I made a post recently called Don't Blog Angry. I received a few letters afterwards from sweet chicks who think I'm mad at them. I want to clear this up for any of my students who post on my blog.
I don't mean you. I mean...
1) There are people who have taken my classes and do not promote me; in fact, they teach online the very same style that I taught them. Some of these people tell me that they couldn't draw a face before taking my classes, and yet I see those very same students in Somerset Studio Magazine describing themselves as "self taught". There is no difference between me teaching you in one of my classes online and you taking a class in a college. I teach real stuff. This is not crafting - I teach you how to draw and shade and paint. I started online with the intention of teaching women of the world how to make art so they could sell it and make money. When I first started doing this, Paulette Insall was the very first mixed media artist to teach online. I was the second. I did not take her class because I didn't want to be subconsciously influenced by her and therefore inadvertently steal her hard work. I figured out everything for myself, from how to start a website to house my students, and how I could let them download videos. I didn't ask her what camera she used. I didn't copy her style. When I taught, I gave my students everything I knew. I spent hours personally critiquing everyone's work even though my first class had 500 students in the first 2 months. I wanted my students to be able to do whatever they wanted to do, and I worked hard to get them there. I imagined my students would sell their art and that they would promote me as a teacher in return. Some have. But many more have become my competitors.
And that's capitalism. I'm an East Coast girl - I can handle competition. I continue to put out quality lessons and I'm ten steps ahead. You bitches ain't seen nothing yet. : )
2) There are artists online who have not taken my classes and who do not give a crap about me or integrity. They comment on my pages solely to promote themselves. They say things like, "Hi, great post! Visit me here blah, blah, blah," and post a link to their own blog or website or a link to their Etsy shop. My life is so full with making art that I barely have time to market myself and I certainly do not use other people's websites or walls to do so. How lame.
3) When I say "industry people" I'm talking about companies who make art products and books and the designers who work for them. I went to CHA, Craft and Hobby Trade Show, for three years. I was 'friends' with the people in the business, in the circles. Dude, it's so horribly fake I felt ill. Everyone pushes their own shit like it's the best thing ever, and so much of it is so mediocre that it's not even funny. Still, there's nothing wrong with being a designer, and nothing wrong with being a salesman, but it ain't a gig for me. I can't sell something I don't really believe in.
I grew up in the wholesale business - my mom was a buyer. Since the age of ten, she'd take me with her to the Boutique Show in New York where fashion models walked down carpeted aisles. I grew up in New York showrooms. I am not a redneck, I understand business, but there is something seedier going on in the corporate craft world. There is an
underlying manipulation, very much like high school, where the girls
who are seen as more 'successful' placate you, little you, by pretending
to be your friend. I comprehend aquaintances, but there was a designer who would write on my wall, "come live on my farm!" Or wherever the hell she was, but in person she would ignore me.
Or the designer who on the third day of CHA said, "Let's take a photo and put it on Facebook!" She knew my dad had recently died, she mentioned she was sorry, my hair was all chopped to shit and I had forever bags under my eyes from crying. I said, "You can take a picture, but you cannot put it on Facebook." The look on her face was like I had slapped her. I went into a rant about how all of the posing was bullshit and not real and she quickly scooted away from me and started talking and laughing with the salespeople. OMG. Or, the famous publisher who blogged about me all the time and roomed with me at events and blah blah blah. A year after my dad died, I saw her. I was still fkd up and not very functional, and I think my wig was purposely on crooked. The look she gave me said it all - how unfortunate it was that I couldn't keep up and that spending time with me wasn't beneficial to her anymore. I will never forget that.
Like most corporate businesses, the craft and art world are hyper fake. I've seen it. I've experienced
it. Don't believe the blogs. Those successful artists you know, teaching little old you how to be successful too - they make their websites look all indie, but they work for big corporations or they come from well-to-do families. Their lives are nothing like yours or mine. And how about those people who use my name as a tag in their shops on Etsy so their items come up before mine, even though they don't mention me anywhere in their shop or their descriptions. It's gross and unethical, and shows a lack of integrity. No, I take that back - what it is is capitalism without a conscience, and I want no part of that.
I could put my art on stuff and get it produced in sweatshops in China.
I could work for a company and tell you THIS THING IS THE BEST THING EVER AND YOU NEED IT.
I could network with other 'successful' artists and pretend we are best friends so you will think we belong to some exclusive world that you are not a part of but wish you could, so you pay big money to be like us.
But I'm not gonna.
I have to live with myself and wake up happy and calm, not with a knot in my stomach. I don't care what those other people do, really, it is their right. I am only sitting here in my little blog telling you, the 'real' chickies I am truly friends with, that all that is not me and my rant is not directed at you. I do have gypsy dreams and have a lot of cool stuff to do and teach, but I am not part of the machine. Does that make sense?
True indie girls unite! One of my students told me that she is selling her paintings at a local farmers market and I LOVE THAT. I am putting that on my vision board.