It’s good to be wanted

The last few weeks have given me quite a boost. I’ve been asked to participate in two very cool new artist showcases, and I’ve also had a steady stream of Etsy sales, which is just an added bonus.

I’m going to be a featured artist at the next RAW: Minneapolis event, which is dubbed “Illuminaire.” Here a link to my page. If you decide to purchase tickets to the showcase, which is on Thursday, July 21, at the Fine Line Music Cafe in Minneapolis, be sure to select my name from the drop-down menu. I appreciate your interest, and look forward to seeing you at the event!

The next bit of news is that I’m a new artist on the online showcase One-offs Yippee! My former coworker, Tari Johnson, is the brains behind this online shop. Check out my work and that of other Minnesota-based artists. There’s a little something for everyone on here!

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I’ll trade ya!

I’m a huge baseball fan, and I *hate* it when one of my favorite players is traded to another team. But when it comes to trading artwork or design services, I’m almost never sad to see a favorite piece go, or to toil away in order to match what someone has given/done for me.

Yep, trading is pretty big in the art world. And I love it.

I’ve done quite a few trades over the years. I created an identity system for Knotty & Nice, whose owner, in turn, sewed me a quilt using tons of my old college-softball t-shirts. I traded one of my shadowbox collages for a killer necklace from Horseshoes & Chandeliers. And I recently had some head shots taken by Shelly Mosman of Shelly Mosman Photography in exchange for an illustration that she hopes to use in her upcoming identity-system refresh.

My head shot, courtesty of Shelly Mosman Photography

My head shot, by Shelly Mosman Photography

It seems to me that graphic designers and fine artists get approached often to take part in trades. Some artists are very willing, while others abhor making trades. I’m on the “very willing” side. I figure, I’m in a service industry and I also make art, which isn’t for me, anyway–it’s for whoever has a connection with it (quit gagging…it’s true). So I think it’s neat that I can get cool physical things or have cool things done for me, in exchange for doing something that I love to do anyway. It’s win-win, in my book.

Are you the trading type? If yes, what have you traded for? If no, why not?

And no matter if you’re on the trading bandwagon or not, if you could make a dream trade with anyone, who would it be with, and what would it be for? What would you offer them? (Keep it clean, people!)


I Wonder: Do you help small businesses?

For many years now I’ve done my best to spend my money locally. And taking that even further, I’ve tried to select one-off businesses, or small businesses, whenever possible. Little boutiques, Etsy shops, art shows, mom-and-pop stores, etc.

Since I’m an entrepreneur, I do my best to help my fellow small-business owners. I’m a natural networker, so I do my best to let others know about the small-business owners I know who are doing cool things.

In this time of big-box retailers and billion-dollar companies, I urge you to not forget the “little guy.” I bet you won’t be disappointed!

That was the case last winter when I was still full-time at the Science Museum of Minnesota. I was designing the graphics for the Wonder Years exhibition, which is a permanent exhibition that highlights early childhood development. The exhibit designer and I were looking to hang some 12-foot fabric banners around the perimeter of the exhibition, to make “walls” that weren’t walls, and we wanted them to include images of “moments” between children and others.

When our search of the huge photography houses around the globe was looking dismal–both due to lack of compelling images and their ridiculous prices–I turned to my friend, professional photographer Jesse Valley of Jesse Valley Photography. Jesse let us choose from his existing image catalog, and we chose some that fit our tall-and-skinny format. Not only were his prices reasonable, he also went above and beyond by scheduling two *free* model calls to gather even more images for us to use.

I’m so happy I was able to hire a local, talented photographer to take the photos for the Wonder Years banners. It makes the exhibition even more special to me, especially since it was the last one I designed before leaving my position at SMM. I hope Jesse gets lots of recognition for his work with Wonder Years, and that he continues to have great success in the years to come. (Check out his blog post about Wonder Years. This one too. And this one!)

Do you shop locally? Which business owners in your area do you love to give props–and your hard-earned money–to?

Coming down the stairs: Wonder Years at the Science Museum of MN

Coming down the stairs: Wonder Years at the Science Museum

Title banner for Wonder Years at SMM

Title banner for Wonder Years at the Science Museum of Minnesota

Olivia Osei stars in a Jesse Valley photographs, on a Wonder Years banner

Olivia Osei stars in a Jesse Valley photograph, on a Wonder Years banner

Wonder Years graphics & furniture

Wonder Years graphics & furniture

Graphics & activities in Wonder Years

Graphics & Brain activities in Wonder Years

Cutout jars in Kitchen area of Wonder Years

Cutout jars in Kitchen area of Wonder Years

My goofy bunny illustration in the Kitchen cabinets

My goofy bunny illustration in the Kitchen cabinets