Monday, November 23, 2009

New Artist Identity

A couple of weeks ago, I had an epiphany regarding my business. For years, I've been trying to market myself as an architectural mosaic artist, dropping off pamphlets and portfolios with designers and sending emails to architects. While having lunch with the the other two artists involved in the enhancement of this new pediatric office, the more experienced of the three of us mentioned that the name of your business is of utmost importance when addressing architects. Apparently, they can be incredibly picky on this point. She explained that she shifted from a more casual, fun name to her actual name in order to put give a stronger impression with architects.

Immediately after this lunch, I had a meeting with a business advisor who drove the point home. She said no architect would even consider hiring "Cosmic Blue Monkey" for a commission, despite the quality of my work. This was shocking news to me, so I set to work right away figuring out how to reinvent my business in order to get paid actual income for my hard labor. I finally came up with JK Architectural and Fine Art Mosaic, and I have created a temporary website to go with it.

It is suddenly very clear to me that this is an extremely important step for me as an artist, and the time is right. For many years, I have enjoyed making little, functional items for festivals and holiday bazaars, but the profit margin on these things is nonexistent. They are so very labor intensive that I spend hours working on things that I can only get $30 for in this tight market, and after overhead, that pretty much comes out negative. My focus on recycling may be noble, but it won't put food on our table, and I now have a studio chock full of trash that I hope to make into something of quality, someday. I need to narrow my focus. It is time to stop mosaicking every jelly and mayo jar we use, stop soaking labels off of beer bottles thinking I'll find a use for them, stop saving milk cartons and laundry soap jugs. Then I will have more room to store the cupboard doors that I use for mosaic panels, the many containers of glass scrap, and really useful pieces of cement board and wedi for good quality mosaic panels.

I feel like such a grown up!

While I can't stop making things, and will certainly continue to crochet, sew and print during my "relaxation time", it is time to let go of that as a potential income generator. If I had found THE product that everyone loves, and had felt inclined to make that thing over and over, it would have worked out great. But the thing I love to make, and the thing I'm best at, is mosaic art that enhances spaces in a way that is functional and also decorative. For me, nothing brings things to life like mosaic, and I see potential for it everywhere.

I'm not ready to let go of Cosmic Blue Monkey Designs. I spent half the summer mosaicing a big sign for my studio, which isn't going anywhere. But I hope JK Architectural and Fine Art Mosaic will come to be known as one of the best sources for creative home and business accents on the West Coast, that I will be sought out for restaurants and courtyards and entryways and window treatments and , and, and....


No comments:

Post a Comment