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Friday, October 30, 2009

THIS Is What It's All About

Eddie Vedder - (i) inspired by photo by Paul MartinHere is Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam on "Vs.", received in trade, painted for Nate Anderson of Ear Candy Charity, inspired by a photo by Paul Martin with his blessing. So cool.


SOLD - Eddie Vedder 10/30/09

Thursday, October 29, 2009

On The Wall

Jon was kind enough to send me a shot of the 4 pieces he commissioned as they hang on his wall. This is a cool layout! It's a nice alternative to the square. Even though it was really hard to sell these, I'm so glad they've found a good home.

I love getting to catch up on the story of my pieces, following them where they go. I've talked about this before, missing out when I consign pieces because I don't know who buys them, or when pieces get bought at charity auctions. But I have been lucky enough to have several owners send me pictures of their Vinyl Art.

If you own one or gave one to someone, I'd love to know what people think, and a picture would be awesome. If you can send one, just email it to me!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How Twitter Can Help An Art Business

This video wouldn't have happened without Twitter. Plain and simple.

I've been participating on Twitter for some time now. It's been hit and miss as far as usefulness in the moment. But when it hits, it hits. And the hits are much more fulfilling than a straightforward sale. This post is about some examples of those hits I've had with my Vinyl Art.

For me, my art is largely about the connections I get to make. That's what Twitter is about. Yes, there is the noise in the room there, but if you get good at tuning your twitterstream, you can make some great connections.

I've had several. Some that have ended up with transactions financial, others with transactions social. I've developed a relationship with one of my favorite musicians, Bob Green (@thegrassyknoll), whose music I'd discovered years ago during my lazy college days spent listening to random used CDs. Brilliant stuff. I've communicated friendly-like with Prince Campbell III (@chartreuseb), whose blog blew me away, and he even entered my last Vinyl Art contest. Also, brilliant stuff. I respect these creative people enormously. To have produced the content they have and put it out there, and then to interact with people on a very real level is wonderful.

Then there are those connections that have resulted in both a friendship and a sale. First to mind is the one with Ryan Barton (@RyanBarton). He's the fellow who made this video for me. I won't tell you all the particulars about his generosity, but basically he bought 3 pieces from me after I'd jumped in on Twitter seeing he had bought a print from Hugh MacLeod (@gapingvoid) and was thinking about buying my art next. That's the beauty of Twitter, the evesdropping on relevant conversations that persist as tweets but occur as real-time exchanges.

It is the strange hybrid structure of communication, both asynchronous and synchronous, that allows for more connections and more development and expansion of those connections. It happened with Brian Clark (@Copyblogger) as well. He and I conversed first about @chartreuseb and his blog and the crazy comments they'd gone back a forth with long ago. Then he took a liking to my art, eventually buying 4 pieces, sharing my work with his followers and even writing a blog post suggesting how I could improve my business. It is that building of relationships and the ripples which spread uniquely on Twitter that have added a marvelous dimension to my art business.

I was able to give back to a hero of mine too. After finding David Lynch on Twitter, I was then made aware of his foundation (@DLFTV). They enjoyed my work enough to have me paint Mr. Lynch and then have him autograph the piece for a future auction benefitting the foundation. I then painted Mike Love of the Beach Boys for the same purpose, Love signing the piece at one of the foundation's charity concert.

This connection to reality with Twitter relates to local action as well. I will be having a solo show locally at Bookmans (@bookmans) this winter. This is because of Twitter, as Scott Henderson (@espressojunky) found me there and offered me the idea of a show, and then bought a piece for himself. Further, I was able to learn about Nate Anderson and Ear Candy Charity (@earcandycharity) on Twitter. Nate and I have struck up a relationship and $50 from every piece sold or commissioned at the Bookmans show will go to the charity and their efforts to provide musical instruments to kids music programs.

So I get to give back in a very real way to people not even involved with Twitter due to relationships formed on Twitter. I'd say that's a hit.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Yay! I CAN Paint!

I'm still adding more pieces to my redone online gallery, but I'm back to painting too. I've gotten some really cool commissions, and I'm excited to get to them!

I feel so lucky that I CAN paint. Not that I have the skill, but I have the opportunity and wherewithall. This is thanks to my support system, primarily my wife, now in her 3rd trimester ( To have such support is incredible.

This piece is Robert Johnson. I'm trading it to my friend John T. Unger. He has a place in my "Online Motivation" list to your right in the sidebar. If you haven't checked out his article about life and death, do. It's insanely inspiring.

I'm trading this piece to John because, 1) I like him and want him to have at least one of my pieces and 2) he needs financial and moral support. A used car salesman has ripped off his designs and then had the gall to sue HIM to overturn his copyrights for his Artisanal Firebowls. The legal fees could bankrupt John, but his attitude is so amazing (see the article he wrote, really) that he's fighting back with creativity. He's taking the scrap metal from the already scrap metal he uses for his firebowls to make whimsical small sculptures he's calling Fire Imps.

Here's the one I'm getting:

This afternoon, he's finally released the info about the lawsuit, having been advised by his lawyer heretofore to stay mum.

Here's his article about the situation along with how you can help:

I hope you'll take a moment to check out his work and see if you might like a piece of his, or if you'll be moved enough to share the story with others. I know I was.


Traded - Robert Johnson 10/26/09

Friday, October 23, 2009

Can I Paint Again Yet?

Whew! What a week!

I got it done though. My new gallery!

This is just in time, because that video I talked about a little bit ago is done too! It turned out amazingly! I'm so proud of it. Ryan at did such a good job.

I've embedded it on my "About Me/An Introduction" page. If you want to see it in high quality, you can go straight to YouTube. Then if it doesn't start in HQ, you can click the HQ button in the bottom right of the video box. It'll take a bit longer to load, but the paintings look way better.

I also sent out my email newsletter this morning. Baby and Bookmans news were the main topics. Good stuff. If you'd like to be included in my mailing list, just email me and let me know!

Have a good weekend! I'll be back to painting next week. Some cool commissions.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Under Construction; No Dust

The nice thing about having a virtual gallery, instead of one made of brick and mortar, is redoing it doesn't require closing up shop during construction. Handy.

In my last post, I introduced new genre labels for my blog posts. This week I'm going to revamp my main site gallery to be more user-friendly. Each piece is going to have its own page, bookmarkable and shareable. The pieces are going to be the actual pieces, instead of representative images. And they are going to be organized both alphabetically and by genre. Cool.

I realized after creating the blog post genre labels that I have enough pieces to do this now. The gallery will have the pieces listed for sale with PayPal "Buy Now" buttons, or will show the pieces as on consignment or sold. This'll make it much easier to tell people which pieces are on your wish list. Nice.

I'll be letting my newsletter subscribers know first when the change goes live, along with some other cool personal and art-related news. If you're not on my list, you can simply email me at the address above and let me know! Easy.


Nina Simone 10/19/09

Friday, October 16, 2009

Categorically Reluctant

I have over 400 posts on this blog now. I've tried to keep posting every weekday both for my sanity and to keep sharing with you, my art and my life.

This week I sold a Clapton to a woman as a surprise anniversary present to her guitar-playing husband. Very cool. But it was difficult to, over the phone, have her get to the examples of my paintings of blues guitarists. I only have that drop-down list over to your right.

But how do you categorize Clapton? Is he blues? Is he rock? Is he classic? Is he psychedelic?

I really don't like labels, but I know to expect you to be able to find who you want from one huge alphabetical list with a scroll bar is quite unfair. So I'm working on labels. Here they are so far, you can click on each to get all the posts which I've put in that category:


What do you think?


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Culling Curators


Middlemen have it the roughest these days. Record labels, book/magazine publishers, car salesmen, art galleries, realtors. With artists like Slash breaking traditional industry boundaries and with the well known issues of online distribution of information and content, it's tough.

But there's a new breed of middleman. Some of them are calling themselves curators. I'd not use such a, well, stodgy word. I'd use culler, a word not commonly used yet, but accurate. These people are filters.

Remember portals online? Like Ask or Infoseek or, well, AOL? Of course you don't. They've been replaced as the active, social media sites have revolutionized the sharing of information. I don't mean the actual information, the content. Blogs and the like have revolutionized the sharing of that. I mean the sharing of the sharing, the filter, the value-added directory.

So now, on these highly active sharing sites, the deal is to be the best at focussing on what you like to share and then finding the best postings online about the best examples of that, the fastest. These people who have thousands of followers on Twitter and hundreds of friends on Facebook spend their time grabbing links, repeating the ones that fit their focus, perhaps scanning original source sites like newspapers or even content producers and sometimes sharing links from those that haven't yet been shared. It's about building a reputation as the one to follow if you like such-and-such, and it's about connecting with other cullers to get insider tips, faster links, more followers.

I'm not sure what'll happen, but I know there'll be a shakeout, a quick one because everything on these social media sites happens, like, yesterday. It's like a vacuum in 2 senses: it'll suck you in and spit you out, and it's very echoey. Many are basically acting as relays. There are clever uses of the technology though.

I joined in one last month. A lady, @kim on Twitter, started #Artwalk. On Twitter, one way information gets connected together is through hashtags (#). Twitter makes these into links so you can click on them and it acts kind of like an indexing function. Kim's idea was to, once a month, have people share art links they like with the hashtag #Artwalk. Sort of a stroll through art online, turning Twitter into a virtual gallery. Culling at it's finest, if the quality is there.

And that's the trick I think, quality. With so much repeating of links and connections for the sake of connections, the actual content, the painting by Van Gogh on the museum website, can be lost. We need original, um, content. Again, not the actual content, the link content. The cullers who will make it out with maybe a real thing going will be those who find real stuff to share.

Seems obvious, but the noise level is rising online and it's still hard to tune in a signal. So I call out to you cullers, what do you really want? What do you want to share? Be as specific as possible and put that in your bio info. Then you can become the active directory people will remember and go to, like the old Yellow Pages.

I don't envy your mission, but if you choose it, commit.


Slash 10/15/09

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Time For Change

Mick Mars of Motley Crue

I keep getting taken by a fit of the evil chuckles when I look at this piece. Not sure why. Could be that the painting is shaping up to be awesome.

Could be because that video profile I told you about yesterday is shaping up to be awesome.

Could be because that show at Bookmans this winter is shaping up to be awesome.

Could be because my opening up to change is shaping up to be awesome. It's really a matter of deciding, committing. And then accountability, daily. Getting small goals done, checking them off a to-do list is so rewarding. Completing tasks is reward enough! Heck, it's getting me closer to my dreams for my Life. That's the point. Having that end in mind and then creating your journey to it positively, enjoying the way there.

Do you know what you want in order for your Life to shape up to be awesome?


Mick Mars 10/14/09

Monday, October 12, 2009

Head-On Profile

Miles Davis - (i) inspired by photo by Irving Penn

Something hopefully very cool is developing. The fellow who bought the 3 blue jazz pieces, including Miles Davis, is working with me to create a professional video profile! Using our new Flip videocam, my wife recorded me as though I were answering interview questions about my Vinyl Art. I then recorded myself painting this piece of Miles Davis. It'll all be editted together with music and stills and timelapse shots into a clip to share online.

I was really nervous filming myself. I'm not familiar enough with how I sound, let alone look, on camera to know how to do it. Fortunately my wife is honest! After half a beer I both sounded and looked much better, apparently. Yeah, I'm a light-weight. ;)

But having grown up an introverted listener, speaking about myself, especially in public, has always freaked me out. I'm bad enough writing about myself without questions to answer. And you should've heard me give my high school graduation valedictorian speech! I'd wished I hadn't done as well in school after that.

I do like talking about my art, answering questions. That's why I redid my 'About Me' page on my site as a Q&A. Along those lines, oh readers of mine, I'd love to know what other questions you have about me or my art. I am really open and, when prompted, can ramble until my wife tells me I should stop. ;)

So, what do you want to know?


Thursday, October 8, 2009



It gets in you. Doesn't it?

Makes your whole being kinda rise and fall in rhythm.

I am in awe of rock. I don't mean the "rock" as defined by the Hall Of Fame or the radio stations. I mean rock that you can feel below your feet deep in the earth. I mean rock that you can see miles above in the stratosphere. I mean rock that literally blows your eyelashes back when it hits you.

I mean music that is Life, that makes you keenly aware YOU are alive. Alive in *this* moment. And that you can do anything.

The rock that, well, rocks you.


Ozzy Osbourne 10/08/09

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Do You Wake Up To Music?

I've been really curious if this happens with other people.

I wake up with music playing in my head. Usually it's something I've listened to the day before, but sometimes it's totally random. It's like the iPod or jukebox in my head is on shuffle.

The cool thing? If I loop whatever chunk of music is in my head I can go right back to sleep.

Does any of this ring a bell? Or is it just me?


Monday, October 5, 2009

Friends, Family, Fans, Followers, Flickr, Phew!

Facebook Flickr Badge"Badges! We don't need no stinking badges!" I added the above Flickr Badge to my Facebook fan page today. I was trying to figure out a way to make a widget so that those of you who'd want to would be able to share a mini-slideshow of my work on your site or profile or whatever.

I'm a little famooshed this morning after trying a bunch of new things with my online stuff. Stuff. What else do you call it? Presence? Accounts? Profiles? Social Media?

There's Facebook which has a fan page and my personal account with friends and family. There's Twitter with followers. And there's Flickr with contacts. Each site, each environment requires a different approach. Subtle, but different. All try to do the same thing, engage and connect with music lovers and artsy people, yet...

Flickr is the simplest. Upload images, add tags and description, add to relevant groups. The strange thing is though that I get more random connections there. People just interested in art. A lot of street artists. I only communicate with them there for some reason. News about vinyl art shows usually ends up there first.

On Twitter, it's more about sharing ideas and people and links related to my art, but not my art directly so much. Followers seem to like big news, like being featured on Playboy, but the better updates are the ones that show who I am as an artist. I like architecture, this architect, these buildings. I came up with this saying on my way to lunch today. I like this lyric from this band I really like. There's this other cool guy here who does this neat artwork. That kind of thing. There is the ability to send messages, but users seem mostly to add images as favorites and occasionally leave public comments.

On Facebook, my fan page is solely news in various forms about my art. This is the charity event to which I donated pieces. Here is the video clip in which Mike Love signs my piece of him for DLFTV. This is the show in London to which I've submitted pieces. Those kinds of things. There is the ability to have discussions, but users seem to pay attention to fan pages more as a news feed with feedback.

Then, also on Facebook, my personal account is, well, more personal. Still about my art but mostly family and old friends and new ones I've made online. The updates are rarer there, as I figure most other stuff besides news about Abbey Grace is too mundane. I do go back and forth in comments more though, with multiple people joining in briefly.

And that's been the most complex part, figuring out where the conversation works the best. Since email seems to be fading, for whatever reason, and is being replaced by all these social sites, where do you find it the easiest to participate in discussions? The most comfortable?

No, really. I'm asking you. Where?


Friday, October 2, 2009

I Know They're Out There Somewhere

This Iggy Pop was a gift from a wife to her musician husband, a friend of mine from grade school. Here is my original post featuring the piece. It looks awesome right above a light like that, between more art even! Sid Vicious, Iggy Pop and the White Stripes. Doesn't get much better.

I love getting pics of people's pieces in place. I've only gotten a few, which you can see by clicking on "owner" in the label list at the end of this post.

I'd also dig pics of the stickers I've sent out, if people've stuck'em somewhere. My wife and I have ours in the corner of our rear windows. I'm looking forward to the day I first see one on somebody else's vehicle.

So if you have a piece of Vinyl Art or a VA logo sticker stuck and haven't sent me a photo, please please do. I'll feature you in a post unless you tell me not to, as well. Or if you know someone who has a piece, tell them! Thanks!


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Being An Artist Is Hard

So I overwhelmed myself again. Not with too much to do, but with the other usual concern, money matters. I'm not complaining, and I'm not doing badly either.

But there're no roadmaps for being an artist, a financially successful one. Especially since I'm largely avoiding the traditional gallery consignment route. In the course my dad gave me I'm supposed to write a business plan today, and formulate an ideal day. What are those for artists?

I dislike the commoditization of anything let alone art, and certainly time. This idea is sort of rubbing me the wrong way. Yes, there are certain things I could put into a routine. I think I'd benefit probably. So I'll give it a go, especially when money is tight and will get tighter with the birth of Abbey Grace.

I suppose the planning and organizing is just another thing which right now has a long-term payoff with short-term expenditures of time. I hope so, because as I was contacting Sir Paul McCartney's publicist yesterday, I looked at this post again, remembering my most important ultimate personal goal of creating Vinyl Art.