Artist Blog by Sheep Incognito Artist Conni Togel

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Surviving As An Artist During Covid-19 Pandemic Times

Being an artist is definitely one of the more “interesting” career choices one can make in life.

It is hard enoguh in what we used to consider “Normal Times” to sell our work, connect with buyers, get our work into galleries, apply to all the juried shows, and then travel to those and take on herculean efforts to set up our mobile galleries for a few hours.

Throw weather events, poor turnouts, high gallery commissions, high material costs, huge travel costs into that equation, and many of use were simply “living an earning”, more than “earning a living”.

And now? Covid-19 Pandemic Times? Um, yes – we now see the value of “Normal Times” so much clearer, don’t we? Having to pivot to online shows takes a LOT of time, a steep learning curve, and more expenses just to keep up with the needed technology.

And then the galleries closed. For example, two weeks after I delivered a set of my paintings to a popular gallery i downtown Charleston, covid closures happened. And then, protests happend in front of the gallery. And then they re-opened, but with boards in the windows – and without tourists, because: pandemic times.

“Pivot” ( remember the couch scene in ”Friends”? Yup, that is now real life, folks.

It is time to pivot – and to get good at it. Can’t sell your work online? Create a line of work that you CAN sell online. Don’t know how to do that? Watch some good tutorials to learn the ropes. Don’t have the technology for it? Ask around – someone in your circle is bound to have some sort of webcam setup or know someone that does.

But where do you pivot to? Ah, yes, excellent question!

Just like us artists, people are stuck at home, wondering where their “normal” went – so to get your work in front of them, you need to meet them where they are: online.

Whether you set up a virtual classroom on Zoom, or run a live art show booth video on your Facebook page, or set up your booth in your front yard for a drive-by art show – making it work is what keeps us from being quitters. It is, after all where we “live our earnings” – so giving that up does not just cut our income, it also cuts our heartstrings in the process.

The past two weekends we participated in two online fiber festivals with my Sheep Incognito artwork. It was not easy setting up the technical side of things: we subscribed to Zoom Pro level, only to find that my laptop/ browser combo is a bit outdated, and would not run smoothly and, I have yet to figure out how people would register or sign into my zoom meetings. With that challenge, and a timed slot for my live session, we pivoted to just using Facebook Live Video instead. We had added new products with my work on them right before the event – but did not have time to get it all uploaded there, and ready to order on the website. Pivot again: we set up one listing for three different product types, and just added a field where buyers could enter the title of the image they want on their products. We then place the order with our printing providers, and have things shipped directly to the buyer. It costs a bit more in production and shipping costs, but frees up time instead.

Time we then can use to create other products, or paint new paintings (on a smaller scale than for the show booth – pivoting again!).

So, how DO we survive as artists in these strange, peculiar times of Covid-19 pandemic? We get dizzy, we keep going, and we gain energy from seeing what CAN be done, rather than letting the “what we can’t do anymore” bring us down.

On that note, an ecnouragement to all you artists out there panicking right now: keep pivoting, until your pivoting skills turn into a beautiful dance with adversity. It might just be the ballet performance your buyers have been waiting for anyway.

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JUST LION AROUND

This week has been a lot of this it seems – at least in my head.

In reality, it has been a bit of a hustle, trying to catch up after weeks on the road.
Amazing how a house can accumulate stuff, even when you are not looking.
What does one do with all the odds and ends that keep wandering in? The stacks and stacks of mail, the junk kind and the other kind – the random things, like the recycled shopping bags, of which at some point, one has too many. Toss or keep?
The really cool book I found – keep it? Toss it? Sell it? (Selling sounds great – but I have a hunch that right now EVERYBODY is trying to sell their things…who does one sell unwanted items to, if they are unwanted not just by me, but by humanity in general?).

Every now and then I fantasize about just taking a few clothes, one pot, one pan, one plate, one fork, one chair, one bed, one little table, and just finding a small cottage in the woods to just do “Just Lion Around” all. Day. Long.

But until then, the hustle is real and continues…you can, of course help follow that dream by shopping online in my store.
Makes ewe AND me smile….lol

Just Lion Around Prints and Giclée reproductions on canvas.

TWICE AS NICE limited edition of 300 prints with Title

Got “Double Trouble”? Or “Twice As Nice”?

Regardless of the personalities, two is usually better than one – especially if we are talking about twin baby sheep.

I kept this one gender-neutral, so it will fit with any nursery décor and “twin-configuration”.

This print comes in 5 sizes, each size limited to 300 prints made, each one signed and numbered individually.

Thses are printed in my studio in South Carolina, so quality anc colors will be up to the high standards you are used to from the Sheep Incognito flock.

Keep watching here for more of the most popular Sheep Incognito prints now coming to Etsy – ewe might just find exactly the right thing to make your heart smile!

https://etsy.me/2TwvoaZ

BEE EWE Limited Edition Prints With Title NEW!

After a bit of a hiatus, the Sheep Incognito are baaaahck in the Etsy Store- with a fresh new look, and now with titles on the prints, so ewe won’t have to guess at the hidden meanings of the flock.

These are produced in a limited edition of 300, each one individually sifned by me, and numbered.

These fit standard sized frames (frame is not included) , and is available in 5 different sizes.

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NEW TODAY! 2020 Sheep Incognito Limited Edition Wall Calendars Are Live!

Fresh from the press – shipping starts May 10th, 2019!

The new 2020 Sheep Incognito Limited Edition Wall Calendar is in print, and will be shipping beginning May 10th, 2019.

These are printed in a very limited edition of 600, so ensure that you get yours before they all meander to someone else’s meadows!
You can order them on the Charisma Art Gallery website here: SNAG A CALENDAR NOW!

And, to make your early holiday shopping much, much easier, there is a “Flock Discount” in place, too!
Get a flock of 3 for $17 each, a flock of 5 for $15 each – see? Easy Peasy.

Celebrate lots of whacky holidays, because every day in life should be celebrated with happiness – lots of new weird ones, and some of the same old, same old, too. Traditions are not always a bad thing, really.

So come join the sheepish thing at the Sheep Incognito Nation!

A New Sheep Incognito Painting in the Studio

Painting, listening to some music, and possibly a bit of “Clutzy White Girl Dancing” going on…

TITLE: Family Tree”

SIZE: 24″ x 24″

MEDIA: Acrylics on Board

There might be some yarn going on later, as well…. oops, dropped the brush, while doing a little jerky slide with the toonage…this might become an abstract painting in the end.

Lol

Check out my #sheepincognito Facebook page, too, for more of my flock!

http://www.facebook.com/sheepincognito