May you endure the pain

Things One, Two, and Three I did.

A Franken-Klingon and some small marketing steps for Aunt Kellie

May you endure the pain is a traditional Klingon greeting. Saying, “May you endure the pain” upon meeting is part of the Klingon basic etiquette. And goddamn it, my Niblings, altho I am not a particularly enthusiastic Star Trek fan, I love this. It stabs me in the heart when people diminish what you’re experiencing with lazy responses like, “Oh, it’s not that bad,” or “God never gives you anything you can’t handle,” when you’re going through something difficult. Fuck that. Sometimes you’re going through a thing. Saying it’s not a big deal is mean. “May you endure the pain” is a damn fine response to someone else’s suffering.

Fransina Lucretia Bullington was my Great Aunt, and a flapper girl in the 1920s. This portrait of her is at auction on my website for a very low starting bid. Check her out.

When your small business has been punched in the gut by Big Social Media, you really shouldn’t make any other plans. And, yet, damn it, even if you don’t, life will. At the time I’m writing this, my husband just had surgery to reconstruct his nose after some skin cancer nonsense. It ended up being a lot more involved than we expected. To top it off, it happened on the 6th anniversary of my mother’s death and the Trump election, so this week has been complicated to navigate.

It just not an option to stop doing marketing because of life. Well, within reason. I am a real live artist. If you art for a living, you’ve gotta sell art, too. I am emotionally exhausted, so there’s no way I was going to do anything big, but I would have felt worse if I did nothing at all.

Thing One I Did: Read a book, damn it.

So I started reading Art/Work: Everything You Need to Know (and Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career by Heather Darcy Bhandari and Jonathan Melber. The book is very yellow. Yellow is my favorite color. The first bit of wisdom I glommed onto from Art/Work is to figure out what your life/work schedule is going to look like and stick to it. Don’t try to fit arting around the other parts of your life because if you get off schedule for some reason, like, say, your husband’s face exploded, it’s really hard to get it back. Fit the other parts around your art life. This doesn’t mean you should neglect your kids or the job that pays the bills, if you have one… or your spouse’s nose. It does mean that maybe TikTok and true crime TV isn’t that big of a deal and studio time is a great big fucking deal. And besides. You like to art, right? Elevate your art time. It’s essential.

My husband is not supposed to lie down during this part of his recovery at all, not even to sleep, so after trying to retrofit our bed to accommodate this, he ended up sleeping in the pull-out chair in my studio. This meant there was no way I was going to go into my studio to paint today. That’s okay. I have computer work to do and a blog to write. Today I moved the chair to our bedroom, and I’ll be able to paint tomorrow. Today I write.

Thing Two I Did: Reaching out one-on-one.

I mentioned an artist named Jose Trujillo in my second post. After getting kicked out of Instagram where I followed him, I searched for him online and took a marketing course he offers on Teachable. Turns out he also lives in Pittsburgh, where I live. So, I decided to reach out to him by email and let him know that I wrote about him, and that I joined his email list so that I can attend future exhibits of his work. I’ll let you know if I hear back from him!

Revelation: I realized that I should do this any time I mention other artists or other small business owners. I wanted to reach out to the author of Art/Work also, but have been unable to find contact info. I will at least write a positive review when I finish reading it.

I’m feeling really good about this. Good reviews for artists (of all genres) that I like, and sending them some sort of contact letting them know they’re awesome, and maybe even collaborating with them, is a way to do good instead of just self-promoting.

Then I remembered someone else I used to follow on Insta. Her name is Lori Ruiz, and she does amazing watercolor paintings, and is a watercolorist and mixed media painter from Western Colorado. She is a self taught artist and nature enthusiast. She advocates for women supporting women within the creative community. She’s a cool person. So, I reached out to Lori by email, and asked if she would either let me interview her or write a guest blog. I hope we can work something out. I’ll let you know.

So Thing Two I Did was really three things, but they weren’t hard, they didn’t add to the stress on my plate. They just reached out to some real live artists and writers out in the universe. The worst thing that can happen is that they know I admire their work. The best thing is that they can also share my work or collaborate with me in some way.

I’ll let you know.

Thing Three I Did: I’m going to chill in front of the TV.

Despite what I said about prioritizing art time, our own emotional health is a huge deal, too, so I’m going to kick back and watch TV tonight. I’ll be searching for an art documentary or … I admit it … some true crime crap to watch. A glass of wine, something marginally healthy for dinner, and some down time with a cat over my shoulder.

I’ll be back in touch soon.

Oh, while I’m thinking about it, I also read up on the best times to post a blog. Apparently Tuesday afternoon and evening is best for social media sharing (ahem), and Sunday is best for less competition. So, I’ll have to experiment with that. I think I’m going to start with posting this on Tuesday afternoon, and sending out a reminder to the SM I’m still on this Sunday. I’m experimenting with Discord, LinkedIn, and may check out Mastadon. But this doesn’t mean I will be primarily marketing through any of them. I’ll get the value I can from them, but I’m focusing on the part that is outside of social media.

There’s a reply link at the top left of this post.

May you endure the pain!

Onward and Upward,

Aunt Kellie

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