Taking the leap from Hobbyist to Full-Time Artist

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This article is written by Keri Sallee

Pursuing a dream is never an easy task. It takes strength of heart, a heap of patience and maybe…just a dash of insanity.

Many people thought I was beyond crazy when I decided to quit my job and try my hand at being a full-time artist in the paper-crafting/mixed media world. And in all honesty, it was never something that I had considered until I met an amazing woman named Cheryl Boglioli. This homeschool mom/medical transcriptionist turned full-time artist and social media maven has become my mentor as I figure out my way in this new territory and today I want to share some of her wisdom and experience with you.

Cheryl Boglioli full-time artist and social media mave

Be practical

So you want to be a full-time artist? Here are some practical tips from Cheryl:

(1) Do your research! Take time to figure out what kind of business is right for you right now. There are LLCs, DBAs and so many others. Seek help from those who know more than you. Cheryl was inspired to take her leap into full-time artist by attending a Craft and Hobby Association (CHA) roundtable discussion with other designers and still uses them and CHA as resources.

(2) Find a mentor. The mentor/mentee relationship can sometimes be misconstrued, Cheryl says. It’s not meant to be someone who does the hard work for you or acts as a business coach. Rather they are meant to be your example of a professional designer and to be your sounding board for questions. This is a very special relationship, so choose carefully.

(3) Be prepared for rejection. You will not get every opportunity you reach for and it’s hard not to take it personally. Here’s what Cheryl suggests: think of it this way…they aren’t saying “no” to you or your art…it is just not what they are looking for. Cheryl also reminds us to be open to critiquing; in the long run, it will make you a better business person and artist.

(4) Be organized and have a plan. Cheryl loves tools such as Google calendar to keep track of deadlines (a necessary evil! LOL), both personal and professional. Being organized she said, also helps keep the lines of communication clear and allows you to be an active member of the art community, both vital to your cause.

Cheryl Boglioli full-time artist and social media mave

The Artist’s View

Getting to do what she loves everyday is Cheryl’s favorite part of her choice to become a full-time artist. In her studio in historic downtown Fort Pierce, FL, she has the opportunity to be surrounded by the positivity and creativity of other artists. But, she says, it can be easy to get bogged down with creating for others, deadlines and the business side of what you are doing. Cheryl’s suggestion is to make time to play. Take time to sit at your desk…in your studio or wherever you create and create just for you.

Be prepared to ask yourself self-evaluation questions. Cheryl says that is some of the best advice she received from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. Always be asking yourself questions like “Why am I doing what I’m doing?” and “What am I passionate about?” The questions and answers like this will always be changing and will help guide you, so ask them often.

Be inspired by those around you, but stay true to yourself is another great piece of advice from Cheryl. Even as advanced as she, she still takes classes, learns from others and then incorporates it into her own person style.

In a Nutshell

You CAN do it! That is the most important thing that Cheryl has taught me. Yes…there are rough days, but then there are days when you are so inspired there aren’t enough hours in a day to get it all done. It takes planning and faith to move forward, but if others can do it….so can you.

Photo of Cheryl and Keri at Winter CHA 2013

To learn more about Cheryl, check out her website: Cheryl’s Window and for the complete interview, check out my blog: The Creative Life Studios

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Keri Sallee is a paper-crafter and mixed media artist who believes that EVERYONE was made to create. She loves thinking outside the box when it comes to her designs, like her Wizard of Oz inspired high-heel shoe that won her a spot on Graphic 45’s 2014 Design Team. She has also designed for The Canvas Corp family of companies, Susan K. Weckesser, The Craft Warehouse, Authentique Paper, Want2Scrap and The Buckle Boutique. Her favorite artistic quote is by Picasso and it says “Inspiration Does exist, but it must find out working.”

You can see more of Keri’s work on her blog ~ The Creative Life

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Five Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered

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This article was written by Martice Smith II

Use these simple approaches and general advice to get your artworks exposed so others can be inspired and get to know you and your creations. These tips will help both new and experienced artists!

Five Ways To Share Your Creativity & Get Discovered; Illustrated image

1. Above all, be true to YOU

Create what makes your heart sing and be happy doing it!

When you’re doing what’s fresh, interesting, and authentic to you, you make it that much easier for the marketplace to find you. Yes, it’s that simple!

2. Process is messy

Be open about what you’re working on.

Now is not time time for toiling away in your studio with absolute secrecy. Ask for feedback – don’t take it as criticism. Look at it as gathering information.

• Collaborate on a project with another artist…try asking someone whose work you admire but is a contrast to your own artwork.

• Discuss or teach a class, highlighting a simple technique.

• Share sneak peeks of your works in progress, your ideas and even what you’re learning online. Accept that, over time, you will evolve as an artist and learn to embrace change.

• Keep people “in the loop” of the changing influences that relates to what you’re working on.

(For example, show a new color palette of colors you mixed yourself; explain why the #2 fine-liner paintbrush is better for drawing your stylized hair strands; or provide a quick review on chisel tipped paint markers.)

The creative process is messy and should be fun!

3. Document

Even if your eyes will be the only eyes to see it, always take a record of what you are doing.

• Photograph of your work at different stages in your process or shoot a video of you working. (You don’t need to be all tech-savvy – just use what you have and start there!)

• Give people the experience of how you shape your art work by showing them behind-the-scenes; see how they react to it. Sometimes, you really don’t know what you have until someone’s spark ignites a new perspective. You’ll never know what stage in your progress will inspire or resonate with someone else.

4. Celebrate other people’s successes

That’s right – this article is about others just as much as it’s about you… It’s perfectly fine to celebrate your accomplishments but when your friend says that she just sold her painting, express your genuine excitement for her AND take it a step further by sharing her great news with your audience as well.

Teaming up with another artist to spread the word about each others’ recent success, instantly makes a greater impact.

This can work as an opportunity to visually show what inspires or influences your own creations. Not only will you pique the interest of others with this new artist, but your friend will be so grateful that you shared in her success.

5. Let go of crutches and PLAY!

I love covering a journal page with my graffiti handwriting. Seems like I can’t get away from it…or can I?

Lately, I’ve been making an effort to leave the scribble scratch behind (or cut back on it!) just to see what other direction I’d take.

During my printmaking challenge, I used a variety of found materials (sticks, yarn, bottle caps, etc.) to re-create the grungy, uneven texture that I love. What a surprise that was!

• Push yourself to try new tools and experiment with unfamiliar techniques.

In conclusion, creativity is not an antisocial act. Let go of your ego and remember: there is no one-size-fits-all plan for everybody. Flow with whatever’s good for you.

Be open to sharing your process and allow for the possibility of people to have an ongoing connection with you and your work. All you have to do is show your work.

“Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I invite you to join the Uneek Art Letter, my monthly newsletter, that offers more art biz tips and advice that will keep you in front of the right people.

What are some ways you like to share your creativity?

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Mixed media artist and designer, Martice Smith II

Martice Smith II is creative director of Martice Smith II – Illustration & Design Studio , based in Kansas City, Missouri and owner of Uneek Art Boutique. She established herself as a freelance Illustrator and graphic designer after receiving her Bachelor of Arts Degree. Her stunning illustrations reveals her love for fashion, typography and wildlife- using a combination of analog and digital techniques.

Martice also contributes as an article writer for the Creating Mixed Media Art website.

You can see more of her work via her Facebook page or her blog.

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Decluttering for the New Year; Creative Goals

The start of the New Year has been a good time to get organised and so far in our decluttering process, we have reflected on our achievements (or lack of them) for the last 12 months and we have considered which crafts get us excited and which ones we need to leave behind. From here we have been able to determine which craft supplies we need to create the artwork that most excites us. This allows us to move out everything else, giving us space to store our supplies with some order. Now we are ready to look ahead.

Regardless of where we are on our creative paths right now, there is always somewhere we have come from and where we are heading. To help us get to where we want to be it helps to have an idea of there that is and what it may look like. Goal setting and creating action plans to get there is a huge topic and we won’t even attempt to cover it here.

My suggestion to you is to keep your artistic goals simple; outline how we are going to set aside time to allow our creativity to develop, have a broad idea about which projects we may want to start, and leave the rest to our creative muse. A mind map is one of my favourite tools for creating simple plans where we can use simple headings for each branch.

Here is mine for 2012. The main branches are:

- Time
- Supplies
- Techniques
- Projects

Use a mindmap to outline your crafting goals for the year ahead

From each branch I will outline a few points for each one. And it doesn’t need to be boring but also don’t get too caught up in making it look pretty; we are getting the bones of a plan out there so we can see it and think about it and add (or prune) to it over the coming 12 months.

So what are you waiting for?!? Get sorting, get inspired and start creating!

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Doing What you Love and Loving What you Do

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This article is written by Stacy Steinborn

DO WHAT YOU LOVE, LOVE WHAT YOU DO…This quote has actually stirred controversy in the aspect of making a living and not making a living.  It is mostly interpreted in a thought of what you should do or not do to make money.   Whatever it is you do, you should love it.  The argument for some is, yeah, but you will most likely be broke. Living in Nashville Tennessee the music Capitol of the world, this city is full of thousands upon thousands of broken dreams and hungry musicians.   Now I can’t even begin to write about this argument.   I’m still figuring that one out.  However, I can look at this quote and read into it a little deeper.

Stacy Steinborn

But first, how I came to the conclusion of my interpretation.

As a creator of mixed media art, have you ever finished a piece and shown it to someone and they don’t really react like they like it. I truly feel some people just “don’t get” mixed media.  And I’ve simply come to the conclusion that, that’s okay.

This is a scenario that has happened to me on more than one occasion: At a gathering or function, a group will be talking and someone introduces you to an artist.  In the introduction they state that you do artwork as well.  Then you are questioned, what kind of art do you practice, what style of painting do you prefer? What do you use? And do you sale your art?  To answer these questions I usually say: mixed media, I guess my own style and, I have sold some pieces.  Then you are probed to show your work and you get out your phone show the other artist your pictures, and….crickets.  I find myself for a week or more after this scenario, questioning my talent, my ability, my work in general as an artist.  What an empty feeling to have when it comes to something I love so very much!

If you have ever had a doubt because of other opinions of your work, or because you are just not to the point that you are sure of yourself… I want to encourage you to think about you and your art in a new way.

That bookmark, painting, shadow box, frame, whatever you  have put your hands to do, to make; it has never existed before, not ever.   There may have been other things created like it or similar, you may have looked at something else for inspiration but that very thing you made is the only thing with the brush stroke you made, the glitter you sprinkled, the paper you added, whatever it is you do to your piece of art, it can never be duplicated.  It can never be done the exact same way again.

You are a creator.  You created something.

cre·a·tor   (kr-tr)

n.

1. One that creates

cre·ate   (kr-t)

tr.v. cre·at·ed, cre·at·ing, cre·ates

1. To cause to exist; bring into being. See Synonyms at found1.

2. To give rise to; produce: That remark created a stir.

3. To invest with an office or title; appoint.

4. To produce through artistic or imaginative effort: create a poem; create a role.

adj. Archaic Created.

What a great definition of you!

The next time an “artist” or the “art community” tries to snub, insult you or your work because your not in the right circle or are not up to their standards please read the above definition.  You my dear are amazing because you brought something into existence with your hands and your mind and it is here now.   Take joy in your creation!

This finally brings me to the quote, DO WHAT YOU LOVE, LOVE WHAT YOU DO.  Now think about it again.

DO WHAT YOU LOVE = If you love to paint in circles, in lines, sideways, cross-ways, glue everything but the kitchen sink to your painting, cut strips of paper, add salt to your watercolor, do image transfers, paint the same subject over and over, use stamps, whatever style it is that you use, and you love it…then DO it.

DO WHAT YOU LOVE! When it comes to creating YOUR piece of art…you are the only one who can decide if you love how you do it.  If you are passionate about it you will keep on working at it until you figure out what you love if your not there yet.

Now the second part to that quote.

LOVE WHAT YOU DO = If you have finished your work.  You owe it to yourself to love it. If your not in love with it, love the fact that you did it, you learned from it, even if its what not to do next time, love it.   Don’t let someone’s interpretation of your art become your interpretation of your art.  You did it, you LOVE it! Love your style, love your mistakes(this makes you grow, I promise) love your whimsy, love your boldness, love your subtleness, love the colors you put together, love the lines, love the stamps you chose to use, love your paint covered clothes, love it…love yourself!

If you’ve been struggling with your ability or your style, if its because you are still growing or you have been snubbed or insulted.  Remember three things..

You CREATE

DO WHAT YOU LOVE

LOVE WHAT YOU DO

Stacy Steinborn

I’m closing with a painting that I created using an image transfer of a sketch I did with a sharpie on packing paper.  I used ephemera from an old love story from the thirties and the colors that make me think of the honky tonks in Nashville. I used a heavy gel medium and a stencil to make the star pop and added layers and scraped off layers until I had the texture I desired.   This lady looks as if she sang in the honky tonks of yesteryear and she was happy, because she did what she loved.

Stacy Steinborn

She has earned her laugh lines, her wrinkles from  her hurts and her worries.  She wore the stories of her life written on her face. But she smiled because she did what she loved.

Stacy Steinborn

I hope you are inspired to love what you do.

Flood your art with your inner light,

Stacy Steinborn

 

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Stacy Steinborn lives in a little suburb outside of Nashville called Spring Hill TN in the USA. More of Stacy’s work can be found on her Flooded in Light blog.

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