21 December 2016

Holiday Cheer with Elves & More

Summary: Volunteer work with a bike charity in Ohio, and the gift of a new logo illustration.

via Studio Bowes Art Blog at http://ift.tt/2h2X5mO

01 December 2016

sword-wielding-fallen-angel:Oh, ya know, just a Jenny Parks out...

via Jenny Parks Illustration http://ift.tt/2fVPx7S


Oh, ya know, just a Jenny Parks out in the wild looking at her own art work at Hot Topic, as one would do @jennyparks

Also, this is a thing that happened.

One of the rare appearances of my face. And, of course, finally going to Hot Topic to look at my shirts there. Working with We Love Fine has been pretty neat, but seeing my work in such a big store… Whoooo. I can tell you, it’s a weird experience. Not in a bad way, but in a “is this even real?” sort of way.

And before anyone says anything, yes, this was all legal and I do get a cut from sales! It’s all good. :D

Thanks to my super awesome friend @sword-wielding-fallen-angel for the pics! ;) 

22 November 2016


via ILLUSTRATION ART http://ift.tt/2g6JDlj

In 1948, Ben Shahn illustrated an article for Harpers Magazine about the murder trial of James Hickman.

Hickman worked the night shift in a Chicago steel mill to support his wife and seven children.  The family lived in a tiny attic in a tenement slum, in one of the few neighborhoods where African Americans were permitted to live under Chicago's racially restrictive zoning rules.  Hickman tried to move out of his apartment but his landlord refused to return Hickman's security deposit.  The landlord  told tenants that if they raised problems, he knew "a man" who would come burn them out of their homes.

On the night of January 16, 1947, Hickman was working at the mill when his apartment caught fire.  The apartment was unsafe, with no exits, fire escapes or extinguishers.  His children were trapped inside.  When he returned the next morning his neighbor said, "Mr. Hickman, I hate to tell you this, four of your children is burnt to death."  They found the body of Hickman's 14 year old son under the bed, futilely trying to shield three of his younger siblings from the flames.

The Chicago police made no serious effort to investigate the landlord.  As the months went by, the anguished Hickman, devoutly religious, obsessed more and more about the babies that he'd lost, and the lack of justice in the world.  He said, "some day they would have married, someday they would have been fathers and mothers of children...."

Eventually Hickman got a gun and at God's instruction killed the landlord.  Finally motivated, the Chicago police arrested Hickman.  He freely admitted what he'd done, saying, "Paper was made to burn, coal and rags, not people.  People wasn't made to burn."

The prosecutor put Hickman on trial for first degree murder.  He was surely headed for the gallows, but then the story took an unusual  bounce.  The other tenants in Hickman's building angrily organized into the Chicago Area Tenant's Union  and combined with the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE) to publicize the case and support Hickman.  An outraged public rose up.  The ACLU defended Hickman and the jury refused to convict him.  

Harpers Magazine hired the distinguished journalist John Bartlow Martin to write about the trial, and renowned artist Ben Shahn to do the illustrations.  Shahn remained haunted by what he had learned about the case, and after completing the illustrations, he went on to create a larger, more allegorical painting about the tragedy.  Shahn transformed the fire into a flaming wolf / lion creature, with the children lying dead at his feet. 

Unfortunately, some officials-- already suspicious of Shahn's support for racial equality-- became concerned that the red beast might symbolize communism.  Henry McBride, writing for the New York Sun,  argued that Shahn should be "deported" for painting a pro-communist painting.

Shahn was indeed a socially conscious artist; he had previously participated in the WPA, where he worked with other artists who were interested in creating an American art that reflected the lives of ordinary people.  The following image, by another WPA artist, gives us insight into crowded urban life in the '30s for people of that class.

One critic noted that once the social injustice of the Great Depression and the existential threat of World War II had subsided,  former WPA artists became less interested in a representational, humanistic style:
Artists had to apply for WPA positions.  They were paid between $23 and $35 a month to produce a set amount of work every week.  "There were a lot of women participants... and it was very overtly welcoming to African-Americans....."  Perhaps because there was so much collaboration-- or because the artists wanted to keep their patron, the WPA, happy-- most of the prints remained representational and accessible.... "very focused on the present and engagement with the human experience.... The WPA officially disbanded in 1942, although artists continued to work in that style through Word War II.  But after the war, notions of art changed.  "The project developed a national identity that pulls away from the personal....After the war, artists reacted against it with abstract expressionism....It was a natural pendulum swing, I think, a reaction to the ways the WPA didn't speak to individual artists."        
Since the post war era, much of fine art has been self-absorbed and self-referential.  But it appears that there may be many opportunities for artists to play a socially conscious role in the years ahead.  It will be interesting to see how the art community responds.

PS-- In 1948 the Supreme Court finally ruled that the racially restrictive covenants which had kept Hickman and other African-Americans confined to a narrow stretch of dilapidated, rat infested apartments were unconstitutional.  Here's hoping that the new appointments to the Court don't have a change of heart.

18 November 2016

Your Weekly Self-Promotion Routine

via Art Biz Blog http://ift.tt/2gjNNad

The Artist’s No-Excuse Weekly Self-Promotion Routine is printed on the inside cover of the 2011 edition of my book, I’d Rather Be in the Studio.

Five years is a long time in this fast-paced world, so it’s time to update that list and make it workable for late-2016.

A Sample Weekly Self-Promotion Routine

There is such a thing as a promotional campaign, but mostly I want you to think about your promotions as ongoing. You’re consistently sharing your art with the world. It’s a routine you commit to.

©Margaret Galvin Johnson, Sophisticated. Oil on canvas, 24 x 36 inches. Used with permission.

©Margaret Galvin Johnson, Sophisticated. Oil on canvas, 24 x 36 inches. Used with permission.

Perhaps it would be helpful to see what a self-promotion routine could look like. But before we get into it, I have a note of caution.

Don’t take this literally. This is just an example.

I don’t mean to imply that you should do these tasks on the day of the week that I assigned them to. Obviously, you should move things around to work with your schedule and goals.

Nor do I want you to think that you need to do all of these tasks every week. You might select one or two under each day for the current week.

Make it work for you!

As you work on your self-promotion routine, remember that your time in the studio is always your most important priority. Add it to your schedule before anything else. Without the art, you have nothing to promote.

With this in mind, let’s look at a sample routine.


Focus: Clarity

Review your calendar for the week and month.

Look for networking opportunities in the weeks ahead.

Review any leads or opportunities that have come your way. How can you follow up?


Focus: Venues

Review all of the venues and VIPs you want to keep your art in front of and leave meaningful comments on their Facebook pages.

©Alison Dickson, Havasu Splendor. Watercolor on paper, 30 x 22 inches. Used with permission.

©Alison Dickson, Havasu Splendor. Watercolor on paper, 30 x 22 inches. Used with permission.

Research grants, residencies, and show opportunities. Make time to apply to those that look like a good fit.

Check in with the venues and galleries you haven’t heard from in awhile.


Focus: Connection

Send three handwritten thank-you notes to people who have purchased your art, taken a class, or done something nice for you.

Send three postcards with your art on them – to galleries, venues, or anyone who might be interested in your art.


Focus: Writing

Write a draft of your next newsletter or blog post. If you don’t publish weekly, review the ideas you have for future articles.


Focus: Winding Down & Preparing for Next Week

Schedule anticipated social media posts.

Acknowledge your accomplishments for the week and celebrate all that you have done.

Review your calendar for next week.

Every Weekday

Journal about your art because you’re a word-collector. You need words for your marketing.

Post your art to Facebook and Instagram. Tweet, if that’s your thing.

Write your gratitudes. Who are you grateful for? What are you grateful for? You will never receive more abundance until you are grateful for what you already have.

Recite your affirmations. It sounds super woo but I swear by it. Use affirmations to get yourself into a positive frame of mind and envision your beautiful future.

Saturday – Sunday

Play! Enjoy the down time that feeds your creativity.

©Patricia Scarborough, Promise. Pastel on sanded paper, 12 x 12 inches. Used with permission.

©Patricia Scarborough, Promise. Pastel on sanded paper, 12 x 12 inches. Used with permission.

Run errands. Carry a portable portfolio and a stash of business cards, flyers, or postcards wherever you go. You never know who you’ll run into that needs to know about your art.

Rest. Play some more.

Look over your upcoming week before heading to bed on Sunday night.

Your Turn

What does your weekly self-promotion routine look like?