Posts tagged ‘NoDa’

2015: Year In Review

2015 has come to a close and overall it’s been a good year for me in the art world.  As long as I’m taking advantage of opportunities and doing things that I’ve never done before, then I feel like I’m progressing.

So what were the big things that happened to me this year?

New Job

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This is an uber win and a great way to finish out the year in strength.  I left a temporary position in the summer to accept a contract-to-hire position with another company.  Arguably this wasn’t the most ideal job but it was better than what I had at the time.  Unfortunately it turned out to be the wrong right fit and my contact was not renewed.

But God is faithful and after two months of searching I found a job with a small marketing firm.  I started my new job on the first of December and am thrilled to be back in the work force again as a PERMANENT employee!   Best early Christmas present ever!

Finally I have some money where I can put some of my earnings toward my passion!

New Venues and Adventures

Again, I’m always on the hunt for new venues and places to show. Social media has played a huge role in networking with other artists and finding out about opportunities to show work. I continued  to show at some of the same places but I also branched out to places that I hadn’t been to before.

Gallery Twenty-Two

Not only is Twenty- Two my favorite place to be for figure drawing on Monday nights, they’re also one of my favorite gallery spaces for monthly art shows. Approximately once a quarter, they do a group show and invite artists of all levels to participate. I definitely enjoy partaking in the group shows.

“It’s Not You It’s Me” (Self Portraits)

Ani

“Let The Good Times Roll”

“Witches’ Brew”

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My “Angry Kitty” up top

“Facets”

 

Hart Witzen Gallery

In November Hart Witzen Gallery, an established gallery in the NoDa district hosted a Fall Free for All for local artists to show their work.  The event was just for one night but there were over 100 participants, and the artists received 100% commission on all work sold!

Hart Witzen did a beautiful job hanging all of the art and the turnout was excellent. There were also artists who owned studios across the street from the gallery who opened up their space in conjunction with the event. Even more art to see!

Mint Hill Arts

Located on Lawyers Road near Matthews Mint Hill Road, Mint Hill is a non-profit art organization that supports local artists.  It is a small space that packs a big punch.  I joined this organization mid-year and found their annual dues and show entree fees to be very affordable.  Mint Hill Arts hosts monthly shows plus two annual juried shows for winter and spring.

They also have partnerships with the BB&T Bank’s Mint Hill Branch, Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce and the Town Hall to do offsite exhibits.  Members of these groups will select a small number of works from Mint Hill Arts’ current exhibit to be shown in their own space the following month.  I’m happy to say that this year I’ve  already had four pieces that were selected for display at BB&T and the Chamber of Commerce.

Sold More Originals This Year

This was a good year for selling originals.  I sold a total of five original pieces this year although most of the works were no larger than 11″ x 14″. But hey, an original is an original, right?  One was a skatedeck, another an old 11″x 14″ that I had for years, and the last three were small original sketches no larger than 6″ x 8.”

Spirit of David Color

“Celebrating The Spirit of David”

I’ve been concentrating on making large originals for so long that I overlooked the value of  creating smaller works.  Smaller works for the most part are easier and faster to produce and for me lately it’s attracted more buyers.

Launched My First Newsletter

This was one of those projects that was long overdue.  I finally collected enough email addresses to start a monthly newsletter and for the most part I’ve done a pretty decent job with keeping it up.

Newsletters are great for several reasons as it allows you  a) the ability to reach an audience that is not on any social media sites, b) to share any new recently completed works, and c) announce upcoming events that I’m participating in.

I use an app called MailChimp which allows you to create your newsletter template quite easily. Once you’ve added the email addresses to the mailing list, then you can launch your newsletter.

Well that’s it and perhaps that’s enough. I feel good about the year and with more projects swirling about my head, I’m definitely ready to do more in 2016.

 

 

 

 

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Art Adventures: Holiday Arts Market in South End

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Funny how God has a way of working out things out.  It was my plan to take part in NoDa’s two-day Arts Market in early December.   Since this is during the time of the holiday season, it was a big deal and I didn’t want to miss out.  I had planned to sell my “Twelve Days of Christmas” cards and was pretty excited thinking that I was better prepared this year.

Unfortunately I blew it and was late for the registration; and by late,  I mean I went online about fifteen minutes AFTER registration opened up.  There was not a booth to be had.    It’s  not all that unusual for the booths in  NoDa’s Arts Market  to sell out in less than a day, but this was the biggest holiday season of the year.

So I was disappointed,  however, not too long afterwards I received an email from artist Trish Veverka who is involved in the coordination efforts of the Atherton Market in South End.  She “Liked” my Facebook fan page a few weeks ago.   In her email she told me that Atherton Mill would hold their first Holiday Arts Market.  It so happened to be that same Friday as the market in NoDa.  I was warned that potentially there might not be as much foot traffic compared to NoDa however  I knew about South End’s  growing arts community so I figured there was nothing to lose.

After a couple of email exchanges, I met Trish a few days prior to the event to look at the booth space.  The booth is well, an actual stationery BOOTH, not just some random table or open space.  They were all over the place and looked very similar to what one would see at a produce market.   In fact the Atherton Market was open on Saturdays for this very thing, to sell produce and other good eats. The front of the booth had a lot of room for me to spread out my art and Christmas cards.  The building itself is very open with high ceilings and plenty of lighting.

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On Friday afternoon I arrive an hour before the event.  Loading and unloading was probably the easiest of all of the fairs and markets that I’ve been to.  Parking was plentiful and FREE!  I could carry my stuff right inside without any problems. No steps either.  YES!

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There was a mixture of arts and crafts and food vendors.  For me personally, I’ve always been a bit tentative about being in the same general vicinity as food vendors since I kind of feel that they compete with potential sales.  Much to my surprise  it actually was okay.  My neighbor was the “Pickle Man.”  He sold pickles, lots of them and they were delish!  I funneled down a couple of samples.  He was quite the  charismatic salesman.  He is also a musician, and he even played his trumpet, sang a little bit, and told his customers to “Have a sour day” (because of the pickles in case you were wondering).

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We also had some entertainment that included about three or four young violinists and cellists who played some Christmas tunes;  and a Charlotte favorite, the House of Prayer band.

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There was a balloon artist on hand as well and she provided plenty of entertainment for the kids by making santa and reindeer hats, poinsettas, you name it.  She gifted me with a candy cane balloon bracelet shortly after she set up her station.   Cute, huh?

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So yes, a totally different vibe than NoDa but I liked it.  The only things that I wished for were a larger turnout (although forgivable since this is the  first “arts” market) and that it ran later than 8:00 even though that was the “soft” end time.

I  wish the Atherton Market the best on this endeavor.  There is great potential here for visual artists and I look forward to participating again!

Art Adventures: November All Arts Market

So this was my second time that I participated in the All Arts Market.  Since I knew what to expect this time,  I wasn’t nearly as flustered as I was in my earlier post.   If there was any tension at all that day, it came from my nine-to- five job where things were pretty hectic.

I rolled into the Neighborhood Theatre a little later than I had hoped but the setup didn’t take too long.  I picked a different booth which happened to be across from the one that I had at the previous showing.  It was still a pretty good spot because of the ample lighting.

Overall, the turnout was great.  It was nice to see people coming out and supporting the arts community in spite of the cold snap in the weather that evening.  I saw some familiar faces from the market and even some I recognized from the Ahlara Arts Fair in October.  My “neighbors” who sat at a booth next to me at the market were the same ones who sat across from my sister and I at the fair.   I didn’t recognize the photographer at first, but once I saw her pieces I remembered who she was.  She later said the same thing to me.  I guess that proves that art really can be an extension of yourself.

From a sales standpoint, I didn’t do too badly.  While I was disappointed that I didn’t have time to create cards for my Twelve Days of Christmas series, I did make prints which worked pretty well.  They were pretty well-received and “Six Geese A-Laying” was the star of the show.

Also, I learned some little lessons along the way.

1) Never underestimate the importance of choosing the correct color matting  for  your art.

I like colored mats a lot because they tend to they draw attention to certain colors that are already in your work.  I find that I cannot resist buying them.  People however, seem to gravitate towards neutral or white mats, and as much as I love color, I discovered that neutral mats  sell better.  They tend to be cleaner and allow your art to do the talking.  Buyers are concerned about what looks good in their home and they may be overwhelmed by a brightly colored mat framing an already brightly colored work.

Sometimes though you have to just go with your gut when it comes to colors.  I used a loud,  royal blue mat for  two “Six Geese A-Laying” prints and sold them both.

2) Making the best use of your booth space

This is something I need to  improve on.  I had a lot of prints but would have liked to have had more of my originals. Unfortunately they take up way too much table space.  That’s where one of those wall display screens would have been very handy.  I did see some artists using display screens behind their tables to hang their art.  My problem ultimately would have been trying to fit those display screens into my car!

Some booths practically looked like living rooms with warm lighting and nice shelving.  Next time I will lay out my table a day or two PRIOR to the next event so I know exactly what to do when I arrive.

3) Be prepared to talk about your art.

It can actually mean the difference between making a sale or not.  The potential buyer needs to identify with the art  in order to make the purchase.  Don’t make up a bunch of flowery BS  just to make the sale.  If you don’t have a specific story to tell or a message behind you art, then talk about your technique or the  medium that you’re using.

There were quite a few people that asked about the story behind my art and at first I felt a little weird talking about it.  As an introvert, it’s a whole different ball game when you are talking to someone about it  face-to-face versus writing about it.   Overall what I found was that the more I talked the easier it became, and soon enough I was enjoying it.

If you think that your nerves will get the best of you, it may not be a bad idea to write down some bullet points about your work and memorize them until you get the hang of speaking about your work.

4) Manning Your Booth:  Sitting Your Happy Behind Down vs. Standing Up

At the beginning I was standing a lot, mostly because like most Americans, I have a full-time job where I sit on my butt all day.   I continued to do so in such manner with this almost wooden, pageantry smile on my face looking around greeting everyone that passed by.   Then I got tired and sat down.  That was when people started buying.  Maybe by sitting down it made them more comfortable and they could enjoy their time looking at the work without someone standing or hovering over them.  Whenever they had questions, they would ask me.  If they had something to say about my work, they would tell me.   Whether I was standing or sitting,  I did make a point to speak to people even if offering nothing more than a simple, “Hello.”

Now there were other artists who were standing and interacting with people but that seemed to work if the artists  were selling three dimensional pieces with a functional component.  For instance, the gentleman behind me was selling these beautiful birdhouses so he was constantly on his feet talking about his technique and materials.  I also think it depends on your personality as well.

5)  Have Fun!

And I did, to the extent that next month I am going to do it again on December 8 and 9!  I’m sure there will be more lessons to learn!

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