currently in a featured artist exhibition at the Skylark Gallery, Gabriel's Wharf
for more details see paintings and galleries and events
Tina Mammoser has a talent for branding and being business-like. I've known Tina Mammoser online for some time now and we’ve been talking for a bit about her doing an interview for my blog. She recently reinvented herself as a new brand – the Cycling Artist – so I decided it was about time to provide some insight into who she really is. Below you'll find out about the focus of her artwork, why she developed her new brand and what was involved in its creation.
Those of us who know Tina also know that she readily admits to having a bit of an obsession with the business side of art. After the new banner logo for 'The Cycling Artist' you'll find what she has identified as being barriers to being creative AND organised and some of her tips for making time for making art - in Tina’s words edited by me. All quotes in this piece are by Tina unless otherwise indicated.
First some background. Tina was born in Chicago in 1970, always wanted to visit Scotland and managed to do her (non-art) post-graduate studies (that’s grad school to Americans) for 3 years in Scotland before moving down to London where she took up painting as a hobby. She started to take lessons with a local artist and became immersed in her tutor's creative lifestyle. It all took off from there!
The creation of “The Cycling Artist”
For any artist its's important to be able to talk about yourself and your work - even if it's always changing. '”The Cycling Artist” brand came about simply by talking about and presenting my last two years work at different shows.Tina has been painting a variety of water-based subjects and themes in oils for a long time. Two years ago she started to combine cycling along the south coast with painting it back in the studio. She started when she took a bike trip along the Kent coast in snowstorms! She then developed her paintings of the sea when she got back....and then realised that she could combine three of the things she liked the most - cycling, painting and the sea – as an ongoing project. (See Follow my coast journey to see how far she has got and you can read about the process here and in the blogposts listed at the end.)
Having such a focused project has really helped me talk about my work to people - I now have an engaging adventure to share! The sea is also so near and dear to the British that the theme also seems to speak to everyone on some level.
An art fair visitor helped me with the brand idea. Having talked to me at a previous exhibition, when he saw me again he remembered “Ah yes, you’re that cycling artist”.
I realised then that I had a story/presentation that was effective and memorable and a potential gimmick. At about the same time Alyson Stanfield was discussing the importance of better story-telling on her ArtBiz blog and highlighting the importance of a good website design. It just all fell into place.
The first thing I branded was my blog – it was simpler to tackle and slightly separate from my general promotional materials and official website. To further define the brand with a domain I purchased thecyclingartist.com and forwarded it directly to the blog. I reworked my artist statement and CV too. It didn’t take long for me to see the potential for rebranding everything.
With two shows coming up in October I’ve had professional giclee canvas signage made, relaunched my website and am purchasing large printed patches to velcro to my bike bags for advertising when I’m out doing the actual cycling! That is where something like ‘thecyclingartist.com’ domain works better than my regular domain name – it’s memorable and ties in with what people are seeing as I zip past or sit drawing on the beach.
Being creative AND business-like: what gets in the way
Being business-like means Tina has identified what are the sort of things which can get in the way of her painting if she lets them. These include:
- Getting started
- Getting distracted
- Short attention span
- Spending too much time on activities like blogging, updating websites and making promotional materials!
What works for Tina – and helps Tina work
Tina’s worked out what helps her work efficiently and effectively. Here are a few of her tips and strategies.
I’d never get around to painting some days if I didn't tell myself, repeatedly "Just do what's necessary"
- Doing what’s necessary involves avoiding approaches which are over-complicated or too-advanced. My advice is ‘do what works for you and what you will actually do’! Don’t choose a tool that feels like barrier for you or to getting the job done. If you truly hate computers then don’t use one for your accounting or inventory.
- I personally need a clean studio with white walls and limited visual stimuli. Palette swatches, art postcards and even just my extra supplies and mediums all need to be on one wall – preferably screened off - so not in my line of sight while working. (Obviously some artists actually need the opposite!)
The dance of avoidance upon arriving in the studio is inevitable - learn to see through it and begin
- If I have a problem getting started or feel useless I reread the chapter on distraction and avoidance in Ian Robert’s Creative Authenticity – it really hit home the first time I read it.
- Having a studio at home makes a big difference. My ability to access everything easily (computer, internet, paperwork, phone, painting, canvas prep) is vital. (However when starting out I very much needed the discipline of an outside studio!)
- I acknowledge my tendencies and work within them by varying my tasks during the day. My focus tends to last for about 20-30 minutes and then I move on to something else so I keep focused by actually allowing my focus to shift! I alternate creative tasks with mundane ones, computer with non-computer.
- I use a daily/weekly to-do list to make sure things get done.
- The list never gets smaller! I’m always adding new things as I cross some off each day. Each week I start a new page in my reporter’s notebook. Each night I put circles next to the priority things for the next day.
- On very bad days I find I actually need to strictly list my entire day in 15min intervals with specific slots for everything, including eating – this fortunately isn’t too often.
Some advice given to me by a business advisor many years ago is to remember that we never finish a to do list – it’s easy to get downhearted about not achieving enough in a day but in reality most business people might cross off 50% of their daily list. That should be considered a success.
It’s so easy to fall into a routine of beating yourself up about not being productive when actually you’d be more productive if you stopped for a bit and refreshed.
- Limiting my worktime and having a break helps a lot.
- As an artist I find I can just keep working, and I usually work weekends as well. So I now have an 8pm stop rule.
- I've recently discovered the benefits of an afternoon break, usually about 2-3pm in my case. Do whatever works for you. Stop and have a meal and get away from work entirely like any office worker would, go for a walk, have a workout, or meditate. I personally do a very cheesy Meditainment narrated self-motivation meditation, and I have to say I love it despite being very set against it at first. So now I visit a little Highland cottage in a thunderstorm when I need a break. And I don’t even have to cycle there!
You can currently see Tina's work in two exhibitions in London - details below - plus you have an opportunity to meet her on 12th October at the Skylark Gallery 1 or at the Prelude Art Event in Spitalfields from today and over this weekend.
- Tina Mammoser: website and blog
- Tina Mammoser - exhibitions
- Featured Artist at the Skylark Gallery 1 – (see blog post) I will be in the gallery all day Friday 12th October to meet and greet visitors and chat about the work.
- Prelude Art Event 5-7th October (see blog post for directions) Free Entry. Fri-Sat 10am – 6pm, Sun 10am – 5pm. Spitalfields, Market Street, E1. More information at www.spitalfields.co.uk
- Tina Mammoser - the coastal journey