What does community mean to you? I’ve been tossing this idea around for a few weeks with my colleagues in the art world. By popular definition, a community is a social group of interacting people who live in close proximity and share common cultural and historical heritage. But is this definition that places everyone in one common locale an accurate one in an internet-based society? I suppose the first thing we have to accept is that we are in all actuality an internet-based society.

Here are a few simple facts:

  • There are over 2 billion internet users globally.
  • There are currently over 800 million active users just on Facebook alone.
  • Over 250 million photos are uploaded each day to Facebook.
  • The average Facebook user is connected to approximately 80 community pages.

We connect to the internet at work, home, school, on our phones, iPads, netbooks and iPods. Artists are sharing millions of works in progress, completed or in concept pieces socially with these 2 billion internet users each and every single day. We are much less bound by national and regional borders and are a part of a global framework that continues to grow exponentially. Governments can no longer ignore the changing times, as we share information and connect.  We are without a doubt, predominantly an internet-based global society.

So how do we meet this brave new world as an artist? How will our beautiful local community of Sedona and the Art Community in its entirety be affected? Are we seeing an expansion or a more impersonal world, where people are connected to computers rather than people?

In my opinion, the connections simply grow stronger each and every day. We are able to build relationships with artists and performers that we never would have dreamed we could connect with a decade ago.  Searching the word “art” gives you 5 billion results now – there is no better way to connect, share and be a part of a larger community than now. And that brings us back to community...

Our art community is a global community. We are connected to painters, sculptors, writers, musicians, photographers and artists of every walk of life. People are drawn to Sedona, drawn to art and drawn to each-other. Community is a state of mind. It’s made up of you and me, my friends in France and everyone I’m friends with on Facebook. It’s everyone who plus 1’s a link and “likes” Sedona Arts Center online, including everyone who steps through those gallery doors. It’s our neighbors, neighbor galleries, arts festivals, jazz festivals and poet’s corners. We can now meet someone for the first time in person and know their adventures, loves, joys and personal stories. Our connection is global, yet can be very personal. We are in a way, becoming – one.

Next weekend, the community is coming together for a weekend filled with the arts. Sedona Arts Festival, Jazz on the Rocks and the Sedona Arts Center’s ArtsFest! and Annual Meeting are taking place. Take the time to step out among us if you are in the area, or share online your experiences and be a part of our local and global community! If you haven’t heard about it – check it out online...

Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.

Now that I’ve thoroughly discussed the marketing nightmare I call “myself” (last week’s blog), I think it would be best to move on to the wonderful world of marketing. This week in my self-publishing class, I’ll be bringing the world of self-promotion to aspiring authors and artists. One of the techniques I’ll be plugging is none other than the social media outlets. In our new and fast-paced world of instant gratification and global exposure, as artists we have a ‘duty’ to present ourselves in the digital world for all to see. Let me explain...

There was a time (not very long ago) that almost every artist and photographer was trying to find a way to limit the exposure they had on the internet. They would watermark their images or even plaster their personal copyright clearly over it in bold print. The main fear?, that someone would steal their work and claim it as their own, or place it on a product or print it out 20 times larger, hang it in their living room - pixilated and proud. Sure you should protect your work to a certain degree- but not at the cost of being unnoticeable, unrecognizable or altogether unknown.

It’s a bold new world for us as we move forward and become more connected and rely more heavily on technology to bond us to one another.  There’s no doubt that a singularity in some form is most certainly near (as Ray Kurzweil would tell you) - and I agree. You yourself are now reading this blog on a digital device of some sort. Is it a personal computer? A phone? An iPad or netbook (do they still make those?) Technology connects us, informs us and engages us. As artists - if we want to keep up with the world, we have to be a part of it.

So a few things you need to know as a self-marketing artist is:

Be a part of the digital world. If you don’t have Facebook or Twitter - sign up right now. The only way you will get exposure is if you expose yourself to the world. (Figuratively speaking) The days of the elitist artist that is an introvert and inaccessible are numbered. The world wants to “get into your bedroom” so to speak and become a part of your world. Share your thoughts, your ideas and you passions with your fans and potential buyers. Let them into your world and tell them your ‘process of art’.

But please, keep those toothpaste malfunctions and road rage stories to yourself! The world wants to hear about your work, your art, your process and your loves, not your misdemeanors rants or fury. (Leave the raving, obnoxious, rude and messy stuff to the high school kids). Share the joy of living and being an artist socially and you will open up to an entirely new world. Establish your ‘footprint’ in the social world and share who you are - your fellow artists, buyers, collectors and fans will appreciate it!

Develop your branding. Know who you are, be reliable and vibrant. Image is everything in today’s world and especially as an artist. Be sure to present yourself in a consistent manner and be bold and unique. Do everything in your power to set yourself apart from the rest. Have a short biography of yourself memorized and ready to go and share that 20 sec speech around water coolers and in elevators and everywhere else you might have to.

Share. Share your art, behind the scenes photos and inspirations with the world. Opening up like this will give people a chance to appreciate your unique style, persona and flair as well as your art. The more you share, the more we see, the better your chances are to be seen.

Finally, “like” my Facebook page and add me as a friend. We’ll connect, share and be a part of each other’s artistic worlds.

Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

 

About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.

 

One of the most frequently asked questions I’ve heard is, “So, what do you do?” For a large number of people this can be very simple to answer: Artist, Photographer, Musician, Dancer, Astrophysicist, Clerk, Economist, Retiree, or Astronaut. However, for others (like me) this can be quite challenging. How do you describe what it is you do, when you do too much? And how much is, too much?

 

I have found many different hats to wear travelling down the road of life. I can honestly relate to the “notoriously overachieving” James Franco who just had the title “art collector” (he purchased a 13 year old fan’s artwork) added to his list of achievements on the Huffington Post: actor/painter/director/producer/screenwriter/author/pilot/performance artist/professor, etc. I myself can fit into a number of these categories, while adding photographer, illustrator, percussionist, incense-maker, and marketing director to name a few. Of course for Franco this type of overachieving is nothing short of magnificent thanks to his celebrity status. But what does this mean for the less visible artist/entrepreneur that is a jack-of-all-trades but master-of-none?

 

Can doing too much actually hurt us as artists? I’ve tossed this question around often and as recently as the other night in my self-publishing class, where I mentioned that I’m a marketing ‘nightmare’. I think this is where our multi-tasking, free-wheeling ways can be detrimental to certain artistic goals. I find myself to be my own “nemesis” when it comes to this. Who am I? Well, I’m a photographer, artist and author who writes screenplays, blogs and novels while designing websites and heading up the marketing efforts of the Sedona Arts Center and all their events while teaching classes, art experiences and painting Apples for the Art Barn while preparing for PhotoFest and community outreach programs and volunteering at children’s art classes and making incense and oil blends that travel across the country and into stores just like the one I used to own on the East Coast while experimenting with run-on sentences. Try marketing that!

 

As artists we have to have clear goals, but for some of us, it’s really hard to fit into a certain genre. And frankly, some of us simply do not want to fit in. I could never imagine forcing myself into one particular role. I love so many different artistic forms entirely too much to get ‘stuck’ in one. I also get bored too easily; so much that I can walk away from a painting or drawing for years before returning to complete it. The world, for me – is just too exciting and full of life to stick to just one artistic form. So I skip marketing myself altogether and live a life of “doing” rather than worrying about how I appear to the rest of the world. This methodology has worked for me so far, so I can safely say it could possibly work for you as well. So all in all I think it can’t hurt to be an overachiever.

 

What I’m saying to you is: Live life to the fullest. Take your art to the highest levels. Don’t try to fit circles into squares when there are so many octagons still out there waiting for you to explore. Excel in your field, master your art, but always explore different mediums. It will keep your mind, art and soul fresh and full of life. I’m not telling you to quit what your good at or abandon your style. I’m reminding you to experience life and all the amazing challenges, adventures and joys it has to offer. Your art is as infinite as the universe and always should be. There are no chains or definitions that hold you down. So don’t get stuck, break free and explore all forms of art. Trust me, it feels great.

Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.

There’s a certain appeal to pragmatism. I’m not referencing Charles Peirce’s philosophical movement in the 1870’s – but simply the idea of linking practice and theory in our art and dedications. Personally, I’m dedicated to my family, art, career and yoga. I’m sure I could give you a more detailed list to chew on, but that’s the top of the top, the crème de la crème of my ‘pragmatic dedication’. This week, I won’t go on about charity, helping others or ‘doing’ for the community - this week... I would like to go inside and see how we ‘do’ for ourselves.

Before we dive right into the ‘self’ - let’s talk a little about pragmatic art. As you may or may not know, there are several theories of art and pragmatism in a way, is one of them. There’s expressive, abstract, romanticism, naturalism, conceptual, formalism, symbolism, post modernism, to name a few. But the one that intrigues me most is pragmatism as an art form. Why, do you ask? Because pragmatic art is conceptualized in terms of its effect on its audience to enhance experience, thought and escape from reality. Now who doesn’t want that? This form of art is a specific attempt to create a shared experience with the observer. We can link our art with theory and vice versa to perceive a higher reality, promote cultural continuity and communicate to our fellow human being in a whole new way...

As an experience.

Now, that’s not to say that all art is not an experience. The silent observer often feels emotion or a connection to the art they see. This is axiomatic. But I’m speaking about a level of connection that lies deeper than the surface and the visual. This is art that moves you on an entirely different plane. This is art that changes you - because it’s made up of the dedicated and delicate artist’ soul. When we share our most precious art with the world, we often hope to generate an emotional response. But with pragmatism, the way I practice it, the art creates change in the world, not just you. But how does this relate to the self you might be asking?

I practice yoga. I’m dedicated to it. Yoga teaches me to let go of expectations so I can experience life as it is in the moment. I take that with me everywhere I go. By practicing this level of peace, I can always come back to it when I am with my family, at work or creating art. And there’s nothing like being ‘in the moment’ when creating art. Every artist knows this feeling and is driven by it. This is you/us on the deepest level. (This was the part about ‘the self’)

Dedicate time to your art, yourself and your loved ones. Taking the practical approach allows you to look even deeper into everything you plan to accomplish. Looking ahead to the way your art will change the world can be an enlightening experience. Just remember that the changes you create are usually subtle and small. Of course, there are times when an image or a work of art can effectively shape a nation or begin a movement. But please remember, first and foremost to look within yourself - live in the moment and dedicate yourself to - yourself. By doing so, you can take the first steps into an amazing world of oneness. And as far as I’m concerned - that’s pragmatic dedication.

 

Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.

It’s indispensable, priceless and precious and that’s exactly why you should be giving it away. What am I talking about? Time, of course! Now, before you get all riled up and tell me that I was just explaining to you how very important time is, please hear me out...

Yes, time is a vital part of life and hard to come by these days. No one knows this better than I do! As the marketing and events director at Sedona Arts Center, I have very little time to spare. Between preparing for classes, organizing and writing for the upcoming Sedona Plein Air Festival and every gallery event we have each month - my time is invaluable. I can’t honestly remember the last time I actually had time to spare. Between all my work, my writing, creating art and the precious moments I share with my family - I have a full plate. But because my time is valuable – is exactly why I am giving it away, and so should you!

I recently signed up to volunteer at my son’s school. So once a week, I skip a lunch and use that “extra” time to help out the K-2 art class. I get to do all sorts of fun things like play with clay and encourage the children to use their imaginations. I help them put on aprons, hand out supplies and clean up after. I’m quiet when the teacher asks and follow instructions very well – setting a fine example for the other children. I don’t charge by the hour or demand a return. I simply enjoy my stolen moment in time with a group of fantastic children, learning to express themselves through art. Not only do I get to see my son growing and learning in school (a rare treat for a parent), but I get to see your children growing and learning, too. Being a part of that process is absolutely immeasurable.

With budget cuts and set-backs all over the nation: schools, teachers, and families are all trying to find ways to make art (and everything else) work. And let me tell you, we need all the help we can get. It’s not only the neighborhood schools that need your help. Art centers, nonprofits, and the community in general could use your free time as well. I bet you could find a dozen organizations that could use a helping hand right now. Places like the Sedona Public Library, Sedona Community Center, NORAZ Poets, Sedona Historical Society, Yavapai Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and even The City of Sedona are always looking for volunteers. And we need people like you, who say you don’t have the extra time to spare, to lend a hand. Because it’s people like you that set an example for everyone else – it’s people like you that help bring us all together.

I’m lucky enough to be around a wonderful group of individuals that are always volunteering their time to the Arts Center and local community. Not only do they share their time and expertise, but they also create fundraisers and outreach programs that benefit all of us. These people set an astounding example that makes everyone want to do even more. But I’ve learned that there isn’t a lot of time in the day to get everything done. So I offer what I can – when I can. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Imagine if we all volunteered just one hour a week – how that could add up! Is your time so valuable that it can’t be given away? No one could truly say yes.

Life is more precious than the money we seek to make day in and day out. The people and children of the community will only do better to know you and share their time with you. We can all continue to help build this beautiful place we call home by offering it the most precious commodity of all:

You and me

 

Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.

Those of us who live amongst the red rocks of Sedona are truly privileged. We are immersed in beauty at every waking moment. Good Morning America recently listed Sedona as the third most beautiful place in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of people flock here each year to bask in the natural magnificence that surrounds us. And it’s healthy, too! But it’s not just the beautiful landscape that has a healthy effect. Art, nature, beauty, and culture can heal, reduce stress, aid in thought and meditation, and engage the body and mind. In fact, a recent study by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found that “a healthier cultural life may be an indicator of a healthier, happier life in general.” Now that’s something we all can live with... and live with longer!

This just goes along with everything I’ve been saying for a thousand lifetimes: art does the body good.

Of course we are typically drawn to beautiful landscapes; beautiful people; beautiful things. It’s only natural to want beauty in our lives. We constantly are in a state of beautification. We manicure our lawns, clean our homes, build additions, fix; remodel; refurbish, style, paint, sculpt, draw, design – all to make our world a better place, with a healthier ambiance. And because of this we can live longer, are happier and find peace within ourselves and all around us.

So what’s my point?

Art

Art is very important in our lives. The arts teach us to understand our visual culture and build communities. The art we create is not just a way to make a living – it’s a way of living. It’s sharing a piece of our soul. Artists of all walks of life create from the very depths of their inner beings and express themselves by sharing how they see their world. We can peek into the hearts of those around us and connect ourselves and our own feelings in the process. And as it turns out - it will keep us healthy, too.

I spoke of “time” last week. This week, take the time to paint or draw or sing or play. Engage your mind and body in the process of creating art. Take the time to make something beautiful. Write a poem, write a novel or finish a screenplay (this is something I need to do!) - But no matter what - make sure you actually do it (I’m speaking to myself here, too). Time is short and life can be longer if we slow down, open our eyes and become a bigger part of the beautiful world around us. People say I look ten years younger than I actually am. Perhaps it’s my active lifestyle and because I’ve been a vegetarian most of my life... or maybe it’s because of my art... and keeping that in mind - a painting a day, will keep the doctor away!

Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.