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with original portraits on vinyl.

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Moichandising! Moichandising! Moichandising!

Billie Holiday - (i) inspired by photo by Bob WilloughbyAfter being reminded of the idea of merchandising on one of those forums I was talking about yesterday, I also remembered I was going to file for a federal trademark for my logo. Way back in the beginning when I was getting my legal ducks in a row, I did successfully register the name and mark with the State of Arizona. Wasn't actually that difficult a process. It also was relatively cheap. The federal process is a bit more technical and $275 per "class" of trade or service involved. I now have the historical usage of the mark and I have the money to do it. So do it I did! Not as nerveracking as filing for a patent, I imagine, but, not being a lawyer, I hope I don't end up going to jail for something in the process. ;) I'm glad I have more funds available to do this because, once done, for example, I'll then be able to have stickers made for which I've had the design ready for awhile. I'd love to be able to give a couple to you with a purchase.

Oh, they should be free, you say? :)

Well, they might end up as freebies for entering my contest when I do it. You can think of other things you'd want like t-shirts and mousepads too. I'll get a list going of things on which to slap my logo, and maybe a silkscreened image of a painting. But speaking of my contest, you've gotta help me before I can start it. I might end up learning how to create and run the contests by trial and error, but since it's for you, help me make it what you want! I know this isn't a fascinating post, but you out there running businesses for yourself or others know about these practical matters that might just make your business grow. I'm not saying you sweat the small stuff, but it's small stuff that can make big differences. You know what I mean.

Hoo, I need to paint! Gotta plan these profound blog entries more, ;). I hope you'll:


and my new YouTube channel widget over there to your right. Peace.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Top 10 Reasons I Like Forums

John Lee Hooker

The saleslady at Paper Plus was all excited for me yesterday because I was able to buy boxes in bulk instead of individually. Economy of scale can save quite a bit. So I've sent the Hendrix commission on its way, and today I'll send the Zeppelin and BB King to Wild About Music and the John Lee Hooker someone bought late Monday with the PayPal Buy Now button in my gallery.

New in the last week or so are some forum threads about my artwork. People have found me randomly from a blog post out there and started discussions about me! I've registered on three of the sites and participated in the discussions with great responses. All three are vinyl appreciation sites, but I haven't gotten much harsh criticism for using records. I'm really glad too, because that's the group of people whose reaction I worried about the most. I might've gotten a few commissions out of it as well! Forums as most are constructed now are great because:

1. Communications can either be public or private all in one place

2. They are moderated independently

3. New discussions on new topics can be started by anybody

4. Links to individual replies are available

5. It's easy to see the more popular and current topics

6. The audience is a specific group

7. Readers are more likely to contribute because they're generally registered

8. Even though the forum site has a specific audience, that audience can discuss random topics

9. It feels like a safe community of members with shared interests

10. They are usually quite user friendly

So hopefully this year I'll get enough of an audience to create one. I'd enjoy learning how in any event. Right now I've got to get to framing and boxing. I think I have to mow the lawn too, :)

The PayPal buttons work great, so if you're interested in seeing who I currently have for sale:


You never know, ones with limited album availability might show up!

SOLD - John Lee Hooker 01/30/08

Monday, January 28, 2008

The More Exposure, The More Exposed

BB King

I'm so excited about the exposure my work is getting online! I don't know what the consensus is on creating a list of links to blog posts about oneself, but Neatorama and Makezine are two recent additions to the list! It's certainly good for my Technorati Authority in any event since these two have rankings up in the 4000s and I'm in the 10s. I honestly don't know what the impact will be on the success of my artwork of all these social networking efforts, but the number of visitors to my gallery site has increased dramatically. I've had one person use the PayPal Buy Now buttons and two people follow through with commissions.

That said, the galleries where I've consigned my work are the steady sources of sales I have now. So BB King and Led Zeppelin are heading off to Wild About Music, and I'm painting a few this week for Primitive Kool. I'm trying hard to find a gallery/shop in the London area as I've gotten good feedback online from people in the UK. If you're one of those people, please let me know if you are aware of any locations I should contact about showing my work on consignment!

One post out there,, was critical of my gallery site's front page (the blurb is 5 paragraphs down in the Jan 28th section). I'm glad to get feedback on it finally. They thought the graphical navigation was confusing with the OPEN sign not linking anywhere. From my website logs, though, it seems people aren't having a problem getting to the page where you can buy the pieces. So I don't know. Please,


and let me know if you have any site design suggestions! Peace.

SOLD - B.B. King 01/28/08

Friday, January 25, 2008

Stephen Covey Would Be Proud

Led Zeppelin

Painting Robert Plant is hard! Wild About Music sold two Zeppelins last month, though. It seems to be my most popular there, as one sells about every month. I guess people in Austin really love Zeppelin. Well, who doesn't! Primitive Kool also sold the Johnny Cash they had. I'm going to paint several blues-related musicians for them again now.

Speaking of Johnny Cash, I received a comment on my post about the YouTube clip: I responded there but I thought I'd elaborate (read: ramble) a bit more here. It seems fitting because this post is also about the selling of art already. The gist of the comment was that art isn't free to create, so it shouldn't be free at all. I really appreciate the sentiment. The more money I make, the more I can paint, and I could reach a wider audience if I could afford marketing. So, money is definitely a means to an end. My purpose in creating Vinyl Art is to express my passion for music and art, and to show it with the world, connecting and building relationships with others who share my passions. So, yes, as the post at Brain Pickings, suggests, selling my pieces does support and spread my idea.

However, the money is just a means. In saying this, I don't intend to imply I don't want to sell them. The ultimate point is to sell them so people have them to share with others. That can also be directly achieved though, on occasion, by giving them away for an event, Free Art Seattle, or contest, (I need help with that, by the way, or it may move to the back burner). The return for giving may not be instantly monetary, but you get what you give, and giving builds relationships. Covey's "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" discusses how important creating and maintaining relationships is to success in life. Indirectly it does help business too. In my opinion, giving doesn't devalue the artwork. Quite the opposite, it adds value to the artwork as a symbol of the connection made. The recipient can look at it and remember how they got it, a plus. People can ask them how they got it, and they'll share the great story as well as their passion for music, another plus. And from a business perspective, the resulting cross-marketing that can happen benefits everybody, a win-win!

This is a great issue to discuss, so after you've looked at my idea for my contest, let me know also your thoughts on this issue. I've only stated my perspective which isn't the only one, and there is no "right" one. I like creative dialogue, so please share!

Meanwhile, I'm off to paint B.B. King! To see a couple previous B.B. Kings, you can read this post:, or you can:



SOLD - Led Zeppelin 01/25/08

Monday, January 21, 2008

King's Symbolism Stripped To Reveal His Humanity

MLK - (i) inspired by photo owned by Pan-African News Wire Photo FileIn going through my albums to get organized this past week, I found this record of Martin Luther King Jr. speech excerpts. After digging up this beautiful photo, I decided to paint it. I can pay hommage and celebrate anybody who has a recording on vinyl, after all. "I Have a Dream" is on side 2, so it's still somewhat playable. However, a reason I paint some of these portraits the way I do is to show the person as a human being, trying to capture their soul and the spirit of their Life. As this article discusses, too often iconic figures in history become reduced to a single moment, like with King's famous speech. I hope my paintings generally counterract the flattening of culturally important people, both visually and substantively.

I'd like to know what you think! How do you think my paintings characterize their subject? There are a good number of examples here on my blog, and you can also:


and look through the online gallery. Do my paintings celebrate their lives and contributions to our culture?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Giving The People What They Want

George ClintonThe final presentation of artwork is vital to its marketability. People want to receive something they will be happy to hang on their wall as is with no complications. It needs to be professional and showcase the piece effectively. It's also an issue a lot of people bring up, everybody has an opinion. I try to take them all in and see how I feel about it. I am constantly re-evaluating my framing options.

I want to keep the pieces "affordable and portable", a quote from the owner of Wild About Music. I want them to be dramatic and simple, focussing attention on my painting. I'm going to get a frame from Gary of to try out. When I initially was looking into options, his patented frame caught my attention. I couldn't afford it then, but since Robert over at connected us, maybe it'll work out. The frames are endorsed by The Smithsonian and Rock'N'Roll Hall of Fame! Pretty cool. They even have space at the bottom if I wanted to make a little plaque.

I'm also still deciding about doing ones without frames, using clear-coat to protect the painting. They'd be much easier to ship, but not as professional looking. It does make for a dramatic presentation though. I did get great response at Vinyl Killers.

Another idea is framing the record alongside the album sleeve so both are fully visible, like they frame gold records with the original album sleeve next to it. This is a cool idea, especially when the album I've used has an iconic sleeve, like "Dark Side". This is the opposite of no frame though: more expensive, harder to ship, and less portable. So we'll see! I'm open to any ideas you might have. If you want to see a bunch of examples how the pieces look the way I frame them currently,


and let me know what you think about the issue of presentation in art.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Using Competition To Create Community

I need your help.

I've got a very diverse, yet ephemeral audience. It is growing, which is terrific, but I want to engender communication and networking as well, creating long-term relationships. Basically, I'm going to try to encourage people to share, to be heard. I know a lot of people who hit this blog have their own way of sharing already: their own blog, a profile somewhere with a comment wall, or a forum they post to regularly. And there are those who comment on others blogs, profiles and forums, creating feedback and dialogue. And there are those who, as yet, do neither. I want to make everyone feel welcome to speak their minds, share what they want, and respond with their reactions here on my blog.

To that end, a contest. I know the prize will be a piece of Vinyl Art of the artist of the winner's choice, but I need help. Please help me create the contest. I'd like to start it in February and have it run for a month. I'm going to let all of my connections know about it, so I should get a fair amount of initial interest at least in knowing what the contest entails. That is the question, however.

Since my audience in general are music-lovers, I'm thinking about something along the lines of asking entrants to share their favorite personal experience related to music. Then I'd pick the top 10 in my opinion, with the winner a random one of those. Entrants would be able to share their story in any online manner: a post on their blog, a YouTube video, a photo set on Flickr, etc. They would just add a comment with a link to it on my blog post about the contest and every night I would moderate the posts, making sure the entries were suitable. Or they could just put their story in the comment. Then everybody could check out everybody's story and along with it, get introduced to a whole new network of people.

I want to keep the judging part simple for now, not including the entrants in the winner selection this time, but trying to just get people to communicate with each other, celebrating their passion for music. I've given my pieces away through radio station contests and free art shows, so I thought, why not give one away as a means to bring my audience together?

What do you think? Let me know your reactions to any part of my idea, good or bad. Give me suggestions to make it better, to make it so you would enter it yourself. That is, of course, the purpose. If you need to know more about Vinyl Art, read through this blog, even starting at the beginning. Also, watch my YouTube videos, and certainly,


and give me some feedback! Thanks for any help.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

First Commission Of The Year - Run DMC!

Run DMCI remember seeing "Walk This Way" on MTV with Run DMC and Aerosmith. Broke down all sorts of commercial and pop cultural barriers. I just thought it was cool at the time. So a friend of ours is getting this for her husband who is about the same age as me. Came out pretty cool. I just used the image from the back of the album cover. Sort of reminds me of the portrait that Rob and Big got done with Meaty. Do work! New episode tonight!

So, I had my first sale last week and now my first commission is out of the way. Who's next? I've got my records all alphabetized and ready to go: Janis, Jimi, Sammy and Sinatra. Try and stump me! Well, that won't be too hard, but I've got more than I knew anyway. And I can always find what you want. Got "Raising Hell" in a week's time through eBay. For other examples of who I've painted,


and scroll through the Online Gallery page. What do you think of the last one?

SOLD - Run DMC 01/15/08

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Happy New Year! Welcome To Vinyl Art By Daniel Edlen!

Miles Davis - (i) inspired by photo by Anton CorbijnSelf-promotion is hard. Very hard. But it really helps when people connect, share, and then spread the love. Two completely separate connections have greatly increased the number of people who at least know about my artwork.

The first came after I commented at Robert Benson's blog about collecting vinyl. I was looking to grow my audience and I cautiously introduced myself. Cautiously because I never know how collectors will react. But he flipped! The YouTube videos gave him chills, he said. Pretty cool. So it turns out he is connected to Jerry Osborne and also writes articles that he posts for a very wide audience. He interviewed me on the phone, my first one! Then he actually let me check over the draft of his article and make sure the quotes were accurate! He's posted it in several places now.

The second came through, I believe, the post at I was scanning through my website log yesterday morning and saw a hit from an administrative account at, a cable network owned by NBC. Figuring they would contact me first, I didn't do anything. Then, about 30 minutes later I got an E-mail from PayPal saying that the Hendrix had sold! Looking at my logs to see where the person might've come from I found tons of traffic from getTRIO. They had put up a post about me! Me! Great little blurb with an excellently cropped pic of my Miles Davis. Holy mackerel. So we'll see what happens with that!

Today, after finishing organizing my records, or at least trying to, I'm going to paint, paint, paint. I made a change on my website, putting PayPal Buy Now buttons for all the paintings I've done that I think are my best and people might want again. Some of them are still available immediately, but all are available by commission. Also, my wife was concerned that people might get the idea that those listed are the only ones I'll do. And some online contacts have asked that. So, to clarify, I'll do anybody for whom I can find both a picture and an album released on vinyl. Anybody.

I'm hoping with this new exposure, people will read through this blog, even going back to the beginning. I really like how it's turned out, and enjoy reading through the posts in sequence. I started it with the intention of using it like a journal of my art doings, as well as to provide more information about my past background and how it impacts my present work. It's meant as a companion to my main website, answering questions and expanding upon the content found there. I've also since added my YouTube channel with several time-lapse videos of the creation of my artwork. So, hopefully these different ways of finding me will bring in more people and give them, well, you, enough of a sense of who I am and what my art is about. If not, please, please don't hesitate to leave comments, E-mail me, or even call me. I'm very open and appreciate any feedback, positive or critical.

At the start of a new year that I hope has found you well, if you are interested in reading, seeing or watching more about me, first:


and then come on back here to scan through my ramblings or head over to YouTube to view my videos. Peace.

SOLD - Miles Davis 01/10/08