Category Archives: visual art

Build a Backdrop for Etsy Photographs

If you sell your work on Etsy, Ebay or another on-line shop, it is important to have consistent, high-quality images to post. One way to accomplish this is with a seamless backdrop. These are available at any photo supply store. You can also build your own with sturdy rolled paper of white, grey or another color that complements your work.

This backdrop is mounted in my studio using 3/4″ galvanized gas pipe fittings available at any hardware store. This example is mounted from both the back wall and ceiling to distribute the load.

photo(1)1) Measure the size and distance of your seamless roll. This example is mounted seven inches from the ceiling and wall.

2) Select and assemble the necessary fittings. This design uses four flanges, four 6″ nipples, two tees, two close nipples, two 90-degree elbows and one 10′ pipe to hold the seamless roll. Each end mount is exactly the same. Make the mirror opposite end by twisting the elbow to face the correct direction.

3) Place and mount the flanges. Mark the drill holes on the wall and ceiling. For additional reinforcement, I use E-Z Ancor Stud Solver steel self-drilling anchors for any holes where a stud is not available.

4) Attach and hang the seamless roll on the pipe. Use nipples and couplings at each end in order to allow enough thread at the end of the pipe to catch the

The seamless rolls up out of the way when not in use.

The seamless rolls up out of the way when not in use.

elbows at each end.

5) Roll the seamless down for an instant photo studio!

The seamless with lights set up.

The seamless with lights set up.

6) To photograph your work, it is generally best to angle one light from each side at roughly a 45-degree angle to eliminate shadows. Clip lights, photo lights or any other direct fixture are good to use. This set-up uses two halogen lights mounted on adjustable

aluminum stands.

Skull Box photographed against the seamless backdrop.

Skull Box photographed against the seamless backdrop.

Build a Basic Box

One of the most basic applications of the box form. Used to stretch canvas for painting or embroidery.

One of the most basic applications of the box form. Used to stretch canvas for painting or embroidery.

Tools:
Saw
Hammer

Materials:
Wood
Nails

A box is one of the most basic wood-working projects there is. It is also one of the most versatile. It is the basis for frames, containers, shelves, and more.

Detail of the slight bevel cut onto the front side of the frame.

Detail of the slight bevel cut onto the front side of the frame.

Most of these DIY projects are variations of the basic box form. It is a project worth practicing often. Two of the most common applications for an artist are illustrated here, 1) a canvas stretcher and 2) a wooden painting panel. All of my projects use primarily recycled or leftover materials. A box can be simple or complex, large or small. Check some other posts for examples.

Start by determining the size and type of box you would like to construct. Cut the four sides to size. You can use four equal sides, or a rectangular form that is long and thin. The joints can be beveled or straight. More advanced joints include dovetail. Assemble the sides together and then attach the bottom or base of the box. The top can be hinged or fitted.

One of the most basic applications of the box form. Recycled 3/4" plywood is used as the substrate for a painting panel.

Recycled 1/2″ plywood is used as the substrate for a painting panel.

Recycled wood used to construct a painting panel.

Recycled wood is used to construct painting panels.

Recycled wood used to construct a painting panel. View of the back of the panel.

View of the back of the panel.

Artist Collectives

Art this way...

Art Detour Weekend in Phoenix

Are you interested in starting an artist collective?

Are you part of an artist collective?

Join us for a lively conversation about artists working together on March 25, 2010 at 7PM at SMoCA.

The free event is part of SMoCA’s “Artists on Artists” program and is presented by artists Greg Esser and Brian Boner.

In addition to presenting existing collectives including eyelounge (www.eyelounge.com) and Post-Commodity (www.postcommodity.com), we will look at the opportunities and obstacles facing collectives. We will discuss several case studies of new collectives just beginning to launch in Phoenix.

What are you interested in knowing about artist collectives?

Email me at gregesser@cox.net.

Change

“Time may change me, but I can’t change time.” – David Bowie

Change is nothing new.  In fact, the only constant is change.

At the beginning of September, 2008, the traditional start of the Fall arts season here, downtown Phoenix is criss-crossed with change and lack of change.  Many ideas that have existed only on paper are beginning to come to fruition.  Still numerous other promises have completely evaporated in the aftermath of the first ripple of economic recession.

Approved high-rise plans have vanished completely, mere mirages over the vast checkerboard of blighted vacant dirt lots throughout the city’s core.  Financing woes are exemplified by the tragic story of Mortgages Ltd.  A restriction of development capital has reopened doors for adaptive reuse and other low-cost strategies for revitalization that echo the surge of grassroots vitality that erupted here in the early years of this decade.

Now is the time, while there is blood in the streets, to dig in and get something done.