Attention is the currency of the internet.

I’m paying attention to you for a moment.

I’ve been trying to express this for a while now. For some reason, it’s very hard to explain; I can’t quite grasp the right words to get my point across.

Websites that provoke, they just want traffic, and they get it by being intentionally offensive to you. A site that is poorly built so that you have to click around to find the one thing you went there for? Each time you click it counts as “traffic”.

When you share, or repost something you find horrible or rude, it creates more links to it- making it more relevant in searches online, so that even more people get to find it.
Let’s say you have tattoos, and have just read an article saying that people with tattoos are scumbags.
Don’t link to that article, repost it everywhere, talk about it, give it attention- because it makes that result rise higher in searches for “tattoo”, you see?

Instead, write your own opinion. A rebuttal or explanation. And link to that, talk about that.

And for people wondering why e-commerce sites don’t fix things since they “want our money”…THEY DON’T WANT YOUR MONEY. (especially if you are a seller, a user, and not a buyer)
They want your TRAFFIC, so their stock value goes up, so their ads and affiliate links pay them more. They want you clicking on their site, that is all.

No matter what the site does or if there are ads or not, attention is the currency of the internet, and clicks/hits/views are how that currency is measured.

And if you find something you agree with, that you like- well hell, share that link. Reblog, follow, add, share, twit, whatever it is that you use or do- share the good things around.

I’m through paying out attention to things that don’t feed my mind and to derivative shit.

Spend your attention wisely. ( Jun 6, 2012)
(Reposting to add, I’ve found donotlink helpful in my efforts to spend my attention wisely.
http://www.donotlink.com/dnl/faq)

 

 

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

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)

(more…)

How to prepare specimens safely.

How to get the bones from animal remains you find that still have a bit of meat on them, and which are not dried out:

 Wear disposable gloves. Wild animals carry loads of diseases which you can in fact succumb to, such as rabies, flu, and even leprosy (YES, leprosy).

This is the low-investment method. You can also bury or macerate the remains to get the bones; but maggot cleaning will be less involved. You could get a beetle box, but maggot cleaning is less upkeep.

  • DO NOT BOIL OR SIMMER BONES. Cooked bones can and will ROT! Boiling breaks the fibers that hold bone together, making them brittle, and thinning them. Let nature do the work for you! (and keep the stink outside!)
  • Put them on a piece of window screen that is twice their size, and wrap them up in it. Fold over the edges to close it like a pocket, leaving a one inch opening on one end for flies and other insects to get in.
  • Hang the corpse-pocket up outside. You want it up out of reach of cats and dogs, but low enough that you can reach it. I hang remains from a tree limb near my house. You can also wrap the corpse this way and then bury it a foot deep or less. Either way, insects will do the cleaning for you. This will not work in winter though.
  • Wait a few weeks, less if it is hot/humid. check on your developments. at some point the bones will be fully exposed, and all meat will have been picked away by insects.
  • soak the bones in HOT water and blue Dawn dish detergent. Change out the water/detergent mix every day. It can cool off overnight, just use hot water to refill it each day. Use about two cups of Dawn per gallon of water. Do this until the bones are not yellowish with fat anymore.
  • Scrub the bones in cold water with more dish soap. Then soak again in HOT water, mixed 1:1 with regular old store-type peroxide. YOU DON’T NEED BLEACH; BLEACH WILL MAKE THE BONE CRUMBLY AND WEAK, AND SOFTEN IT. Peroxide and hot water will disinfect just as well, when used in conjunction with the soap soak. refill/continue soaking until the bone is as white as you’d like. I find that it usually takes three water changes to get the ivory-cream tone I prefer.
  • Dry the bones thoroughly, NOT IN THE SUN. Then spray, with a coat of matte UV protectant. Sun exposure, like bleach, degrades and weakens bone.
  • The best way to hang a skull is to string it on thick, soft twine through the orbital bones, then hang that on a hook on a mountboard. I like to attach the jaw as well, and pose and articulate bones- I’ll go over that stuff in a later post.

TEAL DEER: 

DON’T FUCKING BOIL OR BLEACH BONES! IT DESTROYS THEM!

How to disinfect feathers (legal ones- domestic and game birds)

Find out if they’re legal to own!

Wear disposable gloves.

Be especially cautious with feathers, because bird flu is an actual thing. So is west nile virus, salmonella, and more…

  • Figure out if it is a land or water bird. Water birds have oil in their feathers, land birds do not.
  • Figure out if the feather is legal to own or not. You can check the list here to find out.
  • Spray with alcohol (land bird) or tea tree oil, almond oil, or oil-based castile soap (water bird) and let dry.
  • Soak a paper towel with full-strength hand sanitizer, and wipe feather gently, in the direction of growth. Soak the feather well.
  • Tie a string to the base of the shaft and hang the feather, shaft up, overnight to dry out.
  • Using hot water, wipe the feather down again. Let dry. Use almond oil (water bird) or a damp cloth (land bird) to smooth the feather to shape it again. Again, let it dry completely.
  • Smooth out with your fingers to re-shape the feather and re-attach each strand of it.
  • To dye land-bird feathers, use translucent, lightfast inks (FW, or diluted liquid acrylics) and wipe ink onto feather surfaces in the pattern you want, or better yet, spray it on lightly. let it stand until the ink has dried, then wipe gently with a damp rag, using your fingers to smooth the surface and attach the strands.
  • To dye water bird feathers, use an oil paint, diluted with almond or walnut oil. Make sure to re-shape the feather several times during the drying period, or the strands will clump together.

TEAL DEER? MOST FEATHERS ARE ILLEGAL, DON’T BE A DUMBASS.

(you can find my work in these materials here or here)

originally written on: Aug 1, 2012
updated today

watermarking is a pain in the ass.

You need to watermark all of your art, all your tattoo pictures. Everything you post online. I need to remember to do this, too. I’m going through and watermarking some pictures, and just realized…well, if I already posted them someplace, then I’d have to go back through and replace them all, and then the links would no longer work or whatever, plus people have already saved them and now have no idea where they came from… I mean, watermarking isn’t HARD to do, it’s just hard to REMEMBER to do, every time I post something. I get too excited and I throw stuff up into the internet before I do it pretty often.

no watermark

no watermark

I also have a habit of losing original downsized images (for submissions online to magazines or whatever) and then I have to go back to the original scan and re-size it. I’ve had quite a few images or pieces of art get a ton of exposure, but most of those weren’t watermarked. I wish I could say I’ve learned from that and that I watermark everything now, but I still forget.

easy to cover or crop out, also ugly

easy to cover or crop out, also ugly

I try to put my watermark in a place where it’s difficult to crop out of the image, but doesn’t interfere with it. Some people or sites will still cover up this kind of watermark wit their own (THE ABSOLUTE BASTARDS) but for the most part it works. All I really care about is that if someone sees my art someplace they can then find me if they want to buy it.

hard to crop out without destroying the image subject, not too intrusive, readable. that's the right one.

hard to crop out without destroying the image subject, not too intrusive, readable. that’s the right one.

I use photoshop for watermarks, because I like them to be a bit transparent. But if I am truly lazy that day I just use paint. Either works. I love it when people share my work, no doubt. It just frustrates me that the work doesn’t always lead back to me. I get sad when I see art posted, someone asking “man that’s awesome who did that?” and the answer is “I dunno, I found it someplace and I don’t remember where” Watermarks are so that people remember where. Once you have a good watermark on a picture, you can relax a little. You can start getting happy and open about where people share the image, even about whether they download it and print a small picture of it. Because it’s got a recognizable name on it, it will lead anyone that sees it right back to you. And that’s the important thing when it comes to posting stuff online- that your art gets seen by lots of people. I mean, otherwise why post it? You want to share your work; you want people who would like your work to get to enjoy it and maybe talk to you about it or even buy some. So watermark everything! Now if only I can remember to follow my own advice.

 

 

talk to strangers.

bride portrait

Originally published 12/5/2011

I was looking at the viewing statistics for the site here and noticed that one person among the couple hundred went through every post just about in the space of a day or two. OMG ARCHIVE BINGE! It made me extremely happy and I felt warm, and loved.

Whenever I find a site or an artist I like online I just read EVERYTHING from them, I will binge until I am reading their diary from ten years ago, if it’s posted. Like when I found crimelibrary the first time, or when I started looking at explodingdog. I just went nuts, spent all my internet time following the trail back to the start. I suddenly realized that you guys read my stuff and look at my site the same exact way I look at yours and that made me feel really good. So thank you, anonymous archive binge person, for making me both happy and more educated about what I am trying to do, and how people feel about it.

THEN- I have gotten a slew of emails from total strangers, asking questions, tattoo and art process stuff, and general sort of things. I LOVE talking to you guys. Man, if you’re reading my stuff someplace and suddenly have a question, and you email me that you like my things and want to know the answer, I get sweaty excited about it. It makes me feel good- I love sharing information, and while I am not the most educated or the most knowledgeable about everything the things I DO know I love to share. And sometimes even if I don’t know, I can send the question to someone who does. And that feels great too.

.

And also- I spent the last few days interviewing a series of artists for a longer article I’m putting together. I’m working hard to write something useful about it. It’s taking me some time to assemble but I think it’ll be good. Talking to new people who get it, and who are working in smaller ways to affect the world- people who put their hands on the work and make things that have deeper meaning as well as visual aesthetics- that’s been really eye-opening and inspiring to me too.

Oh, and, last of all, I spent a day making paper. That was fun as all fuck, too.

I love talking to people about art. I don’t know how approachable I seem but really, I like talking to new people and I really feel great when I can help someone, give information, or just even see that people are interested in what I’m doing. So thanks guys for reading along.

If you have questions for me to answer, let me know in the comments. Or email me!

(you can find more of me by googling resonanteye, I am literally everywhere online. I talk to all the strangers!)

How risky is it to get tattooed?

DON'T GET TATTOOED IN SOMEONE'S BASEMENT

DON’T GET TATTOOED IN SOMEONE’S BASEMENT

Tattoos done in a home, in prison, or in an unlicensed facility carry grave health risks. This article is about the health risks associated with being tattooed in a clean, licensed, and proper tattoo facility- NOT about home tattoos or jail tattoos. Those are TOO DAMN RISKY FOR ME TO EVEN TALK ABOUT.

In some states, tattoo artists and studios are regulated by the state and have to meet health requirements. In some states this goes so far as to test artists for various communicable diseases. In others, it merely requires training in the control of bloodborne pathogens and sterile, disposable equipment. Studios will usually not tattoo anyone who is intoxicated on any substance, or who is under the age of 18. Most states have laws pertaining to this, and most studios will turn away anyone who is incapable of legally signing a consent form.

Three ways to end a creative block, right this very instant.

noncomplianceFirst of all, sit down. Clear a place on the couch and sit your ass down. Creative blocks are evil. I mean evil, wicked, bad things that get all of us at some point. I hate when it happens, and the worst is when you get into that feedback loop- you know, worrying about it and trying to start working on stuff, but it won’t come, so then you worry some more, then try and you still can’t do anything, and so you worry…that worry and fear is the root of it, sometimes, and it can turn into a neverending battle.

Other times a block isn’t really a block- it’s that you have fed your head so much that it is still processing. You’ve taken in a lot of inspiring work or ideas lately from other artists, and now your brain needs some down time in the dark to ferment it all into delicious beer. (or bread. whatever.) Either way, you can end it. You actually can end it, but it’s going to suck, just like breaking down a real wall sucks and is heavy work. It’s not easy but it’s pretty much dead simple. (more…)

What are your reasons for getting tattooed?

anji-marth-tattoos-and-art-70Tattoos do have a purpose, although to some it may seem they are merely frivolous decoration, or a ploy for attention.

In indigenous cultures, tattoos are used to mark rank or status. In the west in modern times, this still holds true for many people. Getting a child’s name or portrait marks the wearer’s status as a parent, for example. Some use tattoos to show their membership in a group such as a fraternity or gang, and others wear them as status symbols to express their positive personal qualities, such as wealth or the freedom to look as they please.

Tattoos in the west in previous decades carried a heavy stugma of social unacceptability, and this has contributed to the use of tattoos to mark “outsider” status in some groups. Bikers, gang members, and prisoners may get tattooed as a badge of pride in their outsider status.

Tattoos can also mark a momentous occasion for the wearer. The birth of a child, the beginning or end of a relationship, or the attainment of some goal are all personal milestones that some choose to remember with a tattoo.

full-3Some use a tattoo to express their political or religious feelings. Many young Christians get crosses and fish tattooed on them as reminders of their moral beliefs, and many people get symbols of their personal opinions tattooed on them.

Others use the tattoo to commemorate the life of a loved one who has died. These are currently popular due to some television shows’ use of similar stories.

Yet other people will get tattooed for superstitious reasons. Sailors even today will get a pig tattooed on one foot, and a chicken on the other, to prevent drowning. Many also get tattoos of talismans or personal symbols of good luck. Horseshoes are always popular.

2a62883f6a5facde8cd4ba3b8f98258b-d4d2ojnBy far the most common reason to get tattooed is to express a hidden aspect of the wearer’s personality. The majority of people I’ve tattooed over the last ten years have stated that this was the reason they decided to get tattooed. For some this is as simple as getting a single word in english, or in another language, such as “truth” or “love”. For others, it can involve a large and extensive custom drawing that contains many personal symbols or images that express the personality of the wearer.

Another purpose of tattooing is simple decoration. Some people love the way tattoos look, and get abstract designs intended to emphasize or beautify various body parts. Some use a decorative tattoo to hide flaws such as scars, stretch marks, or older, less-attractive tattoos.

In the ten years I have been tattooing people, out of thousands of clients, I have only ever encountered two or three that claimed to get tattooed because they liked the sensation. Usually the pain is a sacrifice people are willing to make in order to accomplish the purpose of the tattoo.

 

How to choose a tattoo design when you’re completely clueless


10403044_10152164843797712_1077486435763939552_n
It can be hard to commit to one image that will be permanent. Some people just have too many ideas! Here are some ways you can decide what to get tattooed…Subject, style, and placement.

  • Find an image or subject that you like. If you don’t have any very specific ideas or you can’t find something you want to commit to permanently, abstract art is always an option. Simple, flowing shapes work very well on the human form, hence the popularity of “tribal” tattoos. You can even be as vague as wanting a shape, or a curve tattooed on you. “Abstract” means just that- there is no subject matter, and the meaning is obscured. This is a good choice if you’re indecisive or change your opinions from time to time.
  • Placement is important. Do you want to be able to see your tattoo? Then get it on the front half of your body. Would you like to be able to easily hide it? Get it on the thigh, or back, or calf (if you can wear knee socks). Do you want it to be a teaser? Get it so that part of it extends beyond the sleeve of your t-shirt from your upper arm. The easiest paces to get work done, and the best for long-term wear and tear, are the outside of the calf and thigh, the inside of the forearm, the outside of the upper arm, and the upper back. The most important thing though? Is where YOU want to see the tattoo. The pain only lasts a short time, but you will  be looking at the tattoo itself forever.
  • Abstract art works well too because you can invent new meaning or significance for the tattoo as you get older. Getting something that is pure decoration can save you the trouble of trying to commit to one point of view or meaning. Most tattoo artists enjoy doing some abstract work; just be sure the artist you choose works in the style you enjoy seeing. (more on this below!)
  • When seeking subject matter, keep an open mind. Look at tattoo magazines and imagine yourself as the people in the pictures. What would feel right for you? What can you relate to? Look at photographs and paintings that aren’t tattoo-related and imagine them on your skin, instead of on paper or canvas. Would it look right to you? If you have hobbies, think about whether there are objects or images that express them. If you have inside jokes with friends or loved ones, think of ways to express them with images. Getting matching images is usually not a jinx on a relationship the way getting a tattoo of someone’s name can be. Does your child have a favorite toy, or a nickname? Does your wife have a favorite flower? You can get her a bouquet, or memorialize this time in your child’s life, by tattooing it on you.
  • If it’s a tattoo for a relative, “Mom” or “Pop”, think about what kind of images they enjoy, and what their personality is like. Memorial tattoos and relationship tattoos, just like gifts, mean more if they are personal to the receiver.
  • Don’t feel hedged in to what you have already seen as a tattoo. The tattoo industry has expanded in technique and equipment rapidly in the last ten years or so, and besides being safer (with disposable equipment and such) the artistic possibilities are close to endless.  While not every design can be applied as-is, usually a few modifications can make it possible to do just about anything on skin. Look to all forms of art and photography for ideas and styles to apply to your tattoo.
  • Try to find your inspiration in your own taste and interests. If you like art nouveau vases, use them as reference. If you like wild animals, find some photographs of animals you find meaningful. Or simply look for shapes, motifs, and colors that you like.

(more…)

How to choose a tattoo design when you're completely clueless

10403044_10152164843797712_1077486435763939552_nIt can be hard to commit to one image that will be permanent. Some people just have too many ideas! Here are some ways you can decide what to get tattooed…Subject, style, and placement.

  • Find an image or subject that you like. If you don’t have any very specific ideas or you can’t find something you want to commit to permanently, abstract art is always an option. Simple, flowing shapes work very well on the human form, hence the popularity of “tribal” tattoos. You can even be as vague as wanting a shape, or a curve tattooed on you. “Abstract” means just that- there is no subject matter, and the meaning is obscured. This is a good choice if you’re indecisive or change your opinions from time to time.
  • Placement is important. Do you want to be able to see your tattoo? Then get it on the front half of your body. Would you like to be able to easily hide it? Get it on the thigh, or back, or calf (if you can wear knee socks). Do you want it to be a teaser? Get it so that part of it extends beyond the sleeve of your t-shirt from your upper arm. The easiest paces to get work done, and the best for long-term wear and tear, are the outside of the calf and thigh, the inside of the forearm, the outside of the upper arm, and the upper back. The most important thing though? Is where YOU want to see the tattoo. The pain only lasts a short time, but you will  be looking at the tattoo itself forever.
  • Abstract art works well too because you can invent new meaning or significance for the tattoo as you get older. Getting something that is pure decoration can save you the trouble of trying to commit to one point of view or meaning. Most tattoo artists enjoy doing some abstract work; just be sure the artist you choose works in the style you enjoy seeing. (more on this below!)
  • When seeking subject matter, keep an open mind. Look at tattoo magazines and imagine yourself as the people in the pictures. What would feel right for you? What can you relate to? Look at photographs and paintings that aren’t tattoo-related and imagine them on your skin, instead of on paper or canvas. Would it look right to you? If you have hobbies, think about whether there are objects or images that express them. If you have inside jokes with friends or loved ones, think of ways to express them with images. Getting matching images is usually not a jinx on a relationship the way getting a tattoo of someone’s name can be. Does your child have a favorite toy, or a nickname? Does your wife have a favorite flower? You can get her a bouquet, or memorialize this time in your child’s life, by tattooing it on you.
  • If it’s a tattoo for a relative, “Mom” or “Pop”, think about what kind of images they enjoy, and what their personality is like. Memorial tattoos and relationship tattoos, just like gifts, mean more if they are personal to the receiver.
  • Don’t feel hedged in to what you have already seen as a tattoo. The tattoo industry has expanded in technique and equipment rapidly in the last ten years or so, and besides being safer (with disposable equipment and such) the artistic possibilities are close to endless.  While not every design can be applied as-is, usually a few modifications can make it possible to do just about anything on skin. Look to all forms of art and photography for ideas and styles to apply to your tattoo.
  • Try to find your inspiration in your own taste and interests. If you like art nouveau vases, use them as reference. If you like wild animals, find some photographs of animals you find meaningful. Or simply look for shapes, motifs, and colors that you like.

(more…)

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