First, thanks for reading! You received this email because at some point you attended one of my art shows, showed interest in my artwork, or business. For most of you, it has been a few years since you have heard from me. Well, there have been many changes in my life. Little things: having a baby, moving to Connecticut, and starting a new business called Bobbianne's Flowers.
Find an idea that works
Find an idea that works I am still an artist, but tired of the limited exposure and support in the traditional white-box gallery. Being the artist/problem-solver I am, I decided to reappropriate the tools of commercial capitalism. To see what I mean by this, let us look at an example. Christo and Jeanne-Claude were the famous husband and wife team. They are famous for making colossal installations. The first part of the plan was for Christo to create great drawings of his imagined installations before the installation was even built. He would take these drawings and sell them to the public, galleries, and collectors. Hence, the drawings were a profitable, sellable product. With the proceeds in hand from the sales of the drawings, Jeanne-Claude and Christo would make the installations a reality. Sometimes they had to hire architects and engineers and other artists to make Christo’s installation dreams a reality. The installations being so grand would attract more people to their work and help increase their sales. The installations were the perfect type of marketing, it was a residual of the initial work, free, and increased sales. Hence, marketing allowed Christo and Jeanne-Claude to grow as artists and make even grander work. Christo and Jeanne-Claude used commercial devices as tools to make the art they wanted to make.
How did my business start?
With these ideas in mind, I started my business, Bobbianne’s Flowers. First, I needed a product that people could like. While thinking about this, I looked down at a vase of metal flowers on my kitchen table. That is when Bobbianne’s Flowers was born. I would make flowers. Flowers are natural, simple, and timelessly charming. I would make the sculptures individualized and beautiful by using highly saturated colors. My new flowers would be more accessible by being less overtly conceptual and at a lower price point. This way more people would be attracted to buying them.
All this felt great at first, but I needed more. My work had to have some sort of meaning. Graduate school drove into my head that art must be conceptual. If there is not a conceptual element, it is a craft. The general meaning of conceptual art is the idea behind a piece is most important while the actual art object is secondary. I am a trauma survivor and I really wanted to add awareness and work toward ending the cycle of trauma. Yet, I needed a way to make my flowers be a metaphor for being a trauma survivor. I would use discarded steel to make my flowers. For myself, I felt like a discarded piece of steel after my traumatic experiences. It took years of work to accept those feelings of worthlessness and build upon them to become my best self. I could use discarded steel and re-sculpt it into a new life as a flower. This is how I snuck in some conceptualism. I would use discarded metal sculptures as a visual narrative of a trauma survivor’s ability to be resilient and overcome. Yet, something was still missing. How could I end trauma on my own or help others find health? My answer was by working with other community organizations. I could advocate. Through social media marketing and giving public speeches, I would educate the public about the cycle of trauma. This was a start. Yet, what would help these organizations is funding. That is where the real power would be, in the purchase. I would donate 5% of every sale to help treat, advocate against, and stop trauma.
Giving back to the community
Now that I am in Connecticut, I am working to be the change that I want to see in the world. The first step was simple. Build a new website: www.bobbiannesflower.com. I had to have a place to show and sell my work, especially since all my retailers permanently closed due to the pandemic. To even have a website, I needed to find a photographer. I found Pictures of People Studios, who did a wonderful job shooting my artwork. Next, I started to advocate for trauma survivors on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter. I also started a blog. I am working to find an organization to partner with and to whom I can donate funds. This is only the beginning.
Giving Back on Christmas
There is no controlling the pandemic. Nor is there much control over the economic/small business apocalypse the pandemic has caused. Add to this, an election season filled with hate and vitriol and the social justice movement where people are trying to be seen and heard. This year has been difficult, and we are fried. Especially now, with the holidays upon us. We are separated from our loved ones. Illness has cast a shadow on a time of year that was dependable for a bit of happiness. Even if that happiness was being able to get a pumpkin latte. For myself, I keep focusing on the next thing I can do. It is all I can do. Is keep fighting. I was watching The Hobbit: An Incredible Journey and this quote was a perfect expression of what I was talking about.
Gandalf: "Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. ― J. R. R. Tolkien
I fight to see the next smile on my son’s face. I fight to laugh with my husband. I fight to help someone find a bit of peace in this world. By adding a bit of beauty to their home or by someone finding some healing through the donation program. That is what I encourage you to do. Keep fighting. When the pandemic ends, there will be more time for unadulterated joy and be with our extended families. For now, find the moments that enlivens your spirit and be the beacon of hope to your loved ones. Be the woman that risked her job to feed a hungry child. Be the neighbor or friend that reaches out to another to make sure that friend is okay. Do the small act you can control and make this world a bit better for someone else. My advice is to be the act that keeps the darkness at bay. Be the light!
Stay healthy and stay safe,
P.S. If you want to learn more about me and Bobbianne’s Flowers, please go to my website www.bobbiannesflowers.com. Even better purchase so I can help more people on their path to healing.