My plan is for this blog to let you the readers experience my life as it really is. I will admit I am living my dream but it is not always fun and games like some of my friends think it is. It is actually hard work being a fine artist, I paint everyday which means I have to come up with an idea to paint each day. Not as easy as it may sound. Art shows are fun but setting up in the heat, rain, and wind is not my idea of a good time. Sometimes the stars are aligned just right and I make some good money but that is certainly not the norm.
I do love this life and I would never trade it in to be in marketing and advertising ever again or any part of Corporate America for that matter. I like swimming and I love water but I do not like swimming with sharks and that is my opinion of Corporate America. I am an artist and I fit in much better with a group of artist then I do with a bunch of people who use others as ladder rungs as they try and climb to the top of the corporate world.
With that said please join me as I blog about my life as an artist, somedays will seem like I am living on a cloud other days I will tell the hard truth and dispel the myth that my live is just a fantasy as some of my friends think it is.
| 01 December, 2011 15:28
10" x 20 Oil on Gallery Wrapped Canvas
I hope that many of you reading the blog today will come out to the telephone factory Art Show & Sales and see me and many other Georgia Artist as we show and sell our work this weekend.
The show hours are:
Dec 3rd 11:00 til 7:00 pm
Dec 4th 1:00 till 6:00 pm
I will be located in the basement with about 9 other artist. There will be a total of about 60 artist showin in various lofts throughout the bldg.
The address: 828 Ralph McGill Boulevard, NE
Atlanta, GA 30306
Now is a great time to pick up a unique handmade gift by one of us artist. Remember support Georgia Made products and keep our economy growing.
| 29 November, 2011 13:26
"Run Blue Run"
12" x 18 Oil on Canvas Gallery Wrapped
The longer I have the fortune of being away from Corporate America the more I love my life as an artist. The best part by far has to be the fact that I don't have to put up with the golf swinging, wing tipped, BMW driving, yuppies. As far as I am concerned you could take all those types out them on an island together and watch them drive each other crazy. They would never get anything done they all would be too busy telling each other that one knows more than the other.
As I become more entrenched in the lifestyle of a non corporate artist the more I realize how much I hated those yuppie type when I had to deal with them on a daily basis. The best part now is I can tell those, type to go to hell and walk away with out some dip shit writing a note to my boss how I hurt his or her feelings. Believe me I hurt a lot of yuppie feelings in my 20 year corporate career. I also had to take a few mandatory BS classes on dealing with people to keep my job.
It was always a pain dealing with me just ask Shelly I was the best at what I did but at the same time I was not afraid to say what I felt either. Which meant that my boss would say Mike please try to get along with others like I was in grade school or something. They always followed up with you are so good at your job you just need to work on your people skills.
Well now I don’t have to work on my people skills thank God! I can say what I want, do what I want, and offend who I want. Something's will never change and I am one of those things. I excel at just a few things in life and that is all I have to give. I put family first then friends followed by clients then the rest of the people are fair game.
So lets get this perfectly clear I will say what I want do what I want and go where I want this is a free country and I do not follow the political correct rules that keep getting more strict each and every day.
As my dear mother would say "Michael you will never make it as a politician" and my response is "mother you are right, I tell the truth and I don't cheat on my wife."
| 23 November, 2011 14:41
Derby Tickets out of the Gate
16" x 18" Gallery Wrapped Canvas
There are a few types of people that really get under my skin and one of those types I had the misfortune of dealing with yesterday. This particular individual was a professional in his chosen field. I am not going to say what field that was to protect myself.
Well I had a few questions to ask him in determining if I actually would hire him for his services. Well that went south real quick! Lets just say that this jerk would not let me finish a sentence without interrupting me. After about 2 min of dealing with this jerk on the phone I had made up my mind not to hire him for his services.
Now as we all know it is a competitive world out there and none of us need to run off customers especially when you have a potential customer contacting you. After the 2 min bell rung in my head I decided that ok I want to turn the tables and just mess with this guy.
He was so rude and arrogant that I just could not help myself but to get under his skin. I listened as he told me that he was the best at his field in this state. I let him continue to stroke his ego. He thought he was winning by talking over me and turning my questions into an interrogation. At this point about 3 min into the conversation now I am really just messing with the jerk.
I acted as if he was the only person who could be my savor then I began to beg him to help me with my problem. His price was crazy high for the service I was requesting, so I told him that I would offer him 25% of what he wanted. This is where it got fun. He began to tell me that if I wanted the best then I would have to pay for the best. So I told him that I was a poor artist. This sent him into even more of an ego trip. I listened to him go on about how successful he thinks he is and how I am not fortunate enough to afford his services.
When I got to the point I wanted to hang up which I almost did but then that would have taken the fun out of this game for me. I had to scream into the phone to tell him to shut the *&#$%^ up so I could say what I wanted to say. Guess what I said? Goodbye? Then I hung up the phone knowing that I had achieved victory.
| 16 November, 2011 14:52
Anyone who knows me knows that I am certainly not a slave to fashion by any means. I wear what is on top of the clothes in the drawer. I am not picky. If I have to dress up for some reason which is rare then Shelly picks out my clothes just as my mother did before I went to college.
However I signed the contract with a London England based women's clothing line to use one of my paintings in their winter pattern. The contract is valid for 17 months and I make a decent wage for the use of my painting. The best part about this is I sold the original about 3 years ago and I am making more for the rights than I did for the original.
Out Of The Gate 12" x 16" Oil on canvas
Funny how that works for us artist so you never know when you buy an original from me if one day that image may become famous. I will probably never become famous in my lifetime and I don't want to. I am a huge fan of Any Warhol he is one of my favorite artist from the 20th century. He was a master at making the average become extraordinary via marketing and persona. That is my goal to make me, an average artist become a success by marketing my work in such a way that my work will become a household name.
My goal is to continue to make a living off my art but sell it while I am doing other things in life like traveling the world on a sailboat with my life companion Shelly…
Anything is possible if you put your mind to it that is what I believe and my mother always told me that. I have always done what I love and no I am doing it with whom I love how could live be any better.
By the way yes "I AM LIVING THE DREAM!" there are some people who want to put a stop to my dream world and you know who you are but guess what you are still failing miserably…
| 15 November, 2011 11:33
Derby Tickets out of the gate
12" x 16" Mixed Media on Gallery wrapped canvas
Well yesterday I was in the Grip all day then I had a board meeting with the Alpha Arts Guild. Sometimes I stretch myself too thin but this is much better than working in corporate America by far. Well the grip house is as always a never ending headache. It is always something going wrong or I am chasing down money.
I just installed a new refrigerator last year but some how it has been broken beyond repair. I think some kid must have been hanging on the door because the repairman said it could not be repaired. Thanks for that $50.00 down the drain. It turns out the new tenants have a refrigerator sitting outside next to the house why they don't replace it with that one I don’t know. Why it is sitting next to the house is another mystery yet to be solved.
Sort of like why some people in the Grip feel the need to retain old used tires. Then they complain about mosquitoes. Go figure, a different culture I guess. Oh in order to make the new tenant happy I agreed to paint the kitchen. Of course I don’t have the original paint anymore because I mixed a bunch of yellows to get the color anyways.
To add misery to my Grip experience they were cooking something I consider to be awful, smelling while I am painting I have to smell this… This reminds me of another Grip story. When Rick my former business partner and good friend were working on this house "Double Trouble" we had completed the house next door "Hell Hole" well we acquired an industrial exhaust vent from a kitchen. We installed that exhaust vent so it would vent out the side of the house next to "double trouble". Well we had a tenant in the house and she was cooking some nasty smelling concoction and had the exhaust fan running on high.
It was august and just about hot as hell outside. We had the HVAC company installing the ac unit on the side of the house which happened to be about 15ft from the exhaust vent. The smell coming from the exhaust was some southern soul food retched smell magnified by the humidity and heat. Our hvac worker was threatening to quit if the smell would not go away.
It was so bad that he went in the back of the yard and threw up. I will never forget how funny that was. Since I was the boss I had the opportunity to stay inside and avoid the smell. But it was not just isolated to that day. I swear they must have been cooking cabbage with collard greens fat back and who knows what else. I have smelled some awful things in my days but this tops them all. We use to sit on the front porch at lunch and many times had to go inside due to the wretched smell. Yesterday was not that bad by any means but it sure did remind me of that smell on a hot August day.
| 11 November, 2011 14:53
12" x 16" Oil on Gallery Wrapped Canvas
This is a new painting in a series I am working on
Sorry blog fans I have been busy with the Grip house and painting for the Deland show next weekend. Well reason to celebrate for me I got accepted to the Atlanta Dogwood Arts Festival! That’s right the big time show now! To be honest I have only applied just once and that was 5 years ago.
The reason is that the Knoxville Dogwood Arts Festival usually falls on the same date but not in 2012. In the Art Festival world some shows are known to be exceptionally hard to get into and this is one of those shows. So I am, honored to be accepted for my first time as an artist.
We artist have to balance the application/jury fee in making decisions. The fee is usually $20-$40.00 just to apply so you can imagine how expensive that can get. Most all shows have the jury fee, which is a sore subject in our world but one that we cannot change. So when you add the jury fee to the show fee then you can see how expensive this business can get.
I have 3 more shows for the year well one is 2 weekends so that can be considered 4 shows. I have tied my record in painting sales from 2 years ago. I have sold 77 original paintings in 2011 Jan to today. I count originals as $50.00 or greater. I have sold all 39 of my barnwood fish but they were under $50 and I have sold some other small originals under $50.00 that I am not counting. Plus donations do not count either.
So I would say this has been my best year because I have sold some large works and multiple works to collectors. I only had maybe 2-3 bad shows where I lost money and no $0 shows. So overall it has been a good year. I hope many of you will consider a original painting for a holiday gift or even one of my new Canvas Giclee' prints.
| 02 November, 2011 14:52
14" x 18" Stevie Ray Vaughn Mixed Media Oil On Gallery Wrapped Canvas
Sorry Blog fans I have been busy working on Double Trouble my rental house down in the Grip. So I have not been able to keep all of you up to date with the daily life of this fine artist. Let's see what has happened since the last time I blogged? Not much other than working on the money pit in the Grip. I have new tenants and hopefully they will actually pay the rent on time.
I had to add a screen door to the front of the house and one on the side. Both of which I bought used off Craig's list one for $15.00 & one for $30. As luck would have it the one I paid $30.00 for was only worth about $15.00 and the $15.00 one was worth about $100.00
As usual I take one heavy tool bag with me with what I think will be every hand tool I should need. Of course I have no electricity and I am hanging doors so I had a cordless drill. Well I took my cordless saw to use to cut the trim down to make the door fit. Got about 8" into the cut then battery died. Turns out the battery is gone will not hold a charge. So guess what the stupid replacement battery cost more than a brand new saw.
I don’t use that saw much anyways never did I got it at a garage sale for cheap. When I have electricity I had rather use my corded saw anyways. Well no saw means I have to go old school on the trim. Only problem is I have a small dry wall saw not good for cutting 4 feet of trim the long way. So what should have been a 1 min cut turned into a 45min hand saw process.
So I went to see if I could charge the stupid battery next door at Hell Hole the other house I built. Renter is a redneck white guy living there with a Pit Bull chained on the front porch. Fortunately for me I acted like I was not scared of the dog, which worked also a treat helped. The neighbor is probably the only white person within a 7-mile radius of my rental house. So I imagine the Pit bull likes white people or at least that is what I told my self as I was approaching the gnarling mutt.
Long blog short I hung both doors hired the new tenants son to patch and paint the interior and I shelled out more hard earned money to dump into Double Trouble once again. I have a new deal if a tenant ever trashes the walls like that again I am going to make them patch and paint. Although I have seen worse Pier Point had the wrath of an angry young punk once. Chris my son and I had to tear out the dry wall and hang new in one room thanks to that stupid brat.
So at least I have everything worked out there for now I think. Three months of mortgage payments 2 screen doors, 4 gallons of paint, and one stupid squirrel making a nest in the attic can be very expensive.
| 26 October, 2011 14:50
Wood Duck 4" x 4" Oil on Hardwood
Well if you read my blog on a regular basis then you will know the answer to this question. Why do they call it the grip? If you have ever been a landlord in a poor section of town such as the grip then you will know what a Government Mule is. For those of you who have not had the privilege of being a rental property owner in an upside down market allow me to explain.
To a landlord in the grip tenants have the upper hand they know how to work the system especially if you are new and inexperienced in the laws of rental property and victims rights. Me I know the laws and I use to know the judges so I could get evictions and garnishments without a problem. If it were Gwinnett County lets just say I would be *^%@#$$* but fortunately it is not.
So when you get a Government Mule then life is good. They are people on welfare, Sec 8 and or best of all disability. Well I hit a home run I got the mom on welfare, food stamps, Medicare & Medicaid and the daughter is as well. That means guaranteed check goes in each and every month. No bullshit stories I did not get paid or I have medical bills or I can't pay the light bill. Not this, time my friends I have the government covering all that and then some.
Can't get fired when you have no job, can't make the excuse the light bill is too high because that is covered. The government gives you a check and then you sign it over to me. What a perfect system! I will never complain about welfare or taxes again as long as the rent is being paid. Um Um not this boy I got a steady stream of rent money coming in no more listening to the Queen telling me we can't keep paying the mortgage on that dump. Well I tell you this the Queen will get her rent each and every month as long as Obama has his way I might even get a medal for providing a nice home for the needy.
| 25 October, 2011 14:59
Guitar Player 9" x 12" oil on Hardwood
Everyone can relate to the one fly that is in your house and you cannot seem to kill the little bastard. Well I have been trying to kill this stupid fly for 2 days now and I finally got him. I was in my studio painting while Sierra was sleeping then here comes the fly.
Buzzing around me then goes over and wakes a big mistake by not letting a sleeping dog lie. So now Sierra and I are both on a mission to kill this little bastard disturbing our peace. After about an hour of him landing on me, my art and, my paint I finally smacked the little bastard and sent him to insect hell. Now he resides in the bottom of my turpentine waste tank where I wash the brushes out.
We all have a person in our life that is like that annoying fly no matter what you do you cannot get that bastard to go away. Too bad I can't smack that person and send that someone to insect right where they belong. If only life where that simple… maybe one day that person will become a product of their own demise and then I can paint in peace.
| 24 October, 2011 15:41
Cow Girl Riding 9" x 12" Oil on canvas
Shelly and I were in Bluffton, Sc this past weekend for our 3rd year in the Bluffton Seafood Festival and Fine Art show. It is always a great show for me and this year was no different. For some reason I have never had any problem with accidents and my tent at any show but this one.
Three years ago my first year the show started at 9:00am and I was actually in my tent making a sale when my awning was hit by a photographer running late driving his van into the show. This was a big huge ruckus and knocked art off the walls bent poles made a big mess. I must admit the photographer and I are now friends he is a great guy. So that is old news
Well this year we leave on Sat night after having a good day. I made sure everything was secure like always. I have basically a corner spot in this show every year and I am able to leave my trailer in an abanned lot next to my booth. This is a huge advantage when leaving. So there is a big open space between me and my neighbor on both sides of the booth perfect for display and spreading out. Well cops supposedly patrol the streets at night. I know this because we arrived at 10:00pm on Fri night and I wanted to leave my trailer there but the cop was blocking the entrance. When I asked him if I could pull in the road to leave my trailer he said that I would have to walk down the street about a mile to where the night shift officer was.
Could he radio the officer no because he was playing on the computer probably watching porn because he closed the laptop down quickly when I walked up to the car. Little did he know I saw the monitor briefly before he closed it. Another story. Ok what happened? Well some how on Sat night while the security was fast asleep my tent was hit by either a car, golf cart, or drunk. I know this because the walls were buckled art was on the ground and the entire tent was moved like 12" over at an angle.
So Shelly went to report the problem only to have another cop tell her to walk down about a mile to the "command station" and file a report. Ok this causes two problems one the stupid cops ride these Segway things and two the show started in about 15 min and I had a destroyed booth.
Well lazy cop got an earful from the lawyer who brings the New York out when she gets mad. So said cop radioed down to "command central", like we are in a war zone or something to get the cop to ride his Segway thing up to investigate. Well I am trying to rebuild with the help of my photographer friend while the cop on the Segway arrives.
"Command Central" did not want us artist to know that vandals had struck on their watch. Turns out that another artist also had some damage not as bad as me but still bad. Here is the reason I am mad, the show is on one long street that is all just 90 booths long on both sides so that is like 45 booths lined up on each side of the road. Not a lot to watch after. The street is closed to vehicles so why did the cops not see a vehicle in the middle of the night? No hard to miss no street lights, no bad weather actually nice weather and one street to watch how hard could it be?
This leads to only one conclusion it was either the donuts, sleep or internet porn that is the only reason someone was able to get in and smash a car or golf cart into my tent.
| 21 October, 2011 11:27
Big Boy Sax
14" x 16" Mixed media on canvas
Today around 3:00 the princess and I will be heading out for one of my personal favorite shows in Bluffton, SC. The weather looks to be great again this year the Sat party at the river is always a good time. The collectors come out and they buy at this festival.
There are some really talented artist and no jewelers so that makes for a better show for the rest of us. Jewelers are a dime a dozen at shows and they seem to take at least 25% of the disposable income at any given show. I don't have anything against jewelers it is just that very rarely a shows does not allow them in.
This show is a perfect setting along a tree lined street the people can only come in and out one way which means that the be-backs have to see you once again before they leave. Sometimes you will see a be-back do the walk of shame. That is where they tell you they will think about buying something then they never show back up. In this show they have to walk right in front of each booth before they leave. Sometimes you will see them walk in front of your booth acting like they never saw you. They hang their head low we call that the walk of shame.
We all have had plenty of be-backs that is just part of the show life. No artist particularly likes a be-back when they don't come back to buy. Bluffton is a nice town and the show has really been good to me the past 2 years I have attended.
I have just a few things left to do to get ready but first I must scrub the floors on my hands and knees before the princess arrives this afternoon or I will be turned into a artist toad.
| 20 October, 2011 10:46
Kurt Cobain 6" x 14" Mixed media on galley wrapped canvas
As I plan for the winter season in Florida I get depressed because I remember what the people in Florida are like when it comes to buying art. I am now down to just 2 shows in south Florida due to the customer base there. I figure if I add shows to the spring and now that I have made my way into a couple of the big private school shows I might survive the winter, or at least January and Feb.
Sales outside of South Florida are improving for me this past year. Even the panhandle in Fl has always been good to me but south Fl is another story. I have summed up the Michael Lee top ten people who do not buy art. So here it goes and if you are one of these people I am not worried because you would not buy my art anyways.
TOP 10 PEOPLE WHO DO NOT BUY ART
- People breathing oxygen from a tank above water (Scuba divers excluded)
- People pushing a stroller in a stroller or driving a stroller battery or no battery.
- People walking carrying or pushing in a stroller any type of animal, reptile, bird
- People who are homeless, creepy, retarted, smelly, blind, under 18 or over 80
- People who's mother, grandmother, father, son or daughter is an artist
- People who have no job, money, income, or are on wellfair, Social Security
- People looking for any thing painted on velvet
- People who come to art show's for the food.
- People who live in a home with wheels
- People who claim to have everything in life but wall space.
| 19 October, 2011 10:26
Jerry Garcia 14" x 16" mixed media on canvas
Here I go again another trip to the Grip to show the rental house to another potential tenant. This makes month number three that I have had to pay the mortgage on this house. Yes I had a tenant but for some reason she lasted a whole two weeks and never paid the rent. She says her boyfriend moved back with his girlfriend and she could not afford the rent.
Then she tells me she is living in a homeless shelter like I am suppose to feel sorry for her and let her stay in the house for free. That's not going to happen I already have one woman trying to get a free ride off me I don't need another. I have never had this much trouble finding someone before. I don’t know why now is any different the economy is still bad like it has been for years.
I basically have no choice I am trying to hang onto the house to protect my credit but it is so upside down it may take me 24 years of payments to get my money back out of it. If there were a Grip Genie in a bottle then I would ask for one of my three wishes but only one would have to be granted. I am not greedy you know I will gladly give the Genie a break.
1) Oil is discovered in the backyard of my rental house Double Trouble.
2) A meteorite crashes to earth and demolishes the house (covered by insurance)
3) UGA expands Student housing and buys my land for some crazy amount.
The Genie needs to grant only one of those wishes… I have more but I will refrain don’t want to be greedy with the wishes.
| 18 October, 2011 13:50
Rodeo Clown 20" x 24 Oil On Canvas
First of allow me to start of today's blog by saying this I AM NOT REFERRING to any one judge in particular. Sorry to disappoint some of you reading this blog looking for evidence to incriminate me. I am merely speaking of people who are hired, elected, asked, volunteered to be a judge. I mainly am speaking in terms for this blog of judges who are supposed to be judges during art shows.
I do not participate in juried art festivals to win prize money I am there to sell. In my opinion the show would be better off without awards. This is not because I am bitter I have won before. It is mainly because 90% of the judges do not even take into consideration all the items presented before them.
I saw it again this past weekend at a show I was participating in. The judge comes walking down the isle does not even walk in my booth yet walks inside the double booth of mass-produced items across from me. I guess she was shopping for herself. The irony of it all was this show is not what it use to be 3 -4 years ago the quality has gone down hill big time. When the show allows mass produced signs to have a double booth then hires a judge who only walks in the some of the booths then you know a decision has been made.
Why should they go any further at this point I guess they are just shopping for the holiday's no I am not bitter. Like I said I am there to sell not to win awards. However two of the people who did win I think deserved to win their work is very well done and I like both of the winners on a personal level.
| 14 October, 2011 11:07
Walking Bear 9" x 12" Oil on Hardwood
I think to myself ok I will just paint today but that never seems to happen as much lately. I at best get to paint 1/2 a day but lately it has been less than that. Why most people think I have nothing but time on my hands. Well I have another business to run that helps me to make a living as an artist possible.
That is my Ebay business I sell parts for all three of my brother in laws plus sometimes for other people. I also sell a fair amount of paintings on Ebay believe it or not. Right now I am only selling 9x12 and smaller hardwood paintings, which are easy to ship. I have over One Thousand items for sale on Ebay, which means I ship a lot each day.
The mail man just loves me I am sure I average about 6 packages a day sometimes more once up to 27 items in one day. In addition to that when it is not show season I am applying for shows. When it is show season I am managing my inventory of prints, magnets and paintings plus working on gaining wholesale accounts.
The tuff part is that my computer is down stairs in the basement and my studio is upstairs. I do not have the luxury of a laptop or smart phone. Shelly will not approve that in the budget. So I am lucky that my 12 year old, Mac G5 still plugs away like it was new.
I have so many accessories and upgrades on this old Mac it is a wonder it does not go up in smoke. I see kids with Ipads and I phones and me I just have a stupid phone. Well if I continue writing more on this blog then I will never get anything else done.