Sunday, July 30, 2017

Who Knows Who Is The Dragon In “Confronting The Dragon”? Um, I Do!

Sometimes, you can get into some rather far-out discussions on the crazy-net. Last night, in a dragon group I recently joined on Facebook, another member of the group and I were discussing whether or not the magic user in my artwork “Confronting the Dragon” (which originally appeared as cover art for the July 2013 issue of BARDS AND SAGES QUARTERLY) would actually be able to defeat the dragon he is confronting in the piece. The other member of the group stated that, since dragons are high-class wizards, magic won’t work against them. I said it depends; it depends on the power of the wizard, how magical the dragon is, and the details of the particular lore or fantasy universe. I also pointed out ‘twas magic that destroyed the dragon Vermithrax in the movie DRAGONSLAYER (1981). The other member replied by stating that wisdom and huge magical powers makes dragons’ roles. I responded to that by saying that not all dragons in lore or fiction are highly intelligent or capable of speech. Therefore, not all dragons in lore or fiction are highly magical spell casters. I also asserted that there is room for ALL sort of dragons, highly intelligent or not, in greater dragon lore. The other person in the discussion then suggested “who knows who is this dragon?”

Who knows who is this dragon? Um, well, I do. To be perfectly honest, the dragon is who I say it is. As I told the person debating the point of whether or not the wizard in my artwork “Confronting the Dragon” stands a chance of defeating said dragon, I drew it. If I say the dragon is more monstrous-but-mundane animal than magical entity, if I say the wizard stands a chance of defeating it (though that’s not entirely clear from the artwork - the wizard MIGHT be toast), then that’s the way it is. My creation, my story, my rules.

I also pointed out that I tend to draw a lot of my inspiration from traditional folklore rather than from current fiction or New Age beliefs (or role playing games - forgot to mention that last night). I drew the dragon in “Confronting the Dragon” as a creeping lizard-type creature (though with wings), and I did that deliberately to reflect the dragons of European lore. Though I have drawn other dragons that I consider to be much more intelligent (I certainly think they are intelligent-looking), I intended the one in this work to be more animalistic in nature. At best, he’s along the lines of a Smaug.

Anyway, I know art is open to interpretation, but if I say the dragon in my artwork “Confronting the Dragon” may be defeated by magical means, then it may be defeated by magical means. After all, dragons ARE imaginary creations, the stuff of folklore and fiction. Within the broader parameters of what makes a dragon a dragon, dragons can be whatever their creators want them to be.

Nipper Statue Pics

Today, Michele and I did a "Nipper Walk". We checked out most of the painted Nipper statues in Albany (we missed two or three). Michele snapped pics of some of the more interesting ones. I added a sampling of Michele's Nipper pics to the album named, appropriately-enough, "Nipper Statues".

Here's a link to a Times Union article about the painted nipper statues:

Albany summer street exhibit features Nipper statues

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Branding vs. Style

In a recent Facebook post, a rather famous and extremely successful artist and Facebook friend of mine listed his own rules and ideas for success in art. Number nine on his list was the simple statement "fuck branding".  In some ways, I agree with my Facebook friend when he says "fuck branding".

I know others claim that branding is vitally important to success as a creative, but I question this claim. In some ways, when it comes to art, I think "branding" an unnecessary concept. I believe possessing a distinctive "style" is far more important than developing a specific "brand".

Now, I kind of get the whole concept of "branding". I understand the importance of having imagery and themes that are distinctive, recognizable, and memorable to success as an artist. I acknowledge the importance of building a certain reputation. However, I question how different such "branding" is from "style". In other words, an artist may have a distinctive, recognizable, and memorable style. If an artist's style is distinctive, recognizable, and memorable enough, it could be said that that artist's style and brand are one and the same.

As a promotional tool, branding may have its uses, but only to a point. Telling others about your brand is fine and dandy, but when it comes to art, sooner or later you have to show the world what you're talking about. I can say that my style is "unique" and oftentimes "quirky" (words others have used to describe my art), but I would rather let my style speak for itself.  I can declare that my work is inspired by history, myth, folklore, and legend (and I do), but viewers of my works can actually see that for themselves. Even so, I would hate to be restricted to JUST that brand, SOLELY art inspired by history, myth, folklore, and legend. That's where I get really annoyed over the whole "branding" thing.

One thing I resist strongly is being confined into one little box branded "illustrator inspired by history", or "artist inspired by myth and folklore", or fantasy artist", or "horror artist", etc. Though my style is my own, I refuse to remain restricted to just a handful of subjects and themes. I love to draw dragons and knights, but I also like to experiment with more abstract art on occasion. Even though I have done a number of darker works for horror publications, I have also created several lighter pieces for publications geared toward younger readers. Admittedly, my style might be best suited for medieval fantasy, but I have also had a bit of success with sci-fi art and illustrations. To be quite honest, I prefer versatility over being trapped within the boundaries of a certain "brand".

It seems to me that "branding" is really just a catchphrase people like to throw around when they want to sound like they know what they're talking about. When you boil it down, a lot of the talk about "branding"is empty gobbledygook.


Copyright © 2017 Richard H. Fay

Big Sale Over at Zazzle!

Zazzle is currently running a big "Christmas in July Sale".

Up to 60% Off Cards, Stickers, Ornaments & More
20% Off Sitewide
Offer is valid through July 26, 2017, 11:59 PM PT.

Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store

60% OFF
Acrylic Ornaments
Ball Ornaments
Gift Tags
Greeting Cards
Snowflake Ornaments

50% OFF
Acrylic Art
Ceramic Ornaments
Christmas Stockings
Fleece Blankets
Metal Ornaments

40% OFF
All-Over-Print Tote Bags
Car Air Fresheners
Gift Bags

30% OFF
Bunting Flags
Snow Globes
Tree Skirts
Wrapping Paper

20% OFF
Leather Goods
Faux Taxidermy

Thursday, July 20, 2017

My Grandfather - the Town Drunk

I know my relatives have a problem with me revealing nasty truths about my late mother on the internet. They even had her estate attorney send me a scare letter to try to get me to stop saying such "despicable" things online. Not that I truly give a damn about what my relatives think, but I thought I would shift focus today and talk about that abusive drunkard who was my maternal grandfather. You see, when it came to my mother, the apple didn't fall far from the tree.

My grandfather was something of the town drunk. He would frequently be seen stumbling down the sidewalk along Main Street as he roved from bar to bar. My wife and I witnessed this at least once, one of the various times we went down to my hometown to visit my grandmother. I must say, it was a sorry sight indeed!

Going further back, I recall one night I was staying over at my grandparents' house and heard a ruckus coming from downstairs. Apparently, my grandfather had come home so drunk that he couldn't find his keys to unlock the backdoor. Undeterred by such a small detail, he broke in the backdoor window. My grandmother called the cops. When the police arrived, I was in bed, but wide awake. Even though I was in a room upstairs, I clearly heard my grandmother speaking to the policeman (acoustics were strange in that old house). Of course, my family thought I had slept through the whole thing, but that simply wasn't true. I heard a lot more that night than anyone ever realized. At least I can say things stayed relatively calm that night, which I can't say about other times I witnessed my grandfather in action.

My grandparents oftentimes got into drunken rows, some of which turned violent. One time, when I was just a child, I tried to stop my grandfather beating on my grandmother by flinging a laundry basket upon his head. I was rewarded for my valiant efforts by having the laundry basket slammed onto my head so hard my ears burned. I vividly recall bawling while trying to phone my mother to have her come get me.

Such rows were in no way restricted to ordinary days. Holidays could be pretty damned tense. Whenever the family gathered at my grandparents' house, the threat that a verbal altercation or even a physical brawl might erupt at any moment always hung over our heads. I recall at least one family gathering (Christmas Eve, perhaps?) during which my aunt and her boyfriend suddenly whisked me away on a trip to the store, ostensibly to pick up a necessary item, but more likely because my grandparents were gearing up for yet another of their infamous fights. Even though I was just a kid, I felt the tension in the air in that house that day, and knew something wasn't right.

If more proof is needed that my grandfather was a violent abusive drunk, there is the matter of his stint in county jail. Yes, my grandfather had spent time behind bars, for hitting a police office, nevertheless! One of those nights my grandmother actually called the police, my grandfather slugged the responding officer. Though I don't recall being there that night, I do seem to recall being with my grandmother when she either visited my grandfather in jail or picked him up after he got out of jail (most likely the latter). I was quite young at the time, but I do seem to recall visiting the jail for some reason. That's the sort of memory that sticks with a kid. It's certainly not the sort of memory a young child is likely to fabricate out of thin air.

Yep, my maternal grandfather was quite the upstanding citizen, NOT! Anyway, it's all just memories now (though I still carry psychological and emotional scars because of what I witnessed and what I experienced). My grandfather died in 2001, and good riddance to bad rubbish! If any of my relations have a problem with me saying such awful things about such an awful person, too bad! As far as I know, I was one of the few in that dysfunctional family to ever stand up to that abusive bastard, and I did so WHEN I WAS JUST AN EFFING KID! So, there!

College Makes Men Transgender - Say, What?

According to Christian Looney Tune Pat Robertson, "...College Turns Men Into 'Transgenders’ Who Believe in Evolution And Global Warming".

Jesus Christ, what a nutter!

Well, I accepted the scientific theory and fact of evolution before I went to college, but seeing as how I went to college for biology, I'm sure it reinforced my acceptance of evolution as both theory and fact. I also took atmospheric science 101 in college, which means I have enough basic knowledge of climate to accept the findings of all those science articles I've read explaining that global warming is real. As for college turning men transgender, I might not be the manliest man going, but I am still a man. I'm also a husband and a father. I was actually married by the time I went to university, and my daughter was born before I graduated.

Anyway, I guess the Pope is actually a disciple of Satan because the current Pope also believes in evolution and global warming.

"Got to market it."

"Got to market it."

Yes, I agree. If an artist/designer wants to sell his or her artworks/designs or merchandise featuring his or her works through PoD sites, they have to market it. They have to promote their stuff. That's why I promote my stuff on places like my "Richard H. Fay - Artist" Facebook page:

And my Azure Lion Productions Pinterest profile:

And my Richard H. Fay Twitter account:

And, for what it's worth, my Azure Lion Productions Tumblr blog:

I even promote here, on my Azure Lion Productions Blogger blog.

I also promoted my stuff on Google+, but Google sent me a warning claiming I was spamming. After that, I closed my Google+ account.

I even posted some stuff on StumbleUpon, but I haven't posted anything new there in quite a while now.

I'm always working at getting my stuff out there and getting it seen. I  do understand the importance of marketing and self-promotion.  Having a distinctive style that stands out from the rest certainly helps. However, I think the most important thing of all is to have artworks and designs people like on items people want to buy. Everything else is ancillary.

Over at Redbubble: 20% off Posters, Art Prints, and Art Boards

Today at Redbubble:
20% off Posters, Art Prints, and Art Boards.
Use code HAPPYWALLS20 at checkout.
Expires July 20, 2017 at 11:59pm PT.

Richard H. Fay - Posters

Richard H. Fay - Art Prints

Richard H. Fay - Art Boards

I do sell art prints and posters on occasion, but I don't think I've sold any art boards yet. I would love to see an art board featuring one of my works sell through my Redbubble shop. I think art boards are kind of cool.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Been Sellin' For a While Now

Just to clarify...

When it comes to selling my art, or selling merchandise featuring my art, I'm no newbie.
I've been selling my art, which many people have called "unique" in style, before there was ever a Zazzle, or a CafePress, or a Redbubble. I sold my art, as framed art and bookmarks, at a local medieval fair before there were ever such things as Zazzle, or CafePress, or Redbubble.

Before I ever sold merchandise featuring my art through PoD stores, I sold artworks and illustrations to various small-press publications. My interior illustrations and filler artworks have appeared in a plethora of publications, while my cover artworks have also appeared on a number of different publications.

My art sold on PoD merchandise before I ever had a store of my own. An editor/publisher friend of mine once had a Zazzle store and featured some of my works on merchandise she made available through her store )I got a cut of the royalties). And, yes, items featuring some of my works did indeed sell through her store.

I've had my own Zazzle store since June 2010. I sold my first item (a "Robin in Sherwood" T shirt) through my own store July 8th of that same year. I've been selling fairly regularly through my Zazzle store ever since.

A 2-fer Day! Sold a Sticker and a Greeting Card

Just to prove yet again that my artworks do sell, and oftentimes sell on stickers...
SOLD 7/19/2017 through Redbubble to a customer in Canada: 1x Sticker of Three Medieval Swords 2016.

More proof that my works do sell, sometimes on greeting cards...
SOLD 7/19/2017 through Redbubble to a customer in the UK: 1x Greeting Card of Crusader Knight, Early 13th Century.

Would love to see more days like today.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sold a "Mechanical Dragon Sticker"

Sold something through CafePress, something over than a thistle sticker...

SOLD 7/16/2017 through CafePress to a customer in Warwickshire, GB: one Mechanical Dragon Sticker.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - I'm especially pleased whenever merchandise featuring an artwork or illustration of mine that I originally sold to a publication (in this case Issue 36 of BEYOND CENTAURI) sells through one of my PoD stores. I see it as extra validation of my work (yes, I'm insecure enough to crave such validation). It also means I'm getting a little extra income out of a pre-existing work, which is always a good thing.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Looks like I'm going to have more art published in 2018...

I just received an e-mail from Julie Ann Dawson, the editor of BARDS AND SAGES QUARTERLY, accepting my fantasy artwork "Defending the Manor" for the April 2018 issue of her magazine (a semi-pro one, according to the BARDS AND SAGES QUARTERLY Wikipedia page). Not bad for not working on loads of art for unsolicited submissions to publications (I've only done two so far this year, both of which I sent to regular venues of mine, and both of which have been accepted for publication). If I'm counting correctly, this is the fifth artwork of mine to be accepted for cover-art for that particular publication. Cool!

Thanks, Julie!

Onwards and upwards!

Previous BARDS AND SAGES QUARTERLY cover artworks of mine:

"Elf and Troll" Bards and Sages Quarterly (July 2011) 

"An Invitation to Elfame" Bards and Sages Quarterly (January 2012)

"Confronting the Dragon" Bards and Sages Quarterly (July 2013) (Volume 5)

"Morgan Le Fay" Bards and Sages Quarterly (January 2015)