Project Description

April 29, 2020 | By Steph Hargrove

Technically Keeping Up

What people think my life is like when I tell them I’m a full time artist:

Okay, TBH, that’s pretty accurate.

But there are other aspects of art that aren’t quite as magical as Peter Griffin riding a dolphin. This week I’m enduring a big chunk of the business side of art. Is it as fun as throwing paint on a canvas? Um, no. But it’s rather satisfying when all of the hard work on the un-fun side pays off.

First, my top priority and most important job is taking care of myself. I’m still doing 2.5 hours of physical therapy daily to rehab my hip and keep my chronic illnesses out of flare. Doing this work is what allows me to be physically able to sew masks and create art. Honestly I couldn’t even sit at my laptop for longer than a minute when my hip was out of whack.

Next, I’m preparing for the Creative Pinellas virtual opening on May 14th. I am presenting a series of nine photographs created using the painted seashells that will eventually become a large installation in the gallery. The photographs are done, but I’m building the ecommerce portion of the series at fromSteph.com. Hey, are you looking for a great time? Then definitely don’t spend an hour researching SEO. Seriously, there’s not enough coffee and banana bread in the world to make this even remotely enjoyable. Building product listings on a website is straight up tedious. There are mockups to create, descriptions to write, photos to resize, error messages to scream at, and so much more. But oh when it’s all done and functioning and beautiful and Google can actually find it! There’s the joy. And relief.

Here’s a snapshot of just one of hundreds of super fun things that get done to sell my work online:
We are nowhere near Peter Griffin riding a dolphin whilst buried in this form.

And we’re not done with business-y stuff just yet. All this work is for not if no one ever sees it. Enter marketing. Social media is just one aspect of the marketing effort required to get artwork seen and sold. You can find me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. I also maintain a fromSteph mailing list. Updating and linking to all of these lovelies requires some major work on the tech side.

Finally, I am full on running a handmade mask business. That wasn’t in my plan for this year, but I’m happy to do my small part in helping out during the coronavirus outbreak. Remember all that awesome stuff I mentioned in the previous paragraphs that has to get done to build product listings? Yeah. Doing that for masks, too. Oh, and let’s not forget I have to actually be a human factory and make each mask with my own two hands. And pack and ship. I am one hard working artist these days.

To be clear, I am not complaining that I have all this work to do. I love working. I love a challenge. My point here is that I am just one of a whole bunch of artists making my way in the world. And I am certainly not an expert at everything tech or business, or art for that matter. Artists are typically out of the box thinkers, (the nice way of saying total weirdos), and we’re quite used to going it on our own, which makes us a remarkably resourceful and innovative bunch. And I couldn’t be happier to be included in this group of amazing people.