marketing

Strike: Like a Match

Every once in a while there are striking moments of inspiration. Has this happened to you? Why does it happen when you least expect it? Has it happened during a moment in time that seemed to be inconvenient? That is exactly what I was feeling at 6:53 pm on Saturday evening. For whatever reason it hit me like a bolt of lightning. Spark, a fire was lit in my mind. It wasn’t lit by looking at all the pretty things on instagram. It happened as a direct result of the previous 18 hours. First was attending Raw Pop Up, the second was walking around the Miami Design District with my favorite person, and third was taking the day to recharge. 

    Before I dive into the concept of inspiration I have to express the experiences that have lead to the bolt. The first four months of 2018 I gladly gave away certain parts of myself, my time, and my love of who I am. I had a solo exhibition, discovered way points, grieved my friend I always believed would be present at my wedding, lost a part-time job, got involved in a “start-up” company. I had the honor of being a maid of honor, collaboratively threw a Miami Music Week party, shut down, cleaned up, moved things, organized furniture. I forgot what I was doing, constructed a financial business plan for a company I didn’t want, I remembered who I am, remembered what to do, I met people, I watched every episode of How to Get Away With Murder on Netflix. I reconstructed the Alchemist business plan. I offered a co-founder partnership and was denied. I brunched with a design idol I lurk on instagram. I pivoted. I learned. I celebrated. I got inspired.

    Now let’s talk about how inspiration happens and what to do when it lights the fire in the mind. When it strikes like a match and there is only a moment before it burns out or burns your fingertips. First was the excitement to experience the multi sensory art exhibition by former Young Artists Initiative now Raw Pop Up. I had missed the first installment during Art Week in December. Jared got us tickets as part of my birthday weekend events. I am so glad we went to dinner before standing in the line to enter the Moore Building. After 20 or more minutes we made our way to the front door and passed through the white and tulle fabric suspended from the ceiling. The music was obnoxiously loud. The building was full of trendy 20 and 30 somethings all with their phones out. As I made my way to the first installation I wasn’t sure if I was looking at art as several girls held flash lights hanging from the ceiling and posed for photos. It was difficult to get around the crowd and make our way to the stairs to get to the next floor. Up against the handrail there were bar tables that obstructed the traffic flow on each floor. It was a great experience even if I felt pushed out the door. I was able to see something that truly inspired me. I saw several art installations showcasing a low standard of craft and concept. This just pushed my spirits higher, this reminded me that I’m doing exactly what I am supposed to, and to keep doing it. 

    We left Raw Pop Up and wondered the Design District streets browsing the real life instagram moments of luxury brands. The glowing facades. The trimmed trees. Being sandwiched between a furniture showroom and luxury fashion storefront. That is my everything. It excites me. Inspires me. The clean lines, and perfectly placed merchandise. The felt, the silk, the metal, the wood. I was like a little kid in an ice cream shop and I want a scoop of every flavor. I love this neighborhood at night. It has all the Miami vibes without the overwhelming tourists. The shops were closed which made the surroundings palatable, quiet, and special. I was able to lovingly peek into the storefront windows. To experience these moments uninterrupted. 

    Yesterday I had the pleasure of sleeping in. I stayed in my pajamas for most of the day. I fell asleep in my makeup the night before which I wiped from my face around 11am. I sat at my third desk, the couch. I updated spreadsheets, doodled, and cuddled with my poodle. I was in recharge mode. I was taking some time to breathe. Making assessments, timelines, goal setting, and watching Scandal. Nothing about this was pretty. The real moments aren’t. The typical day to day for the average person isn’t an instagram moment that you post to your story to look cool, and inspire the followers. Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. It’s a topic that comes up in my mind from time to time. About curating, and executing, and showing off, and shameless self-promotion. I don’t have a problem with it. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with it, as long as you are willing to show both sides of the coin. The head and the tail. This is what inspires me. As a result of the spark I have moved furniture around, wrote, and purged things that I don’t need. Tonight it was about writing. Creative expression at the core. It has been releasing all the things whirling wildly in my brain. 

    I woke up this morning, a year older, with a need to complete commitments to myself. A year ago I made a deal with myself, that I would succeed, no matter the sacrifice. I would take the opportunities laid at my feet and pick them up. I would honor my voice. It’s time to make moves. It’s time to care less, and do more. It’s time to release.

Undivided Attention

It has been 30 whole days since I left my 6a-3p to give undivided attention to my personal art practice and Alchemist Productions. Over the last month I have been busy, making progress and truly living my why. Here are a few real entrepreneur moments and art thoughts for you. You know I love coffee and I figured I could have it whenever I wanted because the accountability of showing up somewhere is completely and solely on me. Well, that resulted in me staying up until 2 am like I did in my 20s and then not being able to get up in the morning until 9 o’clock, which is late for me. Understanding my personal boundaries has been eye opening. 

Every part of my daily routine has changed, except where I make art everyday. At some point I’ll dedicate a post to the idea of rituals. But for this one I want to talk about where and how I’ve been spending my time. My lifestyle has shifted towards what I need to do to directly support my personal objectives, not the objectives of someone or something else. That might sound a little selfish. I believe the best way for me to grow as an entrepreneur and artist is to clear away things that I can no longer serve and no longer serve me. I started making, taking from older sketches of things I've been wanting to construct, and just doing it. 

This is the beginning of creating content to contribute to others and develop content based on my personal practice. I’ve been having meaningful and constructive conversations with other creatives that believe and support the same core values and ethics as me. Its a beautiful thing when you start to find your truth and your tribe. Jared and I finalized the details on our move to Miami. This is both exciting and terrifying. I am excited because I know the arts community is vibrant and welcoming. I am excited to build relationships with people who have the same values of art and life. I am excited to contribute through the work I do with Alchemist. I’m scared because its something new, and different. The culture is one that will take some time for me to get to know. The best part is that I know I’m more than ready to take on the magic city. I just hope it's ready for this Magic Maker. 

In our culture, imitation-based experience dominates reality-based experience. I find this an awful thing. But there are artists who know from the bottom of their souls that art is about the experience of reality. The reason we have art is because you can’t get a real experience from the world.
— Richard Tuttle

I may sound a bit like a pollyanna but I do believe that you get back what you put out into the world. I will continue to put out the positive ideas and attract the people who relate with those ethics. I am an optimistic artist and I don't think there is anything wrong with that. Being optimistic has served me both mentally and spiritually. Without it I don't make the best work I know I can and I don't give myself the opportunity to overcome fear. These next 3 weeks are very full. My undivided attention is going to shift again as I tie loose ends with the current pieces I am making, moving, and continuing to develop relationships where I can serve communities I believe in. This adventure is about experience. Its about making the art that challenges how we perceive the world around us. Its my experience that I want to continue to show the world and thats what makes it art. 

The next blog post will be getting to know other people who contribute to their communities. Keep your eyes and ears open! Its getting real.

Creating Community: The Cowork Movement

On Thursday I received a phone call from a great friend. He was one of the 5 people present when I made the official decision to take on the Alchemist Production name and began branding. Zac called to catch up and tell me about his most recent business idea, Coworking. He lives in an area that already has 3 very different coworking spaces, but I believe that there is a shared value in line with the Coworking Manifesto to the greatest degree. I have recently been exploring the idea of work culture, work identity, community and the impact of work spaces. More and more coworking or collaborative working spaces are popping up in cities all around me. This is not a new idea. 

Let’s talk about the history of shared work spaces. Cafes are one of the original cowork environments, although the people sitting with paper and pens, or now a days, on their computers are not interacting with each other, the culture is present. Since the 1920s companies have experimented with the psychology behind work spaces from lighting to sectioned departments to open room floor plans. Each experiment measured productivity, communication, creativity, and community. Artist cooperatives like the 10th Street Galleries, a set of artist-run galleries, that began opening in NewYork in the 1950s included studio facilities and exhibition space. These two examples are the foundation of the fundamental ideas influencing our 21st century cowork movement and revitalization of makers.

It’s common place to see a cafe within a contemporary coworking space. Blurring the line between cafe and work space. The cafe may have its own set of company values and the patrons may not share these values on a professional level. This is the distinction between people who work in a cafe and people who are members of the social institution of coworking. The most popular type of coworking space support entrepreneurs in an array of industries. Unfortunately makerspaces are not as accessible as the spaces dedicated to tech startups and other diverse independent professionals. Which brings up personal questions, where do I land in the professional world? Am I part of the maker movement? 

The maker movement is defined as the new “DIY”. There is a manifesto made up of ideas converging traditional artisans with technology. I believe I am a traditional artisan but I went to college to learn my personal craft. This may or may not separate me from the movement. It’s still a bit unclear to me. When my partner and I made the decision to move to Miami I began researching studio spaces that would allow me to create my sculptures. I have two major pain points with the kind of making I do. One, I run saws, sanders, and an air compressor regularly which is both loud and messy. Two is I need to stage my objects and present them in a space that will convey the final image. Taking other people into consideration means I’d rather not piss you off with the roaring sounds and on some occasions the weird smells that my materials produce while curing. I started looking into coworking spaces, because I believe I am an entrepreneur, or artrepreneur. I fell in love with Made at The Citadel. Unfortunately the monthly financial overhead was outside of my budget for the amount of physical space needed to support my personal maker needs. I believe in the core values that coworking spaces represent. I want to be part of a community of like minded innovators that explore different industries and can come together on a socially responsible level. I love that each and every different space has a unique visual identity that push the mission and invite entrepreneurs to build the creative business culture allowing them to work in these concept spaces. 

I’ve had the pleasure of being supported by BOLD: Cowork when they purchased a commissioned installation for their space. The project was in line with my core values and one of the many reasons I feel supported by cowork institutions.  Zac and I are now involved in a conversation about his personal cowork mission taking the fundamental ideas and pushing to create a space that will impact people and support his community. The visual identity is just as important as the business plan. Integrating the two ideas as he moves forward are going to develop the positive impact on the community at large. I’ve seen it first hand. I’ve been supported by and I will continue to support the mission to thrive in a work environment that expresses productivity, communication, creativity, and community, one networking event and installation at a time.

Discovery

The art world today consists of a variety of concepts that endure the evolving culture of each individual and region. Fashion, and interior design do the same thing. Real estate has a power over the final image; what people are experiencing on a daily basis. It’s all connected. These are a just few discoveries I’ve made since my art education and practice began in 2004. What is socially acceptable? Who is your audience? What is going to excite the audience? How are objects arrange in space? What are the leading trends? Fashion retailers, interior designers, and artist explore these topics while procuring goods, finding inspiration, and curating spaces. 

    My personal art practice has taken these questions and answered them with a range of unimaginable experiences for a wide demographic in gallery spaces, science museums, window displays for top retailers, and corporate real estate with co-working brand initiatives. Each time I am able to take concept to reality, I happily get my hands dirty. I’m uniquely qualified to foreseen spacial compositions, and interactions between art and product/brand because of my experience working in retail for the last 6+ years. Customer experience, researching market trends combined with influences of a playful cultural lifestyle are the foundation of Alchemist Productions. Abstract expressionism, minimalism, pop art, and mid century modern architecture, and interior design influences as well as current market trends and pop culture shape concept. How I handle materials, process, and image expressing an abstract narrative with the brand lifestyle creates the final image. These are reoccurring themes in my highly-curated sculptural art installations and display presentations. 

    Initial discovery or first impression of an environment can draw the audience in and guide the journey evoking a feeling and response. This conceptual idea has proven to expand customer base, employee performance, and create cultural awareness. “Almost all (86%) of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience, and 89% of marketers expect customer experience to be a primary differentiator…. improved experience can grow revenue by five to 10% over the span of three years.” (according to Shopify) I create the elements that utilize the foundation of your brand/client culture and lifestyle responding with handmade sculptural installations to craft an immersive experience.

    My personal aesthetic is eclectic to say the least my range of material manipulation and considerations in palette set me apart of many fine artists. This is something I have learned during my art adventure. Decision making is tried and true in the art making process. Alchemist Productions is a lifestyle brand that conforms to your brand while maintaining my touch-of-hand, like the Midas touch in a way. I use a form of alchemy when I am material testing, discovering the perfect combination of materials, textures, and colors that will push the boundary of experience uncovering what will excite the audience right now. I truly believe that how I handle materials, the decisions I make in response to concept, architecture and audience is special because it’s my own. People respond to fun. Storytelling is central, and fostering relationships is key. Creating continuity with your specific audience and brand. There are a multitude of ways to respond to any situation, mine is unique to my experiences. And my experiences are influenced by the history of art, current fashion trends, and cultural lifestyle awareness.