I'm asking the questions you didn't even know you wanted the answers to! Running a successful shop doesn't just depend on having good business sense. You have to have the personality and the perseverance to pull it off. Let's get inside the hearts and minds of up-and-coming artists, as well as those who are long in the tooth. Between all of us, maybe we can figure this thing out!
Every woman's dream is to be both cute and sexy at the same time. SeyStudios artwork pulls this off with her line of pin-up prints. Wasn't that nice of her to use me as her model? lol
This interview is just full of goodies, so I'm going to get out of the way and let SeyStudios have the floor.
I noticed that you are copyrighted. How much did this cost, and at what point in your business did you decide to take this step?
"As soon as you've created something in a tangible form, you have copyright on it. If it's still an idea, you can't copyright it, but as soon as you've painted it, you have copyright on it but, importantly, it's the way you've executed the idea that can be copyrighted, not the idea itself. You don't need to register copyright for it to exist. If you've created something for an employer or as work for hire, copyright belongs to them (unless your contract says otherwise). Inthe US to sue for copyright infringement, registration makes it less tricky.)" - painting.about.com/cs/artistscopyright/f/copyrightfaq2.htm
All the art I create is original and copyrighted. Understanding your rights as an artist and creator and what is yours and what is not is what matters. I know a lot of artists who are still unsure about this area and it is sad that this is not common knowledge. I had to do a lot of my own research outside of my formal education to get to the heart of ownership. And trust me, some of it is confusing.
With the computer era, there are still rules are still developing. It is illegal to take someone’s imagery off the internet and use it without their permission (and to not even give credit is an even worse offense). One of the reasons I started putting a watermark on my images was to stop theft from happening. I recommend that all artists use a watermark because the amount of theft that occurs nowadays. This cuts down on people from other parts of the world taking your work and using it as their own. When something like that happens, there is really not much you can do but try to contact the person to take it down. However, in most cases I have seen, they can’t do much due to language barrier, and even if they did understand you, they can always deny it. If they are in a completely different country than yourself then you cannot really prosecute, at least I haven’t seen proof of anyone being able to do so because different countries have different laws.
Most of your art is what I would classify as "risque". Have you thought about opening a second store for your child-oriented items, like your children's book?
I have thought about that, and my answer to that is, I don’t see the point. My target audience is those who like retro, pin-ups, fantasy, horror, theatre and kitsch. I started creating more children related art mostly because my audience is at the age where they are creating their own families and I’ve gotten so many requests for more kid-friendly things as well as the risque. Also, I feel that separating my work into two different areas really limits me and my audience. I try not to create works that really offend, and have yet to receive any complaints. In fact, it’s the mothers who really enjoy the "risqué" and get a great kick out of those pieces. What really allows me to get away with the more taboo pieces is my style. One of my favorite compliments I received from a customer was, "I love how your artwork is both cute and horribly wrong at the same time."
On your profile, you stated that you have been featured in different magazines. Did you do anything to make that happen or did they find you?
Research. I did a lot of it. I looked into various magazines, independent and otherwise, and tried to get a feel for what they were looking for. It seems those who are most interested are the pin-up magazines that distribute both hard copies and digital ones to their viewers. After that, I just sent them an email and asked if they would be interested in featuring my work.
Some people contact me directly, which is happening more now that I have working on marketing myself to widen my audience. But really, everything is by word of mouth and contacts. Never burn a bridge. You never know who knows who, and plus, what’s the point.
You have a separate website at www.seystudios.net. Do you find that customers follow links on that store to purchase out of your Etsy shop instead?
Honestly, I am not sure. I use my main website mostly to show galleries, magazines and companies my portfolio and what I do. If someone happens to go on their, I hope they can find the link to my store on the "About Me" page through the site. I actually find that more people visit the site after I have done an art and/or craft event. I do my best to make sure everyone takes a business card and on their people are directed to my site. I recently have tried banners on a few of my favorite websites, but the most traffic I generate seems to come from meeting people in person.
I love the mermaid zombie! Where did you get this idea?
Well thank you! I love her too. The idea came out of drawing mermaids and it was my favorite time of the year that inspired me. I thought if I combined Halloween into a mermaid, how awesome that would be. That’s how the Zombie Mermummy came to be. I really fell in love with her design. I sell a lot of prints of her, and the original is up for purchase.
SeyStudios doesn't just limit her products to her beautiful prints! You can also buy her originals, paperweights, pendants with her prints in them, and custom artwork.
Additional information from SeyStudios:
I'm still cooking my baby, and she's due to arrive in the world in August. :-p I am leaving my day job to get my art business a bit more solid so when she does come, I will have the basics up and running and be a little less frazzled.