art swap as a currency

Coming back from a local arts bazaar I remembered I began writing this post months ago and left it as a draft. Time to shake off the dust and publish it:
As a local street art fan I love to meet and network with fellow screenprinters, street artists, painters and designers. I admire their incredible talent and my hobby is to document their progress and sort of “scavenger hunt” their latest work, which is something I’d like to blog about one of these days.

I’ve had the chance to meet a few local artists and once in a while we’ll agree to exchange arts. This is something I encourage and support because art is an amazing currency. It will not enrich my pocket, but it will enrich my mind and motivation, and that’s something worth “paying” for.

I’ve been sort of “collecting” tiny bits of local art, meeting the artists and exchanging ideas. From time to time I’ll also document our art exchanges with photos. Other times I forget and will later curse at myself because I always feel the need to document everything! So I wanted to share some of the lovely things I’ve collected so far! An incomplete list, but awesome nonetheless!

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Oski

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Rey X

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RaVia

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Gabriel Padial

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DIY

One thing I’ve always appreciated and respected is the Do-It-Yourself culture. I remember being about 14 years old and not being able to afford certain things such as accesories or whatever trendy jewelry I wanted as a kid. Part of my family owned a local arts and crafts store where I worked and grew to love the art of crafting and DIY. As a result I made my own jewelry and accesories; proudly wearing them at school, making them for my close friends, and selling them on eBay using my mom’s account *chuckle*.

Now as an adult I appreciate what I learned then and what I know now! Β This is what keeps the mind running and the hands busy, plus there’s always something new to learn. The key is to research and keep an open mind. As a small business owner, the DIY process has helped me expand the shop little by little, learning new ways of promoting and spreading the word, reaching out to my target market and customers, etc. Β Once you figure out the best ways to stay resourceful, you can pretty much do anything!

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Many businesses skip this process and would rather let others do that work (which is perfectly okay too!). Many often feel the need to spend huge chunks of money on promotional items, branding, anything they can get their hands on that looks “professional”. Unfortunately in most cases that means one word: E X P E N S I V E. The fact of the matter is, we can do all of that on our own with the right resources and a good amount of motivation and patience.

Being the DIY junkie that I am ( 11 years and counting! ), I look for different ways to promote my business without spending too much money. This includes but not limited to:

  • Promotional flyers
  • Business cards
  • Brand labels
  • Hang Tags
  • Promotional stickers
  • Discount Coupons

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Making everything myself as opposed to ordering from a big company has its perks. I control all the production procedures, I choose my own materials, I make as many items as I want and when I want. Plus, it’s a great satisfaction to see my finished product doing its intended purpose, whether it be to decorate a garment or inform a potential customer.

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I realize that DIY is not for everyone. I get it! People are busy or have better things to do. Some business owners are parents or have other responsibilities which don’t leave time for all that extra work. Others may not be as open or confident enough to brand or promote on their own. And some people think: “Why should I do all the work? That’s what Office Max is for!”. Not hating, though. I love your paper selection, Max ❀

So with that in mind, I leave you with this alternate option to DIY: support your fellow small businesses. Do you realize that, not only big companies can help you in your quest for branding and promoting your business? Many businesses that sell on Etsy (my preferred selling platform) help get you started. There’s a wide variety of shops which make business cards, tags, you name it. And guess what: it’s all handmade by them. So in reality you’re supporting the DIY community without having to DIY πŸ˜‰

Now on to the good stuff…

Last week I promised to give a lil info on my handmade stickers. Now, there are actually a few ways to make stickers. It’s all about budget and quality. If you want standard-looking stickers you could buy sticker paper from brands like Avery and print them out. You can also buy a small sticker machine from Xyron, which is basically the sticker adhesive with which you’ll make your stickers. You can use normal copy paper or any paper of your choice, print out your design, and then pass the paper through this machine and voila! You got stickers.


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You can also choose to “die-cut” them, which means cutting them in any shape you want. This is achieved by using an X-acto. Handle with care, folks πŸ˜‰

Now, there’s a more “street” way to make stickers, and it’s definitely the cheapest way. It’s also illegal, so I will refrain from naming a special type of label you can grab from your local…*ahem* office for free, gluing your soon-to-be sticker paper onto the label and peel the back of the label like an average sticker. Or if you’re an artist, draw on it! You didn’t hear this from me, though! Actually this is a common practice between street artists (and fun too!).

Most handmade stickers are not waterproof unless you use vinyl or a better type of paper. I have not tested this yet but laser printers MAY help with this problem. One thing you can do is purchase laminating paper. By laminating your handmade stickers you don’t only make them waterproof, but you can also make them glossy and better looking. Just make sure to laminate the edges aswell so water doesn’t reach the ink.

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Stay crafty, friends!

office space

Today’s post is dedicated to my little workspace/office. Here’s where I do all my promotion, brainstorming, bookkeeping, and general tasks online (blogging included)!Image

Some of the usual items seen around the workspace:

  • laptop – where the magic happens!
  • Samsara book – for all my book-keeping needs. Includes transactions, receipts, tracking information for all my orders, a task calendar, etc. I do my book-keeping by hand but also keep records on my laptop.
  • Task Calendar – to keep myself organized online, I made a calendar with daily tasks to do on different networks. For example: on Mondays I make treasuries on Etsy, renew listings, post on Instagram. Tuesdays are for Tumblr, Pinterest, promotion on etsy teams, and so forth. This is something I think all small businesses like mine should have. It’ll keep you sane, trust me! πŸ˜‰
  • Crafts – whatever I’m working on which requires extra space other than my screenprint room

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Today’s crafts include: stickers and business cards ❀

NEXT WEEK’S POST!

DIY stickers and promotional cards.

Have a great weekend everyone!