Charity work, part one- Women.

51b6a0c0 (64)Tomorrow I’ll be doing some charity work for a group I highly admire, who have assisted me personally in the past.

If you’ve ever been the victim of a sexual assault, RAINN can help. They even have online chat support, people you can talk to online. This is pretty good news for a lot of people- part of the way an abusive situation can manifest is in agoraphobia, or fear of the telephone. For some people even being able to call for help is impossible. And for those people, RAINN provides an online support mechanism.

If you need help, to get away from an abusive situation, or to get help coping with a past sexual assault or abuse, follow this link http://rainn.org/get-help/national-sexual-assault-online-hotline to the online support group.

 

If you want to help, you can become a volunteer for the new National Sexual Assault Online Hotline and be a part of this generation’s most innovative source of support for victims of sexual violence. For more info, and to sign up, visit http://www.rainn.org/get-involved/volunteer-for-RAINN/ohl-volunteer.

 

I owe them my life, pretty much. I have for many years. I am finally settled in with a kindly, gentle man, in a safe place, without any of the troubles I have at other times had in my life. I’m capable of helping, finally. If you too can, please do!

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I’ll be posting my charity plans/works weekly as I go through the summer. My next charity post will be Animals, and time spent volunteering at the shelter.

rats win races, sloths succeed.

556740_10151360701822712_101340810_n559917_10151362094257712_740607251_nDSC_1159a reminder tattoo for a tattoo artist friend of mine. he wanted to remember to slow down, and do more focused work, instead of hurrying up and rushing himself. He is the kind of artist who feels a lot of pressure from his clients, he tends to feel so glad to be tattooing that he forgets that his work is valuable, that his BEST work is worthwhile…that people who want really good tattoos are willing to pay for them, and that he is capable of doing great tattoos, and therefore shouldn’t undervalue his time…

If you undercharge people, you start to feel rushed. it’s inevitable- you end up booked solid for months but barely making ends meet. hurrying up to get that tattoo done in time, in the small amount of time you quoted them for. it’s far better to quote high, to take your time, take that extra hour to do your VERY BEST work on people.

any rate- I love fucking sloths. And this one is particularly classy, too.

also,

 

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is your art good enough to sell online?

Short answer? Yes.

Long, realistic answer?

pretty on the inside

I show you my heart.

Putting your art up online is kind of like showing it in a gallery. You may not be the best at your particular art style, but if you want to improve, showing the internet what you are doing is a good way to get better. There are so many skill levels, so many ways of expressing yourself; the internet is home to them all.

If you’re really timid, start slow. Use deviantart, and request critiques. Once you feel like you can handle more harsh views, try some art forums, and ask for opinions.

Or, alternately, you can dive right in. We all start where we are. Try to get very good pictures of your work. never upload giant files; upload files that are just big enough to look good on a monitor, no larger. Image theft is common, and sometimes unintentional. If you watermark unobtrusively, and only upload smaller files, you’ll find more people credit you when reposting or sharing your work. You want people to do that, because that is how you will sell your art online.

Etsy is a good starter for artists. It’s not the best venue for fine art, but it can be a good way to get your feet wet. Be cautious, though, as most of the advice on using etsy is not written with art in mind, but easily-reproducible craft. Your painting can’t be tagged and posted the same way a t-shirt can. This is why etsy is only a starter site.

The Craftstar has a decent art section, but you will have to have a paypal and pay for listing in advance.

You could also opt for one of the other sites geared for art sales- originals are harder to sell most places than prints, but it IS possible to sell just originals online.

If you are just starting out, keep your prices as low as possible. Once you are selling your work on a regular basis, then you can raise your prices. At first, it’s unknown if you will succeed or not. Most people not only buy art for its look, for how it grabs the eye, but also for the artist’s longevity, their name, their history. Build your history a little!

It’s the internet. You should maintain privacy for your own comfort and safety of course-but letting people get to know you, talking about deep or personal things, lets the viewer understand the origin of your works, and become more invested in them. Give them a chance to find out where the art came from. You can be a cantankerous bitch hermit like me and STILL be capable of showing your inner self online. You don’t have to be outgoing to do it; you can talk as if the site was your own art journal, your own notes about each piece.

So- yeah. Your art is good enough to sell online- at etsy or anywhere else. Keep your expectations of sales low at first, and your prices the same, and then as time passes you will see how your work can fit into the greater whole of online art.

And if you need encouragement, ask for it. And if you need a slap on the wrist, or a sound drubbing, you should ask for that too. All the help you could ever want from other artists lives inside your computer, but it can only do you good if you put your own work in there too.

watermarking images.

spider skeleton mount taxidermy artI’ve seen my work posted and reposted a lot online (it probably started in earnest, with my work, when this image was the main image on the wikipedia “tattoo” entry for almost a year) and I’ve never really thought about the amount of people who may be seeing it with no idea who made it.

A few things recently made me consider starting to watermark my stuff with this site’s address. First, I was looking at sketches done by some artists on a social network site I use, and found a sketch of my spider monkey mount’s skull and jaws. It was a great sketch, and I commented on it saying I loved that someone was using my work as inspiration. The artist blew it off, saying “Yes, I found this randomly online.” They had no idea they were talking to the creator of the work they were (tracing) drawing.
I explained that it was my work, she was excited to find out where it came from, we made friends.
It was a really good sketch.

Then, I found my spider skeletons posted to a russian site- and have no idea what on earth it says, whether it links back to me (update- it does) or not, and would love to comment but have no idea which buttons are for commenting or anything since I don’t read cyrilic.

Should I start watermarking things? I’d love it if every time my work was reposted or re-used, someone new came to see the rest of what I do, came here and maybe even said hi or spoke with me.
Having the site address on each photo is something I have alternately been too obstinate, or too lazy, to do. I don’t think even if I did this, that I would have the patience to go back and watermark all my older images (about twenty thousand images of my various works exist online) but maybe, going forward, I should make the effort.

What do you think?

making art, making life.

The world is a very grey and dismal place at times. There are deaths, horrors. We are all alone in these little bodies, floating around, disconnected most of the time- from each other and from the ground we stand on. Most people DO live quietly, desperately, working and thinking and amassing a thousand new worries each day.

Most people walk around afraid, nervous. Or angry. Or just focused on the task at hand, which for more people all the time involves merely surviving the vicissitudes of economy and thrift, of bad jobs or no work. Of struggle. Life is mostly struggle and concern for most people on earth, and for the rest it can be even worse.

It’s our job, as artists, to show people that there is more. I am not a religious person, nor even a spiritual one. I do not believe that there is a sky-man or any kind of conscious entity watching over us carefully, or interested in our problems. I do not believe. BUT- I do believe that the world itself is a being of grace, and by truly seeing it, and being within it, we can lighten our weight. This entails details.

When one is in a chain gang, there will be a beautiful weed sprouting in the ditch. When one has lost hope and is starving, there will be the smell of dry morning air, and the sunrise. When the worries about the future become too much, there is still the present.

I know this doesn’t make up for any of it. I also know that there are times for all of us when we realize our solitude, when we are alone and in pain, in the dark. Cold and possibly hopeless. In those times it is art’s job to expose the alternatives, to bring the world into us and that way bring us out of ourselves.

Art doesn’t have to be “good” or skilled or perfect or even beautiful to do this. It will be a different view for each artist and a different piece that speaks to each viewer. Sometimes the crude and the ugly do this much more effectively than the pretty and the sweet- actually for me, when I am alone and in pain in the dark, it is the reminder that others have been there as well that helps. And art that speaks this way is often NOT beautiful to look at.

nude watercolor painting, naked smileI need to sell art to live- to pay rent. To eat. If I could give it away and not be homeless I would. But the necessities of the world insist that my work must be valued at a number. I know that for some the value of their work is low and their hours are long and hard; that they must do work which is difficult, upsetting, dangerous. I am lucky to be an artist, I am privileged in ways not many are. I love my work. That alone is a stroke of fortune.

People who hate their work but must do it deserve my best efforts, because I know that at times my work, seeing my work and interacting with it, is their release and their reminder. Artists have an obligation to try their damnedest to do that, and to do it as best they can every time.

yay!

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one of my most adorable clients is sitting half across the room in front of me, listening to the band. “tonight’s about Anji Marth, that’s her decadent decay on the walls! it gives me a hardon, does it give you one?!” the singer on stage yells.

my cute, perky, completely normal client turns around beaming, and in the silent pause shouts in a wee, happy voice- “I LOVE TO FUCK DEAD PEOPLE!”

at an earlier moment in the evening, a jolly young man with absolutely no warning fell flat from his chair onto his back, cracking his head flatly, and lying completely unresponsive in the center of the table area. “is he dead?” someone asked. people gathered around, cradling his head, talking at him. someone has died at my art opening! visions of infamy danced wildly before my eyes until he arose, bleary. he was led to a safer chair and left with friends shortly afterward, crushing my daydreams.

I had a conversation with electro hippies in fluorescent green fur hats about craft fairs, moderation in party times, and mentoring the young in a scene. I spoke with a woman who has done the Saturday market for 34 years running and who enjoyed the contrast between my work and the landscape artist next door. I also spoke intently to a man with a fear of spiders, a man who was in love with “galore” (the boar head mount) and a woman who was fascinated and repelled but wanted to know all about bone processing.

I had a great night. I also saw some old friends long missing from my real life, spent a bit of time with a good old friend I miss every day. and of course, enjoyed the gentlemanly presence and aplomb of Hawkins.

all in all, except for my crankiness from fatigue, an excellent night.

my work will be on display all month at the speakeasy. I’ll be back there on the 9th to bring a few more prints and listen to the excellent Mendozza … thanks everyone who helped make tonight happen and everyone who came out to support or buy my work.

ready for the art show!

Labels ready, statement ready, credit card machine set up, everything is set…

and I am still nervous.

 

I always am, I’ve been doing shows for over a decade and I get nervous as hell every time.

Wish me luck folks.

 

Oh yeah, side note: here’s my facebook art fan page, if you’d rather “like” than “add”.

I don’t bite, drop me a line! Or come on out to the show. I love seeing internet people in real life.

Childfree Stay-Home-from-Work Day

April 26, 2012.

Quote fromthe event’s page:

“April 26, ’12 is the next “bring-your-child-to-work” day. If you do NOT have or want children, and your workplace participates in this; if you are tired of co-workers who chose to reproduce leaving early, taking extra time off, and generally being slack because of their own life choices; if you think maternity leave should be mirrored by sabbaticals given in equal time to nonparents; if you are sick of your insurance rates being driven skyward by rampant breeding among your employer’s policyholders; in short, if you find it offensive that an entire workday is sacrificed because of the personal choices of others…

bring your child to work in a jar day

Take the day off.
Do your co-workers bring the kids in and then spend the day “teaching” them, so that you end up doing more work on their behalf? Do they abandon the precious creatures in the office, forcing childfree colleagues to entertain or supervise them? Do they wreak havoc at the workplace, and find it adorable?Does your boss think this is a great idea?

Do you wish you could spend an entire day being paid to do no real work?

(made & posted for a dear friend.)

my daily routine.

 

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I have two separate routines for work. it depends whether I am having a tattoo-studio day or a home-studio day.

if I’m working at the shop, I wake around ten or eleven and lay around like a slug until it’s time to rush to work. I arrive, drink coffee, plan out my hours. talk to clients. clean my inks off or monkey with a machine until  “real work” shows up. I leave right after the shop closes for the day. I usually don’t do any other art on these days; working on commission is draining (satisfying though!)

if I’m not going in to the shop, I wake up late, noon or one. I have coffee and laze around a little.then eat, and start looking over the mess I left the previous day. usually I will have something drying and ready to be worked over a little more. so I pick up where I left off. at some point I’ll reach a moment where everything is tacky. then I start something new…I work a little, stop and stare. smoke, have a sandwich and more coffee.

a lot of times I’ll just get in the car and go exploring, searching for objects or supplies, detritus. things that make me feel creative. it’s a lot of walking along the river or the side of the road.

I work until very late at night when I’m doing my own art. I’ll stay up until the birds are talking. sometimes I work all night and into the next day. coffee is my friend. this happens a lot more in the winter. I tend to have a very hard time waking up in the mornings, it’s always been that way.

of course I spend about two months each year  “on the road”; I can’t call it a vacation because I usually am tattooing just about that whole time- I don’t like not working anyway. but when I travel I have no routine at all, and when I return it takes me a while to get back in rhythm with my schedules and routines at home.

bi winning tattoo

tiger blood winning tattoo

Honestly, if you’re an incredibly rich and talented weirdo, why the fuck SHOULD you fight being manic? Hell, ride it as far as you can.

There are millions of people who have to work normal jobs or take care of kids or whathaveya, that are vicariously living through Charlie Sheen. Yeah, he’s probably bipolar. So? I mean…

Stability is a great thing, don’t get me wrong. But if you don’t actually HAVE TO be stable to survive, then why the fuck would you turn down mania or hypomania? Those mental states are rich in inspiration and productive as fuck.

If he has to eventually deal with a crash-he has the resources to do it.

If he loses his job- he can do other work. So…fuck yeah Mr. Sheen. Ride it out.

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