Wednesday, December 8, 2010
1. FAIM Winter Clothing Drive: Part One-The Drop-Off
On Saturday, December 11th from 12-3pm, volunteers are needed to help distribute flyers door-to-door, informing the St. Albans community of the FAIM Winter Clothing Drive and Fundraiser to benefit the African Center for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Community Awareness for a Smarter Tomorrow (CAST) and the Fashion Art Interactivity Movement (FAIM).
The idea is to make it convenient for people to support the efforts by providing a large bag attached to the flyer and then returning to pick up one week later on Saturday, December 18th. Then, local designers and stylists will be invited to compete in a Styling Competition to take place in January 2011, where they will be challenged to create looks from the clothes and judged by a live audience. FAIM will host a sample sale following the competition and guests can receive styling tips as they purchase the used clothes. Proceeds from these events will help offset operating and program costs for ACCE, CAST and FAIM.
Supporters may also drop off their donations at ACCE, 111-20 Farmers Blvd, St. Albans, 11412 on Saturday, December 11th.
To get involved as a volunteer, driver, model, stylist, designer or in another way email:
2. Film Screening of Operation Small Axe
On Sunday, December 12th at the African Center for Community Empowerment from 3-6pm Bay Area journalist and filmmaker JR Valrey will show his latest documentary, Operation Small Axe. FAIM is hosting the event with a Q & A session to follow the screening.
The suggested donation is 1 bag of clean, new, used, undamaged clothing, coats and shoes to support FAIM's Winter Clothing Drive and/or a monetary donation of $7.
111-20 Farmers Blvd, Saint Albans, Queens 11412
E train to Jamaica Center, Q83 to 111th Ave
F train to 179th St., Q3 to 111th Ave
The San Francisco Bayview newspaper wrote this about the film:
"“Operation Small Axe” takes a raw and unflinching look at life under police terrorism in Oakland, drawing parallels with the struggles against oppression in Palestine and South Africa. Through the stories of Oscar Grant and Lovelle Mixon, the film focuses on the occupation of Oakland’s communities of color by militarized and racist police forces.
Oscar Grant was shot in the back and killed by Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer Johannes Mehserle on Jan. 1 of this year. On March 21, Lovelle Mixon was killed by Oakland police after having allegedly shot five OPD officers, killing four.
The film, now debuting to rave reviews around the Bay Area, is directed and produced by 393 Films’ Adimu Madyun, edited by Angela N. Carroll, with camera work by Hooker Boy, Angela N. Carroll, Siraj Fowler and Adimu Madyun. Prisoners of Conscience Committee Minister of Information JR is the executive producer.
Watch this “Operation Small Axe” trailer for a taste of the bitter but little known war waged daily on the streets of Black and Brown Oakland by the police against the people. Now that the judge has ordered the murder trial moved out of Oakland of the cop who killed Oscar Grant in cold blood two hours into the 2009 New Year on a BART platform in front of hundreds of horrified passengers, this film will inform all Californians why justice for Oscar Grant is imperative."
For more information visit www.blockreportradio.com or email email@example.com
3. FAIM Winter Clothing Drive: Part Two-The Pick-Up
On Saturday, December 18th, from 12-3pm. Volunteers are needed to help collect donations of new, used, clean and undamaged clothing, coats and shoes in St. Albans, Queens.
Supporters may also drop off their donations at ACCE, 111-20 Farmers Blvd, St. Albans, 11412 on Saturday, December 11th.
To get involved as a volunteer, driver, model, stylist, designer or in another way email:
FAIM Events coming in early 2011
* FAIM new website launch
* Model, Stylist and Designer Open Call
* Styling Competition and Sample Sale
* Creative Entrepreneur Conference
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Queens Artist Jocelyn M. Goode Brings The Community Together In An Upcoming Art Exhibition Premiere Event
Saint Albans, NY (November 10, 2010)--On Saturday, November 20th, from 4-7pm, artist Jocelyn M. Goode will host the premiere exhibition event for her new painting series, “Concerning The Crack”. The eight piece collection was created in part from a grant awarded to Goode in January 2010 by the Queens Council on the Arts. “Concerning The Crack” explores the generational gap in the African-American community between people 21 years-old and younger and 40 years-old and older. Using photography, typography and painting, Goode fuses together the images and words of people in her community. Young and old participated in the project by agreeing to be photographed and interviewed about their opinions of problems facing the Black community and how the Crack Epidemic and the Technological Revolution have affected inter-generational relationships. Each painting is 36” x48”, completed in acrylic paint with printed page pieces of stylized type.
The free exhibition will also include an artist talk and an afterparty with guest performances by “The Rockout King” DJ Sylk, singer ArinMaya, emerging poet Poetic Flow and dancer Delicia Davis Burrell. “I want this to be more than a show where people just look at art. I want it to be a community gathering where we can break bread and enjoy the culture around us”, says Goode of her show, which she has designed to cater to an audience that may be unfamiliar with art openings. Food will be provided at the conclusion of the event and guests will have the opportunity to show their support by making a donation to the on-going fundraising Goode must do to continue to put on community art events. Local businesses such as By The Rock Pizza and Gyro and Positive Images by Joan along with individuals on Farmers Blvd. gave over $125 in one week to help off-set the exhibition’s expenses.
The African Center for Community Empowerment (ACCE) located at 111-20 Farmers Blvd has been one of Goode’s key parners and has donated their space for the event. “Concerning The Crack” will be second art show held at the Center, which provides an afterschool program to neighborhood youth diring the week. Last August, Ben Rowe advised by Goode, completed a mural on the side of the ACCE building. This event is just the beginning of other creative initiatives artist Jocelyn M. Goode has in store to revive St. Albans’ legacy of artistic greatness.
To explore the history and intention of “Concerning The Crack” futher, visit www.concerningthecrack.com
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
(r to l: Najma, Olu, Micah, Rashawn and Ms. Ivonne Cintron)
There is a belief that children are becoming smarter with every generation and know more at a younger age than the kids of the era before. This thought is evidenced by a class of elementary school students who, in one semester, learned the basics of web design and created sites to inform the masses about issues that concern them.
Meet Rashawn, 9, Najma, 8, Micah, 9 and Olu, 8. They are fourth grade students at the Community Partnership Charter School in Brooklyn, New York. As member of the Senior Academy, the kids had a choice of co-curricular classes which included over a dozen selections such as Capoeira Angola, yoga and cooking. They chose web design. Their instructor, Ivonne Cintron taught their class key components to building a website, while the students researched subjects and gathered facts. The culmination of the course was to put together a live, functioning website.
In the following interview, read in the words of these youth about why they chose to study web design and how they came to identify the issues of importance, to share with the world.
FAIM: Why are you interested in web design?
Rashawn: I like to learn new things.
Najma: You decide what you want to show.
Rashawn: I want people to notice me; I only have a little bit of friends, maybe I can make more...
Micah: I want people to know me, I want to express myself because there are things inside my heart and I want people to know it to make the world better.
Olu: I saw a lot of websites on the internet and I wanted to see if I could make one.
Najma: It involves using the computer and I use the computer all the time.
FAIM: What subject did you pick for your website and why?
Micah: My subject is about Haiti because Haiti is destroyed. Even though we're not in that country, we can help them. My friend Senai, her grandfather died in the earthquake and I wanted to help her because she never got to meet him. A lot of people died and what if that happened here and no one helped us?
Rashawn: We focused on gang violence and how bad it is because a lot of people get hurt and killed. Around my neighborhood when I was younger, people used to fight and I got scared. So when I chose this subject, I thought of the fights. I wanted to warn people that if they joined gangs and started fights, they might be wanted as a criminal when they grow up.
Najma: My topic is endangered animals. I chose it because it's a subject that people don't talk about that much and so I decided to put it as a website so people would realize its a serious thing.
FAIM: What do you want to happen now that the site is done?
Olu: I want people to see it and spread the word. Then maybe I'll make another one.
Micah: I want people to see it and take the advice like have bake sales to raise money and try to ship it and spread the word so everybody could know about it.
Olu: Don't join gangs because there are 30,000-35,000 members. If you don't want that number to increase, people shouldn't join or else someone you know may suffer.
Rashawn: There's a lot of gang violence and more people are joining gangs...I was hoping to stop the rivalry between the Crips and the Bloods because they have been fighting ever since...
FAIM: What does the future for web design hold for you?
Rashawn: In my future, maybe I'll make a website about how to make the world a better place, like stop littering and wasting paper because paper comes from trees and if we don't have trees, we die.
Micah: I see in my future, I'll make more websites and the world will be a better place like it was before.
Najma: I see in my future that web design isn't gonna become my job but I can still do it now and then.
Olu: I might do it again when I have technology class.
To see Micah's website to promote Haiti relief visit: http://cpcsschool.weebly.com/
For Najma's website about endangered animals, click here: http://cpcswebdesign.weebly.
Rashawn and Olu worked together to make a website about gang violence:http://webdesignacademy.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
images from www.arinmaya.com
"There is a knowing I have inside me, a beating of heart as rhythms roam free..." --from the song "Once" by ArinMaya
At some point or another, a moment arrives in the life of a creative person when s/he must acknowledge the blessing of having talent. An inexplicable urgency exists that makes one create, connect and continue, even when the reasons why are not exactly clear. The result is something unique and amazing that touches others in a way that can only be explained as divine. And at that time, some realize that they must be grateful.
FAIM Internet Magazine had an enlightening conversation with singer and songwriter ArinMaya about her journey of self-realization as an artist. On May 4, 2010, she released her newest EP, The Sound of ArinMaya, which is a series of tracks that showcase the creative range of this up-n-coming songstress who cannot be boxed by categories. Electrobeat-spiritsoul-indie-jazz, her music weaves elements of all those genres, making a sound that is inspiring and uplifting. This album, which is available as a free download at http://arinmaya.bandcamp.com, came together after a process of soul searching, trusting in self, and having a talk with God.
Here's how it all started: ArinMaya, a Chicago native, grew up listening to music. As a high school student, she also spent a great deal of time writing poetry and developing spiritually. She was very active in her church and some of her first singing experiences happened there. While she has always loved to sing, she never considered herself to have a great voice; she never considered herself "gifted". However, after graduating from Howard University and working for a corporate book publisher, ArinMaya had a nagging feeling that could not be ignored. Something was amiss in her life. It was then that she and her Creator conversed and He told her that if she was not going to use her gift, that she would lose it.
In Her Words
FAIM: What is your gift?
AM: The voice that I'm blessed with; it's a powerful voice in terms of it's heft and timber...also being an encouraging ear, I try to be that because so often people get discouraged...Outlook is a powerful part of my gift that I want to share; my relationship with God has affected my outlook on the world...
FAIM: How did you come to recognize it?
AM: By getting more comfortable with my voice, through singing, hearing myself sing and seeing people hear my voice. Sometimes, thinking about it too much, I wasn't able to give my best...now it about establishing a connection with an audience by being comfortable with my voice without expecting it to be something else.
FAIM: What are you supposed to do with your gift?
AM: Trust it. Taking advantage of the gift--the moments of clarity when they strike, trusting that what I want to do is what God wants. There is a sense of urgency when there is trust. The song "Lemondrops" came from sitting around waiting for an open mike to start at a cafe in Paris. I just wrote...I want to create and focus on making my gift greater... I want to write a song about listening to ourselves, both the vocal self and the inner self.
FAIM: What do you do to maintain your gift?
AM: I'm particular about what comes into my psyche. I watch what I take in...I don't listen to things that are negative, I watch what comes into my ears and eyes. I'm health conscious...things that do not agree with me, I just don't do...
FAIM: What have been some of your greatest epiphanies during your journey?
AM: The value of being alone. It's ok to not have company. We miss out on moments of freedom because we don't do if we don't have company...Also, the shackles of a 9-5 put me in a box. I feel like He has never failed me yet, and I don't think He will, somehow I'm ok. I'm more financially comfortable than I've ever been even though I made more money with a 9-5 when I had a salary and benefits. I don't have a salary now, I don't have benefits. But I promise, if you follow your heart, you will get what you need.
FAIM: What do you think life would be like if you lost your gift?
AM: The little girl in me says, "I would just have to get another gift!" I'd still be writing but I'd have to find another outlet...
Here and Now
ArinMaya describes her E.P as a Christmas gift from God. She said the songs kept knocking at her door and she produced them inspired by Stevie Wonder, Bobby McFerrin, South African music and Sweet Honey and the Rock . For ArinMaya, "music is not about creating a feeling, but being in a feeling and manifesting it through lyrics and melody."
For the listeners, she hopes that they feel empowered and understood after hearing her music. She wants them to do what they want to do, in a positive way. In ArinMaya's words, "to feel good with where you are, like, I can move past this, I'm ok."
To see her perform live, come to Le Grand Dakar restaurant on Saturday, May 22nd at 8pm, 285 Grand Ave (between Clifton Pl & Lafayette Ave) Brooklyn, NY 11238. The event is free and accessible via subway by taking the G train to Classon or the B38 bus to Grand Ave. ArinMaya will be accompanied by her guitarist, Nicholas Cassarino. To learn more about ArinMaya and to download her album, visit www.arinmaya.com
"I believe that everybody will be happier if they discover their passion and follow it."-ArinMaya
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
The word sensational means stimulating, causing interest or excitement but temporarily and by superficial means. Well, Taela Naomi Brooks is by all definitions interesting and exciting but she is sincere, intelligent, grounded and a starlet that will be around for years. The 25-year old Brooklyn native is a finalist in the "Be Sensational" competition to win a spot on the hit Broadway musical "Chicago". Taela was the only finalist chosen after a live audition judged by actor Mario Lopez and Destiny's Child singer Michelle Williams, who currently plays Roxie in the show. Now she needs the people's support to land the walk-on role and to get one step closer to fulfilling her dreams.
FAIM Internet Magazine had the pleasure of interviewing Taela Naomi to learn about her journey as a performer. She definitely deserves the support to go the next level. Read the below interview to find out why she is beyond sensational...
FAIM: How long have you been a performer?
TN: I’ve been performing since I began creative movement classes at age 3.
FAIM:What styles of performance do you have expertise in?
TN: I have studied ballet, tap, hip-hop, modern, contemporary, theater, and jazz. Musical theater has become my area of interest and versatility is important since every show calls for a different technique.
FAIM: What productions have you participated in already?
TN: I have performed in Dreamgirls (with Jennifer Holliday), The Producers, High School Musical 2, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Crazy For You. I have performed on stage with the Black Eyed Peas, and modeled for L’Oreal, Ed Hardy and Sony. I was also a principal dancer with Naganuma Dance, a contemporary dance company based in New York City for 2 years.
FAIM: Who would you love to share the stage with?
TN: I would love to share the stage with Beyonce! Her choreography is always fierce.
FAIM: What has been your greatest obstacle and how are you overcoming it?
TN: My greatest obstacle has been remaining focused in such an unstable industry. Once a show is over it is always back to auditioning and striving for what comes next. I practice my art regularly even when I’m not performing and whenever I dance I know it’s my calling and I feel newly inspired.
FAIM: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
TN: In 5 years I see myself playing Velma in Chicago on Broadway.
FAIM: What has been your greatest accomplishment so far and why?
TN: My greatest accomplishment so far has been remaining true to my hopes and dreams and never giving up. All my other accomplishments happened simply because of my unrelenting determination.
FAIM: What is your dream role?
TN: My dream role is Velma in Chicago. I love her determination and feisty character. Fosse’s choreography is my favorite to perform also!
FAIM: What is something surprising you have learned about the industry that you wish you knew before you got started?
TN: I wish I had realized that I wanted to go into musical theater earlier! I would have taken up singing lessons. I always loved dance and trained to be a dancer but only realized that I wanted to sing after college.
FAIM: What have you had to sacrifice to get to this level?
TN: I’ve had to sacrifice the sanity of a stable, routine lifestyle. My career takes me all over the country and the world which is exciting but also inhibits me from ever feeling truly at home.
FAIM: Do you have any regrets?
TN: I have no regrets because I always give my all and am living for my dreams.
FAIM: What is the difference between your real life personality and your stage personality?
TN: In real life I am sometimes shy and quiet. On stage there is no room for humility. My stage personality is large and loud.
FAIM: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
TN: I draw inspiration from great choreographers like Bob Fosse and Jerome Robbins and amazing singers like Jennifer Holliday. They are true masters of their craft.
FAIM: What was your most embarrassing stage moment?
TN: My most embarrassing stage moment was tripping to the point of nearly falling during my big entrance! That happened while I was still in college.
FAIM: What advice do you have for other aspiring performers?
TN: My best advice to other performers is to never give up. Those who succeed at anything are those who see their dream and stick with it. See as many great performances as you can to stay inspired. Practice your art and learn impeccable technique.
FAIM: What can readers do to support you?
TN: You can visit www.besensationalandwin.com and vote for me once a day from now till this Friday, May 7th to help me win a spot in Chicago. Also check out my website, www.taelanaomi.com to keep updated on my upcoming performances!
FAIM: When do you learn the results for this competition?
TN: Results are revealed on May 22nd. Fingers crossed!
FAIM: What is the one thing you want people to remember you for?
TN: I want people to remember me for my elegance and commanding stage presence. I want to be an agent in the magical experience that theater is supposed to invoke.
Check her out here!
and vote everyday until May 7th at www.besensationalandwin.com to help her win!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
In celebration of Earthday, FAIM Internet Magazine is spotlighting the work of eco-fashion designer Swati Argade. She is just one of many creators who are making conscious choices about the fabrics, processes and ethics surrounding the production of clothing. As more people become aware of the environmental problems we face as inhabitants of planet Earth, eco-fashion or sustainable fashion proves to be another solution. But what is eco-fashion anyway?
According to the website, www.ecofashionworld.com, which provides information about and access to sustainable designers and brands around the world, the criteria is as follows:
Vegetarian / Animal Free: products that have been made without the use of leather or animal tissue products. Examples are shoes and bags made from “vegetal leather” using Amazonian rubber instead of animal skins or other recycled or man-made materials.
Ethically Produced: Ethical fashion is fashion that has been produced with respect for people and the environment. Although there are existing certifications for Organic and Fair Trade, we want to encourage companies who are taking significant action but don’t qualify for certification. This might include companies producing locally or on small scales in developed countries, who might not qualify for Fair Trade certification or companies working with farmers to transition to sustainable crops but who might not yet qualify as Organic (which takes a few years). The “Ethic Chic” section of each brand profile should have details on the specific steps of the brand’s ethical production.
Craft / Artisan: products that have been crafted using artisan skills such as embroidery, which preserve the perpetuation of ancestral traditions.
Custom or Tailor-made: also called demi-couture or made-to-order. This is a way of encouraging quality and “slow fashion” over mass-produced disposable fashion.
Fair Trade Certified: an organized movement that promotes standards for international labor (such as reasonable work hours, no child labor, the right to unionize, a fair living wage), environmentalism, and social policy in areas related to production of goods. Fair Trade focuses on exports from developing countries to developed countries. Some Fair Trade certification organizations include: FLO www.fairtrade.net, IFAT www.ifat.org, TransFair (Canada and US) www.transfairusa.org and www.transfair.ca.
Organic: natural fibers that have been grown without any pesticides and other toxic materials, preserving the health of humans and the environment. The process of organic growth can be certified by various organizations.
Recycled: anything that has been made from already existing materials, fabrics, metals or fibers. These are often reclaimed from previously made clothing and accessories and reworked into new ones. Fibers can also be re-purposed from pre-existing fabric, re-spun and reused for new garments.
Vintage/Second-Hand:vintage is a generic term for new or second hand garments created in the period from the 1920’s to 1975. However, the term is often used more generally for second-hand clothes or up-cycled clothes (second-hand clothes that have been given a new life through some sort of customization).
The genre of "eco" tends to conjure up images of bland designs in muted colors or super-conceptual aesthetics that an everyday person would not want to wear. Swati's creations, however, are sophisticated, feminine, modern and rich with color. Her inspirations range from ancient Indian architecture to Neo-Victorian to the starship enterprise. This Spring, Swati will introduce a line of raincoats made from recycled bottles, post-consumer waste and organic cotton. Here are FAIM's favorite looks-
For more on Swati, visit www.swatiargade.com
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
According to an article by the Associated Press on January 27th, for every dollar of the $379 million that President Obama has allocated for Haiti earthquake release, "42 cents for disaster assistance, 33 cents for U.S. military aid, nine cents for food, nine cents to transport the food, five cents for paying Haitian survivors for recovery efforts, just under one cent to the Haitian government, and about half a cent to the Dominican Republic."
Essentially, $125 million of the money the U.S. is giving to Haiti is going back to the U.S. for their military. Questionable yet not surprising considering that American government often confuses help to mean military control of a country. Seriously, does relief really require that one third of the money go to maintaining an army or could that figure be reduced to increase the wages to Haitian workers actually rebuilding the country?
On March 29th, the American Red Cross released its plan to spend the $400 million in donations the organization received to aid recovery efforts in Haiti. Their plan is a long-term one to span over the next three to five years. In a recent press release, the American Red Cross published the following figures on their latest spending in Haiti: "In just 11 weeks, the American Red Cross has already spent or allocated a record $106.4 million, with approximately 52 percent of the funds being used for food, water and relief supplies; 36 percent for shelter; 8 percent have been dedicated for health and family services; and 4 percent for livelihoods through cash grants and loans." The organization expects to divide the $400 million, with half to be spent this year and the rest over the following years. Also a problematic plan considering that they've already spent 50% of this year's funds in 11 weeks!
Musician Wyclef Jean, founder of Yele Haiti, a popular non-profit organization to which many people of the Hip-Hop generation contributed money, is the center of a rumor scandal that alleges he paid $105,000 to his lover and personal assistant, Zakiya Khatou-Chevassus. While Yele's grassroots efforts produced $9,139,324 in donations, detractors claim that Wyclef has not been legit with managing the money. A Huffington Post article stated, "Back in late January, shortly after the 7.0 earthquake hit, Yéle Haiti was criticized for spending money on production crews in previous years, and Jean himself was accused of using money from the organization for his personal use. Jean admitted mistakes in the past, but denied wrongdoing and said he'd never take money from the organization..."
Wyclef's uncle, Haitian Ambassador Raymond Alcide Joseph had these comment on the matter, "I'm not a financial accountant, I haven't seen everything, but I think they had people go through the books and they did find some irregularities that were repaired, but as far as wholesale corruption--I say 'no'...It's not because Wyclef Jean is my nephew and I'm defending him but I know his heart is good and he's been doing good work in Haiti long, long before these people who have appeared on the scene.”
Another popular yet scandalous organization is the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. Created by the former American presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, the organization has raised $37 million including a $1 million donation from actor Leonardo DiCaprio and a $200,000 gift from President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize money. Even in the face of the ongoing joke that "Bush doesn't like Black people", the Young Professionals United for Change, a primarily African-American group hosted a fundraiser for Haiti in Harlem, NYC, turning over a portion of their donations to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. Yet, according to a CNSNews.com report on March 22nd, the presidential charity has only put about $4 million to use, approximately 10% of the total donations, giving to organizations such as "Habitat for Humanity, the University of Miami/Project Medishare mobile hospital in Port-au-Prince and the U.S. branch of the Irish charity Concern Worldwide. The rest has yet to be allocated." What are they waiting for? 90% of the people's money is just waiting to be spent while the situation in Haiti demands immediate action. So much for their presidential sense of impetus!
Well one thing is clear, George W. Bush just may not be a true hands-on person. This YouTube video has been circulating through the web showing Bush wiping his hands on Bill Clinton's shirt after shaking hands with a Haitian man.
http://newsroom.redcross.org/2010/03/29/press-release-american-red-cross-announces-spending-plan-for-relief-and-recovery-in-haiti/ http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35103622// http://iamyoung.ning.com/profiles/blogs/wyclef-raises-10-million-for?xg_source=shorten_twitter http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/16/zakiya-khatou-chevassus-w_n_500895.html http://www.cnsnews.com/news/print/63130 http://abcnews.go.com/WN/HaitiEarthquake/haiti-us-charity-donations-haiti-earthquake-victims-spent/story?id=9786221 http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/2010/haiti-earthquake-whos-given-what/
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
How many artists dream of making a living from their art? A popular fantasy for a countless number of creative people working daily on their craft, but often without any method to actualize a salary, profit or even one sale. Equally common is the myth that artists are terrible at business, further making their ultimate wish nothing more than a pipe dream.
Reality is, there are thousands of artists who have discovered all sorts of ways to get their work seen and sold. The internet is one of the most thriving free markets, filled with software, tools and websites made especially to aid artists and craft-makers in the sale of their products. In this article, FAIM Internet Magazine shares some effective practices from one artist/designer on how to make money online.
Chanel Kennebrew is the founder of Junkprints (www.junkprints.com). On her site you will find a fly, funky, hip-hop, retro collection of limited-edition goodies she has designed along with samples of her illustrations, editorials and product designs.
So how did this 27-year old African-American woman from Inglewood, CA get to this point of success? Well the story goes something like this: after earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Toronto she moved to Brooklyn with aspirations to make it as a "New York artist". After hustling her work from gallery to gallery, it wasn't long before she asked herself, "how do you get in? It doesn't seem to about the work...So I focused on making money and having food in the fridge...somewhere down the line I needed to create for myself and I'm not interested in running the gamut and chasing everyone down."
Step One: List your stuff in a communal marketplace
She started an etsy account. For those not familiar with the site (www.etsy.com), it is "your place to buy and sell all things handmade". So long as the items are not mass-produced, creators can have an account for free and list products for $.20 each. The marketplace is a community in itself that produces a high amount of daily traffic and is definitely worth exploring for those interested introducing their art to an online sell space. Chanel saw that people, including art dealers and collectors, liked her "junk" and were buying it quickly. Still she needed a real marketing plan.
Step Two: Subscribe to a service and promote through email blasts.
After really studying what large companies did to attract customers, Chanel asked herself, "how can I do it for myself on a smaller scale?" The answer led her to employ the services of VerticalResponse (www.verticalresponse.com) which offers a number of plans to enable business to send e-blasts, surveys and postcards without limit for as little as $10 a month. With this element of marketing added, Chanel saw increased sales and began to consider taking it to the next level by quitting her freelance gigs and selling online full-time.
Step Three: Do quit your day job...
This is where faith, determination, guts and discipline come into play. Quitting your day job to invest the time and energy necessary to grow your own business is a decision of definite courage. Yet for Chanel, she just took the leap. "I took a pay decrease but I feel better about the day-to-day." So what does that day-to-day look like? She spells out her routine,"I get up early, around 7 or 8 in the morning and run or something to get my mind running. Then I go to the blog and get stuff off my chest."
Step Four: Blog regularly
Her blog, Dookyblog, loving subtitled as "a fine place to talk shit" , uses a customized Wordpress template. Wordpress (www.wordpress.com) is the best reputed host for bloggers. It cost nothing to get started and the company has a wide selection of features, widgets and templates to help you personalize your blog to your content. Blogging is important because it gives the Junkprints audience a reason to visit the site regularly and to interact with Chanel by leaving comments.
Step Five: Manage your store
After updating her blog, Chanel moves to the store part of her site. Even though she lists on etsy.com, she is able to manage that account from Junkprints and prefers to keep traffic centralized that way. Another e-commerce tool that she uses is Big Cartel (www.bigcartel.com), "a simple shopping cart for artists [that is] easy to use, customizable and awesome." Their plans are free for beginners, but advance to upgraded ones where the user can fully customize, offer discount codes, track statistics in depth and use their own URL, all without a contract or commitment. Chanel likes Big Cartel because the user-friendly interface offers more control. Here she can keep track of her inventory, fulfill new orders and identify the items that are the most popular.
Step Six: Make more friends micro-blogging
An avid twitterer (www.twitter.com), Chanel loves engaging on the micro-blog site where messages must be sent in 140 characters or less. Throughout her day, she is able to share photos of her latest creations with her "followers" with the convenience of her updates linking to her facebook (www.facebook.com) page as well. If she is busy, particularly during holiday seasons, she will schedule her tweets at FutureTweeets (www.futuretweets.com), a free service that lets you plan your Twitter messages and have them sent at a specific time in the future.
Chanel emphasizes the importance of social networking beyond the "look at me!" factor. It is about responding and building relationships with people. She adds, "my online presence is the main way I receive press. I let the people decide what is valid instead of sending out flyers to the press. I use technology to promote and to be an artist." Still, she keeps her online activity limited to three-four hours out of the day and then focuses on making the art and creating special projects.
The biggest challenges of running an online business is having the discipline to manage one's time effectively and efficiently. For Chanel, that meant establishing regular hours, even a regular schedule. All entrepreneurs experience highs and lows, so determination is also key for long-term success. Yet, the integration of social media tools aids tremendously in growing a business, particularly when working with a limited budget.
Step Seven: Success defined
So the big question is how much money does Junkprints make for Chanel? Well she did not give a numeric answer but simply said this, "I live in my own spot in Brooklyn, I do this full-time with no part-time gig, and I just got back from spending a month in Costa Rica." Clearly, for her success is about having a lifestyle that enables her to be creative on her own terms and to share with her work with those who appreciate it, and to make enough to take a long-vacation every now and then.