Tag Archives: selling art

Back to School Fashionista

Let’s face it – back to school is all about the fashion.  And it’s not just me.  I’ve had plenty of conversations in the last two weeks with my colleagues where we spend time between classes complimenting each other’s outfits and that’s with both men and women.  The new principal walked by me twice in a day and said, “Talking about fashion again?”  (I was…to two different friends).

Banana Republic dress, BCBGGeneration sandals, Fossil bracelets
Banana Republic dress, BCBGGeneration sandals, Fossil bracelets

I love what the kids are bringing to the table too.  The boys wear shorts, socks and sneakers that all match in colors like bold yellow and turquoise.  The girls like what I call shimmer-shammer, tops with sequins in heart motifs or positive message text.  Of course, my favorite thing is when someone is wearing  cammo sandwich (head-to-toe camouflage) and I say, “Whoops, I didn’t see you there.”  Yeah, that joke never gets old.

BCBGMaxAzria dress, BCBGGeneration sandals, Fossil bracelets
BCBGMaxAzria dress, BCBGGeneration sandals, Fossil bracelets

The day I wore the above outfit, I was up on my step ladder finally adding posters to the walls of my classroom once the humidity died down a notch (no aircondish).  I literally fell off…and landed perfectly on my four inch heels.  Alex, one of my students, is still talking about that.  He was like, “How did you DO that?”  Answer – cat-like reflexes, if cats wore heels.

BCBGMaxAzria dress, BCBGGeneration sandals
BCBGMaxAzria dress, BCBGGeneration sandals

As you know, I’m attempting to save money so that I can start a sentence with “One time, in Greece….”  My friend Shelly said I should start by not buying any new clothes.  She’s right.  No one in Greece has seen me in person in these clothes (except my cousin Michele) so there’s that.  But I will literally die if I don’t continue to buy new stuff.  I’d rather do that than eat or fix the brakes on my car.  I’m honestly not sure how I will manage.

BCBGMaxAzria dress, BCBGGeneration sandals, Honora watch, Coach tag on velvet necklace (homemade/one-of-a-kind - my cat ate the string; pooped it out the next day!)
BCBGMaxAzria dress, BCBGGeneration sandals, Honora watch, Coach tag on velvet necklace (homemade/one-of-a-kind – my cat ate the string; pooped it out the next day!)

There is a way I could have both new clothes and the trip, and that is to do with the business of selling art.  In a dream scenario, I would sell every painting I have for sale at Natur-Tyme before the witching hour.

BCBGMaxAzria top Banana Republic pants, BCBGGeneration sandals, Fossil bracelets
BCBGMaxAzria top Banana Republic pants, BCBGGeneration sandals, Fossil bracelets

I take them all home next Saturday, September 26, 2015 at 9:00 am. Right now, aside from the very reasonably priced 18″ x 18″ cat paintings ($75), I am selling unframed watercolors in different sizes for between $75 and $200.  I only need to sell ten of the latter for that ticket and some pocket money.  And we all know how much better these abstractions look in multiples, right?  I  know there is someone out there who wants to help me.  I can feel it.

Lifeline, 18" x 24", watercolor, 2002, $200
Lifeline, 18″ x 24″, watercolor, 2002, $200

Also, I have cards there for only $5. Those cards are an absolute steal at that price since they take me close to three hours each to create.

Banana Republic dress, BCBGGeneration sandals, Honora necklace
Banana Republic dress, BCBGGeneration sandals, Honora necklace

I am soooo happy.  The accolades have been such a gift.  So many people telling me they love my artwork.  So many people  congratulating me on the article in Women of Upstate New York.  The  summer has been seriously laced with magic.  I am so grateful for all the adventures, for the love and the friendships and for the amazing things that happened with regard to my art career.  Some of the best times of my life…moments I will cherish, and never, ever forget for as long as I live.  I am a very lucky person.  I know that.

Trina Turk dress, BCBGGeneration sandals
Trina Turk dress, BCBGGeneration sandals

I wish I could just give the artwork away and if I didn’t need the money for this trip and another romantic notion – to go to Paris, you know I would.  Like if travelling was free.

BCBGMaxAzria top, Banana Republic skirt, BCBGGeneration sandals
BCBGMaxAzria top, Banana Republic skirt, BCBGGeneration sandals

The only way to manifest those dreams is with your help.  I will be forever grateful and you will have a Tashkovski original, a piece of my soul, kinda like a horcrux only better because it was made with love.

Bailey 44 top, Trina Turk skirt, BCBGGeneration sandals, Fossil bracelets
Bailey 44 top, Trina Turk skirt, BCBGGeneration sandals, Fossil bracelets

The thirty-two framed paper collage and watercolors will remain at Syracuse Tech Garden until October 9, 2015.  Contact Steve Nyland to make a purchase –  gallery.ttg@gmail.com.

with my favorite student-fashionista, Hope!
with my favorite student-fashionista, Hope!

 

 

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The Ambiguous Stage

Went to another art reception last night.  It’s called Gallery 4040 – it’s at 4040 New Court Ave. in Syracuse, NY, not far from my house. The people who frequent these art shows remind me of the actors in the movie Shakespeare in Love for some reason.  I guess because they are all friends of a certain age (my age) and all happy, quirky and incredibly interesting.  Each takes their turn in the starring role, in this case Marna Bell.  Her black and white photographs are purposefully  blurry to illustrate what’s missing from her life.  Her memory.  She is such a sweet person and yet she cannot remember chunks of her childhood.

4040 Marna Bell art

I find this fascinating.  I sometimes can’t remember what I am doing once I walk over to my desk at work.  Like a student has asked for an eraser and as I approach the desk I begin talking to another student and I’m all what-am-I-doing-here?  But I can remember my first kiss and other pretty embarrassing things that happened a long time ago, some things I wish I could forget because they play in my mind in a loop, over and over until I wish I could shut them off.

Ultimately, it is very brave to expose oneself, as Marna does with her revelation, and I admire her so much for it.  Her work looks to be film clips taken from movie stills in a way that suggests – yes, I know those people, but wait, what?

gallery 4040 postcard

There are some large paintings of nudes on the next wall of the gallery.  I am really too immature to be in the same room with nudey-nudes, because I am the type of person who will say something completely inappropriate (and after having a small cup of wine, I’m pretty sure I did).  The colors in these paintings by Lacey McKinney are gorgeous and combined with size and compositions that either distort or void out the woman’s face, they make me question who the audience is supposed to be.

CBr0094W4AAIYTT

I guess I wonder if artists even think about the audience at all.  Do I? I’m not much of a business woman, so no, not really.  I think my paintings are more meant to be displayed in homes versus gallery and museum walls.  But how many people do you know who actually buy artwork for the purpose of enhancing their decor? Whatever number came to your mind, it really should be a lot more!

Why do people buy art?  I had a conversation with someone last night who suggested that the local art scene is being supported by its own.  Artists are trading art or outright buying each other’s art. We value it.  So there’s another question for you – how do we get civilians (non-artists) to value it too?  I’ve tried going the educate them route but for some, this is a hard sell.

So, back to last night -Juan Perdiguero’s chimpanzee drawings were the most fascinating to me.  They are in the back room of the gallery. Very realistic.  Life-sized drawings on photo paper.  Huge in-your-face monkeys.  I can’t even articulate what I want to say in sentences  because these pieces need to be experienced.  You want to reach out and touch them, even as you remember how chimps terrify you. They need to be in museum collections.  I’ve never seen anything like them – the technique, the commitment to the subject matter and overall experience being near them….

It was in this room that I met and chatted with Mary Giel.  Her effervescence really lit up the place.  She’s currently exhibiting in the annual juried show called Made in NY at the Schweinfurth Museum in Auburn, NY, having created a massive amount of tiny crocheted pieces that accumulate into floor and wall installations, which she creates in between rock climbing expeditions among other interesting travels.  The enthusiasm of her spirit is really breathtaking and made me realize that I need to find my way back to the pure spunk of it all.  The fun that is mark making.

http://www.schweinfurthartcenter.org/exhibits_details.cfm?id=62

So I’ve decided to begin a painting project – but not that kind.  Two hundred and fifty dollars got me enough latex paint and supplies to redo five out of the six rooms in my house.

I feel so DIY right now.  I just spackled up a hole in the kitchen wall and filled the crack in the bathroom wall with caulk as per the paint clerk’s suggestion.  I’m going to start painting tomorrow.  The last time I painted the interior here, there was no furniture or cats, so I’m preparing to have a giant headache over it all.  So much for spring break.

But since the weather has been so craptastic, it seemed like as good a time as any to do it.  Plus once I get an idea in my head, I really can’t let it go until I make it happen – it’s like having a giant monkey on my back.

B_wdpq_UIAAsMkW

Let It Go

We’ve had unusually mild weather here and that’s been great!  I got the green Christmas I asked Santa for and yet I’ve been kind of Frozen lately.

I finally saw it – a student let me borrow the video and I can completely understand its broad appeal.  Boys and girls seem to like the message equally.  I’m thinking just about everyone can in some way identify with Elsa.

We all have something that makes us feel both powerful and powerless depending on the way we handle outside influences.  The song Let it Go is about the freedom of being okay with whatever that thing is.  Elsa runs away and when she’s alone, she creates an amazing environment and in that moment, she feels extremely happy in isolation because no one is there to criticize her or make her feel like she is wrong, and she’s just not afraid anymore.  She can be exactly who she is, good, bad, ugly or what have you, and be okay with it.  It is such an empowering moment that transcends the boundaries of a cartoon character’s angst and becomes a theme song for everyone who has ever felt alone in this world.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0MK7qz13bU

I tend to feel happiest when I don’t let the outside world influence my decisions, but let’s face it – that is very difficult.   1997 was probably my most productive year as an artist or maybe I just feel that way because it was the year Jasper was born, the year I was finally solvent enough to be on my own again and the year I created a series of paintings that I called Messages From the Other Voice, in which I incorporated poetry infused with positive messages.

Karen Tashkovski, Power, 18" x 36", 1997, $675
Karen Tashkovski, Power, 18″ x 36″, 1997, $675

I have the above painting in my bedroom.  The sentiment is still incredibly relevant to my life.  It is a message for me to stay on the path I’m on and not give up on any dreams.  Almost like another me telling me not to worry, which is something I pretty much need to remind myself when I have one of those weird days when nothing seems to be going my way.

I call those days comedy gold, of course, because I assure you, I always have time to laugh at all the stupid things I say and do.  Maybe not right away, but eventually.

Karen Tashkovski, Strength, 18" x 36", 1997, oil & collage, $675
Karen Tashkovski, Strength, 18″ x 36″, 1997, oil & collage, $675
Karen Tashkovski, Peace, 18" x 36", oil & collage, $675
Karen Tashkovski, Peace, 18″ x 36″, oil & collage, $675

I’m not sure what to do next in regards to this art career, to tell you the truth.  I guess just keep doing what I’m doing.  I have a goal of having 3,000 Twitter followers by New Years Day.  I have almost 2,800 now so that is not outside the realm of possibility.   I know I need to upload more artwork to my Shopify site.  Why I haven’t done that yet is to do with my inability to move forward.

Karen Tashkovski, Hindrance, 1997, oil & collage, $675
Karen Tashkovski, Hindrance, 1997, oil & collage, $675

The painting above is about a specific person, really.  Someone I had a hard time letting go of and so, he was a hindrance, which is the title of the painting.  It stopped me from moving forward and yet, whenever I look at this painting I’m reminded that it is okay to feel, whether it be love or loss…or love lost.  I see my old self telling me she won’t let me down and that gives me the courage to just be that fearless person that I should be.

I have a lot in common with Frozen’s Elsa so that shouldn’t be a problem.  At it’s core, the movie is a story about the love between sisters.  Within a day of uploading those paintings to rebubble.com, my sister Sophie purchased a cell phone case decorated with one of my images.  She is always right there with me.  My first and best customer, and greatest supporter.

Breeze

http://www.redbubble.com/people/karentashkovski/works/13226854-breeze?grid_pos=1&p=iphone-case

Last year, in January, we had serious below zero frigid temperatures.  I’m not sure when the weather is going to turn colder around here.  But I don’t care.  The cold never really bothered me anyway.

 

 

 

 

Pinning Web Dreams

Karen Tashkovski, Web, 30" x 30", 2000, oil, latex & collage, $675
Karen Tashkovski, Web, 30″ x 30″, 2000, oil, latex & collage, $675

I can’t stop drinking coffee nor do I want to.  I like Green Mountain Dark Magic Keurig cups (w/two Sweet and Lows).  I try to get two cups out of one but the second cup is blech in comparison to the first and so, as of recently, I have been going through a lot.  I don’t know why the sudden obsession.  I go through phases like this where I like something so much that it becomes the be all and end all of my world.

keurig dark magic

If you want to buy me something for Christmas, I’ll take one of those giant 48-packs of the stuff that you can get at Bed, Bath & Beyond.  We don’t exchange expensive gifts at Christmas anymore.  It’s silly when we can buy stuff for ourselves.  I bought two gifts for myself already.  The first is the Dan Brown novel Inferno – the illustrated copy.  I really wanted it, wanted to read it then give it an illustrious place of honor alongside the other two of his picture books sitting on top of my grandfather’s cedar armoire in my dining room.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/listing/2670976394106?r=1&kpid=2670976394106&cm_mmc=Google%20Product%20Search-_-Q000000633-_-2670976394106PLA-_-Book_25To44-_-Q000000633-_-2670976394106

The second gift?  I upgraded this website to business grade status, which means a new facade and the ability to sell artwork from here and/or from an off-site venue like Shopify, if only I could figure out how to do that.  (If you have any tips to share, by all means help a girl out).  I believe it will take more money to operate, as money seems to be the only way to make money these days.

I will then try to curb my spending and start saving (easier said than done).  Someday I’m going to go to Paris – climb to the top of the Eiffel tower (or take an elevator depending on how old I am when I get there), stare at the Parisian city-scape and think, been there, done that.  No, I’m sure it will be phenomenal enough to elicit a better response than that.

I have 194 pins of the Eiffel Tower on a board on Pinterest.com.

http://www.pinterest.com/KarenTashkovski/eiffel-tower/

I’m thinking its shape should and will manifest on the yet unplanned/unfocused series of paintings mulling about in my head (Futura).

eiffel tower 2

I actually paid for a passport a couple weeks ago.  Then I’ll have ten years to make this Paris thing come true.  Hopefully, I will figure out how to both save money and sell art by then, right?

What is on your bucket list?  If you had unlimited wishes, what would you wish for?

 

Creating Links

I joined www.linkedin.com.  It’s like Facebook, but without all the personal stuff.  People only post things regarding their jobs.  I connected with a lot of people I don’t really know because it tells you that someone is a shared connection with someone else so you just press connect and they usually accept.   There are groups you can join so I joined a bunch of art and art marketing ones.

What I learned is that for every opinion about how to do something, from making art to selling it, there is a counter opinion and factions of people who start arguing opinions, and soon we have an occupation with no concrete way to assess it.  It reminds me of the family that airs their dirty laundry in public.  Art and artists seem to make other people uncomfortable.  I get the sense that people don’t respect art as a profession.  Mainly because they don’t understand it.

Non-artists need concrete information to understand things and the truth is, there is concrete information, but some people, including artists, just don’t know it.  A woman had asked one group to share how they know a work of art is a quality work.  I said I use the art criticism format – description/detail, formal principles of art, and emotional content.  She replied that she was surprised (read appalled) that details should go first.  I’m all, what?  The order is just the format used in the textbook I use at school called Art Talk.  I am surprised that more professional artists don’t know how to criticize art properly – how do they know if their own art is good?

The problem is that some people do not give equal weight to the three components (ultimately four because using the other three you determine if the artwork is successful, the fourth component being judgment).  This woman felt that emotion was the key to art and should have top billing.  (Later she revealed that she was, in fact, a self-taught artist).  Naturally, people in mathematics or the sciences, or any kind of non-art related business don’t think highly of emotionalism.  These are the people who call artists artsy-fartsy.  It’s all just very frustrating.

I connected with a gallery owner through Linkedin who viewed this website then asked me to bring a few things to the gallery so he could see them in person.  Naturally, I was very excited that it took only a day to receive an opportunity and I felt like the universe was finally cutting me a break.  When I did meet with him with a bin of paper collage pieces and two 18” x 18” paintings in tow lugged through the rain, he proceeded to share his opinion of why he didn’t think my artwork would sell in his gallery or this town for that matter, which was to do with price-point, materials, subject matter and pretty much my entire aesthetic.  His advice was I should find out what the customer wants and make that.  Landscapes would be a good choice, he said.

Funny that, because a few months ago, one of my students told me she was going to have a booth at the Ozstravaganza Fest in Chittenango, NY.  I asked her what she was going to sell.  She said she planned to take some fantasy drawings and make them into prints.  I told her she should draw Dorothy and the other Wizard of Oz characters.  That’s what people will be looking for – because locals tend to forget that this festival is international.  People do find their way to that yellow brick road from all over the US and Canada and I think there were even people from the UK there this year!  After the event, she told me she’d taken my advice, made the Oz art and ended up making over $500!  Not bad for a thirteen-year-old, right?

So, I understand the gallery owner’s advice.  I’d given the exact same advice myself to successful results.  When I told the Oz/student story to my dad he said, “Why didn’t you do that?”

I think you know the answer to that.  I can’t do that.  I can’t make art that satisfies a need.  Not now, not ever.  I’m peddling the art I’ve already made, not trashing it in favor of a fickle customer’s whim.  My whole belief system regarding art is that you put a piece of yourself in everything you make, kind of like a Horcrux in Harry Potter but without the negative part.  You educate the potential customer about who you are…and they see you.  They understand you, connect with you and believe in you.  I feel like I am speaking a visual language, one you may or may not understand fully, but you might walk away feeling like you know enough and fill in the rest with your own context.

Yesterday at my sister’s garage sale, I sold four paintings.  (Needless to say, I proved that gallery owner wrong – I can sell work in this town!)  I sold one of my encaustic horse paintings to an elementary school-aged boy.   I explained to him my decision to mount the work onto chalkboard painted masonite.  The intent is that the new owner could write on the board with chalk, maybe draw horses themselves or name the horse – really anything.  And in this way, he would be contributing to the meaning of the work and we would essentially be making art together.  I feel that art makes that transformation even without an actual physical change – once it leaves the artist, it takes on new meaning, the one its new owner attributes to it. For example, a playing card can mean gambling or it can have something to do with fortune telling.  Most likely it is a symbol of the spirit of gaming, which may be a nod to childhood, bringing along with it happy memories.  And a horse is a horse, of course, of course.

I want to believe that I am right about all of this.  Well, I am right.  I’m just not making hundreds of thousands of dollars to prove it.  But this woman is.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/04/story_n_5440513.html

She was a music teacher but something possessed her to start painting.  An empty wall in her house provoked her to think she could paint well enough to fill the space.  This led to her quitting her job and painting full time.  She then kept going to see a Manhattan art dealer for critiques.  The dealer’s advice was to paint something that no one else paints.  Be unique.  She kept at it for months until she happened upon a cityscape idea that the dealer liked and now she’s selling paintings for $100,000 each.

When I told my dad, he asked, “Is this a real story?”

I’m like, “Yeah.”

So he said, “Why don’t you do that?”

I don’t watch Glee and I’ve never actually seen the High School Musical trilogy, but I am forever breaking out in song at work.  I don’t seem to care that I am not a trained singer and never participated in chorus once I hit middle school.  Someone will say something that triggers the first lines of a song I know the words to, and off I go in what I believe to be the same perfect pitch Mrs. Firth said I had at Tecumseh Elementary circa the early 1970s.  I like the idea that life could be a musical, so maybe I will find success in music.  Wouldn’t that be funny if me and this lady criss-crossed and I became an unlikely pop star?

But that would mean that no one should go to school for art or music.  And that’s the other debate I’m finding on social media.  The factions of self taught artists are against formal training because they think it’s hokum while the educated artists virtually roll their eyes.  I think you know where I stand on this matter, being that I teach art and believe in the creative process, as well as a strong need to develop creative thinkers for all career professionals.  The time-traveler in me doesn’t plan to go back and reverse my decision to become a trained artist any time soon.