'STUFF' Article

Thanks David James for the sweet writeup!

The artist finding fame and some fortune on Instagram

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DAVID JAMES/STUFF

Meredith Marsone and her painting, 'The Lost Generation', at the Millennium Public Art Gallery.

So apparently Instagram is no longer just a forum for selfies and pets in holiday costumes.

As a viable marketing tool for getting some exposure while making money, Instagram is the real deal.

For artists, in particular, social media has also transformed the way their art is seen and bought. It's not just happening, it's already happened.

 

DAVID JAMES/STUFF

'The Delicacies of a Dream', as part of Meredith Marsone's 'Arbitrary Dreams' exhibition.

The measure of success is, without doubt, down to the artist's talent, and the quality of their output, but the reach and spread of an artist's influence can also be reflected in the number Instagram followers they accrue, and how attentive they are to their loyal fan base.

Indeed, international galleries take note of an artist's social media influence, and art brokers have started calling artist's when they have a strong social media following.

And such is the story of Marlborough artist Meredith Marsone. Her work is probably known more internationally than it is in New Zealand, and part of that global success has come about from her ability to reach and interact with a global fan base, or 'following', through her Instagram account.

And when her Instagram account reached the tens of thousands, international galleries came calling.

"Instagram needs to be looked at as exposure for artists," Marsone says. "You're not likely to sell your work directly through the app - I have done that, but you need a fairly big following for that to start working.

"Really, it's about showing what you do, how you do it, how committed you are, your process, your whole practice. That gains you a reputation over time. You can show exactly how committed you are to your practice.

"Someone can flip through your Instagram and say, 'Oh wow, they've been posting regularly for an entire year. This is their life. They're doing it for real'.

"It means that a gallery can start trusting an artist right off the bat. Before social media, there was no way a New York gallery would take a punt on a New Zealander who's on the other side of the world ... no idea about who they are, how they practice.

"They just won't bother, not when there are so many artists on their doorstep, but now they can see it, or right there on their phone or their computer."

Oh, by the way, Marsone is an incredibly talented, and self-taught, painter who has been making her mark on the art world through her ethereal depictions of realistic figures embedded in an abstract world of soft colour palettes.

There's an opaqueness, and misty overlay separating Marsone's faces from the viewer, which gives the effect of a subtle, eerie voyeurism. You feel like you are staring in on an undiscovered world, that is awfully familiar, and at times uncomfortable.

Marsone's work has gained plenty of international attention through Instagram, but this will be her first time showing in New Zealand in nearly three years.

"I travelled for my solo last year in LA and then the year before that my solo was in Sydney. Prior to that, I was only showing in New Zealand.

"Prior to the Instagram, very local. After Instagram, very international, so now I'm trying to bring it back home and show locally."

Marsone gave a floor talk on her new exhibit 'Arbitrary Dreams' at the Millennium Public Art Gallery earlier this month, but she is presenting a new talk on Sunday in which she will be discussing her own Instagram strategies for artists.

In the floor talk, 'Instagram for Artists Workshop', Marsone will be reflecting on her own experience using Instagram, while imparting some clever tips and tricks for using the tool for art marketing. 

Marsone admits that she stumbled across her own Instagram strategies through trial and error. But then, one day, her account just started "blowing up".

"Yeah, and that's just been an organic growth. People are a bit fascinated by the fact that I have more than 30,000 followers, and want to know how I did it. I thought, 'Well, I can share that. I don't mind doing that'."

And since Marsone made the move from Christchurch to Marlborough with her husband and family, she says she is looking forward to the opportunity to connect with other artists in her new community.

"There's a few secrets I'm perfectly happy to share with other artists, and I hope that they work for them as well."

The details

'Instagram for Artists Workshop' with Meredith Marsone

Millennium Public Art Gallery

Sunday, May 27, 10am – 11am

 - Stuff

How to Commission a Painting

Have you ever wanted to commission a painting but not quite sure of how to go about it?

Its a simple process so long as you and the artist have the same understanding. 

Firstly, do a little research on the artist you like. You should be able to gather some information to understand your artist's price point, their style and preferred subject matter. 

Once you've found your artist, try and be as specific as you can about what you want.

Think about these things;

Is the medium important to you or will you leave this up to the artist?

What size would you like the finished piece? 

What is your budget?

Who or what would you like the painting of? Try and be as specific as you can. If you have a photo you'd like the artist to work from, include this in your email. If its a portrait and the sitter is close by (and if possible) I like to meet the subject and take my own reference photos.

All of these things will be needed for the artist to give you a quote.

 

Questions you might like to ask your artist;

Do you work from photographs or life?

Is there time in your schedule for my commission?

When can I expect delivery of my commission?

Is shipping included in your fee?

 

Once you've established these points make sure you have an email clarifying all the information that you can both refer back to if needed. Most artists will then require a non-refundable deposit in order to get started. Full payment will be expected when the painting is complete and you are happy with it.

An example of a recent commission. The client was in a different country so I worked from a photograph of his daughter.

 This commission was a very large 1500x1500mm portrait where the client allowed me my own creative input to capture this little boys vibrancy. 

This commission was a very large 1500x1500mm portrait where the client allowed me my own creative input to capture this little boys vibrancy. 

If you're considering commissioning a painting don't be afraid to start a conversation with an artist. We love to hear from you!

 

The making of Autumn Sun and where she is now

Sometimes I see an image that gets me really excited and I just have to paint it! I've been an admirer of Hannah Rose' self portraits for a while but this one particularly grabbed me. You can follow her on Instagram here 

She very graciously allowed me to paint her photograph and here is the process...

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The original image, screenshot from Instagram and used with permission as reference for the painting.

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Starting to lay in the face, looking closely at the change in values. Im also altering the colour drastically so this requires another level of 'translation'.

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Further progress with the basic shapes of the hair.

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I didn't record the in-between steps here but here is a colour adjusted image of the final painting after adding the detailing- hair, clothing, light adjustments and little finishing touches.

Some paintings are pure joy to create. Thanks again Hannah for allowing me to paint you!

This painting is called Autumn Sun and is currently on display as a finalist in The Hope and Sons Art Award, Otago Art Society in Dunedin, NZ (Dunedin Railway Station 10am-4pm daily until Sunday 20th May) For purchase enquiries please contact the OtagoArtSociety@xtra.co.nz 

Tiny Work Tuesday is back!

So after a bit of illness, and some focussing on my health and my family Tiny Work Tuesday is back because, well, you asked for more! 

Now available in my shop is the latest small offering TWT 6.

I don't often sketch, but when I do it will invariably be still using a paint brush. The way I discriminate between a painting and a sketch is a painting is a very deliberate, layering process while sketching can involve freer, looser brushwork. Thats not to say there isn't cross over between the two methods at times, but generally speaking this is my own personal definition.

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TINY WORK TUESDAY!!

Every Tuesday at noon (NZ time) one #tinyworktuesday will be released for sale in my shop on my website for NZ$200 (approximately US$150) including standard international shipping 9tracking option available). Each piece will be on a first in first served basis, no reserves. The medium and substrate and size may vary between works- you never know what will come up on Tiny Work Tuesday! I hope you enjoy this series.

Time conversions:

EST 6pm Mondays

LA 3pm Mondays

Australia EDT 10am Tuesday

London 1am Tuesday

 Tiny Work Tuesday 1, oil on board, 100x100mm (4x4") available  here

Tiny Work Tuesday 1, oil on board, 100x100mm (4x4") available here

 Tiny Work Tuesday 2, oil on board, 100x100mm (4x4") available  here

Tiny Work Tuesday 2, oil on board, 100x100mm (4x4") available here

Put on the spot...

Last week I had the honour of being invited to show with the Marlborough Society of Arts exhibition 'Figure' which is on view until the 22nd Dec. At the opening I was awarded a critics prize and unexpectedly asked to speak about my work. Heres what I had to say followed by the critics words about the work.