Reflection and Moving Forward

Holiday season is here! In fact, Christmas is next week, so we’re actually at the end of the season. We still have a few weeks in 2018 to go, but with the holidays and some traveling that we plan to do before the year is out, I think now is as good a time as any to reflect on the year and plan for the next.

We have been really busy with our day jobs through November and December because of the season, and we have not had a lot of time to put towards the shop. But! We have had the opportunity to evaluate what we’re doing a little better and make some decisions about where we’re taking the shop and what we’re trying to do.

First off, we are aware we have not really been able to put a ton of time and energy into the shop this year, despite what we may have wanted to do starting at the beginning of the year. Making artwork takes a long time and we just haven’t sat down and committed to making pieces to sell. OK, let’s be honest, we (mostly me) haven’t even made the time to properly unpack the studio room after our move in June. It would be a great space to use, if it was clean and not a jumble of things thrown there to “deal with later”. There’s no excuse, it’s just not a fun chore and the longer we’ve been in the apartment, the less motivated we are to fix it up.

We’ve had time to sit and talk some about platform. So far, Etsy has really not worked well for us, and I think it’s because of the products we’re selling. Fine art has a market, but I’m not sure that Etsy is that market, even just for publicity. We have so far not been very successful with the site at all for the print shop. For my kid’s toys shop, TheWingedWhale, it works great; but that shop is more in line, I think, with the things people go on Etsy to find: crafts, knits, tangible things you can use right away. While there is a fine art market on Etsy, I don’t think it’s the right platform for us.

Of course, if Etsy doesn’t work for us, what alternative can we use? We’re definitely not planning to just let the shop go, so we have to find some way to sell our pieces if we continue and have decided what we’re doing doesn’t work.

We’re still planning to talk to a few locations that we frequent about selling our prints locally. We have a few coffee shops, gift stores, and galleries in town here we could talk to about selling our artwork. Lots of the places in town here feature local artists, and really we just need to reach out. We’d still like to put together a proper portfolio with some small sample prints to advertise our art, with the promise to supply small or larger pieces if the shops will take us up. It’s a scary thing to do, and would require a lot of cold calling, and holiday season is perhaps not the time to go about it, but ultimately I really believe that would pay off.

Another plan we’ve had in the works for some time is to apply our artwork to physical products to sell. We want to be able to offer our art as shirts, mugs, mouse pads, phone cases, etc. We have been searching for a way to do so without investing more than we can afford in stocking the items. Eric found one! The site is called RedBubble. It takes artwork and transforms it into clothing, cases, stickers, and more traditional prints like greeting cards or wall art. As of now, we don’t have the shop up and running on the site, but Eric has been working to get our artwork up and we’ll have links soon.

Additionally, we each have our own literary works we want to develop, write, illustrate and ultimately get out there for other people. Again, we haven’t been able to set aside as much productive time with these projects as we hopes we would this year, but we have a better idea of where we’re going with the story lines and just need to work some dedicated time into our schedules to get them on paper and ready to go. I think we’re close to being able to achieve that though, and once we start working on them and get into a rhythm, I think we’ll find everything fall together more easily than expected.

So! for the future of our art, we have a vague battle plan emerging for 2019:

  1. Finish unpacking from our move so we can actually use our space as planned.
  2. Put together a physical art portfolio to put energy into marketing ourselves locally. (You can find Eric’s online portfolio here.)
  3. Get a RedBubble shop up and functional.
  4. Generally set aside more time to work with our art and stories.

As always, I’m looking forward to what the future brings, and I’m sure that we can achieve our goals if we prioritize them correctly. I think we’re in a better position than we were last year, and as life shakes out and we work through more decisions, I think we’ll only continue to improve.


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