sharing it with you next weekend.
On June 8th, in the early morning hours, I left something special around the beautiful town of Pensacola, FL, in the form of 100 sculptures.
I was inspired by the recent sale of a sculpture by artist Salvatore Garau. His sculpture auctioned off for $18K, but I wanted my sculptures to be displayed prominently around town for everyone to enjoy.
This particular project required days of planning and plotting to pull it off, after all, 100 sculptures are a lot of works of art. Luckily, I made them small enough to handle in one trip in my vehicle, and Klee helped me move them into place. I wanted them to be small enough for people to take home. I only ask that they do not take home multiples.
Because the sculptures are small, I estimate the value of each at about $500.
Salvatore Garau said of his sculpture, “It is a work that asks you to activate the power of the imagination.”
In February of this year, at the Piazza Della Scala in Milan, Salvatore Garau exhibited BUDDHA IN CONTEMPLATION. As seen in the picture, this sculpture is marked out by square tape on the cobble-stone.
I determined that the tape would eventually fade and fall apart, so it was unnecessary. In fact, I believe it is damaging to the sculptures, and thus, none of my sculptures are marked out by tape.
The 100 sculptures have been left in prominent areas around downtown Pensacola and displayed by some of my favorite businesses.
My sculpture series is called “No hay nada aquí,” and I hope they will bring much joy to the beautiful people of Pensacola. I also hope this inspires other artists around the world to share their art with their favorite places. I plan on expanding on this series and displaying them around New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami. My ultimate plan is to eventually display the series in cities and towns around the world.
Salvatore Garau said, “The vacuum is nothing more than a space full of energy, and even if we empty it and there is nothing left, according to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, that nothing has a weight. Therefore, it has an energy that is condensed and transformed into particles, that is, into us.”
However, my sculptures are made up of the evaporated tears of a captured chupacabra who cries when tickled with a fiery Pheonix feather. Since the artist mentions the Heisenberg uncertainty principle in the wrong context, I would like to say that my pieces are explained by the theory of relativity. So there is your explanation with some physics thrown in.
I also have a painting that is part of this series for sale in my store. Please check it out by clicking on the image below. Once you see the listing make sure to click on the “find out how to purchase” button for some additional info.
To hear more about our thoughts on this particular art style, you can watch the video below.
Also if you happen to be in the Pensacola Beach area Rafi will be having a solo exhibition at Luna Fine Art Gallery at the Hilton On Pensacola Beach (12 Via De Luna Dr, Pensacola Beach, FL 32561) from June 29th – September 9th. By the way, this show will have tangible paintings you can see and touch, although I may bring some of my invisible sculptures.
I am happy to announce that The Rogue Artist’s Guide To Rogue Marketing And Money IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER!!! It feels like only last month that I finished the prior book… well, technically we did finish the commentary last month, so maybe I can say that.
I am very excited about this book because there will be plenty of rambles, rants, and really awesome ideas for unique out of the box marketing. In the last few years of my art career, I have viewed marketing my art and myself as a fun experiment. I’m hoping to share that attitude with you. Like the last book, this book will be calling bullshit on the complex nature of marketing and simplifying it, while still showing how to navigate and blaze your own trail through the rhetoric.
When I originally wrote The Rogue Artist’s Survival Guide, I had intended it to be a much shorter book than it turned out to be. My goal was to write practical and real advice about becoming or being a full-time artist and creative. Most of the things that have allowed me to have a small degree of success, happened mostly in my head. Between the lingering brain farts, self-judgment, and insecurity when it came to being an artist, there were moments of learning. I have thousands of random pages of notes that I have taken over the years, documenting those moments.
I quickly realized that I was either going to have to write a 2000 page book, or write several books on specific topics. Knowing the brilliant short attention span that I pose as an artist, I decided I’d better break the topics up. Thus, I bring you The Rogue Artist’s Guide To Rogue Marketing and Money.
The reason I decided to write these books is, there are some amazing creatives out there with giant ideas but itty-bitty funds to back them up. We get contacted by them just about every day thanks to our “Rafi’s Tips For Artists” videos on YouTube. Since Klee and I started with nothing and somehow bumbled our way into a full-time art career, I decided to share what we had learned. When I first started my art career, I would go to the bookstore and sit in the aisle and read some of the artist help books (I didn’t have much money). I wanted to make sure that if I was going to invest in a book on building an art career, that it would be worth it.
There were a lot of great books out there by some very talented people, unfortunately, none of them were talking to me. There was a lot of advice on what I SHOULD do and for the most part, their ideas of an art career just didn’t seem appealing. Discouraged, yet determined, I decided I would proceed and figure out my own way of doing it. Almost a decade later and thousands of notes, here I am writing my second book.
This particular book is on marketing, and based on my unconventional mindset in attaining my goals. Marketing has changed a lot since the days of the gallery systems and gatekeepers of the art world, yet I feel a large number of creatives still feel they need to approach it from that outdated mindset.
This book is going to challenge the status quo of mainstream marketing and traditional marketing tactics. I am also going to challenge a lot of the techniques used by what I believe are predatory artist marketing courses that live on the internet. I am also going to lay out marketing in simple understandable terms that will demystify what marketing is… but I’m getting ahead of myself here.
Market Your Art Like A Rogue Artist
As rogue artists, we don’t follow the cookie-cutter courses that most art marketing “mentors” love to pawn off on artists who are desperate to understand marketing. This book is going to go against the grain of most typical artists and creative marketing courses. I am going to defy the standards and go rogue, and hopefully show you that marketing is not this mysterious thing that is beyond your understanding. My hope is that by the end of reading this book you will find that the most powerful, one of a kind, and creative marketing can be fun and part of your unique creative journey.
Your books will be signed special release editions for our Indiegogo supporters, so there will be a little extra in your books from Klee and me that the general public will not be privy to when the book is officially launched in January (such as signed posters, bookmarks, and anything else we think is fun). The hardcover books are limited special edition color copies only available on IndieGoGo for this campaign (Only 60 available).
The Rogue Artist’s Marketing And Money Brainstorming Journal is a workbook for keeping track of and brainstorming your own rogue marketing and money techniques.
The Rogue Artist’s Marketing and Money Guide will be available as an AUDIOBOOK available for pre-order in IndieGoGo as well.
I am always astonished by the talented and amazing creatives that we have met. Artists are some of the most eye-opening and unique individuals to color the planet. I am proud to say that I am part of a community of Rogue Artists that support each other. This is a diverse and multi-cultural group of multi-talented individuals who are blazing their own artistic careers in their own way. I am blessed and honored to call them my rogue family, and excited to share their stories and talents with you, because we LURVE them… like… a lot…
This is just a glimpse of some of our rogue family from all around the world.
Every once in awhile, I’ll be introducing them to you throughout the year, but I wanted to let them introduce themselves by answering a series of five questions:
1. What is your name (Name you want to share) and where are you from?
2. What kind of art or arts do you enjoy working on?
3. What else would you like to say about yourself or your art?
4. What is next for you? (this question is optional)
5. What is your website or social media pages where we can find you?
So, hold out your hand and prepare yourself for awesomeness, luckily it is online so we don’t have to worry about social distancing 🙂
My name is Dana Ellis from Crawfordsville, IN I enjoy mostly oils and portrait painting. I did my first painting in 1996 in a little local craft store and I’ve loved creating ever since. Although I have moved through many levels and mediums I found my home in painting faces. You can find me on Facebook: Dana Ellis Art Instagram: Dana_Ellis_Art https://danaellisarts.wixsite.com/website
My name is Tina Colbourne and I’m from Toronto, Ontario Canada but my parents are from Newfoundland, Canada so I say I’m a Newfie.
I enjoy most all art but I mainly paint wildlife, landscapes, and some still life. I like to paint in realism with acrylics.
I am self-taught or rather I learned very young from my father, and my uncle who lived with us for a short while. My father is a landscape artist and he still paints today.
Right now I have to step back from art a little and just paint in my spare time because I am remodeling my house. I am looking to sell in the next two years. I want to move to the country and have either a barn or large workshop/outbuilding to turn into a studio space and a small gallery open to the public. My father will stay with me during the winter and also paint with me.
You can find me on Facebook or Instagram @tinacolbourneart
Melissa Peacock – Surrey, BC, Canada
Big huge watercolour fan, aiming for “magical semi-realism” I guess you could say.
I’m also an anxious bee open for commissions, though plants and animals suit best!
I have an utterly jam-packed website at www.yellowmellearts.com, insta/twitter: @yellowmelle, and surely hundreds of videos on youtube.
My name is Megan McFadden
The art I enjoy creating is sureal, fantasy sci -fi, anime
I like playing around with different mediums. I mostly work in ink and colored pencil. I have been playing around a little bit with digital.
What is next for me. Putting myself out there more. I would like to publish a coloring book. I would like to create art full time.
What is your website or social media pages where we can find you?
My name is Michelle, and I am from Adelaide, South Australia.
I create original artworks in handwoven tapestry, and also make handwoven scarves on my floor loom.
My art is a combination of my dark/goth aesthetic, and phrases used during my growing up years … these are mostly around my parents wanting me to be ‘normal’ and conform to the rest of society. I am also obsessed with x-rays – as well as creating a whole series of tapestries of x-rays, now I am experimenting with drawing on them …
Next for me is my first solo exhibition opening 24 September!
Kelly Sterr from Bedminster Pennsylvania. I have taken a liking to acrylics however I love doing anything creative. Can not wait till I can do this full time. My daughter and I went shopping at IKEA and they had loom for $20 I decided to get it and give it a whirl and see what tapestry I come up with. You can find me on my website at Kellysterrgallery.com – ksterr64 on Instagram- and Kelly Sterr Gallery on etsy and I sell on Amazon under Kelly Sterr Gallery.
1) Charity From Northern Minnesota
2) I enjoy working on many different arts!! I’ve always enjoyed painting, working with wood, working with rocks, wire, and jewelry things, working with glass, working with paper, working with clay… basically almost every kind of medium you can work with, I love it!! I love to create with anything I can get my hands on!! right now I’ve been focusing on painting. couple years ago I focused on wood & few years before that I focused on melting glass
3) My art is for me I guess. I hope others will like it and appreciate it. But it is never bothered me if they don’t. Because my art is an outlet for me. A form of therapy if you will for me. always has been since I was a little kid.
4) what’s next for me?? The picture is of me in my current studio, which is my minivan that I’m converting into a mini camper for myself. My husband and I just became official empty-nesters a week ago. So the studio that I had put together is actually going to be moving to a bigger room in the next couple of weeks. We are rearranging things in our home. it’s gonna take a little bit. I’m also gonna try to get camping a few times before winter sets in. And once my studio in the house is moved and set up. I am just gonna keep creating things that I want to create using mediums that I maybe not have used before. I just enjoy trying new things!
My name is Everett Stanton, I previously created work under the pseudonym J.H. Everett. I currently live with my wife, mother-in-law, and two sons (and our corgi, Lucy) in Mission Viejo, California.
I really enjoy working on puppetry, illustration, and animation
I like to create active art that people can interact with, do crazy things with, and have fun with. I like art that makes people happy. I tend to gravitate to bright colors, interesting lines, and large shapes.
What’s next for me is to get brave, and really believe in my place in the art form that I have chosen to be a part of – without hesitation. I am starting to build puppets once again, and I am jumping back into animating and illustration. The feature film that I designed costumes and puppets for just finished in editing, and is going into post-production. And today, I agreed to work on an online puppet show for Reddit and Tick Toc with some professional puppeteer friends. I have also started working with two other artists to Livestream on Reddit, while we work together to create a couple of new kid’s books.
Jennifer Lindquist in Longwood, FL, I paint in acrylics mostly surf art, surfer girls, curls, beaches. I love the springs, surfing, and I work in I.T. full time. I’m trying to get my online art sales going since festivals have stopped. I have a website, www.artisticsurf.net Facebook: jennclindquist.artist Instagram: @jennclindquist
Name: Jo Clark living in Maryland, USA
Type of art: I paint, crochet, draw and refurbish furniture when I have the time.
Something about yourself: I love escaping in books. With how busy I’ve become with my art career I listen to audiobooks, but in the past, you could count on finding me in a secluded place with my nose in a book.
What is next for you: Growing my family art business. We want to get our children involved as much as possible.
My name is Linda Ursin, Swedish living in Norway. My art is inspired by folklore, mythology, and the Scandinavian landscape and wildlife. I enjoy experimenting with media and texture but for the most part, there’s some form of realism in the end result. I make art because it’s part of who I am. I’m a multi-passionate creative. Next for me is to get back into what I love after about a year of things getting in the way and draining the little energy I have. Living with chronic pain means I have less of it.
You can find me at lindaursin.net and as @lindaursin on most social media. On youtube it’s easier to search my name.
Hi! My name is Marilyn Savage and I’m from Reno, NV. I like working with glass and I do stained glass and etched glass panels. I plan on learning to do fused glass sometime soon (I bought a glass kiln about a year ago but haven’t used it yet). It’s been too hot lately to work in my workshop but I read somewhere that I should do artwork daily so I’ve been designing glass panels on paper every day. I do it everyday at lunchtime while I’m at my day job and I really enjoy that break from all the paper pushing. Retirement is just a couple years away and that’s when I plan to try to have an actual art business. I think having fun with it is the most important thing. I can be found at https://www.gabrielleartsnv.com and I have a Facebook page too….https://www.facebook.com/Gabrielle-Arts-NV
Hi, I’m Kassandra Alfaro from Del Rio, Texas but everyone calls me Kas.
My current go to art is digital art and acrylics on canvas, but I love creating in general.
Although I am super camera and voice shy, I have been creating since I was little (I’m currently 19). My dad has always told me to share my creations with the world, so I do.
As an artist, I enjoy drawing, painting, and gaming. I also do graphic design work for a couple of local businesses and take on commission work when I have a chance. I also have an apprenticeship as a tattoo artist.
Hi all I’m Natalie from Nataliecallwoodart I live and work in BC Canada with my family with 3 almost out of the house kids and my husband.Im originally from Switzerland.My goal is to one day soon to have a studio by the sea be it on Canadas West Coast or somewhere else in the world ! I also would like to travel part of the year as a traveling artist with a base at my studio by the sea !!
I’m working mostly as a painter in abstract using all kinds of mediums like acrylics, watercolors, encaustics, Inks, I do not like oils lol. My roots are in ceramics I went to school for it I hope to have a big enough studio by the sea to incorporate a ceramic area as well !! Short term goal is to make a living from my passion because I can’t think of doing anything else for now /my second part of my life !! My website: https://www.nataliecallwoodart.com/ I also have a YouTube channel that could use some attention lol nataliecallwoodart! FB https://m.facebook.com/nataliecallwoodart/ IG https://www.instagram.com/nataliecallwoodartist/
Hi! My name is Rhonda Young, and I’m from Oklahoma, USA. I started doing pencil portraiture years ago, then I gradually moved into doing sculpture and stone carving. Right now, I’m very interested in, and trying (for the first time), watercolor painting. I don’t really have a business, per se, though I have sold a few sculptures in the past, and I don’t really have a good, designated studio. I just work in a corner of my living room. No website, but you can see some of my art here: https://www.deviantart.com/rhondayoungart
I’m the single mother of two young adults with Autism.
Hello, it’s Kyle at Kyle Wood Creations. I enjoy painting, printmaking, and experimenting. My work is mostly dream time leaning into the surreal. I enjoy expressing my mental projections and discoveries. What is next for me is an increase in creating more art. I can be found at kylewoodcreations.com and on Instagram as kylewoodcreations. Currently, my studio is the space between the living room and kitchen.
What is your name (Name you want to share) and where are you from? Chantal Dupuis, Ottawa, Ontario (Canada)
What kind of art or arts do you enjoy working on? Watercolour and oil paintings mostly wildlife or landscape.
What else would you like to say about yourself or your art? Art is therapy for me, journey started 5 years ago when diagnosed with cornea dystrophy. Was lucky to get a donor transplant in 2018 and now it is just an addiction, can’t go a day without painting!
What is next for you? (this question is optional) Keep painting. I registered (and got accepted) in a gallery and a few associations as I am hoping to be able to sell enough so that I can pay for my supplies but otherwise, it would be cool to try to do a solo show but not sure if I am ready for that… I need to “grow more” in my heart and art!
What is your website or social media pages where we can find you?
Holly Wong lives and works in San Francisco, California. She was educated at the San Francisco Art Institute where she graduated with a Master of Fine Arts with a concentration in New Genres. Holly creates installations, assemblages and works on paper, integrating non-traditional approaches with more traditional sewing techniques associated with the history of women. Her approach is both non-conventional but also deeply rooted in her history and culture. She has been awarded visual arts grants from the Integrity: Arts and Culture Association, Barbara Deming Memorial fund, the George Sugarman Foundation, the Puffin Foundation, and a Gerbode Foundation purchase award.
“This is a picture of me working on an installation called “Spiral Dance” which was constructed of multiple layers of drafting film with colored pencil drawings. The pieces are large so I end up working on the floor sometimes.”
1. What is your name (Name you want to share) and where are you from?
My name is Klee Angelie, and I originally hail from Joliet, Illinois. I’ve spent the last decade living and creating in Pensacola, Florida. It’s hot here and we don’t have any lightning bugs (fail!) but it’s a great place full of amazing people.
2. What kind of art or arts do you enjoy working on?
I love creating jewelry. Working with stones and metals is endlessly fascinating and fun. I also love music (my first love, as a kid I could most often be found with my hot pink boombox on full blast, singing into a hairbrush) and my specialty is singing/songwriting. I recently picked up needle-felting, and have a general love for fabrics and fibers.
3. What else would you like to say about yourself or your art?
Oh, geez… nice question “Tell us more about yourself”
Me: “Uh…” (types long paragraph, deletes it, tries again, deletes that… stares at computer screen… closes eyes and screams while typing.)
I often joke with people~ “Nothin but rocks and song lyrics up here in the ol’ noggin.” but it’s kinda true…
I was always “that kid…” You know that kid, the one off in the other room doing their own thing, usually something creative or lost in their imagination. I’m still that kid, but now I have another awesome kid to share my studio space with (my best friend and husband, Rafi), as well as a community of equally unique and weirdly wonderful kids that I’m proud to call my friends. I’m one happy kid. Still mostly into rocks and song lyrics.
4. What is next for you? (this question is optional)
This is always sort of open-ended for me and ever evolving, but lately with one solid criteria: to have fun. Fun is a lot to manage, but luckily I have protocols in place to help manage and organize the fun.
5. What is your website or social media pages where we can find you?
I am now turning some age in February where I have been deemed an old fart. I’m not being elusive about my age, I simply can never remember how old I am. However, I do remember that it happens every year on February 5th and for the most part, I like to relax with Klee and do nothing that day. No fanfare, no parties, no big todo, just a relaxed day, doing everything I do on just about every other day. I celebrate “me” a lot whether it is my birthday or not. This has led to the disappointment of some very good friends who love to celebrate birthdays and me.
This year is going to be slightly different. I’m having a party.
Well, February 1st will be my birthday bash… February 5th, I’ll be relaxing and doing nothing, so it’s a win-win for everyone.
I decided that the birthday party would be a fun art-stravaganza thing where Klee and I could show our latest art and jewelry, and have some really cool art reveals. We also picked a location that is eclectic and just plain awesome! Dolce & Gelato is such an amazing place full of unique personality and fun.
Today Klee and I were talking about the art stock market on our podcast. That’s the name we coined for the big-ticket commodities art market that you see blasted all over the news and in documentaries. Considering the amount of press that gets focused on large art auctions and big-name galleries, it’s easy to think that you are not actually an artist until you’ve somehow made it there.
It got me thinking about the way that people perceive the art world in general. When you think about it, what people call the art market in the media, is only about 1% of the actual art market. There is no mention of the everyday people that make up the art market, the real art market, the real world.
The real art world is made up of one-on-one interactions, and I think we forget that sometimes in this media blasted quick paced world. It’s not about how much money the art sold for, or how wealthy the collector is, or how much prestige the sale brought the artist. Honestly, the corporate companies I worked for would print out prestige in the form of “You did real good.” certificates, and I would put them in cheap frames and hang them on my wall as a symbol of how important I was. I feel like we miss the point when we confuse success with awards and accolades. You can add them to your resume, but I feel like we’ve lost the point of what it is all about.
It’s about the friendships developed, and the relationships we establish as artists, with the people that connect with us through the art we create. It’s about the creative process and the astonishing ability to face rejection every day and share your art with the world. It is about the collector who proudly displays your artwork on their wall, or wears it on their body, or listens to it in their car. It is about that connection that would not have been possible if that individual artist did not break through the barriers of fear and share their creations with the world. It would not have been possible without the vast amount of humans out there who buy art because of the value it has to them, not because it has market value.
As an artist who had to make his own way, I have trained myself to see the world quite differently than I used to. Where I once had hopelessness in an impossible art career system, I now see the opportunities, the misdirections to be avoided, and the hope for everyone to pursue their creative spirit.
I think it is easy to forget in this world that is so focused on money and success, that we artists create because of the love of creation. We create to express ourselves and bring back a childlike sense of imagination, wonder, and feeling into our world. Creations that can remind us all to pause and appreciate.
So, this post is not going to be my usual feel good post, because there’s just a little something I want to get off my chest. Don’t worry, I’m not going to go all “Rage Against The Machine” here, but I’ve got something to say.
If you follow us on YouTube, you know that last week just about every video we posted had to do with our feelings about the new move by Etsy to coerce their sellers into providing “free shipping” and roll the lost shipping cost into the item prices. Which means we lie to our collectors, which neither Klee nor I were prepared to do.
Also, this whole policy change came with a clusterfudge of other problems as well, such as inflation of price means some buyers will pay multiple hidden shipping when they didn’t need to and shops with unpredictable shipping rates would have to price themselves out of the market. Plus, items that are fragile and hand made would be problematic to estimate shipping in the first place.
Klee and I also discovered that it’s illegal to deceive customers this way, taxes would now be charged on shipping cost, and international buyers would pay inflated price plus shipping… plus more, we lay it all out in the videos.
What was interesting about this whole thing was the response we received.
Most people that responded were in the same boat, as sellers, in facing this dilemma. Like Andy King who said “We just spent the day jacking up our prices, but like Rafi we sell paintings…so we added the cost to ship to California (which is the most expensive shipping for us typically). It’s ridiculous, because now etsy has the same stuff priced radically higher than we have it on other sites…extremely frustrating, because we even though we sell less on etsy than elsewhere, we’ve really enjoyed the platform and the fact that it’s always felt very supportive.”
Some hadn’t joined Etsy but agreed with our point of view. Like Missy B. who said “I am so glad I never did an Etsy shop. Many have suggested I do it but I would not. I watched enough videos on how to have a successful shop to know it just wasn’t for me. Now I know it is really not for me! Good for you standing firm.”
Some said our country was going to crap and went a little overboard in the comments. I’m guessing they were a little more upset than usual.
One person said I was whining about corporate change. She said “It sounds to me like Etsy is trying to separate the wheat from the chaff, it sounds like you don’t understand how business works. If you are selling enough art on Etsy, then this policy change should not bother you. “Rolling shipping into the selling price” is not new. It is a marketing strategy using psychology. And it works. Please do some business research before you publish videos trashing the hand that feeds you.”
To which I responded “I’m not sure you would be qualified to give me business lessons, especially because Etsy is not the hand that feeds me, they are merely one of many platforms to sell on. If anything, makers are the hand that feed Etsy. I’ve been in business for most of my life, and if you are selling cheap crap, then rolling in prices would be the way to go to trick people into purchasing by saying something is free when it’s not. You can justify it however you want, you’ll get no judgment from me, but don’t be offensive simply because you are trying to justify your point. You don’t know me, nor do you know my experience. So go on with your happy self.”
People are just different with different opinions, some will agree with you passionately, others will disagree passionately, most won’t care, and others just ignore you.
I was surprised to find that with the thousands of responses I received from Etsy sellers, forums of people who are upset, and plethora of videos discussing this issue, that none of the news outlets are talking about this. In fact the only real media you find is Forbes and other large outlets briefly mentioning that people are upset, followed by a plethora of quotes from the Etsy CEO talking about how great this move is for Etsy.
Etsy itself hasn’t made any kind of follow up statement… but then again they’re not facing any pressure from the mainstream media.
Small creative business be damned.
So, how do I feel in all this?
Eh, I’ve moved on. Looking towards the future of my business, which does not involve Etsy. Not because I’m up in arms or looking for a fight, but because we no longer make good business partners. End of story.
I think what was most interesting about all of this is the way some people perceive Etsy sellers. Although we are small businesses with profit margins, overhead, costs, labor, business taxes, and everything else that it takes to run a business… there are some people viewing us as mentally unstable protesters, just using any means possible to bring down the government.
It’s just so interesting sometimes, to see how people react to what they believe is going on, without actually looking into it. Reading some of the comments, I was like “Did you even watch the video??”
Either way, we got so many amazing and supportive responses from so many people around the world, that it makes up for the idiots who think I’m a radical or something.
The truth is we are always going to be facing some challenges in our creative business, and how we handle it is up to us. Whether or not people perceive me as a victim, someone who is standing up and moving on, or some troublemaker, is none of my concern. Only I know what is good for my business, and honestly whether or not someone stays with Etsy or they go is none of my concern. They ultimately know what’s best for their business, and I support their decisions.
Personally, I will not advertise free shipping and not actually provide free shipping, it may not seem like a big deal and really it isn’t, but I will not compromise my ethics in order to make an extra buck. I will also not support a company who is willing to force their partners into doing such things at the expense of said partners. It also makes me sick every time I see an advertising from Etsy offering free shipping to people knowing that that person is paying inflated pricing… just not willing to do it.
All I know is that I’m looking forward, getting excited about my new chapter and new e-commerce ventures, and having fun… that’s all that matters.
If you want to watch the videos that started this adventure go to
I’ll be doing a demo and talk about the beauty of imperfection at the Santa Rosa Art Association on February 23 at 9am.
I will share some of my experimental techniques, insights, advice, philosophy and inspiration while assisting in pushing outside of comfort zones by allowing the participants to get comfortable with making mistakes and seeing what comes out the other side. Embracing imperfection, and viewing it as perfection is my ultimate message.
Members and guests are invited to bring whatever art project they are currently working on and I will assist with the time remaining.
One of the subjects I’ll talk about is Wabi-sabi to describe the perfection of imperfection. According to Japanese legend, a young man named Sen No Rikyu sought to learn the elaborate set of customs known as the Way of Tea. He went to a tea-master who tested the younger man by asking him to tend the garden.
Rikyu cleaned up debris and raked the ground until it was perfect, then scrutinized the immaculate garden. Before presenting his work to the master, he shook a cherry tree, causing a few flowers to spill randomly onto the ground.
Wabi-sabi understands the tender, raw beauty of a gray December landscape and the elegance of an abandoned building or shed. It celebrates cracks and crevices and all the other marks that time and weather leave behind. It is to see the singular beauty in something that may first look decrepit, ugly, or unfinished.
Ultimately, wabi-sabi opens space for love. Love for others, and no less for ourselves. Love for our virtues and our scars, our strengths and our vulnerabilities.
It is this love that can lead to a deeper satisfaction with life. A deeper satisfaction with our art and creativity. To allow for the happy little accidents that can enhance the feeling of an original work.
After all, in a lifetime of fleeting moments, one after another, what bigger gift than to stare in the eyes of beauty – whatever form it may take – and to revel in its reflection of love.
The Santa Rosa Art Association meets at Pensacola State College, Milton Campus, in Building 4800 at 9 am.
Upcoming Public & Virtual Events:
No upcoming events
“THE ROGUE ARTIST’S GUIDE TO ROGUE MARKETING AND MONEY” BOOKS AVAILABLE IN APRIL 2022