I have always been drawn to the open air, the beautiful outdoors, and the vastness of natural wonders around me. I am known for taking (literally) hundreds of photographs on a hike and occasionally picking up a pencil or brush to capture the beauty I witness during my adventures. What better place is there to do so than Sedona - and what better time of year than October? The air is crisp, the evenings are cooler and the night sky is clear and expansive. Perhaps that’s why so many artists flock to Sedona this time of year to indulge in the art of plein air painting.

 

I personally witnessed a couple dozen spectacular artists set up their box easels and canvases to capture a small window in time this past weekend for the Sedona Plein Air Festival’s Main Street Paint Out. Using everything from paint, to pastels, they quickly inspired tourists, artists, and children with their talent. I have to admit, they even inspired me to rush home at the end of the day to dust off my canvas and lay down a fresh coat of paint as well! And nothing beats that first fresh smell of oils on my palette.  But better than just paint to a canvas is the amazing experience of painting outdoors.

 

Artists have been painting outdoors for centuries, but painting ‘en plein air’ (in the open air) only became popular in the mid 19th century when paints in tubes were introduced. Painting outdoors was even easier with the invention of the French Box Easel, too. So, today’s artists trek into the wild or even to backyard views around Sedona to capture the brilliant landscape with similar kits more often. And so should you!

 

I say everyone, “Take to the hills rocks!” Grab your pencils, pastels, oils, acrylics, cameras or clay and immerse yourself in the beauty of Sedona. Take this time to create, capture and share the beauty of the landscape through your art and craft. You don’t have to be an award winning artist to break out the easel and paints in the open sun. Don’t be afraid to express yourself outdoors among other admirers of beauty. There’s a whole world out there, waiting for you to paint it.

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.

When I’m not marketing for the Sedona Arts Center, or painting, drawing, writing and designing – I sometimes play photographer. I’m pretty good at it in fact and I’ve even been called a ‘professional’. Over a decade ago I accidentally stumbled upon a fantastic technique and created an entire series, a few books and show out of it. It was called Nemesis. Using only light and motion, I captured the doppelganger, the polar opposite within my models unique personalities and offered a haunting series of photographs to the world. I was even dubbed the “King of Halloween” after that show. Fantastic! But today, I’m working on something a little lighter...

 

Within my practices of art, writing, and yoga – I find myself connected to the term Bodhisattva. In Buddhism, a bodhisattva is either an enlightened existence or an enlightenment-being. I’ve also seen it as "One who is destined for enlightenment but wants to take all beings along..." It is in stark contrast to my original Nemesis Collection which was a creative visual project that sought to create haunting images that portrayed the darkness within each of us.  I suppose living in Sedona really does me a lot of good, because I connect very well with this here.

 

So I decided that it was high time that I created the nemesis to my nemesis – a collection of lighter, inner-spirit-type images to contrast the former duality of my most illustrious project. However, even with my usual determination, I realized that with having a family and a lot on my plate, financially this project was almost completely impossible. Until I remembered Kickstarter – the little-known resource for artists like you.

 

Kickstarter is focused on creative projects. They are a great way for artists, filmmakers, musicians, designers, writers, illustrators, explorers, curators, performers, and others to bring their projects, events, and dreams to life. It’s all-or-nothing funding, so each project must be fully funded before its time expires or no money changes hands. For instance - my Bodhisattva project will only be funded if my project goal is reached by Friday Oct 21, 3:14pm MST.  Here’s where I say ‘act now’.

 

(...or perhaps click here: http://kck.st/pdRRYL)

 

We all have goals that sometimes are unattainable in our eyes thanks to circumstance, fate or just simple old fashioned luck. The point is – there are resources, people and ways to make your dreams come true. Of course, not all projects get funded, but that’s when we change our attitude, no? The glass is always full as far as I’m concerned. Everything may not exactly happen for a ‘reason’ – but everything that happens can have a reason given to it. So stay positive, try hard and dream big. I always do.

 

Oh, and back my project!

 

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.

I originally began this week’s blog with eloquent and descriptive words describing my recent experience at a casting party. I started writing about the ubiquitous rumble and vibration from the underground furnace; watching the large graphite crucible slowly lifted away from the yellow-green flame... But all that escapes me now as the global community comes together in remembrance of an innovative champion.

 

We are all truly humbled by the passing of the iconic visionary and co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs.  “The world has lost an amazing human being” Apple wrote, and they couldn’t be more correct. The internet is alive with photos, recollections, notes, blogs, articles, tweets and status updates in memory of a creative genius. I’ve often spoken of the fantastic simplicity and creative artistry of Apple and the products and the global community agrees. The departure of such an inspiring mentor to so many has affected us on the deepest levels.

 

I see clearly what I spoke of last week. I see communities and individuals coming together as one through social media and their connections to each other simply grow stronger. Many, who never knew him in person even, consider this passing as great as losing a family member or dear friend. Our ties to each other become more evident through our creative expressions and what we offer the world. Mr. Jobs offered a unique vision that he was not afraid to share and the world loved him for it.

 

The ‘art’ of Apple is in the hands and homes of millions of human beings. The sleek machinery has been a staging point for other innovative and creative individuals to piggy-back on for years. The technology is an art form in itself in design and appeal. Millions of artists rely on their devices (as do I) to create, express and share their visions. Between my children’s iPods, my iMac the iPad and iPhone I wish someone would buy me, my house alone uses their products every day. I edit my photography projects, design my websites and create limitless art almost daily thanks to Apple. Not to mention the billions of apps that have been downloaded to date - giving artists a chance to create new mediums, from games, to educational apps, to ways to open up to the world of art like never before. We are all connected in a way to Steve Job’s original vision, by one degree of separation.

 

What I’m getting at is simple. Community is global. Creativity is global. Art is everywhere, within everyone and a part of our inner being. We are creators and inventors and admirers. We live and die and leave behind a piece of our visions, no matter who we are. We will always be remembered: each and every one of us. Our legacy is the shared space and community we reside in. We are all in a sense: one. So share your art and your memories with everyone you know, so I can remember you as you remember me.

 

“Remembering That You Are Going To Die Is The Best Way I Know To Avoid The Trap Of Thinking You Have Something To Lose” - Steve Jobs, 1955-2011

 

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.

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.