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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Instagram Growth Hack For Artist

Any social media website I concentrate on, usually grows in it followings and Instagram was not an exception. I joined Instagram in 2014 (when I got my first smart phone) and since then, my page only has about 40 posts (which is evidence of negligence). Until now, I didn’t realise that Instagram is a very important social media platform that could be used to reach many people. I know of artist that concentrate all their energy on their Facebook page and has not yet joint Instagram.

Recently, I implemented a campaign to get more followers on Instagram by connecting with those in the art industry. The plan was to amass a large number of followings and hope that some would follow back and, hopefully with time, we would connect in some casual form or the other. My intension is also to sell an artwork before the end of the year. Well, it wasn’t long (precisely one week, I was able to gain over 1500 new followers)… So I implemented what I would consider as ‘ethical spamming’. Spamming to me is form of deception and manipulation but also a marketing tactics. There is thin line between marketing and ‘virtual terrorism’. To most of us, even the legitimate advisement can be a nuisance and unethical. During my campaign, I noticed those who would follow a profile, then unfollow that person as soon as they follow back. I often wonder that they are trying to achieve (because the aim of social media is to interact with each other and not just to accumulate a large number of following).

I regard the method of spamming I am using as ethical because my sincere goal is to connect with majority of those who follow back. There was one guy in particular that followed and unfollow me 5 times. I stopped following him back after the 4th time. 

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Saturday, October 28, 2017

VIDEO: My Artistic Struggle With Procrastination

This is the first Vlog I have ever made. Since I intend on documenting my studio experiences, I had to come in front of a camera and directly address the viewer of a video for the first time ever. It is not in my nature, however, I intend on learning how to do so and change. The video below is my first Vlog post. Click in the (cc) tag to display subtitle (in case you can’t understand what I was saying).

My intention was to make a series of videos where I document my effort to overcome procrastination. The second major challenges I often face in regards to my artistic career is the habit of procrastination. I honestly think one the major reason why I put-off things is because, I have really given up on my artistic dreams.

The last serious art project I engaged in was almost one year ago (way back in December 2016). It is not necessary that I have the so called artist-block (where there is no idea); no. I have multitudes of ideas like any chronic procrastinator; I have hundreds of ideas and rough sketches, butwhen I tried to implement them; I discovered that I am not motivated to do so. Some of those ideas are now obsolete because they were not executed immediately… had it been I implemented them at the time I got them, they could have been great work, but now the time has passed especially the caricatures.
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Friday, October 27, 2017

10 reasons HPI-Eureka is my new favourite pen (for making art)

My new favourite pen
  For years, I have always used and prefer the so called Lucky Pen for making sketches, especially quick sketches. However, recently, that type of pen is getting scarce. Most people who use it (for writing) dislike the fact that, if you apply pressure when writing, the tip tends to break, so they bought it less and it reduced in price and circulation (at least where I stay, it seems so).
Yet, over the past three years or so, I have also discovered a new brand that has become my favourite. It is the HPI Eureka pen (made in Nigeria by Hassan PLastics Industries LTD). I so love the way it both write and draw that; twice, I have bought a whole set of it.

Here are ten reasons I personally would be drawing with a Eureka ballpoint pen. In fact, I haven’t discovered a disadvantage to this brand yet.

1) It Feels Like Mechanical Pencil
The circumference is about the same size as a mechanical pencil. For those of us who are used to drawing with that type of pencil, it would be an easy transition switching to Eureka pen.
The tip of Mechanical Pencil
One of the major reasons why I LOVE it is because it has a shape and thin tip. The shape tip makes it easy to make a more accurate/specific drawing (identical to technical engineering drawing). The shape tip makes it easy for the artist to make precise dots, marks and lines.
Mechanical Pencil
Most ballpoint pen has a wider tip than Eureka thereby giving the sketch a blurry crayon type of effect. For the artist to make thinner lines, he would have to graze the surface of the paper softly (barely touching the paper). Even the infamous BIC has a wider tip compare to Eureka. I absolutely love it!

2) Some Might Prefer It Simple Design (Similar to a Wooden Pencil)
Traditional Wooden Pencil
Yes, I know it sounds like contradiction but it’s not. Holding the pen in your hand sometimes feels like you are holding a wooden pencil but trying to sketch with it would give you a mechanical pencil effect/feeling. The body of Eureka pen is smooth with no definite grip, just like a wooden pencil. It's design is such that it can roll around your hand easily. Sometimes when I am wiping the tip with tissue (to remove excess ink), the motion I make is like I am simulating the shaping of a pencil. Those who habitually roll their pencils in their finger when they are drawing or preparing to draw would find using this pen a more pleasant transition in comparison to other ballpoint pen in the market.
Of course not all pencils are smooth, most professional pencil set have a pentagonal shape so it would not roll off from the drawing table. The HPI-Eureka pen has a lid that prevent the pen from rolling over on a flat table  (if the lid is placed at the end or tip of the pen).

3) Durable Ink
Before I discovered this pen, my favourite pen (for making sketches) was Lucky. However, the ink in Lucky sometimes seems to just vaporise. I remember writing a few receipt and noticing that the ink level had dropped drastically. The ink in Eureka doesn’t drain down as fast as Lucky. You could easily use a single pen to make a 16 x 20 inches work and still have ink left in the tube. Indeed, the ink last longer. The ink doesn’t finish as quickly as the other once.

4) Strong Body That Doesn't Break
Well, I have NEVER seen a broken Eureka pen. I think tomorrow, I am going to try and break one to see what is inside.
The pen is sealed in a thick and flexible plastic. I think you can drive a car across it and it won’t break. In contrast, the more known ballpoint pen brands would probably break if dropped or sited upon. I know that Lucky often cracks at the tip if the person who use it to write apply’s too much pressure (it has happen many times).
It is almost impossible to find yourself in a situation where you are struggling to write/draw with a very flexible ink tube because the shell accidentally got broken.

5) Very Cheap
Let me just say you can’t get it cheaper than this. Even if it is just an insignificant ten naira difference, it is the cheapest pen out there which is good news to the ‘starving artist’. I can buy as much I want without breaking the bank. After pencil, this particular pen is the cheapest tool for making drawing/marks. It is about a N30 (Thirty naira), that is like dividing a dollar into ten equal unites and one of that unit would still be greater than N30. It is really one of those mass-produced ‘deification’.

6) Light weight (portability)
This is a general advantage of using pen to draw. It is light weight and portable. It was specifically designed to be carried around as an instrument of writing. There is always space in my pocket or bag for my pen. Especially if you are wearing jeans, it is easy to forget you have a pen on you. It has what traditional wooden lead pencil doesn’t have, that is a hock to hang in pockets like most mechanical pencils, so it is easy to carry along anywhere you are going.

7) It Never Overflows or Stains Cloths
There are some ballpoint pens that if you put them in your pocket upside-down, after a while, they would overflow and stain your cloth. This particular pen is sealed tight and I have NEVER see one who’s ink flouted out. Of course when sketching, the tip emits more ink than usual but never to the point of making a significant mess (wiping the tip with a tissue paper would prevent slight stains on the hand). Once again, I have never seen a Eureka pen who ink leaked out of the tube creating a mess, never, ever.

8) It Is In Circulation, Easy To Get And Not Scarce
They can be found just about anywhere (at least where I live in Nigeria). The average bookshop has them and even some roadside stores. Its not going to be difficult finding one to buy.

9) They Come In 2 Types; The One With A Light Blue Ink And Those With A Dark Purple Ink
I use to assume one might be fake. Before I bought the pack, I noticed that sometimes, I buy or pick one that has light blue ink and some other times I come across once with a darker blue ink. After I got the pack/set, I noticed that the one with a bold blue line painted on the side of the pen had light ink, while the one with a thin blue line painted on the side of the pen had a darker ink.
HPI Eureka Superflo Gel Ballpoint Pens

10) Non Detachable
The fact that it is non detachable reduce the chances of it being damaged which is in agreement with number 4 on this list.
HPI Eureka pen

I would like to stress that this post is just a personal preference. I have used many brands of ballpoint pen in the past, it’s just this is my personal favourites (at this moment). I would recommend you should experiment with as many pens that you can get your hands on, and discover your own preference. 

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

The $7 worthwhile 'investment' I made in art vlogging

This is not just an ordinary accessory but a ‘dream come true’.

I live in a big town (big in the African perspective), but occasionally, there are somethings I cannot find in the shops. I remember going to many big mobile phone accessories shops and asking for a phone-stand but all of the retailers looked at me like am crazy (because they couldn’t understand what I was asking for and didn’t have it after I showed them internet images of the item)… It reminds me of a time in 2008 when I actually bought the last canvas in town as all the art supply store didn’t have any and all the artist studio had use up all of theirs. I was going from studio to studio begging artist to sell a yard of canvas and they all confessed to not have (that was 2008).

So today, I finally got this selfie phone-stand which would make it easy for me to Vlog and even shoot live creative studio sessions. For those of us that don’t know, video is the next revolution in social media and online publicity. I recently noticed that a 10 minutes live video often get more out reach than a single post on FaceBook (because the website in their attempt to encourage interaction, sends notifications that a live video-event is on).

In due time, after I have saved up, I would get studio (photographic) lights, a more professional stand, microphone and even a camera. But for now, I would make use of what I have (which is more than enough to transmit my messages).

I immediately put it to work and have made my first ever Vlog post. As Brian Tracy would say, small adjustments can make a huge difference (the winning EDGE could literally just be an inch, meaning the difference between the 1st and 2nd in a race could just be am inch defence). Here, a $7
accessory (I bought online) was the difference.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

How I bought art materials back when I was living in poverty ~ Dusty Northern Bookshops

The greatest period of my artistic journey was when I was at the early stages of learning. I was passionate about making art and as soon as I finished one, I would hang it on the wall and start creating another (because the art I just finished ignited 4 other ideas I could try).

However, back then I didn’t have a job. I was an unemployed teenager and used my pocket-money to finance my passion (diverting money meant for snacks into art supplies). The money was little and my parent was against me making art (by that time) and blamed all my life problems on my pursuit for art (other people were faltering me by calling my works odd, divine and genius, while my dad looked at it and called it demonic). Despite all the challenges, it was the most productive period of my life.

I use to avoid big bookshops. You would think because of their size and popularity, that the prices would be subsidised; that was not the case for me. I would rather search town for that one bookshop where some of the book have dust on them. Once I noticed that majority the shop items have been on the shelf for years without selling, I know I would get the best deal.

Items from those types of shop are cheap not because the owner is desperate, but because, the owner would still be sell them at the rate he bought them 3 to 10 years ago. The prices don’t always reflect the current market price which is high due to steady inflation. Just between 2014 and 2016, the exchange rate of the dollar against the naira has increased almost 100% due to the ‘change’ President Buhari has gifted us with. A times the owner would feel sorry for me like, “poor kid, he just want to make art, look at how straight all the money are, they must be his life saving. If only he knew that most artists live in poverty”. Of course they never said that but there attitude sometimes suggest that is what they are thinking.

That was how I was able to afford art materials in those days. Apart from my ballpoint pen and cardboard papers, I still scavenge for the best deal when searching for art material by patronising the dusty bookshops of Bauchi.

Anyway, I also improvised and made my own brushes and sometimes colours.

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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Nothing to write home about ~ Procrastinating blogging about my art

Today I managed to post something after many months of unplanned sabbatical.

I cannot believe how time has passed. In fact, it is 2 weeks shy of being exactly a year since I last published something on this blog. Part of the reasons was that, I haven’t been motivated to make art. Since there wasn’t any studio creation, there is nothing to write home about (literally speaking).

Had it not been for the social media Art Challenge made by the Artist Roxanne Vise, I wouldn’t have published “The two mediums Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo couldn't master” back in May on Medium. My mind soon reset back to not writing as I was ‘exhausted’ after one post.

I am too experienced to give excuses but let me just say, I was distracted by the rat-race… on second thought, I would like to blame the devil for not making me blog, the devil is totally responsible for my silence and not me. ๐Ÿ˜• ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

Thanks for reading through.

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