My Spreadshop Dream
Artists + Online Sales Channels = Win
Unlike my other blogs, this isn’t an emotionally charged post. Recently I’ve been creating projects between paid work to keep myself busy, engaged, and learning new things. Some of what I’ve learned will aid me in the future classroom, while some of it will aid my bank account (I hope).
Spreadshirt is a company I discovered some time ago and used to print one off t-shirts for myself. Often I’d get asked how people could buy one of my shirts. I wasn’t confident enough in the design or my online skills to create a shop for them to purchase from, so, I danced around the subject. Something that seemed cool to me at first became something I was ashamed of later – so what was the point?
Eventually, I came to realize that my shame was just my shyness. I have two conflicting sides; one is shy and humble, while the other is bold and borderline arrogant. Yeah, I can admit that.
Now that I am self-employed I have time to brainstorm, create better designs and to set up a shop for residual income. One of the lengthiest designs was the Deep End project. That project took 8-hours from concept to completion, but stewed in my mind for 4-years. 4-years!
Once I got started in the design process for t-shirt art, I had an epiphany. I could literally make every crazy, funny, and dark idea come to life. I could even remake some of my favorite shirts from the past, spiced with the flavor of Nolli.
The instant gratification of the process became instantly intoxicating.
Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself
I was hammering out designs, adding them to the shop and caught myself noticing small details that just bugged me. So I’d scrap the design in the shop, go back to the program and work out the bugs, then do it all over again. And again. And again.
After a few days I realized I was being impatient and was caught up in quantity over quality. That realization and the minor errors I was observing struck a chord in my self-esteem as a designer.
Was I not good enough? I crawled down the path of comparison, looking at other designers that I admire. Terrible idea. It’s like when you’re eating junk food and scrolling on instagram and your feed is consumed by lean bodied hotties. You just feel like crap, and eat more as a result.
Some of my favorite designers were flawless and others had flaws, but they accepted them and made them part of their style.
I’m not very good at that. In fact, I have no particular style. Not for lack of trying. I’ve watched videos, read books, and attempted different techniques, but nothing resonates with me enough that I feel… found.
Let Me Pause
The only thing that made sense to me was to simply slow down. I’ve always believed it’s about quality over quantity with art. We are taught the opposite in schools, but expected to produce high quality pieces regardless.
So, I paused. I can work a number of designs all at the same time, but I’m not going to rush them to the shop. I’m going to sit on them and let them ferment in my mind so I can see the flaws and make better decisions.
This world of instant gratification, access, and publication is dangerous if we don’t pause and give ourselves a moment to consider whatever it is that we’re doing.
I am an introvert. I overcome that aspect of myself everytime I leave the house. Still, it’s difficult for me to go out and make cold sales, rather I like to produce work and allow the work to call forth new clients. It won’t get me far in the graphic design world though, and I am unwilling to work myself to sickness for a paycheck…
Businesses like Spreadshop and søciety6 give designers, illustrators, and artists like me an opportunity to create art and have a way to get it to a marketplace where people can support our ideas or relate to us.
One design may continue to pay us for years. Whereas when I design a logo or a some marketing materials I am paid one time and the business or organization may continue to reap the benefits of my design, while I do not.
The dream is to be able to make a living off of art. These shops bring us a little closer to that dream.
Please, support living artists.