Welcome to the second edition of Wall Woes IMP Word Wednesday! Today’s word is:
(not to be confused with, “I’m bi-curious”)
definition: having little or no money; penniless; poor.
IMP word improperly implemented: “My impecunious choice of words makes for some awkward situations.”
Last Friday in Wall Woes IMP Word Wednesday‘s inauguration post, I featured a FAQ segment to answer all the questions that you would have asked me if you were me. I’ve since grown keen to the idea of having some kind of special feature in every week’s IMP Word post.
This week, I’ve identified what may be the most impressive display of bad taste I’ve seen or heard anywhere. My personal record on this song is three seconds past the minute mark. That’s when my brain turns to cauliflower. Please, save yourself the headache do not watch the following video.
It’s the winds, of change. That’s right, shit is going down! Allow me to introduce an exciting new addition to the Wall Woes lineup. I present to you:
Wall Woes’ IMP Word Wednesday!
Week #1 – imp
definition: a little devil or demon
IMP word improperly implemented: “I blame my shoulder imp for tricking me into blogging and building art for a living.”
Now, before you go asking questions and criticizing prematurely, please read the Falsely Anticipated Questions section below.
Really? Wall Woes’ IMP Word Wednesday?
As you know, the name of my first stARTup (stARTup!) is “IMPARTWORKS,” so I recently came up with the brilliant idea to use an IMP word in the title of each of my designs. For example, my hanging wall planter might be called, “Implanter.” While the definitions of my titles may be impertinent to the design, initially imparting confusion, the impending impassioning impact of this subtly imported imposition should leave an imperishable impression.
Naturally, the next step was to elaborate on this absurdity. And so it was, that Wall Woes’ IMP Word Wednesday came into existence.
What happens when you run out of IMP words to name your art?
Impossible! Well, improbable.
Aren’t there several definitions for the word “imp?”
You seem to have mistaken my blog for a dictionary.
That’s not a question. And I really don’t like Wednesdays, except for that somebody coined them “hump day.” In fact, I’m partial to Wednesday being my least favorite day of the week, so Wall Woes’ IMP Word Wednesday will actually take place every Thursday from here on out.
Due to popular demand, I’m unveiling my first business card ever, right here on Wall Woes. Over 5% of my 18 followers have expressed their interest in my Zazzle.com design, as mentioned in Vistaprint’s “Impression.” So, I’m left with no choice but to grace you with the product of my, and some stranger’s, blood, sweat, and tears. I spent minutes upon minutes of intense browsing through prefabricated templates before filling in blanks with words, numbers, and a strategically placed “at” symbol.
Without further ado, I present to you my much-anticipated debut business card.
I know, I know. It really goes against the grain, but if you can’t see the wood for the trees here, you’re just a stick in the mud.
Shortly after last week’s post, I set out to make some business cards. I hit up my buddy Google, and he told me Vistaprint was currently running a promotion for 250 business cards. Only $10, plus free shipping! Sounded too good to be true.
I proceeded to spend the next hour or so “designing” a card. Rather, I chose from a limited selection of pedestrian templates and filled in the required information. I decided to splurge on a back side for my cards. It was an extra $6.49 but that seemed reasonable enough given the original steal.
Once I was somewhat satisfied with my design, I clicked on the little shopping cart, expecting to be taken to the checkout page. Instead, I was forced through barrage of promotional hoops asking me to buy this, and telling me I need that. It was like trying to register a domain with GoDaddy, or like ordering a plated dinner at Sizzler. How can something so seemingly simple require so many damn questions? And forgive me, Vistaprint, if I don’t believe you when you say, “Customers like you also bought ‘Large Lawn Signs'” to match my business cards. You lie. Nobody like me did that.
I finally made it to the virtual checkout counter and double-checked my cart to make sure none of the “next” buttons I had clicked doubled as an “add to cart” button. It was like shopping with a bratty child: I had to make sure that nothing got slipped into my cart while I wasn’t paying attention.
Then, when I went to choose a shipping option, the cheapest one was $7. Seven dollars. Standard shipping (14 days) was seven dollars. Cool story, Hansel. I spent the next 10 minutes searching for the “free shipping” option that was promised me in the promotion, only to discover that the back side option, for which I had already agreed to pay an extra $6.49, did not qualify for free shipping. Apparently, the ink they use on the back of cards is actually liquid plutonium. Very heavy.
That was about the point where I vocalized a few choice words to Vistaprint and went back to the drawing board. Long story short, I ended up spending $30 on 100 cards at Zazzle.com. I couldn’t be happier. Much nicer templates, great user interface, and NO hassle. Plus, since I don’t have a website yet, the scant 100 cards will serve as the perfect deadline to get one up running so that I can include it on my next batch.
As I float on in my endeavors, the days seem to be getting shorter. I’m starting to figure out exactly what it takes to be an artist and run my own “business,” and it’s laying claim on more and more of my time. It’s exciting, but for someone who’s attention couldn’t span a crack in the sidewalk, it’s a lot to handle.
I’ve finally designed and produced enough work to give people a good idea of my style and what I’m capable of. Last week, I put the finishing touches on several of my pieces. No sooner than that, I felt ready to conquer the art world. I was overcome with the an uncontrollable urge to rush off and show everyone. So I did. I even managed to land a meeting with the owner of the most popular high-end restaurant in Salt Lake. If I could display my art on those walls, I’d have all the exposure I need right now. Go big or go home, right?
I began the meeting just glowing with excitement and confidence. It was casual and friendly, and short. I would say it went pretty well except for the fact that I couldn’t pry a reaction out of her. Not a good sign considering that art generally speaks for itself. I sensed no negativity, but nothing positive either. For ten minutes, our conversation strayed from one topic to another as any wayward conversation would, no discernible progress being made. And then, it was over. The only hint of interest I picked up from her was a sideways comment she threw out towards the end to the tune of, “we’re redoing our bathrooms this year and might need some new mirrors.” Really though, even Gandhi would have recognized that as pity. I’ll take it though, for all that it’s worth.
The encounter was a success. I know this because after she left, I actually felt encouraged rather than discouraged. I’ve talked to enough people who are excited about what I do to not worry about the ones that aren’t. I just got over excited about of the status of being affiliated with that kind establishment. That’s not what I want to be driven by anyway. I’m just trying to help people create comfortable spaces. People have different tastes so I can’t expect to please everyone.
I also got a few takeaways on how to better promote myself as a “professional.” ::cough, cough:: First off, I need to have an image gallery or portfolio on hand, on my tablet, at all times. Aside from the obvious benefits of this, my creations have a different feel in the day than they do at night so I need to be able to convey this. Next, if ever I use my house as a gallery again, I need to be clear that the art on my walls is a display and everything is available for purchase. This seems trivial, but it’s a small step to take to avoid potentially great confusion. It occurred to me after the meeting that she probably thought at some point, cool, he decorated his house but what can he do for me? Along those same lines, everything has to have a price tag. Since I haven’t sold anything yet, I was at a loss when she asked how much a particular piece would cost. This made it seem like amateur hour, and although it actually is, I can’t let any potential customers know that. Next, I need business cards. She and several people since then have asked me for one and all I could say was, “uh, they’re currently in production.” Way to be prepared, hero! And last (for now), I need a website, with general information, a personal online gallery, a shop, contact info, and a place for custom order forms. Nothing fancy; just something to let people know that I mean business. My Google + Page isn’t going to cut it.
Moving forward, I realize just how much needs be done but I have to learn not to get ahead of myself. Promotion and sales are peaking my interest, but I’m constantly reminded that production must come first. I simply don’t have enough product yet to shift gears into marketing. I know where my focus needs to be, so I’m working on channeling my excitement into creativity. The only problem now is the weather. I’d be thrilled if it didn’t start raining within five minutes of every time I go outside to resume building!
Wowza! Time’s a flyin’ by these days. Last week was a blur and I missed this Monday’s post. Things are generally on the up and up though. I’ve spent a lot of time getting comfortable with my power tools; it’s becoming quite fun actually. My makeshift driveway workshop is a magic cloud of sawdust that spits out strange art and small furniture. If I could spend every day just building things, I might not be unhappy. That’s not to say that I am unhappy, but I’m discovering that there’s a lot more to being an artist than making art.
From the moment I had a few finished pieces, they were supposed to fly off the shelf and into loving homes. Unfortunately, knowing that deep down, every wallet-carrying biped has a closet physiological need for what I make, doesn’t cut it. I am charged with the indomitable task of getting even a fraction of you to acknowledge, embrace, and satisfy this need. It should be alright though, I have a marketing degree. Ha! That weapon has long since slipped out of my holster. What I am armed with is the internet, a vast network of friends and acquaintances, and the (underrated) satisfaction of actively developing a passion. I’m learning to exploit this arsenal as I’ve reached a point in my projects where I can no longer ignore the fact that sooner than later, this all is going to have to become profitable if I’m to keep it up.
Now I actually have to make decisions on where I need to spend my time, as opposed to jumping from task to task like I have been, as impulse dictates. I’m beginning to establish a rough order of operation but it requires quite a bit of work. It goes a little something like this: network online, produce a respectable inventory of “complete” and varied art, network online, disperse art around the city in appropriate restaurants and places of business, network online, design and build new creations to maintain interest and variety, network online, rinse, and repeat.
Meanwhile, I have to strenuously smother the fire within that rages to distract me with such mundane endeavors as inducting pen acrobatics into the transcendental “Desktop Olympics” and making a video to prove it.
If you have a unique Desktop Olympics talent, please don’t hesitate to share it in a comment below. These games are up and coming, you know. Plus, face it, this is likely the best chance you have to become an Olympian.
I’m beginning to come to terms with the fact that I won’t always be able to corral such wild creative tangents. Although frustrating at times, it’s a gift really, to be so cheaply and easily entertained. As long as I can manage to return to focus and be generally productive overall, I’ll let some distractions fly.
Let’s see, where was I…
As I get deeper into my projects, I am able to pick out more and more of the amateur mistakes that I’ve been making and confute some of the preconceived notions I had about doing what I’m doing. For example, I know now that art does not sell itself. And a piece of art is never completely finished; it’s done enough to let go of. And often when people ask if they can help, they’re all talk. And it’s not uncommon to doubt the work that you do, or question its likability. Nor is it uncommon to doubt the possibility of making even a temporary living off a glorified hobby. And creating an online presence for yourself is incredibly time-consuming and cannot be half-assed.
As I gain momentum though, I thrive on the positive feedback and the gradual changing of attitude of those that surround me. Certain friends and critics are coming around with the realization that I’m actually serious about this. The skepticism remains, but slowly but surely it’s being drowned out. And with that, my spirit is high.
Last Monday, I set out for an entire week of focus and productivity. I got off to screaming start with some early morning exercise. I diligently made it through several hours of online tutorials. I tracked down some supplies for my art projects. I designed and sketched out several new ideas. I got IMPARTWORKS caught up in the social networking scene. I even turned down some opportunities to catch up with friends.
And then, Tuesday rolled around. It’s not that I ran out of steam, it’s more like I was over-ambitious. It was like wanting to do so much actually impeded my ability to focus. I was cocky. It was like, this:
By mid-week I managed to find some balance. The key to not getting ahead of myself was simply to tackle one task at a time. You could say I found discipline within. For a while.
By Friday evening, I had seemingly lost sight of the prize. I am unsatisfied with my inability to even temporarily curb my appetite for social interaction. Over the weekend, I took nearly every opportunity presented to meet up with friends. It wasn’t excessive, but I failed my one-week challenge to stay focused. One good friend of mine deemed any attempt I make at being antisocial, “ridiculous” and “counterproductive.” As much as I’d like to agree, last week’s challenge was more an exercise in self-discipline than anything else. Therein lies my disappointment.
In light of the attitude change that I created this blog to promote, I’m going to close this one out on a high note. Despite having succumb so easily to distraction, I do have some tangibles that suggest my week wasn’t a failure after all. Here is a sneak peek at a prototype and a few unfinished pieces from my first round of production under IMPARTWORKS.
Prototype for the infinity box. The effect results from LEDs sandwiched between mirror and mirror-pane glass.
The infinity mirror prototype with three more in the works.
Doodle design with candle, plant, and infinity mirror.
The frame and backboard for an upcoming piece.
These two pieces were created based on the Imperium Design, using woods of different color to create a 3-D effect.
The fruits of my first week of production. Incomplete, but a good glimpse of what’s to come.
As I get increasingly excited over Wall Woes, IMPARTWORKS, and my other projects, these topics find their way into more and more of my everyday conversations. When somebody asks me what I do, I proudly tell them about the blog and my art, and their potential moving forward. As it turns out, if there exist two job titles on this planet that impart upon people a sense of skepticism and utter faithlessness, they are “blogger” and “artist.” Given the brevity of my surfeit of prior “career moves”, it’s possible that within my group of friends it’s a simple case of me having cried wolf one too many times. However, I’ll go out on a limb and say that “blogger” and “artist” are two terms not generally synonymous with profitability anyway. And since money is the only measure of success recognized by the majority of my friends, I’ve been graced with more than the recommended daily dose of raised eyebrows and disinclined “Oh…that’s great. Good for you”s.
That said, I’m still super stoked about where this is all going. If anything, I’m even more driven now thanks to all these sticks in the mud. Now I have something to prove. Also, it’s becoming more and more evident that in this stage of my “independent” career move, I need to surround myself only with those who are unconditionally supportive of what I’m doing. The fact that these people are so few and far between is actually a big advantage as this frees up a great deal of time and energy for me to work on the things that matter. If I didn’t have reason enough to distance myself from distractions before, I certainly do now.
In response to the reaction I’ve been getting, I’ve decided to conduct a little experiment. Starting today, for one week I’m going to refrain from any and all physical contact with my world of friends outside of a work environment and focus solely on Wall Woes and company. I’m challenging myself to actively address the challenges, needs and goals set forth in Laying the Foundation. I’m genuinely curious to see how much I can accomplish in a week. I don’t know what I’m capable of since I’ve never been focused on anything for longer than 38 seconds.
As liberally as I use the term “project,” I suppose I shouldn’t be so vague. Unfortunately, my ambiguity on certain topics is unintentional. I am making this up as I go so certain things won’t become clear until down the road when enough of my random thoughts merge to form a discernible concept. Everything feels like a project to me right now, but I might be able to set a few things straight.
One of my primary objectives with Wall Woes and its “projects” is to master the art of controlled mind-wandering. My greatest ideas come about when I’m not actively thinking. I’ve spent years struggling to learn and figure things out, only to discover that innovation is born of imagination and creativity. That said, the operative word is “controlled.” Somehow, I need to let my mind wander freely within the boundaries of what’s relevant to what I’m tying to accomplish.
This is where all my projects come in. Each one is essentially an extension of those boundaries, allowing my mind to drift progressively further. As long as all projects contribute to, or benefit from Wall Woes in some way, I’ll be content to lose myself in thoughts that pertain to them. But really, what are these projects?
Wall Woes is THE project. It’s the heart of my whole operation. All the juicy details hang out on the Wall Woes’ W’s page. The rest of my projects can be divvied up into two categories: Personal and Business. That’s fancy speak for short- and long-term goals, respectively. My list of personal projects is essentially a to-do list, made up of relatively simple, specific tasks. My business projects will remain quite vague for now as they are distant goals whose fate will ultimately be decided by the collective outcome of my personal projects. Given the constant evolution of all my projects and their importance to my success, I had to devise a strategy to keep them organized. Allow me to introduce my project for projects, the Projects page!
Yesterday was an exciting day. I came up with a project name and a few logo and slogan ideas. I also registered a couple of domains that might be useful to me down the road. It was no great accomplishment but it allowed me to get started on setting up some social media and networking accounts. I spent the bulk of the day on that.
Then today, as I was sorting through those accounts, I realized that an old abandoned start-up venture of mine might actually have a better name than the one I came up with yesterday. It’s definitely more catchy, it would save me some time and money, and coincidentally, it is appropriate to the project I would need it for.
So, which name do I use? I’ve set up a whole slew of online accounts under the new name, but I’m not sure I like it as much. For the old one, I already have a business entity registered in my state, an EIN, and a bank account. I have the domain for it also. The only drawback is that the old name is not available on the social media and networking platforms for which I’ve signed up using the new name. So, if I use it there would be inconsistencies in the name across the web.
What are the critical components of a good name? And how important is consistency?