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Monday, April 21, 2014

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Visual Artists Spotlight: Drawing Attention

Winner of the 2012 People's Choice Awards: Scott Showers

Meet Scott Showers, an artist who has won several awards including the People's Choice Awards in March of 2012. The artwork? It was a portrait of Elizabeth Taylor. Medium? Not acrylic or oils. No, this artist used only women's cosmetics as the mixed medium: makeup foundation, eye shadow, eye liner, lipstick--if we ladies wear it, he uses it to paint with. Brilliant!

Scott's Elizabeth Taylor. Copyrights held by the artist as you can see in the watermark. 

Scott calls this piece his first "Cosmo-Metics" art form, and "Cosmo-Metics" is a term he coined that combines the words cosmopolitan and cosmetics. This awesome piece was loaned to the Brent Douglas Art Gallery in Eau Claire and is currently traveling to be considered for the National Finals.

Perception by Scott Showers

Scott is also a Marine Corps veteran and has never gone to any school for drawing. He's only read up and learned by doing and experimenting and sells all of his works. You can commission him or you can buy from him online. Click here to learn more about this super talented artist.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

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Presentation, Presentation Presentation!

The Black Book Conversations 

art business practices for professional artists
by DTM -dacreativegenius 

In the beginning of my art career, I was just a plain artist. I was a person who could draw and I tried to draw everything I could imagine and people would ask me to draw stuff for them. Sometimes those people would pay me for the art.

In the early days I carried my art in a backpack, pencils, paper, markers, pens and a Walkman. Yup, A Cassette Tape Player with Headphones. This was a long time ago.

I carried my art with me wherever I went because I wanted the ability to draw anytime. And that’s how people got to know me, the artist who carried a heavy backpack with art stuff. I’ve been a bragger all my life so naturally I like to brag about my art. I would pull out my art book and a binder with lots of loose pages of art. Some pages were pencil drawings and other drawings were in marker. I would let people thumb thru my stack of art. Then someone would suggest I draw something for them and I would agree to do it, no questions asked.

And then the hassle begins. I would draw the requested artwork and go find the person who asked me for it. That’s when the song and dance would begin. The person would ask for an edit or two, I would ask for some money and we would go back and forth on how much the drawing was worth and how much more editing I would need to do on the art.

The hassle was my fault but I didn’t know better. I didn’t know that some people like to talk about what they want, but are not prepared to pay. I didn’t know that even if people would pay, they didn’t want to pay the price I was asking. I didn’t know that the presentation of my work gave people the impression that I was just drawing for fun and not for profit. I didn’t know that I was holding myself back by not discussing a price and a deposit with people before I started drawing.

Those were some of the lessons early in my career. Today I understand the importance of Presentation, Negotiation and Sales. As an artist who earns a living with my Art, getting paid for my work is VERY IMPORTANT!

But I didn’t know. Now I know.

In my day-to-day art business as a Mentor, Professional Artist and Potential Client (because I do hire other professional artists and designers when my workload is heavy) I come across artists of all levels.
Every now and then a person who claims to be a professional hands me a business card and their card is not professional looking. Every now and then young artists want me to hire them to help me in my business, so I ask to see their portfolio but they give excuses on why they don’t have one to show me. Or that artist hands me a stack of old drawings they drew back in high school.
A potential client will judge the artist not just by their portfolio, but also by the presentation of their portfolio.
There are a couple of types of portfolios and whichever type you wish to show potential clients, the basics of Presentation remain the same. I will share some insight into what makes your portfolio presentable and Professional Presentation

Purpose of Portfolio
When setting up your portfolio, consider who is going to see your portfolio and what you want that person to think about you and your art.
A portfolio’s content should be different if its used for a job interview, school application, art grant or gallery representation.
I have a different portfolio for different situations. I have a portfolio for my Fine Art that I use when I’m painting live at an event. I have a web design portfolio when I’m at a meeting with a potential web design client. I also have a children friendly portfolio when I presenting and speaking in schools, libraries and community events.
Questions to ask yourself: What does the viewer need to see? What is the purpose of your portfolio?

Show off Skills and Range
The best projects show off the best of your skills and the type of work you can produce. Shine. Show off your freshest art.
Focus on showing off your finished work. It’s important to show quality, consistency and commitment in your portfolio. No half done art.
Its ok if the portfolio is filled with sketches, if that’s your area of expertise or the area you want to break into.

Digital or Physical Portfolio
CD, Website, Portfolio Book or Mobile Device. This separates the pros from the amateurs. If you need to leave a copy of your portfolio then a printed copy is good to bring. CD portfolios are rarely used and only when requested are they needed. I apply to lots of art exhibits and calls for art, sometimes they ask that you send them a Disc.
A website or Blog. This is the easiest, painless method to build a portfolio at a low cost.,,, even Facebook allows you to set up a business/fan page for your art. A lot of online resources for artsts are free. Find the site that fits your style of art.
I’ve had an iPad, an Android Tablet and now a Windows Tablet. I do not leave the house without one or the other. Guess whats in each one of those devices, you guessed right! My portfolio. I have not changed, I still brag about my skills and I am prepared to take on a job at a moments notice. That’s the business!

It is important to present a professional, clean, and easy to understand portfolio. The method of presentation has to show that you care about your art, you care about your career and that you are doing all you can to impress others.
I hope this little bit gives you some inspiration to start preparing your portfolio in a professional manner. The hardest sell an artist has to make with a potential client is Value. If you presentation is unorganized, uninspiring and confusing, then you cant sell your client on the Value of your work.
Learn your prices, have a smile on your face, learn to write proposals, contracts, estimates. These are part of your business. A Professional Portfolio opens the door; the prepared art professional closes the deal.
Additional Portfolio Resources and Advice
Do you have an art business subject you would like DTM to discuss? Please send in your questions to and stay tuned for your subject to be discussed in this column, podcast or video interview with a professional artist.

Till the next drawing!

Daniel Flores - Curator/Mentor 

Follow DTM the artist known as dacreativegenius
on twitter and instagram: @deltatangomike 
For more info on the workshops, classes and artist mentoring, logon to we have a website full of resources and tips including video from past conversations.

Follow our Twitter account and Like us on Facebook, search for: tbbcatl
The goal is to Educate each artists to succeed in the art business.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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Gladden My Heart

Honestly, I'm trying very hard to be optimistic about Easter, but my plans right now include sitting outside, away from my family, with a bottle of wine.

I've been living back at my parents' house for about three weeks now and my sister has been here at least twice but we have not said hello. The first time she was here I was having a mental breakdown (I have since adjusted). The second time was today and I was in the kitchen, but couldn't turn around and get out. This is a problem when you're in a wheelchair, the refrigerator door is open and the kitchen is smaller than an average bedroom. Needless to say, I am wary about my sister's behavior and having to spend an afternoon with her – especially since the last time I saw her was for her birthday in January and she started bringing up stuff that happened in our childhood, trying to make me seem like some kind of villain.

There is, however, going to be pork barbecue and my mom's potato salad. We stopped having the traditional Easter meal many years ago. For about five years we've been having brunch, but things are different this year – for reasons I don't know. In the past my sisters have wanted to celebrate Easter here early enough to go celebrate with their in-laws for dinner. This year we are supposed to eat around 3pm, which is solidly centered in the middle of the day. We also have to factor in the time that it will take for the kids to have their Easter egg hunt.

The egg hunt should be fun. Michael and Izzy have been hiding the eggs around the house for at least a week (since my mom pulled them out of the attic) – if you count sitting the egg under the table as hiding it.

Jeremy's sister is going to be joining us because Jeremy's family is scattered for Easter. For being uber-Christian it seems like they don't celebrate the resurrection of our Lord with much fanfare.

I am betting money that my grandmother does not come out of her room to join the rest of us. She couldn't be bothered to come out to celebrate Cathy's birthday, and I don't see why Easter should be any different. It's sad how she has cut herself off from the family, and then pissed off all her grand daughters so much that now we just shrug our shoulders. Cathy hasn't bothered with Bushie in at least a decade – something about Bushie snubbing Cathy's husband. Well, at least Bushie didn't suggest that she would call the cops on Cathy's husband, like she suggested with mine.

Being back home has been really great, except for that last incident. But that prompted my mother to allow Jeremy to drive the van – an unheard of honor. Jeremy and I attended his grandfather's 80th birthday dinner with 18 of Jeremy's family members. And not one fight broke out :) But I realize that Jeremy's family gets along so well because no one relies on anyone, or expects anything. I want to learn to be more like that, so I can be pleasantly surprised more often than let down and severely disappointed/hurt.

Is it weird that I think that it would be better for me if I were less attached to my family? Right now I feel quite attached to my mom, but I also fear that this will not last forever. I am trying to be more open about how I feel and keep an open dialog with her because I realize that has been a huge problem with us in the past. Which makes me wonder, am I not trying hard enough with the rest of my family (ie my sisters) or should I just leave them alone and not complicate their lives?

It seems that I never know where I stand with my family until there's some big explosion. The rest of the time I'm walking on eggshells, not wanting to cross lines that are tentative at best. It's confusing, and I don't know what to do – or if I need to do anything at all.

But there's wine. And that helps.
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Art4TheHomeless Now Accepts Bitcoin Donations

Yes it true! We now accept Bitcoin donations! How? Well we've recently switched our donation campaign from WePay to the Square which also provides a market place for our online store and Square aka Squareup allows users to accept Bitcoin. Click here to read Square's FAQ about accepting Bitcoin for payment options.

What happens when someone donates a Bitcoin? 

Well, accepting Bitcoin as payment is usually a long and complicated process but thanks to Square, Art4TH and other users don't have to deal with. Square takes care of it, converts the value over to USD (that's cash, folks) and drops the money into the joined bank account.

What is the value of the Bitcoin? 

Well that depends on the market. Right now, as we are blogging this post, the buy price is $540.08 and the sell price is $538.24. Click here for the source of that info.

How do you donate a Bitcoin?

Easy, just click here to donate $1 or more to Art4TH, and go through the checkout process. Once you are at the stage where you want to enter your credit card information, just check the box that says : Donate With Bitcoin (see image below) and follow the process.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

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A New Way To Help Art4TheHomeless

Art4TheHomeless is now a member of the Social Networking site, Empire Avenue. EA is more than just a social network. It's a site that helps you empower your brand by simulating a stock market. In other words, members invest in each other, but instead of cash, they use Eaves.

Why Empire Avenue?

Our founder stumbled across the site over a year ago while trying to find creative ways to promote her jewelry blog when she was homeless. People invested Eaves in her and she used her Eaves to launch missions, or jobs where others would promote her sites, blogs, photos and more for different sized amounts of Eaves. It's a brilliant way to help others promote your stuff.

And she made many contacts and friends, and one friend, author, Michael Q. Todd, sponsored Art4TH's account to the Leadership level. EA just launched their leadership program where you pay $100 and get more rewards but are influential when it comes to guiding the direction of the website. Kinda like running for Congress.

So how does this help Art4TH? Well, with more Eaves to run missions, Art4TH will not only promote homeless awareness, but so will others on a larger scale.

How You Can Help. 

If you are not a member of Empire Avenue, it's free to join. And if you are a business, it's very beneficial for you to join. Spend a couple of hours a day promoting yourself on EA and watch your online reach grow.

If you are a member, then the way to help is to invest Eaves into Art4TH. Click here to see Art4TH's profile on EA and donate today! 

If you are an EA Member and would like to sponsor Art4TH Missions click here. All sponsors who provide Eaves and Vees Missions for Art4TheHomeless will be included in the new Art4TH Sponsors and Partners Pinterest Board and get a donation receipt (Eaves and Vees cost money!) for the amount funded for the Missions and these donations are considered tax deductible ya know!

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Art4TH Zine has FLIPPED Out!

Introducing the new Art4TH FlipZine

There is a hugely popular mobile app called Flipboard that enables users to create and subscribe to never ending magazines. What do we mean, never ending? Exactly that! We keep adding and it archives everything.

So we are phasing out the Art4TH Webzine and letting it evolved into the Art4TH FlipZine and each week we will update it with new articles, artists, musicians.

All of our columnists who were writing for the Art4TH Zine have now been invited to blog for the Art4TH Website and each post will be in the new Art4TH FlipZine.

So where do we start? Well, we already started. The new Art4TH FlipZine has all of the Art4TH Zine archives that we were able to find (some files were lost on a stolen laptop and some editions were on a website hosting plan that was taken down) and now you can experience the Art4TH FlipZine here!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

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Now Accepting Donations of Art For our new Coffee Table Book

Submit Your Art! Now accepting submissions to the:

Art4TheHomeless Coffee Table Art Book!

Art4TheHomeless will be publishing our first ever Coffee Table Art Book to be sold with all funds going toward Art4TheHomeless. If you are an artist wanting to make a huge impact, we would love to have you included. Submissions to be in our book is 100% Free. You only pay when you buy the book.  And, as always, you keep your copyrights. We just use your work to make a difference. 

We are accepting all forms of art that can be used for this book: Paintings, Drawings, Photography, Digital Art, Graphic Design, Illustration, and more!

To submit your work just do these three things:

1. LIKE us on Facebook
2. SHARE your art that you want submitted. 
3. EMAIL us your art in JPEG or PNG formats along with a short description of your art and include your name so we can give you your due credit.

Deadline for submissions is June 1, 2014. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

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Never Give Up

Have you ever found yourself in a creative slump? Has inspiration been lost or has life become busy? If you have an artist's soul then a long break from your creative outlet(s) can cause a mental and emotional strain. You may even feel some guilt about not churning out the work. 
Don't let this slump bring you down. Most importantly do not put yourself down or berate yourself. Maybe there is a reason your creativity has taken a hiatus. This is an awesome time to sit back and review your past works. Maybe you will find that your work has become repetitive. You may even find the old spark or reason you enjoyed your work in the first place.
 There is nothing wrong with looking back at your old work. You will be able to see your progress and growth and hopefully find a path towards your future achievements.