Some twenty years ago I sold a painting of a fountain to a total stranger in a Denver Broncos hat, and to this day, that was the best $18 I have ever made. The best. And it was a horrible painting, but ever since then I have been chasing the thrill that came from selling my art to someone who I knew would love it more than me. It’s been a while since I have tried to sell my artwork, but the time has come: please take a moment to vist my pop up shop on Etsy.
As I mentioned last week, this is a two week online pop up shop. It will close November 23rd or when the inventory clears, whichever comes first. Yesterday I opened the store with 25 items to my weekly subscribers and they already scooped up a good chunk of the inventory (THANKS GUYS), so if you see something you like, I suggest moving on it on the soon side!
What’s in the store? Twenty five snippets of crazy. Let’s take quick tour…
“Bite Me Sheila” (SOLD)
Sometimes people do their best, most beautiful, and most *patient* work in moments of frustration. I’m not sure why that is, but I’m pretty sure it has something to do with our desire to fix things. To balance what is wrong when we cannot make it right. A vase full of flowers is never going to cure cancer but it can offset an otherwise unpleasant day. A teacher of mine once said, “It is never a waste of time to make something beautiful” and I try to remember that in moments when I am feeling frustrated.
One afternoon, I spent an outrageous amount of time on the phone with my internet provider trying to explain that my internet did not work and they needed to send a technician to my home. The service rep, Sheila, insisted that this was something she could service herself by diagnosing the problem via the internet. Seeing as the internet did not work, you can guess how well that went. After an hour of useless discussion and being put on hold more times than I could count (which is a great time to start sketching), she informed me that they would need to schedule an in-person service technician to come out but that the scheduling office closed fifteen minutes earlier, right about the time she was refusing to transfer me to the scheduling office. “You can call this same number 9am tomorrow morning.”
Bite me, Sheila.
“Argument at the Juice Bar”
I’m not sure what it is about fancy grocery stores that attracts people that like to pick arguments with the people who work there, but I see this a lot. Last week I was in taking photos of produce, because that’s normal for me, and some guy at the juice bar was trying to insist that the guy behind the counter remake his smoothie because the grass wasn’t “wild grown” and only “wild grown” grass would do. So this piece is about fruit and shapes and color and the electricity of unnecessary arguments that never needed to happen in the first place. It looks like a happy piece, and it is a happy piece, but it’s the kind of happy that comes from knowing you will have bad days, but you never have to be the guy picking a fight about wild grown grass juice. Congratulations!
The initial sketch for this piece happened in front of a window of a high-end flower shop in Chicago. The woman, who I’m guessing owned the shop, kept coming to the window to fuss with the arrangement. I’m not sure if that was a passive aggressive way to tell me to quit standing in front of her store, or, if my attention on the arrangement made her uncomfortable with its present state of floppiness (which is what drew me to it in the first place). The arrangement, relaxed and lacking in all formality, seemed particularly sloppy compared to the woman. All in black, she was dressed and pressed with precision, including a perfectly smooth forehead (“zamboni smooth”), which I can only assume would have been more obviously scowling at me had she been capable of facial expressions. If you have never been scowled at by someone who cannot physically I scowl, I highly recommend it. It’s pretty fun.
“That Time I Saw Reese Witherspoon in the Airport”
Airports are weird places. If you have the luxury of sitting down and watching, they make for the best people watching. A lot of people like to go to those private traveler clubs, or sit in the corner with their headphones one, but I like to sit in the middle and watch. Air travel brings out the very best and worst in people. I have seen couples get engaged, but I have seen a lot more couples get into fights. I have seen gruff, hardened men bend over backwards to help women and children they have never met. One time I saw an entire sixth grade classroom salute a solider returning from service overseas. One time I saw a nun steal a candy bar. Weird, weird stuff goes on in airports and hardly anyone ever notices it because they are so consumed by their own agenda, which allows for strange behavior. Anyone of these situations or behaviors would stick out on their own, but when you confine them all together into a single space, they dance together without inhibition or intention.
“Three Angry Schnauzers”
There is a family that lives down the block from me that has three schnauzers. They get walked at least four, five times a day. Often in outfits, including navy blue and white striped harnesses (of which I am rather envious). Nobody gets to pet them and they never play with other dogs. One time I tried to say hi and their walker/person/parent made them cross the street to avoid me and then all four of them looked back at me very angry. I don’t know if you have ever had three dogs in sweaters get angry at you, but it is downright haunting. The first leg of this painting took a better part of a week to complete, and as I had it on an easel by the window overlooking the street, I saw those schnauzers trot by in their outfits at least a dozen times, maybe more. Taunting me with their cute outfits and personal rejection. I named this after them in some backhanded hope that they will start to like me. You’ll have to tell me if it worked…
****AND MANY MORE****
Interested in a piece? Have a question? Here are a few that have come up…
I’m not sure if I want to buy a piece yet – can I place a reserve? Can you pause the sale until I send you a check?
Not at this time. This is a straightforward online sale. However, if nobody else has purchased the piece by November 23rd, and you are still interested, I’ll be happy to hold it until a check can be mailed.
If I buy more than one can I get a bulk discount?
Not at this time. Everything is already priced to move.
Will you offer prints in the future?
It’s possible. The things is, I have a lot of original work I need to unload. This sale is the tip of very large iceberg. It’s my way of testing the waters. I’m trying to figure out what moves and what doesn’t. I would like to get rid of the original stuff before opening a new can of worms with printing, but eventually that would be nice. If it does happen down the line, the print(s) are not likely to be anything you see here, but, the neat thing about Etsy is that they not only tell me who is buying, they tell me who is looking. Counting clicks will tell me if an item is popular, even if it doesn’t sell. If I see that a lot of people are looking at one item, that tells me there is enough interest in that type of piece to warrant a print. Selling prints and originals of the same work has some dicey ethical implications, and not a problem I have to worry about yet, but thank you for asking.
Do you offer international shipping?
On most items. Anything that can be rolled into a tube I will happily send international. There are a couple of large canvases that I want to keep domestic, but anything that can be rolled into a tube, certainly.
Will you be doing another sale?
I sure hope so! If this goes well, I’m going to take what I learn and set up a more established online storefront. It most likely will not be until sometime in 2016, but I do have a few hand painted ornaments and garlands I would not mind sharing in the near future. So stay tuned …
Still interested? Pop over to the shop before all 25 are gone. And
And as always, thank you for supporting me. Even if you aren’t in the market to buy original artwork, or don’t dig my stuff, it’s a privilege to be able to have a platform from which to share. That’s a big deal in my book. Art, at any level, is deeply personal, and I don’t take your interest lightly. I’m just glad that we can share this first adventure together. I don’t know what the next adventure is going to look like, but I’m happy to be sharing this one with you.