#221 Seth Apter: Mixed Media Artist, Instructor, Designer, Author

Seth Apter is a mixed media artist in New York City. He designs and sells art supplies and tools for a few companies. Using these supplies in his art, he combines paint, ink, stencils, stamps, and various papers to build his mixed media creations. His business used to be filled with travels all over the world where he would teach his techniques. Since he hasn’t been traveling, he does weekly Facebook Live demos, talks, and now online classes. He even tells us about a business class he will be creating in a few months.

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

Seth Apter

Seth Apter

Art by Seth Apter
When the Dust Settles
Art by Seth Apter
Mesa Sunset
Art by Seth Apter
Art Moments
Art by Seth Apter
Brittle Leaves
Art by Seth Apter
Forever and a Day
Seth Apter
Inspiration Wall 2021
Art by Seth Apter
Books by Seth Apter
Many Minis

Seth’s website is sethapter.com

He is on Facebook at Seth Apter and Instagram @sethapter

His online classes can be found here.

Rachel Davies mosaics

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. I’d like to reiterate something that Seth expressed about in person classes: It’s such a different experience from online classes, in that you get to know the instructor and other students better because you’re sitting next to each other, taking meals together, and looking at their art in real time. I’ve traveled to many art retreats and can tell you that it’s wonderful spending a day or more with other artists learning and creating, and I really recommend that you look into classes like that as soon as you feel comfortable traveling and being close to other people.
  2. Seth builds an inspiration wall near his workspace that he changes every year. He includes small pieces of his art as well as lots of artwork from other artists. He uses small magnets to hold them on 12” square metal boards. Hanging artwork close by will inspire you when you’re creating and spark ideas to create new projects.
  3. As a business owner, you want to make sure that your income sources are steady and diverse. If the pandemic and the economic shutdown have shown us anything, it’s to be prepared for changes in the market by offering a variety of products and price ranges, and get your income from a variety of things, like selling art, prints, teaching in person and online, designing, and licensing.
  4. Seth posts demos and artist interviews on Facebook. What he’s discovered, though, is that his Instagram followers are different than his Facebook followers, so he feels he needs to reach them too. Utilize the cross-post feature so you can post on both concurrently so you don’t miss half your audience.
  5. If you’re utilizing Facebook or Instagram to do live segments, announce them ahead of time to get the maximum number of viewers.
  6. You can sell classes that you host on Facebook by offering them on your online Shop and then creating a private Facebook group where you approve their acceptance into the group.
  7. Another option for teaching and getting yourself out to a new group of students is to offer a class through a group of classes. One host may get many artists to offer a small class, and then the host offers all the classes as a package to the students. All the instructors promote the package of classes, so your class will be seen by so many more potential students.
Seth Apter

#220 Rachel Davies: Mosaic Artist Using Slate, Stone, and Glass

Rachel Davies is a mosaic artist in Dunblane, Scotland. She uses slate that she finds near her home, plus stones and glass for her creations. Like so many artists, her in person classes stopped in 2020, but she figured out how to offer online classes and get the mosaic supplies to her students. We talk about her materials and techniques, as well as an arts organization where she is a member. 

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

Rachel Davies mosaics

Rachel Davies

Rachel Davies mosaics
Rachel Davies mosaics
Rachel Davies mosaics
Rachel Davies mosaics
Rachel Davies mosaics
Rachel Davies mosaics
Rachel Davies mosaics
Rachel Davies mosaics artist
Rachel Davies mosaics

Rachel’s website is racheldaviesmosaics.com

She is also on Instagram @racheldaviesmosaics

You can find her mosaics class with Mosaic Arts Online here.

Please subscribe for her email list to see her latest mosaics and events here.

If you live in the UK and you’re interested in the British Association of Modern Mosaics (BAMM), this is their website.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. Rachel uses slate and rocks that can be found near her home in Scotland. Think about the natural materials that you could use for your own art that would make your artwork unique from others. You can also think about the placement of those materials: Do you place it one side up or the other? Do you use just a part of it? Which side has the texture and colors that will enhance your art the most?
  2. If you’re using natural materials, try to source them sustainably. In other words, don’t take things that will deplete an area or harm the landscape. Rachel has discovered she can get used slate roofing tiles when a roof is being re-done. That’s an easy way for her to get the slate for her mosaics.
  3. Rachel told us about something that her town did when shops began to shut down due to Covid. They put large photos of artwork in the windows to keep the shopping streets interesting. This could be done even in regular times if there are vacant storefronts in your town. You could propose this to a town council or the property owner.
  4. A lot of galleries, shops, and art organizations did online exhibitions when things were shut down during Covid. There’s no reason why you couldn’t offer that right now, especially if you wanted to do a show open to artists from a large geographic area. That would save them having to ship their work.
  5. During the pandemic, Rachel taught online classes. Because shops were closed all over the world, she put together supply kits that she mailed to every student so they could make the project they covered in the class. This is a great thing you could offer your students if they can’t find the supplies for your class near their home. Many students are willing to pay the shipping to receive the supplies right at their house so that they can do an art class.
  6. Even with online classes, they can still have a social element when they’re done live, like through Zoom or Facebook, or if they have a forum where students can comment or ask questions, like on a private Facebook page. Many students are more attracted to classes that also offer a community experience.
  7. OK, now having said that, other students may prefer classes that they can just watch and then do at their own pace. It’s good to offer both kinds of online experiences for your students.
  8. The benefit for you as an instructor when you’re teaching a go at your own pace class is that the number of students is unlimited. For Zoom classes you wouldn’t want to teach one with too many students at once so that they will get a chance to ask questions if they want.
  9. Joining a local arts organization is a great way to meet other artists, network with them, and find out how they are selling their art.
Rachel Davies mosaics

#219 Cathy Nichols: Making Art with Paint, Paper, and a Little Magic

Artist Cathy Nichols is in Asheville, North Carolina, where she’s an artist, teacher, and author. Her medium is paper and paint, and as she says, a little magic. Her artwork is painted collage layers, and she puts her art on washi tape, pouches, and oracle cards. She even offers a class where you can learn how to make your own oracle deck. Cathy’s book is called Storytelling Art Studio, where she explains how you can create mixed media art to tell impactful stories.

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

Cathy Nichols artist

Cathy Nichols

Cathy Nichols oracle deck
Flower Medicine Oracle Deck
Flower cards
Cathy Nichols art
Dawn Chorus
Cathy Nichols Oracle Cloth
Oracle Cloth
Cathy Nichols washi tape
Washi Tape
Cathy Nichols book
Storytelling Art Studio
Cathy Nichols artist
Cathy Nichols artist
Self-Portrait

Cathy’s website is cathynichols.com

She is also on Instagram @cathynicholsart

One of her class offerings is called Create Your Own Oracle Deck. She posts photos of what her students have made on her other Instagram account called @create_your_own_oracle_deck

Cathy’s book Storytelling Art Studio can be found here.

You can also find her on Facebook at Cathy Nichols Art.

Her stencils can be found at Stencil Girl Products here.

You can visit Cathy’s studio at the River Arts District, in Asheville, NC. 

Cathy mentioned that she loves creating on watercolor canvas. I found a great article that discusses the pros and cons of this product here.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. If you want to put your art on washi tape or some other cool item, just do a google search to find manufacturers. As Cathy said, then you’ll have to tell them your specs and see if they can do it, and negotiate your price. Make sure you get a sample first.
  2. Cathy likes watercolor canvas as her base for her painted collages. I’ll include a link in the Show Notes for this episode to a great article that I found explaining the pros and cons of watercolor canvas. This may be a new product you’d like to try.
  3. Make sure you use archival quality products in your art, like glue sticks. Your artwork will last a lot longer when using archival supplies.
  4. Newsprint and tissue paper are great papers to paint on for collages.
  5. Using a brayer to press down your papers when you’re gluing them down will prevent the paper from buckling.
  6. It’s a good idea to declare to the world that you are an artist. That may be just what you need to give you the motivation to begin. For Cathy, she bought business cards that said she was an artist and started passing them out to people. You also could post it on Instagram or Facebook. Once you own it, it will be easier to move forward with it.
  7. To find her own style of art, Cathy got a sketch book and drew in it every night. You have to put in the work to figure out your style and where you want to go with your art.
  8. Cathy enjoys setting up a little tableau with her art when she’s taking photos for Instagram. You may enjoy it more if you take the time to find other objects to place next to your artwork to add interest to your Instagram posts.

#218 Taylor White: Figurative Painter and Mural Artist

Artist Taylor White paints in a figurative style, which just means her paintings contain people. Of course, that’s just part of her art. She’ll paint the human form, in many different positions, add geometric shapes and colors, and create such depth and movement. After attending the Savannah College of Art & Design, she traveled overseas, doing illustration and later painting. She developed her skills in mural painting, focusing on young subjects. After returning to Raleigh, North Carolina, she created many murals on outside walls as well as in restaurants and office buildings.

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

Artist Taylor White

Taylor White

Taylor White art
Taylor White art
Taylor White art
Taylor White art
Taylor White art
Taylor White mural
Taylor White mural

Taylor’s website is taylorwhite.art

She is also on Instagram @taylurk

Her solo show in Raleigh will be up until August 28, 2021. For more information, click here.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. When you’re first starting out, it’s OK to do things for free. But don’t forget to stop doing things for free. You’ll start at a low amount and work your way up to higher prices.
  2. Don’t connect with a gallery just for the sake of being in a gallery. Do your research and see what they will be giving you in return for 50% of your sales. Will they be doing PR for the show? Will they display your work in a meaningful way? If everything they do is something you can do yourself, then you may want to skip that gallery relationship.
  3. Don’t compare yourself to other artists. Just because you’re not the Top 5 artist of something, it doesn’t mean you’re not successful. It just means you made different choices that work for you.
  4. When negotiating projects, like a mural, ask for a deposit to create the design. You don’t want to submit a fully rendered sketch without any compensation for it.
  5. Honor the clients who have paid you a deposit and have come first before you start working on a new client. They will understand that you have other projects lined up first, just communicate to them an accurate time table for when you can start their project.
  6. Taylor created a pop-up gallery to show her art. She rented out a space, created the art, hung the art, and staffed the space. You can do this too. Reach out to other artists who have done something similar and approach empty storefronts. Commercial properties like to see their empty spaces filled, even if it’s just temporary, so this may be a viable option to show your art.
  7. If you’re doing a pop-up show, invite other artists to perform there so that they can invite their list to your show. Examples would be musicians, poets, or singers.
Taylor White mural

#217 Tanya Ortega: Artist Residencies at the National Parks

Tanya Ortega is the Founder of the National Parks Arts Foundation, which offers residencies to artists at a variety of our National Parks. She started as a photography artist with a long-time love of the outdoors. Discovering that the Parks did not have residency programs, she created her own. After providing residencies for herself and her artist friends, she decided it was time to open up the residencies to any artist in the world, so she formed her Foundation. Their residencies are now open to artists of many disciplines, including visual artists, virtual artists, dancers, musicians and composers, and writers.

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

Tanya Ortega NPAF

Tanya Ortega

Night Rock on Playa
Death Valley National Park
Fort Union National Monument
Fort Union National Monument
National Parks Arts Foundation
Haleakala National Park
Haleakala National Park, Hawaii
Chaco Culture National Historic Park
Chaco Culture National Historic Park

The website where you can find the NPAF Artist Residencies is nationalparksartsfoundation.org

They are on Instagram @nationalparksarts

If you are curious about the artist Thomas Moran, whose paintings were instrumental in the creation of the National Parks, you can look here.

If you would like to read Melissa Block’s NPR story about a Dry Tortugas National Park residency, go here.

To hear my podcast interviews with Carl Stoveland and Shannon Torrence, the 2020 resident artists at the Dry Tortugas, click here for Episode #176 (before they left) and here for Episode #186 (after they got back).

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. For many artist residencies you must propose a project that you will do. Tanya said that about 80% of the time, the original goal changes based on what you see and experience at the park, and that’s O.K.
  2. Don’t wait until the last minute to apply to an artist residency. You need to give it some time to think about your proposal and prepare the adequate background information so that they can get to know you and your art. It’s not something you can just put together in an hour.
  3. When determining if a residency is right for you, think of all the costs involved with getting there. That will include application fees, transportation to the location plus transportation while you are there, housing you’ll need beyond any housing provided by the residency, your food and drinks while there, and your art supplies. Some residencies provide a stipend to cover some of this, but some do not.
  4. Some artist residencies are awarded to multiple artists at once, and they may require or just encourage collaboration. Be clear on the details of a residency program to be sure that it is the right one for you.
  5. Most residencies allow you to apply again if you weren’t awarded the residency. Evaluate your application to determine how you can make it better next time. Places also allow you to apply again even if you’ve already done the residency. Some may be specific and say something like, you can’t re-apply less than two years after a residency.
  6. The definition of a residency can vary widely, so even if you see one that doesn’t make sense for you, keep looking because you may find one that does. They range in length of time, type of accommodations, type of artists, and requirements for your time there.
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