This is my yearly art review, assessing what kind of artistic progress I made. Looking back, I realized I only posted on this blog 8 times this year, and I started 8 drafts that I never completed. I made a lot of art, so why didn’t I post more? Maybe an important question is, Why do I want to post more? It’s true the more you post, the more traffic you will get. But who is even reading this? I’m not sure, but it seems like mostly bots and search engine hits. I have seen an uptick in search engine results so I suppose by posting and pinning more, I’m getting closer to a critical mass point for art marketing. But I always go back to the question of how much time should you spend creating art, versus creating posts about your art?
As for artistic endeavors this past year, a few things stand out:
Surface Pattern Design
I always go back to surface pattern design! It’s such a fun way to doodle, and use your analytical skills at the same time. Thanks to a skillshare class I took with Liz Kohler Brown I now have two different options for creating seamless patterns using my iPad: For precision vector driven pieces, I use Affinity Design. For a fast, painterly style, I use the Procreate app. I have tons of sketches and thumbnails, but I usually move on to the next project instead of using them to create a physical product. Instead I make these little tiles for Pinterest, just to see which designs are more popular. One of these days I will create some new products, if only for myself!
AI Surface Pattern Design
I also made my first AI pattern. It turned out pretty interesting. I did a lot of editing to make it more presentable, but the thing that stands out is that you can actually use AI to create an interesting seamless pattern. Or you can loosely sketch up an idea and generate something more fleshed out with the AI. The finished product actually turned out to be one of my most popular pins by far. Not sure if it’s because the pattern itself is appealing, or AI is just a popular search term. I’m guessing the latter. It’s a cute pattern but not one of my favorites.
In May I listened to a podcast episode (Art & Cocktails) featuring Alyssa Sexton. I was fascinated by her business model: She curates art that she likes, and sells it though a website and a mailing list. I also liked her website design, which she does specifically for artists. Her work inspired me to change up my own site, with the thought that if I were to be an artist that sells my work, what would my website look like? And it forced me to ask, which of my pieces best represent my aesthetic? I ended up with this one, and so I put it on the front page:
Unfortunately I still haven’t solved the problem of figuring out how I should be selling my art. It only exists in digital form. I really need to get some large scale prints made so I can start figuring out what works as a physical product.
I used Pinterest quite a lot, and this year I increased my effectiveness at creating pins and tracking them. I love using Pinterest for art marketing, because it’s so easy to see what is popular and what is trending, and how my aesthetic fits in to that. I love to use my stats to tell me what’s working and what isn’t.
Actual Painting + Digital Collage
Early last year, I tried to start a regular painting habit. I did not keep it up. Why? I think when I get the urge to use actual paints, I only do it until I get what I need out of it. I love the tactile experience of paint, and I think it always leads me back to a digital path I wasn’t exploring before. This year, I did more experimenting with digitizing individual brushstrokes, and I was excited with the results. I’m hoping to do more of that this year.
I guess you could say I’m hoping to do more of ALL OF IT. Will this be the year that I make a transition to actually selling some of my work? That would be nice but it’s going to take a little more focus and dedication on my part. This year was tough, in that I started to get a little burned out from my job as a nurse, which actually pays the bills. But now it’s a new year and I feel a renewed sense of hope. One positive way to see it is that it was an improvement over the previous year, which was definitely an improvement over the year before that! I’m hoping all of these incremental improvements will eventually enable me to hit critical mass in my daily art practice.