Aaahhh...memories of senior year. You take all your tests, you find out if you "got accepted" to your first choice and of course, you plan what you're going to wear for your senior photos. What if we told you that you had a chance to win a senior portrait session unlike anyone else's? We specialize in capturing personalities in the most creative way. One lucky winner will win the full package with us. Simply go to our Facebook page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us why you deserve to win. (Parents, you can enter your son or daughter too)! Check it out and pass it along to all the Class of 2014 seniors you know (in the Ann Arbor area). Enter now through June 30th. But if you can't wait to win and want to book your session now, see your choices below. Good luck!
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Art in Ann Arbor
A few months ago Daniela and Josh approached us about doing a unique save-the-date card. They had met at a Starbucks near Daniela's hometown and eventually got engaged...at a Starbucks! N photographed them in studio while they played with tons of fun ideas. They recently shared their ingenious and handy save-the-date magnet*. Congratulations to the beautiful couple. We wish you a lifetime of happiness!
*Details have been smudged for the sake of the couple's privacy.
Our good friend, artist and sculptor Tim Péwé has a son who's equally as talented in another medium - film. Gus is still a student (he'll be attending California Institute of the Arts this Fall) but a budding filmmaker that's already debuted his works in various places. This past week N shot a costume that came to be with the help of his parents and producer Robert Hoxie, with spiritual guidance from Tommy Colangelo. It's a costume that will be used in his upcoming film, Same Ghost Every Night, which reached a successful Kickstarter campaign goal recently. The photos not only document how awesome the costume is but will be used for promoting the film.
There was a lot of horsing around in the studio.
Below, Gus, Tommy and Robert keep it real.
We couldn't help it. Once we started taking photos of our own, we decided that photographing other people's babies would probably make them just as happy as we are. So we want to spread the cheer of the non-traditional portrait. Check out our new Baby Session below. We're looking to take baby and children's photos to a whole new level.
Here's the small print: Our wee one is still very young so we had to hold his neck up. It's up to you as parents if you want to have your hands in there for neck control. We also leave it to you to corral Baby but we work with you to ensure we get the best photos possible in one hour. Photo session includes travel in Ann Arbor, a fee is added for anywhere outside city limits. Additional friends and siblings are welcome but we'll need to charge a little more for lighting. Please allot for an additional 30 minutes for set up and break down of equipment, which is included in the cost. If you choose to have your session in our studio, there are lots more options. We send you all the usable images and you choose 5, which we then retouch and process and send back to you in high resolution quality to use for what ever you please. Let us know if you have any questions - 734-929-2498 or email@example.com We can't wait to meet you!
Yesterday's post on pricing student or "emerging" art work tackled the difficulty of pricing your works to move. But maybe even more difficult is gaining the exposure and putting your works in the right venue to be seen and sell. When I was talking to Paula Shubatis about the value of large scale oil paintings, I was also considering the proper space for the pieces to be hung. She had a really great idea to have a non-profit sponsor so that she could apply for a permit to exhibit in an alley downtown. I immediately posed the question, "How will that make you money?" Yes, it would gain her intrigue and possibly some press, but I was concerned with how she was going to be rewarded for her efforts. Too many times we think about the work but we don't know how to translate to tangible values. Most of society is already programmed to consume art in small manageable pieces so while seeing a painting in an alley might be exciting, it might not speak to a buyer or get a buyer to come out to the alley to begin with.
Paula answered that it probably wouldn't be a money-making ploy but the alley would complement her painting. Although it would be for a short time, I had to agree. So we started brainstorming on how she could further the visibility of her paintings and who her potential clients were. This is what I suggested researching.
Although many have been dissolved over the years, corporate art collections were and still are a barometer of a corporations success. The historical, educational and sophistication level of a curator's choices can communicate a vast number of nuances to a client. Some focus on specific topics relevant to the company but most are diverse and worth millions of dollars. I suggested to Paula to research any collections that were still active in the southeast Michigan area and send a professional letter and images to those that collect contemporary.
From creating enough inventory to sell to the logistics of travel to getting into the fair itself, the career of a professional artist is a tough one when you're traveling cross country to sell your wares. But I know some very successful artists that make a living of this and they love what they do. Research each market, figure your costs (including booth fees, lodging, food, airfare/gas, insurance, shipping if needed) and try out a local one to see if you like the art fair circuit culture.
The art dealing culture has changed drastically over the last decade. Gone are the days of sending slides and lugging heavy portfolios to the gallery. While it may still stand as the pinnacle of an artist's I've made it moment, getting representation is getting harder and harder each day as galleries downsize and restructure what it is to be in a gallery's stable of artists. Now there are an infinite number of online galleries and stores to sell your work. Besides the ever popular Etsy, there's also Big Cartel, a foolproof store that handles your art sales and monetary transactions safely.
If you are interested in going the traditional route of being represented by a dealer, read the instructions carefully and make sure you include everything they ask for and nothing they do not. Use the best materials you can afford and have friends or colleagues proof all text. Also, do not send unsolicited packages. I used to be an American art dealer (known impressionism, modern and contemporary works) and would receive numerous packets from artists. Had they taken the time to research the website, they would have seen that I generally worked with museums and collectors to sell paintings by deceased and market-established artists. Vet your galleries carefully and save yourself the postage!
If nothing else, having a website is a must. Take clear, well-lit photos of your art work and make sure your site is easily navigable and concise. Include an artists statement and any information that will intrigue your clients. Branding yourself properly is probably the most important tool of all.
Public and Temporary spaces
Like Paula's idea to show in the alley, outdoor spaces garner attention from people that might not normally see art. It's exciting, fresh and enlivens a space if it's installed properly. Remember to consider the logistics of transporting the piece, whether you need electricity, if it's safe from the elements, if you'll need a lock or security overnight and whether you need to insure it for potential loss or damage. All these things considered, public art is also a great excuse to garner publicity...
Getting in front of a buyer is difficult without a dealer or gallery. That said, there are many perks to representing yourself, namely not having to pay a share to the middle man. But that means you have to know how to talk about your work and how to publicize it. I always tell students and artists to learn to write a press release. It's one page, has all the relevant information a magazine, newspaper or TV would need to cover your story. But make sure it's newsworthy before you send it. It's also important to make rounds at the art fairs, openings and museum circuit. Learn not only to talk about your work but art and design history in general.
There are tons of details that go into the success of an artist and these are just a few starter tips. Sometimes it's just a matter of knowing the right person, being at the right place at the right time...but I like to believe that forethought, planning and talent matter too. Good luck!
The last couple months have been a wonderful blur. We went on maternity + paternity leave and have spent some much deserved time at home with out little one. It's an amazing adventure and it's bittersweet to return to the real world after a long hibernation. But it feels good to be back. One of the few trips that have led me out of the studio recently was a trip to meet Paula Shubatis, a senior at The University of Michigan Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design. She was having trouble figuring out how to price her works. When I arrived at her studio, I was in awe of the caliber and scale of her handstretched oil paintings. Not only were they superbly executed, the content of decaying architecture and complementing organic forms required real investigation.
The following are thoughts from Paula about how she found her way as an artist and painter, what her process is and how she sees her career in the future.
I’ve always been a maker. Whether it was drawing on the walls, or making my own iteration of the Sistine chapel on the underside my mother’s mahogany coffee table, I’ve felt the constant need to make and do throughout my whole life. But, it was not until high school that I was able to get a better technical knowledge of making through art classes. After taking AP art in high school, I knew that I wanted to go to art school. I came to art school under the false pretenses that I would go into something practical like graphic design, but secretly always knew that I wanted to be a painter. Experiences with design only affirmed that I was awful at it, and it gave me great anxiety. Through this rejection of design, I found my love of physicality of craft, in the realms of painting and fiber arts. Once I found my genuine love and passion for making, I not only knew that I wanted to be a studio artist, but I had to be one, because I wouldn’t know what to do if I wasn’t.
"Foraging a Vernacular Identity" is inspired by my curiosity of the mysteries which lie in the ordinary places which surround me. I have a strong fascination with how systems of math and science are at play to create the poetry of a space, but could never hope to understand them. I find myself drawn to painting nature and architecture because of their inherent relationships to math and science. My paintings are a series of experiments through which I break down shapes, colors and forms of spaces into modular units, and reassemble them to try to figure out how they work. I like to manipulate different variables like scale, directionality of marks and orientation to play with how the viewer might perceive a space. I often combine different variables of multiple spaces to create one hybridized space. This process of experimentation and analysis becomes deeply introspective, and I find that I project myself onto spaces which I paint. I convey my own sense of a fractured reality and disjuncture with the world though a dialogue between degenerate architecture and nature.
Painting requires one to operate within a very peculiar state of being. It asks one to be conscious, alert, and responsive at all times, and maintain a dichotomy between an idea, and how that idea actually translates into paint. Painting asks one to suspend disbelief, and allow one’s self to become immersed in the surface. Immersing one’s self in a surface demands a full commitment to the surface, and coping with the inevitable possibility of failure. The surfaces which I grapple with aren’t just fictitious worlds, but they are also my own selfish spaces where I discover and share my most intimate secrets. It can be very difficult to reveal the truths which I find within my paintings to both the viewer and myself. It takes just the right mix of self-doubt and brazen confidence to have both the courage and motivation to make new discoveries.
Painting will always be something, which I always do, even if I had to dig up cadmium from the earth. I see painting as a mode of visual communication. I hope to share this mode of visual communication with others through making and outreach as a teaching artist, and also as a gallery artist. As long as I have the means to do these things, I will be happy. While the life and career of a studio artist might be more turbulent than those of other professions, the joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment which it gives me are well worth it.
It's evident that Paula has a clear understanding of her work and how to talk about it, which is a great portion of an artist's ability to sell their work. Her concern of striking a balance between asking too much and too little (since she is after all, a "student artist") is a common one among the art school set. But here I was, staring at eight foot tall works that in any retail setting would go for tens of thousands of dollars or more and yet, I had to tell her something that would appeal to a collector, perhaps visiting the senior show with or without an intent to buy. There are two areas to consider when you're selling your work: practical and sentimental.
How much time did you spend on the piece?
How much did your materials cost?
Is this a special medium/something rarely seen?
What's the market like in your area? (this may be a non-issue if you're selling your work nationwide or on the internet)
How much are you willing to let it go for?
Are you just trying to make a first sale?
If money was not an issue, what would you pay for it?
Once you've considered these factors, you should have a clearer picture in your mind of what you're willing to let a work go for. One issue that Paula brought up was her status as a student and how that may affect a buyer. There are plenty of talented graduates that go on to show and sell work immediately out of college and I don't believe they should be shortchanged just because of their newness in the industry. That said, I encourage young artists to coin themselves "emerging" or "contemporary" to get away from the stigma of a "student artist." Because yes, starving art students should make a dollar but it should be a fair amount that they feel is respectable.
On a side note, I want to address those that don't want to sell. At some point, you'll create a work and think, I'll never produce something this good ever again. This is the best work I've ever done and I can't sell it. But consider this - if you don't sell it, then what's the point? I see "NFS" (not for sale) on pieces at shows and that negates every reason to create work in the first place. If you document it with great photos and remember the process, believe me, you'll create something even better in the future. Better to have a collector enjoy than to hold onto something so precious because you think you won't obtain a higher standard of craft than where you are now. That's silly, isn't it?
You may be wondering if I gave Paula a concrete set of numbers to work with. And yes, ultimately, I did. For the large ones that stood about 8 feet by 6 feet, I recommended a range of $8,000-10,000. For the smaller ones $4,000-6000. I took into account the number of hours, the polished nature of her work, the content and the overall feeling of her paintings. They're truly monoliths, worthy of a large space such as a corporate lobby or a collector's living room, somewhere with high ceilings. A few of Paula's pieces will be for sale at the Senior Show coming up on April 19th and I'll be anxious to hear the feedback she receives and give any pointers I can to facilitate selling her works.
The next post will be about how to sell the works and get publicity in the local market. Feel free to add to the conversation or post questions. We're all in this together.
A few weeks ago, N presented at Pecha Kucha, an event where people in the community come together to show a series of 20 images with 20 seconds to speak about each one. With his most recent project of capturing six characters in vibrant scenery and scenarios, N ran with the opportunity to show off some of his performance skills by acting out each character as the slides changed. Check out the full video below and see some of the images from the series here: Alone in 1,000 Square Feet. [vimeo 58218433 w=500 h=281]
N is already working on the next series of photos for this project with some slightly different guidelines. If you're interested in being photographed in character, let us know. We can make it happen.
Upcoming Pecha Kucha themes and dates are as follows:
Wednesday, February 20, 6-8pm: Technology
Wednesday, March 20, 6-8pm: International
Wednesday, April 17, 6-8pm: Anything Goes
If you'd like to be a part of the fun or know someone that would, contact Emilia White at firstname.lastname@example.org and help spread the word about this exciting event.
N- How did you become a stylist?
K- After high school I was searching for a job and went in for a haircut at a local salon for my interviews. I gave such detailed order to the stylist, he said "you should become a hairstylist!" So I did. I still believe that moment was meant to be, this job is the only job I've never wanted to quit! (Kenta has been styling hair going on eleven years and currently works at Da Vinci's in downtown Ann Arbor).
N- When did you get into music?
K- The 4th grade. I really liked this girl and she played flute. I wanted to be with her in music class so I begged my ma. I only played for four months or so... At that time I was very shy about being the only boy in flute class so I converted to trumpet! Since then I've played a little tuba, guitar, and drum. My friend taught me how to DJ but I was never good in any instruments... so I highly respect people who practice instrumental music.
N- Describe your personal musical interest and your bands interest.
As a band all three of us comes from very different musical backgrounds. The first few years we were suffering to find a point of interest, but we're now gradually finding a solid Locus sound. We're still in search of "creating something new, something never heard before". I know its a long journey but feel like we're definitely on the right track. The energy and atmosphere Locus creates is something I've never experienced in any other music or shows.
N- Tell me about Astro.
K- I've wanted people listen to our music rather than judge us by our looks, so it was my idea to put a mask on at a show one day. I've asked the band members to wear the masks too, but we've had some clashes on this idea. Astro is like a messenger for me, he's the one who shouts my thoughts and emotions through the microphone. He's a little cocky, spiritual, and loves women. He'll do things I can't and thinks what I can't.
Thank you, Kenta for a great session and for sharing your stories. To have your own portait narrative photographed, contact us here.
We've started shooting for Tribehaus on a regular basis and every week is an exciting chance to sharpen our creative processes. Last weekend we hit the nail on the head when we worked with model Maeve and collaborated again with make up artist Taryn Scalise of Tough Love MPD. Along with the "chief" of Tribehaus, Anna Bagozzi, the stars were in alignment because we had some of the most successful shots we've seen a long while. Don't you agree?
N has had plenty of experience with the slideshow format when it comes to presenting his work (we were on the inaugural committee that brought Slideluck Potshow to Chicago). Now he's been invited to show at Pecha Kucha, a globally held event that brings together artists and creative people in the community to show 20 images for 20 seconds each while talking about each one. More information about Pecha Kucha Ann Arbor can be found here. We hope that if you're in the Ann Arbor area you'll come out for this exciting event next Wednesday the 19th from 6-8 p.m. at the North Quad building on campus. See you then!