#184 Craig McInnis: Artist, Muralist, and Creative

Craig McInnis is an artist based in West Palm Beach, Florida. For the past few years, he’s been developing his abstract fine art, while still working with his pop/surreal character-driven art that often depicts a social message. In the past few months, he’s found that some cities and art groups are working to support artists, and he’s received art grants as well as many mural opportunities. He’s also moved his teaching to online classes, and he continues to expand his art career with collaborations with other artists and business leaders. Be sure and go back to Episode 33 when I first talked to Craig. He tells us how he got his start and how for a big part of his year he was the Creative Director of a large group of haunted houses, known as Fright Nights. That’s been put on hold this year, but Craig has found many other artistic things to keep him busy.

Listen here or download from iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, CastBox, or Stitcher.

Artist Craig McInnis with chalk art
Craig McInnis Studios
Rhetoric by Craig McInnis
Rhetoric
Blind Patriotism painting by Craig McInnis
Blind Patriotism
Utter Reverence painting by Craig McInnis
Utter Reverence
Mural called Mosaic by Craig McInnis
Mural for Mosaic in West Palm Beach, Florida
Mural at the Cultural Council by Craig McInnis
Mural at The Cultural Council for Palm Beach County
Mural of a VW van by Craig McInnis
Mural at Papichulo
Miles and Miles painting by Craig McInnis
Miles and Miles
Craig McInnis
Renata Rodrigues and Craig McInnis
Craig McInnis and his wife Renata Rodrigues dressed for Fright Nights
Craig McInnis
Flower mural on house by Craig McInnis
Mural Craig created at a private home.
Craig McInnis
Painting by Craig McInnis

This is Craig’s website: craigmcinnis.com

You can also find him on:

 Facebook 

Instagram

You can find his classes through Lot 23 on Facebook.

Craig mentioned his great website designer. You can find him here: Steven Spencer.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. Expand your view on the art that you can produce. It doesn’t have to be limited to one medium. For Craig, he started painting sets for a haunted house. Later he worked on the makeup and wardrobe for the actors, and then the design of the actual houses. Ultimately this led to a Creative Director position at Fright Nights, a haunted house event in Florida. He was able to move to this position because he had used art skills at so many components of the whole project.
  2. Murals are a good art form to pursue right now, because they’re usually a solitary experience. You’re usually outside in the open air, and not around a lot of people when you are creating it, so you can do it rather safely during this social distance time.
  3. Craig made a great statement about a client who he has worked with on multiple jobs. He said Take care of your clients, and they will remember you in tough times. He gave the example of a restaurant owner and designer who has hired him to paint murals in three restaurants, the latest during the pandemic when Craig really needed the work.
  4. If you’re being offered larger jobs, you might want to take an assistant to help you. It’s a win-win for you both, because they can help you get the job done in a timely manner, and you can teach them your skills so that they can expand their art experience.
  5. Seek out artist grants to help fund your business. Many organizations have offered microgrants to artists since the pandemic began to help them get through the slower months. You can search for grants at the local, regional, or national level by just googling “grants for artists.”
  6. I mentioned that you can also find virtual art shows right now. You can apply to some no matter where you live in the country. The art is still for sale, and buyers from all over can see the art.
  7. Some of the changes we’ve had to make due to social distancing are very innovative and successful and can actually be carried forward even past when we don’t have to distance so much. Think of the changes you’re making and see if it makes sense to continue these new things for your business next year.
  8. Artists this year have had to cancel large events that they’ve done for many years in a row. It’s a good idea to keep the name of the event out there and perhaps do a smaller version, maybe something online, that can continue the name so people won’t forget it when you’re ready to go big again next year.
  9. If you’re unable to sell your art in your usual way right now, continue to put your art out on social media anyway. This way you’re keeping your name out there, and when you’re ready to put art out to sell again, your followers will still be there.
  10. Craig likes to balance making his fine art and commercial art, because when one is having a good day, it can support him until the other one is doing well again.
  11. The last thing we talked about was making it easy for people to find you, whether they want to buy art with you or collaborate on a project. List your email address and phone number right on your website. That’s where people will go to find out how to contact you. Contact forms are fine, but they’re just not as easy to use as putting your email address out there.
Craig McInnis in silhouette
#182 Tracy Weinzapfel: Artist, Art Educator, and Community Builder
Tracy Weinzapfel

#182 Tracy Weinzapfel: Artist, Art Educator, and Community Builder

Tracy Weinzapfel is a mixed media artist in California. She has worked with many companies as a designer and art educator. Tracy’s also the creator of the artist community called Your Artful Journey. Her community provides classes, prompts, and challenges for its members. She also interacts through Facebook Live events and has a full library of videos on YouTube. 

Listen here or download from iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, CastBox, or Stitcher.

photo of artist Tracy Weinzapfel

Tracy Weinzapfel

journal page with flowers
journal page from Tracy Weinzapfel
painted wine barrels
artist Tracy Winzapfel
Tracy Weinzapfel
Tracy Weinzapfel journal page
Tracy Weinzapfel journal page
Your Artful Journey community

Where You Can Find Tracy Weinzapfel

Tracy’s website is yourartfuljourney.com

Instagram: @twstudios.com

Click on this link to go to her Facebook community: Art Journaling with Tracy Weinzapfel

Her YouTube channel is Tracy Weinzapfel Studios.

Click on this link to get her free guide “Five Keys to Artful Journaling.”

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. When Tracy was looking to get back into art, she started with a journal, and a small amount of art supplies she could take with her. This allowed her to try out techniques whenever she wanted.
  2. She’ll also work on a journal page for a short amount of time, maybe 20-30 minutes. That way she can feel like she’s finished something and she can move on to something else.
  3. Make sure you use the art supplies that you’ve bought. Don’t treat them like they’re too precious to use – just go for it and make something with it.
  4. Tracy has partnered with someone who can take on a lot of her business tasks. She referred to it as a partnership. If you’re doing something like that, make sure to make it official and spell out what each one of you will be doing. As she pointed out, it’s her name on the business no matter who does what, so she ensures that everything will be done that represents her properly.
  5. One aspect of the community Tracy has created is the Facebook Lives that she does every week. She offers a free Facebook group that anyone can join, and you can watch her events, comment during them, make art while you’re watching Tracy make art, or watch the recorded version later.
  6. She also has a monthly membership community that has their own private Facebook group, and she offers videos and opportunities to create together and ask questions. She regularly schedules these events. The members can also look at a backlog of all her previous events.
  7. I asked Tracy why she doesn’t allow people to join her membership any time of the year. For example, right now, it is closed to new members but you can get on her waiting list and be the first to know when she’s opening up the membership again. She said that she likes to do 1 or 2 launches a year. That way she concentrates on getting new members during a short period of time, and the rest of the year she can focus on making great content for the members.
  8. Tracy makes sure that she includes content for beginners as well as advanced artists, plus artists who want to make a business.
  9. Tracy gets ahead of things by mapping out content for many months into the future. She also finds that she gets ideas from her members for future content.
#181 Jeanne Oliver: Art and Business Online Workshops
Jeanne Oliver

#181 Jeanne Oliver: Art and Business Online Workshops

Jeanne Oliver is a teaching artist based in Colorado. She offers hundreds of art, business, and lifestyle workshops on her website. Some classes are by her, and some are by over 75 other artists. She advises them on how to film and edit their classes, but to also make it in their personal style. She’s found that online classes are doing very well right now, because people are wanting to get an escape and take a fun art class in the comfort of their home. With all that she does, she’s found a way to integrate her loves of art, travel, home, and family.

Listen here or download from iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, CastBox, or Stitcher.

photo of Jeanne Oliver who teaches art workshops

Jeanne Oliver

Where You Can Find Jeanne Oliver

This is Jeanne’s website: jeanneoliver.com

Instagram: @jeanneoliver

Click on this link to go to her Facebook community: Jeanne Oliver Creative Community

To search for courses on her website click here.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. Don’t limit yourself to one kind of art or one thing in your business. If art and homemaking and fashion appeal to you, then include all of those in your business offerings.
  2. If you offer online classes, and your students are asking for another specific class that isn’t necessarily in your expertise, then consider inviting other artists to host classes on your website with a class that your students want.
  3. When you want to work with other artists, start out with asking your friends first. You already have a relationship, and they’ll definitely want to see you succeed.
  4. When offering an online class, it’s a good idea to offer to your students a period of time when they can interact with the instructor. It can just be for a month, and after that the students can work at their own pace. If you offer the class a second time, like maybe a year from now, you can decide then if you want to offer access to the instructor or make it entirely self-paced.
  5. Many artists offer their classes as life-time access now. That means the student can go back and look at the class any time after they’ve purchased it.
  6. Jeanne offers the classes on her website individually, meaning you just pay for whatever class you’d like to take. Other websites offer a membership to their site and you get access to all of the classes. You’ll have to look at the merits of each if you want to set up online classes.
  7. I’ve said this before about online classes: It’s a great idea to offer a Facebook group to go with your class so that the students can interact with you, but also so they can interact with each other and share what they’ve made in the class.
  8. Jeanne offers some free classes on her website for many reasons. One is that she knows that people want to see what you’re like and what your quality is like. You can also show people what you’re like during Facebook Live sessions.
  9. When deciding how to do your first class, of course you can look at others for ideas on how to film it. But make sure you keep it your own style: If you paint on a table rather than an easel, then do your class that way. If you’re more comfortable with the camera on your hands rather than your face, then film it that way.
  10. When launching your first course, ask your artist friends to tell people about it too. Take advantage of the goodwill that you have with each other from previous collaborations and ask them to help you with your launch.
  11. Collaborations with other artists can help to bring energy and passion back into your business. A collaboration could be working with someone to do a portion of your business that you’re not skilled in, or that you just don’t want to do, like video editing or taking photos of your art.
  12. Jeanne mentioned that she tries to share on her social media more than just what’s for sale. She wants to show them more about herself and her home and her life, so that they are interested in her, and later they’ll get interested in what she sells.
  13. Jeanne was able to do a small in person workshop recently with some key changes. She had less participants, they were spread out and stayed in their own spaces, and she sanitized all the areas.
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