“My business CricketDiane has 70,000+ products in online platform – how do any of these resources help me?” Placed on twitter to Commerce Department, US Treasury Department, Open4Biz Programs Coordinator Discussion Today. Without answer because the end of the discussion had proceeded while I was here forming my question – but the answer is – They don’t.
None of those resources help me nor are they intended to do so. Whether it is this program or that one, where it comes to business making resources in America – they aren’t made for me to use, nor for anyone like me. It has to do with poverty, and ineptitude, and not owning a house with its collateral to use for loans, and the poor credit score that comes with poverty despite paying my bills. It comes from being in a different business than chopping firewood or opening a car wash or being 27 years old rather than the 55 year old woman I am.
So, What Makes Me So Special That Anyone Would Want Anything I Designed, Created, etc., etc., etc., ?? –
That is the answer to the question in America or anywhere else for that matter. It is not enough that the products are made in America – in many places that isn’t even an asset. It is not enough that four people around me know of my years and years of work, sacrificing time and the percentage of my limited resources to invest in creating these things (or they wouldn’t exist to put on this store now.)
It has to be an answer that tells the world why to even consider wanting what my viewpoint and knowledge, my thoughts and experiences have created with that information. It needs an answer that “separates me from the pack” according to business and marketing books. Yeah, right. I’m special – that is a fact. I’m the only one of me that I have. (and that the world has.)
But, that is not enough. There are millions of artists, creators, creatives, inventors, innovators, solution-makers, writers and musicians with the products and styles they have created. There are even more products, styles, designs and materials that have already been given market space from which the public can choose.
Why should they choose anything I’ve done? What makes it special? What makes me so special that to buy something I’ve created means something more than buying just whatever else? Hmmmm. All good questions and I have answers for not one of them.
That is the drive I suppose which every business makes at a point. There is no real help with it because no one knows all the picture except the owner of the business or the designer or the artist or the one doing the inventing and innovating. It is supposed to be a brand that stands for something with the words clearly articulating what that is. But, in this case – the words may never articulated it.
Should I just wait until they do? Or is it no more than a fantasy, an elegant destitute delusion to believe that any poor person in America, no matter how long they invest in doing it – could ever have a real business here? Maybe it is that. Maybe it is an elegant complex delusion to believe that any artist could be an artist in America – or rather maybe the delusion is that I believe I am an artist, creator and inventor. I thought it is based upon the facts and evidence of doing it, but maybe not. Maybe not.
Unless it can be articulated in words, why it exists – why it is special and important – why these things were created at all – why they are in “good taste” – why they stand as real art and design in some respect with all its foundation of intellectual arguments – maybe it simply isn’t art and isn’t design. And, inherently then I would not be considered factually to be an artist – despite doing it.
But, then there are those in my own family who would argue that its value simply doesn’t exist because it isn’t good enough. Maybe that is right. Maybe there isn’t enough of a gap of greatness between what I’ve been creating and what already exists in the world. Wait – then I remember the Family Guy artwork and designs given air space on tv and in the market and in the estimation of my same family members – that is greatness. Is it?
Is it that I must cartoon a painting of Mandela for it to be great art in the viewpoints of the American marketplace? It must be a cartoon of him? Really? Does that work when other things born of classical art training do not? Is that it?
Is it special as a question of recognizable style or by simplicity of visual information or by those constructs of anti-realism or by the portrayal of characters in humanity being conveyed using those things? But is that design? Does it matter?
So, back to the question –
What Makes Me So Special? Why would anyone want what I’ve designed over other things or as much as other things that others have created? Well,
1. I’m an American artist.
2. I’ve lived at the turn of the twentieth-century into the twenty-first in America.
3. I’ve been a part of the fabric of experiences in America at this time, not aloft in some gilded cage of the rich, the elite, the academics, and various other artists.
4. None of my grown children want any part of what I’ve built nor to be stuck with managing the rights to any of the designs, therefore when I’m gone none of the products using my art and designs and thoughts on them at Zazzle will continue. Either they are bought there or have already been bought as originals at some point in my lifetime, or essentially access to any of them will be gone when the last few years of my life now have ended. That is reality. That alone – makes the pieces on Zazzle that I’ve put on my store valuable and collectible. It will not be continued years upon years into the future. It is whatever provenance can be provided by electronic records on Zazzle or by what people who have bought originals can convey through the stories of when they bought them directly from me. There are no other stores carrying them, no manufacturers manufacturing them, no licensing deals that convey that opportunity of using the designs anywhere else – and wherever they are bought now that provenance from Zazzle or specific anecdote from purchasing the original work does not convey appropriately how they were acquired – then those designs were stolen, hijacked, bootlegged, infringed and are illegally being used. They wouldn’t be the real deal.
It still doesn’t fully answer the question about why I am special and the work is valuable because I created it. I could fill in all the details of my life for others to determine if I “fit” as an artist or have a right to create anything of value. Could do that.
Could literally prove that I’m some great genius of some kind – proven when I was young, but not lately – and I’ve had head injury since then, so the best I could hope for is to say that I’m trying to be a genius and use it every where in every way I can while there is still time in my life to do it. I could add that America has certified me as a mentally ill person with a bookful of diagnoses that seemed to change based on the drug of choice supporting whatever psychiatrists my parents were locking me up to be observed by so I would change the behaviors they didn’t like. Or I could decide that I’m going to share the abusive domestic violence and at one point, even enslavement stories from my adult past as a woman in America – all of which are true – then people would know that I’m struggling to go past those things just as many of them are doing.
OR – I could say that the designs, art, artworks, inventions, innovations, solutions, inventiveness, resourcefulness, music, writings, information and knowledge that I have are valuable because obviously others are paid well for the same caliber of things in the world – and across America, but it is rare that one individual is actually holding and doing all of those things. That might work. And to invest in me by supporting what I know how to do – helps to support America and our opportunities as a nation to further innovation and bringing our women’s lives up in the correcting of what our society has allowed to be so horribly wrong for them (including me.)
Ranting. I should make a tshirt.
Oh wait, I forgot one important thing –
5. I’ve been doing art, design, writing, music, engineering at a small level, inventing, innovating, generating solutions, engaging in solution-oriented thinking, creating, resourcing, designing, problem-solving, teaching and sharing those things AND selling those products (even if at much lower than market values) into every community where I’ve lived for over 50 years – out of 55. But, if I only count since some of my fashion designs, product designs and solutions to local areas of concern and writings which sold when I was 15 yrs old – that would be over 40 years fully engaged in this effort. I’d say that is long enough to know something about it and to be good at it. And, I’ve been trained, educated, collectively educated, experientially educated and college educated. So there you go.
That was for my fellow New Yorkers that I’ve been meeting lately who want to compare notes – and I wouldn’t say how long it has been that I’ve been engaged in doing these things. Yeah – I know, they been doing art for twenty years – it should mean something. I can’t help it – I learned to draw. Now, we can both say – we know how to draw and have made some efforts to do it. Okay – now what.
I did a realistic sculptural bust of a person when I was thirteen years old and was taking calculus and trig – what were you doing? I learned to play chess at 4 yrs old and taught an adult to play chess that no one else had been able to teach – when I was 5 yrs old – and played violin and piano and sketched with lessons to make it look like realistic portraits rather than some kid drawing. What were you doing at that age? Obviously, reading the dictionary was not one of your past times at that age and throughout elementary school – but it was mine. And, it still is. Just because I married some jackass that threw me on my head, doesn’t mean that I’m nobody. Just because I’m poor as an adult doesn’t mean that I have no right to learn and go beyond what you can do or what you can know or the talents you have. I’m working with what I’ve got – what are you doing?
And, yes – that makes me special.
I’ve done everything I can to effectively make my designs available to the public at a reasonable price on things that can enhance their homes, businesses, offices and daily lives. If, out of 70,000 plus products conveying over 4,000 individual designs and artworks that I’ve created – people can’t find something that they like – then they can simply stay away from all of it and doing something else is their best choice with their money.
But as to whether it is collectible or not, valuable or not, real art or not – that question is answered. The facts are – it is collectible, zazzle records give provenance, it is valuable because I actually am an American artist of our time AND it is real art whether anyone likes any of it or not and whether it is amateurish, less than perfect, unstylish, bad, untastefully done, crappy colors, less than digitally perfect, less than something seen on a video game – or just different than that. And if the amateurish art of Family Guy and Simpsons and thousands of other marketed artwork in a multitude of other genres and arenas are acceptable as tasteful and artistic – then guess what – what I’ve done is too.
And, It is valuable real art for a different reason – and that is never going to change, even if it is all disposed of entirely from my estate by my family and children. It still is what it is. It was created by me and THAT has value to a greater world for a substantial number of reasons – (not all of which are expressed in this post.)
As I’ve said – and it is the truth – “A diamond in a shoe box is still a diamond.”