Saturday, January 31, 2009
Check out this cool project etsy is involved in:
They are collecting Valentine's cards from different Etsy users and sending them out with meals from citymeals-on-wheels for people in need across the city. They are trying to collect 18,000 cards! how amazing is that!
So, if this meant having a chance to do something good and motivate myself to make some art, I'm always happy to be involved. I made a series of 20 cards on old book page with 2 funny looking birds on them. I send 10 out to Adam who's in charge of the project, and kept 10 to send to my etsy shop buyers when they buy from my store. I hope that I'll get rid of all of them before Valentine's get here.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Ned and I haven't shot in about a month and a half, Ned was sick, we were tired, then sad with his dad's cancer news and other things, it's winter, it's cold, we were busy with other things.
We've seen Severine's Model mayhem page a while ago, and both liked her style and photo personality, Ned wrote her an e-mail and said we'd love to shoot with her if she ever comes to NY. Then, a couple of weeks ago, she wrote back to say she's going to be in New York for a week and would love to shoot with us.
Ned and I were pretty nervous about this, we both felt unpracticed in taking pictures and also, unprepered, we decided ot not have hair, make up or wardrobe for this one and to just shoot intuativly, without any type of concept or idea.
So the day started sort of slow, as Ned was adjusting the lights and figuring out while shooting what are better angles, I was very tired and feeling sort of sick and upset all day, which meant I couldn't really take any charge as far as outfits goes, Ned had to deal with everyting on his own and I felt like a usless lump.
Severine on her side, was really nice but also very closed, she felt very guarded and dignified, I liked her strangth but it felt somewhat hard to communicate, She was pretty shocked when Ned asked her to shoot without any make up on, and then also made her wet her hair and let it frizz as it naturally wants to and not just be straight like she's used to wear it all the time, I had to go out and get a blowdryer so she can strighten it before the shoot.
We talked about how we all see ourselves in different ways and always want to look like different people then ourselves. Both me and Ned agreed that her hair looks beautiful when it's curly, it actually looks like a lion's mane, but she wasn't intierly convinced.
When she was drying her hair in the bathroom, I fall asleep, I only slept for about 10 minutes, but when she came out I felt a lot more refreshed and much more awake. I looked into my camera and were shocked to discover I took 174 pictures! I felt like I was doing nothing all day...
Andthen when I downloaded them I was even more amazed at how the pictures came out. I really love what I shot. I think it's my favorite photos that I took of a girl that isn't me.
We are shooting again tomorrow and I'm going ot try and use Ned's lens and not my own, I'm ciourious to see how those would come out.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I knew from before Christmas that this year I want to make something special for Valentine's however, I also knew that: 1) I didn't want it to be pink 2) I didn't want it to be heart shape or decorated with heart and 3) I didn't want it to be a card - cause all those things, or a combination of them seem to me like they belong on a Barbie box rather then a serious and meaningful love gesture.
I thought about gifts that i got in the past and which ones was the most meaningful to me and made me feel real special, and most of them were handmade and included more of the time and thought of the giver then their money or shopping abilities.
So I made some small art kits that are made for you to make a beautiful small love book for a person you care about. Each kit contain a small notebooks (somewhere between 4"X6" - 2"X3"), a pencil and 5 color crayons, all warped in a beautiful white fabric bag with 2 silhouette in red (see - no pink!)
All you need to do is draw, write, doddle, quote, compose poems or songs, and make someone that your loved one would cherish. You don't have to be a great artist, just make something from your heart!
I've made 16 of those, 10 to sell, and 6 as a wonderful Valentine's give away. If you want to get one of those, all you need to do is buy something from my store and type in "bookoflove" into the "massage to seller" box - and you'll get one of those beautiful art kit!
There are only 6 of those, so you have to hurry!
I really hate leaving stuff in the middle, especially when I was working on this for the better part of the day and are about an hour away from completion. But Ned and I agreed to go to sleep at 3:00 AM tonight and it's already 3:10, so I'd better put it down and finish it tomorrow.
So this is a little preview for my new Valentine's item, I wanted to do something for the holiday for the past couple of weeks and tried to avoid either hearts or cards, which left me with pretty much nothing. I think I like my solution for it! I can't wait to finish it tomorrow.
The one clue I'm giving is this - I'm going to make 16 of those, 10 are for sale and 6 will be giveaways. So stay tuned cause I'm going to post those up tomorrow!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Maron Resur on LoucheLink, originally uploaded by Aya Rosen (the artist formerly known as Lilly1975).
This site is becoming such an awesome way to get to know artists who's work I wasn't aware of before.
This painter is just spectacular, check out her work and read the interview at:
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Look I'm on the front page again! how cool is that!
This is one of those blog entries who would really interest only people who are on Etsy, but hell - I'm going to write it anyway cause I'm excited and also need to put things in order inside my brain.
Yesterday, after not doing it for a very long time, I went into the Etsy forum, It's a stressful place to hang out that usually makes me both loose a couple of hours before I even notice, and get me very angry about ususally very small things (like a person that makes another acount just ot put themselves in treasuries or expectations to lower shipping rates and so on) but it's still one of the best place to learn about what's new in Etsy and catch somw usful information and non usful gossip.
So the big piece of news I found was that now, I could finally link google analytics to my Etsy store. I've been using google analitics with all my other websites (yes, there are a lot of those...) and most of the time it's just a nice ego pat in the back to see how many people are seeing my sites, also, when views drop I know it's time to update the sites, it's also a good way to see if I was featured anywhere and other such interesting things.
I really wanted to have analytics on the Etsy store, mostly for that ego pet in the back - when nothing sales for a week and I get really worried, it would cheer me up to know that things are still working and people are still looking in my shop.
I honesly didn't expect and suprises.
Boy - what I wrong!
This is the interesting things I've learn from less then 24 hours of data (I installed it at about 4:00 AM last night, and the numbers I have so far are true to about 4:00 PM)
Big surprise number 1
I had 80 views so far, I didn't update my store today neither renew or list anything new, and still the store generated a really nice amount of views, much more then I expected. I always assumed that on non listing days I have about 0-20 views (seeing the view count change on the first few listed items). This is really good to know and makes me a little less stressed out about renewing or listing all the time. Right now I either list or renew an avrage of 5 items a day, knowing that on a no list day I still get visits, makes me want to rethink the whole "renewing" thing alltogether, or at least do it less. This will definitly save me some money.
Big surprise number 2
30 of the 80 views were direct. That means that people who visited my store knew where they were going cause their either RSS it or bookmark it or go and check it on their own accord. I think this is super cool, I really didn't expect this amount of direct traffic at all. I've been thinking and puting a lot of efort in preserving repete costumers and making sure people who buy from my store would feel comfortable to do so again, and it's really nice to see this is working (I know that at least one of those 30 people is my sister who will not buy from my store cause she can have anything she wants for free, but still...)
Big surprise number 3
I always assumed that my main and probably only useful marketing tool was flickr, I actually often encourage etsy people to use it to promote their stores and was sure this was the tool that divery most trafic to my Etsy store. My reasoning was this - I get a lot of views on flickr, so a certain % of those people go and check my store. Frickr indeed diverted some traffic to my store, but actually a lot less then I thought - only 4 hits came out of flickr. I have about 500 hits on flickr on avrage so 4 hits on the store out of 500 is a pretty crappy turn up, much less then I expected.
My blog however, generated 2 hits to theEtsy store, while only having about 10 hits for itself.
Why is this important?! because it means that even though less people read the blog then the people who see my flickr account, they are more likely to see my store (probably cause the blog have etsy mini with images on it, while in flickr, you have to move from the photo page, to my profile, to a link to the store) so even though it feels redundent to update a blog that only have about 20-30 readers a day in avrage - it's not! and I could and should aspire to emprove the blog to have more readers.
Big surprise number 4
And this one is a really big shock! my larger sorce of entries, as said, were direct hits, but second, with 18 hits was.... (drum roll...) google! can you believe it?! 18 people got into my store by searching things. This means that:
1) I'm really good at tagging and choosing words to use in my descriptions.
2) There is always room for emprovment and I should look more into what makes strong keywords (well, aside of XXX and sex).
What were people looking for that lead them ot my etsy store?!
the most common words were Etsy and Etsy.com after that were Blue bondage, perfect tea set, owl shaped mug, Illustration + humble, circa ceramics, paper menagerie, interesting historical events and a few other words.
At a first glance this seem really random, but then I figure out that at least one of the words in each of those searches was in the title of the listing (aside of etsy and etsy.com of course) - why is this important?! Because it means that titles as far as google search robots are concern, probably worth more then taggs. So, I am going to try and keep my titles as descriptive as possible.
Since if some wants a painting of an owl they will not searcg for "painting" or "art" but for "owl painting", I should include that topic rather then just the item in the title. Sometime I do list something as "a tea cup" but I should list it as "a handpainted tea cup with owls" or something like that. The more information, and the more exciting and relevant the title is, the better.
I've seen people on etsy go for interesting titles before, like "sunshine and stars necklace" to describe a necklace that has gold and silver in the pendent - I always thought it was sweet and goot marketing, but now I realize that they need ot have a more descriptive less fancyful title if they want to potimise their lisitngs for search angines. The thing is that a buyer who's looking for a necklace that's made of gold and silver will google "gold and silver necklace".
There are more things to analize I'm sure, but I think that even just those 4 facts are going to really change how I market my store and how I percive selling and making sales.
Thanks so much etsy for solving the analytics problem and making it possible for me ot use this tool.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
In the past couple of weeks I've been waking up with a mild anxiety every morning, I think I just feel a little aimless since the show in Chicago was done and not quite sure how to get back into a work routine since Christmas vacation.
So this morning, it was topped by an e-mail from a buyer who said he understand from my listing that he's going to get 4 cups while actually getting one. It's sort of sucky since the price was 25$ - which mean s that to him my work is basically 6$ per cup.
I know I shouldn't measure myself as one person who had a misunderstanding see me, I get a lot of nice responds all the time and why should I listen to the one person who doesn't like it or doesn't like it enough to pay 25$ for one cup. I sold a bunch of those and nobody had any problems so far.
Somehow that's bee grating at my nerves all day. Being misunderstood is a big fear of mine.
Even buying 2 books didn't help alleviate the crappy feeling, which is sort of disappointing, since I very rarely do the retail therapy thing...
Monday, January 12, 2009
I've finished this drawing last Monday, less then a week ago, I intended to make a couple of others and list them on Etsy, somehow, it didn't happened, I forgot all about it and the drawing stayed inside an Animal reference book I used to draw the birds.
The past week felt so long and so much stuff happened, that now I feel like this was drawn by a different person then who I am now. Like the drawing by now, is irrelevant and yet - like a massage from myself in the past to myself now.
Chiara Balza on Louchelink, originally uploaded by Aya Rosen (the artist formerly known as Lilly1975).
This is the first Louchelink Artist that we've featured that I didn't know his \her before hand, I truly love her subtle style and also, her very refreshing interview answers.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
I actually had a totally different idea to the word "Contained" which was also supposed to be a cool product for my Etsy store for valentines, however, it became more and more complex as I was trying to figure it out and eventually, I dumped it ot a simpler and probably cooler idea anyway.
The word "Contained" made me think of a closed environment, like a terrarium or a fish tank, somewhere that's it's own little self sufficient safe world, that's comforting and beautiful. I guess with everything that's been going on, having a calm peaceful place to hid in seem like a great idea right now.
So I made some Instant Koi Fish Ponds for people who wants that calmness of a small enclosed enviroment, but don't have the room or temperament for growing live fish.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
A couple of days ago, Ned answered the phone, it was his father, telling him that he just got back from another scan and that the cancer is back. Since the doctor basically tried everything else by now, the next stage in treatment is stem cell transplant, which seem to be this holy grail of cancer treatment.
Unlike the past couple of times, I wasn't shocked by the news, I guess by now I already know that cancer is more of a chronic condition then a dramatic one treatment and it's gone sort of a thing.
Ned and I were sitting in blackbird parlor even though we were already late for a meeting in the city, to eat something and relax from the shock. My brain was felt like it's got this big rock in the middle of it that it's trying to ignore, my mind kept slipping to other aspect of the situation, like who's going to take care of the dog while Ned's dad is in the hospital and how this is actually a good thing and all sort of other angles of this.
I'm still doing it, my mind doesn't want to think of certain words now. Sad words like "death", "cancer", "mortality rate", "quality of life" and so on. I keep referring to the cancer as "that" or "it". I want to cry but can't bring myself to, because that would be admitting that this thing (see?!) is going to happened. My head hurts from thinking in circle around this big rock.
It just seem so unfair that a person who had the kindness to welcome me into his family in such a wonderful way wouldn't win all the karma points that will allow him to live in perfect health forever and ever.
As usual he's being super positive and amazing about confronting this scary situation, as usual it's hard on all of us to not be able to hear any emotional reaction from him about having cancer or having to go through scary treatments.
I wish that he'll get a call from the doctor tomorrow telling him it was someone else's test result and he's just fine, I know it won't happened.
Me and Ned just wonder around the apartment, between the bed and the couch and the computer. I'm trying to get some work done, I start things but don't finish them, I'm tired and restless. I feel so helpless.
This is the third year I've participated in Postcards From The Edge - a huge art 2 days event, with about 2,000 postcard size art pieces by different artists and creators. A great opportunity to donate art, which usually inspire me to make art, and to have a piece in a Chelsea gallery, which is always nice.
In the past couple of years, going to the opening night felt very awkward and horrible. I felt at the same time both not belonging and humiliated. It's hard to be a part of the crowed and realize, I'm just one among a sea of artists trying to make it, while at the same time realizing how much I'm not taking part in the art scene and wonder whether I even stand a chance of making it as an artist without that sort of connections.
It didn't help that in neither the 2 past shows, my piece was not sold and I got it back (while Ned's actually did sell, so I couldn't even write it off as people having bad taste in art).
This time it felt very different. I guess that selling a lot of art this year on Etsy, made the whole issue of whether this sell or not very small and almost not as important. I didn't feel like I was a part of the scene, but I didn't feel like I'm about to get yelled at and be forced to leave the gallery either.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Or rather just things I want to do and never get around.
I hate making those lists.
I wanted to do a whole Etsy year review and goals for next year and also my own personal things that I want for the year and all that.
But as this year is beginning, I'm not feeling up to it at all. I'm tried and can't sleep well and my brain feels like mush.
I haven't made any art in the past couple of weeks, or very little compare to what I'm used to and this might be the reason.
Talking to a friend today, and talking about New Years resolutions, I thought of how redundant the whole thing is, making rules to your life that if I could, I would have already kept last year. Planning a head into being a person I'm not now. I might as well just wish to win the lottery and be 6 feet tall.
However, there are a lot of things I want to happened in the upcoming year and a part of me does believe in the magic power of intention and making declarations and all that.
Disclaimer! I don't really intend to be and do everything on this list, but even if I only do some of it, it'll be pretty cool. I'm mostly doing this right now cause I feel so uncomfortable in my skin and I wonder who is the person I wish to be instead of who I am.
So here goes nothing:
I want to keep going on my Etsy store, I've been really good about putting at least some work into it almost everyday this year, and it brought be both money and joy. So I hope I'll keep listing new things every day or couple of days. I made it to 273 sales this year which is 23sales over my top goal. I'll be really happy to end Next year at 600 sales. My top goal is 750.
I started selling in a store in Brooklyn and took part of a few trunk show at Ned's mom's house. I do want to be more active as far as craft selling venues, I hope to have at least 2-3 other stores by the end of next year who will be selling my art and take part in 2-3 trunk shows or fairs that does not involve Ned's mom.
I had my first solo art show this year. I want to have at least one more, and this time in New York. I would actually like to have at least 2 of those.
I want to write for at least half an hour everyday, whether it's e-mails, or blog entries or even Yedda answers or Etsy forum comments. I feel like I'm losing my voice.
I want to get a new lens, and a remote control for the camera.
I want to be more brave about interaction with people, and be more social, and start being not afraid from using the stupid phone.
I want to travel, but probably not to Israel.
I want to go back to doing yoga at least once a week, or do a daily half an hour walk, or learn to live better with my flabby body. Or all of the above.
I want to read more.
I want to be better about sleeping hours.
I want to make more art. And more money.
I'm thinking about maybe going back to school or doing some classes, or going back to therapy. For some reason, those things fills the same slot for me, I'm not sure if I want to or not, but I guess I want to think about it more.
I want to keep better connection with my friends in Israel and my family. But I don't want my mom to start talking to me again, even though I dream about that almost every night.
I want to be there for Ned when he needs me and work together on the business side of his photography. It'll be really cool if we get to do some commercial or magazine work together this year.
I want to expend the louchelink site to a monthly art assignment challenge, tohugh I'm not quite sure which shape this will take.
I want to design a new site for myself.
I want to dress better and take better care of my body and look nicer, and put lotion everyday and all this type of crap I feel like all women aside of me do. (yes, this one I already know will not happen...)
I want ot be less scared.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
louchelink, originally uploaded by Aya Rosen (the artist formerly known as Lilly1975).
Bertrand is a good flickr friend and an artist I'm constantly inspired by. I love his style and freedom. He's got one of those distinct lines that I'm sure if he had one drawing in a book of a 1000 drawings I would be able to find it without even looking at the artist's names.
Read the interview (and a super cool advice at the end) here:
Monday, January 5, 2009
When I saw this week's Illustration Friday topic which is Resolve, I knew I wanted to make something about the war in Israel \ Palestine. I usually don't care much for political art, nor do I really do anything or very involved in what's going on. I just read the news far more often then I actually want to, worry and being sad. Non of my family lives near fighting is going on, which I'm grateful for, talking to people in Israel, it seem like everyone I know are just tired and sick of everything.
The art piece I wanted to do originally, were supposed to not take sides and just express "resolve it already" intending both Palestinians and Israelis to stop being stupid and start solving this problem instead of making it worse.
While thinking about this more, and thinking that honestly, it's very hard for me to take the Israeli side when I see photos of dead babies and that it also very hard for me to take the Palestinian side when reading about missiles and bombs landing on schools and kindergartens. This war is doing nothing but produce the next generation on enemies and terrorist - for both nations.
However, I am an Israeli, I can't ignore that, I'm frustrated being in Brooklyn and observing this from afar, and I'm sort of happy not to be involved. But I can't ignore the fact that Israel is my homeland and that, like it or not, I am a side of this. And so, I choose in this series of paintings to take the other side, I choose to draw the Palestinian suffering, hoping that maybe someone on the other side, on the Palestinians, know that I can see the suffering and pain of my so called enemies.
I do hope this ends soon, and that peace will be achieve in my generation.
If those pieces sale, I'm donating the money to Gasa Children in need.