#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
#183 e Bond: Bookbinder, Designer, and Writer
e Bond book artist

#183 e Bond: Bookbinder, Designer, and Writer

e Bond is a book artist who has been inspired by her walks in the woods in the many parks where she lives. Eight years ago, she came to California to get her MFA and has remained ever since. She makes books, fine art, and sometimes adds poetry to her works. She recently completed an artist residency near her home. When we’re not social distancing, she teaches book arts classes in person, but for now, you can find her classes online.

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

artist e Bond in the woods

e Bond

hand sewn books
hand made artist book
artwork by e Bond
artist e Bond
book by artist e Bond
e Bond book artist
books by e Bond
book by e Bond

Where You Can Find e Bond

e’s website is ebondwork.com.

Instagram: @eisroughdraft

These are the hashtags for her 100 Day Projects:

#100questionsworthasking

#100mapstoanywhere

#100stepstowardacento

#1tree100trees

#roughdrAftBOOKOTD16

#asentenceinasquare

Here is the link to her online classes on Creative Bug.

She is featured in the book by Andrea Pippins called We Inspire Me.

You can follow Karen Ward on Instagram to find out when she’s doing her Curiosity Summer Camp again.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. When e is thinking about her next art project, she makes sketches and writes down her ideas. That’s just what works best for her in the planning stage. But because she does this, she has a paper trail of the process and how she’s gotten to the end product. It’s also helpful to have this paper trail when she’s teaching art to others.
  2. Art doesn’t have to be inspired by something profound. It can be as simple as a little doodle you made or a leaf you noticed on a walk.
  3. e likes doing freelance design work for others because once they’ve given her their ideas and parameters, then she has all her creative energy left to execute the project. She hasn’t used up her creativity yet coming up with ideas.
  4. In e’s shop on her website, she’ll occasionally dump large amounts of her art and put it for sale. She does this about 3-4 times a year, and it may be 30-60 artist books at once. This is a great way to build up interest and anticipation in your art, especially if you promote it a few weeks ahead.
  5. e has participated in the 100 Day Project for about five years. A 100 Day Project is a project of your choosing that challenges you to keep up with it for 100 days, even if they’re not in a row. This is a great way to try something new or to develop a daily practice. She posts hers to Instagram and keeps track of them by giving them a unique hashtag.
  6. e told us about the month-long residency she’s doing. Art residencies can be used to concentrate on one art project without every day distractions. Usually when you apply you have to submit a proposal for what you’re doing, but your project is completely designed by you.
  7. Most residencies end with a reception where the artists can show what they’ve made. e said that her residency will be doing an outside reception, and small groups can take turns going inside to see the art. That’s a nice compromise during social distancing time that will allow people to see an art exhibit.
  8. There are many ways you can teach online classes. e teaches through the website called Creative Bug. They host her classes, so her classes are accessible to thousands of students.
book artist e Bond
#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.
#180 Sheila Arora: Intuitive Abstract Painter
Sheila Arora intuitive abstract painter

#180 Sheila Arora: Intuitive Abstract Painter

Sheila Arora is an intuitive abstract painter from the Chicago area. She does a beautiful job of explaining her process, including how she chooses colors and how she develops her composition. A true Left Brain/Right Brain creative, she has worked for years in the area of finance, all while painting and developing her abstract style. She has shown her work in a Chicago gallery, and has shared her art with her thousands of Instagram followers. We also talk about studio space, the materials she uses, and the different substrates she uses to paint each of her collections.

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

Sheila Arora intuitive abstract painter

Sheila Arora

This is Sheila’s website: skarora.com

Instagram: @sheilarora

Facebook: Sheila Arora

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. Don’t limit yourself to certain colors if many speak to you. You can always do different series for your different color palettes.
  2. Mark making is a way to add more interesting elements to your paintings. It can be done with many different tools and materials.
  3. Art journals are a great way to try out new techniques, color combinations, and designs. They’re not as big a commitment as it would be when painting on a canvas. They’re also a great way to tap into your feelings because you’re free to do whatever you want in it.
  4. Art journals can be any size you want. Sheila has been using one that is a spiral-bound pad of 14” x 17” paper. Try out a few of them to see just what type you’d like.
  5. Sheila also paints on really large papers, currently 4’x5’. She’s found an easy way to paint on paper that large is to thumbtack it to the wall.
  6. She also noted that you don’t have to have a perfect studio or tons of supplies to make art. She just needs a little space, and even if she just had only a couple of colors, she could still make art.
  7. Sheila has found she gets a lot of Instagram engagement when she does Instagram Lives. You can also easily add music to your videos to make it more interesting.
  8. She also utilizes something new in Instagram called Instagram Reels. That just launched in August. It’s a way to create fun multi-clip videos with audio and effects. If you can’t find it by clicking on the camera in Instagram, it may be that it hasn’t been rolled out to your account yet. Make sure you have an updated version of Instagram, and eventually it will come to you.
  9. It’s a good idea to paint collections, so you have similar works that can be displayed together. Sheila makes about 30 paintings for each collection, and they will be on the same substrate and similar size.
  10. Sheila believes that if you lean into your intuition when making art, you’re able to get past overthinking a piece and you get into the feeling of a piece. Again, this is something that will come to you the more you practice and make more art.
  11. Sheila knows a painting is done when the composition looks complete and the colors are balanced. This may not seem like a specific answer, but it makes sense to me. You’re doing the painting, and you will know when it feels done to you.
  12. A new material Sheila has been using is Liquitex Acrylic Inks. They can give a thin translucent layer on top of your acrylic paints, and can be dropped or brushed on. You can also mix them into your other paints to create a new tint.
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