Category Archives: Art for purchase

Artist Profile: Kelly Ventura for Crate & Barrel

Kelly and I met in Book Arts when we attended art school years ago. I always remembered her pieces for being subtle and thoughtfully brilliant. We crossed paths again in Chicago when she was showing her incredible fiber pieces at the gallery where I worked and at The Renegade Craft Fair. Now we’re all back in the Ann Arbor area and Kelly is a full time product and surface designer. We were so thrilled to hear that a line of her illustrations had been picked up by Crate & Barrel to be reproduced for their Spring 2014 art print line. Congratulations, Kelly!

N captured some great shots of her working in the studio in preparation to send to C&B for their artist profile.

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Kelly works largely in watercolor and pen. She has a beautiful signature style that’s whimsical and saturated with color.

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See more of Kelly’s work at KellyVentura.com and her Minted site. We can’t wait for her collection to come out next spring – look out for it!

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To have your works of art or yourself captured in the studio, give us a call at 734-929-2498 or email us at info@chin-azzaro.com

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Mi Familia: A Family Portrait Session

Vince and Lisa (parents to yesterday’s adorable Luigi) came out to the studio for their first family portrait session with us.

Not only were they a really photogenic family, they wasted no time getting into character and making eyes at the camera.

They felt right at home with each other and we got to see some goofy shots.

And some very sweet ones.

And no one had to hold a gun to dad’s head for him to get silly.

For your family portrait session, give us a call at 734-929-2498 or email info@chin-azzaro.com

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Playtime: Old School with Mario + Luigi

Press ‘play’ on the video below.

There. Now you have the perfect soundtrack for today’s post.

Over the weekend we headed over to Photo Studio Group to photograph a pair of cousins. But it wasn’t just your typical session. They wanted to play dress up…

Pretty darn adorable, don’t you think?

There was a bit of vying for the Mario costume.

But sometimes a little competition is healthy.

To have your child photographed in costume, shoot us an email info@chin-azzaro.com or call 734-929-2498

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First Date Jitters: Engagement Photos at The (Espresso) Bar

My sister Alice just got engaged to her beau John and we couldn’t be happier, especially since they decided to have their engagement photos taken at one of the most authentic and delicious spots for coffee in town (their first date was here), the (espresso) bar. As it happens, coffee is good for you and the owner, Sandy, is the kind of person that remembers your drink even after a pregnancy hiatus.*

N got to catch some great shots of the couple in the well-appropriated space as well as enjoy some beautifully-crafted drinks.

Thank you, Sandy and the (espresso) bar staff for letting us take over your space. Check back for more photos from their new brunch menu soon. And Like them on Facebook for yummy updates everyday!

To book your engagement shoot, give us a call at 734-929-2498 or email at info@chin-azzaro.com

*Their affogato is crazy good.

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Contest: Senior Portrait Package

Aaahhh…memories of senior year. You take all your tests, you find out if you  “got accepted” to your first choice and of course, you plan what you’re going to wear for your senior photos. What if we told you that you had a chance to win a senior portrait session unlike anyone else’s? We specialize in capturing personalities in the most creative way.

One lucky winner will win the full package with us. Simply go to our Facebook page or email us at info@chin-azzaro.com and tell us why you deserve to win. (Parents, you can enter your son or daughter too)! Check it out and pass it along to all the Class of 2014 seniors you know (in the Ann Arbor area). Enter now through June 30th. But if you can’t wait to win and want to book your session now, see your choices below. Good luck!

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Happy Announcement : Baby Sessions

We couldn’t help it. Once we started taking photos of our own, we decided that photographing other people’s babies would probably make them just as happy as we are. So we want to spread the cheer of the non-traditional portrait. Check out our new Baby Session below. We’re looking to take baby and children’s photos to a whole new level. 000_3776


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Here’s the small print: Our wee one is still very young so we had to hold his neck up. It’s up to you as parents if you want to have your hands in there for neck control. We also leave it to you to corral Baby but we work with you to ensure we get the best photos possible in one hour. Photo session includes travel in Ann Arbor, a fee is added for anywhere outside city limits. Additional friends and siblings are welcome but we’ll need to charge a little more for lighting. Please allot for an additional 30 minutes for set up and break down of equipment, which is included in the cost. If you choose to have your session in our studio, there are lots more options. We send you all the usable images and you choose 5, which we then retouch and process and send back to you in high resolution quality to use for what ever you please. Let us know if you have any questions – 734-929-2498 or info@chin-azzaro.com We can’t wait to meet you!

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How to Sell Your Art and Other Helpful Tips

Yesterday’s post on pricing student or “emerging” art work tackled the difficulty of pricing your works to move. But maybe even more difficult is gaining the exposure and putting your works in the right venue to be seen and sell. When I was talking to Paula Shubatis about the value of large scale oil paintings, I was also considering the proper space for the pieces to be hung.

She had a really great idea to have a non-profit sponsor so that she could apply for a permit to exhibit in an alley downtown. I immediately posed the question, “How will that make you money?” Yes, it would gain her intrigue and possibly some press, but I was concerned with how she was going to be rewarded for her efforts. Too many times we think about the work but we don’t know how to translate to tangible values. Most of society is already programmed to consume art in small manageable pieces so while seeing a painting in an alley might be exciting, it might not speak to a buyer or get a buyer to come out to the alley to begin with.

Paula answered that it probably wouldn’t be a money-making ploy but the alley would complement her painting. Although it would be for a short time, I had to agree. So we started brainstorming on how she could further the visibility of her paintings and who her potential clients were. This is what I suggested researching.

Corporate collections

Although many have been dissolved over the years, corporate art collections were and still are a barometer of a corporations success. The historical, educational and sophistication level of a curator’s choices can communicate a vast number of nuances to a client. Some focus on specific topics relevant to the company but most are diverse and worth millions of dollars. I suggested to Paula to research any collections that were still active in the southeast Michigan area and send a professional letter and images to those that collect contemporary.

Art Fairs

From creating enough inventory to sell to the logistics of travel to getting into the fair itself, the career of a professional artist is a tough one when you’re traveling cross country to sell your wares. But I know some very successful artists that make a living of this and they love what they do. Research each market, figure your costs (including booth fees, lodging, food, airfare/gas, insurance, shipping if needed) and try out a local one to see if you like the art fair circuit culture.

Representation

The art dealing culture has changed drastically over the last decade. Gone are the days of sending slides and lugging heavy portfolios to the gallery. While it may still stand as the pinnacle of an artist’s I’ve made it moment, getting representation is getting harder and harder each day as galleries downsize and restructure what it is to be in a gallery’s stable of artists. Now there are an infinite number of online galleries and stores to sell your work. Besides the ever popular Etsy, there’s also Big Cartel, a foolproof store that handles your art sales and monetary transactions safely.

If you are interested in going the traditional route of being represented by a dealer, read the instructions carefully and make sure you include everything they ask for and nothing they do not. Use the best materials you can afford and have friends or colleagues proof all text. Also, do not send unsolicited packages. I used to be an American art dealer (known impressionism, modern and contemporary works) and would receive numerous packets from artists. Had they taken the time to research the website, they would have seen that I generally worked with museums and collectors to sell paintings by deceased and market-established artists. Vet your galleries carefully and save yourself the postage!

If nothing else, having a website is a must. Take clear, well-lit photos of your art work and make sure your site is easily navigable and concise. Include an artists statement and any information that will intrigue your clients. Branding yourself properly is probably the most important tool of all.

Public and Temporary spaces

Like Paula’s idea to show in the alley, outdoor spaces garner attention from people that might not normally see art. It’s exciting, fresh and enlivens a space if it’s installed properly. Remember to consider the logistics of transporting the piece, whether you need electricity, if it’s safe from the elements, if you’ll need a lock or security overnight and whether you need to insure it for potential loss or damage. All these things considered, public art is also a great excuse to garner publicity…

Publicity

Getting in front of a buyer is difficult without a dealer or gallery. That said, there are many perks to representing yourself, namely not having to pay a share to the middle man. But that means you have to know how to talk about your work and how to publicize it. I always tell students and artists to learn to write a press release. It’s one page, has all the relevant information a magazine, newspaper or TV would need to cover your story. But make sure it’s newsworthy before you send it. It’s also important to make rounds at the art fairs, openings and museum circuit. Learn not only to talk about your work but art and design history in general.

There are tons of details that go into the success of an artist and these are just a few starter tips. Sometimes it’s just a matter of knowing the right person, being at the right place at the right time…but I like to believe that forethought, planning and talent matter too. Good luck!

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Kenta: Hair Stylist, Musician, Astro

After an amazing photo shoot with friend, hair stylist and musician, Kenta, I had an opportunity for some Q and A. His band Locus can be seen and heard here.

N- How did you become a stylist?

K- After high school I was searching for a job and went in for a haircut at a local salon for my interviews. I gave such detailed order to the stylist, he said “you should become a hairstylist!” So I did. I still believe that moment was meant to be, this job is the only job I’ve never wanted to quit! (Kenta has been styling hair going on eleven years and currently works at Da Vinci’s in downtown Ann Arbor).

N- When did you get into music?

K- The 4th grade. I really liked this girl and she played flute. I wanted to be with her in music class so I begged my ma. I only played for four months or so… At that time I was very shy about being the only boy in flute class so I converted to trumpet! Since then I’ve played a little tuba, guitar, and drum. My friend taught me how to DJ but I was never good in any instruments… so I highly respect people who practice instrumental music.

N- Describe your personal musical interest and your bands interest.

K- I have very broad musical interests, but grew up listening to a lot of punk, ska, rock, hip-hop, J-pop, trance, house, and techno and was never good at remembering the bands name or the song title.Band mate Ajekt (DJ/Programmer) also has a very broad interests and digs deep on all types of music. It’s crazy how much he knows about the history behind a band or the songs. I call him the Wiki of Locus! He can answer most of your musical questions! Band mate Qp (Bass/Programmer) is deeply rooted in rock and J-pop and listens to everything he likes. His bass playing style is heavily influenced by what he heard in his youth. He has also produced a few Japanese Pop songs for local talents as well.

As a band all three of us comes from very different musical backgrounds. The first few years we were suffering to find a point of interest, but we’re now gradually finding a solid Locus sound. We’re still in search of “creating something new, something never heard before”. I know its a long journey but feel like we’re definitely on the right track. The energy and atmosphere Locus creates is something I’ve never experienced in any other music or shows.

N- Tell me about Astro.

K- I’ve wanted people listen to our music rather than judge us by our looks, so it was my idea to put a mask on at a show one day. I’ve asked the band members to wear the masks too, but we’ve had some clashes on this idea. Astro is like a messenger for me, he’s the one who shouts my thoughts and emotions through the microphone. He’s a little cocky, spiritual, and loves women. He’ll do things I can’t and thinks what I can’t.

Thank you, Kenta for a great session and for sharing your stories. To have your own portait narrative photographed, contact us here.

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