European TV debut & other exciting art news!

MelodyBar2 (c)May2015

HAPPY 4th OF JULY WEEKEND to all of you in the US & happy weekend to those elsewhere!!  Holidays…and often weekends in general…are a time to celebrate but this time I have even more reason to do so as I have some exciting news… I’ll be on TV again!! Recently I was contacted by a German TV show producer to be in an up-coming episode of their well-known cultural entertainment show that airs in Germany & other parts of Europe! We filmed all day a few weeks ago & I’m now waiting for the show to air (hopefully this month!). The episode features my long, “living sculpture” nails as well as my artwork & I’m so excited for this great opportunity! I’ll post more details as I get them as well as any links there may be to view the episode…stay tuned!!

Lauren By Forrest

Lauren By Forrest

And more exciting art news & events; “FOTOGRAPHIA” Photography exhibition at Gallery U, 439 South Ave W in Westfield. (908) 232-1895. Opening reception Friday., July 3, 2015, 6pm-8pm. Free event. I have the digital photograph below in this show.  Show runs thru July 31, 2015 & features photography from many talented area artists.

Nola Gothic Church (c)Lauren Curtis

Nola Gothic Church (c)Lauren Curtis

New Fine Art Commissions Creating special, commissioned artwork for collectors is really enjoyable especially when the images bring back fond memories of their favorite places to hang out & sometimes they even found love there too! Such is the case for the gone-but-not-forgotten Melody Bar that was in New Brunswick, NJ! This was a regular hangout of mine so it’s been so much fun creating several original pen & ink with watercolor commissions for others who found this place special.  If you have a place you’d like immortalized thru art, contact me for commission info.!

Melody Bar Art (c)2015 Lauren Curtis

Melody Bar Art (c)2015 Lauren Curtis

MelodyBar2May2015 And, being it’s officially Summer….It’s T-SHIRT time again!!  You can wear my art on 100% pre-shrunk cotton T’s! Many unique designs on black, white or gray shirts, $20-$35 each +s/h depending on size & color.  All sizes from kids to XXL!  Contact me for details & to order.  Paypal accepted!  forestwalker333@hotmail.com

T-shirt/card design Flyer

T-shirt/card design Flyer

The Freelancer Career Trend

My E-newsletter Header

If you would have told me 10 years ago that I’d be making a living as a full time freelance artist, I wouldn’t have believed you!  But when the economy tanked and I was laid off from part time jobs that were not high paying nor fulfilling my dreams of being an artist (what I went to college for and have aspired to doing as a career since 7th grade!), I realized it was time to go for it!  And now, with so many free and inexpensive options to find freelance work online, it’s easier than ever to be your own boss and either make a full time career out of being a freelancer or earn extra income aside from your “regular job”. Artists and designers make for perfect freelancing opportunities as we can work with clients from around the world without leaving home as long as we have good internet and cell phone plans, photo editing programs, scanners, cameras and other related art making materials.  Interactions and artwork can all be done via email and phone so no need for either artist or client to leave the comfort of their homes to get and receive work.  For me, I’m a member of many free online job sites and I apply for work daily.  Here’s a link to one of my online job portfolios to give you an idea of how they work: http://www.peopleperhour.com/freelancer/lauren/freelance-artist-illustrator-graphi/70136  I also make full use of social networking, emailing my own newsletters, word of mouth and attending and participating in arts events. But it’s not just artists that can make their own careers…there are some really clever opportunities out there for everyone!  Certain job sites post  requests for people to do household chores, repair work, courier service and other physical labor jobs.  One very creative way to earn a living is by simply driving!  You’ve probably heard of UBER by now.  It’s an app that allows you to locate a ride from just about anywhere.  It finds a driver near by to take you to your destination for a lot less money than a taxi.  I tried it for the 1st time in NYC a few weeks ago and it worked very well!  Drivers use their own vehicles and work their own schedules, so if you have a car, enjoy driving and need extra income, this could be perfect for you!  Here’s a link with some testimonials and more info. so you can DriveWithUber if you’re interested in using or offering this service.  There are so many creative ways to find self employment…and offering house calls is another option that provides convenience, especially for those that don’t drive or are unable to!  I know people that offer in-house visits to cut hair, do accounting and book-keeping, take care of pets, help plan parties and more!  All you need is a specialized skill, a valid driver’s license & car (of course) & some business cards and website and you’re on your way!  And now there are so many free, great websites that allow you to build your own pages through relatively easy to use templates so you can get started ASAP!  I use a few of these but my favorite is Weebly.  For an example, here’s the link to my own Weebly Fine Art Site: http://laurencurtisart.weebly.com  So, start thinking about how you could earn income (legally 😉 ) and get a business plan together!  I hope this blog has sparked some ideas for you and please share information with us by leaving comments about your own freelance projects and keep the trend going!

The freelance work search

Watercolor illustration for a client from a freelance job site.

So, you’ve decided to make art your full time career but aside from people you know, how do you go about finding new clients?  Well, I’m a member of just about every freelance job site that posts art related jobs and I’m now in the process of updating all those profiles…a job in itself….and applying for more work.  It’s very tough and very competitive, with the big problem of people WAY under bidding and under valuing their work just to get jobs…this doesn’t help any of us!  It devalues what we do and perpetuates the stigma of the “poor artist”.  Art is valuable and serves a great purpose in promoting businesses and products, portraying an author’s ideas,  giving life and an image to just about anything….so, I look forward to bidding my face off and gaining new clients…and providing the best work possible!  You can find me on many freelance job sites or check out my illustration and design work on http://laurencurtis.imagekind.com/   Feel free to contact me for more info!

Artful Wishes for a New Year!

Dream Of Trees 2, oils (c)Lauren Curtis

HAPPY, HEALTHY & PROSPEROUS New Year’s Wishes to you!  Whether you venture out or stay in to celebrate the beginning of 2015, I hope you enjoy yourself & ring in the new year right!  May your creative side come out in full force in a positive way!

I’m starting of 2015 with some exciting gallery exhibits & freelance work, so here’s the scoop…if you’re in NJ, I hope you can join me at these art openings:

DRAMATIC SKIES 2015, group exhibition, Gourgaud Gallery, 23A North Main St. (in Town Hall Bldg.), Cranbury, NJ.  Opening reception Sunday 1/4/15, 1pm-3pm, refreshments served.  Show runs thru 1/25/15.

Dream Of Trees 2, oils (c)Lauren Curtis

Dream Of Trees 2, oils (c)Lauren Curtis


REVELATION/REVOLUTION  group exhibit, Nails in the Wall Gallery (in St. Luke’s Church), 17 Oak Ave., Metuchen, NJ. Opening reception, Saturday, 1/24/15 (time TBA but most likely around 3pm). Show will be up for several months.  

Reminisce (c)2013, watercolor and collage

Reminisce (c)2013, watercolor and collage

I also have an art article in the holiday issue of WILD SISTER MAGAZINE!  To check it out, here’s the link:  http://wildsister.com/latest-issue/

Finally, I’ve been getting some really fun freelance commission work like children’s book illustration and pet portraits…2 of my latest creations are below & click on the links to my art sites for more!

Children's Book Illustration, Oct2014

Children’s Book Illustration, Oct2014

Pet Portrait, pen & ink w/ watercolors, Dec2014

Pet Portrait, pen & ink w/ watercolors, Dec2014


Hope to see you at an exhibition &/or online.  Have a wonderful, art-filled New Year!!
~Lauren

http://laurencurtisart.weebly.com  (NEW fine art site!)
https://laurencurtis.wordpress.com  (my Blog)
http://www.facebook.com/LaurenCurtisArtTalonArt (Facebook Fine Art Page)
http://www.LaurenCurtisArt.com (commercial & fine art) 
http://www.laurencurtis.imagekind.com (cards, T-shirts, photography, illustration)

https://twitter.com/LaurenCurtisArt (now on Twitter)

Happy, Merry, Peace & Joy to you!

Holiday Greeting Cards (c)Lauren Curtis

Just wanted to take a moment, amidst all the holiday insanity, to wish all of you a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous & Peaceful Holiday Season & New Year!  Thanks to all of you who have supported this blog, and the arts!  You are appreciated!

XOX

Lauren

And now some of my holiday artwork for you…

Holiday Greeting Cards (c)Lauren Curtis

Holiday Greeting Cards (c)Lauren Curtis

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Just a short & sweet blog to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you enjoy good food, friends & family and are thankful for what you have…I KNOW this can be difficult during tough times so for anyone going through a rough spot, I hope that things turn around for you this holiday season!

I’m thankful for all of you who have subscribed to and read my blog posts…we artists appreciate that kind of support!

🙂 Lauren

Autumn Tree & Reach Out Tree (c)L.Curtis

Autumn Tree & Reach Out Tree (c)L.Curtis

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For free or not for free?

OK, so rarely do I rant in my blogs but I’ve noticed an increasing trend in the world of the freelance artist/designer that is quite disturbing, particularly on art job sites….you know, the ones where you search through bazillions of jobs that match your key words and skills and bid against literally hundreds of other artists, many who completely undersell themselves thus undermining the value of our work??  You know what I mean, artists, right?  I’m sure other fields of employment deal with this too, but being an artist I can only speak from my own experiences.

Now I have gotten some great freelance work from these sites and am very grateful for them but two things really aggravate the hell out of me:

1. The “Under Value-er”...as referred to above, these are the people who are willing to do hours of art/design work for pennies and severely under sell everyone thus under valuing what we artists do!  Some of the “people” bidding under this guise on the freelance sites are actually graphic design companies who outsource their work to designers, and most likely pay them poverty wages for the work they do…the companies  get so many jobs due to their extremely low prices so I guess they can afford to do this as it’s quantity not necessarily quality for the most part (I’ve seen complaints & not-so-great reviews posted).  I’m sure a lot of the work they do is satisfactory or even good for the client who doesn’t know much about design or marketing and just wants a computer generated, typical and slick-looking image, but choosing an artist with art education and unique creativity for a bit more money can only be a benefit to a business.  Sadly some people don’t realize this and go for the cheap fix.  Luckily a few of the job sites actually prevent this from happening by not allowing the freelancer to bid below a certain price, thus keeping the competition fair but unfortunately not many sites do this.

2. The “Free Sampler”…to me, one of the most annoying offenders on the freelance job sites!  Now would you go into a store and take a shirt and say “I’m going to wear this for a while then decide if I like it enough to pay for it?”  Or would you go into a restaurant and expect them to give you free food samples to decide if you want to pay to eat there?  I think not!  So why do so many potential art/design clients ask us artists to do FREE WORK SAMPLES especially when we’ve already provided them with our portfolios, resumes and relevant past work samples so they can see the quality and style of our work??!!  What’s to stop them from stealing our ideas from the rough sketches they require without signing a contract with us or securing any deposit money?  And then they argue with you when you politely say this is not the way things are done….I mean why are artists expected to spend their time, energy and creativity creating free samples with no guarantee of pay and when it’s already too easy to rip off our work given how we must post it on so many sites on the internet, etc., that to just be expected to hand over free samples…no matter how “simple and easy” the client says the work will be,  is beyond me!  What other employee is expected to work for free in other fields unless it’s a volunteer position?  Artists pay for their education, art and computer supplies, marketing supplies and our time and creativity are valuable as well.  When you hire us to design a company logo, don’t you want the best image that will be successful for your brand?  Why is this an area where people think spending $20 on an image that will forever represent their company and that they can reproduce and make money off of endlessly is not worth more than a few dollars??  Now this is not always the case but I see it all too often on every freelance site I am on, which is many.

There is art EVERYWHERE!  It’s in advertising for every product…it’s in the design of the product itself!  Art is in media, publishing, advertising…it’s in the menu from the restaurant, it’s the pattern design on your clothes, it’s the covers on your books, it decorates homes and businesses, it moves us & teaches us history and culture in galleries and museums, it’s on the websites people look at…it is literally everywhere and very important so PLEASE….don’t under value art and the artists that create it!  Rant ended.  Thanks for reading and for understanding!  Feel free to comment with any of your art related rants and experiences here….we can all learn from each other and make the art community a stronger place!