Before I get swept up into the full-on-crazy of the new year, I want to take a moment to thank you all for your support, to look briefly back on last year, and to share a few of my plans for 2016.
As we all know, when the economy is tight, it is not easy to survive as a small business owner … and harder still if that small business is a fine art studio. So what about a small fine art studio focused on breathing new life into mythology and the stories of ancient cultures? Yea…
Despite the narrow niche I have carved out for myself, 2015 was a year of remarkable growth for my small studio. Online sales rose 300% over 2014 – add in sales from art shows and it was closer to 500%. Of course, percentages are relative and the sizable expenses involved in running a successful studio still present a challenge moving forward but I am confident that if this upward trend continues, my studio will be making art for many years to come. So, whether you added one of my pieces to your wall in 2015, engaged with me at a show or online, or simply told a friend about my Web site, you have my deepest gratitude.
Highlights of the year just past are many. I kicked off 2015 as a featured artist on, Detroit Performs, PBS’s Emmy Award-winning television program that interviews artists in the Greater Detroit area.
In March, I resigned from The Henry Ford where I had been working as a pottery decorator and historic presenter. This move was made to allow me to devote a larger portion of my time to growing my own studio. Before leaving, however, I was featured in another episode of Detroit Performs alongside many other fine artists from THF’s Liberty CraftWorks and that episode can be found here.
Around this time, I also had the opportunity to work with a gifted photographer and dear friend, Donna Kert, of Life In Focus Studios, who spent an entire day photographing my work. You can see an article Donna wrote about the experience along with a nice sampling of images from the shoot here.
In early June, after a litany of delays (problems with a new silicone rubber used for my molds and a bad batch of resin), I was finally able to release my Viking Prow sculpture – just in time for the summer art show season. By year’s end, my first international sales of the Prow had landed in Europe (England and France) along with the first dozen sold here in the U.S. For those who might have missed the teaser video I created for the prow, you can find that here.
In July, I received “Best of Show” at Art on the Grand in Farmington Hills which was an unexpected honor considering the high level of talent at that show. Over the course of the year, I also made several appearances on Fox2 News (Detroit) representing the artists of Art Birmingham and the Birmingham Street Art Fair.
Finally, there was the wonderful parade of people with whom I was fortune enough to engage – exchanging stories, ideas and laughter – and that is ultimately why I do what I do.
So, what are my plans for 2016? If fate doesn’t throw too many curve balls my way, I intend to release six new pieces in the first half of the year (about one a month) and I will be unveiling the first of these in February. I also plan to launch a few projects through Kickstarter later in the year. I will post more on this as things develop, but they may include a few extremely limited edition bronzes.
While I will still be doing my favorite Michigan shows, I plan to branch out geographically with shows being considered in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and Minnesota. I further plan to grow my social media presence substantially. This includes a much-needed update to this site, a commitment to weekly blog posts, some YouTube videos, expanding my ETSY store and a couple giveaways/contests for those who follow this blog.
2016 is the year I hope to make Jivotica my sole focus – and it is only through the continued support and patronage of those who follow this blog, buy my art on ETSY and seek me out at art shows that this will be possible. So, if you know anyone who might enjoy my work, please share it with them.
With warmest wishes to you and yours for a happy, interesting and productive New Year.