Sunday, April 25, 2010

It's Tuli-tuli-tuli-tuli-Tulip Time!

I am a geek. I love tulips. Across the street from my home there is a Frank Lloyd Wright house, and the front yard is a field of tulips. Every year I have promised myself that I would go over there and take a ton of pictures, and every year I miss the season.

This year, I made it. And wouldn't you know that my favorite shot from the entire session is the one with the tulip that isn't part of the field! It's there, but I was drawn to that single yellow tulip, like it had escaped.

For me, the season is all down hill from here.

Monday, April 12, 2010


The mailing is an essential part of any professional artist's routine, and building the mailing list is nearly a full-time job.

I launched my Facebook account with an eye toward marketing myself as an artist. I'm rethinking that approach slightly. It's too intimate, too personal and I find that I'm a little annoyed by people who incessantly post invitations to their shows. Once is fine. Twice if it's a long run. But two or three times daily? Relax!

But it's just so easy. And it's free. There's no discussion when it comes to pointing out that most professional artists struggle to make ends meet. For the actor/singer/photographer/writer, free is good.

But the new electronic modes of communication and promotion do not in any way cancel out the value of a good, old-fashioned mailing. In fact, I think they enhance it. A postcard contains the same information, but is less intrusive than a blaring Facebook announcement or an e-mail blast. Because electronic announcements and promotions are so easy, they must be used sparingly. And because there's a cost involved with a postcard, they have a gravitas that an e-mail blast doesn't. True, your postcard or letter might have a shelf life of fifteen seconds -- the amount of time it takes to remove it from the stack of incoming mail and toss it into the trash. It may never be seen by the 'important' person, but it stands a better chance of generating a response than does an e-mail trapped in spam filter or a Facebook announcement that is so ubiquitous that it is rendered invisible.

Mailings are simply part of the cost of doing business in the arts. Just like headshots, paint, guitar picks, and paper. Factor it into your business budget. And remember the old marketing adage: Half of your marketing dollars are wasted. The problem is, you don't know which half.

Friday, April 2, 2010


I'm not going to lie. This winter has been a tough one. There has been so much I've wanted to accomplish...and much of it simply did not happen. I'm working on a collection of essays, a collection of short stories, and building my photo portfolio. Somewhere in March I hit a wall and everything came screeching to a halt.

But yesterday, at the end of the day and completely exhausted, I decided that enough was enough and the time had come to start back up. So, I went back to where I get my best inspiration: Michigan Avenue.

I love Michigan Avenue. When I first moved to Chicago I was completely intimidated by it. All of the bustle and chic boutiques were a million lightyears from where I started. The hustle is just invigorating. I can always find something envigorating.

Still, in all of the energy, it's great to find a breath of stillness and that's what this shot is for me. After weeks of not touching my camera to do work for me, I found this simple brick wall at the end of the day and was entranced. I love the texture, the pattern and the way the light falls. I love the lines in the background and the color. It just felt like the perfect expression of where I am right now.

I'm finding that as an artist, the challenge for me is to maintain focus. I have so many things I want to achieve and I feel the progress being made in all directions. But I'm also aware of the danger of spreading myself too thin and wonder just how successful I could be if I focused on simply one thing. Still, a single focus has never, ever been who I am.