Mark your calendar for the 17th annual North Coast Open Studios, June 6-7 and June 13-14, 2015. Thanks to our major sponsors: Wildberries Marketplace, Pierson Building Center, and Umpqua Bank (our youth sponsor).
Teresa Saluzzo is a painter and owner of Winding Rose Studio in Fortuna. Once focusing on weaving and ceramics, she now spends the majority of her time with a canvas, painting the things that inspire her; chiefly nature, atmospheric effects, light, and florals. She currently paints out of her house in Fortuna, the walls of which are decorated with beautifully crafted wallpaper reminiscent of Humboldt’s early culture, as well as a number of art pieces she’s completed and several others she’s collected over the years.
The Business of Art
I really wanted to know how Teresa lives with her Art and how she runs the business side of things. Here’s what I learned, and some things I was reminded of:
- To sell art, if selling is your goal, you need to be an aggressive business person. While quality is always our first priority as artists, it’s hard — if not impossible — to succeed without putting time into the business side of things.
- To accomplish larger goals, we need to set short term goals, and we need to work towards them every day.
- Being a successful artist takes a lot of personal motivation, and it takes practicing your art every day. We have to be our own boss, and we have to spend part of every day promoting ourselves by blogging, writing grants, submitting work to exhibitions, etc.
- When writing grants or finding residencies, it’s important to find grants or opportunities that fit you and only apply to those. Not all opportunities are made equal and if your artwork or art making process doesn’t fit with the opportunity, time is better spent elsewhere.
Teresa’s Experience with Open Studios
After a discussion about Teresa’s life as an artist and her inspirations, I asked what her experience with Open Studios has been like.
- She’s been hosting an Open Studio for three consecutive years getting about 30 visitors on average.
- To prep for guests, she does a number of things. The first, of course, is cleaning, but not too much. Visitors like to see our mess.
- She sends postcards out to her email list.
- She leaves a guest book for visitors to sign and join her email list.
- She leaves balloons and signs to lead visitors to her studio, sometimes putting art by the fence, if the weather permits.
- She sends info to other artists and vice versa as a form of cross advertising. Having a nice take-away, leave-behind, or post-card is an excellent way to do this as well.
I asked Teresa what Open Studios brought her and she said it introduced her to the local art community; one where it’s less competitive and artists embrace each other and have interest in their work. Visiting Teresa’s studio was a beautiful experience, and if you can’t make it in person, you can find her work HERE.
Steven Vander Meer is the owner and operator of Meer Image, located in Manila. As a solo operation, Steven makes rubber stamps for a variety of customers and has a versatile artistic background, which also includes figure drawing, hand illustration for moving pictures, wood burning, and an academic background in photography. If you’ve been to his studio, you know he’s been making modifications for some time, and seeing the thought put into every detail of the space is incredibly telling of his artistic process.
Steven’s Experience with Open Studios
- Between my endless inquiries about each of his projects and walking through what can only be described as an artist’s playground, Steven answered some questions about his previous experience with NCOS.
- He’s been involved with Open Studios for well over 10 years.
- He usually gets between 80-100 visitors despite his studio being off the main path, in Manila.
- As many others do, he creates business and post cards for visitors to take home.
- Steven keeps a blog and posts works in progress, allowing website users to pre-order stamps before they’re officially available.
- He uses Tumblr and YouTube to show his animation work in the form of full videos or .gifs.
- Before his studio is open, Steven will lay out the different steps of his process for visitors to use as a visual aid while he explains the steps.
- However busy it gets, he does his best to talk to everyone and make them feel welcome as soon as they arrive. Part of doing this is letting visitors know who is hosting the studio, as this isn’t always clear if you aren’t already covered in ink, paint, charcoal, or what have you.
An exciting development for Steven this last year, and Lynn Jones from Just My Type Letterpress (profiled here, for North Coast Open Studios) as well, was that they both received the Victor Thomas Jacoby Award from Humboldt Area Foundation. With the funds, Steven plans to explore animation through his in-progress film project BOOMERANG.
Ryan Filgas is to thank for all the artist profiles (including photos) during this 2015 North Coast Open Studios season, and boy, am I grateful for his hard work, time and photo skillls!
Ryan is a Studio Arts major at Humboldt State University and an aspiring portrait and fine arts photographer. He enjoys spending time with friends, quiet time in nature, and anywhere he can bring a camera. In the past he’s written articles for SLR Lounge, and worked as a barista at Mosgo’s Coffee Shop, staving off his never ending addiction for phenomenal chai lattes.
Lynn Jones is the owner of Just My Type Letterpress in Blue Lake and this will be her second consecutive year with Open Studios, though she has participated in years past. She opened both weekends of the event, made a profit, and had just over 100 visitors.
Lynn says NCOS was a validating experience; the visitors were excited to be there and had an equal love for the process of making. Lynn also caught interest from a gallery owner and landed a spot in a cat themed art show in Los Angeles!
A successful day of Open Studios can be made even more successful with a bit of foot work. Here’s what helped Lynn attract visitors last year:
- Investing time in social media (Facebook, Pinterest, etc.).
- Participating in a free Open Mic through KHUM Radio.
- Teaming up with two others for an underwriting spot on KHSU ($150 split three ways).
- Creating new work with Open Studios in mind to send out with her newsletter.
- Creating a memorable experience for visitors so they’ll come again.
- She adds that perhaps she’ll host a lemonade stand this year! (More info on Lemonade Day here)