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Stormy Weather

Let me start today by acknowledging the massive tropical storm Nicholas, who dumped huge amounts of rain on the gulf coast and Houston earlier this week. Luckily, the storm turned as it hit land, and we got very little wind, and a good, steady, gentle rain. We were shocked to be watching the news only to see other parts of the area inundated with water, trees blown down, and power lines severed. In fact I know it was bad, because Bogdan's mother called us all out of breath having seen the reports on Romanian television. I don't believe I've ever seen as much preparation for a big storm as we saw this time. Area reservoirs lowered their water levels, schools closed, and although there was quite a lot of damage along the costal communities, most of the Houston metropolitan area was spared. We stayed at home for the storm as well, and we actually got a lot done around the house.

Now I suppose a man of my age and weight should find a lesson to be learned from the experience. Something should come to mind about the importance of planning, and being prepared for the storms that will threaten our small art business. I think we've been over all of that, right? In risk managing and future-proofing our entrepreneurial careers, we'll be better prepared for changes in the weather. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Do that! One thing that has been bugging me all day is the announcement that Google and Apple, under pressure from the Kremlin, removed an app that would have helped the Alexei Navalny's opposition voting strategy. Now I'm not going to discuss the politics of Russia, but it did make me stop and think. I've heard for ages that we as small businesses should be diversified enough to weather changes in the algorithms of Facebook and Instagram, but let's be honest. If either of those platforms were to disappear tomorrow, how screwed would we be? Think of how much we depend on "virtually" free access to marketing on a global scale. And think about how few other alternatives have survived. When was the last time you bought print advertising, or paid for a commercial on TV? I'm not saying we should avoid these platforms, just the opposite. We should take full advantage of them while we can... but at the same time keep our eyes on the skies. We need to consider some alternatives if the storm clouds do form. My guess is that we should be building amazing email lists, and taking time now to grab those physical mailing addresses as well. I don't think we will know how much of a blow Google and Apple gave to the elections in Russia, but I can assure you far fewer people will notice, or care, if a similar fail hit my small operation. Time to make some rainy-day plans?

Otherwise, we've been working on upgrading Mom and Dad's house to use as a home studio, and that work continued this week as well. New chairs, new carpets, and some wall paper, and the transformation is almost complete. Amazingly, we've already heard that there is some neighborhood gossip forming about how we are violating our deed restrictions since residents are not allowed to use their property for running a business. Well, of course, we're not. We don't sell anything from home, have no employees, and aren't open to the public... Is a writer allowed to write at his kitchen table? Is an attorney allowed to work on a case in his home study? Is a teacher allowed to grade papers in the living room of her home? I sincerely hope this doesn't mushroom into something of a witch hunt. We run our business through our studios in Houston... not from our home. Having said that, we've been working a lot on creating art this week. I (John) have been working on my Christmas commission all week. I've been asked to create 15 small paintings for a collector to give as Christmas gifts this year. Such an honor, and I've been cranking through the work ever since. Bogdan is also working on some new content using ink on paper, and the abstract work is stunning. He's also been preparing a special Christmas gift for a pair of collectors of ours, and I think they'll be thrilled. Bogdan was also accepted into a group, juried show in Poughkeepsie, New York, at a gallery called The Trolley Barn . He boxed up the picture called: As Is, and shipped it off to the gallery this week. Again, such an honor.

I started the new session of the Art Lab with PRPGMX Gallery in Mexico City with Micheal Swank. I've completed one series several months ago, but will now participate for the next 8 weeks with a new group of artists. I'll be working on my own art practice, and how to incorporate a use of interior light in my work. Always great working with Micheal, and I'm looking forward to getting to know the other artists in the cohort.

FAIN Guadalajara is over, but they will announce soon the artists invited to attend the next art fair, this time in Mexico City. Both Bogdan and I have applied, so fingers crossed one, or both, of us gets into the show. Bogdan is covered, since even if he's not selected for the show with FAIN, Micheal Swank with wants to feature him with an exhibition in Mexico City either way. So many good things seem to be happening for us lately.

This week we also visited some other artists, Marisol Valencia and Falon Mihalic are local artists that asked Bogdan to take some fine art photographs of their amazing artwork, and Elena Sandovici had a special event at her lovely Houston home for collectors and friends. It's always great to spend time with other artists. They not only feed our souls with inspiration and friendship, but they also get us out into the community more. That's always a good thing.

The Trolley Barn Gallery - Poughkeepsie, New York

Micheal Swank - PRPGMX


“Conversations for Freelance Creatives” is a weekly blog/vlog/podcast that creates a community, a conversation, between creatives in all sorts of fields at all sorts of levels. We want to discuss what we’re learning, what we’ve experienced, and whom we’ve met in our journey of running a freelance creative business. John Bishop is a visual artist living in Houston, Texas. His work is largely abstract, and explores how to turn mythic, archetypal symbols into individual experiences allowing us to see them in a new way, with fresh eyes. Bogdan is a videographer and fine art photographer who constantly seeks to stretch the boundaries of traditional photographic work, with the added flare of his artistic eye. Both artists’ work can be seen online, or at their studios at Silver Street Studios, 2000 Edwards Street, in Houston.

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