Tuesday, July 24, 2012

christmas in july + FAQs

artscape 2012
I survived Artscape!

Now that I have a couple months off from art markets, I'll be spending the next few weeks catching up on real life and the summer I haven't had the chance to enjoy. There are freelancing projects, house projects, and cleaning and organizing that haven't been happening as I slaved away in my one-woman sweatshop. There are books I haven't had a chance to read and food I haven't had a chance to cook. There are friends I've lost touch with throughout the summer. There's a vacation I haven't had a chance to take. I'm not sure where to begin, but I'm looking forward to a break.

That being said, I met some amazing people at Artscape and hopefully some of the people who stopped by my tent over the weekend have found me on the internet - through my Etsy shop, Twitter, and this blog.
Speaking of amazing people, I realize this is going to sound like the You Caught My Eye section of the personal ads, but to my favorite Artscape customers: Laura In The Green Shirt & Boyfriend Who's Name I Didn't Catch (Pete? Peter?) - e-mail me! Would love to catch up in Baltimore or DC...for drinks? A concert? These two were so friendly (they came back to my booth on two separate days) and had so much in common with Larry and me (we are all fans of Josh Ritter and we were both at his concert at Wolf Trap last month) that I'm kicking myself for not getting their e-mail addresses! 

Anyway, as a welcome to new blog readers and Artscape customers, I am having a Christmas in July sale in my Etsy shop - just enter code XMASINJULY at checkout to receive 10% off your order now through midnight EDT on July 25. (This applies only to items I currently have in stock in my Etsy shop.)

artscape 2012
You've got questions? I've got answers!

And since I got a lot of repeat questions from customers during Artscape, I thought I'd take the opportunity to answer a few of them here:

My studio is always a mess (a result of my creative mind + too many art supplies?) and I always say it looks like a tornado ripped through it.

I'm a bit of a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to art, and the art in my shop currently includes block prints, and giclee prints made from original gouache and ink illustrations. I think I have a bit of hard time explaining the difference between printmaking and prints made from original art, so it may be a bit confusing to my customers.

Printmaking includes block prints (made from hand-carved blocks of linoleum or rubber), screenprints, letterpress, woodcuts, lithographs, etc. My Zinnias are linoleum block prints (also called linocuts). My mini animal prints are made from carved rubber blocks. My Rattlesnake and Octopus prints are screenprints. In all of these examples, I hand printed each print with ink in my studio. Even though the resulting artwork is called a print (or an impression), each is considered an original piece of art since it is not a reproduction made from another piece of art.

However, giclee prints are reproductions made from another piece of art. I create an original illustration or painting with gouache/watercolor, ink, or whatever medium I'm interested in exploring. I then have it professionally scanned at a local art reproduction house and printed on archival watercolor paper. The resulting 'print' is a copy of the original, but due to the high-tech scanning and printing methods and state-of-the-art equipment used by the reproduction house, it is virtually impossible to tell the difference between my original piece and the giclee print. My state map prints and raindrop prints were all originally gouache illustrations that have been reproduced using this method. All of my giclee prints are still individually signed and dated by hand.

There are pros and cons to each of these types of artwork. I find myself moving away from printmaking these days because printing multiple prints by hand is extremely time consuming and sometimes I get bored with the repetitiveness of the task. Printing everything myself takes away from time I could be using to create new pieces of art. However, while it saves me a lot of time to have a reproduction house reproduce my illlustrations, the process of getting my drawings and paintings scanned and printed is extremely expensive. Ahh, the old dilemma of time vs. money...

I hope this helps clear up the difference between the types of prints available in my shop!

Yes, my artwork is sized to fit in standard store-bought frames. Most of my prints are 8x10 or 11x14. My mini animal block prints are 5x7. All of these frame sizes are easy to find in any store whether you chose to frame them with or without a mat. I also have some square prints that are 8x8 and 12x12. These are also standard sizes, though they can be a little more difficult to find. (However, I've even seen 8x8 frames at Target.) 12x12 frames can be found by searching for record or album frames.

While you can find frames in these standard sizes at any art/craft store, I recommend an online shop called American Frame to all my customers. (I have no affiliation with this company - though I wish I did! I love them!) American Frame sells the components for you to assemble a frame yourself - you get the frame, matting, backer board, plexiglass, and hardware and put it together yourself. It is easy - if you can use a screwdriver, you can do it! The best part is that you can get the frames/mats/plexi, etc made to any size you want. (And they have hundreds of choices of frames - everything from metal to wood, modern to ornate.) The quality is as good as what you would get from a professional frame shop, but without the hefty price tag. I think artwork looks much better in quality frames like these than in a cheapie frame you'd get from a craft store. So if you have a drawer full of artwork at home that hasn't made it onto your walls because you thought framing would be too expensive, give American Frame a try.

You can see the list of my Upcoming Shows by clicking on the link at the top of my blog under the banner. I typically do shows in Baltimore, DC, NoVA, and Richmond, but sometimes venture further afield. I have two Virginia shows coming up in October: Art on the Avenue in Del Ray/Alexandria (October 6th) and the Fairfax Fall Festival (October 13th). I also typically do several holiday shows in December - stayed tuned as dates are announced for those this fall.

Yes. Sorry, I do not bargain on the price of my artwork. Funnelcloud Studio is my job and my sole means of making money. Just imagine if your boss walked into your office one morning and said "Today we're going to pay you 25% less." I'm guessing you wouldn't be too happy with that!

I realize that everyone likes a good deal and is trying to save money these days, but trying to talk an artist down $5 is offensive. I try to keep a range of prices available in my shop so my work is available to people with varying budgets - from mini prints that you could buy on impulse, to some new more expensive pieces that you might have to think about for a while before you purchase. All of my prices are based on the amount of time and effort put into the piece (my new Things That Are Awesome illustration took three straight weeks to draw!) as well as the expense of materials and cost of reproducing it. That being said, I do offer sales occasionally. (See above!)

I don't expect everyone to like my work and I don't expect everyone to understand or appreciate the amount of time, skill, or expense that goes into making art. My work isn't for everyone. To those of you who like my work enough to spend your hard-earned money on it and to display it on your walls, I am flattered and honored and more appreciative than you'll ever know. To those who don't like my work or my prices - there are many talented artists out there and I am sure that you can find something else on Etsy or at an art market that appeals to your tastes and budget.

And to the lady who said "TEN DOLLARS FOR A PIECE OF PAPER?!" No, it is not a piece of paper. It is art. It is art that I designed, drew, carved, cut, inked, printed, signed, and packaged all by myself. $10 is a steal.
artscape 2012

* I didn't intend for this to be a rant, just something to think about when buying art, whether it is from me or another artist. 95% of the people who visited my booth were extremely positive and complimentary and seemed to appreciate the value of art. No matter where you go there will be wackos and people who just don't get it. I'm typically more amused than offended, and I offer the Ten Dollars story for a laugh!

I hope these FAQs provide a little introduction to those of you who are new to my shop/blog. Thanks so much to everyone who braved the rain, came out to Artscape, and took the time to stop by my booth to chat and introduce yourselves. I'll write more about Artscape soon, but for now...it's time for a little more sleep!


Sarah said...

I love your art! It is definitely NOT just a piece of paper! Geeze! The animal prints are my new favorite of yours. They are clever and fun. I can only imagine the amount of hours and effort it takes to make your pieces. Thanks for this inside look. I am going to come to your Fairfax Festival - can't wait.

mea said...

Hey Rach, I leave my pottery out overnight at shows all the time. Potters can do that, it's not the same as paper. The story on my blog was about a freak storm that was not in the forecast. Guess what I think is wrong for festival artists ... complaining about your customers on your blog, as if everyone will stop asking you those same questions now. Get real.
-Mea Rhee, Good Elephant Pottery

Funnelcloud Rachel said...

Hi Mea,

I certainly didn't mean to offend or criticize by sharing your story about your pottery being damaged in the storm. When I read your story, I felt terrible that it had happened to you! I can't imagine losing $1000 worth of inventory, which is why I offered your experience as a warning to other artists. In my opinion, if an artist's work can be stolen, broken, or damaged by water, it shouldn't be left out where it is accessible to thieves, vandals, wind, or water. I have heard about several other art markets where vendors' tents were lifted up off the ground by wind and smashed, and they lost all their inventory. Of course, the risk each artist is willing to take is up to them. I'm glad that Artscape turned out well for you, despite your loss.

Secondly, I most definitely was not complaining about my customers, nor was I trying to get people to stop asking me questions at art markets! I love talking to people and answering questions about my art. I was answering the questions on my blog because they get asked frequently and I'm sure a lot of other people are wondering about the answers, but don't have the opportunity to ask me in person.

Best wishes and positive vibes to you.


Amber Wilkie said...

Tell it, girl. So so cool that you can do this as your job. I wanted to come see you but it didn't work out logistically.

Jane @ The Borrowed Abode said...

Congrats on the three day show! I love the look of your new animal prints, and the displays are great.

As for this commenter talking about her pottery - I am shocked that she would leave her stuff out overnight at a show, especially pottery. I've never known an artist of any sort to leave their work outdoors overnight. But I'm even more shocked at her chastising tone. How bizarre. Noted: I will not be purchasing Good Elephant Pottery at any art shows I attend.

mea said...

Jane, fyi, Rachel made a thoughtless and critical tweet about my broken pottery, which she has since deleted. Even if she says she didn't mean to offend, it still hurt. Rachel, you say you weren't complaining about your customers, but re-read your blog post, you called them wackos. I think in general you should think more about what you write on the internet.

Funnelcloud Rachel said...

Mea, my tweet was meant to be sympathetic and cautionary, not thoughtless and critical. I offered no commentary on your experience, but rather provided a link to story that you wrote on your own blog.

Words can easily be misinterpreted on the internet, and my tweet was written out of sympathy and concern, yet you publicly spewed hateful comments on my blog. A simple e-mail requesting that I not link to your blog without permission would've done the trick.


jane said...

Mea, I saw the tweet. I don't think commenting angrily on her blog was the best way to handle it. . That's the last I will say on this topic.

Kelly said...

Wow. Speaking of wackos, Mea, you sound like a truly hateful person.

Jennifer said...

Rachel, you're so brave to do art festivals! It's something I've wanted to do but I have such thin skin... a comment about "$10 for a piece of paper!?" would have sent me crying to the bathroom for 3 hours. Good for you for letting it roll off your back!! Your work is amazing, too bad some people can't see it!