I decided for this blog entry to divert away from my usual sneaker art posts and kinda post a personal editorial/air out some thoughts, which have to do with the future of Ecentrik Artistry and my art career. 2015 has been a roller coaster year and there are a few changes i'm looking to make for the new year to get things back to where I think they need to be. I don't really like to be one of those "New Years resolution/new year, new me" people as I believe that a person shouldn't wait for a new year to make needed changes, but the timing of my little epiphany makes it seem that way. This may be a little bit long so to the few people who follow this blog and care to hear/see what's been on my mind, sit back and enjoy.
Back in 2008 when I first came up with the idea to start Ecentrik Artistry (I've actually been working with sneakers since 2002), the idea was to take my craft, which I had been developing since '02, to the next level. Having truly developed my own style during that time, I wanted Ecentrik Artistry to be seen as my evolution to people who were previously familiar with my stuff (used to post a lot back in the MySpace era) as the plan was to incorporate more of my signature style into all of my work. I love doing "artsy" concepts and wanted it to be where a person could look at each custom I created and say "That's definitely an Ecentrik (Artistry) design". While I think overall I did a pretty good job of establishing myself (grateful for all the features on websites like Kicks On Fire, Nice Kicks, Sneaker Freaker, Ace Of Customs, etc. as well as the audience I built on social media), I feel like at times, especially the past 2-3 years, that I've kinda strayed away from my original formula.
There have been periods these past two years especially where I felt like i've been doing some artists no-nos, two in particular stand out: 1) Discounting/devaluing my work at times, and 2) Doing work that doesn't necessarily make me happy and at times was not profitable. I wanna touch on each of these with some explanation:
1. Devaluing my work
A number of times the past two years, I've done discount sales. Now I understand that sometimes businesses do these things for holidays and special occasions, which isn't always a bad thing (Ironically I have one going on right now at the website till the end of the year but it's the last one i'm planning) but at times I've done it when I shouldn't have....almost as if I were trying to throw a bone to the people who would contact me and attempt to low ball me for custom work. I see people who low ball as people who don't understand or respect what goes into custom hand made work which can take anywhere between 10 to 20 hours average for a pair. Those people think it's easy because we artists & creative types make our crafts look effortless but don't understand the YEARS we put into getting to that point where we can make it look easy....and even if we make it look easy, trust me, it's not....if it were then everyone would be doing it. It's one thing for a friend or family member to get a hook up (IF the person providing the service offers it) but aside from that, no one who's good at their craft and put the time in to get good at it should devalue their work. So I decided that going into the new year, there will be no devaluing my work any longer. The low ballers are not the type of clientele that I want to attract to or have supporting my product. My work is high end and will be treated as such. I've had plenty of people who pay full price for my work because they know they are getting quality from me and those are the people i'm glad to have as supporters.
2. Doing unsatisfying work
In some cases this is actually a continuation of the above paragraph. I've had some people who not only don't respect the value, but send requests my way that I wasn't necessarily excited to do. I can't count how many times i've had to turn away a request from someone who wanted me to copy someone else's custom and the majority of the time that person doesn't want to pay full price. Now although money's very important (have to make a living plus money = resources and allows me to fund new projects), I don't do it strictly for the money....I actually do want to have fun with it since it's still based on my love for the craft as well. While I have had some awesome ideas pitched my way by clients, bu I've also had some that I wasn't enthusiastic about. Asking an artist to basically copy and paste for you doesn't necessarily make them excited to take on that project (at least not one who values their craft & isn't just about the money) because there's zero creative control involved for us and it feels so cookie-cutter. Aside from my regular/repeat customers (who are always fun to work with because I get a lot of creative freedom even if the original idea is theirs), I feel like I've taken on a lot of requests that I didn't have any creative control with and that weren't a good representation of my personal style (don't even get me started on the catering to the "hypebeasts" thing lol). So I decided for here on out I will be a lot more selective about the requests I accept & will only take on projects that I either have full creative freedom over or at least a large amount of it...I can do a little compromising in the right situation(s) but for the most part, I'm only accepting projects that I find interesting. Other than 1-of-1 requests, I want to put most the main focus on my original works that are sold on my website.
Another thing I want to get back into is my canvas paintings and custom toys (many of which can be seen on my new artist website which i'll go into more detail about in a future post). Although sneakers/footwear is what I enjoy doing the most and will continue to do, I have always been more than just a sneaker artist (I don't really refer to myself as a customizer...not that it's a dirty word or anything but I consider myself an artist who's main canvas happens to be sneakers because i'm a sneaker (and fashion) fan). But hey, call it what you want....to each their own.
So that's basically it. Bottom line: Yes there's a lot of work involved in both the creative and business ends of what I do (keep in mind i'm a one man show...from creating the works to managing my websites, emails, blogs, Facebook, Instagram, etc.), I still want what I do to be fun. So my "hitting the reset button" is me taking Ecentrik Artistry back to what it was originally meant to be.