Spring Arts Events

Now that the weather here on the East Coast is finally warming up, more and more arts events are “springing” up (sorry for the bad pun, couldn’t resist!).  New exhibits are taking place in galleries and online with many outdoor vending events soon to follow.  Here are a few shows I have work in as well as some info. about new work I’m doing,  so please read on…

Dream Of Trees 2, oils (c)Lauren Curtis

Dream Of Trees 2, oils (c)Lauren Curtis

“LANDSCAPE & ARCHITECTURE”
Explore these classic art themes at the new exhibition at the SOUTH BRUNSWICK MUNICIPAL GALLERY, 540, Rt. 522/Ridge Rd., Monmouth Jct, NJ.  I’ll have 2 oil paintings in this show along with the work of several other local artists!  Opening reception Friday, April 17, 2015, 6:30pm-8pm.
Show runs thru 6/24/15.

For more info.: 732-329-4000 X7635
www.sbarts.org

Xray WorldEgg Birdmother (c)March2015

Xray WorldEgg Birdmother (c)March2015

NEW “X-RAYTED” ARTWORK
This Spring I’ve been working on expanding my “X-RAYted” digital photo collage series & thanks to friends donating to my growing collection of x-rays, I now have new signed prints available, including the one shown above, “World Egg Birdmother” . Signed, matted 8×10’s start at just $50 +s/h.  Larger sizes & framing options available.  Please contact me for more details!  Other images can be sen on: http://laurencurtisart.weebly.com 

 

And here are some great exhibits you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home as they are ONLINE!  I have artwork in these shows:

International Women’s Exhibit

This online exhibition, hosted by Women In Focus,  features amazing photographic images from women artists around the world!  From traditional images to abstract and surreal, it’s worth taking the time to scroll through this extensive show and experience so many beautiful pieces in one place.  I have a B&W night shot I took in Amsterdam in this show.  Here’s the link: http://www.womeninfocusatlanta.com/  under Exhibits.    The exhibit will remain online through the month of April.

Spring Featured Artists

A LinkedIn connection, Stephen Fountain, invited me to be a featured artist on his eclectic, spiritual, creative website so of course I said YES!  In Stephen’s words, this site is built with the intention to get people to use more of their intuition and cognitive process to find things , so it takes a bit of searching to locate my feature but all you need to do is look to the left on the SPRING EXHIBIT page and you will see a big star and it says spring above it. In the center of the star is an arrow pointing in two directions. Click on the right side of arrow to see my page.  The large buttons below my image will lead you to my various websites. 
Here’s the link:

As always, thanks so much for reading!
~Lauren

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!

Visit art shows without leaving home!

"Amsterdam Night #1", 35mm B&W photo, (c)Lauren Curtis

For artists and art appreciators, what’s one of the biggest advantages of the internet?  Being able to view amazing artwork from across the globe without leaving your house!  Of course it’s always a great experience to actually visit galleries and museums but we can’t always do that, especially when an exhibit we’d love to see is taking place in another state or country, so enter ONLINE EXHIBITIONS!

These provide us with a way to view all types of artwork and discover new artists and collect work from those we already follow from the comfort of our homes and computers.  And for us artists, we don’t have to pay ridiculous shipping fees and risk our work being lost or damaged while still being able to reach an international audience.  I do still really enjoy actual brick and mortar exhibits where I can attend the openings and meet the other artists and collectors, but internet art shows are another way to gain exposure and mingle with other creatives.

So, for those of you who want to exhibit hop from home, here are 2 online exhibitions I have artwork in…

International Women’s Exhibit

This online exhibition features amazing photographic images from women artists around the world!  From traditional images to abstract and surreal, it’s worth taking the time to scroll through this extensive show and experience so many beautiful pieces in one place.  I have a B&W night shot I took in Amsterdam in this show.  Here’s the link: http://www.womeninfocusatlanta.com/  under Exhibits.    The exhibit will remain online through the month of April.

Spring Featured Artists

A LinkedIn connection, Stephen Fountain, invited me to be a featured artist on his eclectic, spiritual, creative website so of course I said YES!  In the site’s creator’s words, this site is built it with the intention to get people to use more of their intuition and cognitive process to find things , so it takes a bit of searching to locate my feature but all you need to do is look to the left on the SPRING EXHIBIT page and you will see a big star and it says spring above it. In the center of the star is an arrow pointing in two directions. Click on the right side of arrow to see my page.  The large buttons below my image will lead you to my various websites. 
Here’s the link:

I purposely only posted one art image in this blog as I hope you’ll click the links to the exhibitions and view the work there.  Feel free to leave comments about the sites once you’ve visited them and enjoy your virtual trip to the galleries!

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!

I’ll be on the radio & at art events

Lots of exciting news to share with all of you!  This month is packed with exciting…and FREE…art events in New Jersey so if you’re in the area, check them out and stop by my booth at the art fests and say hello!  Here’s the scoop:

Franklin Arts Festival, Sat., Sept., 20th, noon til 7pm. Music, Art, Food, Kids Activities & more!  My friend and I will be vending at this event so come by and say hello!  Colonial Park (Lot C), Somerset, NJ 08873

FranklinArtsFestSept2014

FranklinArtsFestSept2014

I’ll also be vending/exhibiting art at ARTS IN THE PARK outdoor art fest on Sunday, Sept. 21, 11:30am-4:30pm  Free event! Main Street (Rt. 27 N), Highland Park, NJ  Art, Music, Food, Kids activities, & more!
And I have 2 photo pieces in this exhibition:

Fall Arts Fest at the NJ Medical School Gallery
185 South Orange Ave., Newark, NJ 07103

Opening Reception, Thurs., Oct. 16, 2014, 4pm-6pm.
For more info: 973-972-4795

And TOMORROW NIGHT this is happening! Wed. 9/10/14, 6-7pm! My artist interview ON THE RADIO with the AEABIA RADIO SHOW! This cool show features artists, writers/poets and other creatives! Tune in tomorrow night at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mikialmillard/2014/09/10/aeabia-exploring-art-featuring-premier-artist-lauren-curtis#.VA8Jzm9wulw.twitter

Fear not, if you miss the live show it will soon be available on the website’s archives and will be download-able!

🙂 ~Lauren

Thank you & Welcome!

First off I’d like to WELCOME all the new subscribers to my art blog!!  I decided to try to gain new subscribers by posting on Facebook that I’d love to break 3000 followers and IT WORKED!  So, a big THANK YOU to all that read this blog, both old and new, and I hope you’ll enjoy what I post!  I promise to keep it interesting and informative without bombarding you with constant posts.  Also, you’ll be kept up to date on my exhibits, vending events and new artwork, and I’ll also keep featuring guest bloggers as it’s not “all about me”…there are many talented, creative people out there and we artists need to support each other!  So, if you’re an illustrator, painter, writer, crafter (especially of the Gothic or Steampunk genres), poet, tattoo-ers, etc. please leave me a comment here (& a LIKE) and let me know if you’d be interested in writing a guest blog post for this page!  Any press is good press (& this will be great press)  and I’ll include a link to your website too.   Just keep it related to art.

Its Your Day Card (c)Lauren Curtis

Its Your Day Card (c)Lauren Curtis

And, I hope you’ll ask your friends to subscribe to my blog too…the more the merrier…and please also leave comments on the types of art related topics you’d like me to discuss; marketing, social networking, exhibits, different mediums, freelance work, art fests, etc.  All comments and questions appreciated and answered!

THANKS AGAIN & now onto 4000 subscribers!

🙂 Lauren

Facebook Frustrations

Hey facebook users, have you become frustrated with this social network site?  Have you recently noticed a significant drop in your reach numbers of your fan pages and are you seeing less and less of your many of your friend’s posts on the home page feed except for those people whose posts you constantly “like”, share or comment on and other friends seem to have disappeared?  Well, you’re not alone and no, you’re not hallucinating or getting dropped by all your friends (well, maybe some people are but I don’t want to assume that about anyone! 😉  )  This is actually happening thanks to facebook changing algorithms to basically try to force you into buying ad space and boosts to posts if you want the bulk of your friends and fans to be able to see what you’re up to even though they’ve voluntarily “liked” your pages and are following you!

Now to many this might be no big deal but to people like myself who are freelance artists, small businesses and other people who rely on what facedbook initially promised with their services, this is a huge problem!  I know, I know, facebook is free and a private company that can do as they will but they’re also uber-super-duper rich due to all the good folks like us who made facebook what it is today and they’re now going against the initial foundations and promises of what the site was to stand for!  Seems greed is kicking in full force and as usual the new plans and formats seem to cater to bigger businesses and squelch those of us on limited budgets trying to utilize facebook to it’s fullest…and after all, anyone who uses it and links it to other sites, is giving back free promotion in exchange!

Therapy 3 (c)Lauren Curtis

Therapy 3 (c)Lauren Curtis

I first noticed a sudden, major drop in the reach of my art page (link below) posts a couple of months ago…I have over 1500 fans and close to 4,000 friends and was averaging  about 350+ views per fan page post and around 30-60+ “likes” and more comments per profile page post.  Suddenly those numbers seemed to be cut in half even though I was posting more than ever and following all the SEO and marketing rules I could find about interesting content and getting people involved in the best way possible.  I didn’t know what was going on until a friend of mine sent me a link to an article (below) describing the exact same scenario another person was having who has a lot more followers and fans than I do…yet she still saw a huge drop in her post response!  I know that my numbers aren’t huge in the grand scheme of social networking but relatively speaking I’m no slouch, and I work my butt off to not only promote my art but post interesting images and content, and support other people’s pages/groups as well!  Yet, I cannot afford to pay, nor will not, to expand the reach of my pots to people I worked hard to network with and who want to follow my posts yet are being blocked by the very network they’re on!  Yes, facebook is a great service but it’s the people on it that make it a success!

So, now I’m going to cave in and finally join Twitter!  Nothing against Twitter but I’m already on so many different sites I had to draw the line somewhere, but after doing some research the consensus seems to be that Twitter is starting to give facebook a run for their money as far as being a better place for people like me to promote and share our work.  And now that you can post images on Twitter (initially you couldn’t so as an artist that didn’t appeal to me), it has even more appeal for me.   And with services like HootSuite where you can post to multiple sites at once, here I come Twitter!

But don’t take it from me…I posted the link to the article I read so you can judge for yourself and I’d love to hear any comments, feedback and information you have out there in the bloggosphere…please post your comments here and let me know about what you’re experiences are with these sites and if you’re going through the same thing or not…we can all learn more about this ever-changing world wide web!

http://www.businessinsider.com/2014s-biggest-threat-to-facebook-2013-12

My art page: http://www.facebook.com/LaurenCurtisArtTalonArt