This is the sticky post – scroll down for my artist blogging posts
Last week’s and this week’s image.
(mouse over image and share with your social media friends)
Follow maxx katt on twitter to receive a tweet of the next week’s free image.
Free 11 x 14″ pop art digital download
Windows Download Instructions:
Single left click on either of the above images to enlarge the image.
Next you must right click the image (to get the actual 11 x 14″ image and not the small thunb image) and select the “save as”
option and save it to your USB drive.
Take an office supply firm like Staples,
Office Max, Office Depot or Kinkos to print your 11 x 14″ image. Note
Staples has a laser printer that produces a very good quality laser image for
$1.28 or the same laser image on photo stock for $1.98. The artist Maxx Katt
will be offering a new free 11 x 14″ color image each week.
This image can be downloaded and saved to a USB drive and printed at an office supply store digital print department for under $2.00. A quality but inexpensive 16×20″ frame can be ordered at FrameUSA for under $20.00.
Keep in mind this is a free high quality color digital image only. You have to print the image and buy the frame locally. The artist is making selected digital images available for download that are suitable for framing in order to introduce his art to a wider audience.
Here is what the free 11 x 14″ Blue Hand Phone print looks like in a 16 x 20″ frame and mat.
Sat went on nice hike to Raven Cliffs near Helen, GA. This is a short easy hike along a beautiful creek. 2.5 in and 2.5 out. Not much work on the art front this weekend.
I slowed down my promotional efforts of this web site last week. I will send out more emails to my media databases I am collecting. I am still impressed with the new version of Atomic Email hunter. Especially the Atomic Web catalog program. A long time a go I figure out how to collect URL from DMOZ.ORG. I rarely did those collections because they were to time consuming with too many manual steps. Now, I have a program to do it. Just run the program and select the DMOZ category and save the URL’s to a file. You then copy these and paste them into the list feature of Atomic Email Hunter and start collecting from only those URL’s. Not bad for a $29.00 program.
Finally joined the iPhone crowd. My last smart phone was an android and it was acting goofy at time and freezing up. One time it went into a 2 hour coma before it decided to come back to life. Not good. Plus we save 40 a month by combining our services on my new wife’s carrier. Plus the I phone cost only 1 penny or 99 pennies, I can’t remember which it was. But when we went into the cell phone store they wanted to charge me $400 for a 5c. We came back home and called their customer service and got a much better deal.
Beware of sneaky plugins that are not really free. One I had just told me this morning that the trial period was up. I am sure that somewhere in the fine print it pointed out this fact.
Weather today in Atlanta – 46 degrees F and light rain and mist. Not bad, several days ago it was in min teens.
In the distant past I had lots of luck in getting my news releases published in the main media outlets like New York Times, Computer World, PC Mag and PC World and the Wall Street Journal. But that was back in the late 1980’s.
I have a large database of about 3,100 email addresses of the smaller weekly newspapers. Almost all of these have both their weekly print edition and their web site. So I am sending out a brief news release to 500 of these newspapers today.
For Immediate Release after Jan 12, 2015
The retro pop artist Maxx Katt (www.maxxkatt.com) is offering a free new image that can be downloaded to a USB drive from his art inventory each week in 11 x 14″ digital format. Each weekly offering is suitable for printing on a color inkjet or laser printer at office supply stores like Staples for under $2.00. Each image is formatted to fit in a standard 16 x 20″ inexpensive frame.
So I will see what effect this has on traffic to my web site and the number of twitter followers.
I found a problem in my twitter strategy. I thought that I should put my free download images on twitter or facebook. But the problems is subsequent posts push down the image and thus making it harder to find. So I rearranged my main page on this web site with my weekly free image download. I have decided to have the current week image and the past week image available. On the third week the second week’s image will drop off an no longer be available. I am not sure if that is the right thing to do, but again it is easy to change in the future.
I will continue to send out 500 news releases promoting my free image give-away program. In six days I will have sent this news release to 3,100 weekly newspaper.
Next thing I should look at is a wordpress plugin for SEO techniques. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is basically making the content search engine (Google) friendly. A long time good source about SEO is Search Engine Watch.
Sunday – Jan 11, 2015
Here is a nice web site www.artsy.net to browse the work of many, many artists. Warhol #warhol and Haring #keithharing.
Have been using Atomic Email Hunter to locate other artist to inform them how they can follow me on this web site and twitter. But for some reason after 2 days of successfully collecting email addresses the program quit finding any email addresses. I don’t know if the search engines are blocking my IP number. I think I remember seeing this several years ago when google gave an error message something like, “refused, too many searches from IP”.
Oh well par for the course, I filled out a customer support email and will wait to hear from them. They most likely know the answer. For two days, Atomic Email Hunter produced some super clean email addresses based on keywords. Meaning, I search for artists and it found 616 email addresses of artists who had facebook pages. I checked out the web sites it displayed along with the collected email addresses and a random check indicated it was very close to 100% email addresses of artist. That is a really big deal. In the past using atomic email hunter to just collect from the web would yield over 45% email addresses that were not proper classified, eg in this case not really artist email addresses.
I have added 10 new followers in the past two days and all of them artist. This is what I was looking for. Probably more will follow when they open their email on Monday. So far about I am having a 1.5% success rate with my email campaign to land new artist followers to this web site. In direct email this is a very respectable figure. So that part of the plan is working as I expected it would work.
I am thinking that due to the networking effect, the more followers I get the amount of new followers will increase at a greater rate. For instant I have 29 followers now and those can only reach so many of their followers. But if I have 2900 followers that reach would be more than 100x factor. Well maybe this is fuzzy logic, but I seem to think it to be correct on some level of logic. Which level, I am not sure. I am still not really sure at what rates of new followers to expect to gain. Actually there is a lot about twitter and facebook that I need to learn.
Atomic Email Hunter support just replied to my question about being blocked: Hi John.
Yes, both your isp and search engines can block your ip for high freaquency of requests.
I turned on the comments on this web site. I run 9 other book and product review web sites using WordPress. I turn off all comments due to the tons of spam I receive each day. There are spam blocker plugins that you should use. I don’t use them on my other web sites since I don’t allow comments. But here I do so I guess I will have to find some anti-spam plugin. I recall seeing quite a few of them in the wordpress plugin library.
When you are having web site access to your wordpress page, eg very slow responses check the following:
1. reboot your cable modem and router by powering down for 1-2 minutes and then hooking back up.
2. reboot your computer
3. check something like www.cnn.com to see if those pages are loading quickly if so it may be that the ISP servers hosting your web page are having problems. Call your ISP. ISP stands for internet service provider and would be a company like godaddy.com. They may be having issues. It is is chronic slowness it could be you are hosting on a windows server which is not good, they are very slow. Or there is another domain name for a heavy traffic web site that is stealing all the bandwidth and left your web site in the slow lane. Call your ISP to find out if this is the problem or just what really is causing the problem.
In my case this morning I was on Clear internet hookup instead of my normal home internet provider and since clear is cell tower based, it sometimes goes very slow. My other home based internet provider is very reliable and produces very fast internet access. So I just took the plug from the Clear cable modem and plugged it into the other one. Problem solved.
Why do I have two home internet providers? I run 10 web sites as a business and always must have 24/7 access thus I pay for two Internet providers. I used to have AT&T (UGH!!!!). They went down almost on a weekly basis on thur or fri and not be up until Mon or Tue. Funny way for them to run a supposedly international company.
I think all is ready. This web site and my twitter and facebook accounts. I still don’t really understand how all this stuff from others ends up on my facebook page. Do other people see the same stuff I see on my facebook page? Oh well, I will learn about it eventually. Twitter is much easier for me to understand and is my main communication tool with my followers.
I have been collecting art blog email addresses with Atomic Email Hunter software and will be sending out my notices to them on the free 11 x 14″ color digital images. Followers on twitter now count 20. Will be interesting to see the effect of this blog blitz. The nice thing about social media is that your only expense is your time. This is what someone said is called frictionless marketing. I think i first heard the term in a book named “Being Digital” by Nicholas Negroponte that was published in 1996. He said the people who would prosper were going to be the gate keepers of digital content. Well that seems to be now Google and Facebook. Smart man.
This afternoon a friend is coming over to put up some crown molding and baseboard quarter round in my studio. This will make it complete.
Was going to change themes on this web site (wordpress) but tried out a few and they just didn’t work. I only have a few complaints about my current web site theme. Don’t like black background, hides links underline and have to manual underline and is not really supported any more about the theme author. Always a change of happening with free themes, the authors go off and do other things. But it does hide some misc shopping cart pages from appearing in the masthead which seem to show up with other themes. These pages are behind the scene pages and should not appear in the masthead of the web page. So for now will stay with current theme.
My twitter followers numbers stayed between nothing and 19 for a long, long time. Why? Because I just created a twitter account for maxx katt and did nothing else. No photos, no blogging, nothing much on my new maxx katt facebook account. After browsing multiple social media marketing books like Social Media Marketing all in one for dummies by Jan Zimmerman I picked up a few ideas. One was to concentrate on facebook and twitter.
So today I picked up my first new twitter follower who is i think an art student from UEL in London. Hi Taryn!!! . So how did she find me? That is the power of social media. You just need to make your web site, twitter and facebook account interesting and people who like your content will find you. The sharing aspect of social media is the key. Someone likes your content and they put an image or talk about it then it is exposed to their followers and friends. It really is that simple. But you have to have good content so people will wish to share your stuff with others. In my case I am giving away weekly a free 11 x 14″ high quality digital image of my retro art. If a person likes my free image of the week they can download it and take the digital image on a USB drive to Staples or any other office supply or digital printing company and have a 11 x 14″ print made for $1.28 Plus tax (Staples price in Atlanta).
There are other ways to promote your web site and that is to contact blog owners that you think will have an interest in making a mention of your web site. Since I have significant experience with direct email collection and marketing I plan to use that knowledge to introduce blog owners to my web site. There are two essential tools to do use in doing this. One is Atomic email hunter and the other is group mail. The former is used to collect blogs based on their content by searching by keywords and the latter is uses to send your email marketing messages. I use the business edition of group mail, but the personal edition will be ok for an artist. The free edition only allows you to send 10o email messages. Note you must be hooked up to an user friendly ISP to use this email broadcast software. Most ISP’s will turn off your account if they see hundreds of emails going out at one time. You can email me at maxxkatt77 ( at sign ) yahoo dot com with the words “email server” in the message subject line and I will tell you the name of this large ISP that will allow you to send 5,000 targeted email messages per day with not hassle. Do not buy either of these packages until you know who this ISP is. They are very large like godaddy and not expensive. I think they are $4.95 a month for a web hosting account. This is where you should move your artist’s web site. By the way, I recommend using WordPress to run your web site if you don’t already have one. Actually even if you do, you should convert to WordPress in my opinion. Use wordpress.org not wordpress.com. wordpress.org is for hosting your own wordpress site on your rented server space and using your URL or domain name.. wordpress.com is for use on their server and you don’t use your URL. You would get something like yourname.wordpress.com instead of yourname.com.
Cold today for Atlanta it is now 9:30 am and 13 degrees. Not normal but not Chicago at -1.6 F. point six? hmmm must have good thermometer. Took my dog for his usual 30 minute walk yesterday and only made 15 minutes. Way too cold for me, but didn’t seem to bother him.
In my past IT career my partner and I were the publisher of a huge international email newsletter. When I mean huge we had seven servers on the backbone running 24/7. We ran that operation from 1998 to 2000 and closed it down for a number of reason, one being burn out on my part. The Unix servers ran 24/7 for two years with only one failure when a hard drive failed. The two Windows NT servers were another matter. They crashed weekly and often in the wee hours. That required my partner and I to travel to downtown Atlanta where our servers were co-located and reboot them. Not fun.
So after that I concentrated on highly target email and am now concentrating on social media marketing. This is a softer from of market and less intrusive. It will be accomplished (hopefully) by sending extremely targeted email press releases to blog publishers which there are tens of thousands of them. With my background I have the ability to find the email addresses of these blog publishers and will start sending out a news release describing my free color 11 x 14″ digital weekly download . I will share the results of this effort on this web page for other artists to read.
I have in the past had very limited success in getting my paintings in the traditional fine art galleries. I could write a small book on that effort. It is very difficult for a self-taught artist to get hung in a gallery and then you must ask yourself is it worth giving up 50%. You have to double your prices and often push your painting prices out of the range of your target fan base. My fan base is almost exclusively female between the ages of 14 and 30. At the low end of this age range they simply cannot afford or most likely would consider spending $600 plus for an original painting. Young women who have recently graduated from college now suddenly have some extra money and are furnishing a new apartment and are the ones who tend to acquire my 24 x 30″ and 24×24″ paintings.
The Christmas and New Years holidays are behind us. It is now time for me to get back to work. I am finished with getting my social web site marketing plans are organized and ready to use. I decide there are only two social web sites that I will use and those are Facebook and Twitter. The reason is they are huge in numbers and also make it very easy for people to link to this web site and spread the word to their friends and followers.
I am now offering a 11 x 14″ digital color image of my painting “Blue Hand Phone” on my facebook web site. This is an exclusive offer for my twitter followers and facebook friends. If you take the image on a USB drive to stables you can get a high quality laser printed copy for $1.28 on regular paper or $1.98 on heavier gloss photo stock. Both are suitable for framing. An you can go to www.frameusa.com and get a 16 x 20″ frame with the lowest one costing only $15.31. The frame I saw was 16×20 ARCHITECT BLACK W/M,S,WH – matting is for the 11 x 14″ image size. But you have to carefully find the proper frame that you want. This was just the least expensive one that I could find on the web site.
Next week I will offer a print from either my old Alice in Wonderland series of paintings or my new paintings in the same series that I am currently painting. It is good to be creating screen print paintings again. Found out that my clear acetates have gone up in price. Hmm, what else is new.
Well it was quite a year. Of course the highlight was getting married to my new wife and merging our families. She is very supportive of my art which is important to an artist. We have been making good progress in getting my home uncluttered from many years of collecting mid-50’s toys. Took a carload of mid-50’s board games to my favorite mid-50’s antique store in Chamblee yesterday.
I am now pricing out my new series of late 19th and early 20th century retro prints like Alice in Wonderland and fairy tales. With that done and more work on social media I will begin painting my new series of screen print paintings. Format will be 24×24″, 24×30″, 16×20″ paintings and same sized prints.
Early on I found that large screens were very expensive. I purchased good screen cloth from Japan. It is much stronger and lasts much longer. Those screens are 10 years old and still in great shape. The large one is 24×30″ and smaller one I think is 11×14″.
You must use strong wood framing material, I use popular. It is uniform and does not have knots like pine. It takes a very good power miter saw to make perfect 45 degree cuts for the corners and corner frame vices and very strong wood glue and 1 1/2″ wood screws (two per corner). If you don’t do it like this or better when you stretch the screen it will warp the frame. I did one larger screen that is 2 x 5 feet and it was a challenge to say the least. I staple on the screen material and gradually tighten it after each opposing staple and end up with staples about 2″ apart around the frame. Then I use super glue to bond the screen to the frame and staples. If you don’t do this the screen will eventually tear at some staple points. You must use water proof glue to do this and I use the expoxy mix super glue because it sets quickly. If a marble will bounce half its drop height in the center you have a good enough tension on the screen. You should clean a new screen the first time with 20% bleach and 80% water applied with a 2-3″ paint brush. Then wash clean with a garden hose.
To clean a screen from a previous exposed emulsion you must have a very good gas powered pressure washer. Set the nozzle on FAN not STREAM or you will put a hole through the screen. Soak the screen in the 20%/80% bleach/water solution for 7 minutes and then pressure wash out the old image emulsion and paint.
After making some screen prints I simply use either the bath shower nozzle and finger nail brush to clean out the ink or take out and use the pressure washer for larger screens. You must clean your screens ASAP after making your last print like within 5 minutes or the paint will cry and clog the very small screen mesh.
Lots of work done in Nov & Dec 2014 resulting in the studio completed except for the crown molding. This web site is mostly finished for the new social media and blogging make over. Had a great Christmas with my new wife’s family. She has three sisters and two daughters and one grandson. So it was a Christmas filled with joy and happiness all around. This was all a rather new experience for me since I came from a smaller family with one older sister.
One of her daughters liked my Mad Hatter screen print paintings so I gave it to her for a Christmas present. I might revive that series of print paintings since all seemed to like the painting. I find that my audience for my work is almost exclusive to women and younger women at that who have an interest in retro pop art. Often it seems that it is hard for an artist to find their audience and the proper price point. You have to be able to recover your supplies and labor cost and a fair profit or you will always be a starving artist. It is hard for some art school grads who have what I consider large student loans that have to be paid off each month. Some of the monthly payments I have heard about are like the monthly payment on a luxury car or even a modest house payment. That is a lot of overhead to pay for each month on top of what it cost an artist to live. This piled on top of the fact that recent art school grads rarely start selling any time soon. I think the may cause many young artists to have to go the route of being a commercial artist of some time for the pay and then limit their fine art career to the off hours.
Belgian artist René Magritte – would be fun to try this in real life, having a model train engine come out of a fireplace puffing smoke. Could do with lionel O gauge or larger steam engine. but would have to alter the smoke engine I would guess. Or do a screen print panel of the above image and replace the engine with a Lionel O gauge engine.