This is my second website as an artist. A few years back, I made the decision to chuck my old site and wander the internet using various social media (Facebook, Patreon) and market (Etsy, Redbubble) sites to share my work. For years, I had written and maintained my own site from the code-up. I wrote in HTML and Java every page of what became a massive, sprawling site. Adding a new piece to the site could often take hours depending on what I was doing with it, and I simply was not seeing a return on my investment. One day, I found myself asking “why?”
Why have a website to display my work if I could accomplish that goal on Facebook? Why try to sell my work on my site when more people were buying direct from one of the market page? Why have a website at all? When I could not answer these questions, I decided it was time to shit down the old site. I had that site for almost a decade, and while letting it go was tough, it ended up being a huge weight off my shoulders.
It also provided time for me to discover why I needed a site.
In the interim between the old site and the new, I learned some things. Social media is useful, and in marketing necessary, but ultimately I am just a voice in the wilderness on Facebook, or a blip on someone’s daily news-feed. I got a bunch of people to follow my artist pages, but my theory is that the did so because they know me, and not so much because they are interested in my work. Many were, but just as many I believe followed my primary artist page as a courtesy. I have since seen more organic growth on a couple of other pages by not inviting people to follow. Instead, those followers I have discovered my page through some other site; a blog or a shop. These are people who are interested in my work on some level.
Art Monster has a Facebook page, but no invites are going out. There is a Facebook link on the bottom of every page on this site, and I am hoping the followers I get there come from here.
I was using every shop site I could find. My art on merchandise was at places like Cafe Press, Zazzle, and others. With the old site, I would offer the best products from these venues, reselling the pay-to-print item direct. It was, again, a lot of effort for little return. Being out of having a site for a while taught me that it made more sense to just point people interested in my work to the shop sites themselves. I also learned the value of using bulk printers like Sticker Mule and investing in the product. I found a shop were my work seems to do well (Redbubble), but prefer the venues that require that I am closer to the means of production (Etsy).
I found myself doing art-shows without a website. My business cards and promotional stickers pointed people to my Patreon site (another tool I had to learn the purpose of). I was not offering commissions as I am now, and I knew I was missing out. Each show was an opportunity to get the word out about my Redbubble and Etsy shops, my Facebook and Instagram accounts, but to avoid bogging people down in a half-dozen URLs I needed to point people to a central source. That was something I did not have anymore, a single online location where you could find it all.
That became the primary drive to creating a new website. I needed a central landing point for those interested in my work. In addition, I needed to offer my services for commission. I could do that through other venues, but a website would tie things together. Getting here required one other thing, changing my business philosophy and creating a new brand.
The last site was created with the idea that I would not be the whole show. I have friends who were artists also trying to figure things out like I was. I believed that a collaborative effort would be best; we would work together, market our common venues, and build on our mutual efforts. Sounds good in theory, but it proved to be impractical. This new site is all me, no additional “studios” involved, just my own creative output. This change in direction required a new brand and new logo.
“Art Monster” was inspired by a design I did years ago for an event at a tattoo shop I worked at. The design featured a hulking beast with tentacles coming out of its head. The creature was also the power-supply for his tattoo machine, which plugged into his temple. “Art Monster” is descriptive of the work I do; no kittens and bouquets here, no rustic and charming images of dilapidated barns, no concerns at all about being accepted in some fashion by mainstream art. My work is intentionally graphic, lowbrow, and prurient.
Odds are your will not find my paintings in a dentist’s office anytime soon.
The logo further reflects this, my spider-demon. I am spinning a web of creative works. There is some aggression in these efforts, some open defiance of what is considered acceptable or “normal”. I am inspired by tattoo art, comic book art, skateboard graphics, rock-and-roll and metal art from the 80s, horror films, pinup art from the 50s and 60s. You know, the good stuff. I believe that you, my friends who appreciate that kind of work, are a rarefied breed. I am honored that you are here, and delighted to create things for you.