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Archive for the ‘money’ Category

the 6 worst pieces of promotion advice for artists, and the real solutions.

Posted by resonanteye on 09/15/2014

After countless suggestions of sites to use for promotion, I’m starting to realize that several things do not help at all:

1. Selling on more sites, adding more print-on-demand stores, or more marketing profiles.

fff

When you ask most people “how should I promote my art?” you will often get well-meaning people, telling you “you should sell at *printsite*!” or “are you on *marketsy* site yet?” or even “maybe you should sell them on *auctionworld*!”  “Do you have a *deviantshit* profile???” It’s as if they purposely misunderstood your question! “But I already sell on *somesite*!” You protest. “I already have a *americanartprints* profile, do I really need to be on *shirthoarders* too?”
You know, and I know, that you already ARE selling your work on a site like these. There is already at least one site out there with your work on it, for sale, clearly marked prices and all. What you need isn’t TEN MORE OF THOSE, you need PEOPLE TO GO TO THE ONES YOU ALREADY HAVE, and spend their money on your work. Yet asking how to do this never gets that kind of response! This is because most people have one or two sites they have heard of, vaguely, or bought something from once, and so they assume- if you are asking how to promote, it’s because you don’t even know where to list shit.

Most people aren’t trying to sell art. They’re buying it. So yeah- if ten people suggest *randomprintplace*, you should check it out, maybe. Because you already know ten people shop there. But be wary of paying for a bunch of shops or profiles on these sites, because they usually don’t offer much return. (If you DO need to know which sites to sell on, you’re not ready to promote the art yet. concentrate first on listing it, a lot of it, all in one place. I like redbubble for print-on-demand and squareup market for direct sales of originals. )

2. Writing in-depth or posting art directly on social media sites instead of your own.

nooo

I keep my favorites to the left.

Let me guess- you post your work to facebook, twitter, tumblr, instagram, googleplus, wanelo, weheartit, pinterest, linkedin, and maybe even a few dozen other places like this. You’re exhausted. You put off making stuff because you spend way too much time in an endless round of liking and sharing and pinning and chatting with people who never buy a damn thing. Then you get caught up in talking to friends and family, and somehow the day is gone and you actually didn’t do anything you could call “work”. I know. OH TRUST ME I KNOW. Then you go look at your own site, your own blog on your own domain and there’s only like two views. Ghost town. Well, of course it’s a ghost town! You don’t live there, you live in social networks, and you don’t invite anyone there- you talk to them on facebook!

How many people on there do you NOT know? How many people on there BUY things from you that way? I know I get sales to previous clients or friends on these sites sometimes, so it’s tempting to post there a lot, and spend time interacting, and all that…and call that “promotion”. But it’s not, really. It’s not work-related, it’s not promoting, if you do it that way. It’s either time spent with friends hanging out, or you’re just creating content for free so someone else can make money off of your work.
How social sites work, you see, is that people who make things and write stuff, they post these things on that site. That site then slaps ads everywhere and rolls in the dough. If they find out they can charge you to post your work too, they will. They’ll take the ad money YOU and YOUR WORK attracted, and ALSO charge you too. Without your work and your writing and your time spent there, THEY DO NOT MAKE MONEY FROM ADS or datasharing or…or any money AT ALL. YOU ARE PAYING THEM TO GET PAID. There are solutions to this, which will be in the next section (if you click through)

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Posted in artwork, complaints, deep thoughts, how-to, interview with the artist, money, posts with links in them, posts with lists in them, questions, stuff for sale, tech, you | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

fall plans, discount for prints and shirts, and saying hello to lurkers

Posted by Anj Marth on 09/01/2014

Discount code for all the prints and shirts:

rose tattoo flashDiscount on everything this week at my redbubbleshop!

15% OFF EVERYTHING! USE CODE GET15
yay for a sale at redbubble!
http://www.redbubble.com/people/resonanteye

ALL the prints and shirts and things get the discount! Only for I think this week!

ALSO, running low on the signed copies of the Horrors coloring book. Better get one soon if you want a signed copy. http://resonanteye.net/2014/08/22/the-horrors-orders/ they can be got through squareup, paypal, or etsy.

 

travel plans, where to get tattooed by me the coming months:

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Posted in art, female tattoo artist, hobo, money, oregon living, oregon tattoo artists, posts with links in them, prints, tat zap wizard, Tattoo, travel, you | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Are tattoo artists rich?

Posted by Anj Marth on 08/04/2014

2a62883f6a5facde8cd4ba3b8f98258b-d4d2ojnI love it when people assume I’m rich. “I just gave her $500!!! and she’s doing another tattoo right after me!”
The sad truth is that I am not the top of my field. My prices are average for the cities I work in. I’m not a superstar, and I make less than a plumber. In fact, I earn, yearly, a bit less than a good schoolteacher.

Of course some tattoo artists make bank. They might work seven days a week, or have a supernatural talent; they could be working in an area with only one or two shops competing with them. They might simply be a hell of a lot better than me at talking to people, promoting themselves, or making tattoos. But even those guys aren’t millionaires. They’re earning what a plumber might earn…unless they own a shop. Some shop owners ascend into the millions, for sure. But that takes decades of hard work, and putting most of the money back into the business. They’re not taking home millions and rolling around in it like Scrooge McDuck.

There’s a reason we love tips from our clients, and that’s because we don’t have to share those with anybody.

Before you read on, be aware: ALL of this information will vary by region, city, skill level. There is no standard rate of pay for a tattoo artist. That’s the risk you take in any creative profession, and we’re no different. Also I’m only writing about professional tattoo artists. Amateurs can go shit in a ditch, for all I care.

(originally published on: Feb 2, 2008, with revisions for this post)

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Posted in money | 5 Comments »

How much does a tattoo cost? Here’s the answer.

Posted by Anj Marth on 07/21/2014

424611_10151055899257712_1661654307_nGood tattoos are not cheap: cheap tattoos are not good.

I’ve been a tattoo artist for many years, and I’ve heard, and said, this phrase too many times to count. Often times people will hunt for the cheapest price, without realizing that the cheapest price is usually a red flag to poor quality or bad health and safety precautions.

When you’re searching for a tattoo, the first thing on your mind should be safety. You’ll want to get tattooed in a professional shop, with the proper licensing from the health department. Your health is more valuable than the few dollars you’d save otherwise. Think about the long-term cost of your tattoo. You will be wearing this art until you die. Compare it to the cost of your shoes-which wear out every year; a tattoo costs less in the long run than any other purchase you can make.

Most tattoo shops in a given city or area will cost about the same rate. There may be a few artists who are booked far in advance, who charge more than this. If you are seeking a large, custom-drawn original tattoo, you’ll probably be better off to pay more, and wait longer, for one of these artists to do your tattoo.

You can count on paying anywhere from one to two hundred dollars per hour of time spent tattooing. Most studios have a minimum price for any tattoo, no matter how small. This price usually takes into account the cost of new, disposable equipment, and time spent sterilizing/disinfecting. On average this can range anywhere from forty to a hundred dollars, depending on the ability of the artist. Some top-name artists have a waiting list of a year or more, and may cost up to a thousand dollars each sitting. New or apprentice artists may cost much less, or be willing to work at a deep discount, in order to gain experience. A word of caution is in order for these young artists, though, as many of them will NOT do the best work for the money. The base hourly rate will vary depending on cost of living where you are at.

Tattoo artists are often paid on commission, earning from forty to eighty percent of your payment. This means that for a fifty dollar tattoo, the artist gets paid less than ten dollars, after equipment costs and commission are subtracted. Artists that own the studio may be paid a higher rate, and artists that are working part time may be paying a flat amount in rent to work in the shop. The majority of artists, however, work on commission or “percentage”, and are independent contractors.

In most cases, a smaller tattoo will be quoted a flat price, while a larger tattoo will be quoted at an hourly rate. Tattoos on hands, feet, and faces will often cost more. The minimum for tattoos from me is $60, but it’s $100 for those areas, because the possibility of a needle stick for me is higher, and because they will most usually need a touchup.

Your best gauge for pricing in your area is to call one or two studios and ask if they have a minimum price, usually an hourly rate will be about double this minimum cost.

31148_403057647711_1851485_nSince most tattoo artists do not have health insurance, workmens’ comp, or any standard paycheck, and since they do not get to keep the majority of the price of the tattoo, tips are always appreciated. Tips can range anywhere from five to twenty percent; depending on the difficulty of the tattoo, your ability to sit still, and the service you felt you received. A large, difficult tattoo that you could not sit still for, during which you wiggled, cried, and made the artist pause, and during which the artist was polite and entertaining to you, represents a situation in which you should tip very well. Industry standard ranges from 5% (for a huge tattoo) to 20% (for smaller pieces).

Most tattoo artists will also be able to suggest alternative placement, rendering, or ways to simplify a tattoo so that the basic idea remains the same, but will cost less overall. If you have a budget, let the artist know and see if they can work within it- often there are ways to do this, and usually the artist can find a way to make your tattoo affordable, within reason.

Your tattoo should be a point of pride, so when you’re shopping for one make sure to look at the artist’s portfolio, photographs of work they have already done, to be sure they can do good work that you think looks right; because what you paid for your tattoo will be forgotten in ten years, but you’ll still be looking at it for years after that.

If you like my work, check out the new horror coloring book I made!

(written by me and originally published at this link)

Posted in clients, dos and donts, ethics, female tattoo artist, how-to, interview with the artist, money, oregon tattoo artists, surviving your first tattoo, tat zap wizard, Tattoo, tattooing, you | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

the struggle to decide; prints or not? downloads or not?

Posted by Anj Marth on 06/27/2014

(originally published Published on: Sep 5, 2013)

I always struggle with the question of whether to make downloads of my work available, or prints. In one way, I hate doing it, because I like the idea of something I made with my own hands going to your hands, as it is, with no other stuff there. Then I realize some things.

  • If I was a musician, I’d sell records, not just perform live.
  • I can only make so many original things, in so much time.
  • I’d like to be able to earn enough from my art to make it worth the time and energy (see footnote)
  • I have to eat.
  • Many people want to be able to enjoy my work but couldn’t afford the cost of an original.
  • I can’t manage shipping and storefronts online and promotion for all of that, and STILL HAVE TIME FOR MAKING THINGS.

I will take these point-by-point.

shirtsIf I was a musician, I’d sell records. I’d want more people to enjoy my work than I could perform for in person. I’d want people to be able to take me anywhere with them. If I was a writer, I’d print books of my work. I wouldn’t expect people to only access my work through attending readings, or by buying the hand-written manuscript. I’d want my work to be accessible, something people could enjoy.  I also would maybe still sell the manuscript, or some signed first editions…but the books would be published, out there, even on a kindle.

I have two hands. If I work the equivalent of fulltime hours, I can make maybe four things, of substandard quality, in a week. I can make maybe one or two things of good quality in a week. I can make one great thing a month. Now…how much is minimum wage? Should I set all the art aside and get a job at McDonald’s? Because if I can only sell a piece of art one time, mcdonald’s will pay better, and maybe I should set this art stuff aside permanently and get a real job…I can only make so much stuff with my own two hands. But if I sell prints and let people download the works, I can post it – set it and forget it. I can sell those while I am busy making other new things, and can continue to make money from a piece for years sometimes, long after the original is sold or destroyed.

I love making art. I spend all my time making things. I do have to eat. So therefore I have to charge money and sell my work- my choice is, work a job which takes all my time, and rarely make anything, or sell my work at a reasonable price and live off that money. I love making art. The process of actually making things, well, I will do that no matter what. I’ve had my Kafka years, working fulltime then coming home and putting in another eight hours painting. But my work wasn’t as good. And I had no time to show it to anyone. I need the time to show my work- to scan it, photograph it, share it, post it. If I don’t make any money from a piece, I’ll still MAKE the piece- but I will not spend the time posting it and discussing it and sharing it with you, or with anyone. If I was lucky enough to have inherited wealth maybe I’d have that kind of luxury, but I don’t. I wish I did, really.

EPSON MFP imageAnd yeah- YOU GUYS are broke too! I mean everyone is hurting. Being poor shouldn’t mean you can’t enjoy or own art! I want to make things accessible to everyone as much as possible. So- digital downloads. Most people have a printer- or access to a library with a printer in it- and can pay me a few dollars for a file, take it there, pay a buck or two to print it, and hang it up. Prints are next in line- the quality will be better, professional grade, the print will last longer, years even. Limited run? Why? It seems like a waste of time, of energy. I put my initials and a number on them and they’re magically worth more somehow? No. I do handpainted prints though- the next higher price things- and those are fun. I can take an hour and embellish a painting I already did- make new details on it, play around. The buyer gets something unique, like an original, and I get to play…

I spend maybe an hour or two a day online writing copy for my work, explaining it, discussing it, sharing technical stuff, writing, posting, and keeping track of what has sold. I spend another hour or so every day taking photos, scanning, fixing the damn scanner. And another hour every other day packaging stuff to mail out, trying to keep track of what goes where. I am not good at any of these things. They are REAL WORK, hard work I don’t enjoy very much. I’d rather be actually making things. So this work- I need to streamline it, make it as handsfree as possible. Selling originals is difficult. I have to post it everywhere, and hope the right person sees it, and then once it’s sold, do it again, the entire process, from documenting the work to explaining it to answering questions and pricing it and packing it and shipping it. All that work has to be done completely from scratch, every time I sell an original.

A print? I scan it, touch it up, post it, and it’s done. I can leave it there, just like that, for years. People can buy it a year later, without any additional work from me. It’s what they call a secondary income stream, and as an artist working alone I NEED that to happen as much as possible. It frees up my hands for making more better things. The digital downloads are the same- even easier, in fact. There’s no parameters to set, no material-checking, no worrying about quality control. It’s set and forget.

EPSON MFP imageSo, in order to be able to make more and better art, and in order to live, I sell originals, downloads, AND prints of most things. I charge people a tiny bit extra if they buy an original and only want me to do a limited run of prints. I charge A LOT extra if someone buys something and wants me to make no prints at all…for example, A painting I make- the original is a hundred bucks. I will probably (if it’s a good painting) make another two hundred off of prints and downloads of it over the course of a year. For me to sell ONLY THE ORIGINAL and still pay my rent, I have to charge three hundred for that original, now.

Should I do that? Sometimes I want to. Because I love the idea of something I made with my own hands, being in YOUR hands, with nothing in between us. Also because I like originals myself. But I can’t manage to, or figure out how to, promote myself well enough to always sell my originals, let alone for three times what I have them priced at now. So unless a magical fairy of promotion comes and makes me famous or rich, without charging me anything or requiring more of my time to work it…I will keep selling prints and downloads, of nearly everything I make.

I love you guys. Those of you with two bucks, and those of you with a million. You’re all people I like, and I want you all to be able to touch and enjoy my work.

Posted in artwork, complaints, deep thoughts, ethics, how-to, interview with the artist, money, original art, other media, painting, politics, posts with links in them, prints, questions, stuff for sale, you | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 21 Comments »

Bus to CA, poetry from my book “Tar and Gravel”

Posted by Anj Marth on 02/25/2014

29157_397937423370_2677846_nfrom tar and gravel

bus to CA

There’s something beautiful and comforting about grey vomit stains barely scrubbed from velveteen seat backs and

something about the dense air and useless frustrated wanderlust of the greyhound station and the greyhound itself, this universe of breakdowns

in Pierre North Dakota and Weed, CA that makes me calm. Patience. It makes my mind shut tight and arrange itself compulsively. checking

repeatedly for wallet, keys, ticket, the automatic functions of the reptile brain fully involved;

Making sure nothing is lost, nobody touches me, children don’t climb and I

in the meantime have killed the upper brain.

 

Feet automatically avoiding the sprawl of wild loud children with sticky fingers and dirty pink too-tight shirts where they sit on the floor at the entrance

to the terminal; thirteen slightly torn and stretched garbage bags full of towels, clothes, toys, no books but I can see the handle of

a cast-iron fry pan

clearly outlined in the plastic, spilling around the children is the detritus of people who don’t

 

realize that frying pans are available at thrift stores in duluth as well as southern california.

Posted in geek, hobo, money, travel, true stories | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

all sweetness and light.

Posted by Anj Marth on 12/09/2013

just another negative asshole on the internet

just another negative asshole on the internet

I was reading someone’s site earlier, an artist someone pointed me to for ‘ideas about selling more art’.  The artist makes good stuff, illustrative art made from collage, very design-y, very positive and girly. It’s good art. Their art is on all kinds of stuff.

So I started reading their posts, and reading through their archives, and looking at the stuff they’re doing. And holy hell, talk about happy positivity and sugar smiles. Not a single negative thought, or statement. Not a droplet of anger, or unhappiness. I mean this girl is sweet as pie. Her life is made of rainbows and cupcakes. She’s never posted about being poor, or being sick, or being lonely. Not once. She’s pretty, she’s only a bit younger than me, she’s always encouraging, she has not a single personality flaw. And she’s nice about it too. She has her stuff licensed for home decor things, and has other companies wholesaling it or retailing it, and sells only originals here and there if the whim comes.

Listen, you guys. I see people like this, and I start to feel so shitty on myself. Like- I watch horror movies, and I curse, and I get negative. I’m often poor and sometimes sick and always a little off-kilter. I have done things wrong in my life and will likely continue to be fucked up in new and surprising ways on a regular basis. Sometimes I get in arguments, or drunk, or say things that are crass or offensive. I’m extremely imperfect and not always a good person.

And so, if I am not sweetness and light, how the fuck can I ever succeed? Success seems to require this…this peachy keen persona, this happy-up vibe and I just cannot do it, can’t fake it. Even if I could there’s decades of evidence for all my failures and bad behaviors! I mean…I don’t even know how one lives without troubles and fuckups and bad times. I couldn’t even write this post without cursing. I don’t even know if that can be real. But apparently it is real, and there are people like that, and they make GOBS of money on their works, without even doing much actual work. 
28308_1344575736648_1298901221_30981550_4061441_nCupcakes-and-sunshine people discourage me. I don’t know what to do now. This should be an inspiring post, but the more I read there the more I realized I will NEVER have that kind of following, that kind of draw. I’ll NEVER be a nice happy positive person that nice old ladies want to chat about at some frilly gift shop, it will just NOT happen. There are no major contracts for wholesaling in my future, there will be no fluffy bunny pillows at your local department store with my name on them, you can exit through the gift shop but my work isn’t for sale there.

I can try as hard as I want, encourage others to try, but in the long run, I’m still a negative asshole, and I still get depressed, go broke, have toothaches, and offend people. I love what I do but I also love to read true crime, look at gross and gory pictures, watch shitty horror movies and make fun of stuff. Do we have to be perfect to succeed? Do we have to grovel?

This life, how do people live it?

So then I go look elsewhere for something else to read. I hit on an article talking about Van Gogh and how great it is that his work has so much recognition, how high the prices are at auction. Man, he’s dead. He died broke and miserable.  And wasn’t some of his work “cultural appropriation”? All those japanese masks and flowers… also, dude was negative, unhappy, self-destructive, and all the rest.

Since reading and thinking about art didn’t cheer me up any, I’m going to watch Body Bags- and maybe a couple other shitty horror movies- and snuggle the dog.

Posted in artwork, complaints, deep thoughts, interview with the artist, journal, money, personal, pictures, questions, you | Tagged: , , , | 7 Comments »

Obligatory gift guide post.

Posted by Anj Marth on 12/02/2013

bird in the handYes, I made a gift guide. There’s a few hundred things there by now! I know SO many creative and amazing people- and every year I buy from them instead of going to big box stores. Why? Well, partly because I enjoy owning things made by hand, by people on their own time. And partly because I hated every factory job I ever had. If you’ve ever worked in a factory you know- you may do the job itself well or with some pride, but you do NOT put love into each and every piece of your piece rate. Especially since you get paid peanuts, made to work holidays away from your family, and -unless you have a GREAT union- every single thing you make is like a nail in your coffin, hurting your back, blistering your fingers. Also, handmade goods, the money you spend on them goes right back into YOUR economy, not to some CEO’s offshore hoarding pile of money. The money you spend on handmade gets spent, right back into the world.

For those reasons, and MANY more, I buy from people who make things by hand themselves, from people who create art (then sell it or get it printed and sell the prints) and from people who curate vintage things on their own. These people do these things because they love them. And all too often these people are broke at the holidays, while everyone rushes to trample and kill each other to buy mass-produced garbage they’ll forget about in a month.

You can’t buy every single thing like this, of course- but there are a hell of a lot of things you CAN. And so, you SHOULD. You will feel good, the receiver of the gift you got will love it, and unlike factory goods- it will not be set aside and forgotten when the day is over.

Go check out the handmade and small business gift guide I made.

Posted in deep thoughts, DIY, ethics, holidays, love, money, motivation, pictures, posts with links in them, you | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

the holiday gear.

Posted by Anj Marth on 11/23/2013

I’ve put together a ton of things for the holidays, gift type stuff and new art, as well as shirts and such. Go get some holiday shopping done, and pick up some shirts for yourself!  Here are a few:

websnk

pillows, scarves, clutches, tablet covers, and other such things.

animals

shirts, prints, and hoodies/stickers.

allanimals

prints and handpainted monotypes, and some originals

http://www.redbubble.com/people/bristlybits/portfolio

graphic shirts and nonsense.

Posted in art, holidays, money, original art, other media, painting, posts with links in them, prints, stuff for sale, you | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

 
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