Posted in Professional Practice

Art Supplies Haul – January 2019

First, let me talk about the language at play here: I love the idea of having so many art materials dropped on me that I have to haul them away. Strenuously dragging my swag back to my lair!

In reality, most of the swag is delivered after clicking a button online, but never mind. The dream is alive.

Also, I’ve never watched an art supply haul video but I am aware that they exist. I can see the appeal to some people but I’m not into it unless it’s one specific product that I need to look at before buying – I just want to buy the stuff and roll around in myself rather than watch someone else. So here goes!

And to add to this, this swag list will include materials I buy for my other half (since I’ll probably be nicking some off him in the near future), and equipment we buy to share between all of us. There’s a lot of art making, engineering and crafting going on in the house, so here’s a peep.

Permaset Aqua 300ml – Mid Red

Permaset Aqua Mid Red

I bought mine for £11.99 from Amazon, but Jackson’s Art has it 9p cheaper at the moment.

I was hovering around whether to get this just yet as I’m not ready to start printing, but I was tempted by a TopCashback offer to make it just a bit cheaper… and it’s the only colour I need after last month’s ink-buying spree.

Firbon A4 paper cutter

This paper cutter is a pretty handy piece of kit, and a pretty good replacement for the little guillotine that served me well for a decade before breaking last year.

Although it’s entirely made of plastic, unlike my old one, it does the job pretty well and there’s almost no chance of slicing off any parts of anyone’s anatomy, again, unlike the old choppy guillotine. Annoyingly, Amazon now has it on sale at £7.99 – £2 less than I paid for it!

3 rolls of 3M masking tape

I actually got these from Lidl for £2.49 and couldn’t quite find an exact equivalent online. Ste didn’t get why I would jump at masking tape but I’ll be going through a ton of it when I get back to screen printing – all the screen edges will need to be masked, and more.

One thing I know is that with all-purpose consumables, even the boring ones, is that you have to grab the bargains whilst they’re hot, because you’re going to use them up eventually!

Worbla sheet – 75cm x 100cm.

A couple of months ago I’d never even heard of Worbla – it’s a thermoplastic material that comes in a sheet and can be shaped and reshaped by heating it.

I got this one as a present for Ste, so he’s got it stashed away in his workroom. I’m really looking forward to seeing what he sculpts with it, and let’s be honest, I’m looking forward to pinching a bit to see what I can make too!

This roll cost £26.08 at the time and was shipped from Germany; it seems it’s pretty big over there and not as well known here.

Art supplies haul total cost:

£50.55. Not bad, I think; I did a lot more damage last month, but I hadn’t started this then! Will sharing it help me spend less? Or goad me into spending more?


5 Potential Career Paths For Artists

If you’re talented at art or design and you want to know what career paths are available as an artist, well you’ve certainly got a wide range of options available to you.

Here are some potential careers you can pursue using your art degree or talent as an artist.

Illustrator

Even though the rise of Kindle and the e-books have come about, physical books are still going strong. Books, for children, in particular, will always need illustrations and whether your style is like Quentin Black, Nick Sharratt or unlike anything on the current market, then doing illustration may certainly be a viable career path for you.

Think about what area of books and literature your illustrations would fit into and then approach companies that use them.

Tattoo Artist

This one’s not for me as I’m not a fan of tattoos or any permanent body modification, but I do admire the skill that goes into medical tattooing and how a talented artist can change a patient’s life for the better.

A steady hand is certainly required in some professions, and a tattoo artist needs just that. You can also have a bit more of a creative collaboration with each client as they’ll likely need something different and personable to them. It’s great to have this relationship as it’ll help improve and develop your own style and techniques. So if you’re familiar with stencil paper and feel confident drawing permanent ink on others, then this one’s for you.

Fashion Designer

As a fashion designer, a love for fashion is obviously key as well as a keen eye for what colors, textures and patterns work. You’ll also know a lot about what trends work and when they’re popular.

The fashion industry can be a very competitive industry, and it’s all about networking and getting your designs seen and worn by influential people. But if you’ve got something unique that can attract a new market or challenge a current one, then it’s certainly worth trying, even if it fails.

Art Teacher

Art is taught from an early age in education, and without it, the world would be a lot more dull and boring. So it’s important that there continue to be those who teach art, and teach it well. It can be a very fulfilling but challenging role, and it might not be for everyone.

However, it’s useful to know which area of education you’d suit best and what type of art you’d like to teach. You can get a lot of satisfaction from seeing a student flourish, so it’s a great career path to consider.

Motion Graphics Designer

If you prefer the digital aspect of designing then exploring motion graphics might be right up your street.

With special effects, animation and the television and film industries very prominent in today’s society and culture, there will always be roles available within motion graphic designing. It can be a long process, but you’ll be contributing to potentially iconic television shows and movies that will be a legacy for you beyond your lifetime.

It’s good to contact production companies to get an idea of what’s available, and you also need to think about what genres of the industry you’d like to design for.

There’s a lot of career paths available so even if none of these are for you, there’s still plenty more to pick from – so get researching!

The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook can give you the contacts you need to break into different art, illustration and design careers.

Lumi Inkodye Projects

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Lumi Inkodye Projects

I was given a Lumi Inkodye Sunfold kit by a very generous friend, and I finally had a chance to play around with it during a recent heatwave. After waiting for ages to try it out, I was totally hooked!


Creating My Home Art Studio

Creating my home art studio:

Since moving house I’ve been chipping away at getting my new studio ready. By ready I don’t mean simply ready to work in – oh no, I mean ready enough to be shared with the internet.

A few months in and I’ve decided that it’ll never be that ready, so I might as well force myself to start sharing pictures of the work in progress.

My home art studio - a work in progress with customised desk and Stokke Tripp Trapp chair.

Upcycling and Frankensteining

I did a lot of work on my lime green desk, which is the only furniture project that’s “done” so far. After painting it all (with paint left over from my last house) I waxed it (with furniture wax left over from 2011). Then I covered most of it up with canvas shoe holders salvaged from the side of two canvas wardrobes.

I’ve also been working on making a storage unit/light box out of an old demi-lune table and a drum kit. It’s in use at the moment but I’ll add pictures once it’s closer to finished.

 

Finding room for everything is a challenge

With a conservatory pressed into service as a studio, the main challenge is the lack of wall space. What’s brilliant about it is its main drawback – three of the four walls are mostly made of glass – but I dare not complain about anything at all about my studio. I love it!

Still, I need more desk space to paint on. I’ve got my eye on my current dining table which is due to be replaced soon and will afterwards migrate into the studio.

Right now, there seems to be a lot of space taken up by fabric and craft materials that I don’t use in my fine art practice, so I need to spend some time zoning areas and prioritising space for painting, carving and printmaking.

 

Getting around to making new work…

Getting used to a new house and finding a place for everything is very time consuming, so all my work has been put on hold for a while. Now that things are settling down, it’s time to get back down to business!


Making Art That Fits Your Life (Instead Of Fitting Your Life To Your Art)

What do I mean by making art that fits your life?

A while ago, I wrote about the cycle of burnout that I’ve experienced by trying to achieve too much in too short a space of time. I took a quote from that post and put it on Instagram:

Want to avoid the cycle of burnout? Make your (art)work fit your life, not the other way around.

 

Another artist commented, “Ok. What does that look like?”

 

Fair question! Here’s what it looks like for me:

 

My circumstances limit me, but that’s ok – they also make me

When I dove back into fine art by resuming my degree, I was overwhelmed with how much “catching up” I had to do in order to get back to where I would have been a decade before. I didn’t have many gallery shows to put on my art cv, and I couldn’t apply for residencies as I was a single parent. Every job, opportunity or event I applied for had to fit in around the school run, vacation times and babysitters.

 

I was anxious to get things right, so I did try to hit the ground running after I graduated – I took my son to school and drove for hours to a stately home where there was a callout for a site-specific commission. After the tour and presentation, I raced back to the school to pick my son up. It was an exhausting day… and ultimately I didn’t get the commission. Of course, I was disappointed, but in hindsight it was clear that the opportunity was just that bit too far away for me to realistically manage.

 

For a long time I seemed to come across exhibition callouts, commissions, jobs and residencies that I couldn’t do. I kept on seeing the residencies, unpaid internships, weekend work, socially engaged practice commissions, day-long networking meetups and other opps that I just wasn’t cut out for. Most of it came down to the fact that I was a single parent, and that was not going to change.

 

Eventually I came to see that I was defining success in terms of recreating what my career would have looked like if I’d never dropped out of art school, moved across the Atlantic and had a child. But if none of that had ever happened, I wouldn’t be me today. I would never trade having my child for anything, so why should I compare my life with him to a life without?

 

I believe that many women face the same situation, as women still bear the primary responsibility for childcare in most households and experience the physical interruption of their careers when they have children. Of course, there are some men who find themselves in a similar situation as well. What I’m suggesting is not to deny oneself the right to aspire to ambitious projects or work, but to accept the fact that your limitations are not necessarily negative, just because it doesn’t fit the picture that you may expect.

 

Circumstances that limit us can be seen as parameters in which to function and perhaps flourish. Of course, if something is within your power to change, and you want to change it, then do it! Shortly after my experience with the failed commission bid, I moved to London – a pretty big move for my family – to work and study. It meant that I seriously stretched the boundaries of my limitations and ultimately, I gained a lot from it.

Looking at what I could do instead of what I could not

Unpaid internships – I had a child to care for, so no thanks. Weekend work – no childcare and no desire to miss out on all that time with my son. Networking – only during certain hours. Socially engaged art and workshops – I had no experience and frankly, no real interest in them.

I felt as though I was facing a brick wall of “no”. Fast forward several years and I have very different circumstances, and with them a different set of limitations… but I also have a lot more contentment than I used to, and that’s integrated with focusing on my opportunities. Seizing the opportunities that were available to me meant I gave a lot of energy to work that I could do from home, and it led to the creation of my tiny online empire!

 

Now, I sell my art on Etsy, run several blogs and work part-time in art education. I’ve also started to develop a course to help artists who feel a bit derailed by life’s limitations, especially financial limitations. You can find out more about that over on artandmoney.co.uk.

I’m a lot happier and a lot more productive because of creating the right environment in which to make my work – making the work that fits my life!

Defining success in terms of what recreating what you could have done in the past can never be true success.Make art that fits your life, instead of trying to make your life fit your idea of art.Make art that fits your life, instead of trying to make your life fit your idea of art.

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