Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Meet Some Amazing Artists (Part 1)

I've decided to start a new series of posts introducing some of the amazing artists I have discovered! I love surrounding myself in great art.  Thanks to on-line markets such as Etsy, it is possible to discover new work at affordable prices that can instantly uplift any home or workspace.    

Here are some of my recent finds that I'm really excited about.  If you like what you see, support these artists! Buying a beautiful, archival print is totally affrodable and you will not regret it! 

Callen Thompson

I discovered Callen through West Elm and was psyched to see she is a fellow Austinite.  She is super up-and-coming; her art was selected to be featured in an Etsy/West Elm partnership and her studio-home was recently shown on Apartment Therapy.  She's alsothe featured artist at Buy Some Damn Art right now.

Here is the print I recently bought from her on Etsy:
Weather 1 by Callen Thompson
And here are a few more of her exciting pieces:

Arrows and Seeds by Callen Thomspson
Red Sun by Callen Thompson


Julia Pott

Julia makes adorable illustrations that each seem to tell a piece of a story.  Her clever, emotionally rich cartoons have been featured on MTV and in SXSW.  

I bought this print for my son's room:
Breathe by Julia Pott

Here are some more...
Why Won't You Love Me by Julia Pott

Woolly Bear by Julia Pott

Triangle by Julia Pott
Please leave a comment below and share some artists that you admire. I love discovering new work!

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Design in The Stars

A few weeks ago I watched this video by poet Derrick Brown.  It is called "A Finger, Two Dots Then Me."  You can see it here.   There is one line that stood out to me in the poem, and it was incredible because the words fit perfectly with this piece of art I did recently.  "The design in the stars is the same in our hearts."  How beautiful is that?  It's even better in the poem.  The phrase is near the end and by that point the poem has taken on epic dimensions, expanding through themes of life and death, love and loss.  There is kind of a funny surprise ending too, which I like in a poem. 

I have a post on the making of this piece of art here.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Etsy and the Global Women's Movement

When I started selling my art a few years ago, I had little idea what was involved in starting a small business.  Using the extensive resources provided on the Etsy blog, I was able to become a sole proprietor through my local city government, open my shop, and learn skills around branding, product development, and advertisement.  In short, I became part of a supportive community that helped me realize my dream of making art for profit.

From the beginning, I decided that my business model would include a charitable element for women.  I decided this because the defining struggle of our era is the end of oppression of women and girls worldwide. Women represent nearly 70% of the world's poor. Millions of women in the developing world face life threatening health conditions, limited to no access to education, and are at a high risk of being sexually violated and forced into sex trafficking or prostitution. Because the global sex trade problem is so widespread, women and girls have in no exaggeration become the slaves of the 21st century. In fact, more women are likely to be maimed or killed by male violence than by cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined.
Women for Women - Afghanistan participants during literacy training.

Etsy meet up in Providence, RI.  Photo from Vanessa of Etsy Labs.
A friend had told me about an organization called Women For Women whose purpose is to give job and life skills training to women in areas of the world most destroyed by war and poverty.  Unlike conventional charity, this organization seeks to empower women to become self-sufficient leaders in their communities.  After joining, I became the sponsor of a “sister” in Afghanistan who was enrolled in a year-long program.  Similar to my experience with Etsy, she would be given practical skills and job training specific to her community. 

More importantly she would be learning, possibly for the first time, about her human rights.  This kind of an education is fundamental if we want to imagine a just and peaceful global society. Empowering women tends to lead to faster economic growth within a community and more stability, which in turn undermines extremism and reduces oppression and civil conflict.

The buyers and sellers of Etsy are primarily young, highly educated females hailing from the US.  It is no surprise that this demographic is inspired by the Etsy’s revolutionary mission to “empower people to change the way the global economy works.

Women for Women-Sudan participants during a Life Skills training session.
Members of the Vintage Etsy Society at an event in Chicago.
 I think the one of the greatest ways we as entrepreneurs (of every demographic!) can change how the global economy works in a positive way is by advocating for social justice within our business models. But how much more revolutionary would this impact be on the global economy if Etsy itself built in a component to empower women survivors of war and violence to become leaders, rather than the victims, of their local (and global) economies. 

What if Etsy took a percentage, however small, of its profits, and funded an organization like Women for Women that has a direct impact on the lives on women who may have otherwise lost everything.  We are talking about millions of women who may not have access to cameras or computers or other tools that would make participation in the Etsy model of entrepreneurship viable, but who can be supported in other ways to generate a steady, sustainable form of income that will benefit their families, their societies and the world. 

One might argue that Etsy obviously has the right to protect its own profits, and that individual store owners can donate to this or that charity as they please.  But I would argue that the women and men who use Etsy would probably be proud, and even willing to pay a little extra, to know that their consumer power supports the empowerment of the most oppressed people of our time. 
Women for Women--Seen here without her abaya, an Iraqi woman is busy molding candles to sell.
A world away, another candle seller.  Suzanne, owner of blisscandles, was recently a Featured Seller on Etsy.

What do you think?  Would you be willing to pay a few cents extra on an Etsy purchase if you knew you were supporting a global movement to empower marginalized female entrepreneurs?


 Half the Sky book by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

Women for Women website

link about Etsy demographics.

link to Etsy's mission statement.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...