Saturday, March 30, 2013

Artist Networking: Part Three of How to Get Your Art Into a Gallery

Vinyl Express Art Gallery on Etsy
Vinyl Express Art Gallery Decals on Etsy
This is part three of Five in a Series of how to get your art into a gallery. In case you didn't read the first part,  please start here on part one, so you can catch up.

Part Three  : Artist Networking

Basically, you need some credentials and contacts if  you are going to be "a gallery artist." Your goal is to basically infiltrate the art community and make some friends. Fellow artists can help you make connections.   The networking and "who you know" or "what you know"  is what is really important. If you are a painter, network with a collage artist. You won't be competing against one another per se' since you have different mediums, but you can exchange ideas of where to apply, how to get your website linked in cyberspace,  and who needs new artist entries.

Where better to do this than online, in your pajamas and from the comfort of your own home.  Grab and latte and start joining forums. I don't just mean forums in your area. I am talking worldwide.

Now I could sit here all day and make you a list of 100 art forums to join, but then I'd be doing your work for you. Search google for "free art forums" or "artist forums" and go from there. I will however suggest six ideas and places  that can help you and explain why.

Remember your goal is five - fold:
  • To network with other artists. 
  • To create links (via profile or comments) that link right back to your artist site. 
  • To upload photos of your work when you can. 
  • To find out where to apply aka "call for artists"
  • To find out how to get yourself out on the web on blogs, art sites or interviews. 

A must have forum fo the artist go join today!

1. ARTIST FORUMS  - Do this even if you don't do the other suggestions!

I'm telling you to join Art Forums   This is a must-join and more important than most other things I suggest below. Now this particular forum is in the UK, but artists are members here from all over the world. This is a very friendly and supportive community for practicing visual artists across all genres, media and subjects. You can get a lot of helpful information out of their forums and basic membership is free! I strongly suggest reading and networking in this manner. 

This is an excellent example of a generalized art forum where people go to network with other artists--find tips, tricks, and hear of opportunities to submit artwork.   The forums will allow you to ask questions, hear about gallery opportunities, and learn from artists who have been there. 


Secondly, I'm going to point you into the direct of Forums that are created by publications or magazines. You can find this by searching for magazine you read or love. Let's look at Cloth Paper Scissors' Forum. This is a niche forum for mixed media artists put out by the site owners of the the magazine.  Forums like this allow you to network with other readers but in turn you may upload and showcase your products and creations via photos, join contests, and sometimes learn how to submit or win inclusion in the next issue. What a better way to network if you are a mixed media artist.

If there was a forum for paints she uses, then this artist should join it, Etsy shop NathasaRae

Some of your favorite art supplies that you use in your work may actually have forums or blogs set up. Take for instance Sizzix die cutting machines, they have a blog. Their blogger blog talks about projects, creations, or new items and allows comments. If they are talking about a particular topic, and you have a great item or piece of artwork you made with that die cut, why not leave a message and a link to the item by sharing it in the comments? This networking may just get your creation named in their "product gallery". Believe it or not, they even have a blog just for UK readers.


Lastly network with artists who blog. Take for instance Tim Holtz, who is an active blogger. Of course you know he's also a famous designer of everything artsy. Often he will post invitations to share your creations or contests or talk about new shows. Network when you can but only post when it's relevant to your art.


Etsy has a large community of forums. Some of the forums are for public view and anyone can join and participate in Etsy's forums not just store owners. Now some are clogged up with product listings galore and this is not what you want. You will really have to search in the community forums, for two key things that can help you. Search under "Call for Artists" or "Free Blog Features". Both of these can help you find out about submitting you art to galleries and to get blogged.


Do not miss opportunities to get your work out there in cyberspace. You can go the micro-niche route where you are getting your work shared to the world wide web on artist blogs. Some will do this for free if they are in search of content, and some will do this for a small fee.  Start reading artists blogs for submission information to find this.


My blog features all kind of artists under "Artist Corner" and has a submissions page. Always check blogs for submissions inquiries, this is how you will find out what is required.   Some blogs need content and will blog you for free. Others charge a submission fee and may not even blog you at all. Do your homework. Getting free submissions on ten different blogs means ten more links in cyberspace to your work or your art. What are you waiting for?

Always comment when you can in forums or on blogs, and leave links back to your work in the URL field. Make sure to abide by the rules of some forums or blogs, who may not allow you to create links unless you are a paid member. Never be spammy, just matter of factly.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sizzix Framelits Wins Vs Spellbinders Nestabilities

Sizzix Framelits beat out the Nestabilities
Photo: Sizzix Framelits, read why they are so much better than Spellbinders Nestabilities
Thumbs Up for Sizzix Framelits vs Spellbinders Nestabilities

For those of you who don't know, I have a Sizzix. There is just so much under the sun you can do with them.   Have you tried anything with Framelits?  I have a friend who tried to show me the Spellbinders nestabilities she got for Christmas, and I have to tell you, I was very glad I had a Sizzix.  The reason is, on a Sizzix, the cutting edge is on the inside on the framelit so it lets you see what you are cutting.  When I tried to use her spellbinder it was more in the middle, making it difficult to see what you are cutting. Needless to say my creations looked crappy.  I don't want to work harder. I want to cut what I see and work smarter!

You can watch this video which helped me with my questions; and in fact this video is a great comparison of the functionality of Sizzix's Framelits versus the Spellbinders Nestabilities showing how each product works for die cutting machines.

Might I suggest these Framelits?
Sizzix Framelits

 These are the Sizzix Framelits die set (ornate) set of six available  for $19.99

Nestabilities vs Sizzix

Mixed Media artists, you have to love these framelits - they are called "gypsy findings" and are $24.99.

Search for all Framelits here.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Get Your Art Into a Gallery Q & A

Folk Art Fish by Art Vineyard on Etsy
Folk Art Fish on Etsy at ArtVineyard
I'm going to recap parts one and two of the five part series of how to get your art into a gallery and answer some of your questions and answers.

Part One: How to Get Your Art into a Gallery talked about the physical portfolio and how important it is to make something that showcases your work.  It also talked about the artist statement.

I received some emails asking for examples of artist statements.  Again, this is a short summary of what you create and who you are as an artist. Think of this as an opening statement on your resume. The art photos in the portfolio speak for themselves, and I like to keep it short and sweet. Others may disagree.  Here are some suggestions just to get you thinking.

Example: Painter who uses Oil and Canvas, but paints everything.
"I create with oil and canvas from surrealism to abstract."

Example: Glass Maker 
"Glass is what motivates me and I have no boundaries in my craft."

This discusses the importance of having an online showcase for display of your craft. I suggested starting a blog, getting a website, even using Etsy to get your work online.  

I received some questions about website hosting with wordpress vs using standard free blogs.  

If you are using, you are limited to the templates you can use. If you upgrade your template you must pay.  You are also limited to standard fonts and colors. If you want fancier items you must upgrade.  Some of these are annual upgrades. Add the fact you will be getting advertisements in your blog or website.  Unless you pay to upgrade to no ads.  Even then, you won't get all the widgets or building blogs that you could have if you were using wordpress and hosting it elsewhere. 

The truth is with any paid website hosting, you have a much bigger palette to create and tweak your site exactly the way you want it. Here is a great place to start to find out how to sign up for website hosting.

I also received a question about the difference between blogs and websites. I suppose the key here is both blogs and websites have their own benefits.

Websites used to be the only acceptable means for companies or professionals, but that has all changed. Many companies have went from standard sites to full blown blogs, or have one of each.  You can even implement a blog into your website.   It just depends on what you need, and what you are looking for.

Coming soon, Part Three.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Where to Get Empty Cigar Boxes for Crafting Mixed Media

Buy Cigar Boxes for Cigar Box Purses at
Product Review: 

This just in, finally a place to find empty cigar boxes, and a huge selection at that. has a huge selection of empty cigar boxes. You can pick and choose the style and size you want for that special assemblage, mixed media, or craft project like a Cigar Box Purse.

Cigar Box Purse Ideas: 

If you are making cigar box purses, check out a few style trends on Cigar Box Purses  I found on Design-Swag.   There are also tips there too.

Altering Cigar Boxes for Mixed Media or Assemblage Art:

If you are using them for altering or mixed media tons of examples on Etsy, check out some of my faves...

Altered Cigar Box on Etsy TakeMeBackTreasures
Take Me Back Treasures has a super cool altered cigar box assemblage.

Saraphina Etsy Cigar Box Sculpture
Saraphina on Etsy has found a way to alter a cigar box into a cool assemblage.

You may also like:
how to get your art in a gallery by iramency

Monday, March 4, 2013

How to Get Your Art In A Gallery The Online Showcase Part Two of Five

Ira Mency Artist
Ira Mency's Deskbots

If you haven't read part one of this series, start here (How to Get Your Art in a Gallery Part One, The Portfolio). Otherwise, read on.

The Online Showcase: Step Two

Now that you have finished a portfolio , it's time to start building an online showcase, or online gallery for the sole purpose of showcasing your work.
This will help in two ways.

First, it allows your art to be shared on the world wide web. By using good titles and tags, and arranging your work into categories, you can show off your work as an artist.

Secondly, you may use the link to your online showcase or gallery in case you have to electronically submit entries or items to places that won't take your physical portfolio submission information. Technically, it's an eco friendly alternative to paper, but also a way for your art to be found by those looking for it.

 The Goal

The goal is to have a place to showcase it that is easy for you to maintain and update. You can consider this as an eco friendly portfolio, and can indeed tie in the artist statement and CV/resume--however the main goal is to get your work on the web.

A Few Ideas

Here are a few easy ideas to help get you started with your online presence.

Etsy is a great place to showcase your work. Ira Mency Artist Bottles
Etsy provides a good place to have an online presence for your work.

Etsy - Open an Etsy shop. 

Pros: It's an inexpensive way to showcase your work, and easy to maneuver. Perhaps you will sell some work also. When I had my RetroChaletStudio shop, I was invited to participate in an art exhibit and I did. This opened the door for other opportunities. Yes, it is true, as I am proof, believe it or not, curators will look on Etsy! There is a shop announcement area and public profile section where you can explain your artist statement.

Cons: Small listing and selling fees apply, but certainly the pros outweigh this. There is no way to add a full resume and of course, it is after all a store.

Summary: Etsy is a good showcase for your work and has the potential to sell your artwork.

Blogger -   Use blogger to showcase your work. 

Pros:  Blogger is free to use and easy. It gives you ample storage space to upload good photos of your work.  You can also purchase a domain name from a company such as Fat Cow or GoDaddy, and redirect it to your blog.  For example, is about melmac dishes, but actually directs to  A bit confusing, but hey, it works.  To avoid the name conflict, you should try to figure out a blog name and domain name that are available at once. If you make them unique like DavidSnowArt chances are and are both available.

Another perk of using a blog is having the potential to blog about your works in progress, and show pictures of your craft. Include certain pages of your finished work, and you have an online gallery!

You may choose to have a full blown art blog about others. For instance, on my blog I usually blog about other artists' work I like under Artist Corner. Now, this technically is a sneaky way of backdoor marketing, because on the blog you will find a link to my gallery page, my store, and I also list some of my work under Sculpture, Collage, and Jewelry pages. These pages would be sufficient to shoot to a potential art gallery who is looking for submissions.  Essentially I am using the art blog for a tie-in to my work.

Cons:  If you are going to be blogging, you must be consistent and there's a few things you should know in order to get your blog posts found, and make sure your blog is set for maximum exposure.  There are four key blogging rules to success and you can find them in an ebook here. Upon checkout use BLOGGING101 coupon code for a 50% discount off the book. 

ira mency art gallery
Note how I'm using my free blog as my online art gallery.  

1.  I'm using a page for my artist statement and CV/Resume.
2.  You can go direct to my Etsy shop to browse my artwork for sale. (I even have a "sold gallery" where I move the sold items to on my blog. Potential customers can still browse my past works and order special projects.)
3.  I have it organized by type, as I am not stuck to one medium.
4.  This gallery template gives you photos, when you click on the photo it goes to the post. I like this particular theme, but you can use just about any to showcase your work.

 WordPress (Sample Above)   Use WordPress to showcase your work. 

Pros: gives you a quick and easy blog to use, and you can choose from many free themes.  You can also opt to host your own WordPress blog by downloading their software, in which case you have lots more functionality and things called plugins (which are customizable features you can add to your blog.)  In my honest opinion WordPress seems to show up quicker in search engines from my own experience, but then again I'm following the rules above that show in the blogging book above.

You can still buy a domain and redirect to your WordPress.   WordPress also has lots of cool galleries. Check out my art gallery, which directs to and I have it set up in gallery format.  I have been also able to add an artist statement and CV to my blog.

Cons: Some tech knowledge is required, basic HTML concepts and in a nutshell WordPress is harder to learn. I started on Blogger for two years before getting up the courage to work with WordPress, and I still get stumped. It's not impossible, but it's harder.  Additionally, on their free blogs hosted at, you will have ads showing under your pages and posts if your blog gets popular. That's their way of not charging you rent, unless you buy no-ads upgrade options.   Fancy and pretty themes will cost you per year, and if you are using their free version you will be paying a hosting company.  Now it's not that bad, essentially you can buy your own domain name and use WordPress to help you build the site.  For instance, I am paying Fat Cow to host Design-Swag which is actually a WordPress built site, but would you ever know it?

Free Site With Internet Carrier  - Just about anything online will work 

You may have a free site builder with your internet provider and can click and build a site that way. For instance Verizon gives you a free website builder.  

Pros: It's free!  

Cons: If you switch internet services or move out of jurisdictions of the internet provider, you may be unable to take your site with you.  If I switch to Comcast, I lose everything I've built on Verizon. Uh oh!

Weebly, Tumblr, Facebook is Better than Nothing. 

Of course the above was just suggestions on how to showcase your work. You may not feel comfortable with any of the above and may be used to Weebly or Tumblr, or even Facebook. Just  having something is better than nothing. 

Go to the next part which is a recap of questions and answers I received, or go direct to Part Three. 


 have in the art world, but can also get your art

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How to Get Your Art in a Gallery The Portfolio Part One of Five

diana hobson
Diana Hobson Fine Art Gallery credit:
Whether you have abstract art for sale , watercolor paintings, or assemblage art. Surely you have wondered what the first step is to getting your art into a gallery would be?  We all wish our art could be as well known as Diana Hobson.....

This five part series will teach you all you need to know to become more exposed, and on your way to getting your work into galleries.
Step One:  Physical Portfolio

All artists need a professional portfolio of their work. In today's society this should be easily compiled into files that you can electronically send if requested. As well, you may need printed materials for local and galleries who do not wish to have e-mailed files.

There are specific requirements for each gallery (when they have open call for submissions). Some may want you to email photos of your work or up to three photos of one item. It varies but you should have these files online in a folder for quick access.  Additionally, most all galleries will ask for an Artist Statement or CV/Resume of the artist, which we will discuss more later.

Having great photos of your items are key. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Paintings may deflect the flash and taking them in natural light on the wall may be key.  As far as getting the show of any type of sculptures. It may behoove you to find a local photographer in your area.

Need a good photographer but have no idea who could photograph your art?  I have a great solution for this.  Etsy is a great place to start, search locally in your area for entepreneurs who sell photographs or prints of photos they've taken. You can tell a lot by a photographer's work.  If you do sculpture and you find a photographer that takes great 3-D items, convo then via Etsy and ask them to do some custom work for you. You can get a custom listing set up in their Etsy shop and work with them locally to meet your needs.  

Niche Portfolios

If you are a multi-talented artist, meaning you have everything from watercolors to mixed media, then you should probably tailor a few different portfolios based on the type of art you are submitting. Your artist statement may vary based on the medium you choose (see below.)

To Summarize the Portfolio

Most portfolios should be concise and professional.  They will include:
  • A few of your best samples via photographs
  • Your Artist Statement.
  • and your CV or Resume

The Artist Statement

The artist statement is a one to two word summary of what motivates you, or what your art is about. This should be original and now borrowed.

The CV or resume should be tailored around your art world experience, not a job resume. Finding examples of these online is easy. Make them clear and concise. They will often contain any exhibits you have been in, any art affiliations you belong to, or key highlights (for example if you work was featured in a magazine or local newspaper.)

Do not worry, I'm living proof that a resume can be shabby but your art still accepted into a museum based on your submission shots aka photographs of your work.   As you follow the five step process you will build more

Now you have a nice portfolio, now what?

For one, you may wait for submission calls--you can't just spam them out to art galleries. Most art galleries do not accept blind submissions. So what now?

The portfolio is only the first step.......continue to How to Get Your Art in a Gallery Part Two.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

DIY Greeting Cards For A Living or Make Fun Collage Style Cards


Greeting Cards From the Store Make me Nauseous

It never ceases to amaze me why we contribute to mass marked production of greeting cards.  This past Christmas we didn't have time to make cards, so hubby bought them. A few cards for immediate family in the CS and we topped $50.  I guarantee by now they have been recycled, or trashed.

I'm glad in some ways artists ave some sort of job (designing the cards) but I'm unsure just how much royalties they get per card sold (or if, as I understand if you work for Hallmark it's an inhouse position--meaning, you may get a salary for being a card designer.) With a million cards to choose from, is there a card designing monopolist that can boast they designed a real nice chunk of of the cards out there? Do they get royalties and salary? Probably not but I could be wrong. Then I see all those Disney cards and character cards  and I really think the only one profiting is Disney (license owner) and the card company.

If You Desire to Design Greeting Cards, Enter a Contest and Win up to $500

So if you want to make money selling greeting cards, can you send some ideas? No, they don't accept them blindly. They do they have different contests here where you can submit a card. If you win this particular one here on the Hallmark Competition Page, you get $250 and if they choose to sell it in stores another $250.  So thereby if you design a card and it's their store pickyou have just made $500 and you can tell all your friends while you are in the Walgreens's that that's your card.  Keep checking their contest page, they run them often.

craft project greeting cards
I'm not going to end up in stores with my less than perfect upcycled creations, but I sure brought a smile to their face and and found all of these projects around the house. .
Greeting Card Universe Tips 

Then there's the whole "Greeting Card Universe-Become an Artist" thing. It's an online store where you can buy greeting cards CHEAP. So think of that, if your design is accepted your royalties will be CHEAP too. Here however, you can learn all the tricks of the trade by someone from the Netherlands who uses it and makes money on Zazzle with her greeting cards knows how to get noticed here on Squidoo.

Let's move on. 

Sell Greeting Cards on Etsy 

If you want to make greeting cards for a living, then sell them on Etsy. That's my suggestion to you.  On Etsy you can be your own designer, and pay small and minimal selling and listing fees.  If I had to buy a greeting card, it would probably be one of these:

handmade owl greeting card

Etsy Shop EmmaBeanCreations offers this for $6.50 on Etsy

 Or this: 

pac man card
ALouCreations offers these cute greeting cards on Etsy.

Etsy allows artists the leeway to create as an individual. For instance, the shop below's slogan says that their cards are made with Bourban and Love.  These are the cards we want to send but can't. Well, over 5900 sales later, they are doing just fine.

This one is SFW:

Crazy Greeting cards on Etsy
Etsy shop Sweetperversion has over the top greeting cards--the kind you really want to send for $4

Can you upcycle licensed images into your crafts? 

If you are using someone's images or copyright materials you cannot sell the items for a profit--normally, unless those images are free-use or out of copyright. It's all very confusing but case in point I could not sell this little guy even if I wanted to as he's the spokesman for Geico.

Thanks Geico for all that junk mail. Here, I made a card and gave to a friend instead of tossing him out.

There's nothing like making things yourself.  We hope Uncle Stu is less likely throw it away right after the holidays. Let's face it, you are his favorite niece, right?

make it yourself
Vintage book at Klassic on Etsy says it all!
Make Your Own Ghetto Card: (Like Mine)

If you need to make a lot of cards quick, (and this is a fun project for you and the kids, or you and some friends over wine) grab some of the following and get to work: 

  •  old manilla folders or stock paper (alternative: Kraft Paper)
  • craft scissors
  • Mod Podge
  • Paintbrush
  • Water
  • Old Magazines, Junk Mail, and Circulars
  • Kraft Paper Envelopes

And, you can create whatever you want!
The best part is there is no wrong or right.  You can be as creative as you want--old magazines are loaded with great letters that you can collage together to make cheesy (but ghetto cool) greeting cards!

DIY Greeting Cards
Voila, cards in no time!
All works here; unless otherwise noted, were fashioned by me.