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Well, your ARTtwo50 team has been pounding the pavement across the country the last few weeks – recruiting talented artists that dig our message of disruption of the art market by putting the power in the hands of all you creators out there.  We are taking some time to piece together some of our favorite clips of our conversations with artists, but in the meantime, here are some radical photos of some of the hippest emerging artists and fellow revolutionaries that we came across.

We are still looking for artists to join us.  Visit our page for artists to learn more about how to sell your art with our iPad app and sign up to start uploading art to your portfolio.

Amazing photos by Guru Khalsa!

How To: Write an Artwork Description

We want to help you sell your art! A good artwork description will help the buyer better understand your art and aesthetic. Use your caption as an opportunity to draw the viewer in and make them stop, look, and really pay attention! Buyers want to be able to appreciate the art they are hanging on their wall, and a compelling description can help them do just that. As you upload your art into your online portfolio on ARTtwo50, add a few sentences to enrich the viewing experience of each piece.

Often times, an artwork description will include details such as:

subject matter, meaning, inspiration behind the piece, creative process, and technique(s) used. It is also common for artists to provide a brief anecdote relating to the subject matter and/or their creative experience.

Tips for writing a great description:

  • Try to keep it short and simple - 2-5 sentences is a great place to start.
  • Help your audience enjoy the work, don’t try to sell them on it (you won’t have to)!
  • If there’s a great story behind the work, tell it!
  • Read it out loud to ensure that it makes sense and sounds cohesive.  
  • Check for grammar or spelling mistakes, or have a friend edit what you’ve written. 

A description for the painting below, entitled Vessels, might read like this:

I drew this piece both to hone my skills in drawing from observation, as well as capture discreet lighting. These particular jars and vases were chosen for their reflective quality and varying appearance. I enjoyed the quiet serenity of their structures and wanted to highlight their innate properties by positioning them against a contrasting bold backdrop. The assortment of vessels was assembled from my mother’s collection, and as such, this piece serves as an ode to her, as well as to the classical practice of still-life drawing.

Once uploaded, your caption will be be easily accessible to buyers and will appear as such:

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Remember, some descriptions will be more in-depth and some will be simple (and that’s okay!) 

Feel free to reach out to artists@arttwo50.com with any questions, we’re here to help!

#ARTnROLL

How to: Write a Compelling Artist Bio

As a part of the ARTtwo50 artist community, we want your voice to be heard. After creating your profile with us (thank you!), we ask that you include an artist bio so that buyers know a little bit about the person behind the art. A good bio will ensure that you are accurately represented as an artist, and will also help users as they look for that perfect piece to hang on their wall. 

Once complete, your artist bio will accompany your artwork and look like this:

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Here are a few things to take into consideration while composing your artist description:

Length: Write a bio that is not too long and not too short. Make sure you include enough information to make the reader understand who you are, without overwhelming them with a novel’s worth of text. An ideal length would be 8-15 sentences.

Artist Information: Tell the important things either in first person (I am an artist) or third person (Stephanie is an artist). Details about yourself that you definitely need to include are: name, current working location, preferred media, style, inspiration/influence, and schooling if applicable. Details you might want to include are: awards, honors, exhibitions, current work.

Personality: This is a bio, not a resume. So make sure you incorporate some of your personality into the equation and stay away from long lists of accolades. Try including a favorite pastime or passion you may have, or maybe a sentence-long anecdote that is relevant to your artistic career. 

Cohesion: Read your bio out loud— it helps to hear what others will be reading. You will be able to catch phrases that sound awkward or do not flow together. Even better, read it to a friend and work together to make sure the bio sounds great.

Language: Check, or have a friend check, the grammar and punctuation of your bio. There’s nothing worse than a rambling run-on sentence. When in doubt, keep sentences simple and easy so that those reading know exactly what you’re trying to get across.

Remember, on ARTtwo50 you’ll encounter artists from across the nation at different points in their creative careers, so keep in mind that everyone’s description will be different! 

Be sure to reach out to artists@ARTtwo50.com with any questions! 

Happy writing!

#BEHINDtheCANVAS w/ Willy Owens

We met Willy Owens while shooting our ARTaREVOLUTION video and we immediately dug his vibe.  After the shoot, he regaled us over beers with stories of his recent (criss)cross-country trip in his Westphalia van that he had tricked out to be a photo booth on wheels.  

 

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After 20,000 miles, months on the road, and a lot of persuading random strangers from different walks of life to have their picture taken in his van/photo booth, he created ”Portrait of America” - an exhibit currently showing at Madrone Art Bar in San Francisco (accompanying book can be purchased here.)

But, those 20,000 miles are just a short stroll in Willy’s lifelong art journey.    

 

"I’ve always loved to draw and make things.  When I was a kid I would spend days and days creating drawings of houses that had tubes as hallways connecting the rooms.  Each piece of computer paper taped to the wall would make up another room.  There were often 20 to 30 rooms in one of my ‘dreamhouses’."

Willy is nothing if not a study in contrasts, because even after a lifetime of creating, he still doesn’t think of himself as an artist -  

 

"To me I’m not an artist.  I just enjoy making stuff.  In 2002 I started to see Banksy pieces on the internet and became fascinated with making stencils.  I made my sister and her husband a stencil portrait for their wedding and since then I’ve been doing commissions that all started from word of mouth.  I also enjoy trying new things - I’m into doodles and backward surfing dinosaurs right now. Watercolors and Collages seem to be creeping into my work more and more.  Unfortunately with work and life making art often gets pushed under the pile of things to do.  I’ve been enjoying revisiting these older pieces buried in my closet and am more excited than ever to create more work thanks to ARTtwo50."

 

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Here are a few of Willy’s older pieces that he created while walking around SF on his first visit to The City over five years ago.  He altered the image and made them into multi-layer stencils.  Each of these took over 14 hours of cutting stencils and perfecting the colors to create.  

 

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SFrooftop by Willy Owens

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SFstreetview by Willy Owens

Willy is stoked to be making more art…and to have the chance to show it to the world and sell a piece or two.  At ARTtwo50 we want to support artists like Willy achieve their dreams, whether its to sell one special painting or to sell enough to build a totally tubular dreamhouse!  We work everyday to empower not only Willy, but every artist like him, and that’s what we are excited about.

To see more of Willy’s work - check him out on instagram @lacidar

Steve Jobs: "It's more fun to be a pirate than join the navy."

ARTtwo50 is two things: 1. tech and 2. art (in no particular order). The fantastic synergy between the two propels what we do on a daily basis, so we can’t help but be fans of those who devote their lives to technology or art.

Take Steve Jobs, for example. He was a pioneer, expert marketer, fearless innovator, and the main reason you and I can’t live without our smart phones. If you don’t believe me, then you should probably believe the motion picture Jobs, in theaters this Friday. The film traverses Jobs’ (played by Ashton Kutcher) life, from the advent of Apple to its tumultuous 80’s stint without Jobs, and the subsequent reinvigoration of the company upon his return. 

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In honor of the late Apple Inc. founder’s highly anticipated flick (we’ve already bought our tickets) we’ve compiled some priceless quotations from the man himself to accompany the inspiring work of another crowd we’re huge fans of: our artists. 

Jobs had a way with a lot of things, words being at the top of that list. We’ve included some of his most memorable words paired with works from our artists as an homage to the man who launched a billion dollar industry, made a few enemies, and gained even more admirers. 

"Picasso had a saying. He said ‘Good artists copy, great artists steal.’ And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas. … I think part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians and poets and artists and zoologists and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world."

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To The Edge byFrances Jemini

"We made the buttons on the screen look so good you’ll want to lick them."

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Iconic Vintage Mac Computer Painting by Wyatt McDill

"Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know it when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle."

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Red Delicious by Fred Wilson 3

"It’s more fun to be a pirate than join the navy."

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East Coast Shore by Chris Maestri

Rebellious in spirit and meticulous in his work, Jobs’ words resonate beyond the world of i-This and i-That. He was fearless - a sign of how risk-taking, innovation, and passion can create a beautiful work of art (figuratively), or in the case of the works above, literally. 

Check out Jobs in theaters today (and let us know what you think). While you’re at it, take part in bringing innovation to the art world and visit www.ARTtwo50.com to hang some original art on your own wall and help ARTaREVOLUTION.

How To: Hang your Art

You finally get to see some art on those bare walls, and we couldn’t be more thrilled! Now for the last step, hanging your art!  In order to best display your piece and really make a statement, follow these simple tips and tricks. 

1. Hang your art at eye level. Position the center of your painting at 57”, which is average eye level. 

2. Use picture hanging hooks. Stay away from cumbersome nails and screws. Picture hanging hooks are small, yet secure. Hang your work using two hooks to ensure that your original art won’t slant.

3. Keep it straight. Use a ruler to make sure your hooks are at the same height off the ground. Then, use a level to make sure your art is nice and even. 

4. Keep an eye on your surroundings. Art can add a lot to a room, and accent furniture well. Often times pieces take up 2/3 the width of a piece of furniture. 

5. Space your work(s) appropriately. If you are hanging a piece over furniture, leave 7-10 inches between the top of the furnishing and bottom of the work of art. Also, if you are hanging two or more pieces together, think about leaving at least 2 inches in between. 

6. Get creative! While these are all good guidelines to follow, take some creative liberties and play with arrangements in your space. Look HERE for some ideas to get your creative genius going! 

Have fun with your art, and be confident that you know what looks best in your space! Don’t be afraid to take some risks and create a space that is uniquely yours. 

Happy Hanging!

How To: Package your Art

Wherever you’re shipping your art, there’s always one primary concern - keeping it safe!  Packaging your art it is a vital step in getting your art onto the walls of your buyers. We understand that it may seem like a daunting task at times, and we’re here to help! One option is to use an Airfloat Systems Strongbox. If you would like to package your work yourself, however, simply follow these tips and tricks so that your art remains as beautiful as the day you created it. 

You will need:

  • Sharpie
  • Clear packing tape
  • Acid-free tissue paper
  • Bubble wrap
  • Flat cardboard
  • Utility knife
  • A box large enough to fit your wrapped artwork

For packaging works on paper:

  • Avoid using your hands to handle your work, try cotton gloves or acid-free tissue paper.
  • Wrap the work in acid-free tissue paper, covering both the front and back entirely. You can also cover the paper in plastic for more protection.
  • Be sure to support the corners. Fold some extra layers of acid free tissue paper around the corners. 
  • Tape the work to a sturdy surface, such as cardboard or foamcore. Be sure that the tape touches only the acid free paper and not the actual artwork. 
  • Layer a few pieces of flat cardboard on each side of the wrapped work to create a sturdy and flat shell. 
  • Then, to create the outer cover, take two pieces of foldable, corrugated cardboard and cover the edges of your current wrapping, securely taping all sides.
  • Finally, find a box large enough to fit the wrapped piece. Either wrap the piece in bubble wrap or fill the empty space of the large box with packing material. 

For packaging framed or mounted works:

  • Find a sturdy box or crate that can fit the piece of art, while still allowing for approximately 3 inches on all sides. 
  • Wrap your art with acid-free tissue paper, covering the front, back, and edges entirely. 
  • Then wrap the work in bubble wrap or soft foam wrap (or both).
  • Place the wrapped work in your box or crate and fill all open spaces with packing materials to prevent movement. 
  • Secure the box with packing tape. 

For ALL packages:

  • Indicate where the box should be opened. 
  • IF unpacking the art requires special instructions, be sure to include them for your buyer. 
  • Mark the box as “FRAGILE”; “THIS SIDE UP”; and “DO NOT LAY FLAT”. 
  • Attach the prepaid shipping label that we send you in an email,  and cover it with clear packing tape. 
  • Mail it using USPS!

For additional tips look here and here.

Congrats, you did it! Now that wasn’t so hard, was it? You’re well on your way to spreading the paint and making the world a more artful place.

The art revolution has begun, thanks for being a part of it!

 

The ARTtwo50 Team

Art Along the Way: A Commuter's Story

Each morning thousands of the career-driven among us take to the streets of San Francisco. Renegade bikers, suited-up business folk, and jeans and t-shirt techies alike jump on or in their preferred mode of transportation and begin their daily commute to the office (or somewhere way cooler if you’re lucky). It may seem hum-drum, a repetitive route with a predictable destination. I’ve learned, however, that in San Francisco, it’s all about where you look. 

On my daily trek to the ARTtwo50 office, I’ve discovered a few little thrills along the way that make my commute a little more artful, and as I like to tell myself, altogether better than others’. So join me on my bus/walk to work, as I recount the best five moments of my morning (in no particular order). 

1. Black and White Demon with too many Limbs

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2. "Shit this Building is Horizontal" Statue of Liberty

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3. SoMa, Where even Nature Must be Digitized 

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4. Woman who Climbed two Stories and Needed a Nap

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5. You’ve got Something on your Face

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No, those aren’t the actual titles, but the real ones are unknown and could not possibly be as much fun. 

As large and seemingly in-your-face as these works of art are, you’d be surprised how many ear-budded, iPhone-toting pedestrians miss out on them. My advice? Keep your head on a swivel, San Francisco. You never know what you might spot.

Have you got cool art on your walk to work? Send me pics at stephanie@arttwo50.com

#BEHINDtheCANVAS w/ Victoria McGrath

ARTtwo50 would like to introduce you to the talented Victoria McGrath - one of our artists and the winner of our first #ARTinPUBLIC social media campaign.  

Victoria’s Red Abstract (pictured here) won the contest with 300+ votes in just 72 hours.  

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Red Abstract by Victoria McGrath

Here are Victoria’s words about the story behind the piece -

"The Red Abstract was inspired by my painting trip to Ireland in 2005. Everyone who has ever visited that country always comments on how green it is. That has always been my impression of it too until one day I stumbled upon a strange species of hollies with bright red flowers there.  I’ve never seen anything like that before. They looked like they were straight out of one of those Irish Fairy tales.  It was beautiful. I did some representational studies of them at the time, but over the years the image became more distilled.  It became reduced to the bare essentials:  my memory of my initial response to the enthralling vivid red that stood out against its lush green surroundings. That’s when I painted the Red Abstract (2010).”

Below is a picture of the holly that inspired Red Abstract.

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Victoria McGrath painting in one of the many niches of Bonamargy Friary (Ballycastle, Ireland)

Victoria is a classically trained artist who has her studio in Princeton, NJ.  With the exception of a few foreign collections, she mostly exhibits and sells locally. She enjoys doing portraits, landscapes as well as decorative and abstract art.  However she says “It is not the genre, it’s the process of making art, the joy of creating that matters most to me.  I believe that this ‘creativity drive’ is essential to art making.  It is what ultimately makes the artwork appealing to the viewers.” 

We are very excited to have Victoria working with us at ARTtwo50 - and for those of you that like Red Abstract and won’t be traveling to the Ferry Building anytime soon to see it hanging - she has other beautiful pieces hanging inside our database and waiting to be HANGING IN your room!  Here are two of them….

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Black Grapes by Victoria McGrath

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Still Life on Red by Victoria McGrath
ARTtwo50 Offsite: four founders, some post-its, and a cat

What made our four co-founders jump in a car and head for Vacaville, CA you ask - A random art fair? Team-bonding over cow-tipping? An absurdly long beer run? Actually, this was all business - but sometimes you gotta just get away to really think big. Now, before you go dreaming up poolside leisure and comfort let it be known that this story includes shared beds, generous use of post-it notes, late night brainstorming, and some serious kitchen duty.

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Brandon, Win, Ethan, and Pat, the team at the heart of ARTtwo50, hit the road at about 1130pm on Tuesday of last week, and traversed the shiny new Bay Bridge for the ARTtwo50 company offsite.


The foursome arrived at the converted barn house circa 1am where they met a new friend - a squealing black cat that jetted inside as soon as the door opened so as to join the party. (Can we blame it?) So, after what can only be described as a thrilling 10 minutes of chase and capture, the house was cat-free.  Often considered a sign of impending doom, the furry four-legged friend ended up being no such thing, as our founders enjoyed an amazing 36 hours. 

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The four innovators relived the old college days’ of yore by bunking up in the same rooms.  They even showcased a little culinary prowess and spent a lot of time with neon post-it notes (seriously, A LOT). The developer, the design guru, the business guy and the inspiration behind the company churned out idea after idea, flirting with the allegedly impossible.  These guys want to “change the way we buy and sell art”, and to do that, you gotta let that imagination and innovation truly run wild. 

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SO what does this mean for YOU?

 

Well, ARTtwo50 is more focused than ever and walked away from the mystical barn in the middle of nowhere with a clear plan of attack for the end of the year and 2014.  Products and features for both our artists and our buyers will be better than ever, more fun, more useful, and more interactive. 

In the coming months, artists will have more tools - like access to an online, web checkout and a Pinterest gallery, making it easier to get their art out there in front of eager eyes, and some basic statistics so they can know whats working best. For buyers, the ARTtwo50 marketplace will continue to grow with higher price points, local artist options, and improved recommendations, making it easier for you to find that perfect piece.  We have a few other tricks up our sleeve - so GET EXCITED!

I don’t know where the ceiling is for these four, but if it’s there…it won’t be long till these guys start drilling holes in it. Thinking beyond just the possible, the guys at ARTtwo50 really are living up to their to their mission to ARTaREVOLUTION, so come on and join the cause!

Stay tuned for the new features by downloading the app at www.arttwo50.com or keeping up with ARTtwo50 on Facebook and Twitter.

#BEHINDtheCANVAS with Megan Watters

Did you see our latest #ARTinPUBLIC campaign?  With four beautiful paintings virtually hanging in San Francisco’s famous Transamerica Building, votes poured in and ultimately left us with one winner: Megan Watters. Her piece Jeepster pulled in over half of the 650-plus votes, and we want to give you a #BEHINDtheCANVAS look at our crowned victor. 

We first met Megan only a little more than a week ago when she joined the revolution as one of our Artist Ambassadors.  We hope you like her story as much as we do… 

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Like many at ARTtwo50, Megan was into art from the start.

"I have been painting since I was a little kid - I just always loved the way it made me feel. I used to draw and paint the women in magazines. I made collages. I drew all the time."

Later, Megan took her talents to Emory University where she worked as a scenic artist at Theatre Emory. There, she acquired the skills she would later use in creating theatrical sceneries, backdrops, and stage props. During her time moving around within the performing arts industry Megan became addicted to travel, and the Atlanta native soon sought new adventures in the West.  

 

When she came to California, Megan wiled away her free time hiking the beaches along the central coast and exploring the natural beauty that would later manifest in many of her paintings. With her new-found inspiration and under the influence of a healthy dose of British Rock jams, she created Jeepster.

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"Jeepster is the name of the piece I submitted to the contest, after the song "Jeepster" by T-Rex. I remember the time when I painted Jeepster - I was living in central California, working as a design assistant at a conservatory. That was an important time for me because I was very focused on learning about myself and my aesthetic. Though I enjoyed the beauty of my surroundings and the introspection, that time was also wrought with uncertainty for me."

Rather than let the unknown get the best of her, Megan did what we should all do - she danced.

"I remember listening to "Electric Warrior" on repeat the entire time I was working on that piece. I had no idea of what I was going to paint before I started. Instead, I just sorta danced to the music and let my paint dance on the canvas. I think that is what makes that piece so special to me. The true emotion lies not in the actual trees or recognizable images in the painting, but in the paint - in the drips and strokes."

Whether it’s music or nature, one thing is certain - for Megan, art is about feeling. 

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"It’s hard to explain a piece of art or my process in general because I do not know how to put it all into words. I can try to explain what draws me to a painting or an album or the grain on a piece of wood. But really, there is something ephemeral there that can only be felt. That is what I love about what I do. I convey to people my emotion and my understanding of the world through color, texture and lines."

We’re excited to launch with Megan as one of our artists, and soon you’ll be able to hang her art on your wall! Until then, visit her site at www.wattersart.com to learn more about ARTtwo50’s #ARTinPUBLIC winner and one of the hippest new artists to join the cause.

Watch on blog.vangoart.co

Here is a video we created to provide insight about where the idea of ARTtwo50 came from and where we want to go.

We are inspired by hearing your feedback, so send us a note anytime at hangit@arttwo50.com

Thanks to Campfire Creative for producing the video.

“I’ve been a bit disappointed by the disconnect between New York City’s art world and technology space….It’s extremely rare to see start-up people at gallery openings, for instance.”

ARTtwo50 is making it easier to break down the walls to discover original art. 

Share our post and let us know what you think about the disconnect between art and technology here or on our facebook page.

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