Who Will Buy My Love?

Two things are true: (1) I need to make some money and (2) I need to make what I love.

Years ago – before I was ancient – I could’ve learned how to make “beauty.” Maybe I could’ve learned how to make cute/adorable/charming. That’s less likely. But, instead of doing what I could’ve done to feed a consumer need, I fed my own.

I made what I love.

Now it’s all I can do. It’s all I want to do. I need to make what I love.

Now and then I can produce “beauty,” etc. But it’s….meh. I don’t love it and I can’t fake love well enough for my “beauty” to be be beautiful to the world. 

Let’s shift gears, OK? Take a little detour…

Online advice about selling visual art via print-on-demand sites always includes this gem: “Know your audience.” That’s excellent advice, applicable to most of life’s endeavors. But how do you know and satisfy an audience that doesn’t exist? Beyond supposition I haven’t a clue except that it would be people like me but who had money to spend.

Detour over.

Given my timeline (I’m ancient, remember?) in the early spring of last year I decided to focus on what I love to do. That seemed wise because even if nothing sold I could at least enjoy what I was doing and my dwindling time wouldn’t be wasted pretending to love something that might not sell anyway.

Ooooo! Exciting! Must’ve worked great, yes? Here’s how well that plan’s worked: Nothing’s sold except a sticker of an [arguably] beautiful abstract I made 13 years ago. I earned $.33 (cents, yes) that I’ll likely never see because the payout threshold is $20. Want to see it? Click through to my Redbubble shop.

Who was my audience? No idea. Maybe a music lover. Maybe a violin player. Or maybe someone who likes little abstract images that will stick to things. 

Reeling from the realization that I wasn’t getting anywhere I updated equipment and purchased new software. Beginning mid-summer last year I frantically tried to make what I thought might sell. What was that exactly? Not what I love. Everything else. I’ve tried hard to create for that other audience, the one that likes beauty and charm and adorable cuteness but IT’S NOT ME. I’m drowning in loveless creations.

I need my love.

I need my faces.

So – enough! I’ve had enough! Maybe I’ll make abstracts along the way, maybe I’ll take pictures of pretty things, maybe I’ll crank out a few colorful patterns just to please the POD site’s algorithms, but my new plan is to make – and try harder to sell – what I love. 

Like this face:

Acrylic painting, photography – digital collage (©️Robin King)

Is it ugly to you? Creepy? Scary? Weird? Edgy? Disgusting? Bizarre? It’s beauty to me. I loved making it! I love seeing it!

And I love this one:

Acrylic painting, photography, pencil drawing – digital collage (©️Robin King)

Does it intrigue you? Bother you? Make you feel compassion or confusion or anything at all? It’s dark and bleak and touches me deeply. It’s beauty, to me.

I’m my audience. All I need is a few people like me who share my love and will buy it. 

……

Note: The above may seem like whining and maybe it is. To be fair, I’ve flip-flopped this way before. I’ve also been wildly inconsistent with promotion. And – maybe – what I love isn’t really meant for anyone but me. Maybe it’s just “bad art,” not even good enough for a refrigerator door. Maybe my love is wasted, misplaced. But it’s still love and I’m going to make these faces until I can’t.

Still Alive


Everything’s an unexpected mess for me right now.

The details won’t be interesting to anyone so I’ll just leave it at that except for the most recent mini-mess: the heater isn’t functioning this morning and it’s 59 degrees (F) in the house. Today was supposed to be a get-caught-up-online day but, instead, it’s a shivering-while-waiting-for-the-heater-tech-to-arrive day. I’ll reply to your lovely comments and be around to say “Hello!” to everyone as soon as I can.

The faces above are small sketches I made while testing the iPastels app on my iPad. The app is free, has a tiny footprint, and wonderful tools. There’s a desktop version, too. I’m sure that my goofy faces aren’t displaying the full power of the app so if you’re interested in checking it out for yourself, here:

https://www.ipastels.com

 

They Love You! They Really Love You! (But What If They Don’t?)

©️Robin King
“Bright Eye” (©️Robin King)

Everyone loves you! Everyone loves your art!

But what if they don’t?

What if no one even likes – or, maybe worse, no one cares – about your art?

You laugh if you can. You cry if you have to. Then you decide whether or not you need to have your work liked more than you need to create the work that no one likes or cares about.

If you can create what you want and aren’t crushed by the reception the work gets, then you make more. Otherwise? You find out what you need to do to please people and then make the work that will bring you the notice and/or approval you want.

Or maybe you fling yourself back and forth between these options? Trying not to care, trying to find out what people want, trying not to care…trying, trying, trying.

Or maybe you pack it all in and stop trying so you can stop caring, until you realize that won’t work because you really need to make your art so you start all over again. Trying, caring.

Then, in one of those cosmic bursts of magic, someone loves your art. Not everyone. But someone.

Maybe it’s you.

Time for a Nose Job

 

In-Process: “Politics Is Messy” (©️Robin King)

Several years ago I made “Politics Is Messy.” I knew there was something “off” about it (the nose, mostly) but it was a piece born of anxiety and anger. Once I let the feelings out through the image it was…ummmm…irrelevant. I filed it and walked away.

But its eyes are still worth doing something with. So is the graffiti-like overlay. The nose, though, needs help. It’s not horrible but it disrupts the composition.

Easy to fix! (I hope.)

In a day or so I’ll dig out the original digital file, open it in Photoshop Elements, and reshape the bridge of the nose. If all goes well I ought to be able to do that with a soft brush, “burning” lightly in the bridge area to create a shadow. Maybe I’ll work on the mouth, too, because right now those lips look like two amorous worms.

Wish me luck!

….

For those who are interested, “Politics Is Messy” is made from a pencil sketch, an acrylic painting, a digital painting, and scans of a magazine article and furious ink scribbling.

The Sports Model

Sports Model? (©️Robin King)

If you’ve been reading my posts here for a while you may recognize – sort of? – the figure above. She’s the “Life Model” I assembled ten years ago. Here are earlier posts about her (with photos):

No Body Here

The Model Ponders Ambulation

Are you wondering why she looked the way she did? She lost her hands and hair, and gained a headscarf. At the time I thought she had a sporty vibe…maybe she was on her way to the yacht club to go sailing?

Anyway: I found that photo this weekend, filed with this one:

Underwhelming sketch of the Life Model’s head (©️Robin King)

That’s one of two sketches I did of her. Haaa! You can see how wildly enthusiastic I was about doing it. The hat’s from another of her outfits. I remember thinking that if I put enough clothing and accessories on her she’d be more interesting draw. Too bad that didn’t work. All I actually drew of her was her head, a missed opportunity given the fact that the reason I made her to begin with was to practice drawing bodies.