Category: Art School

A Very Bad Day Indeed

zentao trademark and logoThere are some days that ought to be wiped from existence.  The 15th of the month following a Quarter is one of those, especially if it falls on a Monday, and especially when what you find waiting for you on top of your dayplan are, not angry clients, not distressed customers, but somebody else’s customers all calling you for solutions to their wants and desires. 

I’ve been pushing a certain service that’s young, but “under development.”  I’ve been exceedingly patient.  I’ve spent a good deal of time trying very hard to keep a positive attitude toward their repeated failures to “fix what’s broke.”

Well, it ain’t bein’ fixed, and the more tech savvy of us know clouds of billowing smoke being blown up our portals when we see, feel, and hear it.  And where there’s smoke, you can bet there’s a fire, right?  …Ah, yeah.  Too true.  And in this case, it’s getting a bit out of control.  …And then there’s this smell.

I’m not the nicest person in the world when, my cup of work overflowing, someone then dumps a new load onto me, especially when that load is rancid-smelling.  I’m not particularly pleasant when, having begged, pleaded, worked very hard to help, and gone out of my way to promote someone, what I find is that, for all my efforts, I receive nothing but stink in return…and having to pick up somebody else’s pieces — broken pieces. (Pass me the superglue, would you?)  And then it gets even worse.

So, first off, what about this other guy’s customers who came to my door instead?  Yeah, well that’s taken care of with a lot of effort and scramble, and help from some friends of a friend.  But there’s this odd aftertaste I’ve woken up with when all is finally said and done.  It’s the realization that, if you want something done, you do it yourself, no matter what, because you cannot depend on anyone else to do what they’ve promised.

For six solid months and more, I and others who have half a clue, have been mentioning issues over at this seemingly pretty, but actually smoky, smelly startup.  And we’ve heard promises…and platitudes…and excuses, as one very canny artist named revad so succinctly put it.   The bottom line?  It doesn’t serve them to fix it.  And the truth?  There’s more cooking under the lid that stands out as REAL stinky — rigged search results, priority placement slanted toward those who make deals with management, cliques who get special privileges, and a lot of greasy palms that deliver special handling to those who make it onto their “preferred artist” list. 

And everyone else? 

‘Can pay the bills, thank you.  But we won’t sell your art, so, if somebody wants it, you can do it yourself, from your own desk, shipping it out yourself to your customers’

…which means I must have it printed, then inspect it to make sure it is up to snuff, before it ever gets shipped out the door.  After all, it’s my name on the line here.  They are now buying from me direct, not a shop I engaged to provide me that service!

Well I never wanted to wind up being a print shop to sell my digital art to people who want it.  That’s why I use a service, right?  And I thought that I chose a really good one that offers what I consider to be the very best printing service on the Net.  What I’ve found though, is that they do not have, nor do they plan to make is an equitable and benevolent Internet model for both artists and art consumers to use, and, when the results of this problem lands square in my lap, I’m not happy, especially when I’m told,

‘it’s your website that’s the problem.  It’s too esoteric.  You need to make your website like everyone else’s so they can see those nice tabs and buttons’

 — this coming from a woman who claims she’s made a study of usability on the Net but who couldn’t code her way out of a broken link if her life depended on it and the usability of her own website sucks.

Well, thank you, but is designed the way I want to to be — without a bunch of irritating junk cluttering its home page. is NOT a commercial website that screams “Clearance sale, buy it here!” Nor is it intended to be any kind of sales venue.  You won’t find “Buy It Here” buttons.   You won’t find easy ways to spend your money.  That’s because is the website of an artist and designer, a guitar player, a martial artist, and someone who places value on caring, sharing, and, mostly, self-integrity and honor.  That’s more than I can say for the stink under their rugs.

Entrepreneurs and Dark Glasses

zentao trademark and logo

I’m always a little bit wary when I meet someone who is full of some hot new enterprise where they stand to gain, while asking you to contribute without recompense.  This is especially so when the individual has a rather peculiar twinge of a smile — sort of like a crocodile wears when he’s contemplating some lunch — and is always seen wearing dark glasses — goggles dark enough to completely hide their eyes.

What are they hiding?

Self-styled Internet Entrepreneurs are in “biz” for one reason…usually.  They wanna get rich quick and own all the bells and whistles that go along with those quick riches — hot babes draped on their arms, hot wheels…as in expensive cars, opulent houses, and the lifestyle that befits those of the “rich and famous.”  In fact, that’s who they want to be.  But they are usually slime-balls.

Fair warning.  Do NOT release right to publish (copyright) of your images or words to someone who stands to gain while you get “a mention,” a small spot on some obscure part of the project’s final public offering, a reference in some footnote printed in 8 point type.  If they want your work or to quote you.  In other words, they must get express permission,  and if they want to use your artwork, you should require that they pay for that right.  Remember that, because, much as it might flatter you to be asked, they are only asking so they can use you to make them money, honey.

Your loss, their gain.  And, even if you strike a deal for royalties, remember that very few of these entrepreneurs make it, so any percentage of zero is zero.

Be wary, especially when opportunity wears extremely dark glasses and a crocodile’s smile.

Your Best Work Just Happens.

zentao trademark and logoI am an artist.  I paint, I sculpt, I draw.  And I do it spontaneously, without planning it, without worrying about how it will turn out.

That’s the secret, you know.  If you just stop fretting whether what you’re doing, whether what you’re going to do, will make the grade, that’s when your artistic side is freed to really dig in and express.

Try it yourself.  Get worried about whether a line is going to be curved just right or straight enough, fret whether your perspective is off, and every line, every curve, every arc and trajectory, will skew itself, turning out just the way you were afraid it would.

See that?  You pre-programmed yourself to fail — to do it “wrong”…which in and of itself is a whole other conversation we won’t get into right now.  But, when you fear, you set what you didn’t want to happen in your mind, and then it happens through your worried hand.

Instead, draw, paint, sculpt with confidence, freely letting go and letting your creativity ride on the thrill and high that is its own best spirit.  Then what turns out, though maybe not quite what you envisioned, will be glorious. 


Just try it if you don’t believe me.

Oh, and, remember, always let art steep after its initial birth.  You can’t see well when the innate self-adulator or self-critic is on the loose.  Wait and see it on a “neutral day.”