Everyone Is An Artist

Random Thoughts

Photo by Tony Fischer

A feeling of frustration clouds conversations with artists these days. Dismay over how flooded the  market is constantly comes up with printmakers, illustrators, photographers, DJs, musicians, writers, graphic designers, videographers and other artisans. Technology, both the boon and the thorn to artists has done much to alter the landscape of creative markets.

Rock Stars of Craft Art to Podcast in LBC


If you’re near Long Beach, podcasters and trouble makers AID – Adventures in Design, featuring prominent gig-poster artists Mark Brickey, Billy Baumann, and James Flames – will be hosting a live show at Phone Booth Gallery in a little over a week.

This ball-busting crew, which I’ve been following for nearly a year now, has been enjoyable for their brotherly antics, but more enlightening is the way they rip away the curtain from the craft arts movement and business. If you’re looking to get a behind-the-scenes look at the craft world then you’ll probably want to go to this show. Be sure to bring your sense of humor.

Don’t worry if you miss the show, however, because there will be a podcast of the show later available on iTunes.

The AID-Live show will have a promising panel including: Shaun Wagner (Tiny Whales), Danny Askar (Screen Printer of the Stars), Delilah Snell (Dear Handmade Life), and Garry Booth (Phone Booth Gallery).

The Show is on Sunday, August 17 with doors opening at 6:00 pm – show is at 7:00.

Phone Booth Gallery is located at 2533 East Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90803.

If you want to hear the show and learn more about Phone Booth Gallery, check out Episode 42 of the AID podcast.



Copyright 2014 © Robert C. Olson

Now On Etsy: Robert C. Olson


Etsy is a rad site full of creative people trying to bring some personal love to the world and I’m nervous, but excited to take a small step into this competitive market. Don’t act too impressed, there’s not a lot going on just yet, but in the coming months I’ll be attempting to make my own screen prints based on some of the designs you’ve seen here.

If there’s anything that you’d like to have on your wall, let me know and I’ll work to get it into the store.

Stop by and give me a shout:



Copyright 2014 © Robert C. Olson

Renegade Craft Fair Tomorrow


Tomorrow is the Los Angeles Renegade Craft Fair – a gathering of DIY crafters like you and me – with handmade products, art, music and food.

RFC will run Saturday and Sunday, July 26 and 27, at LA’s Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Ave., on Broadway between Hill and 1st St.

The market will be open from 11:00 to 6:00.

RCF is free. Paid parking will be available nearby and the organizers encourage you to us the ParkMe app to find spots in the area. Pets are encouraged.



Copyright 2014 © Robert C. Olson

Artist Highlight: Seanwes

Business, Graphic Design

Sean McCabe is a typographist, a word I just made up, and the man behind Seanwes where Sean’s hand lettering inspires us to just give up on typography. By accident I came across McCabe while searching “how to give myself eye surgery with a Micron pen” and saw that he had some really fantastic work. So I’m sharing this here, not just because he make letters cool, but because I am always fascinated by how people got their start.

Surviving the Death of Retail


Being in business means that you have to worry about the business around you and The Atlantic’s recent article about retail’s struggle to stay afloat could have big implications for freelancers. The basic gist of the story is that a combination of factors are knocking the knees out from under big box retailers such as J.C. Penny’s, Walmart, Kmart, Best Buy, in addition to the already deceased Circuit City and Borders bookstore. What Derek Thompson, in his article titled with a nod to the play, “Death of a Salesman”, says about current trends is right on the mark: online sales are pushing out brick-and-mortar stores while low-cost wars are taking a bite out of middle class wages.

Big retail plays a huge role in providing work for creatives and if the big boys are struggling, we have to pay attention. Yet, from my lowly view I can see a rich world of local-vore style activism. Farmer’s markets, swap meets, and craft fairs are all apart of a renaissance of crafty-boutiquey, home-spun businesses catering to people who are enjoying fine handmade wares. And it looks like a growing business.

While the temperature is cooling for the old style retailer, I think what we are witnessing is a turning point and I for one am behind it all the way. Buy local campaigns and crafty hipsters are generating a lot of influence for smaller markets where people can add a personal touch to customer service. A skill that larger retailers consistently struggle with. That’s one thing Thompson doesn’t have chance to address in his article, but what should be a key element of strategy for weathering the tough times.

As big retailers decline it will surely have an impact on the economy as a whole. The middle class, under siege since the start of the recession, will face more stress as jobs and wages shrink. For the services who rely on retailers for work the pressure is going to increase, but there will be an outlet for people who can adjust to fit the times. Focusing on craft businesses and boutiques may become the future of the industry simply because it can attune itself directly to the needs of its client which brings me to my final point: people’s styles are fracturing.

Perhaps not so much fracturing as finding room for special interests, but the point is that consumers are becoming more nuanced in their choices. Their subcultural likes and dislikes are gaining more importance as the economy turns a la carte, thanks partly to the Internet. People have so many choices and to make it easier to find their way through the plethora of goods they break down into narrowly focused social identities. In order to survive in this climate it’s better to be small and mobile, homing in on a small batch of customers that you can relate to.

So while the name brands are shrinking and the impacts will be felt throughout the economy, smart people can stay on top of their game by shifting with the trends. The future, for now, is in small business. That’s in some ways the essential American dream. Opportunity and entrepreneurial spirit.

You can see the original article here, but I’d like to hear your thoughts on what these changes mean for you.