2017 The Year of Design

February 15, 2018

I have had quite a jour­ney lead­ing up to 2018. My friends and fam­i­ly have fol­lowed and sup­port­ed me through the crazy antics of an artist/entrepreneur. I owe my hus­band a great deal for encour­ag­ing me to do what I love. The road has been inter­est­ing, chal­leng­ing and I have learned a lot. This is my art life time­line.

2008 — 2012 Sweet Harvey Press

In 2008 I grad­u­at­ed with my degree in Graph­ic Design & Fine Art. I focused main­ly on stock illus­tra­tion and let­ter­press print­ing dur­ing 2008–2012. My stock designs were on istockphoto.com and I print­ed and sold my let­ter­press goods through Etsy and at Indie Fairs. Let­ter­press was fan­tas­tic, but the cus­tom plates for my illus­tra­tions were cost­ly and there was a 705lb print­ing press in my din­ing room. That worked for a few years, but my hus­band and I real­ly want­ed to move out of the city and pur­chase a small­er house that we could quick­ly pay off. That small­er house was not going to include a print­ing stu­dio and quite frankly, the task of mov­ing our stuff and a 705lb machine was daunt­ing. So the deci­sion was made and the press was sold to a love­ly artist who worked for Dis­ney.

2013–2014 Art Licensing

Print­ing end­ed up feel­ing like pro­duc­tion work, as I sold A LOT of hand­made prod­ucts through­out those years. I decid­ed that mov­ing for­ward I would pass the pro­duc­tion on to oth­er com­pa­nies, through licens­ing (I will go into much detail about licens­ing in lat­er posts). After learn­ing pat­tern design, I signed with a licens­ing agent in 2013 and focused 2013–2014 on pro­vid­ing her with art­work. The mon­ey was alright, but the art­work require­ments were very intense and trend based. If I have to draw anoth­er San­ta in my life­time, it will be too soon! On an impor­tant side note, I opened up a tiny design shop just before sign­ing with my agent called Dig­iluxe, more about that in 2017.

2015 Powpourri The Retail Shop

We moved to Win­ter­set Decem­ber 2014 and 2015 became the year of the retail shop. I was still design­ing for my agent at the time so it was tricky to try to do both. My hub­by and I opened a shop on the square and it was anoth­er learn­ing expe­ri­ence for me. The over­head (rent, util­i­ties, etc.) was rough and I found that if you are going to have a hand­made shop, it works bet­ter if you are sell­ing var­i­ous artists work. It is impos­si­ble to please every­one with a sin­gle style and if you traf­fic is min­i­mal then you need to have more to offer. I also missed work­ing from home and not hav­ing to dri­ve in the snow. Need­less to say, the shop was short lived and I quick­ly moved on.

2016 The Year of the Paint

Once the shop wound down and I was just about fin­ished with my agency con­tract, I decid­ed that my art time would be spent on paint­ing. I had not paint­ed since art school and I missed it very much. My new house in Win­ter­set has a large open base­ment, wouldn’t have worked for a press to come down­stairs, but I could paint there. The only issue was the light­ing or lack of, but I worked around that. I paint­ing like crazy in ear­ly 2016 and start­ed doing shows in late May. I found that the econ­o­my was rough for art in the price range that I had to offer. Either that or I was doing the wrong shows (I will go into more detail about art shows in the com­ing months) for now, let’s just say that I was not able to make a liv­ing doing shows.

2017 The Year of Design

As much as I loved paint­ing, I had to find a way back to earn­ing a decent liv­ing. It was that or find a part-time/­full-time job. When I start­ed think­ing about how to make mon­ey, I knew that design was the only way. I have found over the years that peo­ple always find mon­ey for neces­si­ties. They need graph­ic design to run their busi­ness­es and there is always wedding/important life events that needs invi­ta­tions, etc.

About this time, my hus­band and I had a con­ver­sa­tion about “what­ev­er hap­pened to Dig­iluxe?” (remem­ber that busi­ness I men­tioned back in 2014). We had both thought that was a fab­u­lous idea at the time, but right after I start­ed it, I signed with my agent and didn’t real­ly have time to invest in it. So, there is was, the hope­ful solu­tion. I spend 24/7 the entire year of 2017 to build Dig­iluxe into a lucra­tive busi­ness and so far, so good. Thank you so much to all of my cus­tomers! Thank you also to my hus­band for putting up with a bit of an absence on my part. I was very deter­mined.

2018 Design + Something NEW

Now that I have a sol­id base for my busi­ness, I final­ly have a bit of free time. 80% of my time will still need to be spent on main­tain­ing and build­ing my graph­ic design busi­ness, but I am final­ly tak­ing the week­ends for myself. So how will I be fill­ing my week­ends? Fine Art? For sure, but I won’t be paint­ing. I will miss it, but I have moved my stu­dio upstairs into a bed­room so there is real­ly no room for can­vas stor­age or all of the larg­er sup­plies need­ed for paint­ing and I paint large. I am work­ing on select­ing a medi­um that requires min­i­mal sup­plies and will fit with­in a super small stu­dio space.

Well, this end­ed up being much longer than I had planned, but I want­ed to illus­trate how an artists jour­ney can go. The road is not always straight and not always easy, but total­ly worth it. I do intend to pro­duce detailed posts about sev­er­al of the direc­tions I have tak­en and to out­line the good, the bad and the ugly.

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