Tuesday, February 25, 2020
With my new note card series called "Funny Farm" I have been chuckling quite a bit. I've combined my original artwork and some country humor to make the perfect all occasion cards. A total of 15 designs (I had to make myself stop) are now available on my Etsy Shop for purchase. I print them out myself using high quality note card paper sold by the Red River Paper Co. I also use fade resistant ink so the colors are vivid and bright. The envelopes are self adhesive and are either white or kraft brown.
The link to my Shop is provided below and just search "Funny Farm" for these designs specifically or spend time just browsing through all my FARMHOUSE WHIMSY art. (I have almost 400 listings). Let me know what you think by leaving me a comment.
ETSY SHOP-Julie Townsend Studio
Wednesday, February 12, 2020
The 2 B's that I'm speaking of are Branding and Biography. In my mind there is no question on just how important these two bricks are in the formation of a strong business foundation. They really are the cornerstones. This blog today is focusing on the "BRANDING" brick.
Branding is a marketing term that I know you have heard many times before. I'm pretty sure your mind jumps immediately to any number of large well known corporations and their recognizable logos. The NIKE swoosh or the McDonald's golden arches are good examples. The reality is that branding is much more then just designing a catchy logo. It's the WHOLE experience and it starts with the first interaction you have with a potential collector and continues on beyond the shipping off your sold artwork. That is why you have to have this worked out because just "winging" it won't create that consistent impression that you are wanting to achieve.
Your personal identity as an artist may be the well-spring of your work, but your brand is the vehicle that makes you money." (https://skinnyartist.com/artist-branding-tips/)
1. What's your story? This might be one of the hardest questions to actually answer. It doesn't have to be a Greek tragedy or a stand up comic routine. For goodness sakes, don't make it up or embellish it. People can tell if you aren't being real. You just need a story that will help people remember you and your art when they have walked out of the room.
My story is probably typical and a rather boring one, but I can work my story into my motivation to create art and that makes it memorable. For example, I grew up in the heart of rural America, 1/2 mile down a gravel road in the middle of no where Missouri. While we didn't own a farm, there was farming all around us and that has left an impression or mark on me, and even though I have lived in a very large city my entire adult life, the experiences of a country childhood have had a huge impact on my life and my art.
2. What's your motivation? Why do you create art in the first place? For me personally, I create my art to find peace in the chaos. In the process, hopefully bring those that view my art back to a more innocent time in their life. I want to transport them back to their childhood and memories of visiting their grandparent's farm or family trips to the country. The ultimate response I am looking for, besides them pulling out the wallet, is a simple "SMILE". We live in such a dark and sad world and if I can only, for a moment, bring a spark of happiness or a spot of light to their day, then I have accomplished my mission. After all, I feel that I have a God given talent and it is my ministry to use it to bring Him and His creation glory.
3. What words would you use to describe your style of art? That was a tough one because I really didn't know. There are realism, abstractism, impressionism and many other "isms" but none really felt like the correct label for my art. There is one word that I do hear often from observers of my art and that is the word WHIMSICAL. So the style I'm embarrassing to describe my art is "Childlike Whimsyism" or "Farmhouse Whimsyism". It's okay to make up words, because after all, we are artists and the rules that govern proper language don't apply to us. Remember, we have that ace card up our sleeves called "Artistic Liberties".
Once you have determined the style you are passionate about, then stick with it. Create art that people will recognize to be yours even before they see the title card or your signature. It's okay in the process to learn the techniques for creating from artists that you respect but the goal here isn't to copy them but to develop those techniques and apply them in your own unique way. I don't want my art to look like a "Bob Ross" or a "Thomas Kinkade", but rather I want it to look like a "Julie Townsend".
HOMEWORK: Get yourself a notebook and start jotting down words and phrases that come to mind to help you with your story and your style of art. You don't have to invent the wheel here. There are many great examples of successful artists and write them down on a list and then start reading their stories, looking at their websites and what they are doing. I invite you to check out my Website, Etsy Shop or Facebook Studio Page.
Monday, February 3, 2020
So they asked me to be their guest speaker. Boy was I nervous. It has been sometime since I stood up in front of a group of people and spoke more than just a few words. In my previous life (before art) I was the business administrator for a church and private Christian school. Since it was the law in Nevada that all business over certain number of employees have an acting safety committee I took on the task of creating one and added the hat of Safety Director to my wardrobe. Let me just say, "I could give a mean BLOODBORNE PATHOGENS TRAINING". So it isn't completely foreign to me to talk to a crowd but talking about selling art was a quite different than talking about blood and bodily fluids.
My first main slide point in the presentation was more of an outline of what I was going to cover that evening and I thought this might work well also as a guide to my future blog posts. I mean, if you decide to write a blog then having a blog post plan is quite important and this is going to be mine for the next little while.
So the first point as you can see is REPORTING AND STATISTICS. I'm sure you are wondering why an artist would first be talking about spreadsheets and numbers but did I mention that I have a business degree? I've been wired to be an accountant since birth and that is, what I consider to be a gift from God, especially around this time of the year and the start of 2019 tax season.
So now you can see that I track my mileage on the spreadsheet and my bookkeeping on a spreadsheet but there are other uses too. I have my art inventory that I track and a cost breakdown for each product I make on there too. Spreadsheets are amazing tools and I thought you might actually want to take a closer look at my spreadsheet that I created so I have provided a link to a blank one that you can view. Link to a spreadsheet file just like the one I use. Of course this is a "View Only" link and I removed all the numbers but you can see how it works. If you would like to receive a copy of the spreadsheet for your use then you can send me a message through my Julie Townsend Studio Website or Facebook Studio Art Page and I will send it to you the file.