Monday, March 10, 2014

Spreading Happiness and Fun via Their Art ~ the Happy Happy Art Collective

I have been running this series of artistic collaborations and business partnerships for a few weeks now and in celebration to our blog's 150,000 page views, I want to thank you for all your support and help in making this one of the most read web art publications!

We have in store much more in upcoming months, including a whole series of free promotions for artists attending Surtex. Whether you walk the show or exhibit, we welcome you to our booth to doodle on our Artist's Doodle Board. The board will be permanently published on our Artist's Doodle Museum blog page after the show.

Trade shows can be intimidating to new (and veteran) artists. My friend, artist Nicole Tamarin, wrote a wonderful article about this topic and you can find it on the Surtex blog. I encourage you to read it!

Some artists instead join forces and share the same purpose, like Happy Happy Art Collective. What's the main story and purpose behind this new group? How did it form, I asked?

Emily: We all took Lilla Rogers' "Make Art That Sells" e-course in 2013. Upon graduation Tammie approached us to gauge our interest in forming a collective. We all loved the idea and the collective was formed! Choosing the name was surprisingly easy - since we all had colorful, happy styles (though different) and we wanted to focus on making happy art, 'Happy' just made sense - so we decided to use it twice, for good measure!

The Moon from My Attic: What's your creative process about?

Jill: I think we all have our own creative processes, but as a group, we have a common mission of spreading happiness and fun via our art. The collective is about how to creatively accomplish this goal via encouraging each other's efforts and working together on group projects.

TMFMA: How do you develop a product as a team?

Muffin: We start by posing a question and then each of us takes time to answer, such as what kinds of projects would we like to pursue. We enjoy talking via Google Hangout to talk about our ideas and decide what is best for our team. It's interesting to see how we all end up on the same page and wanting to do the same things.

Emily: We all have our preferred markets and our favorite subject matter - but we understand the value in challenging ourselves to try something new. We selected our group projects based on a combination of what we love to do and what we need to practice a bit more.

TMFMA: What do you enjoy the most when collaborating with your team members?

Lauren: It's fun to see how everyone interprets each project in a totally different way. It reminds you that there is no single "right" way to do art.

Muffin: I love the variety of our art and that each one of us has something different to offer. I love the simplicity of Emily and Denise's illustrations, the complexity of Lauren's illustrations, and the happiness and bright colors of Jill and Tammie's art.

Tammie: I love that we are all supportive of each other's work and process.

© Tammie Bennett 
TMFMA: What online or other tools do you use as a team to keep coordinated and in the loop on common projects?

Tammie: we have a private Facebook group, we use Google Hangouts for video chats, and we use Asana as a task management system.

TMFMA: What's the advantage in working together?

Lauren: We can use our individual strengths to help the group as a whole. Someone might be more comfortable with social media, while another person might be better at running our website. Working in a group also allows us to break up a large to-do list into something manageable!

Jill: There is never any lack of ideas or inspiration. Freelancing can be very isolating so this allows us as artists to work together in a mini virtual office.

© Emily Balsley
Denise: Sharing trade secrets! Having someone to complain to about work! Getting to learn new techniques! Hearing tips! Finding new tricks! All of us are from different industries and have different backgrounds - it's so great that we get to learn from each other and see how we work. It's better than taking an e-class or buying a book on how to illustrate! All the best information is right in this group.

Muffin: It motivates me to go out of my comfort zone and try something new. Plus since we have deadlines, I work really hard accomplishing those tasks so as to not let the other's down. I have tried setting goals for myself to accomplish with deadlines, but it hasn't had as much affect as working in a team has. I feel responsible to do what I say I will do. Plus it's so fun that I have just gained a group of talented friends all virtually!

© Denise Holmes
Emily: It is so nice having a group of people who really understand what I'm going through. I can only jabber on to my husband so much before he starts to tune out - but these ladies are my tribe! They totally get what it means to be an illustrator. When I am freaking out, they are always there to talk me off my ledge. When I have big news I want to share, they are right there celebrating with me!

Tammie : I think we are all pushing each other to grow as artists in a fun and supportive environment.  We really get each other and want each other to be successful.

TMFMA: What excites you to work together?

Jill: Having the accountability of working alongside like-minded artists is an invaluable resource and really inspires you to strive to do your best.

Lauren: I love getting a new project idea from another member. It's never boring!

Denise: How motivating it is to see all the work the group is making. It really pushes me to create more awesome work!

© Muffin Grayson
Muffin: I love seeing the variety of projects. When a task is checked off in Asana from another team member, I immediately want to go to the blog and see what they have done!

Emily: Individually, we are super talented - but viewing our work as a whole is truly impressive. Even though our individual styles are different, they really complement each other and bring strength to our collective - just how it should be!

Tammie : I love seeing how we can all take the same idea or assignment and come up with something totally different but they all still work well together on our site. I always want to do my best work to keep up with the other talented artists in the group!

TMFMA: Any suggestions or tips for other artists interested in starting up a group?

Lauren: Ask yourself what your focus is and what you want to accomplish as a group (casual projects or global empire?). After you get a solid group together, make a plan immediately. That initial momentum will make or break your group.

© Jill Howarth
Denise: Start talking to artists whose work you admire; you never know what a new friendship might bring.

Muffin: Don't be afraid to just ask! If you like or admire other's work you've seen online, ask if they are interested in starting a group with you. If you get turned down, don't be afraid to try asking another. I wasn't really sure what I'd gotten myself into at first but after starting and getting involved, I'll never turn back. It's all about doing what you love and sticking to it, even if it takes you years to get to where you want to be! Keep moving towards your goals and don't let others deter you from your dreams!

Emily: Once you have your key players, tune in to everybody's strengths. Everyone has something to offer - and take advantage of it. By utilizing what each person does best, anything is possible!

© Lauren Minco

Tammie: ASK! Ask artists whose work you admire to join you. Ask what their goals are. Ask what you can do to help each other in the group. ask lots of open questions and you'll find that honest answers can make fun things happen!

Happy Happy Art Collective & Artist links:

Happy Happy Art Collective:

Tammie Bennett:
Denise Holmes:
Lauren Minco:
Emily Balsley:
Muffin Grayson:

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