Happy Thanksgiving!!!! This is the day where Klee and I contemplate our year and appreciate where we are and who we are. This year has had a bunch of stupid challenges for us all, but there is so much to be grateful for. We are grateful for you reading this right now and so I give you a big turkey hug… or tofurkey hug, depending on your preference. Other than gratitude, I have had something else on my mind.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the holidays coming up and holiday sales. Things are actually changing a little due to the pandemic. Thanksgiving is two days away and the holiday shopping season officially starts the day after. Every year the sale has started earlier and earlier, I have some friends that pull an all-nighter on Thanksgiving every year for the Black Friday craziness. This is usually followed by Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and finally, the Holiday Shopping weeks leading up to Christmas.
Every year, Klee and I gear up for this season and prepare for the madness. Usually, we have a local face to face presentation at the market and put together an open holiday studio day where people can visit the studio and peruse the art and jewelry available. That is not going to happen this year. We pulled out of the market (which was canceled for most of the year due to the pandemic) and have to be careful about who we invite into our space. Luckily, some artists will be able to take advantage of little markets that are popping up now for the holidays, we however will not. Klee and I have been very careful this year since my father has all the conditions that the “RONA” loves.
Admittedly, the holidays are not big for art. Art is very personal and honestly what if you get someone a nice work of art and they don’t connect with it? So I usually focus on my calendars, special commissions, and my textured prints. Every year I try to focus on something new that I’ve never tried before to see if it meets the needs of the holiday shopping hoard, which makes it a fun social experiment. Klee on the other hand creates something that is personal, beautiful, unique, and much easier to gift. She’s usually the breadwinner during the holidays while I bring in little scraps of roadkill here and there, but we get by pretty well.
In 2020, however, we are completely reliant on the internet (which was out and spotty for 2 months after the hurricane) so that has changed everything. To say that it has been a year of challenges and having “make it work” moments is an understatement. So this year in lieu of an open holiday studio we are having a Virtual Open Studio live stream event on December 4th (More details soon). Our plan is to make it laid back, fun, and full of gifts for people who will actually take time out of their day to watch us.
We are also running various sales on things like the limited edition calendars and special items only created for the holidays. In the meantime, Klee and I are working on commissions, special art and jewelry for the live sale, and a book that will release early next year. One thing that I have learned from being a full-time artist for over a decade (Our Studio Anniversary is tomorrow November 25th, 2009) is that no matter what things look like financially, you have to keep moving forward and create your own opportunities. Sometimes those harebrained ideas pay off, sometimes it takes years, and sometimes they wither and die… but no matter what, you gotta keep creating.
No matter what, this holiday season is going to be different than pre-2020 with less in-store shopping. Looking back, I’ll be honest, Black Friday got a little ridiculous.
It started with opening 8 am Friday morning.
The next year being 5 am…
To the next year being 2 am…
To the next year being midnight…
Finally to last year when stores opened just after Thanksgiving dinner between 5 pm – 8 pm on Thursday evening.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of employees having to go to work on Thanksgiving and deal with an extra day of Black Friday madness. If you have never worked retail, I can tell you that it is a nightmare scenario.
Because of the pandemic, store openings will look noticeably different this year. Stores, such as Walmart, BestBuy, and Target, that have been known to open on Thanksgiving day to begin their Black Friday sales early, are in fact closed on Thanksgiving day this year. The earliest opening I’ve come across for this year is 5 am on Friday, November 27th.
Honestly, Black Friday has begun much earlier this year online, with many companies doing either “Pre-Black Friday” online sales, or even simply starting their Black Friday promotions early. Although I’m sure you are disappointed that you will not have the bloodshot bleary eyes from staying up all night watching people rip apart dolls and fight over parking spots, you can find most sales online.
Cyber Monday sales will also probably continue the sales over a week past Thanksgiving.
For small business Saturday, I know small businesses could really use some love, so could the artists and vendors who are setting up for shows and markets… So support local, whether you do it online or in person, support those badasses.
We will most likely be doing a Small Business Saturday Sale as a thank you to our awesome collectors and friends out there who have helped us get through some tough times this year.
Either way, whatever you do, whether you are a shopper, a business, or an alien, be safe and smile. If you can support local businesses please do so. This year has been extremely challenging for a lot of us, and I want to just send you my love. My final thought is this, it is all just stuff, what REALLY matters here is the human connection we have with each other… that is why I am a big fan of these shops staying closed until it is ACTUALLY Black Friday… Families could take a day to eat good food and feel grateful without having to run out after dinner… Just my opinion.
We’d love to hear your thoughts! How will you be approaching holiday sales this year? Let us know in the comments.
This month has been personally challenging for us… well, this year has been a challenging cluster of fudge. No matter how much we try to avoid negative crap in our lives, crap happens sometimes… or a lot of times.
For the most part, Klee and I focus on the positive and look on the bright side of things. Even then, there are times that can get overwhelmingly craptastic. It should come as no big surprise that when stuff goes wrong, things tend to stack one on top of the other.
This is where the last proverbial straw can easily break the camel’s back.
“That’s the last straw!!! I can’t take this anymore!!” may come out of your mouth or other less PG statements which all mean the same thing… I have had enough.
No matter how much we focus on the positive and look on the bright side of things, there is always a chance of being overwhelmed by negative emotions and dark thoughts. In other words, when it feels like it is just too much, it is easy to lose your shit.
Some people build a wall around this because they see it as a weakness to get angry or emotional. Usually, these people are more concerned about what other people may think of them, so behind closed doors they struggle in solitude while the world around them only sees what they want them to see. Honestly, this is the culture we all live in. It is normal to put up a strong front for other people when you are literally falling apart inside.
On the flip side to this, you have people that easily lose their shit and become volatile. They are so consumed by their own drama that they completely overlook what the people around them are going through. They become absorbed by what is happening to them and want others to feel empathy without feeling empathy themselves.
I grew up with examples of both.
With one person, I had no idea what they were actually feeling so I would overcompensate to try and get an emotional response. I always felt like I couldn’t get anywhere with them, and when I broached on a subject that was buried, they would lash out and get defensive… that’s usually where the conversation ended and I would walk away feeling like I had done something wrong. Most times this person would tell me I was doing it wrong and it was my fault that they didn’t open up.
With the other person, I was constantly walking on eggshells to make sure I didn’t say, do or have something random go wrong because it would set them off. This is where you try and control circumstances in the environment because you want the other person not to encounter a trigger. I was perpetually trying to predict and prevent anything that would make them upset. Again, I would overcompensate and usually cause a situation to become worse. When this person had a meltdown, they usually got upset with whoever was there and lashed out.
The interesting thing is that everyone has these moments, moments where shit gets to you. Some of us have an explosive moment and reflect and realize that is not who they are or who they want to be… many don’t.
It’s like the social norm is to be either a person who doesn’t allow feelings to break their social appearance, or you are just an emotional wreck.
The thing is, WE ALL HAVE EMOTIONS… AND WE ALL HAVE A CHOICE ON HOW WE DEAL WITH OUR EMOTIONS. We all lose our shit sometimes, even if you bury feelings or use them as a weapon. The problem is not knowing that there is a big difference between reacting or choosing to respond. I think growing up being called too emotional or that we don’t have feelings is the reason people are not educated in dealing with their emotions.
Reacting: Something triggers an emotion and you react with a knee-jerk response that is typical of the way you usually react. You tell people things like “Whenever YOU do that it causes me to do this, so stop doing it that way.” Some of these reactions have been repeated thousands of times over your lifetime and are usually learned habits. When this happens, there are usually conditions in place that need to be met in order to trigger it or make it go away.
Responding: Something triggers an emotion and you react with a knee-jerk response that is typical of the way you usually react. At some point (either right away or when you are in the midst of the reaction fog) you stop and take your focus off of the trigger and ask yourself “Is this who I want to be?” Understanding that you are dealing with your own habits and you can chip away at those little by little. You also understand that you have to face the feelings to actually make some headway. This means being brutally honest with yourself. It will require you to say things you don’t want to hear about your behavior and insecurities that you feel control you. This is the hardest part and why it’s easier to lash out and bury the dark feelings. Unless you confront those deep dark recesses of yourself, you may never release whatever is causing the emotional reaction.
Yesterday I shared a motivational artist mp3 with our rogue artists on Patreon. Motivational MP3’s are something I’ve created for myself over the last ten years. Basically, it’s me talking to myself, reminding myself of something that is easy to forget when a particular shit hits a particular fan in my life.
I have some recordings on staying motivated as an artist, continuing on despite the obstacles, and remembering that I get to choose my life no matter what the naysayers or I might think. They are my way at chipping away at the habits of insecurity that I may have.
When you go down a downward spiral of reacting to anything in a negative way (person place or thing) things can easily stack on top of each other and next thing you know, you feel like you are drowning in molasses.
As an artist, it is easy to feel discouraged, unmotivated, or even stupid and frivolous. We tend to feel lost in a wilderness of solitude surrounded by a world that doesn’t respect or understand what we do or why we do it. It’s easy to feel like you are losing.
We are constantly just waiting for things to get easier.
I’m sorry, but I am going to be brutally honest with you now… Things never get easier, we just grow, evolve, and find better ways in overcoming obstacles. We form new habits and learn to smile more. We learn to not dwell on the past, or let our negative thoughts (or someone else’s) shape our world.
It is the struggles, hardships, and moments where we feel we can’t keep going that make us stronger. These are the moments where you have an opportunity to show yourself once and for all who you really are.
So if you have what I like to call “A Momentary Lapse Of Brilliance” that’s fine. Just respond to it. It doesn’t define you. There is no such thing as TOO emotional, or NOT emotional enough… they are both ways of not confronting our own emotional shit.
So get mad and lash out and refuse to let it control you. You fight. You cry. You curse. You punch. You wave your fists at the heavens. Don’t blame the person, place, or thing… look at your own insecurities.
Tell your insecurity, your bad day, your crappy situation, or whatever else “NOT TODAY!”
I GET TO CHOOSE
I GET TO DECIDE HOW I FEEL TODAY.
I’M IN CONTROL OF WHO I CHOOSE TO BE EVERY MOMENT OF EVERY DAY.
AND TODAY, I AM FOCUSED ON THE FACT THAT I AM A BADASS.
Then you live your damn life like the badass that you are.
Remember, chip away… You may only be a teeny bit more badass than yesterday and THAT IS BADASS 🙂
Some of you may not know that we have a semi successful YouTube channel where we post artist tips videos. We also have a vlog channel where we post random videos about stuff, and a podcast where we talk about even more artist tips.
Some of you do, and you have asked me how I do it, so in this blog I am going to list the programs and equipment I use to make videos. To be clear, any of you that have watched our videos know that we do not record the highest quality artistic stuff. In fact we spend most of our time talking into the camera, answering questions from artists all over the world.
So Let’s get into it… Just a warning, if you are not interested in doing videos, this post may be a snooze fest for you. I will add some inspiring tidbits here and there so don’t get discouraged, I got you. By the way, we have collected this stuff over the last ten years, but as I said, we started with the camera phone and a discontinued app for editing that sucked.
1. Program I Use To Edit Is – Vegas Pro. (not sponsored)
The program I use and have used for years is Vegas Pro, which used to be made by Sony back in the day when I started making fun horror films with my kids. It is an EXPENSIVE program, but I have always found good deals online. The outdated version of Vegas Pro that I use now and refuse to get rid of I got for $60 from HumbleBundle.com The regular price is more like $600… look for deals.
Now, I am sure that there is other editing software out there that is way cheaper, but Vegas is so easy to use that it is worth the investment to me. Obviously, everything has a learning curve where you dick around with a program and create crap, but it is so easy to use that I tend to always come back to Vegas. Keep in mind, I do not have a Mac, or I would probably be using Final Cut Pro… I feel like Vegas is the Final Cut for windows.
Someone I know was trying to use Adobe… Adobe is great for special effects, but a pain in the ass for simple video editing, it’s just less drag and drop… So I recommend Vegas. BTW, I am not sponsored or making any money from them, I just really dig the program.
2. Cameras I Use Are Sony, Canon, And GoPro (also not sponsored)
Before I get started here I just want to make it clear that the first 6 years of filming YouTube videos, I used our iPhone. I think anything you want to do with video, you can probably do with a camera phone. That being said, transferring files was a giant pain in my ass. So, I got cameras with SD cards to make my life easier. Just to be clear, I don’t know jack about cameras, so take my advice with a grain of salt.
Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless Camera
I got this camera with a vlogging kit that came with a microphone. By the time I decided to get a camera, the idea of having a microphone input was super important. The video quality on this camera is amazing and it has a touch screen LED which makes focusing on my face super easy. I still don’t really know how to use it, but this is the camera that we use around the studio when Klee and I talk about whatever silly things we are talking about.
This camera is about $649 so it’s not cheap, but it is not as expensive as most cameras of this quality.
Sony Alpha A6100 Mirrorless Camera
Years later we got this camera because the LED screen is on top of the camera so we can look at ourselves while talking and not look awkwardly away to check how we look. This camera also connects to the microphone. This is a more expensive camera and I’ll be honest, I’m still getting the hang of learning the settings. We look weirdly yellow whenever I film us with this one, but chances are it’s my fault.
This camera is about $796, which is not terrible, but it is not cheap.
GOPRO Hero 8
So I had this little cheap “made in china” camera that was supposed to be like a GOPRO that I spent $70 on. I’ll be honest, just get the GOPRO. Although the sound and video quality are not as good as the cameras listed above, they’re not meant to be. It is an action camera that is really easy to use. I use this camera for time lapse and for out and about filming where I can just throw the camera around. Honestly, I would probably be fine with just this camera if I could figure out better sound. It’s also small and easy to take around with you and control from your phone.
This camera is about $295, but SO worth it for easy use.
3. Microphone I Use For In Studio Cameras (again, not sponsored)
So for the longest time our sound was so shitty that no one even noticed all that much how shitty it was… probably because it was fine, but for some reason we decided we needed microphones which we still are not sure how to use.
Rode VideoMic GO Light Weight On-Camera Microphone
This shotgun condenser mic is so awesome because all you do is plug it into the camera and it works beautifully. The only issue is that if you have ALL the wireless things like laptops, printers, and phones, it might pick up the signal and do this weird vibrating sound while you are talking. When we use this mic, we have a sweet spot in the studio where it doesn’t make weird sound. That being said, this mic is awesome for recording directional, which means it records in the direction it is facing so you don’t get too much of the other sounds in the area… which is great.
This mic isn’t too bad at $97.
There are some different Rode mics out there and we own a few, but they are all different and do different things, so I’m not going to list the other ones that we own. I will say the more expensive ones do not pick up interference.
4. Sound Editing (and finally, not sponsored)
I use Audacity, which is an open source and free download for sound editing. It has noise reduction and all the bells and whistles. Even though Klee owns a bunch of expensive software for music editing, I find that audacity is pretty awesome… and I know how to use it. (Secretly, Klee uses Audacity the most too.) There is a learning curve, but once you get it you can play around and learn pretty easily.
So that’s it, as far as what I use for video production. There are other things like cheap diffuser socks that you can put on your lights and stuff and obviously our podcast microphones. We have all the equipment we use in the studio for our music, video and art listed on our Affiliates page (CLICK HERE) where we can make that mulla (more like chulla-change) if you purchase it from amazon.
To be honest with you, a camera phone, some free app that you know how to use for editing video, and a wifi connection is all you need to post to YouTube and make it look awesome, but eventually you may want to get the stuffs.
Hope my list helps as far as what we use. Let me know what you use, or what you know of that is way easier than the crap I’m doing.
We’ve ALL had those moments where we are sitting in front of a blank canvas and wondering if our sense of creativity left town. We’ve also all had the moments where you are sitting in front of a work of art and suddenly you are overtaken by the idea that everything you touch turns into a steaming pile of crap.
Today Klee and I recorded a podcast where we were talking about the creative process and remembering your greatness as an artist and human.
I think a lot of artists are under the assumption that professional artists know exactly what they’re doing from beginning to end. I can tell you right now, that that is bullshit. None of us know what we are doing when it comes to the creative process.
One thing I could tell you as a bumbling artist, trying to make this creative life a thing, is that the creative process behind the artwork is not as mysterious as a lot of people would love to make it seem.
When you are blocked or you feel like the art you’ve worked on for the last few days should be set on fire, it’s easy to want to give up. In my opinion, the most important part is where I remind myself that no matter what, I am going to be able to figure something out. I remember that something is going to come to me, I am going to move forward, I’m not going to allow myself to quit.
Honestly, the only reason that I get any of the artwork done is because of that mentality, no matter how much the art feels like it sucks, that I suck, or that I’m a horrible artist, I just keep going.
When I feel like I’m never going to make this thing work… I just keep going, knowing that it’s little tweaks here and little tweaks there. Sometimes it’s changing direction.
I allow myself to keep going because I believe that in some way shape or form, I am going to eventually get to the end where I make it work.
It is ultimately a collaborative experience between you and the art. The process is allowing yourself to make changes on the fly to allow the art to take form as it does.
The creative process in of itself is kind of like life, you get thrown some ups and downs, twists and turns, and you have to improvise. You have to keep moving forward in order to get to where it is that you want to get to. Even when there are obstacles and especially when things are not going your way.
The secret to creating anything as an artist is understanding that whatever it is that you’re working on, is not going to work out, it’s going to look like crap, it’s going to look like a big piece of garbage… and that’s ok.
Before it starts to look like the masterpiece, it is going to resemble a crap-turd.
In the podcast, Klee outlines three creative processes:
You know what you’re going to create, or you have an idea of what you’re going to create, but you don’t have the steps to get there.
You know what you’re going to create, and you have all the steps to get there.
You have no idea what you’re going to create, and you have no steps to get there.
Each one of those has its value, but each and every single one of those still requires you to be flexible, and be really good to yourself in the creative process.
The fact of the matter is that when you are creating anything, whether you’re creating art, or you’re creating your life, you’re going to run into roadblocks.
You’re going to run into situations that are going to cause you to think that maybe you suck because the situation or the artwork that you’re creating sucks.
In those cases, the most important thing you can do is to remember your greatness.
Your greatness as an artist, your greatness as a human, your general compassion, your unique way of seeing the world, and your ability to pick yourself up after you fall.
Be good to yourself in those moments, because that is the only way that you’ll be able to take the next step and keep going.
As some of you guys know, I’m in the midst of writing a new book, the Rogue Artist Guide To Rogue Marketing. I’m very excited about putting this book together and out there in the hands of other creatives. One reason is that I want to help artists market their artwork out into the world, but also to be able to write down the marketing methods of my madness.
Now, the interesting thing about writing a book is that it is very, very time-consuming. The other interesting thing is that being an artist, and creating artwork is also very, very time-consuming.
Throw in the fact that we have commissions, a YouTube channel, podcasts, blogs, music, motivational MP3s, a Patreon following, and zoom meetings and it could feel downright impossible.
I’ve had people ask “Rafi, how do you even find the time to be able to do any of the things that you do?”
Here’s the interesting thing, you’re not going to find extra time to do anything. Time doesn’t change. Our perception of time on the other hand, does.
In this modern world where everything feels like it is moving at a thousand miles a second, it is easy to feel like you are not doing enough. Unfortunately, that can cause you to do too much.
There are times where I have to reevaluate all the projects that I’m working on. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, you cannot manage time.
You can however, manage the tasks that you take on for yourself. At this point, I am a little overwhelmed by the number of projects that I have going on. Between the art creation, the book, the YouTube videos, the podcasts, the music, and everything else that’s going on, I find myself feeling a bit overwhelmed by my own creative process.
I get contacted all the time by artists who tell me that they feel a little bit overwhelmed in their art career. I can understand where they’re coming from. The one thing that I could suggest is to reevaluate constantly, and take a look at all the things that you have going on.
The fact is that “more” and “faster” doesn’t equal better. At this point, I am putting out so much content that even some of our most loyal peeps are having a hard time keeping up. I know that’s contrary to what a lot of people will tell you, they will tell you to do more social media, do more marketing, do more art. They will tell you to do more this or more that in order to get known.
I think that there comes a time where you do need to step back.
Because if you’re not taking time for yourself, then you have no time to give. No matter what you do, the ability to give is your biggest and most unique marketing advantage.
This week, I am sitting back and re-evaluating and deciding to pull back a little bit from the internet world.
Immediately my insecurities flare-up. I think to myself “If I don’t reach out to people, if I don’t let them know what’s going on, if I don’t post the newest video, if we don’t post the new podcasts, people are gonna forget about us.
Everybody’s gonna think that I let them down.
My people-pleaser flares up and starts itching and causing me to get overwhelmed. The thing is that the more you get out there, the more people you think are expecting stuff from you. Unfortunately, this means that the people-pleaser within you starts telling you that you are constantly doing a bad job.
I’ve actually been to this place before. I almost burned out last year because I had taken on way too much, so I scaled it back. I still released new art, videos, podcasts, and fun things, but I allowed myself to have more me time and produce a little less content.
I don’t know if it was 2020, but so far, it’s easy to blame 2020 for just about everything, so why not this too.
If you find yourself verging on burnout, the best thing you could do for everybody involved is to take a step back, reevaluate what you’re doing, and just scale it back a little. When you scale things back, you allow yourself the time and the energy for yourself, for the projects that you’re working on, and for everyone else.
So don’t be afraid to scale it back. No one’s going to forget you. No one’s going to be disappointed. No one’s going to think that you’re letting them down.
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.
Some of you may already know that Klee and I have a secret band called “Better On The Drums” and although neither one of us plays drums, we thought the name would remind us not to take ourselves too seriously. Something you may not know is that Klee has been a musician for a long time and has an impressive resume, playing venues like The Double Door in Chicago or The Key Club in Los Angeles.
Klee first got on stage with her band when she was 19 years old and it was the first time she had ever put herself out there like that.
It was terrifying… I remember before going on stage the very first time, hoping some force of nature or unforeseen event would cause the show to be canceled so I wouldn’t have to face my fears. The terror and exhilaration of getting on stage though, the lights, the huge sound, the energy of the crowd… letting go and giving it everything you’ve got… there’s nothing like it.
My favorite story of Klee putting herself out there with music despite the odds, goes back to her school years. She was a painfully shy person… in fact, she is still a painfully shy person. As a child, her favorite pass-time was standing on her bed singing into a hairbrush to the music blaring out of her pink boombox. Years later in choir class, she was told that she was a weak singer by her teacher. Because she was shy, some of the other girls in the class would use it as ammo to pick on her.
Luckily, she kept singing. A few years later, she tried out for a band as a vocalist. This band in particular was looking for a male backup and lead, so they said no. A short time later one of the band members heard Klee singing harmonies to a song playing on the radio and they added her to the band. This was the beginning of Klee’s public journey into music. She went on to play a few hundred live shows, work with several bands, and collaborate on music projects.
She also traveled to Los Angeles and stood on the same stage as some of music’s icons. The Key Club in Los Angeles has hosted Prince, Axl Rose and Tracii Guns, Mos Def, Van Halen, The Go-Go’s, Tina Turner, Motley Crue, Sonny And Cher, and The Doors.
“We sat and ate lunch at the famous Rainbow Room before the show. We were meeting with a record exec from Rockefeller Records and were about to play the biggest show of our lives to date. I was picking at my sandwich (the sandwich was just ok, and honestly I had too many nerves to eat), and listening to the exec explain that he would see how we looked on-stage, consider our most recent album, take a look at our marketability and be in touch. I remember thinking, is this really happening?”
Klee continued her amazing career in music, eventually leaving the band and joining another band. They embarked on a tour to the west coast and played music at the Oregon Country Fair and other venues on the west coast.
This is around the time that yours truly came into the picture. My music career up to that point was strumming a guitar badly for a few months. I had always wanted to write music and play an instrument, and while we traveled the country we did just that. To say that Klee is the guiding force of our band is an understatement. She has inspired, challenged, and provoked musical things from me that I never thought would be possible.
For a little while there, as we were navigating the art world and being able to make a living from what we do, regrettably music took a back seat. If there was ANYTHING I could change about how I got my art career started, I would have definitely made music as much of a priority as my art.
I am happy to announce that we are currently re-recording some old songs, recording some new songs, and writing music again. Klee is also working on some special and fun customizable music projects that will allow for our followers to have something custom. We will announce more when ready.
The other day I ran across an article with the title “These Raccoons Are Creating Abstract Masterpiece Paintings Using Their Tiny Paws.”
After almost spitting out my coffee, I was overcome with a myriad of emotions. At first, I was like “What the hell? An abstractmasterpiece… really?”
My indignation didn’t stop there. I then proceeded to go into a mental tirade about the mainstream art world and how it is a miracle that anyone takes artists seriously. This very unproductive moment of my life lasted about five minutes that I’ll never get back.
My second thought, once I came back from the brink of declaring war on the art world and the raccoons who inhabit it, was “Dammit, they’re so cute.”
So why did I get mad about cute raccoons selling art?
Because no matter how much I try to remind myself that the art world is not a dog eat dog competition, I sometimes have momentary lapses of my brilliant optimistic self. As insecure artists, we can sometimes turn our nose up at things simply because we are being jackasses with no sense of fun.
Why am I telling you this story? Because I almost passed up the perfect marketing lesson. I was too wrapped up in feeling undervalued, too wrapped up in feeling like a victim to the status quo. This would have been a very stupid move considering that my next book is going to be about “Rogue Marketing” which is all about taking the status quo and throwing it out.
These raccoons have a YouTube following, create and sell art, have weird names, use their own techniques to paint(paws), and have a whole bunch of pictures of themselves on the internet… It’s like looking in the mirror.
So what can I learn from the phenomenons that are the painting raccoons?
It started as a fun project. Their creative spirit is fostered thanks to the help of their humans Mitchell and Sarah Thyme. They came up with the idea to let their raccoons paint by observing the behavior of the creatures. “Raccoons are constantly touching things with their hands to gather sensory information,” Sarah said, “and we saw our raccoons doing it, so we thought painting would be a fun activity for them.”
The truth is, these raccoons are doing exactly what I recommend for artists who are just getting started. Create art and put yourself out there in the arena… and try not to take yourself too seriously.
They are telling a story and have a purpose. If you go to their website, it is not just “Hey look, this raccoon is painting.” Tito the Raccoon shares his adventures on Instagram and YouTube to change the stigma about raccoons, who people commonly think are pests. He wants to spread the message that not every raccoon is a rabid, feisty animal (though Tito does not support everyone keeping a raccoon as a pet).
There are cute baby raccoon pictures and stuff… it’s fucking adorable.
It’s unique to them. The really important thing is that they have done something to set them apart. They are not following what everyone else is doing. It is cute raccoons creating art.
It’s fun. I think that sometimes as artists we forget the nature of that childlike desire to create and share our creations with others. We make it way too serious, maybe because we want to be taken seriously.
Are they masterpieces? Will they sell for millions of dollars some day? Are they “HIGH ART”? Is it even really art if a human isn’t the one creating it? I don’t know, and I don’t really care… it’s fun, and the raccoons are enjoying themselves, that much is clear from all the social media and videos.
So before you scoff at someone nailing a banana to the wall of a gallery, or someone signing a urinal, or a raccoon painting a masterpiece… consider not taking it all so seriously, and have fun.
I think we might all benefit from this lesson in so many ways… Thank you Tito the raccoon. Unfortunately Tito has gone missing, hopefully he’ll return home soon.
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?
Klee and I get asked a lot of questions by artists from all around the world. Just about every day we get a question in our inbox about the personal struggles that some of these amazing creatives are having. Most times we have some kind of insight or experience on the subject, sometimes we don’t.
Listen, no one is an expert at how to deal with your situation, the best any of us can do is give our two cents. We are all just figuring out our own way to make this thing happen. Recently, someone contacted me about marketing their art and having a website. They had signed up for a mentorship program for artists that cost about $2000. Part of me was like “I’m an idiot for talking about this stuff online for free, and the other part of me was like “What could they possibly be giving for that much?”
As it turns out, it’s the same cookie cutter bullshit marketing program that people have been promoting to artists all over the place. Facebook ads, niche marketing, find your audience, targeted marketing, blah blah blah.
An artist contacted me saying:
I am an artist and someone referred you to me. They said that you encourage artists to create their own way and screw what others might say. I just fired —— as an art mentor because he wants me to only market my wall art and nothing else. I can’t do that. I am having good success with selling my art and crafts. I just want to get more into marketing online because so many of my venues got canceled this year because of COVID19.
I responded with:
A lot of those programs have to do with the way a lot of people market products online, which works if you have a niche that you fall into. That way you can do targeted marketing. I think —- does great as a marketing guy and a writer because you can really target your market with books, especially if you are targeting marketing books to artists who want to learn marketing.
I have an issue with this type of marketing because it niches you, which I seriously doubt an artist can be niched for very long. Yet if you are putting yourself out there consistently as a creative you form a following of people who are interested in you and what YOU create. This takes a lot longer, but slowly you create a loyal following. It took me ten years to get where I am, and honestly, I’m not a big deal at all.
The trick is thinking long term and understanding that it will take time.
I don’t really have a mentorship program because I make my money from my art, the videos I share are simply because I wanted to give my perspective and share things I wish someone would have shared with me.
To be honest with you, I’m just figuring it out as I go and sharing whatever I learn. I have a community of people on Patreon that support the video side and support one another.
Please feel free to contact me when you have any specific questions and if I can I will most definitely answer in a video.
She wrote back and this made me a little pissed.
Rafi: Thank you so much for answering me back! I like the idea of watching your videos. That would work just fine. It is very generous of you to be willing to help other artists without charging money. Thanks!
—- wanted to put me into a very small niche that I didn’t feel I fit into. That may have been ok for me 30 years ago, but I’ve grown as a person and as an artist. I need more than that now. I read his book and it was helpful, but working with him in person is a big NO. He has this attitude that if I don’t do what he wants me to do that I will fail. Then he gets rude and instead of listening to me, he just says, “Suck it up!” Not cool at all. I like people with confidence, but I get the sense that he has TOO much confidence and maybe a bit egotistical.
Should I run more than one website if I want to do more than one thing as he suggests?
Honestly, it doesn’t sound like confidence to me. Truly confident people don’t behave that way, but arrogant people are usually riddled with insecurity underneath a layer of false confidence.
I can’t tell you if it is wrong or right, but I can tell you what I do… again, I don’t officially know what I am doing, but I like making things simple for myself. It would be a pain in the butt to run more than one website. On top of that, I don’t care about marketing a niche. I would much rather have a following that identifies me as a creative. It’s true that if your site is concise, it is easier for people to navigate because they are trained by most websites to just focus on one thing. Most people identify things they experience in the world by labeling someone or something a specific title, for example, “She does nature art.” So a lot of marketing people go in this direction because it is easier to market.
But most people know that if you go to Etsy or Amazon you are going to look for what you want, and most times you look through the various products to find what calls to you.
My website is a behemoth. It has Klee’s jewelry, my art, T-Shirts, Our Music, Stickers, Posters, Made to order artist prints, Short motivational MP3’s for artists, A section for our Patreon following and who knows what else.
We love our website, it is so much more than just a selling platform, it is a maze that contains our story and communicates what we’ve done, who we are, and what we believe in. Some people get lost, but most navigate it just fine.
I’ll be honest, for years I tried to make things as simple as possible on my site, and as it turns out you’ll never be able to make it simple enough for some… and most people know how to navigate a website and don’t get confused if you have more than one item type.
I could follow the status quo of marketing 101 if I wanted to. Honestly, it is super easy to get fast results if you just focus on one thing and that is ALL you are focused on, which is why these marketing courses usually go this route in order to prove themselves to the artist. They get fast but temporary results that are not sustainable for the artist. Artists are dynamic, but promoting yourself as a multifaceted artist takes time; it is for the long road.
I think as artists, it’s all about taking our awesome imagination and just going for it. Getting our work out there and thinking about ways to get it in front of new people and people who already follow you. There isn’t an art collector store, there are just people. You have to give people the opportunity to find you… have fun with it and quit thinking that these idiots that call themselves “marketing experts” because they are good at marketing a “marketing course” to people who desperately think they don’t know anything about marketing are right about anything… they’re just as confused as you are about selling art. That’s why they try to force everyone to fit the niche marketing route.
I, on the other hand, am not a good marketing person. I would rather be called an artist than simply identified as a niche artist. This statement makes a lot of artists who follow the marketing doctrine of “focus on one thing” very upset with me. But art is NOT a product and artists are NOT just salespeople selling a product.
I think artists that are truly successful pave their own way and don’t allow some jerk to pretend that they are better than them at marketing (because they are marketing to artists who are desperately seeking a way to market their art which is an easy target market).
Pave your own way, do your own thing, not the shit that EVERYONE is already doing.
For example, one of our awesome Rogue Artist Family On Patreon is doing a facebook live and showing her art! So Awesome! If you want to join us in supporting her putting herself out there during a pandemic go to:
OPEN STUDIO WITH RAFI AND KLEEDecember 4, 2020We are doing an open holiday studio. Bring your own cocoa and a sense of fun. We will be doing several giveaways, showing some new art and jewelry, playing some music, and having fun. https://www.facebook.com/Rafiwashere/posts/10159971635373532
YouTube Live Stream PublicDecember 16, 2020 at 7:00 pm – 8:00 pmThis is the public Live Stream we do every month. Find us on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/user/RafiwashereUS
NEW BOOK AVAILABLE “THE ROGUE ARTIST’S GUIDE TO ROGUE MARKETING AND MONEY” FOR PRE_ORDER NOW!