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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Cultivating artistic discipline by sketching daily

pen on paper
Ballpoint pen drawing on recycled paper (daily drawing goals).
I am an artist who procrastinates a lot. My first attempt at vlogging on YouTube was centred on the habit of procrastination and my struggle to overcome it. I have an overwhelming amount of “great ideas” which unfortunately, can never be fulfilled completely. At the time I published my first vlog, I thought I would make the next episode within one or at most two weeks, but that didn’t happen. 2 years later and I am yet to publish a follow up.



In my quest to reinvent myself as an artist, I am convinced that sketching every day is an important ritual that I must practice to achieve artistic discipline. For example, each time I take a long sabbatical, I notice that I have to paint or draw for a few hours before my hands remember how I hold and use the tools.



In the Bible the whole-number or ‘number of completion’ is 7. However, personally the number that symbolise completion is the number 10. Coincidently, I have reached the tenth year on the internet trying to publish and market my art. I got online just after the ‘great internet art bubble bust’ (in the year 2007, which was the peak of online art sales). That year, people were making tens of thousands of dollars just selling their original art online then all of a sudden it just drop (like it’s a hot object). Had it been I knew then, what I know now; I would probably be a millionaire by now.



I have been doing some sober reflection and at this stage, even without releasing a great amount of ‘finished’ work, I have amassed a verse quantity of knowledge on online marketing. It is really time to apply these knowledges.

STARTING ANEW

Back in 2007, when I was first experimenting with the internet, I was able make a religious paining called ‘Anew’. Now looking back at the work, I know that the young man who created that painting has drastically changed from the grown up man that I am today. My philosophy about art, religion and life are no longer the same. I feel showing some of my old artwork in the year 2019 would not be a true representation of who I am or what I want. Those works belongs in my personal archive. For this reason I have resolved to start afresh. I intend on making new set of artworks that would take almost 2 years to have a full set.

Displaying the old word would not only make my work lack coherence, but some of the old artworks are actually contradictory to the new once.

That means apart from about 10 works of old art, I would stock my personal website with works from 2018 and beyond (Gods willing). So to fill up the website (so it doesn’t only have 2 or 3 ‘finished’ works), I have embarked on a huge sketching frenzy while I work carefully to create the more detailed and ‘masterful’ gallery worthy works. Hence the daily sketch undertaking.


THE DISCIPLINE I ACQUIRED OUTSIDE OF THE ART INDUSTRY

I have a day-job (as a part time artist) where I spend an average of 10 hours on the job and my phones are always open for work related emergency calls. I refer to is as my shi**y job because of the very poor income but priceless experience and exposure. As someone who use to suffer from severe SAD (social anxiety disorder), interacting with the public on a one-on-one bases has given me the exposure and strength of character that I would have otherwise never had (especially if I isolated myself in an art studio).

Another advantage acquired outside of the art industry is the work ethic and the ability to work long hours on things I don’t like. When I was 12 years old, I could paint right after school 2pm until 5am the next day, only getting up briefly to eat or urinate but I was ‘fuelled’ by my love for art and passion. There was a time I got a 12 hours a day job and I quit after 2 days because it felt as if all I was doing was sleep and work. Now, I can easily pull an 18 hours surprise extra time (and still be on stand-by during the remaining hours of that day). At my place of work, I am the person to stand-in for anyone who quit their job or fall ill. I recently discovered that the fastest way to lose 10 pounds of body weight OVERNIGHT is to pull a surprise 18 hours shift, it is far effective than just fasting due to the stress.



It is my intension to incorporate these work ethic to my art career (which is my dream career), regardless of whether I have the free time or not. The only hindrance is the medication I often take to sedate me from having a panic attack during the day (part of the side effect is tiredness as it was originally meant to be a tranquiliser).


THE STRUGGLE WITH PROCRASTINATION

I am aware of my struggle with procrastination as an artist. EVERY SINGLE DAY, I tell myself I would make art today but as Steven Pressfield would say; ‘Resistance’ out smarts me. Resistance is the name the author called an innate self-sabotaging personality that most armature-artist has to overcome to become (as he themes it) “pros” (in his book ‘The War of Art’ which I recommend all career artist read).

The only difference is that this time, I have gained a lot of knowledge from following people like Jorden Peterson (who I respect and also hate at the same time), Mal Robbins and Brian Tracy (who I almost warship because I know what I have learnt from them, are the most influential and powerful truths that would eventually lead to my ‘freedom’ from procrastination). I am more aware of what am doing to myself subconsciously now, than ever before (and whenever I applied these knowledge, I always see the powerful results, as expected. It is the old fashion law of ‘cause and effect’).


WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO IMPROVE THEIR ARTISTIC SKILL AND ACHIEVE DISCIPLINE?

Even an armature artist (who does it purely for the love of making art), would profit greatly from artistic discipline because it would make them skilled enough to successfully execute any idea they have at record speed (the excitement of manifesting multiple ideas is priceless). The consistent practise would result in greater efficiency.


THE MASTER PLAN

Well, as I said before, I have over a thousand ideas that I have compiled over the year. I have about 700 voice recorded ideas and many others I wrote down on papers.

So the new goal is to pick one idea after the other. Once I execute one, I rest for a day and start working on the other (yes, part of the knowledge I have gained recently is the importance of rest/break for peak performance). Some of the ideas are long term (meaning it is not something I can do in a month or a week), more like a lifestyle or a continuous activity. Two example of this long term idea is to continuously have something on my Instagram Story (probably a live sketch) or to spend 30 minutes each day reading something about contemporary art or art history.

Then there are the once where I have concept for an artwork or caricature which can be achieve and ‘tick off’ within a day or a month (I have many of these). The unfortunate thing is that it takes me weeks to ‘finish’ a single artwork and an average of 150 hours of deep concentration, so indeed I would go to my grave without working on some of these concepts.



I would start by creating an episode 2 of my Vlog, almost 2 year after episode 1. From there, I would move on.


DOCUMENTATION AND PRIVACY ISSUES

It is my intension to document almost every aspect of my artistic progression. As a new student of Gary Vee, I know the importance of these if not for today, but for posterity. However, I am the private type of person. I am sure, if you have not seen me in real life, you probably don’t know my voice or ever seen me smile, well even my next door neighbours has never seen me smile.



I don’t feel comfortable when people look at me and now I intend on posting my activities online to be judged by anyone and everyone. I am sure I would not have been able to do this 10 years ago when I first came on the internet but thanks to my day job, I have a little tolerance for this now. I intend on ‘silencing my thoughts’ as if no one is there or no camera is watching. Unfortunately, during the live section, you might hear me whisper an idea to myself or ‘think aloud’ (embarrassingly).




TECHNICAL CHALLENGES OF DAILY DOCUMENTATION

I expect to face some major challenges while trying to fulfil this plan of mine to document my daily ‘studio life’.

First; I get knocked-out after work from the tranquiliser.

Secondly; There is the challenge of not having enough spare-time, which I would overcome.

Then there is the major challenge of electricity. My phone battery drains quickly so I occasionally must stop to charge it, The phone also overheat a lot (it is my camera). I am currently investing in education and it’s my dream to complete my degree (even though I no longer believe in a university degree, I feel I need to complete what I have started), so buying a new phone is out of the question for now. Couple that with an unstable supply of electricity this raining season. We are currently in the raining season and this year, it has been more of a wind than water. So after a windstorm, we often experience power outage for many hours (sometimes days). I believe my battery started developing fault because I was always charging it with a petrol generator and the current from the generators damages battery over time.

The fifth and last challenge is; internet and its cost. A ten minute video in HD is about 2GB. Only a Nigerian would understand what that means in terms of finance (not to mention the network quality and time to upload such a huge file). That means if I try to upload a 1 hour HD video daily, it would require a daily data usage of 12GB. That is why I have opted for the lesser resolution videos for now, until the time is right and I can afford the elaborate once.



Then there is the time constrain as I have to play the ‘jack of all trade’ until I am able to hire professionals who would save me the time in doing some non-artwork related work (although creative but has nothing to do with the creation of the physical artwork). Example is the editing of video (which I do poorly), and the writing up of great blog post and description, scheduling my time, research, social media engagement, photography, and etc.

All five of these challenges shall be conquered. As the good book said, the person that waits for the perfect weather condition before planting, would end up having a fallow farmland during harvest season. So it is vitally important that I fully utilise the limited resource at my disposal. I remember asking a subsistence farmer if he was able to conclude his farming before sunset, he laughed and said “that is not how farming works, the farmer does his best each day and return”.


THE CRAZY REASON WHY I WOULD FOREVER BE A PART-TIME ARTIST

It is my opinion that being a part-time artist is equivalent to freedom. I also think it is healthy.

The stereotypical image of an artist is someone who might be creative, but also weird. I don’t know why a lot of the famous once have been strange and many of the living once seems a little ‘out of touch with reality’. That is why sometimes when I see some artist explaining art creation at exhibitions, I wonder am I confused or is the artist confused? Some of them look crazy from a far so you can only imagine how much crazy they be when you have come to know them personally. Sometimes insanity is contagious and if you listen to a mad-person long enough, you too would be crazy.

Making art can sometime be a lonely occupation. One has to isolate themselves from others to tap into the ‘muse’ and get inspired or develop the ideas they might have gotten during the day, they also isolate themselves while making such artworks. Too much isolation often is a sign of an unhealthy mental state of mind. It is beautiful but if done too much would harm the practitioner. Even artist who were socially active and skilled (like Picasso) often still produce strange works of art (indicating that in the solitude of their studio, they started thinking ‘out of the box’).



I dream of one day re-opening a brick and mortal studio in Nigeria (exclusively for the creation and appreciation of art, not a gallery for displaying art but a studio for creating art). Although Tugis Art Studio is fully incorporated, I still haven’t paid for a studio. I use to have fantasy of making art all night long from my studio with the lights on and the large store door wide open for the pure natural fresh night air to blow me while I create alone or alongside a handful of artists who are fully involved with their work. This fate awaits other profession that requires focus and concentration (like the stereotypes for mathematicians and scientist). It is no surprise that Hitler was a skilled but unsuccessful artist; he woke up one day like a mad scientist and felt he would take over the world by manipulating the Aryan race. If only he had a part-time job to compensate his dream job of being a painter, he would have made controversial artworks instead of getting involved with unionism and subsequently politics (okay, that is a tasteless joke).



Being a part-time artist would make the artist a little less crazy (not completely though).

The disadvantage of being a part-time artist is that; if I try to concentrate too much on my art, I might lose my day job (which is the major source of my income and the source of my artistic freedom). You see, when you don’t depend on your art to pay for the bills, you can make a thought provoking work that might upset your collectors or intended buyers (for example; if I own a big national gallery, I can’t criticise the sitting government while begging for grant and support from that same government, I might praise it even though they don’t deserve it which adds to the delusion of the leader who is detached from the reality of his incompetence and how it affects his subjects).


BACK TO SCHOOL AND ITS CONNECTION TO MY GOAL OF HAVING AN ONLINE NIGERIAN ART GALLERY/STORE

A few years ago, I wrote about leaving school after two brutal years of schooling. Today, I have finally gone back to school but this time I want to get a degree in Business. The first exams I wrote; I studied and sat for it with the attitude of a student that just wanted to pass an exam with a great GP. After that examination, I noticed that the entrepreneurial strategy that was been taught academically was ‘creating some sparks in my brain’. I felt I would actually apply some of this ‘academic knowledge’ in the pursuit of my art career. I currently aspire to be am “Artist-Entrepreneur”. If I succeed, I would open a galley just like that of Chief Nikki but mine would be online instead of a brick and mortal gallery. It might be called ‘The Nigerian Yessy Gallery’. Back in the days, Yessy doesn’t accept Nigerians (due to the influx of scammer who were ruining the shopping experience of its users) so I intend on creating an online art hub for Nigerian artist who have been personally vented by me to be genuine (so the struggling local artist can have a shot at eCommerce).

Back in the days, Yessy.com use to dominate the online gallery sector. They bought google ads at a low price and gained greatly from it. However, they must have had issues with internet scammers and decided to ban all Nigerian IP Address from selling art on their website. Sometimes I feel like they take delight in telling the aspiring and upcoming Nigerian artist to elf off (many of whom at that time, didn’t know that there were hundreds of art galleries that accepted Nigerians but didn’t tap into the cheap Google advertisement placement on keywords in those days, so they didn’t get much traffic and sales because no one knew they existed, both buyers and seller).

Now I read with interest. It really supplemented the knowledge I was gaining online (already) and guided me to search for terms I wouldn’t have otherwise thought of researching (if I wasn’t exposed to the academic aspect of Business Management).






CONCLUSION

Ten years on the internet and it is just now I am doing what I ought to have done from day one. Although I am a little ill-equipped, I intend on optimising the current infrastructures I have at my disposal. With this limited time that I have, I have also realised that the only way I would execute this intention is if I re-ignite the passion for art that I had when I was at the early stages of discovering how to make art and practice daily by making a drawing a day, every day.

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Sunday, June 2, 2019

ArtMajeur.com ~ Finally got an eCommerce after a decade

It sound unbelievable but it’s been 10 years since I last had a functional eCommerce online (where prospective buyers can just purchase my art without contacting me first). Back in 2008, after less than a year online, I found an online art gallery where I was a paid member and showed my art there for about 2 years before it closed. Since it closed around 2009 I haven’t look at that direction until today when I tested the eCommerce features at another secured online art gallery (artmajeur.com).


I am very excited about this and hope that this time, I’m able to put in 10 years of experience to be one of their bestselling artists (hopefully).


I am currently offering for sale, my ballpoint sketches at an unbelievable giveaway price (for now, to boost sales and gain trust on the platform as a serious seller).


I only paid for a month to see if it is worth it. It is my intention to try and post small work at affordable prices and test the reaction of their assumed audience. I am also driving the little traffic to the site. It is purely a marketing thing and not the romantic artist goals. As for passion, nothing can stop me (except myself) from making an art I believe in.


They claimed that I can upload unlimited number of artwork, so it is time to test this unlimited offer by posting one of my ballpoint pen sketches every single day. Anyway, I just hope I am able to utilise their platform properly (my fingers are crossed).




artmajeur.com Platinum Account
Email I got from the gallery that my payment was received.

  Back in 2008, I didn't have a card that could pay online. I would mail the cash to the gallery via mail. Those where the good old day.

Thanks for reading through.

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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

How to copy your Google plus Story after April 2, 2019

To access your full profile information after the April 2 deadline, go to aboutme.google.com 

Your information are still intact the exact way they were once displayed on Google+ so you could copy and paste vital information that might have taken you a long time to compose.
 

 
Google+ profile after deadline
Accessing my Google Plus profile after the April 2nd Deadline



You can also download contact, picture, contacts and many more. Just go the Google page for dowloading your Google+ data.





How to copy your biography from Google Plus (Step by step)

~ Go to http://aboutme.google.com your Goople+ profile would be displayed

~ Click on the pencil icon (edit) Then click inside the box, highlight it (or just right-click ‘select all’) then copy and paste on a Word Document or on your new Blogger profile.




Copy Google Plue profile after deadline
Copy and paste old Google Plus profile information after the April 2nd 2019 Deadline

Use this information to your digression. This information would eventually be deleted from Google Server (or so they said), so make use of the link while it works.


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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Can't post on Nairaland ~ Banned?

I tried to help someone with an answer to a question (I don’t know why I didn’t mind my business) and I got banned by the antispam bot from posting anything on Nairaland. Right now, I can NOT reply to any thread on Nairaland neither can I start a topic for the next hour. However they have kicked me out of the Art, Graphics & Video section of the forum for the next 3 days. I hail my Nigerian countrymen for stumping on me.



After I did a search to find out what was going on, I learnt that I could view the reasons for the ban by going to my profile page. That was when I saw the below message. This is a post who had (at that time) less than 14 views. Obviously their algorithm is faulty or someone is pulling my legs. So based on the message; I am not allowed to post on that page for the next few days. At least until Sunday Night. 



I created 11 topics in 8 years and was still banned for spamming



I am going to check back later in an hour time to see if I am allowed to post on other categories and maybe I would publish my cartoons on the political section of the website. I know this isn’t a good sign for the algorithm to view me as a spam, that implies that my post would be promoted less (when all I try to do is ethically promote my YouTube channel while adding value to the Art section that isn’t very active).



Each video I published took me at least an hours to shoot and edit but I am not allowed to share it on a section that is in great need of fresh contents? I am not even targeting the unresponsive people in the Art, Graphics & Video category, I am targeting traffic from people coming from Google search-results, because the Search Engine favours the website when ranking search results (so I am bringing in new traffic to the website and only getting a tiny fraction to my website).



Anyway, no need to focus on the negatives because I would be allowed to post again, eventually.



The funny thing is; at the start of this year, I intended on posting daily on Nairaland and even blog about it, but I have been too busy at work and was unable to do so. I think in the past 24 days, I published 3 topics, which is less than a topic a week (so the ban was uncalled for). It makes me wonder what would have happened had I post every day as planned.

Once the ban is lifted, I would troll the moderators to let them know it’s not cool.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Strictly Taking Gary Vee’s Advice in 2019 ~ 30 Content Daily


This year (just like every other new year), I intend on getting serious about my neglected online presence. Being a chronic procrastinator, I hope I don’t let things slide like all the previous years. Of course I am not a rich person (in fact I am currently poor), so I am utilising the available resources I have on getting access to the internet (in a 3rd word country, we don’t have free WiFi everywhere like in most advanced or developing countries, we have to purchase it in Megabits and Gigabits). I am an avid follower of Gary Vaynerchuk and he believes in paid advertisement (on social media platform) which I am carefully studying and saving up for. He also believes in creating content that is tailored for each social media platform and spreading your message.

THE GOALS

I am trying to implement the Gary Vee philosophy that we should produce 30 pieces of content daily on different social media site... I don't know if this is sustainable but intend on undertaking this method of publicity in 2019. The goal is to create awareness about my artwork on about 30 different social media sites this year (as part of my online art marketing strategy).  



BREAKDOWN OF GOALS

So for it to be successful, I break it down into smaller pieces. Here you watch me (live) think of all the site that I could possibly post these content, I try to come up with 30 sites so I can recycle one content a day but on 30 different platform (after editing it to fit the demographics of people registered on those platform or at least the audience I intend on influencing on those specific platform). This is just brainstorming I might not actually post daily on about 3 or 4 of those site, while on other, I might post 2 times in a single day, every day. Later I would come back to these list and select each sites as I publish throughout the day (all day long).

RESOLUTION

This is just the planning stage and from the date on the note software, you can see that it was made in the afternoon of new year’s eve. So this 30 post a day is part of my New Year’s Resolution, let’s see how far I commit to this particular undertaking.

Being a procrastinator, I feel this year is going to be different because I am publishing a blog on January 1st which is something I have never done before. Back in the days, my first blog for the year is usually published around April to September because I felt I have to present a ‘finished work’ before I can post a blog (which Gary Vee debunked by suggesting we should document instead of worry about fresh content creation).



CONCLUSION


It’s not going to be easy (especially as I am a part time artist with a day-job that demands more of my time), however, I would strive to fulfil this mission as it would be continuous (a lifestyle). I hope I develop the habit and find some form of joy or gratification from publishing there content online, because without passion, hardwork becomes an impossible torture. I don’t intend on burning out or being unhappy as Gary Vee always talks about prioritising happiness and being a good contributor to society. Well, you can’t give what you don’t have and if you are feeling miserable, you would have the aura of misery. I would love to radiate fulfilment like “This is what I was born to do”.

Please subscribe to my YouTube Art Channel if you are instrested in wating videos about actual studio creation and not just note taking on a mobile phone.




Thanks you for reading through, I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.

I remain Ife'ka Terry. 
 

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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Is it possible to make art daily?

Is it sustainable to make art daily?

For years I have been attempting to form the habit of making one sketch everyday. This year, I tried and failed. However it wasn’t completely a failure as in retrospect, I just realised that I was able to ‘pen’ a few good sketches. For example, the drawing below was made inside an old textbook with a ballpoint pen.
Ballpoint pen sketch of a face made on the page of a textbook





Once again, I would attempt this challenge come 2019 (tomorrow) I just hope it is procrastination speaking since I have already drop that dreaded word; “tomorrow”.
Below is a video of the biro-sketch being made from beginning to end in a speed.



Wishing you a happy new year.


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