Posts in women of colour
Art Work Sold!!!

I am writing this post with a real sense of excitement. I have sold my first ever art piece as a grown ass woman! The sense of achievement is immense and it fuels my creative mind to 'what next?'  

It is currently being shown in the Half Moon Theatre, 43 Whitehorse Lane, London, E1 0ND, as part of a group show. All the art work will be exhibited for 2 months, so plenty of time to see a variety of pieces created by artist teachers. 

Abstract Asian #1,  2017. Mixed media collage on canvas board. 

Abstract Asian #1, 2017. Mixed media collage on canvas board. 

The feedback I have had in response to the piece was really positive. The general consensus was the linear abstract quality coupled with the collaged section was what made the piece visually intriguing and aesthetically pleasing. Simple yet complex. Although I am biased I was really happy with how it turned out. To me it looked sophisticated in its mounted frame and passed the test of being actual art that could coexist in a gallery or home.

Which sounds somewhat stupid but creating art that is commercially viable is harder than you think. Well for me it is as my work can be too graphic design like in terms of its aesthetic and not something you could just hang on a wall anywhere.

So making a conscious effort to not only create a piece of art that is my own style but has that elevation of 'gallery' art status was a triumph for me. It triggers the business bit of my brain where I need to think more like a business women as opposed to an impoverished artist eating beans in my studio. Obviously the latter is so much easier but it is a reminder that whilst I want to be creative I have a point I want to make. I want to get my message out there in various formats using various mediums; be it art, magazines or t-shirts. All surfaces are potentially viable for me to place my mark on, to discuss racial equality in the commercial world and what better place to do it!  

So...on to the business side of things. My shortcomings are being afraid of the next stages, which I have commented on frequently. I am immobilising my own progress. I know what I need to do as you all are painfully aware of.

So, I have started the process with story boarding a short film I would like to have made. A studio has been identified in my area for the photo shoot. Just need to double check the prices on specific dates. I need to get a calendar so I can actually be timely, get some deadlines on it. Thinking about the aesthetic of both the photo shoot and film has been on my mind. Do I want women who are models or women who are your usual everyday lady we can associate ourselves with? I have settled on asking my friends, who are women of colour to see if they would be interested in participating and if they have friends also. The more the merrier.

So the mission today, as a minimum, will be to contact both my friends and the studio. So hopefully by next week I will be writing about moving forwards instead of spinning on a fixed point aka procrastination and feeling overwhelmed. 

To keep myself focussed I am including two of my favourite artists who are inspiring the short film I would like to make. These women have been influencers on my art work in various ways since art college for their poignant concepts and visual discourse they create.

 

Vanessa Beecroft 

Vanessa Beecroft was always a permanent fixture of inspiration within the pages of my sketchbooks. I loved her visual aesthetic and the shift in boundaries between art and fashion. How the space changed due to the presence of the living sculptures. How they were placed, where their gaze fell. Who was looking at who? It was just a matter of time when I could draw on her influences. 

Vanessa Beecroft was always a permanent fixture of inspiration within the pages of my sketchbooks. I loved her visual aesthetic and the shift in boundaries between art and fashion. How the space changed due to the presence of the living sculptures. How they were placed, where their gaze fell. Who was looking at who? It was just a matter of time when I could draw on her influences. 

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For I-D magazine  

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Solange was inspired by her  

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As was Kanye West for his Yeezy collections

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Very inspiring to see so many ethnicities - finally!  And how the creative worlds collide again and again. I love that aspect, so many possibilities. 

 

Gillian Wearing

Who challenged the concept of audience participation whilst questioning our perception of society and notions of photography based art. So simple yet so poignant. I still love this work and feel that it is as relevant today as it was when it was created in the early 1990's.

 

Signs that Say What You Want Them To Say and Not Signs that Say What Someone Else Wants You To Say  1992-3
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That would be nice!  

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Aren't we all?  

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I hope they still are. 

 

So I will print these these out and have them on my studio wall to keep the creative consciousness fuelled with inspiration, along with my timeline and post it notes as a constant reminder to proactively move this project forward. Time to get working. 

So Far...

Focus is key in business along with having a plan.  Being focused on creating a vision and how to achieve it has been at the forefront of my mind this week.  

The concepts I have - the creative world I would like to build, achieve, invite people into.  But the knowing how is the hurdle, having knowledge is power as they say and having the confidence to execute this vision is where I need to push myself.  Hence contacting a consultant.  

Like any artist, we suffer and question if what is being created is worth while.  But the desire to create is like oxygen, the outlet is needed, it is a requirement.  So therein lies the conflict.  Having a business and wanting to fulfil an ambition, to make it work is so important.  At this juncture having the confidence and knowledge is important in being able to fulfil all aspects.

So the research has started again.  Compiling lists of stylists, magazines, women of colour who are in the media world that I can contact who may be willing to help me raise the profile of the brand.  I have also spoken to my friend, who is a fantastic documentary film maker, about helping me create a short film to use as promotional material.  I need to put together a storyboard of locations and the way I want to convey the narrative.  The PR element is so important, which made me think about writing a synopsis of the brand and the ethos behind it, which engages people quickly.  This has been done and I am happy with the message it sends out.  It is clear and concise, hopefully people get on board with the idea.  The magazine I made has been doctored into a lookbook that still has my artistic touch on it in terms of it being mixed media and not just images.  I want everything to do with the brand to encapsulate my creativity, that is a hybrid of both the art and fashion world.  Hopefully I can print it out this week to proof it.  

I still have to action the photoshoot and contacting models who can participate in the shoot for me and getting a photographer of course.  My budget is zero so I am contemplating friends who may know people who could do it for free or at a lower cost.  Or if crowdfunding is an option to consider.  Either way I need to get on with this as a priority but so many things capture your attention.  I need to just have the confidence to get on with it instead of feeling overwhelmed, which is an easy default.

The most recent distraction has been an artist teacher exhibition I am a part of. Yesterday I completed painting one of the pieces I will include and today I framed both of them.  

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The above piece is a play on the 'Abstract Asian' image, which was a screen print to begin with that I have collaged and painted onto to create a slightly different aesthetic.  I really like how it has come out and I might consider printing this onto t-shirts in the future.  

The images I create are not solely for one surface or specific medium.  I like to play with the different ways in which they can be used and challenge the space in which they can be shown or used.  This has always been part of my artistic practice and area of curiosity.   

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The screen print above is a replica of the print that is on the t-shirts also entitled 'Abstract Asian'.  It has made me think about how the t-shirt could be framed and included as an art piece too.  But time is of the essence and I do not want to rush how this could work especially as I need to drop off the pieces at the gallery tomorrow.  

So now I just need to price up the work and label it correctly. 

Then back to the drawing board and list research.

Market Time - On The 'Up'?

This blog will be written over the course of the day. Today I am trading, for the first time, at Brick Lane 'Up Market'. As it is Easter weekend I am hoping there will be good footfall and some sales to be made. I have put all of my products on special offer so I hope I break even at least.

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So it is midday and the footfall is increasing, which is a good sign. People are engaging with the products, again another encouraging sign. A purchase was nearly made but the fit was not quite right for the gentlemans frame. Such a shame as he really liked the Abstract Asian print sweatshirt and was really apologetic, which was really sweet and made me feel somewhat better about not making the sale. 

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14:00 - some sales have been made hurrah. There is so much truth in the saying that buying from an independent business means that we do a little dance on the inside after each sale.   So far, a Maya t-shirt has been sold, an Abstract Asian print and two Maya tote bags.  Maya is popular today.  Fingers crossed for a couple more purchases by the lovely public. 

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17:00 - I have made the rent and a bit more so I am feeling super happy.  It is always a big concern if you are going to return home with breaking even or not at least. So for my first venture here I am happy with the positive vibes I have received from people and of course their purchases.

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To summarise, I feel very happy with my overall experience at the market today. There was a lot more interaction with the products and people showing genuine interest in the brands overall aesthetic and ethos. Also, I have met some really lovely traders around me, who were really supportive and made the day go by quickly with various chat. I think that is what makes a market, the community and support from one another.  Because we are all entrepreneurs in our own way whether it is from a creative perspective or selling various goods.  I think my pitch really helped also.  Located in the middle between the food and the beginning of the other traders made the footfall past my stall even better. So I will endeavour to request that spot for next time if I can. 

With this new positivity I need to utilise it.  To build up the brand with the feedback from the fashion consultant and other people in the know along with building on my research, contacts and much more. Watch this space, as usual.