In the spirit of my new shop/website setup I feel it makes sense to explain why I am switching everything over. I like to be as open as possible with my work because I know a lot of my following are creatives and when I was getting started I had a hard time finding artists that were open about their trials.
Though it may seem like a simple change to some this is a big change for me. I have gotten to this place in my career from putting in a lot of hard work, time, help from loved ones and from failing repeatedly. This past year is the first year I haven't felt a hunger to succeed in my work. It took some time to figure out why and I think it is because it had gotten monotonous. I was also was slowly and unintentionally backing myself into a dark corner away from the social pressure of the increasing number of eyes on my work plus my financial pressures. My partner, Lopi, and I had fallen into a rhythm that was somewhat effective but left little time for other projects and ourselves. He made the prints, packaged them, we shipped them together. He helped with some emails and doing the books while I focused on churning out as much art as I could. We were slowly able to start paying off debts and in a way I was able support Lopi after he had spent years supporting me as I struggled up the "art career" ladder. The point of him helping me was so that he could take time to write his book (he is an writer/programmer) but we had been too busy to allow that to happen. Having an art career is very strange, even when doing my best I still find myself getting stressed about not having a stable job and supporting Lopi plus my two cats. With 3 combined student loans and a huge car payment my work sometimes felt like it was revolving too much around making money. And I was NOT cool with that.
After some tearful heart to hearts and feeling like I had failed him, I explained to Lopi that I needed time to re-route my business so he returned to programming for the unforeseeable future. I could no longer keep working that way. I wished to make art in my own time, to send more work to galleries instead of selling them straight from my shop, to offload the work to a printer to allow us more time for creating and to create more than just art prints.
That brings me to where I am now, for those who have been long time followers of my work you will know that my last shop was through Storenvy. I found that the website has bed ratings from employees who work there and I don't want to support their site, but that's only part of why I am switching. I LOVED being able to write "thank you" notes to all of my supporters who bought from my shop but I found my wrist was becoming increasingly sore with every signing session. I hate to mention it but I want to be honest so I can properly describe all of my reasoning for this change. I want to prolong the life of my wrists as long as possible. One of the biggest reasons I wanted to switch was because I felt like I couldn't make anything OTHER than prints or anything flat. When I made my pins and shipped them out I had later had them all returned because the lady at the post office said it was lacking a few cents worth of stamps. This was after putting a lot of effort into making sure they were an exact weight. We brought them into the post office and had they quote how much they would cost before we shipped them. This is just one of many occurrences but it shows how complicated it could be to ship things. We were afraid of packing prints together with pins as well in fear. that they would puncture the prints. I have tried a print on demand/drop shipping company to print my shirts a couple of years back, although I loved the process the quality wasn't good enough for me. I also had issues where if someone ordered a shirt from my POD and a print from me I had to pay for shipping twice since I shipped the art prints from my studio while the shirts were shipped from my printers location.
I feel like this career has given me purpose but as I've gotten older I have found that you don't just work hard until you "make it" you JUST work hard. It isn't a downhill slope after you've reached your goal. I have been walking through a maze of dark paths since I left high school. Trying to navigate and determine what route to take is very difficult, I've taken wrong paths before and some loop back around to where I started. If I could relate anything to the feeling I would have to say it must be like what Alice felt in Wonderland. Remember the part in the Disney adaptation near the end when she finds a path in the dark? That is how it feels to not know, it's hard and I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling this way but I hope someday all of my paths will be bright and will lead me to somewhere bright and a bit less confusing. I am so grateful I get to create, that is all I want to do and I hope to do so much more of it if this new path works in my favour. "I'll make the path".
For the time being I am going to dive head first into my comics "Chiara" and "Nen". I am going to sell originals through my site here, I will be shipping them personally. I will still be selling limited exclusive prints through Rhino Barking Sparrow and I will be selling prints through InPrnt and MAYBE Society6. I've had artwork stolen from RedBubble and Society6 so I would like to avoid using those sites as they are targets for scam "artists". For the time being I will still be doing monthly exclusive prints through Patreon. Books will be sold through another site/publisher when the time comes.
Thanks everyone for reading, stay tuned for some new goods.