“When your world revolves around working only for the money, life becomes a little less cool.”
Fresh Rag is a passion project. As it stands, it pays no bills at all. In fact, the site eats money right now, but that’s ok. I want to make some money on this site eventually; I’d love to be able to leave the day job, or just be a little more financially secure, but that is a long way from happening, and not essential. For now, this site is about sharing. Yeah, sure, I’ve got plans to sell you cool things in the future, but really, it’s about putting cool stuff in front of your eyeballs, whether that’s the work of some fellow designers and artists, or my own words used to inform and educate. The only goal is to put a smile on your face and maybe get you to buy something cool from someone cool.
While on this journey, I’ve met quite a few people who are doing their best to make great art in many forms. I’ve also seen and heard the struggles, and know that working a handmade life is not an easy one by any means. Even the folks I know who are “living the dream”, being handmade entrepreneurs, still work their asses off and have to constantly check the value of each day’s take. For some, the dream can become the nightmare, where the art disappears and everything becomes work.
I had a conversation this past weekend with a friend who is considering going back to the workforce because the entrepreneur life is killing their will to do anything cool. They haven’t designed anything new in months because they’re just trying to keep up with the orders coming in. That would be fine if the bills were getting paid, but they still struggle to make more than a meager wage because the business doesn’t scale well. The eye-opener was when my friend said to me, “Right now, I hate art”, and I knew exactly what he meant.
I don’t hate art; I love art, but I sometimes I really can’t stand doing anything with my own art, and I attribute my distaste to a couple things:
- I get bored easily. The work I’ve been doing lately is enjoyable, but I don’t feel the passion for it. Kill the passion and my motivation to do anything else goes away.
- I’m doing it for the money. I sold myself on the idea that I could make a brick of cash selling my artwork cheap online, except it was more like some bits of gravel and not a brick, and when you work that hard only for a pittance of what you were hoping, it becomes a little less desirable.
- I’m not in love with the art. Going back to the money thing, the direction of my art has been dictated less by what I love, and more about what I think will sell. If I’m ever to get back on the horse, that shit has got to stop right now.
The funny thing is, I’ve considered doing some more art pieces, but this time for Fresh Rag. I haven’t been able to get motivated enough to do any, though, and I think it’s because I don’t feel the love for the work that I would produce. Up until this moment, aside from a stint of creating a few abstract paintings, it’s all been able making work that sells so I can pay a bill or two. Even though I like the work I’ve done, and there are some I’m very proud of, I can’t say I’m super stoked on any of it.
What I am super stoked on is Fresh Rag. I love this site and I love the work I’m doing here. As each month passes, I hone my craft a little more, figure out what works best and get to know more about what you like to see. Because I am so stoked on this site, I want to do everything I can to make it awesome. I’ve been reading a lot of books about entrepreneurialism lately and learning a lot about myself in the process. The most pervasive thought: The more transparent and authentic I am, the more you, the readers, appreciate what I’m doing here, and that speaks volumes to me.
Fresh Rag is one of many blogs I have started over the last several years, but the only one that has stuck in my mind. I have a clearer outlook for what I’m doing here than anything else in the past and I credit that to the passion I have for the subject. I sell my art in a lot of different places, but none of them very well. I’m certain the reason it doesn’t sell is because I don’t have the passion to stand behind the work after awhile. It’s time I found the same passion I have for this blog and transform the way I look at and create art. It’s time to take the authenticity I have about what I write, and bring it to my other creative endeavors.
Starting right now, all the art I have created and produced in the past becomes a limited edition. If you bought a “poster” or a notecard from me in the past, it just went up in value (if only a little), because I will not reproduce any of my previous works beyond what I have already printed. At least for the extended future, I do not see myself mass producing any more art.
I have plans to create many different things for Fresh Rag; art prints, magazines, journals, and more. Every single one of those items will be limited edition runs, all produced in high-quality print methods, and each with my own signature. It’s time to stop looking to make a buck off my art and start making a legacy. Yes, I want to sell them, but not at the expense of my future collectors.
I owe this new direction to all of you, so thank you for showing me the way.