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Creative Close-Up: Why I Love DC & Marvel….

Creative Close-Up: Why I Love DC & Marvel….

November 30 / 17

With the third installment of Thor: Ragnarok and Justice League, Marvel, and DC are busy whipping up superhero films left and right….well, Marvel is. DC is just catching up. You have people who love DC, like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and then there are those who love Marvel, such as Captain America, Iron Man, Spiderman, and the Hulk. Me? I simply love both Marvel and DC. Yeah, I said it. Why? Well….

Both Have Created Complex Heroes

DC has their god-like superheroes with their fair share of problems. Let’s look at Superman. For at least the past several decades this Kryptonian has become the fixture your typical boy scout hero, with the power to destroy Earth, but he chooses to not to. Even though he’s forbidden to get involved with Earth’s affairs, he chooses to do the opposite. He wants to be the solution instead of the problem. While people embraced him, some have not. Even though he has his adoptive mother, Martha Kent and the love of his life, Lois Lane, he still feels alone. You have to remember this man is an alien from another planet, while just trying to do right in the world. Batman, Bruce Wayne, is just your average regular guy, well, a very wealthy guy I might add, who decides to fight crime in the city of Gotham. We all know how his parents died and who is responsible. I think he hasn’t fully healed from that tragedy in his life. It’s an open wound, almost a reminder of why he does the job anyway. Which reminds me of a scene from Justice League. How much longer can Bruce continue as the Dark Knight? He’s not like Superman or even Wonder Woman. Diana, Princess of Thymescra, knows the ways of the Amazons, but she also had to learn the world of men.

While DC has their complex heroes, Marvel has them also. Stephen Rodgers, the man behind Captain America is a man out of his time. He’s adjusting to a world different from the one he left behind. Like Superman, Rodgers is always up to the challenge to do the right thing. I always think that Rodgers is one of those guys who always have morals and sticks to them. That’s why people respect him. Bruce Banner, whose alter ego is the Hulk, is a man I have sympathy for. Banner, who was exposed to gamma rays during an experiment, becomes the Hulk in emotional distress or sometimes against his will. When you really think about it, the Hulk represents an almost dark psyche persona of Banner.

The thing is these heroes have their share of problems no matter how super or tough they are.

Both Have Crazy Cool Villains

With every protagonist, there is an antagonist. That is the staple of a great comic or graphic novel right? Both Marvel and DC have given us plenty of that. You got the Joker, Catwoman, Lex Luther, Thanos, Ultron, Loki….I can only say that these villains have reasons for what they do, but they are just as complex or more as the heroes.  You know their bad, but you want to root for them, well some of them. Lex Luther, that one foe of Superman…a man with a plan. He hates what Superman stands for yet, he’s intrigued by what makes the Man of Steel who he is. Joker, on the other hand, he’s just plain crazy. The polar opposite of Batman, both were created from tragic events. He’s unpredictable, almost one step ahead of the game and downright dangerous. You really don’t want to mess with him or his main squeeze Harley Quinn. Shes just as crazy as he his, a psychopath really, but she does have a heart, in her own crazy way.

Thor’s adoptive brother, Loki has issues…deep-seated issues, daddy issues. He craves love and attention. Magneto, a survivor of the horrors of Auschwitz and Nazi Germany, is willing to use force to protect mutant kind. Thanos, well he’s just dangerous and threatening. Sometimes you just can’t place a finger on to why these guys are just crazy cool. They just are. You do sympathize as to why they do the most despicable things. There is always a reason to the madness.

 

The Best of Both

To sum it up, the world of DC and Marvel have created a universe that will continue to new generations of fans. DC fans, Marvel fans, or both. I’ve followed both from a very early age. Wonder Woman has always been my favorite so to see her on the big screen was a great thrill. I’m expecting the same for Captain Marvel.

Marvel has up the ante with the whole Cinematic Universe. Now that Avengers: Infinity War trailer has arrived, the expectations are high! We waited a good long while for this didn’t we? The solo films of Iron Man, Spider-Man, Thor, and Captain America gave us an introduction to the characters. I can’t wait to see Black Panther and let’s hope that Black Widow gets her own solo film. I don’t know how many more films Marvel has planned, but we’ll see how far they can go.

DC has a lot of catching up to do. I was very excited about Justice League. While I thorouly enjoyed the film, I was disappointed that some scenes were left out. If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. I wanted to know a little more about the Flash and Cyborg, but I can only hope that a director’s cut will be available when it hits digital and Blu-Ray. Again, DC has some catching up do to. The DC Extended Universe still has some bugs, but I’m positive that we can still see some great storyline and character developments coming soon.

In my opinion, there is no such thing as DC vs Marvel. Nope, there is room for all.

 

 

 

Image source: Euro Palace
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Creative Close-Up: Creative Writing

Creative Close-Up: Creative Writing

October 30 / 17

Hey everyone! Hope you guys enjoyed your weekend. I wanted to share with you a few videos about Creative Writing. That’s what this month’s Creative Close-Up is about. I’m sure some of you have always wanted to write, but are not quite sure how to go about it. I can only hope this can help you along your creative writing journey. Some of these videos are a few years old, but they’re still effective.

Enjoy your Monday, be creative, be blessed!

 

 

Image source: unknown

 

Creative Close-Up: Art Business Institute Tools

Creative Close-Up: Art Business Institute Tools

August 29 / 17

Hey! It’s time for some Creative Close-Up. For those who are trying to get their foot in the door of the art industry, Arts Business Institute has a few tips to share with you….


credit source: Arts Business Institute

How Direct Mail Marketing Can Boost Your Art Business

 

What You Can Learn from Your Competition

 

Art and the Corporate Market

 

Staying Focused? Or Chasing Money?

 

Sell Your Handmade Work to High-End Clientele

 

How to Improve Your Art Website About Page

 

I hope these articles from ABI are helpful. Enjoy your day, be blessed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image source: Wallup.net

 

 

Creative Close-Up: From Digital Music News…..

Creative Close-Up: From Digital Music News…..

July 29 / 17

Hey everybody…it’s time for a Creative Close-Up. I found a recent article about music streaming, courtesy of Digital Music News. This has been updated to show you how much the artists are making. Read it and see for yourself.


Digital Music News

What Streaming Music Services Pay (Updated for 2017)

Image source by Information is Beautiful

So, how much can you expect to get from Spotify, Apple Music, and other streaming platforms?

Music streaming services have helped to spark a revival in the music industry.  This year alone, major labels have reported record-breaking revenue.

But how much are artists actually earning?

We’ve been compiling data on this for a few years.  But getting a comprehensive, overarching look is pretty difficult.  Now, Information is Beautiful has released a new infograph showing how much major streaming services actually pay.  It reflects their best efforts to amass per-stream data into one diagram.

Calculate Your Earnings from Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Amazon, Google Play & More

Two years ago, the team at Information is Beautiful did the same analysis.  They analyzed what it would take for an artist to receive a monthly wage minimum of $1,260. For example, Google Play Music paid out $0.0073 per play; so artists would need 172,206 plays to earn the $1,260.

TIDAL, which paid out $0.007 per play, would require a similar amount.

Artists on YouTube have traditionally received lowest amount.  In 2015, the video platform paid $0.0003 per play.  To earn the minimum wage amount, musicians would need 4.2 million plays on the platform.

Now, Information is Beautiful has updated their list for 2017.

This year, they compared eight major music streaming services: Napster, YouTube, Pandora, Apple Music, TIDAL, Google Play, Deezer, and Spotify.  The team tracked the following information:

  • Artist revenue per play.
  • Total users (millions) per platform.
  • Percentage of free users on the platform.
  • Plays needed to earn minimum monthly wage ($1,472).
  • Total annual loss reported by the streaming platform.
  • Annual loss per user.

It’s worth noting that this report doesn’t apply to signed artists, as they receive an unreported cut based on their contracts.

And the king of streaming payouts is… Napster?

Napster topped this year’s list with the highest artist revenue paid out per play.  For a single stream, Napster paid out $0.0167.  Compared to its competitors, however, the platform has the second-lowest amount of total users: 5 million.  So it can be difficult to scale that per-play number, but great if you assemble a core Napster following.

To earn minimum wage, an artist would need 90,000 plays on the platform.

But why does Napster have higher payouts?  The answer may be that the service doesn’t have a free tier.  In 2015, a Napster spokesperson told TechRadar that a freemium business model simply “isn’t sustainable.”

The company has reported losses, however.  Yet, its losses only amounted to $35 million, the third-lowest on the list.  With five million users on its platform, on average, each user costs Napster $7.78.

Second place in payouts: TIDAL

Despite Jay Z’s massive star power, users have yet to flock to the high-fidelity streaming service.  The company last reported around 4 million users, though it may have inflated its total subscription numbers. The Jay Z-owned streamer pays out $0.0110 per stream.  An artist on the platform would need 130,000 plays to earn the monthly minimum wage amount.

Based on Information is Beautiful’s calculations, only 28% of users on the platform pay for a subscription.  TIDAL last reported an annual loss of $28 million, the second lowest on the list.  Each user costs the company about $6.67.

Third place: Apple Music

In just two years, over 27 million people have subscribed to Apple Music.  It took Spotify nearly a decade to reach 50 million.  While Apple remains secretive about its losses, unsigned artists on the platform can expect to receive $0.0064 per play.  For an unsigned artist to earn $1,472, they’d need 230,000 plays.  Apple didn’t share how much each user costs the company.

The former payout king falls to fourth place

In 2015, unsigned artists on Google Play Music would earn $0.0179 per play.  That number has since decreased to $0.0059.

Like Apple, Google won’t report on its annual music losses.  That includes how much each user costs the company.  Currently, the service has more than 5 million paid subscribers, and 5 million more on a free tier service (possibly on a trial subscription).

For an artist to earn minimum wage on the platform, they would need 250,000 plays.

Say hello to Deezer

French-based music streaming service Deezer may not have a huge presence in the United States just yet.  However, it is available in over 180 countries.  It also has more than 40 million licensed tracks.

On average, the service pays out $0.0056 per stream, slightly lower than Google Play Music.  It also has 16 million total users, 57% of whom are on a free-tier.  To earn $1,472, an artist would need 260,000 plays on the platform.

Deezer also has the lowest annual loss on the list.  Each user costs Deezer just $1.69.

Et tu, Spotify?

Ahead of their long-awaited IPO, Spotify is currently embroiled in controversy. While the service has the highest number of paid subscriptions, artists often complain about low payouts.  According to Information is Beautiful, the Swedish streamer pays out $0.0038 per stream.  That means for an artist to earn minimum wage, they would need 380,000 plays on the platform.

Two years ago, the service paid out $0.007 per stream.  Unsigned artists would need 180,000 plays to earn $1,260.

The streaming platform has recently locked down long-term licensing deals with major labels.  It also has 140 million total users.  According to Information is Beautiful, 57% use its free-tier service.  The number doesn’t add up, as Spotify last reported over 50 million users.  Roughly 90 or so million use the service.

Losses at the company continue growing, however.  Information is Beautiful calculates an annual loss of $194 million, with each user costing the company $1.39.

DMN’s investigation calculates losses over $600 million.

Struggling Pandora lands in seventh place

Without presenting a clear financial plan, Pandora’s CEO promised investors that the company would turn a profit this year.

On the infograph, Pandora landed in second-to-last place with one of the worst artist payouts.  Per stream, Pandora pays $0.0011.  It also has the second-highest amount of total users, right behind Spotify.  However, an unsigned artist would need 1.2 million plays to earn minimum wage on the platform.  Its losses also grew to $250 million. Each user costs the company $3.20.

Don’t expect to earn money once again on: YouTube

Artists, major labels, and music organizations have long called out YouTube for its paltry royalty payments.  The Google-owned company has defended itself, stating that it has paid out over $1 billion.  The numbers speak for themselves, however.

Two years ago, YouTube paid unsigned artists $0.0018 per play on its video platform.  That number has dropped to $0.0006, the lowest on the list.  The platform has one billion users.  The team at Information is Beautiful calculates that only .1% have subscribed to YouTube Red.

For an artist to earn minimum wage on the platform, they would need 2.4 million plays.  While this number remains high, two years ago, unsigned artists would earn $1,260 only after just 70,000 plays.

The Google-owned video platform reported a loss of $174 million.  With over 1 billion users, each costs YouTube just 17 cents.

Featured image by Information is Beautiful

[UPDATE] The numbers originally referenced in this piece were for signed artists, not unsigned artists.  The calculations have since been updated to reflect unsigned artists.

I hope Mr. Sanchez’s article gave you something to think about.

Creative Close-Up: There Is Good Music….You Just Have to Look For It

Creative Close-Up: There Is Good Music….You Just Have to Look For It

June 26 / 17

I’m sure most of you are guilty of asking this question, is there any good music out there? Any great music groups, singers, rappers, etc.? Is there any good music at all? I’m guilty of this myself.

Each decade, music has evolved. At times music was good and sometimes it can be bad. We’ve nodded our heads to singers and groups we agreed with and covered our ears in disdain to those we don’t agree with.  I’ve always been one of those people who gave each genre of music a chance. So, what I’m trying to say is that there is good music out there. All you have to do is look for it.

Looking to the Past

I used to have my old records from my youth, but I don’t have them anymore. I do wish I could’ve saved them though because vinyl has slowly made its way back. I grew up during the 80s and do I miss those days. That’s when music was really interesting. I can list many of the songs I grew up with. Let’s Dance by David Bowie, Rock the Casbah by the Clash, Luther Vandross, Michael Jackson, Adam Ant, Duran Duran, New Edition….yeah I can name them and thank God for Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal and other music streaming sites. Just to pull up music from the past makes it worthwhile. You start to discover music your parents grew up with. At first, you think it’s no good, but that changes when you start to listen, really listen. I’ve rediscovered Nina Simone and Doris Day. Peter Frampton’s Do You Feel Like We Do from Frampton Comes Alive album is one of my faves that I sometimes play over and over. Discovering songs from the past brings not only the music but the artist and songwriter who put it on the map. It brings back a fresh sound all over again.

New Blood

There are really great new artists out there that have made waves with great music. It’s like shifting through grains of sand. Your hearing all this noise of new music. There are some artists who have me hooked, like Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper, Disclosure, Rebecca Ferguson, the list goes on. You know that these and other artists will be here for a long time and are not going anywhere.

Yeah, even those that have pushed their talent into TV just to get discovered. If it wasn’t for American Idol, we wouldn’t know anything about Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, or Carrie Underwood. Let’s not forget The Voice. There are many opportunities for singers and musicians who want their talents known.

 

Lastly, Feuds Are Stupid…Focus On the Music

One other thing…I’ve been wanting to say this: don’t let these feuds, beefs, or rivalries or whatever get you distracted. Remy Ma vs Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry vs Taylor Swift, and so on and so on. These feuds are just plain stupid. Period. So high school. There is room for everybody. Everybody. These feuds start to look interesting, but as always, it falls flat. The music doesn’t seem interesting anymore and neither the artists. It’s a waste of time. These artists need to focus on the music and stop worrying what the other is doing. That’s my simple opinion.

So yes, there is good music out there. From the latest ad for a movie trailer, fashion show, the radio, even tv shows (thanks Halt and Catch Fire). The influence is everywhere. Like I said, you just have to find it or let it find you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

featured image: WallpaperSafari

 

Creative Close-Up: Reviving Your Creativity

Creative Close-Up: Reviving Your Creativity

May 30 / 17

There comes a time for every creative person…artist, writer, musician, or photographer, when our creative train makes an unexpected stop. For a writer, people call it writer’s block, an artist, I guess it’s artist’s block. Whatever it’s called, you reach a point where you’re just plain stuck.

This is where it’s time to do a creative revival. How do you do that? Well, there are many things you can do. I can tell you how I managed to revive mine.

Take a trip to a museum, a concert, art or music festival. This helps your brain to take in all the creativity that other people put out. You get inspired by how that artist created that piece of work, the story behind it, and why they created it. Musicians get inspired to write that great song. Going to a movie also revs up some creative juices. It takes a creative village to put a great film out there. A good trilogy always gives inspiration to some great ideas, right?

A weekend trip also clears and revives your head. Your brain needs a breather from all the day-to-day stuff that our brains deal with 24/7, all year long. Just to clear out the stress and anxiety. Not only that, but you’ll also feel more relaxed and more in tune with yourself.

Creative disruption is another good way to revive. I always find that rearranging your workspace or just cleaning your house is a good way to reevaluate your creativity. You may just find a short story you thought you threw away, the one you thought was a waste of time writing? Maybe it needs something different, something new. Or what about that sketch in between some books you found? Something good can come out that, right?

Like I said, there are many things you can do to get out of that artist or writer’s block. Trying new things like a class, workshop, even networking, the list goes on and on. Once that happens, then you’re ready to pick up where you left off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

featured image: WallDevil

Creative Close-Up: Read Up On This….

Creative Close-Up: Read Up On This….

April 24 / 17

Hello! April is coming to a close and it’s time from some Creative Close-Up. Today a found a few articles you may want to read….


cred: artsy shark, arts business institute, skinny artist

6 Ways to Boost Your Online Art Sales

By Carolyn Edlund

 

 

Are You Disorganized? It Could be Hurting Your Art Business 

by guest blogger Katie Carey

 

 

Here three from Skinny Artist….

Your Creativity Changes Lives–Know It, Believe It, Live It!

by Liz DeMarco

 

How to be Creative While on the Road

by Millie Swaby-Pritchard

 

Living a More Creative Life

by JoAnneh Nagler

 

I hope these articles put a bit of creative fire in you for the week. Enjoy the rest of your Monday, be blessed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

featured images: wallpaperscraft, artsy shark, arts business institute

Creative Close-Up: Art Tips of the Sharing Kind…

Creative Close-Up: Art Tips of the Sharing Kind…

Feb. 27 / 17 

Hey again! As most of you know, I like to show people the best in art education, websites, and what not. I found this article from Artsy Shark by guest blogger Adam Eisenstat titled, How to Write a Compelling Artist Statement. It’s worth the read, this may be a great benefit….


cred: adam eisenstat & artsy shark

How to Write a Compelling Artist Statement

by Artsy Shark guest blogger Adam Eisenstat

Why is an artist statement important?

An artist statement is a marketing piece designed to make someone interested in your work. A good artist statement helps make an artist and his/her work more compelling.

Many artists believe their work speaks for itself, which is true to an extent. But a strong written overview/explanation of what you do—emphasizing key aspects of your work and, if relevant, your life—can expand and even enhance the work in important ways.

I’ve written materials for many artists working in a wide variety of styles and genres. One artist statement I did illustrates particularly well how this standard promotional piece can really complement the work. The artist works in encaustics (wax paintings), and she’s a psychotherapist. Her paintings are very colorful and abstract. To look at them, you probably wouldn’t know that memory is a major theme of her art, and you certainly wouldn’t know that she’s a psychotherapist. But this information is crucial to her work, and knowing it clearly enhances the viewer’s understanding.

What makes a good artist statement?

Clarity. You should get to the point and be thorough about your art, but not exhaustive.

There’s always more you can say about your work (since you know everything about it), but saying too much can muddle your message.

Brevity. An artist statement should be concise. Rare is the statement that’s more than 500 words (one page, single-spaced). You have to assume that most people who see your statement will only read two or three paragraphs (if that), which is why the key information should be at the top. Keep in mind: an artist statement is a work of publicity, not scholarship or explication.

Focus. Initially, before even thinking about the specifics of your statement, you should ask yourself: What am I trying to accomplish as an artist; who am I trying to reach? This is the strategic dimension of the statement—it requires that you clarify your goals, and then write about your art accordingly, to serve those goals.

What information should be included in an artist statement?

Your statement should contain only that information you consider most important—to your art and to your goals. Stick to the basics.

Art theory, jargon, and complex ideas should be used sparingly. What if your art is genuinely complex and/or rooted in theory? That’s fine, but in your statement you should just hint at these ideas and complexities; provide a basic outline.

Here are some examples of information to include:

* Basic concept of the work/series

* Major themes, primary subject matter/imagery

* Process/methodology for creating your work

* Materials used (paint type, colors, dimensions, etc.).

* How your work is different from other artists using similar materials/similar approach

* Compositional philosophy/conceptual approach

* Influences/current inspirations

* Overarching message of your work, basic philosophy, etc.

What autobiographical elements should be included in the statement?

This leads to another question: What importance do autobiographical elements play in your work?

An artist statement should be light on personal information (which can be included in your resume or in a separate bio, if necessary). An exception to this would be if your biography—personal details of your life—are directly relevant to your work. In that case, you might want to include more autobiographical information than someone who does not overtly draw from his/her life as a basis for their art. Of course every artist draws on his/her life experience, but a lot of those details aren’t necessarily relevant and can be left out.

Some final words

Many artists approach self-promotion with dread—it may not be natural for them, and they would really just prefer to work on their art. The biggest artists don’t usually have to worry about the details of their marketing, but if you’re like most artists you probably don’t have that luxury, so you’ll have to do much if not all of your own promotion. It doesn’t have to be such a chore, though; it can be enriching and actually help you understand your own work better. And ultimately, the point is to get your work out there and advance your career. You can make promoting your work creative and personally rewarding.

 

I told you it was worth a read. I hope that Mr. Eisenstat’s article leaves you with lessons to tackle self-promotion. Enjoy your Monday, be blessed!

To know a bit more about Adam Eisenstat, you can go to www.linkedin.com/in/adameisenstat/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

featured image: unknown