Friday, May 29, 2009

So you wanna be a pro artist?

Every so often I get a flurry of emails requesting information on how to be a professional artist.I thought I would pass along some tips here. But here's the thing: there's a really good chance that what worked for me won't work for you. So I won't be going into detail but I am going to list some very general, very basic stuff that should be a given but usually isn't.

Aside from that whole "Learn to draw" jive the following are some pretty good guidelines:

1. If you want to be a professional artist art has to be a passion. You can't be in it for the money because you will be severely disappointed. I've told my wife on numerous occasions that if everyone in the world except me went blind tomorrow I would still paint because it's part of me.

2. Sometimes in order to get to the point that you can do what you want you have to do stuff you don't want to. Just consider all that lame stuff you have to do as practice for the cool stuff.

3. Practice & observe. Look at others work. Dissect it. Figure out how it was done and try to imitate it. Art is a problem and they way you solve that problem determines your individual style. Practice, practice, practice!

4. Experiment. Try new mediums. Mix mediums up. Don't be scared. Again: Art is a problem. Figure it out. Think outside that damned box everybody talks about.

5. Learn. Read tutorials, books, blogs whatever. Just learn and don't stop learning. Speak with other artists. Everyone has something to offer regardless of their skill level or discipline. All you gotta do is listen.

6. Get that thick skin in place. Artists can be nasty and conniving and art directors can be blunt and rude. Figure out what to take as constructive criticism and what is bullshit. And then you can ignore the bullshit. Your life will be much easier that way.

7. If you wanna make money at art (or anything for that matter) you have to approach it as a business. Which means marketing, bookkeeping, networking etc.

8. And as a business you need to conduct...uh, business as such. Which means clients are customers. And you know what they say about customers and being right, right? If your client ain't happy you failed. And stay away from public drama. And by public I mean online. Nobody that's looking to pay someone for artwork cares about how your baby's noncustodial parent is a loser. And trash talking other artists is a HUGE no-no. If someone tries to drag you into a flame war? Ignore it. Remember, arguing via the internet is like the Special Olympics; even if you win you're still retarded.

9. Don't stop. Never stop creating. Someday it will work out. If not, see rule #1.

*note: The above rules only apply if you're going into the illustration or graphic arts fields. For fine & gallery artists all bets are off! The weirder you are the better they like you!

There are my 9 Golden Rules. I probably have 10 but it's late and I'm sleepy. If I think hard enough...OH! Here it is:

10. The more full of shit you are the less you should appear as though you're full of shit.

So do I appear to be full of shit or do I?


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

W.I.F.E. - A rollercoaster of emotions...

I've been recuperating from my first film festival, the World Independent Film Expo (WIFE) held in Richmond KY.  Let me first say that until I began doing the con and festival circuit I had no idea there were so many talented people in my home state of Kentucky. And the more events I attend the more they crawl out of the woodwork. I am extremely happy that events such as WIFE and Scarefest are here to give the local talent a place to get out and meet & make fans.

So Friday evening we set up at the Galaxy Bowling Alley where some films, some panels and the small dealer's area is located. After hanging out a while our friends Justin and Audrey make it in and we head out for the Hell-ephone premiere. Hell-ephone was made by our friends ZP International and features some old friends like Jim O'Rear, Daniel Emery Taylor, John Dugan & Kayla Perkins and some new ones such as Jason Crowe, David Fultz and James Tackett. Waiting for the movie we had our fill of fun, frivolities and beer! Afterwards more beer and a late dinner at Steak n' Shake which is where we finally got to meet Jason Crowe and Roni Jonah. During the evening we also met David Fultz who I found out was raised mere miles from where I grew up! Small world! 
Saturday was more of the same, set up, peddle some stuff, make new friends. Saturday night held a few surprises, most of which I can't (or won't) repeat here. The Big Guy Dance Dance Revolution Smackdown was hands down the highlight of the weekend! When Daniel Taylor and TJ Moreschi were denied a dance off against two teenage girls they decided to compete against each other. The photos are below and there will be video floating aound out there! It was an event that had to be seen to be believed! And then there was Steak n' Shake...God bless the poor souls working that night. They were great sports to put up with a crowd of...well, just a crowd such as ours! 
Sunday was a little slower, more laid back. We hung around doing our thing and stayed for the awards ceremony.  I was shocked at the number of folks that turned out for the event. This is one show that really has a lot of potential! 

Top 10 events from WIFE:
1. Steak n' Shake's newest menu item, the Tube Steak!
2. Tacketts, Tacketts everywhere!
3. Travel size George Bonillas are always a plus
4. Finding out an actor that has played Leatherface is a lot more complex than first imagined 
5. More simulated sex than you could shake a stick at, I tried
7. A very moist cinema
8. The fetish list
9. A Trolley Named Feigned Interest
10. Hanging out with people that continue to deny my existence

Thanks to Anthony, George and everyone that made our trip a memorable experience... On to the photos!

The Dance Dance Revolution battle is underway!

Daniel uses his brain almost as much as he uses his feet

Jim calls the winner

Dance weary warriors leave the arena

Daniel celebrates his victory with a nap

Me, Heather Justin & Audrey

Tube Steak

David Fultz and me

Me and my Travel Size George Bonilla

Me, George and Heather...see my horns?

Would you buy a Steakburger from this man?

Mad, bad and dangerous to know

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Re-cap & pre-cap for this weekends event

Re-cap: Finally gettin' settled in so I can tell the world about Faerie Fest. Seventh Street Gifts holds this family-friendly event every year. They have a May pole dance, faerie parade and booths of artists and artisans. Food, drinks (Killian's on tap!!), live entertainment, the works! Since my booth setup I have is geared towards indoor events the day was not without incident. We were tearing when a gust of wind picked my t-shirt display up and set it on Heather's head! Even though it is massive luckily it only weighs a few pounds so the only thing hurt was her pride. But shortly afterwards another gust picked a tent up and set it on Heather's head...again! Otherwise it was a great day. The beautiful weather brought out loads of people. I met so many great people. I had the opportunity to offer some words of wisdom and encouragement to some aspiring artists in the hopes that I could pay forward some of the encouragement that has been given to me throughout the years. The folks at Seventh Street are fabulous. Back years ago when we first moved the area they were the only gallery that would give me the time of day and they ave the distinction of being the ones to give me my first solo gallery show! If you're in the Newport area stop by and check them out. You won't be disappointed!

Pre-cap: This weekend I'll be at the World Independant Film Expo (W.I.F.E.). This show, which is my first film fest, is held in Richmond KY and is put on by our friends George Bonilla and ZP International. Guests include our friends Daniel Emery taylor, Jim O'Rear, Mr. Terrific and Anubis Digital as well as a slew of others.
Films that will be showing include such titles as Trailer Park Ninja, Dusk of the Dead, Killdo, Chainsaw Cheerleaders, Fangs for the Memories, Little Sex Shop of Horrors and the premier of Hellephone! If you're a film buff you will kick yourself if you miss this!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Faerie Fest In Newport KY

Another local show this weekend. This one is Seventh Street Gifts' Faerie Fest in Newport KY. Seventh Street's events are always top-notch!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Free Comic Book Day

For those that don't know Free Comic Book Day is an annual promotional effort by the comic book industry to help bring new readers into independent comic book stores. Comic book retailers give away specially printed copies of comic books. Some also have guests and comic creators do appearances in their shops, which is what I did yesterday.

Rockin' Rooster invited me up for the day. I had the honor of sharing spaces with David Michael Beck (artsit for Jonah Hex, GI Joe, Star Wars, Purgatori, Thor, Lady Death, and on, and on...), Ric Connely (writer for Pinnacle, White Wolf Publishing), Aaron Crowell president of Horrorhound Magazine, JD Feigelson (writer of the film"Dark Night of the Scarecrow"), my friend Rocky Karlage of Ghost Walk Productions and some some guys I met at GenCon last year that go by the name of Night of the Living Podcast. The event was like a micro-convention!

Got tips from David Michael, shared con horror stories with Aaron, got to hang out with Rocky, did an interview with Night of the Living Podcast, details of which I'll be posting soon, and met a lot of new friends! The folks at Rockin' Rooster were awesome! Oh, and Heather bought me Marvel Zombies 3 for my b-day while we were there. 

David Michael Beck, Rocky Karlage  me
David Michael Beck, Rocky Karlage & Me

Me and a guy who really likes his Dead White  Blue!
Here's a guy who REALLY likes his Dead White & Blue!