We need Thanksgiving NOW!

These are crazy times…& no matter where you stand on politics, religion, and other personal beliefs we really could use a day of thanks now more than ever to take stock of what good we have in our lives and appreciate those that stand with us and mean so much to us!  I’m thankful for my friends and family who have stood by me, supported my art career, made me laugh…and cry…and who have been a source of balance and happiness in my life.  I’m thankful to have the freedom to create my art every day and express myself how I see fit…and I hope this right never goes away…    I’m thankful that even though I hit the scary (for me) milestone of 50 this year, I feel great and am still rockin’ my classic gothic look.  😉    And I’m thankful for everyone out there who supports creatives and/or who are creative themselves, in whatever way…it’s important to keep open minds and to explore the positive contributions of other cultures instead of focusing on how we are different in a divisive way….different is good..it keeps life interesting…we can be different yet respectful.

reachouttreesmlcurtis

So I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and ask what you are thankful for…& if you reply, please keep it positive & respectful to others.  Thanks!

autumnscenecolorsm

Resolution to value art & artists

New Year’s is almost upon us….that time of year when many make resolutions, many of them empty…or well intended ones that never come to fruition.  But there are those who are disciplined enough to actually follow through and others wise enough not to make them in the first place, knowing they won’t follow through…both are honest!  But one resolution I’d like to propose, that seems simple enough to stick to, is to value art and artists in our society!

Being a full time freelance artist for several years now, it astonishes me how many people I see from across the globe who are either under valuing their own work or those who want to hire artists to create original work for literally pennies and way below minimum wage standard!  I’ve witnessed this on every freelance job site I’m a member of, which is MANY!  For the artists, selling your work for too little doesn’t do anyone any good, including the artist themselves….it sets them up for future low paying jobs, looks unprofessional and inexperienced and will lead to them getting ripped off.  It also encourages this behavior to continue from other clients which negatively effects us all!  It can also lead to the belief that artists aren’t to be taken seriously and can easily be under paid or not paid at all!  Just check out this blog about the non-payment freelance dilemma: https://www.freelancersunion.org/blog/  Nuff said right here!

Artists used to be valued so much more hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago…we were the ones who documented life, recorded history, called down the gods to our aid, and spread knowledge…then we were the communicators, the advertisers…but now that everyone and their mother have high resolution cameras on their phones, and fancy filters and photo editing programs, I guess people think being an artist is easy!  I’m NOT devaluing these technologies as I use them myself but people don’t realize that it’s the creative mind and thought process and years of education that makes a true artist, as well as knowledge of “old school” art techniques, and not just cranking out mass produced graphic images, that forms a TRUE artist…and this takes WORK!

So next time, as an artist, someone wants to pay you $20 for a company logo they can use forever, or $50 for 25 book illustrations (weeks/months of work!) or $5 per hour for graphic design work, speak out and tell them why this is insulting and unfair (but be polite, of course)!  And for those who truly just have no idea what artwork should cost, do research and don’t be afraid to ask what goes into creating and why it should demand as much money as any other skill.  As a client, you do have the right to know and to get value in return for your payment.  The old saying is often true that you do get what you pay for!

So, I leave you with this…make a resolution to see the time, effort and creativity that goes into all forms of art and have a HAPPY, HEALTHY, ART-FILLED NEW YEAR!

XraytedPowerOfWordsJan2012sm

“The Power of Words” (c) Lauren Curtis

 

Giving Thanks

 

What are you thankful for?   This Thursday, all over the US, people will be gathering with friends and family to celebrate Thanksgiving and even though it can be tough sometimes to have perspective when things are difficult, especially given the horrible acts that have been committed in this world in both the past & present, it is important to take a minute and reflect on the good things in our lives and what we are thankful for!

I’m very thankful for all of you who support the arts and to those who have supported my work!  It’s so important to me and has allowed me to follow my dream of being a full-time artist…every sale and commission, no matter how big or small, are equally as valuable and appreciated.  So, I’d like to share some of my Autumn photographs with you to say THANK YOU for your support and to wish everyone a HAPPY, HEALTHY THANKSGIVING!

 

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

‘Tis the Season for Holiday Lights in NJ!

I’ve been wondering if there were places to drive thru huge holiday light displays, especially since I’ve been watching that Christmas Light Fight show on TV and thanks to this blog, I found it….I hope to check at least one of these places out & thought I’d pass along the info, so if you’re in NJ, here’s some X-mas spirit for ya!

New Jersey Isn't Boring!

57203133My goal this season – to see as many Christmas light displays as possible! Here are some epic ones I have made trips to see. Be sure to follow me on Instagram @NewJerseyIsntBoring to see even more awesome light shows! If you find any and post them, use the #njisntboring so I can see them.

Kloos Family Lights (East Brunswick) – This house was definitely cool to check out. Their lights are synced to their very own radio station! The light show is free to view, but they are currently raising money for charity so please donate if you go to visit (and be respectful of their neighbors) . Check them out on Facebook!
Address: 13 Sterling Court, East Brunswick, NJ
My Video

Cranbury Christmas Lights (Cranbury) – This house, which is located on Main St in Cranbury, also has their own radio station that syncs up with lights…

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NOVEMBER ART NEWS!

Happy November!  I know, I can’t believe it either…Halloween is over and now we’re officially in the holiday season.  Even though the outdoor arts events are coming to an end, galleries and other venues are going full force with exhibits and holiday shows…here are just a few things I’m working on now…more to come soon…

Canal Mystery 2 (c)Lauren Curtis

Canal Mystery 2 (c)Lauren Curtis

“PICCOLO Small Works”,
Group Art Exhibition

View this eclectic exhibit of small works at GALLERY U!  I’ll have the above photo, among others, in this exciting show!  These pieces make perfect, affordable holiday gifts!  This show has an opening reception Fri. 11/7/14, 6pm-8pm, Gallery U, 439 South Ave. Westfield, NJ  07090.  908-232-1895
Show runs thru 12/1/14.

 

Steampunk & Gothic Jewelry by Lauren Curtis

Steampunk & Gothic Jewelry by Lauren Curtis

TIME FOR MY ANNUAL ART & JEWELRY HOLIDAY SALE!
I know it’s hard to believe that it’s “that time of year” again…the holidays!  Who wants to deal with the crowds and hassle of going to the mall when you can shop from your comfy home?  That’s why ALL OF MY ORIGINAL ART & PHOTOGRAPHY is ON SALE for 20% OFF now thru Dec. 15, 2014!! You can see my work on these sites:
http://laurencurtisart.weebly.com
http://www.facebook.com/LaurenCurtisArtTalonArt http://www.LaurenCurtisArt.com
http://laurencurtis.imagekind.com/

Custom commissions welcome!  And I’m also offering 10% off any 1-of-a-kind jewelry purchase of $20 or more!!  Each hand crafted piece is a unique design & I can email you photos of available jewelry or if you’re in the central NJ area, I can arrange a viewing.  Please email me
with any questions about my work!  forestwalker333@hotmail.com (or just reply to this email).
I’ll also be vending at some holiday arts & music events in Central NJ…please check my websites for updates!  Have a Happy, Healthy Thanksgiving!!!

As always, thanks so much for reading!
~Lauren

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!

Autumn Art & Fall Fests

Happy Autumn, everyone!  Even though summer is over, the weather (in the NJ area at least) has been gorgeous and perfect for outdoor arts and music fests as well as for venturing out to gallery exhibitions so here’s some October events I’m involved with…

Caged Nerves, digital photo collage (c)Lauren Curtis

Caged Nerves, digital photo collage (c)Lauren Curtis

“Something Wicked This Way Comes”,
Group Art Exhibition

Celebrate the Autumn & Halloween season artistically at GALLERY U!  I’ll have the above digital photo collage in this hauntingly exciting show!  The gallery will also be selling some of my matted, signed 8×10 photo prints as well.  This show has an opening reception Thurs. 10/2/14, 6pm-8pm, Gallery U, 439 South Ave. Westfield, NJ  07090.  908-232-1895
Show runs thru 11/3/14.

Pumpkinpatch (c)Lauren Curtis

Pumpkinpatch (c)Lauren Curtis

FALL ART FESTS in NEW JERSEY
Join me for these FREE arts & music fests this October!  Fun for the whole family with local artists, crafters and other vendors, music, food and more!

BARRON ARTS FEST, Sat., 10/11/14, 10am – 4pm, Parker Press Park off Rahway Ave., Woodbridge, NJ.

CANAL FEST, Sat., 10/18/14, 11am – 4:30pm. Market Street, East Millstone, NJ.
Other exciting news…I was recently interviewed on AEABIA ARTS RADIO SHOW!  This hour long conversation discussed a wide variety of artistic topics and the host asked many creative, interesting questions.  To listen, click this link then look for the “download” link under the video box.  Hope you enjoy it!
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mikialmillard/2014/09/10/aeabia-exploring-art-featuring-premier-artist-lauren-curtis#.VBFyrtajzUY.twitter

As always, thanks so much for reading!
~Lauren

How your story & archetype effect your brand

So many of us entrepreneurs have trouble with the concept of marketing our “brand“, or what our business portrays to the public,  so I thought it would be helpful to post this fascinating article on the subject by my long time friend and “Renaissance Woman Extraordinaire”, Conny Jasper.
Conny is a writer, marketing Guru, creative person…the list goes on…and here is her article to help you grow your business, whatever it may be. For more information or to contact her, her web link is at the end of the article.
Conny Jasper, August 2014

Conny Jasper, August 2014

Your Brand, Your Story, Your Archetype
Images and stories have always been a part of human culture. They have also been used to convince people to think and act in certain ways. For instance, rulers throughout history have known and employed the power of imagery and storytelling to achieve their goals for their regime. Additionally, the old medicine show gave people a song and a dance before selling their wares.
With the widespread use of media, merchants made use of these avenues with catchy slogans, songs, pictures, and mascots. Every brand symbolizes something. In particular, archetypes are patterns of thought and behavior that influence your presentation and activities. How you identify yourself and your brand are important aspects of marketing and sales.
The following are 12 of the most popular archetypes:
1. Hero –
The hero is a rescuer or winner, the one who commits courageous acts and defies all odds to champion a cause and/or achieve greatness. Every product or service fulfills the hero archetype, because it is your brand that saves the day. When someone has a need, it is your brand that fulfills that niche.
2. Seeker –
The seeker, however, is an archetype that exemplifies a quest for some knowledge or thing that will provide a sense of fulfillment or accomplishment. The quest is not followed for heroic purposes but to gain understanding or improvement. When your brand personifies this archetype, you are providing ongoing assistance in your customer’s pursuit of goals.
3. Guardian –
Preserving and upholding the safety of the group and/or time honored customs is the role of this archetype. The guardian is the protector or caretaker of others or of traditions and values. A brand that characterizes this role exhibits responsibility and duty to the service of caring for others and keeping them safe.
4. Mentor –
The mentor is the teacher or guide who supports and encourages learning and development. This archetype is a leader who embodies experience and knowledge. Your product or service symbolizes the mentor when you offer ongoing solutions that lead the customer to his or her goals.
5. Messenger –
The messenger brings news or offers predictions to others. A brand that demonstrates this archetype delivers information and forecasts. Your product or service provides a way for people to gain useful knowledge, understanding, and/or returns on their investments.
6. Trickster –
Playing games and making jokes are the domains of the trickster. This archetype must be performed well in order to be effective. The use of cunning and wit must be crafted and delivered with finesse. The trickster has many guises including the comedian, the magician, and the game player.
7. Orphan –
The orphan is the abandoned child, the stray dog, the lost soul. This archetype is exposed early to the hazards of life and forced to find independence. The orphan gains strength from adapting and meeting the challenges of hardship. A brand that adopts the symbolism of this pattern gains a powerful advantage in the marketplace, because it appeals to us on many different levels.
8. Magician –
Making things happen in an organized way is the domain of the magician. The magician makes it all look smooth and easy, while behind the scenes, it took blood, sweat, and tears to perfect it. When your brand embodies the magician, it changes a situation and provides some relief, even if it is only momentary.
9. Warrior –
The warrior is an archetype that embodies strength, confidence, and resolve. When your brand expresses these qualities, you have a powerful focus and a great sense of intent. However, this energy needs to be exercised with caution and judgment, because the drive for conquest can overpower the original purpose. A superb warrior chooses his or her battles wisely.
10. Ruler –
Leadership and responsibility are the domains of the ruler. This archetype has a vision and the resources to achieve these aspirations. A brand that personifies this archetype provides guidance and keeps others on track. The ruler provides the expertise, the ability to delegate, and the background to influence others.
11. Healer –
The healer is the caretaker, the one who provides support. A brand that personifies this archetype transforms pain into well-being. Your product or service provides relief from the burden of discomfort or stress and assures your customers that all is well. This is an archetype that gives people hope.
12. Villain –
Every story has a villain, the scoundrel who threatens to foil the plan or who must be stopped from wrong-doing. In marketing, the villain represents the problem that has to be overcome, and your product or service is the solution that conquers the villain. Otherwise, your brand may play the role of the bad boy, the underdog, or the outsider.
 

 

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