Category Archives: Business

MY ORACLE CARDS PROJECT: THE JOURNEY SO FAR

A short while ago I hatched a grand plan to create my own deck of Oracle Cards. I blogged about it here.

Now I’ve created about 20 such virtual cards, so I’ll share them with you. You can see how some work better than others, I’m constantly learning as I go along. Creating the imagery is only part of the whole process. I still haven’t gotten round to writing the explanation or meaning of the imagery. That will come. Also, I have to research the practical logistics of getting my cards into print.

So, here are some of my “Practice” Oracle Cards. They may or may not be the end product…I might add a black border all around each image, or more key words at the bottom.

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Artist Inspiration : JACKY PARKER

Jacky Parker is another photographer after my own heart. Her beautiful flower photography serves as an inspiration to me. Jacky only took up flower photography in 2005 whilst studying for a diploma in horticulture. By 2008 she had already garnered so much recognition that she was awarded the “RHS Photographer of the year” title.

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Click here to visit Jacky’s website.  Those wishing to license Jacky’s images may do so on these sites:

GETTY Images : http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/Search/Search.aspx?assettype=image&artist=Jacky+Parker+Photography

ALAMY STOCK http://www.alamy.com/default.aspx

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A selection of Jacky’s work on canvas can be purchased on these sites:

GOOD EARTH CANVAS: http://www.goodearthcanvas.com/hakusha/

FOTOVIVA ART PRINTS http://www.fotoviva.co.uk/

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Photographic Prints and Canvas of Jacky’s photography are available from:

FINE ART AMERICA : http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/jacky+parker/all

SOCIETY 6 http://society6.com/JackyparkerFloralArt

 

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Spaces

I stumbled upon Frankie Magazine’s large format 2010 bookzine SPACES – WHERE CREATIVE PEOPLE LIVE, WORK AND PLAY at my local thrift shop. It was a real steal at $2.(RRP $24.95).

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Inside was a cornucopia of delightful photographic images showing well, how creative people live, work and play. The bookzine is divided into 5 sections: The Home & Work Place, The Wall Space, The Studio Space, The Tea & Coffee Space, The Living Space. Each section showcases several individuals’ personal areas, with the owners of each space explaining why or how their space is the way it is.

Sadly, I have been unable to source SPACES online for anyone wanting to purchase it. There are several references to it on booksellers’ sites, however they all seem to indicate its unavailability. So, this is a rare book to have and cherish. If you see it, grab it.

I was drawn to this bookzine as I was curious to see how other artists from around the world live and work. My own “studio” at home is a shared space during the warmer months with baby Japanese Quail chicks. It is also the spare room, the store room, the general let’s-dump-it-there-til-we-can-figure-out-what-to-do-with-it room. My Canon Pixma MX870 and Epson Artisan 1430 printers reside there. So do boxes of books, linen, clothes, scrapbooking paper, canvasses and other substrates for my printing experiments, our sofabed for non-existent guests. My work area is the carpeted floor, where I simply spread out layers of butcher paper and lay my canvasses or wooden frames over. Luckily, my medium being digital and print, there’s no (not much anyway) painting paraphernalia involved, only bottles of acrylic medium which I use as an adhesive, spray cans of car gloss varnish and workable fixative, a brayer, scissors, a tube of black acrylic paint for painting over borders, some foam brushes and a couple of bristle brushes. Nothing to shout about, really. Certainly not worthy of showing off here :-).

This link takes you to a webpage showcasing several famous artists’ studios. Specifically that of Francis Bacon, Henry Moore, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jackson Pollock and Paul Cezanne. This site shows the spaces of more contemporary artists (cheekily throwing in Francis Bacon and Henry Moore too, just to make sure the reader is awake and paying attention!).

Looking at an artist’s workspace or studio is like looking into someone’s refrigerator, or at their bookshelves – very revealing about the person’s tastes in food or books. Some day I hope to visit people’s homes that have magnificent book displays, and make a photo book out of the project, but that is another story.

Meanwhile, feast your eyes on some of these wonderful artist workspaces.

http://www.allworknowplay.com

http://www.resourcemagonline.com

http://www.wejetset.com

http://balzerdesigns.typepad.com

http://www/bundaberg.qld.gov.au

http://www.mmo-champion.com

http://workspaces.tumblr.com

http://potd.pdnonline.com

One thing I’ve learnt from looking through all these studio workspaces – they can be messy, they can be neat, they can be minimal or cluttered, big or small, modern or traditional…but they are all unique and most of all, comfortable to each individual artist. These days, as both my printers are either acting up or have run out of ink, I’m concentrating mainly on creating my artwork…and to me that means working primarily on my Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone. Which allows me to work literally everywhere and anywhere. For which I am eternally grateful.

Quit Liking It! Say Something Instead.

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There’s a new thing surfaced on Facebook just now, about how to improve your Facebook experience, by simply NOT hitting the “Like” button. Strange as that may sound, and somewhat illogical, it IS true and it actually works. The premise is that if you DON’T click on the “Like” button, but instead leave comments on posts that interest you, Facebook’s algorithms will actually stop sending you all those annoying links to “Like” this business or that organisation, that celebrity, that political party, that new diet etc. Your feed will instead become more human, with more people entering into actual conversations than never before. All those friends that you’ve  lost into the FB ether may resurface when your feed isn’t top-heavy with news, business, videos etc that your previous clicking on “Like” generated. Try it!

Read these 2 articles about this strategy. The first one by Medium is about NOT clicking on Facebook’s “Like” button and the consequences. The second is by Wired where the writer did the total opposite and clicked “Like” on absolutely everything in their feed.

https://medium.com/@schmutzie/i-quit-liking-things-on-facebook-for-two-weeks-heres-how-it-changed-my-view-of-humanity-29b5102abace

http://www.wired.com/2014/08/i-liked-everything-i-saw-on-facebook-for-two-days-heres-what-it-did-to-me/

So, okay, I’ve only just started this experiment, and right now I’ve no idea how long I’m going to stick to it, or whether it’ll be a lifelong practice.  Even though I actually only started 5 days ago, already I’m seeing a change in my Facebook feed, and I’m feeling way better about myself as a person, as I feel I’ve learnt a great lesson. And that is why I feel prompted to blog about it right away NOW!

Anyway, here are my thoughts on it:

1. It makes me pause and think before I comment. I may be using the 👍 button quite a bit to start with. I have found myself skipping posts that are of no concern to me, instead of simply clicking the “Like” button to acknowledge it because it may have come from a friend. So, my friends who are reading this, apologies if I no longer “like” your comments, posts or images, but rest assured you will instead find a comment from me. 👍 See, I’ve started already! 😄

2. I get more selective about what interests me. The real things that matter get my attention more than updates on who’s cooking or eating what, selfies, who’s on holiday where, online shopping deals, cute kittens (hard one, that). Hopefully, my feed will be more about the things that really matter to the world – like decriminalising cannabis, for one (this will sound strange coming from someone who’s only experience with cannabis was a puff on a joint at a party in Spain 10 years ago. But I have been following Rick Simpson and fellow advocates of the miracle cancer-beating properties of cannabis oil, and I have lost friends and family to cancer in the past and very recently, so the subject is close to my heart).

3. If everyone does this, we’ll be getting many more notifications than before, as more people engage in actual conversation instead of the passive virtual nod which is the “Like” button. As a society, we seem to have somewhat lost the art of conversation. By not clicking on the “Like” button and by saying something instead, we encourage further discussion and communication between friends, which is what Facebook should be about. It’s time to regain control of the true value of Facebook.

4. Funnily enough, with my actively telling Facebook what I “don’t want to see again” re: pages and businesses, it seems to have freed up space in my Wall feed for previously disappeared friends to reappear. So far, around 6 people who quietly vanished from my feed have returned…and without my searching for them to “like” their photos or make comments on their posts yo keep in the loop. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, I can’t be certain.

So, to those of you who have read this, I would kindly ask that you not simply click “Like” on WordPress either, but instead say something about this post. If it moves you to comment, do it. Otherwise, simply share it with your circles in another way. The same goes for every post that you read and like. Quit Liking It! Say something instead. And watch the world unfold before your very eyes. I’m waiting. :-)

 

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Welcome to the Future

The future is here. The future is now.

http://m.1mpics.com/en/Article/Welcome-to-the-flying-car

The Terrafugia is real. http://www.terrafugia.com

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Watch the Terrafugia Transition in action:
http://youtu.be/KSpvw5PbMj8

Production is not due to start til at least 2015/2016. But remember those little space modules you saw on Star Wars, Star Trek, etc…

imagePhoto from Google images.

…well, there may well be one coming to a store near you sooner than you think!

imageTerrafugia’s TF-XTM is the company’s next project, currently in prototype stage.

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Form Beyond Function

First, allow me to tease you.

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OK now wipe the drool off your chin.

YANKO DESIGN

What is Yanko Design? (Excerpt from their website):

Yanko Design is a web magazine dedicated to introducing the best modern international design, covering from industrial design, concepts, technology, interior design, architecture, exhibition and fashion. It’s about the cutting edge and the classic, the new and the rediscovered. It’s all about the best.
Yanko Design reaches a rapidly expanding audience of approximately 1.8 million unique users, serving 6 million page views each month with 41,000+ total daily newsletter subscribers making it the world’s most popular & influential online design magazine.
Yanko Design is on the list of Technorati.com’s top 100 most read blogs on the internet, currently ranked at 94 (out of 75,000,000+ blogs).
Media Coverage
Yanko Design has been featured in numerous high profile media outlets as the forefront publication in industrial design. In addition, we are esteemed media partners of red dot and iF International Forum Design.

Yanko Design likes to titillate the public by serving up non-existent objects of desire. Or things that exist only in the imagination or on computer. Oh, but the designs are all droolworthy, every geek’s wet dream come true, sleek and futuristic or just darn goodlooking and innovative…one can’t help wishing these inventions were real.

Well, the good news is, Some of the inventions Are real. Yes, Yanko Design has an online store where you can purchase gadgets that have made the leap from the drawing board CAD programme concept to real life. The store is called CKIE. Run, don’t walk!

And, if you need more motivation, look here:

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(All images courtesy of Google Images)

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My MOO cards

Yesterday, I posted about MOO’s Printfinity services here. Today, I’m simply showing off the cards I created on MOO, which arrived last week.

I had 100 standard, matte business cards made up. And also 100 mini cards. Here are the boxes they came in side by side; the business cards are in the black cardboard box, the mini cards in the white box.

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Here are the business cards:

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Close-up of front and back of business card:
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And here are the mini cards:
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Close-up:
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The card stock is of good quality. Colours are crisp and accurate. The presentation boxes are of high quality too. All in all, using MOO’s services was easy, fuss-free, efficient and great value for money.

I’m very pleased with my MOO cards! :)

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Printfinity by MOO.COM

MOO is an English company specialising in primarily printing business cards, though they also make postcards, “mini” business cards, flyers, stickers, labels etc. The main website is MOO, however there are regional, geographical differences, in terms of currency displays, depending on which country you are in. For example, if you choose Europe, the site will show you MOO’s prices in Euros.

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MOO’s blurb:


MOO makes life a little less virtual.
We help our customers print things like Business Cards, Postcards and MiniCards, making it easy for them to share information about themselves or their business in the real world.

Print is simple and wonderful. We love it.

We’re a new kind of online printing business
MOO was born out of a love of beautiful, high-quality print.

Printing has been around for centuries, and we’re certainly not the first printer on the web. But, whilst many other printers have chosen to use new technologies to simply reduce the costs of printing (and often the quality), we strive to make print not only cost-effective but better than ever before.

We want to set a new standard for print, with remarkable new products that bring great design and uncompromising, high standards to the web. We’re only young, but when we grow up we want to be the best printer on the internet.

We believe in the power of great design
Design is key to everything MOO does.

Design helps us stand out: from the clothes we wear, to the homes we live in, to the business cards we use. Design tells a story about us and what we stand for.

But professional-quality design has traditionally been expensive or out of reach for most people; we want to change this. We’re passionate about helping people of all abilities design the best looking and highest quality print products: products that will help them or their business look great.

Our company vision is simple but ambitious: “great design for everyone”.

More about MOO…
MOO is an award-winning online print business.

Founded in 2006, MOO aims to disrupt the $100 billion global print industry by combining professional design with the accessibility and reach of the web.

MOO prints millions of cards a month and has hundreds of thousands of customers in over 180 countries. MOO has also become a much-loved brand, with a 75% NetPromoter rating.

The company has won 3 Webby awards (the web’s Oscars), has been profiled in the Financial Times, and was ranked in the top 10 UK start-up companies by the Guardian Newspaper. MOO has offices in London, UK as well as Providence and Boston, USA.

MOO has also raised over $5m in venture capital from the Accelerator Group, Index Ventures and Atlas Venture, the investors behind Skype, Betfair, Lovefilm, Last.fm and MySQL.

My post today is about Printfinity. Printfinity is MOO’s word for a very unique service, one I haven’t come across with other printers.

http://eu.moo.com/about/printfinity.html


What is Printfinity?
It’s the word we invented for a technology that’s completely unique to MOO. With Printfinity you can print a different photo or design on every Business Card, Sticker or Postcard in a pack. It’s a real conversation starter that means you can carry your portfolio in your pocket, show off your favourite products and help people remember your business.

As an artist, I just love the whole idea of Printfinity. For example, instead of printing 10 designs of 100 cards each, and then separating and sorting them into 100 packs of 10 designs, MOO’s Printfinity technology lets me upload my 10 designs onto their template, and then I simply have to specify whether I want 50 or 100 cards. If 50 cards, I will receive 5 of each of the 10 designs. If 100, I will receive 10 of each of the 10 designs. So I end up with just 1 pack of 100 cards, rather than 10 packs of 100 cards. Do the maths.

I have used MOO’s services a few times, primarily to get business cards made up using Printfinity. I recently ran another batch of 100 cards, using 25 different designs. I got an email from MOO offering me 50% off my next purchase, so I decided to use the same designs and have 100 “mini” cards made up as well. “Mini” cards are, half the size of business cards – 2 of them, placed side by side, make up the size of a normal business card.

Printfinity is a great way of seeing how my art looks on a product, plus I have something to show or give away to customers or potential customers too, like a pocket portfolio. I might get some flyers made up next…

MOO offers a range of different papers and finishes for their products, from a basic, everyday range to a high-end “luxe” range. This suits every budget.

The templates provided by MOO are really easy to use. For text, you get a good choice of fonts and font sizes. Simply write your text, then flip the template over to upload your images.

Delivery costs depend on the country you live in. I ordered mine and received them within 10 days, pretty good for UK to Australia these days. Each set of cards comes in its own robust cardboard box, a nice classy touch, great for presentations.

So, if you’re looking for something different, with a good range of paper options and pricing, ease of use, user-friendly templates, easy repeat ordering, a great customer service and delivery, innovative packaging, then MOO’s the one for you.

Below are examples from Google images of what others have used MOO for:

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A’Shop : Organised Graffiti

A’Shop (pronounced A la Shop) first came onto my radar via Pinterest. (Many things come to me via Pinterest, it really is the font of all things interesting!). As is the case with all Pinterest pins, it was an image that got my attention first.

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I read that it was not one graffiti artist, but rather a collective of graffiti artists. Intrigued, I looked A’Shop up on good old Google:

A’Shop [À la shop] is an artist-run production company specialized in graffiti murals, street art and urban aesthetics. Our team started during the birth of Montreal’s graffiti scene in the early 90s, with some of our members acting as pioneers of the movement. We decided to officially associate as of 2009 in order to offer the most professional and efficient visual art service in the province. Equipped with 4000 square feet of studio and office space, we offer a wide range of creative resources and solutions, such as large-scale murals, live performances, decor, canvas art and custom design work for both commercial and private clients. Innovative ideas, authentic creations and street credibility are our signature style. We are the reference.

I love the idea of a group of artists getting together to collaborate on a large-scale mural covering an entire wall, rather than doing “their own thing”. The cohesiveness of the design makes the art preservable, you really want to keep it unsullied rather than call in the Graffiti Removals Police. Self-respecting graffiti artists will hopefully honour the sanctity of those walls and refrain from adding their own artwork to it. The completed graffiti artwork doesn’t have “tags” (signatures) of any individual graffiti artist, just a simple “A’Shop CA” signature. I have seen graffiti murals around where I live in Perth, Western Australia, that would have been wonderful if not for being desecrated by ignorant, egoistical hooligans. Some municipal councils here have started paying graffiti artists to decorate walls formally, to deter unsightly graffiti; these are largely successful, but sometimes some idiot with a can of spraypaint just can’t help making his own mark over it. I’ve read of some private homeowners who have commissioned graffiti artists to paint on their outer walls, with the hope it is appreciated as Art and doesn’t get destroyed by someone on an ego trip.

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(Excerpt from the A’Shop website):

When it comes to murals, whether it be large or small scale, nobody does it better than A’shop. We have mastered many styles, from the gritty street aesthetic to beautiful, photorealistic portraits. We are equipped to handle your project like no other company can. We have at our disposal 2000 square feet of studio space, a full graphics team for design and mock-ups, our A’shop van, paint guns, scaffolding, compressors, a complete inventory of the best paint on the market as well as in-depth knowledge regarding permits and municipal procedures across Canada. We provide more than just answers to your questions. We work with you throughout the project, starting from the initial consultation all the way up to documentation of the final product. We can also incorporate a mural into interior design projects or commercial settings.

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(Excerpt from the A’Shop website):

Some things look better framed, but at times you just want to break the boundaries. Our resident artists can paint custom artwork on any surface, from canvas to car, while bringing their unique flavor to each commissioned piece. Our team will assist you throughout your project starting at the initial consultation to the delivery of your personalized masterpiece. Equipped with 2000 square feet of studio space and our own loading dock, we can accommodate all of your project needs no matter the size or quantity. Our in-depth knowledge of paints, stains and finishes will ensure that you get a high quality product no matter what materials you provide us with.

 

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(Excerpt from the A’Shop website):

Family and community values have always been at the core of what we do as artists, and as a company. We now pride ourselves in being able to give opportunities and mentorship to the upcoming artists of the future. It is a privilege for us to pass along our knowledge in workshops aimed at helping youths gain confidence and hone their artistic abilities. We offer guidance for community services and schools looking to develop art programs, as well as participative mural projects that will inspire the whole neighborhood. We also offer unique team building experiences for companies looking to strengthen their troops, and seminars for scholars interested in the cultural history of street art and the graffiti movement.

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A’Shop’s Mission Statement:

At A’shop our goal is not only to provide a sustainable environment for our artists, but also to bring about positive change to our community through art. We seek to educate and uplift through the poetry of paint and we hope to drive a domino effect of change by inspiring the artist that resides in the hearts of every citizen, young or old. By enhancing the value of our urban architecture we aim to improve the cultural standing of our city as well as providing beautiful public art that is accessible for all to enjoy.  

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For more examples of A’Shop’s incredible works of art, and a Who’s Who of the collective, head on over to their website.

https://m.facebook.com/ashopcrew?_rdr

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Pattern Observer

For those of you interested in designing and printing wallpapers, or indeed any kind of surface design, Pattern Observer is an invaluable resource. I cannot praise it highly enough. It offers an insight into the burgeoning surface pattern design industry, you can subscribe to their regular email updates (I do), join their Textile Design Lab to enter into discussion with fellow likeminded artists, keep up to date with the latest news and trends in the industry. There are even e-courses you can sign up for to improve and hone your designing skills, learn new techniques and improve your own sales and marketing.

If you are the least bit serious about becoming a surface pattern designer, or even if you just want to investigate the ins and outs of surface design before you decide, you simply MUST join or follow Pattern Observer.

I love the layout of the blog, which can be used as a launchpad to visit other areas of the Pattern Observer microcosmos, all neatly organised and categorised for your benefit. Use the drop down menu there and you’ll see what I mean.

Pattern Observer can also be found on Facebook. So you can keep abreast of the latest news without even having to leave your favourite social media platform.

One of the many highlights of following Pattern Observer is that each week a different artist is showcased, providing insight into their processes, techniques, business practice, etc. Very useful and inspiring for aspiring designers.

Here I’m simply posting the links to bring together Parts 1 and 2 of Pattern Observer’s primers on wallpaper printing techniques through the ages. A potted history, if you will, for your enjoyment.

http://patternobserver.com/2014/05/05/wallpaper-printing-methods-part/

http://patternobserver.com/2014/06/02/wallpaper-printing-methods-part-ii/

For those wanting to take the guesswork out of designing pattern repeats, check out Pattern Observer’s 5 week self-study e-course, The Ultimate Guide to Repeats. Be aware though, this course assumes some prior knowledge of, and experience with, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

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(Photo taken from the blog’s “About” page shows Pattern Observer founder Michelle Fifis and her family.)

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