Look, for my whole early life, my father was self-employed. Our family ran the oldest silk-screen printing company in Utah, and it went quite well until an early heart attack forced Dad to retire earlier than he'd planned. My folks offered to let me run the business, as I knew how and had worked with Dad for years, but my heart was in teaching and I knew I had not the art talent my father had. The business was sold -- and a few years later, the folks who bought it went under and it failed.
All of this means that 1) I've always had the POV of the self-employed, 2) I've grown up thinking creativity and marketing are normal, 3) I've grown up as the daughter of an artist, and thus I see the world in various frames. (Beautiful scenery is thought of in terms of how it would make a good painting. And I read people's tee-shirts. Always.)
Now, Mom and Dad are at a stage where they could use a bit more cash (well, who isn't at that stage, really?). Dad has enough gorgeous paintings to fill a gallery on his own, but only the ultra-wealthy buy fine art in its original form. (Yes, he's sold some paintings in Park City -- home of the über-wealthy -- as well as Moab, St. George, and Salt Lake, but most people don't want to pay what paintings are worth.) However, ordinary folks will buy good art if it's in a form they can afford: posters, calendars, notecards, etc. (They'll also buy bad art this way. Just sayin'.)
Thus, I've convinced Dad to start again: an online business this time, with little or no overhead costs. Mom's the internet junkie of the two of them, not Dad (who never learned to type, so computers seem a bit intimidating to him still), so I've had to show him how it will all work.
Max has kindly agreed to help us when we actually set up our own website, and Dad and I already know how and where to have professionals photograph the paintings which are too large to be scanned in. But, more research showed me that Zazzle.com has pretty much the best deal for people who want to merchandize their art/graphic art/photos, so I went ahead and set up a zazzle store.
Here it is: www.zazzle.com/shaferartworks. Click here to check it out.
They also create this snazzy little flash panel for folks to use in advertising their stuff:
make custom gifts at Zazzle
My dad's artwork isn't ready yet, so it's just my photography. I spent several hours this weekend sorting through photos and finding what works best. Oddly, it's not the great scenic views that are working on notebooks and iPad cases and light switch covers; it's the closeups of flowers, of vintage fabric, and of off-beat things, like a WWII ration stamp booklet.
See what I mean?
And, I planned on putting in some other pictures, but blogger's being all weird and won't accept the URLs, even though the quince blossom one was just fine. *rolls eyes*
So, I've been in business for about 48 hours. I haven't sold anything yet, but I hope to. I'm wondering if my photography will sell better, the same as, or not as well as my books (which are still available on amazon!!) But if you're in the market for some gifts or home decor, do drop by Shafer ArtWorks and have a look. :)
I promise to make a HUGE announcement once Dad's artwork is available!
PS. Max, I used the photo I took of your stained glass inset on your door. I hope that's OK. It's my photo, but it IS your door. Let me know if it's not OK, and I'll take the stuff down.
It makes a pretty spiffy clock, though!
(Now why will blogger let me post this image but not the two others I wanted???!!! grrrr)