#114 Tammy Kanat: Weaving Sculptures in Australia

Australian artist Tammy Kanat makes beautiful art sculptures using a circular style of weaving. No two pieces are the same, and she’s constantly experimenting with different shapes and designs. We talk about how she developed her style, how she finds the different wools, and how she chooses her colors, textures, and patterns. Tammy mostly creates her pieces for commission work, but she is also getting her art into well-known galleries and collaborating with designers and spaces.

Listen here or use a podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Tammy Kanat

Tammy’s website is tammykanat.com and her Instagram is @tammykanat.

Her artwork will be at the National Gallery of Victoria starting October, 2019.

To see other examples of Australian Art, visit The Design Files.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. When you take something artistic and you commercialize it, the art piece is no longer just about the art, it becomes about the commercial purpose of the art.
  2. Sometimes it’s helpful to just sit with something that is uncomfortable, like Tammy did when she wasn’t feeling the joy from making jewelry anymore. This allowed her to get the space to let something else come to her, which was her weaving.
  3. When making art, learn the traditional methods and rules, but then bend and change them to make it your own art.
  4. When Tammy is working on her art pieces, the frame is suspended from the ceiling or other things in her studio, and it’s often moving and swaying while she works. She likes that because the really likes the imperfection in things. She feels that in life we are always trying to control things, but it’s really ok to just go with the flow and let it be.
  5. Let your environment and your mood choose your colors for a project.
  6. When she does commissions, she feels that people get the best work from her if they just let her create something and they don’t put stipulations on the colors and shape and look of the sculpture. They need to just trust that she’ll do something from the heart.
  7. Don’t get caught up worrying that what you do is craft and not art. More and more places are expanding those definitions and recognizing the skill involved in making certain things.
  8. Look beyond traditional places for displaying your art, and think about collaborations you can do or design contests you can enter.
Tammy Kanat

#113 Shandra Smith: Collaborations in Surface Design

Artist Shandra Smith is from a small town in British Columbia, Canada. She’s a surface designer, and her designs have been printed on walls, shoes, home décor, and even in the rooms of a hotel. Her brightly colored geometric art is well suited for both small and very large items. She’s a go-getter who’s not afraid to cold call someone if she thinks her art would do well there.

Listen here or use a podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Shandra Smith

Shandra’s website is shandrasmith.com. 

You can see the promotional video that she created on YouTube.

You can find her on Instagram @shandrasmithart.

And she is on Facebook.

And Linkedin.

If you happen to be in Kelowna, BC, Canada, you can see her artwork at Hotel Zed.

Visit the Shop page on Shandra’s website to find all the products that share her designs, like her shoes, wall art, prints, and books.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. It’s not necessarily the artists with the most talent who are the most successful, it’s the artists who work hard, try new things, and can handle rejection well who really make it.
  2. Surface design is any design on products, like fabric, shoes, home goods. Surface pattern design means it’s a repeat pattern that can be used for things like fabric and wall paper.
  3. You can find licensing opportunities for your art by cold-calling businesses or they may call you because they’ve noticed your art online or elsewhere. Do a little research first and make sure your artwork would go well with the aesthetic of their business.
  4. You can also use an agent to find licensing agreements. While the agent will receive a cut of your art that is sold, an agent can find many more opportunities that you may not be able to find yourself.
  5. Some licensing arrangements are exclusive, meaning those designs can’t be sold anywhere else or used on other things. Other agreements are non-exclusive.
  6. Some arrangements for putting your artwork on products are royalty-based, meaning you’ll get paid once a month or every quarter. This can become a great source of passive income for your business.
  7. Shandra created a short video that introduces her and her style to people. When she sends an email to a business, she can attach that video so they can get to know her better.
  8. Try to offer art that has a variety of price points. Shandra also offers little pouches with her art that can be purchased for as little as $12.
  9. Not all of your art needs to be sellable. You should put some time into your schedule to make art that’s just fun for you to make, with no regard to the purpose of the art.

#112 Amanda Hilburn: Creating an Artist Community

Amanda Hilburn is a Florida artist who creates paintings using palette knife techniques, and she demonstrates her methods on Facebook and YouTube. She has also created an artist community, where people can learn, share, and encourage each other with their art. She explains how this community works, and what’s in store for her newest business community for artists.

Listen here or use a podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Amanda Hilburn

Amanda’s website is artbyamandahilburn.com

You can find her Creative Community on her website under classes here, and her Business Tribe here.

You can find her on Instagram @thelittlebluebirdgallery

You can find her on Facebook at The Little Bluebird Gallery.

She can also be found on Pinterest.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

This first tip is a basic art hint, but I wanted to include it here. Sometimes it’s these little tips that can make life so easier when you’re making art. So here it is:

  1. In her collage work, she’s found that the liquid matte medium doesn’t smear ink on copies like gel medium does.
  2. When starting an art business, just do a little bit at a time. You don’t need to try to have all aspects of a business on your website at the beginning.
  3. As you add more offerings to your business, think about which things you can hire others to do for you so that you can focus on the things in your business that you are best at.
  4. A lot of places are moving toward online membership groups, where you pay a monthly fee to receive content. Amanda has two online communities, and the members use a password to get to a private section of their website to see the content. They also have a private Facebook group where they can interact.
  5. Online communities are great because the members encourage one another and they all become friends.
  6. The monthly fee allows the member to have access to all the content, both past and future content. For past content, they can view the videos on her site, and for future content, they will receive an email with a link so they can download the videos or view them from her site.
  7. She drives traffic to her business Facebook page by making a lot of live videos of her creating a painting. She gets a bigger audience when she’s actually painting and talking over it rather than just talking.
  8. She does these live videos weekly, because when people engage with that video, they are more likely to see her future announcements on that Facebook page.
  9. She is also active on Pinterest, and she pins her twice weekly blog posts and her Youtube videos to Pinterest.
  10. Make sure everything you do with social media is sincere, and not just done to boost traffic.
  11. Amanda also does YouTube Live videos, which also have an interactive component like the Facebook live videos do.
  12. Her YouTube video might just be a small portion of a painting video, and she will tell her YouTube audience to join her online community if they want to see the whole video.
  13. Amanda uses Clickup project management software to keep track of everything she and her team does for her business.
  14. She offers a free tutorial video so that people can see what she’s like and consider joining her community.

#111 Lisa Congdon: Artist, Illustrator, and Author

Lisa Congdon is an artist with a unique illustrative and lettering style. You’ve probably seen her photographs of her collections, like erasers and tools. You’ve also probably heard of at least one of her many books, possibly her art business book called Art, Inc. She talks about her new book, Find Your Artistic Voice: The Essential Guide to Working Your Creative Magic, and how she has created a successful career as an illustrator, and author.

Listen here or use a podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Lisa Congdon

Lisa's book Find Your Artistic Voice will be available August 6, 2019.

Lisa’s website is lisacongdon.com

Her new book Find Your Artistic Voice: The Essential Guide to Working Your Creative Magic will be published August 6, 2019. Check her Instagram page for book tour cities and dates.

Here are a few things Lisa mentioned during this interview:

She previously worked with artistic agent Lilla Rogers.

Her very first book was published by Janine Vangool of Uppercase Magazine. Uppercase is a great independently published magazine for creatives.

Lisa uses these platforms for creating and distributing her online classes: Skillshare, CreativeLive,  and CreativeBug. All of her course offerings can be found on her website.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. Try to get over the labels you might have taken on as a child, like your sister is the artistic one, you are not creative. Lisa says she’s the last one her family would have predicted would have a successful art career. You need to get beyond your former labels and just do what you want to do.
  2. Share your work online, even if you don’t think it’s great yet. You’ll get better, and people will encourage you to do more.
  3. The more you work at something and the more you practice, the better you become at it.
  4. If you’ve been developing a portfolio in illustration, you may want to look into an agent who can mentor you and help you get clients.
  5. A great way to become a better artist and to garner attention for your work, is to do a multi-day project, like a 100 day project, with a theme, that you post to your Instagram. Back in the day, Lisa did this more than once and posted her photos of her artwork to her blog.
  6. When building your website, make sure you have proper SEO built in as well so that people can find you.
  7. When considering whether to sell your art on Etsy or any other online marketplace, evaluate the fees or commission they will be taking from your sales and whether that is still worth it for you.
  8. If you keep your art shopping on your website rather than a third-party site, that will keep your customers on your website and that will help you in the search rankings online.
  9. When you create a website to showcase your art, or when you hire someone to create it for you, make sure you have been given the instructions on how to add new art to your site. You don’t want to have a site created, and then have it be outdated immediately because you don’t know how to add more art. Think of your website as the professional face of your business. And one more thing: Don’t treat your Instagram account as your portfolio that you show to potential clients. You should have a website for that.
  10. When looking to offer online classes, you can go the route of you creating the video and everything yourself, or you can go through a company that can do the video and coach you through all aspects of making a class, like Lisa has done with using Skillshare, CreativeLive, and Creative Bug. These are great options if you need assistance in filming, editing, or distributing your class, but just remember that working with them means that they will take fees or commissions from your classes.
  11. When trying to figure out what you want to do, consider what brings you joy and what makes you get out of the bed in the morning. And then figure out what people are willing to pay for and what resonates for them, and find the sweet spot between the two.
  12. There will be many things out there that you’ll want to try, and you won’t find out if they’re successful until you do. You need to be curious enough to try the new thing.
  13. Part of gaining your artistic voice is learning to work with your fear. You’re not eliminating your fear, but you’re learning to work with it.
  14. Fear has an important purpose in your career, because you push through it and you learn from what you’ve done and get better at it.
  15. Lisa’s newest book, called Find Your Artistic Voice, will give you practice tips of how to work through the fear and anxiety, and how to keep moving to find your art. It also includes interviews with 11 artists who give more tips and affirmations toward finding your voice.

If you’re ever in Portland, Oregon, feel free to stop by Lisa’s retail shop:

LOCATION:
687 N Tillamook Street, Portland

HOURS:
Wednesdays and Fridays, 1-5 pm

#110 Stacey Mandell: Communicating Through Shorthand

After twenty years in the field of law, Florida artist Stacey Mandell has taken one of her skills, the writing of shorthand, and creates abstract art using shorthand phrases. Her mission is to convey a feeling and a message with her art. Every art piece is different, as she experiments with other languages, as well as different materials and surfaces.

Listen here or use a podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Stacey Mandell

Stacey Mandell
To Our Younger Self, 9.5' x 16'
Stacey Mandell
Replace with Love, triptych, acrylic on canvas, 48" x 40"
Stacey Mandell
Love Poem #1
Images from her solo show.
Stacey Mandell
I Love You, Te Amo, Je T'aime, triptych, mixed media on wood with epoxy, each one is 24" x 24"

Stacey Mandell’s website is staceymandell.com.

You can find her on Instagram @stacey.mandell.art and Facebook at Stacey Mandell Art.

You can watch a YouTube video of Stacey creating her shorthand art here.

Stacey mentioned that she took an abstract painting class at the Boca Raton Museum Art School with Edyi Lampasona. You can check out their website here to see if she is currently teaching a class there.

You can find Calls to Artists here at Paul Fisher Juried Art Services.

Stacey has donated an artwork to the Cornell Museum’s 6×6 show. You can attend the fundraising sale night on July 25, 2019. Here’s the information.

Here are the great takeaways from this episode:

  1. If you have an idea for making artwork out of something, like Stacey did with Gregg Shorthand, try taking an art class and experiment to see how you can incorporate your ideas into art.
  2. If you’re starting to make art and you’re thinking about it too structurally or logically, try abstract art so that you can get rid of any rules you think you’re supposed to follow.
  3. When taking an art class, listen to what the instructor says to the other students, not just what she says to you.
  4. Experiment with different art making tools when first trying to make art, and even tools that aren’t traditionally art making tools, like cake decorating tools or condiment squeeze bottles.
  5. Experiment with different surfaces too, like canvas, paper, or even sculpture.
  6. Stacey had a strange first experience with having her artwork in a show, when she put her art into a shipping container. But what she did learn from this is that you can become friends with the other artists, bond with them over the show, and connect with them on future shows.
  7. If your artwork is unique, like Stacey’s shorthand artwork is, be prepared to explain it to the people who are attending your show.
  8. Treat your art business like a full-time job: keep learning and trying different techniques.
  9. When you’re making your art, give consideration to the materials, surfaces, and colors and how they interact to tell the story you want to tell.
  10. Consider translating your art onto large public art projects. You can find a lot of these Calls to Artists through municipalities.
  11. It’s always great to support other artists by attending their events.
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