Publishing during the pandemic; an author’s view.

I hope all you readers are staying safe & well….since we’re all getting a bit stir crazy here’s my newest guest blog to spark your creativity.  Introducing new author & experienced strategist Carol Van Den Hende discussing her new book & what it’s like getting published during a pandemic….in her words….

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“In this time of pandemic, first and foremost, I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.

Besides the obvious health concerns, the current crisis also creates other obstacles. Creatives may be faced with new challenges finding and reaching their audiences. My friends who are filmmakers, actors and writers are impacted by Broadway and other shutdowns. I’m feeling it too, as my debut novel, Goodbye, Orchid, is launching October 1st. This book of my heart won’t benefit from in-person launch plans. But as I often say when presenting at writers’ conferences, marketing is an act of creativity.

We can apply our power of imagination towards identifying and engaging with the audiences we serve. Storytellers are getting resourceful by leveraging virtual channels. For instance, best-selling authors Caroline Leavitt and Jenna Blum created “A Mighty Blaze” to help authors whose book tours have been canceled due to COVID. Instead, they’re interviewing these writers online, thereby reaching more geographically dispersed audiences than they might otherwise have.

Much of the publishing industry has moved from requiring physical copies of books for reviews and contests, to accepting digital copies, a practice that has the dual benefit of speed of delivery, and reduced environmental impact.

CAROL book

For me, the pandemic is necessitating exploring ingenious ways to launch Goodbye, Orchid. As a professional marketer and strategist, I started with clear objectives, strategies, and partnering with a strong team of collaborators. My personal “why” acted as a steady guide in crafting launch plans. My book is inspired by combat-wounded veterans, so I’ve committed to donating a portion of the profits to military and other non-profits.  These charities, like Heather Abbott Foundation, have helped reach out to their communities.

In implementation, I’ve aimed to fully leverage each marketing element. For example, the cover design alone was used in a cover poll, as an animation, cut up into nine posts to takeover my Instagram page, revealed as a pixelated image, and more. I’ve even personalized versions of the cover to thank kickstarter supporters. Next, I’m developing partnerships and a media schedule.

Bottom line is, I hope this sharing has inspired you, and boosted your confidence to creatively explore new ideas. ”

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For more info, please sign up for my newsletter, or connect via social channels:

https://www.carolvandenhende.com

https://fb.me/CarolVandenhendeAuthor

https://twitter.com/c_vandenhende

https://www.instagram.com/carolvandenhende/

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54297964-goodbye-orchid

 

 

BIO

Carol is an MBA and strategist with twenty+ years’ experience in marketing, strategy and insights. Plus, she works in chocolate (there’s no ‘sweeter’ job!) Carol is also an author, public speaker and serves on a Board of Trustees. Her debut novel, Goodbye Orchid, will be published on October 1st, 2020. If you like heart-wrenching beautiful romances, then you’ll love Goodbye, Orchid. Available for pre-order at many major retailers:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1646631889/

https://bookshop.org/books/goodbye-orchid/9781646631889

https://www.target.com/p/goodbye-orchid-by-carol-van-den-hende-paperback/-/A-80666220

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/goodbye-orchid-carol-van-den-hende/1137193883?ean=9781646631889

Art survives the pandemic

I hope you are all staying safe & well as these intense, unsure & scary times continue.  While NJ is slowly getting back to a semblance of normalcy…well, new normalcy…much of the rest of the country faces increasing COVID numbers!  Top that off with social injustices and unrest spreading like another virus and it’s the perfect recipe for more frightening times ahead.  With so many people falling ill and also facing horrible prejudices it’s easy to get depressed and feel hopeless.  This is why art & being able to express yourself in a positive, creative way is so important!

The art community has taken a big hit from the pandemic, like many other businesses and organizations, but it is an ancient and important form of self expression that will never be silenced!  We see Black Lives Matter street art! We see Pride art! We see art dealing with the pandemic!  Art allows us a chance to escape, to express, to vent, to share, to discuss…that’s why I’m so happy to see some local NJ galleries continuing on, however they are able, to keep our artistic community alive and well!

This month I’m excited to have a SOLO SHOW at Gallery on Main, Somerville, NJ & a piece in the virtual “Women’s Voices” show by Transformations Gallery (Metuchen, NJ)  Here are a few of my photos in these exhibits. Hope you’ll check them out…   Gallery on Main in Somerville is open to visitors who follow COVID restrictions (must wear a mask, a few visitors at a time) so please check out the exhibit in person! Here’s the link to the virtual Transformations gallery show: http://www.boroughimprovementleague.org/37.html?fbclid=IwAR349dhYkFMHeh-636VhqI9XwwbnC5GyJ7agXJW0i1H4v8VCBUTb9opt34o

Stay safe & stay creative!

Creativity & COVID

First off I hope this finds you all safe & well!  These are crazy, bizarro-world times!  But you’d think self quarantine would be a piece of cake for artists!  I mean it gives us tons of time and space to create and we usually work alone in our homes or studios anyway, so no biggie to socially distance & create our butts off, right?  But let’s not forget the stress from lack of work/money, the human need for being social and the inspiration that comes from that, and from travel, having new experiences, going to actual museums, galleries, etc.  Then add on the fear of getting sick and dealing with all that this strange new world presents, piled onto the typical creative blocks and this can be a tough time for artists especially those of us that make a living from it!

For me, I’ve had to find new ways to adapt to being a professional artist in the pandemic age.  For one thing I now give all my art & creative marketing lessons virtually (thank the Gods for Skype, Video Chat, Zoom…).  I’d be in big trouble if it wasn’t for this technology and so far it’s working quite well.  Of course good ol’ fashioned in person classes are great but this is now a convenient, safe & affordable way to keep teaching and sharing art.

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And luckily I am very used to working with my freelance project clients remotely, so that hasn’t changed much although of course many people no longer have the finances to buy art or hire a designer or illustrator to work on their projects, so I am VERY grateful for the people I currently am working with!  The other big change though is the cancellation or indefinite postponement of all gallery exhibits and art events! I typically have work in at least one or two events per month, often more from spring thru holiday season, and that’s all on hold.  Some galleries and art organizations are doing online art exhibits & events, which I have been participating it.  It’s great to see the ingenuity of these people in trying to keep the arts going.  The downside is it’s much harder to sell thru these types of events & I think those running them get this and have either reduced or eliminated submission fees, lowered commission fees, etc. which is a good way to keep artists engaged.  But this all spells tough times for anyone involved in the arts as a career.  I recently had this digital photo collage in an online art auction….we’ll see if there were any takers…

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“In memory of a Friend”  (c)2018 Lauren Curtis

This is the time when we all must think outside of the box and find new ways to keep our jobs…not just artists…and it’s really difficult.  Some people just can’t work from home and I REALLY hope the powers that be step up & fix our broken benefits system to help everyone out in need.  As artists we must try to over come the depression and anxiety from this situation…or channel it into creativity and new work!  I’d love to hear from you as to how you’re coping with the pandemic, especially if you’re an artist of any kind, and share your stories in the comments here & if you know of any opportunities for other creatives to get involved with please share them.  You’re not alone in your fears and worries and I hope, no matter what your profession, things will be OK for you & that you stay safe & healthy!

~Lauren

 

 

Wishing you a happy, creative holiday!

Hello Blog-o-sphere!  I just wanted to take a moment to wish you Season’s Greetings from Lauren Curtis Art to you & yours! Sending you wishes for all the best in 2020 & thank you for your support of the arts!  Creativity and self-expression are vital for a healthy community & I appreciate that you’ve taken the time to read my newsletters, come to the events, purchase work and just show support in any way you can for the wide variety of artists out there!  We couldn’t do it without you! 

With so much negativity out there, and people feeling blue during the holidays, please feel free to comment/share posts here about good things you’d like to share that happened in 2019 or wishes you hope for in 2020….or something or someone who inspired your own creativity!  For me, my art and creative marketing students have inspired me and given me something to look forward to every week as I see their progress and how much they enjoy their artistic projects!  Looking forward to expanding my teaching in the new year and beyond!

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Be happy, be well, be prosperous and BE CREATIVE in 2020 & beyond!

Warm Wishes,

~Lauren

The past is re-imagined by NJ collage artist.

Hope you’re all enjoying your holiday season so far!  This is the perfect time for my next guest artist blogger, as much of her work revolves around holiday/winter related themes and nostalgia for good times past!  Let me introduce you to NJ collage artist JoAnn Telemdschinow as she shares her work and it’s inspiration….

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“Snow Princess”  (c)JoAnn Telemdschinow

My name is JoAnn Telemdschinow and I’m the founder of Imagined Past. I’ve always loved and been fascinated by art, but I haven’t always been sure how I should express it. While I have a background in art history, I have not studied painting or drawing. On an impulse, I started playing with collage, and found I liked it very much. In 2014, I started learning Photoshop Elements. Since then, through magazine articles and online tutorials, I’ve been developing my skills and exploring how to create different effects.

What inspires my collages? Perhaps the most obvious influence is the art and architecture of the past, medieval times, eighteenth and nineteenth century painting, as well as Chinese and Japanese art. I can happily spend hours in a museum! I also love to travel. I recently went to Paris and took photographs of beautiful old streets and buildings, some of which I’ve turned into collages. I’m interested in languages and scripts, both ancient and modern.

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JoAnn Telemdschinow in Paris

A collage may originate from an image that captures my attention, or from an idea that I want to express. I often utilize vintage art to build my pieces., although I also use my own photographs. I am also fond of incorporating old texts, such as handwriting, book pages, or advertising, into the composition. I try to use texts that relate to the subject of the piece, either through content or cultural origin. Textures play an important role in my collages as well…old paper, distressed surfaces.

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“I Loved You” (c)JoAnn Telemdschinow

What am I trying to convey to the viewer? Well, I myself am deeply moved by beauty so I try to make my compositions visually beautiful. Beyond that, I attempt to express a feeling or atmosphere. My pictures (like myself) tend to be reflective and nostalgic. I also sometimes imply a bit of a narrative, as in I Loved You with its forlorn woman and titular inscription.

I’ve displayed my work in a number of area venues, such as The Gallery at the South Brunswick Municipal building and Inspire Art Gallery & Studio in Dunellen. Recently, I’ve also been honored to receive awards from the New Jersey State Bar Foundation (Chair’s Merit Award, Annual Juried Art Show) and the New Brunswick Free Public Library (Third Place-Adult, 2019 Visual Arts Contest and Exhibition).

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“French Roses”  (c)JoAnn Telemdschinow

What do I have planned for the future? I would like to explore photography further and use more of my own photos in my collages. I’m working to promote my artwork through social media and my website.  And I’ll be exhibiting in more shows in the upcoming year. I enjoy meeting and talking to people at shows…perhaps I’ll get to meet you at one soon!

https://imaginedpast.weeblysite.com

facebook.com/Imagined-Past-116908833053318

Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/imaginedpast/

http://joanntel.imagekind.com

www.etsy.com/shop/imaginedpast

email: jtelem70@gmail.com      cell: 848-264-2605

Murder in Central NJ; A Franklin Park Mystery Unfolds

I never knew several terrible murders happened so close to my neighborhood two centuries ago…not until author & local historian Brian Armstrong hired me to create pen & ink illustrations for his just released book, “The Frankin Park Tragedy”!  While working on the book I learned about the horrible and racially motivated murders that occurred only a couple of miles away over 120 years ago!  Since this fascinating book was just released I invited Brian to discuss this important work…

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Franklin Park Tragedy Book Overview

The book provides a detailed account of the Franklin Park Tragedy murders of March 1, 1894 when Lucretia Baker and her daughter, Gertrude, were murdered in their home and her husband, Moore Baker, fought off the two African American attackers and killed them. The second part of the tragedy involves the group blame of the African American residents of the area and the expulsion of some of those residents by the Franklin Park vigilante society called the Mutual Endeavor Society. Lynchings, expulsions, and sundown town designations, which are normally associated with Southern States during this era, are shown to have been contemplated by Franklin Park residents.

Surviving historical records, land records, and personal stories are used to demonstrate how the Great Migration of African American families from the South in the twentieth century, with the help of a new group of white farmers, changed the “sundown town” designation for the Franklin Park area. This community change began with the arrival of the Coleman and other families in the 1920s which was the beginning of the transformation of Franklin Park into the diverse place that it is today. The book also includes profiles of prominent African American citizens of the Franklin Park area who worked on the farms and in some cases owned land during the 1800s. The media and their role in the racial issues of this era are discussed since key source material for the book came from various newspapers from every region of the US and in countries such as the UK and New Zealand.

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(Recent cover of the Home News featuring an article about the book & illustration by Lauren Curtis)

The book includes:

· Profiles of the ordinary white and African American men and women who worked on the farms in the area and have not been profiled in other books.

· Discussion of the neglected time period after the Civil War where white farmers and the children and grandchildren of the slaves lived and worked together in New Jersey.

· Stories about families that were part of the Great Migration of African Americans moving from southern states to the Garden State during the 20th century.

· Over 80 pictures with major images provided by the Six Mile Run Reformed Church (Martin S. Garretson Collection), Franklin Park Library, and South Brunswick Public Library.  Also previously unpublished photographs from the personal collections.

· Drawings depicting key parts of the story by Franklin Park artist Lauren Curtis.

· Extensive newspaper source material about the murders and the expulsion which shows the value of these resources in chronicling historical events that are not recorded in any other surviving sources.

· A map to orient the 21st century reader with the actual locations mentioned in the book to identify surviving buildings and landmarks.

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“Fleeing the scene”, Illustration (c)2019 Lauren Curtis

Why I Wrote the Book

Three years ago, as the president of the South River Preservation & Historical Society, I wanted to expand our knowledge of the African-American citizens of the town.  Although prominent African-Americans such as Drew Pearson had grown up in the borough, no previous books or articles had been written about this group. I began looking at census records and then the wonderful newspaper archive provided by the New Brunswick Free Library. As I searched for stories about South River African-Americans, I kept seeing stories about the Franklin Park Tragedy and learned of the expulsion which was not mentioned in any other books about Franklin Township or New Jersey. I then postponed my South River research realizing that this story was very important and needed to be told.

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“Racism in Franklin Park” (c)2019 Lauren Curtis



About the Author

Brian Armstrong was born in Flemington New Jersey and grew up in Stanton, New Jersey.  He received a bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science from American University in Washington, D.C. He lives now in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. Armstrong has worked for 37 years for various technology and staffing companies including EDS, Kelly Services, and International Technology Solutions, Inc.  He was President of the South River Historical & Preservation Society for 10 years and is now the Vice-President, Central Region, for the League of Historical Societies of New Jersey.  He is an independent historian, researcher and author. In 2015, he co-wrote the Arcadia Book, South River, with Stephanie Bartz and Nan Whitehead. He also frequently writes articles for the Bar Harbor Historical Society in Bar Harbor, Maine where his mother’s family lived for several hundred years.  Mr. Armstrong lectures throughout the state on local history, the U.S. Women’s Suffrage Movement, Prohibition, World War I, the Spanish Influenza, and political history. He is a collector of US Presidential election memorabilia and is a member of American Political Items Collectors (APIC).

Armstrong has been married to Rosemarie Rufo Armstrong for 32 years and is father of two daughters and one grandson.

Email:  brianarm59@gmail.com

You can read more about the book here: https://www.mycentraljersey.com/story/news/history/2019/10/10/nj-history-franklin-park-tragedy-expelled-african-american-residents/3819260002/

You can buy the book here: https://www.arcadiapublishing.com/Products/9781467143585

 

Tacky is the new cool at You Tacky Thing’s craft studio!

Time again for me to feature another local artist who makes funky, unique hand crafted items; introducing my friend Stephanie Higgens-Rowley!  I met her when she started taking creative marketing lessons from me to boost her cool, hand-decorated bottle and hand-made jewelry business & so far so good….she’s made tons of awesome decorative items to sell and is now doing NJ vending events, so I invited her to be my next guest blogger so she can introduce herself to you & her “tacky” work…after all, her business is called You Tacky Thing!  Now in her words….
STEPHANIE BOTTLE 2
“Don’t throw that out!”, my mom would yell at me from the kitchen. Anything that could be used again, used for something else, used for something you haven’t even thought of yet was not to be thrown out. Both my parents grew up during the Depression. Everything has a potential use.
This is why I gravitate toward found items. I have access to bass and guitar strings, guitar picks and empty bottles. So when they outlive their usefulness I like to create something interesting. The strings most likely become jewelry while the bottles become decorative. I like using bottles that have an unusual shape or color to them.
I love being creative with things that would have been thrown out. Its like making something out of nothing. You never know what its going to be.
I have been doing this for a while now and I must say its the best job I’ve ever had. I try really hard to create things that are interesting and make you wonder how it got there or where it came from. Some of my favorite themes to use on my bottles are
Gothic and Victorian imagery , mermaids, dragon flies and bats. I even create bottles that can be lit up and I welcome custom commissions. As for my rock and roll inspired jewelry, my creations have been worn on stage by some pretty amazingly talented performers! You can purchase items from my Facebook page You Tacky Thing and you can find me at various vending events throughout NJ an NY. My next event will be at NJ Paraunity  Expo in Woodbridge, NJ. For more info : https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10216158534209635&set=gm.2287489841492576&type=3&theater

Thanksgiving Greetings!

What am I thankful for? For your support of the arts & my work as well!  Creativity and self-expression are vital for a healthy community & I appreciate that you’ve taken the time to read my newsletters, come to the events, purchase work and just show support in any way you can for the wide variety of artists out there!  We couldn’t do it without you!  So, I want to wish you & yours a happy, healthy Thanksgiving!! 

Warm Wishes,

~Lauren

 

http://laurencurtisart.weebly.com  (Fine art, photography, updates)
https://laurencurtis.wordpress.com  (my Blog)                                
http://www.facebook.com/LaurenCurtisArtTalonArt (Facebook Art Page)
http://www.LaurenCurtisArt.com (commercial & fine art)    
https://ello.co/laurencurtis  (illustration & fine art)  
https://www.behance.net/LaurenCurtisArt (Graphic design & fine art)

https://twitter.com/LaurenCurtisArt (Follow me on Twitter)  
https://www.instagram.com/laurencurtisart  (Instagram)

Want to Become an Art Patron? Visit https://www.patreon.com/LaurenCurtisArt

Anti-bully Bunny helps kids!

Art & stories are a great way to teach kids about compassion & life-skills.  This is one reason I love creating illustrations for children’s books, so when author Joan Decker
approached me to commission me to illustrate her anti-bullying story for kids, I immediately said YES!  The book is now complete and available on Amazon & Kindle so I invited Joan to be my next guest blogger so she can share her inspiration for her book with you…..
My name is Joan Decker, I’m a single mother of two son’s age’s 34 & 18 yrs. I am also a retired Special Ed teaching Assistant of 11 yrs. I began writing Poetry at the age of 16 yrs. old, it come’s so naturally to me. I have a compilation of Poems and will make it into a book soon. I’ve been an Advocate against Bullying since 2004, & I mentor children through Social Media. I was bullied as a young child after I had to start wearing glasses at age 7 yrs. old and hated them. We were poor, & my Mom had to use Medicaid for all doctor appointment’s, so my choice of glasses were limited to these ugly blue one’s with pointy corner’s. The very first day I wore them to school, children laughed at me , calling me name’s like ” Cat Eye’s” and “Four Eyes”, It made me sad. I can recall crying all the time and feeling like an outcast. So I mirrored Rosalina’s character (the bunny), after myself in my first book, BE A FRIEND NOT A BULLY: NAMES HURT. My youngest son Antonio was severely bullied since Kindergarten thru 6th grade, due to his Speech delay and quiet demeanor. He was physically and emotionally bullied everyday until I removed him in 6th Grade after being beaten by three boy’s. I then proceeded to Home School him, until he graduated in 2017. Antonio suffers from PTSD; no child should ever be traumatized in a school environment where he should be safe. I created animals in my stories to make each book kid friendly, keeping the bullying at only name calling, no violence. My focus being to inspire children to take pride in their appearance, to be strong in who they are. That bullies only have Power over you, if you let them. We live in a World where suicide is too common, and we as parents and as a society must bring Bullying of any kind to an abrupt end. This book is the first of a three part series, with the hope of giving emotional support to bullied children all over the world. I poured my heart and soul into each story and hope that I can make a difference in your child’s Life.
Joanie Decker
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All Artwork (c)2017-2018 Lauren Curtis

 To purchase a copy:
BE A FRIEND NOT A BULLY: NAMES HURT
This book is the first of a 3 part Series, to help children deal with bullying and diversity. As a Elementary teacher, I have seen first hand the negative effect it has on a child’s self-esteem. My message in each book is the same, be yourself and Stand True. We all have Special & Unique qualities that make us who we are inside. Rosalina Rabbit’s journey is about her appearance changing and while difficult in the beginning, she overcomes all the Name Calling and becomes Proud of how she looks.

Podcasts, Tattoos & Favorite Things

What do these 3 things have in common?  They are all new art exhibits and art interviews happening now…and I’m happy to be involved with all three of them!  Spring brings out the motivation & creativity in many of us so it’s a great time to create new work or get out & experience what’s going on in the art world.  Social media makes this easier than ever, especially with podcasts !  My friend at the XFactory hooked me up with the awesome guys at Know-Shit Podcasts to do an hour long interview about everything from what it’s like to be a full time artist, to the Gothic & Steampunk scenes, mythology, spirituality & more!   I hope you’ll take some time to check it out, & listen in on future podcasts as well, as they have many interesting guests.  Here’s the link to my interview:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjFT7TLpCF4&feature=share

As for Tattoos, they are an ancient art form that has gone thru many changes and stereotypes but is now more respected than ever as a true art form and is being honored in a new art exhibit at Atelier Rosal in Rahway, NJ!  Amazing works depicting tattooed people and art by artists who’s work has ended up on a walking canvas as well as images addressing this much maligned but now popular art form. Show runs thru June 7, 2018.  74 East Cherry St., Rahway, NJ.  
https://www.facebook.com/AtelierRosal/

Micro/Macrocom Tree (c)2010 Lauren Curtis

Digital photo collage using actual x-ray images.

I’m happy to have 2 of my “X-RAYted” digital photo collages in this show and the exhibit will also coincide with a huge biker fest in town Sat. May 12.  Here’s the Facebook invite page for details:   https://www.facebook.com/events/1803649219938141/

This town wide, free event will be the perfect place to see tattoo art at it’s best, both in the gallery and on human canvases!

Finally we come to “a few of our Favorite Things”.  This is the latest theme for the new art exhibit at the South Brunswick Municipal Gallery, which opens Fri. May 18, 6:30pm-8pm. It’s a free event, with refreshments served, that features art from many local NJ artists focused on things we feel a connection to, that bring back memories and tell stories!  I’ll have the photo below, “NOLA VooDoo Window” in this exhibit.  Show runs thru Aug. 5, 2018.
540 Rt. 522/Ridge Rd., Monmouth Jct., NJ www.sbarts.org

So, there are many ways you can get involved with the arts this spring, whether it’s attending a gallery show, a biker tattoo outdoor fest or listening to a podcast from the comfort of home…or all three!  Either way, I hope you enjoy these free and creative events…& stay tuned for more to come this summer!