An Artist's Life: Making Art Your Business [Edited 2-9-21]

Art and Business Don’t Mix.

Or do they?

Back in the school days all they taught me was how to be the best artist that I can be. What they didn’t teach me was that I would also need a business degree.

These days if you really really want to make a living solely by your work of art you have to know how to sell them. It’s no longer enough just to get yourself noticed by big name galleries or art enthusiasts in your final year at art school and be taken under their mighty wings of social and financial security and fame. Especially when there are thousands of other artists competing for the same prize. The art world is as vast as the Pacific Ocean, and millions of fish swimming about in search for food.

Thanks to the Internet, there is absolutely no excuse for anyone to not get themselves noticed and to sell themselves to prospective buyers and grow their business. But that is much easier said than done for introverts like myself. Artists by nature are introverts – keeping to themselves and not being able to open up to the outside world. Artists would rather hole themselves up in their studios making bunch of paintings to their hearts’ content than to mingle with a crowd and talk away about their art. (And that’s the worst part- explaining to others what your art is about. But I think I will save this part for future post)

Luckily, it does not take another four dull years of college to learn about business. There are plenty of resources online that can help one to learn the art of deal making (NOT the one by Trump, mind you) as well as ways to promote yourself as an artist. Not all methods taught online is for everyone however; it takes trials and errors to figure out what works for you best.

So try I did. And the result? Wish I had something positive to say. Sure I knew it was not going to be an instant hit, but I guess somewhere in the back of my mind I had hoped to be an overnight sensation. To be honest, a lot of these guides I’ve fished out online gave me false impression that I would see instant results. If I could just find that perfect guide that fits neatly into my needs and situation…but I know that’s never going to happen. I have to go out and find it for myself. As mentioned, Trials and Errors. And it will be a safe bet that it’s going to take a loooong time.

Peace Everyone.

An Artist’s Life: Time to Say Goodbye…

Sometimes you gotta know when to let go and don’t look back…

Well what a crazy year 2020 has been.

Sure every year had its WTF moments. But to date (im my opinion of course) no year could be more profound than what the whole world had faced just last year, in one unforgettable word: CORONAVIRUS.

Who could have ever guessed that one tiny spiked ball of germ could have such devastating impact socially, politically, AND economically, and on a global scale at that. What’s more despairing is that it didn’t have to get out of control like this. There had been even worse pandemic-scale diseases in the last decades, such as Ebola, SARS, MERS, Mad Cow, to name a few. Thankfully all of them had been tamed without so much as a disruption to our daily routines. The main sources of the failure to contain this one can all be traced to the Fake News fiasco, the blatant incompetence of our leaders (one in particular, with a capital T), and then the irresponsible and reckless nature of our selves for resisting the orders to avoid crowding and to wear that mask.

But there is no point in pining and griping about what we should have or should not have. The water has passed through the bridge, the damage is done. Life will never be the same.

And we have to live with it. Whether we like it or not. Let us hope we can learn from the mistakes and move forward, making amends where necessary.

For me it’s time to turn a blank page of my life book.

The pandemic had stumped my year’s worth of plans to expand upon my art career. Art fairs and conventions were cancelled, people were strapping up their wallets and spending only on the Essential goods (of course Art is not considered an essential good) and with all the curbing on social gatherings there was no way to try and make the necessary connections. I had to pull out of a gallery after only a year since I could not afford to continue paying the rent. On the flip side I’ve learned to expand my artistic presence online and grow some of my social media followings. But there was still much to be done, and I cannot do it without any financial stability. Such is the Artist’s Life, indeed.

Beginning this year I have started doing meal and grocery delivery work via Instacart and Postmates and will soon be working part-time at a small firm. And I was able to make spare some time to continue my studio work and building online presence. It was not so hard as I had thought, it’s actually doable if you do it right and with a positive attitude. I will try to document my progress here from time to time so I can come back and see how far I have gone (or fallen back, which hopefully will be rare). I still have my dream project at work and I will soon post new updates on that. I will resist the urge to wallow in my past woes and push on to my goals, making sure to be prepared for any obstacles that will surely come my way.

Let this year will be the Year of Recovery, not just for me, but for everyone. Let bygones be bygones, say Adios to 2020, don’t look back, and march forward. And by the way:

t.@.L.L.HAUZ Cast of Characters – MAHo

MAHo (The ID)

DOB: 8-24-2000

Height: 4”

Weight: Won’t say

Eyes: Brown, but you rarely can see it because her mind drives her crazy

Hair: Brown, short

Appearance: Short, chubby, wears glasses, white shirt, Blue pants, Brown shoes, never without a bucket hat.

Likes: Art, music, video games, movies, cartoons, food (no particular kind, since she rarely gets to eat, she will eat anything), dancing, acting, money

Dislikes: Boredom, not being able to do what she wants, following orders, being hungry, sitting/standing still

MAHo is an acronym for Mad Art Hobo.

I created this character back in college to use as an avatar pic for my online activities.  Since then she has taken a life of her own. She is basically a cute, chubby, animated version of myself; the artist spirit in me come to life. Originally set as the EGO, I decided the ID suits her more as Art is an instinctive trait for her as it is for me.

MAHo makes art because it’s in her blood, her brain, her soul.  She must make art to live, quite literally.  Her mind is buzzing with countless ideas and images and if she does not take them out of her head regularly through drawing, painting, dancing, cosplaying, anything, her head will explode.  Like, really explode into a thousand messy pieces.  She can never be tied down to one spot.  It is hard for her to stay in one place when her brain is constantly buzzing. MAHo like any typical artist does not make a good living.  She is always hungry.  If any kind soul will give her food she will gladly repay them with her art.  

NEXT: IKARU

At Long Last, the Time has come to unveil my latest Experiment-

Meet the t.@.L.L.HAUZ – the Gang that Lives in My Head.


Everyone has the three parts of the human psyche:  the ID, the EGO, and the SUPEREGO.  

 I came up with the idea to create characters based on the three areas of my human psyche giving each of them its own unique traits related to my own.  

The ID deals with our emotions and innate desires.  MAHo is an Artist who is determined to make art any way she sees fit, even if she must suffer for it, like a typical starving artist. 

The SUPEREGO deals with acquired knowledge and beliefs, influenced by outside forces.  In this case I created two separate entities: ANNA KISS and ELLEX DEUX.  Anna is very aggressive and outspoken, believes problems are solved with chaos and violence.  Ellex is more passive, accepting of the situations at hand and learning to work around it rather than trying to change it.

The EGO is essentially our actual selves, the one most connected to reality.  It acts as the mediator between the ID and the SUPEREGO, to satisfy each side to the best of its ability.    IKARU is a sad little girl who chooses to live in her own fantasy world where she is everything she can never be in real life, and makes very little effort to try and change her fate.  The main source of her sorrow is the tiny wings on each side of her shoulders that do not fly.  Even though she is the leader of the HAUZ she does not act like one; she is too deep in self pity and dreams. As a result the others run amok with no rules and no order, it is utter Chaos in my Head!


You have met the team, now get to know each individual psychemons (psyche demons for short, I just made that up right now. lol). But that is for another time, so stay tuned…

An Artist’s Life: Art for Myself, or Art for Fans?

I believe there is no right or wrong way to promote ones self. The internet makes it much easier these days to show off your stuff and draw some fans. Lately in an attempt to draw more attention to my brand I have included some fan art into my collection. For the past few months I have created a series of pen and gouache drawings and paintings based on the legendary game Mortal Kombat. I myself am a fan of the game and play on regular basis, though I am awful at it. Knowing the depth of popularity of that game and a huge fanbase around it I gave it a go at infiltrating it and draw some people to my art. Of course in order to stand out from hundreds of other artists that are also in the crowd I spught to put my own spin on the game’s design; considering the games notoriety for its over the top violence and gore I presented its colorful cast of deadly ninjas, assassins and mercenaries as cute and adorable dolls, like the Mini Me of Austin Powers nemesis Dr. Evil, or in Japan which is more commonly referred to as chibis. In doing so my once sluggish Twitter and Instagram accounts really picked up and follower count grew exponentially.

Now I am aware that fan art is a pretty sensitive subject in the art world; I am making art based on someone else’s creation, so it is pretty akin to stealing the other artist’s idea. There are quite a handful of articles online, not to mention those nagging voices of your art professors and advisors from way back when, that strongly condemn such practices, warning of possible legal and ethical breaches.

But on the flip side artists copy each other all the time. Even the great Pablo Picasso once quoted

Good Artists copy. Great Artists steal.

Picasso

Maybe you are stuck in that awful artist block and look to other works of art for inspiration. Or you want to imitate the style and techniques of your favorite piece of art as a warmup exercise which you can then incorporate into your own original work. Or you worship the artist and want to pay homage to him or her by making a replica of their most famous work and just adding a sprinkle of your own style to it so you are not totally making a photocopy of the original work.

But that still does not excuse one from making art off of someone else’s concept. Worst case scenario is you get your @$$ sued to rock bottom or get locked up behind bars for theft or copyright infringement (especially if you are making big bucks off of it, which right now I’m not so I can say I’m safe from that). It is important for artists to make art that is his/her own so the audience can appreciate your creativity and take you seriously. I hope to one day introduce my more original art to the audience I have gained. Sure I can expect to lose about half of them when they no longer see their favorite MK characters in another wacky misadventures I have created, but I will not stress about that. I will have to find the right time and balance of distribution of my original art and fan art.

Until next time…