Thursday, November 30, 2017

11.30.17 The business vs. creative end of being an artist

I posted this in FB this morning: Hi folks in FB group. Does anyone here remember, do we have to have tags on our images that are uploaded to the web so if someone types in “abstraction” or “portrait” etc. that our artwork would pop up in their search results?

If this is the case, then that is yet one more thing I need to do. Go back and change the tag names on the images of my artwork on my website. Not to mention, get someone else to upgrade my website. Just one more thing on the business to do list. 

Stay focused. 
Need to clear out apartment of stuff. 
Need to clear out my studio and let it go. 

Maybe do something like oh - a sketch? Start a painting, do some sort of collage or creative endeavor, if only for an hour today? Just get playing with art materials today?

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Wednesday November 29, 2017

What I accomplished today:
DDS appointment a.m. w/o taking anxiety pill.  Found a quiet place to read in a hotel lobby area! Read for 30 minutes. (Happy moment) Bus home. Made fabulous lunch: salad influenced by Paris. Washed dishes. Went to job- showed studios to two people. Saw the floor where everyone has been evicted (1/2 of the floor where I have a studio) very depressing. It looks like a war zone. Empty. Change taking place. Took more stuff out of the studio to take back home to my apartment. Last few days before I lose access to the elevator. Drove home. Light dinner. Washed Face, brushed teeth. Wrote in my journal. Grateful for: bandaids, ice packs for inflamed shoulder, bed, pillow, comforter, nail clippers, glasses, hair clips.

Where I am Stuck: can’t seem to carve out any time for art making at the moment.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Golden Colorado

View from windows at Golden Colorado Hotel. 
Just returned from a three day conference: “Artbiz Breakthrough” where 100 artists from different areas in the world convened in the small town of Golden Colorado to be in a conference with Alyson Stanfield! What steps, actions, and systems an artist needs to have in place in order to have their own art business breakthroughs. Her mission/business helps artists grow and evolve with their own big dreams, quests and personal artbiz path. 
Still seeing how the dust is settling in my path. Watching and listening for the whispers and breakthroughs.



Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Forming Trumps America

The painting early on:
The finished painting:
Lisa Aksen © 2016
Mixed Media
11" x 11"

This is how I dealt with the news of Donald Trump winning the presidential election.
"Forming Trumps America" and what this means moving forward.
White supremacy will be the norm.
Bullying and bigotry is now an accepted and approved way of behaving as exampled by the President elect.
Building a wall and deporting all illegals and Muslims in America.
Suppressing feminism and overturning Roe v. Wade.
"Make America Great Again"

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Finished the Three-Ring Binder Project!


What was it like for me?

The seed was planted to do this while visiting numerous artist studios and I would occasionally come across one or two artists who had three-ring binders of their artwork that covered the development and span of years of created works and I was fascinated to see the progression in these binders!

I took on the project of  “the three-ring binders” to inventory my early work/style from 1982 - 2015 (the tightly rendered - illustrative style artworks) I knew I wanted to do for my work. 

It was hard. I don’t know why it was so hard. Or why it took so long. Why each page could take over an hour to create. Well, it was reflective on how much photo-editing an image needed.

It was also hard because of growing pains. Learning how to work in different software programs. Which software to use for which element of the process to get to a finished page. 

Looking at the five completed binders my inner critic pipes in and says: Really Lisa? This took you how many years to complete? Really? 
Well - yes, because there were huge learning curves to address.

First I had to go through all the folders on my computer to find images of the works.
Then rename and create new file folders for art images. 
Then take photographs of works I did not have image files for, download images, change the image size of the photos to make different image sizes for each work.
Then measure each piece to fit within the framework of the page.
Then create a filing system.
Then create an inventory list.

The computer reached its memory capacity and an external hard drive had to be purchased. 
A printer died and a new one had to be installed which took over two hours to hook up with technical support.
Learning curves galore...online marketing classes, updating my website, blog, and researching other artists online with their websites/blogs/social media presence… 

I’m not sure why it was such a struggle. But for some reason I have been fighting a war within myself. I knew I wanted to do this project, but, it was not easy.

What did I learn?

I learned I had to get really organized with my computer files. 
I had to slow down, do one thing at a time, not multi-task doing three things at the same time. Know that things take three times longer than you plan for. 
I remember saying to myself, o.k. try to process five images/pages a day. I would be lucky if two got done. Over 200 hours went into this project. Probably a lot more considering the learning curve.

Download the image.
Upload the image. 
Create different size image files of the same image.
Open up Photoshop and clean up an image. 
Create file folders for each image. 
Create a page for each image that includes the image, its title, medium, size and year created. 

What do I notice?

A calm feeling of accomplishment and small sense of confidence that I completed this project.

A feeling of delight and pride in completing this undertaking that felt daunting at first.

I have gotten much better at photographing artwork, photography in general, and am quite the photo-editor if I do say so myself. 

Now that there is a “blue print” - it should be much easier and faster to do the next binder series. 

I feel lighter as if a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. 

I feel peace and an inner quiet. I did it. I tackled that big project that felt overwhelming at times, but, I bit off a little bit each day, and got more and more organized and it slowly got done. 

I feel a bit more confident moving forward. It should be easier to keep this process up.

I got over the many hurdles it took to complete this project. I stuck to it, even with life’s daily struggles and tribulations. 

How doing this impacts my art now.

Now it is almost like second nature that I do the “15 steps” after completing a work of art. In my case, it’s 16 as I want a print out page of the image to put into a three ring binder of completed works for that year. 

I am aware of how much documentation work needs to accompany every completion of a work of art.

I am a bit more surrendered to the reality that this is part of the process in being an artist. 

One doesn’t just make the art.
One has to document it, and get it seen.
There are many steps in the business of being an artist.
Being an artist is a full time job. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Why MUST I make art?

Wassily Kandinsky "Succession" 

Lisa Aksen "Mannequins Who Love Kandinsky Too Much"

Recently I was asked the question: Why MUST I make art?

This is one of those questions I come back to over and over again.  

To follow is a fast fifteen minute answer to a question that could be pondered daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. It might be interesting to see what the response to this question would be if pondered every week for a year. 

Here is today’s response Wednesday, October 12, 2016.

It's part of my raison-d'ĂȘtre. My reason for being. 

I've been making art my entire life. It's something I do and consider to be part of my DNA. 

It's one part meditation, one part therapy, one part self-expression, one part healing, one part balancing, one part freeing. It's my way of connecting to a part of myself (the artist | creative part) that says: everything is all right. This is what you are here to do and is the one thing you have complete control over. Except for the abstract painting process. Those paintings feel like I am a vessel for some other higher power that is funneling though me. As if my body and breath are being used by this other force to move pigment over surfaces and it decides when the work is finished, not me. 

But, any other creative output... the tightly rendered drawings, paintings, plastic crocheted works, the photographs are all under my control. 

Is that the ego speaking? 

I do have some inert talent.

I occasionally feel joy and inner happiness when in the state of making/creating. 

It's how I contribute to society, as part of the social discourse, to culture and art in this time, this present moment, no matter how many people see it.

The final product is an element of beauty, a creative inspiration (1% inspiration, 99% perspiration),  completed  to hang on someones wall. It is a story, an abstraction, an illustration that brings a bit of delight to the spirit in an otherwise difficult struggle to live and survive each day.

It's my way to keep sane. For when creating, I am fine, focused, working on what I was put here to do. When making art, I'm in the state of gratitude, grace and the glass is half full. My spirit is lit up, content and delighted to be drawing lines, mixing paints, and composing a work of art. To create something from nothing. To delight in creating something new that didn't exist before I brought it forth. 

It's my "gig".




Monday, September 26, 2016

Open Studios, Questions and Rising from the Ashes



Open Studios, is a time of shmoozing, talking and connecting with people. Ideally, a time to make new connections and maybe sell works to new collectors. I asked questions and made consorted efforts to connect with others. Reminding myself: we are all the same. We are all human beings.  

I am left only with questions.

Who were the collectors? 
Who were friends of other artists in the building? 
Who were people just doing a free activity? 

What did I learn?
What was the take-away?
What sold? 
What new contacts were made?
Which works spoke to which people?
Who were the shrimpers?
Who were artists walking around to scope out and see other studio spaces? 
Who were the artists coming by to see, steal and question techniques and ideas?
Who were the people I touched, moved or inspired?

How does my art reflect upon life’s big questions? 
I find myself in a constant battle within when it comes to the creative process.

Who am I?

I used to make art for the sake of making art and as an outlet and escape from my life’s frustrations, struggles and failures. 
Recent abstract works are created from a state of gratitude of presence and being. Both processes seem important to my psyche.

Who am I making art for? 
Why do I make art?
What matters to me? 
What do I have to say? 
Am I done? 
Does anyone even care? 
Is anyone even interested? 

To do it or not to do it? That is the question. 
Whether it is nobler to create and show works, and if so only to show the most recent works? 
Is it o.k. to exhibit older works? I have so much inventory that would be wonderful to move out into the world. 

How much to show?
How many styles? 
How much is enough?

William Shakespeare 
“To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.--Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd!”