Digital Spotlight: Annie Stoll and SquidSalad.net

We are very proud to present to you our second Digital Spotlight, featuring the immensely talented graphic artist and illustrator Annie Stoll! Annie has a quite expansive portfolio of work, ranging from anime- and video game- themed fan-art and jewelry she sells at conventions, to graphic design for clients like LucasFilm (yes, THAT LucasFilm) and Ani DiFranco (for whom she does CD packaging and merchandise design with White Bicycle and Grammy winning art director Brian Grunert). Not to mention her latest webcomic project, Squid Salad! In this latest Digital Spotlight, Annie opens up with us about the ways she gets her art noticed and how to make social media work for you as an artist.

Annie is also contributing her talents to our webseries, This Is Art. You will be able to see her illustrations featured in the opening animation that will start each episode. When it came to choosing an illustrator, Annie immediately popped into our heads. She’s such a flexible, professional, and driven artist who knows how to have a presence on the internet. Plus, she’s a blast with which to work!

Annie has inspired me as an artist since I first met her over two years ago (her artwork decorated my apartment far before I ever met her face-to-face). Here are four invaluable lessons that Annie has taught me, and that every new media artist can learn from Annie and the work that she’s done:

1. Be Fearless. Don’t be afraid to promote yourself and your work and network as much as possible, even when it comes to artists or producers who intimidate you. Have confidence in your own work and show no fear when it comes to promoting yourself.

2. Support your fellow artists. Twitter, Facebook, and all those other social media technologies are great for spreading the word about the work that your peers are putting out there. Also, when the other artists in your life need help that you can offer, offer it. Collaboration is key to discovering new things about your own work.

3. Get organized. Have a system, stick with it. Be as prepared as possible and plan ahead. This level of professionalism will show in the quality of your work.

4. Know your audience. Every demographic is a chance for someone new to fall in love with your work. Annie has a unique style that she’s been able to cater to a wide variety of clients (including yours truly – after all, she did the illustrations and web design foremilyfloyd.net!). Proper research and knowledge of an audience give you the edge that gets your work noticed on the internet!

Annie, we wish you nothing but continued success and we can’t wait to collaborate with you on our webseries! If you’re interested in being a guest on our Digital Spotlight series, leave a comment, DM us on Twitter, or email us at thisisartwebseries (at) gmail (dot) com.

– Emily Floyd

@emilythespoon
@followthisisart
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Digital Spotlight: Honey and the Whirlwind

We’ve been talking about Digital Spotlights since May and now that we’re in post production for This Is Art, it’s time to put up or shut up! Needless to say, we’re really excited to FINALLY kick off this companion series. We’ve met so many amazing new media artists while working on This Is Art and we’d be crazy not to ask them to share the pearls of wisdom they’ve gleaned from their process with all of you!

So without further ado, here’s our first Digital Spotlight, featuring the creator of the amazing webcomic Honey and the Whirlwind, Tim Ferrara. He gave us some insight into how self publishing on the web became a tool for him to tell a story he’d had locked up inside him since being a creative writing major in college. He also offers some advice on how new media artists can begin to monetize their work and connect with new audience members.

 

What I love about our webseries, This Is Art, is that it’s about real people facing real obstacles while trying to make art happen at the outset of their careers. Tim truly embodies the struggle that the characters on our show face.

He’s doesn’t have a major publisher backing him or previous artistic successes to supply Honey and the Whirlwind with a waiting audience. He is independently producing work on a consistent schedule while still working a day job to make ends meet, but he stands out from the crowd because of his determination and the innovative strategies he’s employed to start making a living as a new media artist. He is making smart decisions and constantly refining his methods to grow his project from the ground up. The things he has done to monetize his work are things that anyone can do in the context of their own project. We can all stand to learn a lot from him!

Tim, thanks so much for letting us pick your brain! If you’re interested in being a guest on our Digital Spotlight series, leave a comment, DM us on Twitter, or email us at thisisartwebseries (at) gmail (dot) com.

Anne Richmond

@annerichmond

@followthisisart

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Introducing: This Is Art Composer Laura Intravia!

"I'm super excited about the project and really looking forward to working with such super talented people!" - Laura Intravia. Ditto, Laura!

One of the many exciting aspects of working on This Is Art is the ability to assemble a creative team that can perfectly execute mine and Anne’s vision for the show, and have a great time while doing it. Anne and I were ecstatic to recently announce a new addition to the team: Laura Intravia. Laura is the official This Is Art composer, and she will be writing all the original music and scoring for the show. Not only is Laura an exceptionally talented musician, she’s a perfect fit for the This Is Art team, and I’m here to tell you why.

Come with me, if you will, on a journey back in time. It’s the summer of 2008. Laura Intravia, a student at Ithaca college studying vocal performance and competition, has entered the Masquerade talent show/costume contest at Otakon in Baltimore. I am sitting on my couch in Manhattan watching Paprika while this goes on, as many of my friends are busy attending Otakon without me this year, but that’s neither here nor there.

All I can say is this: Laura walks on that stage in her Link costume, and magic happens. And, of course, that magic later appears on YouTube for the rest of the world to see.

Nine months later, Tommy Tallarico discovers the video of Laura’s Flute Link performance on Youtube and invites her to be a part of Video Games Live, touring the world while performing some of the most iconic video games music of our time in front of hundreds of thousands of audience members across 47 cities.

The year is 2009 when Laura joins the VGL tour, which is also the year I snag tickets to see Video Games Live at the Beacon Theater in New York City. I take my seat at the Beacon totally expecting the Warcraft segment to be my favorite, but Flute Link blows me away with her talent and, of course, the unique aspect of her performance. When I leave the theater, it’s the Flute Link segment, plus her unexpected vocal abilities in some of the other segments, that have me raving.

Fast forward to the year 2011. Anne and I are cast in the Beautiful Soup Theater Collective‘s production of Alice Au Pays Des Merveilles at the SoHo Playhouse. Halfway through rehearsals we learn that “Beautiful Soup,” the one musical number of the show, is being written by composer Laura Intravia.

Laura as Flute Link

Laura as Flute Link

I’m sure you all can picture the total nerd freakout I had when I realized that I was going to be singing music written by Flute Link.

I finally met Laura when she came to see Alice. Of course, it’s always nice when you find out that someone of whom you’re a fan is also a totally cool, incredibly nice person; Laura is and was both of those things.

So when Anne and I lost our original composer and were tasked with finding a new composer for the show – and quickly, too! – Laura immediately came to mind for both of us. Working with her during Alice had been great, we were both fans of her work, and she shares so many passions that Anne and I share – passions that went into the making of all the other aspects of This Is Art and deserved a place in its music, too. Besides, Laura’s unique career is the perfect example of an artist using new media to share their art with the world. From the beginning, This Is Art has sought to widen the community of artists in the world of new media, and Laura is definitely an inspirational figure for that community.

We approached Laura about composing for us and she hopped on the project at full speed. Now, as the calendar quickly approaches our production dates in October, we are working with Laura to put together the musical numbers of the show. I have to say, it’s incredibly thrilling to have your work come to life through the eyes of a collaborative artist. Hearing Laura’s musical demos has inspired an exhilarating new excitement in us. More than ever, Anne and I can’t wait to get This Is Art off the page and on its feet. Now, thanks to Laura, the musical piece of the puzzle is solved, and we’re that much closer to making it happen!

We’ll try and keep you posted about musical-related developments as we head into production, without giving too many surprises away! Meanwhile, check back here to learn more about our recent additions to the This Is Art team!

You can find out more about Laura by visiting her website!

 

Emily Floyd
@emilythespoon
@followthisisart
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This Is Art New York Comic Con Meetup: Are You In?

As you may already know, we recently hosted our very own This Is Art Livestream party to celebrate the success of our IndieGoGo campaign and to thank our donors and supporters. You can watch the video and read about how we put it together here.

In our webseries, Anne and I tell the story of creating art through the main characters, D and Cami, and their artistic experiences. The art they create is vastly impacted by the people they meet along the way. That is, after all, a huge part of the artistic process. As such, the idea of community has always been an important one for This Is Art. This was one of the main driving forces behind our Livestream party; we wanted to give our community a chance to interact and share, and – most importantly – to show themselves! We were not disappointed. For me, one of the most exciting parts of the event was watching the chatroom scroll as our community – a vast combination of people of all ages, locations, and demographics – got to know each other. That sense of bringing people together is one aspect of art that is always a favorite of mine.

Of course, bring a community of people together and you’re bound to hear a variety of different opinions and ideas. One such idea arose from the community gathered at the This Is Art Livestream party: the idea of a New York City Comic Con meetup.

Anne and I instantly loved the idea the moment it came up in chat, but in the days that have since passed we’ve discussed it and are now growing even more excited at the prospect of bringing our community together in person, especially during an event that represents an even larger community of which Anne and I consider ourselves a part. We would love the opportunity to organize a meetup for new media fans and creators – in other words, the community we are creating through This Is Art! Anne and I will both be at NYCC all 4 days (we’ve got our press passes and we will be there representing This Is Art, of course!), and we’re confident that we could find a time convenient for everyone (ie, not during the Felicia Day panel).

So here’s where you come in. Friends, family members, fans, new media creators, and new media lovers – sometime between October 13 and October 16, would you be down to attend a New York Comic Con meetup hosted by This Is Art? Let us know! If there’s interest, we will be happy to put it together! Simply comment on this blog post, hit us up on Facebook, or tweet your interest with the hashtag #thisisartnycc to let us know!

 

Emily Floyd
@emilythespoon
@followthisisart
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You’re Cordially Invited to our “This Is pARTy Livestream Event!”

You’re cordially invited to our
This Is pARTy LIVESTREAM EVENT
or the Party Formerly Known as USTREAM


Celebrate the success of our This Is Art IndieGoGo campaign LIVE on
Thursday August 11th @9PM Eastern
At: http://www.livestream.com/watchthisisart

Meet Creators/Writers: Anne Richmond & Emily Floyd!
Meet Cast Member and Social Media maven: Clint Okayama!
Chat with our graphic designer/webmaster Bryan Vu in our chat room!
Network with other new media artists!

AND most importantly: ASK US ANYTHING YOU WANT!

That’s right. We said anything.

There will be streaming interviews, discussions, and shenanigans a’plenty! All you have to do is go to http://www.livestream.com/watchthisisart and start watching!

We’ll also be running a CONTEST:
Anyone who Tweets about this even with #thisispARTy or tags This is Art: The Series in their Facebook status between now and the end of the party on Thursday night will be entered to win a digital download of our score and original songs by the amazing Laura Intravia.*

We can’t wait to party with you in cyberland!

In the meantime…
Follow us on Twitter.
Like us on Facebook.
RSVP to our digital event on Facebook.

*to be awarded after we complete the release of season one

Indiegogo Home Stretch Video

Once again, we set a goal and our amazing community has risen to achieve it!

With exactly two weeks left in our campaign, we are over $5000 funded. Thank you so much for all of your pledges! As promised, we have attached our Homestretch Announcement video for your enjoyment. In the video, we not only have a lot of fun, but we make two huge announcements for the webseries!

 

Announement #1: Donation Matching
Now that we have gotten within $1000 of our overall funding goal, an anonymous supporter has offered to match each donation up to a limit of $500 to help us reach our $6,000 goal.

If you haven’t yet donated to get us into production, here is a chance to make your gift work twice as hard. If you have given, thank you for getting us to the point where a like minded angel has decided to make this generous challenge grant.

Announcement #2: We’re having a USTREAM Party!
We’ve noticed an amazing community growing around “This Is Art.” Emily and I want to bring the community together in cyberspace to celebrate the home stretch of our campaign and to make sure all of you have a chance to meet each other. That’s why we’ve decided to throw a USTREAM Party so that you can interact with us in real time and living color while getting to know the many incredible individuals who have been getting involved with the show. This is your chance to ask us any questions you might have about our project and/or our process. We will be announcing the date of this LIVE streaming event as we approach our final $6000 goal. Make sure you follow us on Twitter, Like us on Facebook, and check here on our blog so you don’t miss out on the event details.

Lastly, we want to take a moment to thank our most recent donors. Without you, none of this would be possible!

Kathleen Moran
Wendi Richmond-Brown
Bryan Munden
Terry Floyd
Christopher Feyrer
Anonymous
Andrew Park-Floyd
Anonymous

I continue to be profoundly moved by your support of our show.

Anne Richmond
@annerichmond
@followthisisart
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Conventions and Community: Can’t have one without the other!

As anyone with internet access and a penchant for geekery knows, last weekend was San Diego Comic Con: the veritable Mecca for all fanboys, fangirls, comic-lovers, gamers, cosplayers, and anyone even remotely interested in nerd culture.

I only recently became a con-goer myself, but even at my very first convention three years ago I recognized right away what I love about conventions: the sense of community and the uniting love of art.

After all, the video games we play for hours, the comic books with which we fill our shelves, the television shows we memorize, and the movies we line up for at midnight are all art forms. Conventions give a chance for artists and art lovers to gather as a community and celebrate the art that brings us together.

Conventions like San Diego Comic Con have such an important impact on the art community. First of all, they provide a rare opportunity for the fans to make direct contact with the creators – through panels, industry booths, and even sometimes on the show floor! Also, big production companies make huge announcements at conventions about their work. Most up-and-coming video games, comic book creators, and even film companies save their biggest news (like release dates!) for specific conventions, and organize their marketing around these conventions. This, more than anything else, is an indication of just how much importance these production companies place in the convention community and in the respect of their fans.

In addition, conventions open up a unique market for an untapped batch of artists – digital artists, costume makers, webcomic creators, and more. Every convention I’ve attended for 3 years has had a fantastic Artist Alley showcasing hundreds of new media artists and fresh talent that are, in my opinion, as important to the industry as the big production companies sponsoring the convention.

And, of course, there’s cosplay. The best cosplay requires patience, talent, skill, passion, and lots of love. How can you see THIS and not call it art?

Emily and Chris in Gitaroo Man cosplay, with Adam Sessler!

Ok, maybe it’s not the most impressive cosplay ever. It’s just me and Christopher Gravenstine (one of the producers of This Is Art) in our lovingly constructed Gitaroo Man cosplay. And it was enough to get the attention of G4‘s Adam Sessler and get us featured on a segment on X-Play about the importance of cosplay in the con-going community!

When you see really well-made, mind-blowing cosplay, it really makes you appreciate how much talent that cosplayer has in terms of construction (which often includes not only sewing, but also sculpture, detailed painting, and a heck of a lot of engineering). It also makes you realize what an effect that particular character (or series, or video game, or comic book) has had on this person. After all, the genesis of cosplay is the instinctual desire we have to bring fantasy universes from the art we love to life.

So what does all of this mean for This Is Art? Well, for one thing, conventions gather together a plethora of artists (both well-known and up-and-coming, across all forms of new media), and we want to know about them! After all, This Is Art (the web series) is a story about the way art is made, and This Is Art (the project) is a community for these artists to share their processes with one another. You’re going to see a lot more of that soon with our upcoming Digital Spotlight Series.

And it means a great deal for This Is Art (the web series) as well. The web series is still a fairly new and innovative form, and conventions have a huge impact on the development of the web series community.

Take this year’s San Diego Comic Con. One of the biggest panels of the con was the panel for the hit webseries created by Felicia Day, The Guild. To quote Marc Hustvedt of Tubefilter, “The Guild panel at Comic-Con is about as close as the web series world has to a Steve Jobs keynote” (you can view his full article here). This year, the cast of The Guild made huge announcements regarding the expansion of the web series into physical world marketing, including a new line of Guild character-themed Jones Soda. This is a HUGE advancement for the world of web series! Folks, this is the kind of stuff normally reserved for major market entertainment! In other words, The Guild is really putting the world of web series on the map as a form of marketable, viable entertainment. At a time when the state of online entertainment is so up in the air (Hulu, Netflix, and Youtube, oh my!), this is ridiculously awesome news for those of us who are excited about the expansion of the web series community.

At SDCC, The Guild panel also unveiled the first episode of their latest season. As it turns out, Season 5 follows the beloved Guild characters as they attend – are you following me here? – a fan convention!

Needless to say, conventions are very important to me and Anne as we continue to develop This Is Art, both as a web series and as a community of artists. We’ve attended them for years as fans, but recently we’ve really begun to understand the impact of conventions, both on the artists and on the fans, and their importance to our new media community.  As most of you know, we’re well into our fundraising campaign on IndieGoGo! We’re awfully close to $6000, and if we accomplish our goal, or (even better!) if we go OVER our goal, one of the ways Anne and I will be using any additional funds (in other words, what doesn’t go directly toward production) will be to take This Is Art to conventions here in New York City and across the country. After all, as I’ve hopefully made clear, conventions are an extremely important part of our community, and quite possibly one of the best ways for us to promote our series and to allow for This Is Art to grow beyond the web! So… ahem… DONATE and you can help us achieve that goal!

This year, Anne and I are excited to attend New York Comic Con, where we will not only be spreading the word about This Is Art, but we’ll also be scouring the convention for innovative new media artists to share with you! And of course, there’s always room for inspiration for This Is Art, Season 2! Who knows? Maybe this time next year you’ll see the This Is Art panel on your NYCC schedule. Ooo, I can’t WAIT for Cami cosplayers…

 

Emily Floyd
@emilythespoon
@followthisisart
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What’s a Digital Spotlight?

This is our first Digital Spotlight vlog for This Is Art, a new comedy webseries about young artists struggling to stay afloat in NYC.

In this vlog, This Is Art Creators/Writers Emily Floyd and Anne Richmond discuss the second part of their project; an online database that will connect new media artists from around the world, give them a voice, and tell their story.

 

Email your submissions for Digital Spotlight consideration to thisisartwebseries [at] gmail [dot] com.
Follow us on Twitter @followthisisart
Find us on Facebook