Wasted Ink Zine Distro: Community Building through Creative Expression

 

What does it take to turn your passion for DIY publications and community-building into a business?

 

I sat down with Charissa Lucille and Marna Kay, Co-Owners of Wasted Ink Zine Distro in Phoenix, Arizona to find out.

 

In 2015, Charissa and Marna opened up the first and only Zine shop in the Valley to create a space for people to learn about, look at, create, and buy self-published zines. Between full-time jobs, personal projects, and life, they’ve managed to create a special place for people to come together and express themselves and share individual perspectives.

 

Beyond the shop, they regularly organize poetry readings, open mic nights, pop-up zine shops, and workshops for zinesters of all ages.

 

So if you’re looking for a place filled with openness, acceptance, and creativity, look no further than Wasted Ink Zine Distro. To learn more about their journey, from when they first fell in love with zines to the struggles and rewards of running a business, be sure to check out the video!

Learn how to document your 2D and 3D artwork with just an iPhone or smartphone!

Video Tutorial: Documenting your Artwork with an iPhone

In an ideal world, we’d all have fancy DSLR cameras, powerful lighting equipment, and the skills to document our own artwork. But the truth is… that stuff is expensive. Honestly, unless you’re planning on reproducing your work as prints, you probably have all the tools you need in your own home.

 

You just need to know how to use it correctly.

 

So for those of you who’d rather spend money on art supplies than photo equipment, look no further!

 

The National Endowment of the Arts: Why It Matters & How to Protect It

I’m sure you’ve heard, but the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities, along with other useful government agencies might be eliminated from the federal budget.

 

This isn’t the first time, and if these programs survive the current administration’s budget cuts, I’m sure it won’t be the last…

 

Federally funded or not, the arts will always survive. It might get more difficult for artists and organizations to sustain themselves, but we’ll persist.

 

However here’s the thing that really breaks my heart: many of those that oppose the NEA are saying that art is “elitist”; it’s something that only the wealthy get to enjoy. And by taking a mere $0.46 from each American taxpayer and putting that money towards art and culture means that we’re just funding pastimes for the rich.

 

But really, funding the NEA and other agencies that promote the humanities and culture does the exact opposite. These agencies help arts communities all across the country to flourish. By allocating just .004% of the federal budget to the arts, the NEA helps bring art to those that need it most.

Caroline Hudson-Naef: From Art School to Art Career

In the arts, we often perceive an art administration career as a practical, steady alternative to becoming a full-time, independent artist. But the skills and experiences required to pursue such a path can greatly differ from a studio art discipline.

 

However, with dedication and persistence, some artists are able to make the transition and excel in a position at an arts organization.

 

Not only do they have to adapt to new situations and develop a new skillset, but it also requires a shift in perspective.
So if you’re interested in making that shift, you’ll definitely want to hear what Caroline has to say!

 

Caroline Hudson-Naef is the Photography Arts Lab Manager at Art Intersection, “a place where creative individuals gather to learn, create, and exhibit.”

 

Located In Gilbert, AZ, Art Intersection offers gallery space, workshops and classes, a darkroom and digital lab, and one-on-one instruction to their community. And Caroline’s responsibilities encompass all the diverse functions of the business.

 

In this video, you’ll learn:

 

  • What kind of prior experiences helped Caroline get her job
  • What she enjoys most about working at an art center
  • Advice for early-career artists looking to for an arts administration position
  • The difficulties of balancing a full-time, arts-related job with her own creative practice

 

So watch the interview or read the full transcript in this blog post!

10 Optimistic Facts and Statistics about the Art Industry in 2017

 
If you’ve ever thought about becoming an artist, then you might find yourself worrying about what your future could potentially look like. You obviously don’t want to become the cliche starving artist.
 
Or maybe you have a child or friend that is considering an education or career in the arts, and you’re worried about their financial prospects or job security.
 
Well, your concerns aren’t unusual, but are they entirely necessary?
 

Social Media for Artists: Mistakes, Myths & How to Avoid Them

Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending a panel discussion about  Social Media Marketing for artists at the Phoenix Art Museum.

 

I got to hear from award-winning artist Clare Benson, world-renowned art advisor Mary Virginia Swanson, chief photography curator Becky Senf, and established commercial photographer Paul Mobley.

 

But I must say, as someone who spends ~40 hours a week working in digital marketing and most of my free time thinking about how digital marketing can be applied to the arts, the talk left something to be desired…

 

Of course, with industry leaders like that, there were a many instances of great advice! I really appreciated hearing some words of wisdom from experienced professionals.

 

But when it came down to it, there wasn’t a whole lot of concrete information about social media today.

Want to land your own solo or small group exhibition? Find out how to write a compelling proposal!

How to Prepare an Exhibition Proposal that Won’t get Ignored

Landing your first solo exhibition is a big deal for any emerging artist. Not only is it a great way to mark the completion of a body of work, but it’s one of the best ways to get your art in front of a large, art-loving audience.

 

No doubt, a solo exhibition is a huge milestone, but it can be tricky to achieve. There are lots of factors to consider, many of which are out of your control. And often, galleries are booked out months, even years, in advance.

 

But if you feel like you’re truly ready to exhibit your work, then creating a strong proposal and approaching gallery owners and decision-makers in the right way can make you stand out from the competition.

 

To give you the very best chances of landing your own solo or small group exhibition, I’ve broken the whole process down in 5 steps, from start to finish.

 

So take a look, get to work, and let me know if you have any questions!

Setting Up a Portfolio Website: What Artists Need to Know

I remember the first time I set up a portfolio website.

 

I’m not gonna lie… I had NO idea what I was doing!

 

But fast forward about 4 years and 6 websites later, I can definitely say I’ve figured out a thing or two about creating a great online portfolio.

 

And get this — I have almost no formal HTML of CSS experience!

 

My secret?

 

Countless hours of tinkering with website themes, plenty of research, and LOTS of trial and error.

 

To make sure you don’t make the same mistakes I did when I was first getting started, I created this video to give you the rundown on website building for artists. And the good news is, you really don’t need any coding or web design experience to get your site up and running!

How to Create Effective Social Media Ads to Promote Your Art

If you run a Facebook Page or Business Instagram account, you’ve probably been bombarded with suggestions on how to turn your content into an ad. Obviously, social media sites heavily depend on user ad-spend to generate revenue, so the more people that buy in, the more money they make.

 

Personally, I have nothing against ads. Sure, poorly-targeted, spammy ads can be annoying. But if you’re willing to invest the time and money into developing a strategic ad campaign, by all means, go for it!

 

However, the key is being strategic.

 

I don’t have any plans to run an ad campaign anytime soon, but I know more than enough about social media advertising to identify a bad ad when I see one. And unfortunately, I’ve been seeing lots of bad ads come from artists, arts organizations, and creative businesses.

 

What is SEO and how Can Artist Benefit From It?

I’ll admit, I didn’t know about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) until recently.

 

Even though I had a portfolio website for years — and spent a lot of time tinkering with and improving it — I had no idea how to use tools and strategies to make my site easier to discover in Google Search. I just assumed that I had no control over the order of the way links were listed in Search.

 

I mean, it eventually ranked #1, so I wasn’t complaining.

 

But then, when I officially said goodbye to any sort of career in photography, I actively began to research marketing concepts and strategies.

 

And lo and behold… I discovered SEO.

Zakk Vega: Opening a Music Studio + Building Community in Unlikely Places

I truly believe that having a good conversation is one of the best ways to learn — especially in the arts.

 

That’s exactly why I sat down with Zakk Vega, owner of Studio 270, a music studio in Yuma, Arizona.

 

When I found out that my friend Zakk was returning home to open a music studio after a couple of years touring, I was definitely taken by surprise.
Although Yuma isn’t a place short of talented artists and musicians, there has always been a lack of opportunities available to help develop and refine their creative skills. And when places did open up, they didn’t last for long…

 

Well, after a year since opening it’s doors, Studio 270 is still going strong. They offer affordable lessons, practice space, and a recording studio to a growing community of musicians in the far southwest. Not only are they providing a service that is greatly needed in Yuma, but they do it with contagious passion and dedication.

 

So if you’ve ever wondered what it takes to open up your own creative business (or what it takes for follow your creative dreams), whether it’s music-based or not, you’ll definitely find value in what Zakk has to say!

 

THANK YOU + A Running List of Art Orgs You Can Support

So much more has happened in the last three months than I could have ever expected. From winning the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art’s Good ‘N Plenty Award, to hearing feedback from artists and fans, aftrART is much further along than I envisioned when I first had the idea to start this project.

 

I just wanted to take a moment to say THANK YOU to everyone that has supported this project, especially SMoCA and everyone that attended the Good ‘N Plenty Event back in October.

 

Not only did I want to say thanks, but I also wanted to share some thoughts on the importance of supporting arts organizations, museums, and centers. If you’re lucky enough to have some of these resources in your community, I really encourage you to take the time and go. These places exist to foster culture and enrich communities with art, and as artists and creatives, we owe it to them to participate!

3 Reasons Why You Should Plan Your Creative Projects

Truth be told, I plan obsessively.

 

In college, I started planning my honors thesis two years before I was required to begin. Right now, I have a list of 75 blogs and videos I plan to produce for aftrART. And I’ve had my 2017 budget planned out since October.
 
Planning is a big part of my life. It gives me peace of mind knowing that I have something to reference when things get a little crazy.
 

Don’t get me wrong…

 
There’s plenty of value giving yourself some time to explore your creativity without restriction. But as soon as you set a goal for yourself, your next logical step should be to come up with a plan of attack.

Your art can't speak for itself

What is an Artist Statement?

Quite simply, an artist statement is a piece of writing that accompanies a series, project, or body of work. Typically written by the artist, it is one of the best ways to help your audience relate to your art.

 

The wonderful thing about art is that it can be abstract, figurative, or open for interpretation. But because of that, sometimes your art can leave a large part of your potential audience in the dark.

 

That’s where your artist statement comes in; giving people just enough context can help them better connect with the work you’ve made — and that’s what we’re all aiming for, right?
 

A great artist statement provides clarity to the reader and gives them a reason to care about your work — so this is one part of the creative process you don’t want to neglect!