Image by: @adra21
The future of social media is uncertain. Lately there have been indicators that it may be bleak in the short term. Companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube have been moving toward the slippery slope of censoring individuals based on their political and religious affiliations. Engineers and CEOs have been on record admitting that they use tactics like shadowbanning which effectively blocks people from being able to see posts that the corporations thought police don’t want people to see without the person or group even knowing that others can’t see their posts. Despite these dangerous practices, I’m optimistic about the future of social media. The nice thing about company policies is they tend to produce the Streisand Effect. It’s quite possible that it may lead to a much-needed Internet Bill of Rights to protect individuals from corporations and governments. Because these monopolies have chosen this route, other platforms have been built based on the principals of free speech and are rising rapidly in popularity. This year is the first time Facebook is facing major decline in new users which is a good sign. It means people are determined to think for themselves instead of being forced to think a certain way by propaganda echo chambers.
I would recommend that anyone who wants to do business on social media start with having a blog. Having a social media presence had many benefits but one major downside. The content you share on them belongs to the social media company in a sense. You still own the copyright to all your content but one thing to take into consideration is that nothing lasts forever. When a social media platform is discontinued you lose the content that you posted to that site. A blog is pretty much your own site and is much less likely to be discontinued in the way social media companies rise and fall with popularity. The best thing about a WordPress blog is that you can share your blog posts with several different social media platforms at once. It’s an excellent way to reach several different audiences.
Stories enrich our lives. They teach us, inspire us, entertain us and connect us to one another. The notion of storytelling is what reflects on the past, records the present and projects the future. We can’t escape our nature and affinity for telling stories. It’s how we know who we are and what we strive to become. This method is documented thoroughly in the formula known as “The Hero’s Journey.” At its core, there is a problem, reaction and ultimately a solution. The story connects us all through the ages. It’s essentially the origin of the notion of good vs evil, hero vs villain… Duality to put it simply.
Technology has made it possible for everyone to tell their stories. Stories of epic heroism have been shared with the world via internet connection as have stories of frightening horror and stupidity. As opposed to past ages, so long as we can assume, humanity has never had the capability to share stories as widely as it can now. One story that has always struck a chord with me is that of the Alien franchise.
While HR Giger has had a massive influence on my artwork, the franchise he contributed his visual style to has had an epic story that’s assisted in shaping the lense in which I see through. We as humans are facing some serious issues which need to be addressed yet society seems more concerned with the wasted chromosomes of the Kardashians.
I like to learn from people who are familiar with the seemingly abstract world of the Arts, especially the ones who are savvy in the business department. Art is a tricky career to navigate because it truly is what you make of it. Most artists aren’t as savvy in the art of business as they are fine art. Some artists are great at hustling their wares on the street corners of the Pike Place Market, while others find their monetization in prestigious galleries and private collections of the rich and famous. Finding your place in the art world is so difficult for many “starving artists” because the field is so diverse, and they simply know how to make their work but lack the knowledge of how to market it. I’ve found this to be the case with many products to be honest, but none as much as art.
One year for Christmas I received a painting from my mom who got it from a street artist in Mexico for $20. It really made this point clear to me because it was so amazing and so beautiful it had to be worth more as it was an original. That wasn’t the case because the artist defined his price and what his work/time was worth by the way he marketed himself. Handing out fine art to buy dinner on a street corner seems very sad in many cases but it’s why I was always so reserved about letting my work go for any price. It’s a valuable part of me and I want it to sell for more than the price of a dinner at a fast food restaurant. This is why I follow people like Carolyn Edlund AKA ArtsyShark, Alyson B Stanfield AKA ArtBizCoach, and College Art Association or CAA.
I’ll also mention that marketing is not the only thing that adds value to art. One major factor in the value of a piece is by its contribution to the marketplace of ideas. There’s definitely more to art than beauty. One great example of this is that of José Guadalupe Posada. According to Wikipedia “José Guadalupe Posada was a Mexican political printmaker and engraver whose work has influenced many Latin American artists and cartoonists because of its satirical acuteness and social engagement.” A late family friend was kind enough to gift this amazing original to me about a decade ago. Another close friend was so inspired by it that he had it converted into a tattoo. Art truly is transcendent.
As an artist I put a lot of time, sweat, tears, blood and bone (literally) into my work. Nothing makes me feel more complete then the process of breathing life into a new creation. I don’t make the same piece twice and they all have their own personalities while reflecting a part of mine. Each with its own name, color palette, idea behind its conception and purpose for existing, they all comprise a larger body of work and a compete picture of the power of 3 (Mind, Body and Spirit)
Find more of my work and connect with me at the following locations:
My Website (Under Construction)
I think of my art as a piece of my soul. How much would you sell your soul for? Personally, I would never sell mine. I hate the notion of attaching dollar signs to my artwork because it truly is priceless. How do you price the remains of a human?
I suppose you could place medical value such as a liver replacement for a transplant patient. That could be tens of thousands of dollars depending on the procedure. However, I’m not selling organs. I’m selling memorials to people who have lost loved ones.
The average cost of a funeral is astronomical. A block of stone as a memorial alone could total $10,000-$50,000 + easily. The way I see return on investment is quite different than dollar signs. I seek the solace of loved ones who have lost someone close to them. I want them to find peace in my creation. They need to know that the one they love still exists and is part of “The All.” I want them to be able to look at the painting or sculpture I create for them and be comforted by the knowledge that their father or mother or sister or brother or daughter or son or husband or wife still exists on another plane and is still with them forever and always. I define success as the ability to comfort people in the most difficult challenge we must all eventually face, death.
Creating brand ambassadors from your customer base is a tough challenge to meet. People enjoy great products on a daily basis that they don’t think twice about. There are however a few exceptions. For me, it typically comes down to what I rely on most, communication and transportation. I make it a point to invest in the latest and greatest tech so my phones have to be top notch or I tend to replace them rather quickly. I’ve also been a big car buff since an early age so my vehicle is more than a way to get from point A to B, it reflects my sense of style and taste. There’s nothing quite like purring pistons of a powerful sports car.
Creating an iconic brand that people are proud to sport is a great way of gaining a customers loyalty which tends to convert them into a free advertisement in the form of an unofficial brand ambassador. Several factors come into play when creating an iconic brand. Quality and reliability is often at the top of that list. Functionality and style also earn high marks with most buyers. These are all reasons why I chose to purchase Blackberry and BMW products. Not only will my next phone or car be from those companies, but I will express my experience in the form of storytelling with others in hopes to inspire them to experience the benefits of choosing these brands as well.
I’ve always enjoyed the functionality of a physical keyboard on my phone. There’s nothing worse then having fat finger typos on touch keyboard devices. It has a massive impact on the speed of productivity. When I want to type something quick my Blackberry has been instrumental. It’s also well known for security. I make most of my purchases online so it’s great to know that my device isn’t riddled with security gaps that expose my financial data to potential hackers and identity thieves.
I’ve also never had one quit working on me so it gets high marks with reliability in my book. I tend to drop phones every so often and its nice to know they’re solidly built with quality and don’t break easily upon falling. For as long as the company is around, my first smartphone and last smartphone will always be a Blackberry.
When it comes to BMW I cant say enough to do this brand justice. I’ve never had a more responsive, reliable, comfortable and stylish car. I’ve always loved 007 movies and particularly Goldeneye because I spent countless hours as a kid playing the famous n64 shooter. It was also that movie where James Bond started to sport the BMW brand in the form of the Z3 Roadster. Fast forward to my late twenties when I found myself behind the wheel of that very same car in a test drive, nearly a classic by that time. Despite having been on the road for nearly two decades, the thing drove like a dream and was in perfect condition.
I ended up walking away that day with a hell of a deal. To this day, that car has been a workhorse while remaining a daily mode of transportation. It hasn’t once broken down and every dollar put into it was spent on improvements and standard maintenance. It’s also getting compliments all the time as the design is still very striking despite its age. I’m currently looking at getting another car. This time I’ll be purchasing the Z4 Roadster, a newer more powerful and sharper design of the same class of car. I’d say BMW has definitely earned my respect as a brand by building solid, reliable and comfortable yet sporty cars.