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Category: Social Media, Blogging, Marketing & Promotions

28 Jun

Pittura Magazine

Pittura magazine recently released their Summer issue.  If you recall, their first issue launched earlier this year and focused on beautiful Ceilings.  This issue was all about canvas works, mixed media, finish recipes, fantastic products and of course, gorgeous decorative painting.

Pittura Magazine Cover

Pittura Magazine Cover

Photos by photographer Brad Meese

The cover story is on Chicago-based artist Jason Brammer.  I wrote the profile on Jason and it was a pleasure to speak with him in person — he was very cool, laid-back and had a fascinating background.  He currently has a showing of his latest series, Futura Obscura, at the Jackson Junge Gallery.  The Pittura article has a link to a very cool video showcasing the exhibition.  It truly shows you how amazing the textures on the pieces are as well as the finesse displayed in his artistry.

Jason Brammer Live

Jason Brammer painting live at the Futura Obscura exhibition. This piece, also entitled "Futura Obscura", was site-specific and painted live.

Jackson Junge Gallery

A packed house at the Jackson Junge Gallery

Jason has considerable mural skills — you can see more of his beautiful work on his studio website.  Here is a close-up detail of an underwater mural, Into the Deep, at a private residence.  That link will take you to a full post on this commission on his blog, Brammer Arts.

The cover story has more images of his incredible works as well enlightening information on his process and inspirations.  He also has very useful guidance to impart to aspiring canvas and mixed media artists.

Directors Mindy Harrell and Tamra Cook put together a fantastic second outing — I hope you enjoy the article and the Summer issue!  There’s so much yummy information and inspiration in there.  Be sure to look out for an article by Fauxology contributor Dana Tucker wherein she writes about maximizing Google Places for your business.  Also, there is a Hidden Picture game from Meoded Paint that you can participate in — looks like a very cool prize.  First one in wins it!  Have a great day, dear Readers!

20 Jun

The Big 0-4 in Oz!

“I am, first and foremost, an artist not a writer. I have a tendency to ramble and gush ad nauseam without control. I love what I love and when I love, self restraint goes out the window.”

This is why I adore blogs so much. I read the above in the Shimmer Like Gold blog and instantly felt a kinship with the writer because I am that statement — although I do feel a strong affinity with the written word.  Words are so powerful that they can begin an enduring, lifelong friendship — without ever having met the person.  There’s that moment when you read something someone wrote and they strike you in a deep way or you simply feel that they view the world exactly as you do.  That, if you met, you’d never stop talking and laughing in the way true friends do.  Soulmates, in a sense.

Why am I being introspective?

Because June is a very special month here at Fauxology.

First, Fauxology is four years old (yesterday, officially) and second, although I have written steadily during those four years, I have officially been writing daily for one year.  I’m not sure which I’m most proud of.

In those four years, I’ve also seen the faux finishing industry change.  The word “faux finish” is now a bit of a bad word, something that can be seen as passé.  In its stead, we use terms such as decorative painting, wall treatments, patinas, large scale graphics and ornamentation, to name a few.  I think the beauty is that we have learned to adapt — and artists across the country have risen up to showcase ever more innovative and elegant finishes to chip away at changing the perceptions.  These artists, their sophistication and the savviness of the industry as a whole is what has helped make this blog so incredible for me to write — in spite of it being named Fauxology.

What can I say? Some things, I would have done differently.

When I started, I could count on my hand the number of artisans blogging.  Since then, many blogs have come up and they have made my life that much better.  I think writing a blog is a personal thing — either you will find it cathartic and it becomes a part of you or you realize it’s not your cup of tea and leave its ghost online.  Writing Fauxology and the readership it’s drawn (pun intended) has been a complete blessing in my life.  I thank you — and I hope to be here next year, nostalgic at Five.

~ Regina

P.S. Wanna read my first post?  It’s riveting.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!  Plus, it helps explain the title of this post. ;)   I hope reading that first one inspires those of you who say “I’m waiting for the perfect idea to begin writing my blog!”.  Trust me, I’ve heard every variation of that line the last few years.  My advice? Just start writing — and who you are will shape the beautiful blog you create.  Cheers!

18 May

Fauxology Updates

Hello, hello!  Well, I’ve been busy testing out several things and wanted to update you on the results. You ready?

First up, our Fauxology Fan Page on Facebook.  Are you a Fan yet?  WHAT?!?  No, no seriously.  It’s cool…no worries.

OK, enough shenanigans, we need to get through this post. ;)   Our Fan Page features a lot of links to stories and profiles that I find around the Internet that don’t necessarily translate to an entire post — but they’re still very cool to look at and read.  I also post (what I think are) amazing images, too.  I try not to cross-pollinate much because I like fresh content on both the blog and the fan page.  But I did do this…

fauxology facebook fan page
Screen Shot of Fauxology FB Fan Page

The updated menu on the side has an All About Fauxology tab which links to our Mission Statement and other cool things, including a Contact Us form. We’ve added our Twitter feed and the brand-new YouTube channel.  Best of all, there is a Contests & Giveaways tab which can keep you updated on all the current opportunities you have to win a great prize. It’s divided into three categories: The Deets (which is currently showcasing info on the gorgeous Royal Stencil Crèmes and a Giveaway), Week-long Series opportunities (only a few days left to submit your Column projects!) and the Photo Contests. The next Photo Contest is in June and it is a great prize.  I hope these enhance your Fauxology experience on Facebook!

Our YouTube Channel is new but we will be updating it with videos on both decorative painting in design and online marketing bites.  There’s a very cool announcement coming up about Twitter as well.  That’s all I can say for now since there’s so much more to come to compliment our Building Your Online Brand class at IDAL.

A personal triumph for me is that we sent out our first Fauxology newsletter this morning — it rounds up the current goings-on here at the blog as well as a sneak peek into what’s coming up in June.  If you’ like to sign up to receive future issues, the form to join our mailing list is on our Fauxology home page.

As a final, I wanted to let you know that yours truly is being featured in the Faux by Kathy website as both a blogger (home page profile) and as a Preferred Decorative Artisan with images of our work.  On the blogger article, you find out exactly what jumpstarted Fauxology.  (It involves the word “Intervention”.)  Faux by Kathy is a fantastic site for faux finishers as they post info on products, workshops and offer a slew of resources, including a free Finish of the Month series.  It is run by the lovely Kathy Carroll and is definitely worth checking out.

Any thoughts on the improvements and coming attractions?  Have a great day!

28 Apr

IDAL Class: Building Your Online Brand

Have you made your travel plans yet to attend the IDAL Convention this Summer?

idal conference logo

IDAL is the International Decorative Artisans League and they hold their annual convention and conference each summer. It is an opportunity to network with colleagues and peers, brush up on techniques by taking classes from the pros and check out the latest in products and tools at the Expo. This year’s conference is being held July 20-24th in Hampton, Va. I am excited to announce that Regina Garay and I will be teaching a class at the convention called, “Building Your Online Brand”.

Regina and I actually met “online”. I found her blog (this blog) and started leaving comments here and following her on Twitter and friending her on Facebook. (Does that make me a stalker?) Anyway, we became fast virtual friends and started talking about techie stuff like social media, search engine optimization, website building and blogging. I have a marketing background and have spent my entire adult life helping businesses “get the word out” about what they do. So, it was a natural progression for Regina and I to start talking about how we can help people in the decorative painting industry use technology  and social media to grow their reach, expand their customer base and have their brand show up in a BIG way online.

We have invested a good amount of time studying the best online practices and putting into action what we are preaching in the class. We have networked, taken online courses and both attended the Design Blogger’s Conference in Los Angeles in February. Regina has poured her heart, soul and brain into this blog, Fauxology for the last 4 years.  She dove right into the pool of social media in its infancy and now is a high profile Twitter-lebrity in the Design Community. I personally have spent the last five years of my day job helping clients brand their businesses, writing marketing plans and developing strategies and tactics for successful campaigns; All online. Regina and I are so stuffed full of tech stuff that we can’t wait to unload some of it on all of you guys.

We decided to offer a class at IDAL so we could help the artists in our industry navigate the web independently and show them some of the important places where they need to be found online. Some of the topics we will cover in the class are:

  1. How to set up and grow a blog
  2. How to use social media to promote your business
  3. How to set up Google Places
  4. How Google’s changing algorithms are affecting  Search Engine Rankings
  5. How to monitor the web for mentions about your business
  6. How to use Linked In, Twitter and Facebook effectively
  7. How to use analytics to track results
  8. How to create buzz without spending any money
  9. How to use long tail keywords to show up in organic search
  10. How to get the referral engine cranking

So, for a small investment in time (2 hrs) and money ($85) you’ll be ready to conquer the on line world. Well, maybe you won’t be able to conquer it, but we will at least give you a road map to get you started on your way. Check out the other classes, too.  There are lots of great teachers assembling in one location for the week offering classes on everything from stenciling to counter tops. Why not take some time off, come and network with your peers and learn a few new tricks? I hope to meet you all IRL (In Real Life) at the conference.

24 Mar

Mirrors for Celebration!

A recent profile of our mirror works by the wonderful My Notting Hill blog inspired me to post a recent mirror project.  This one was an elegantly simple, albeit small, commission we did for the Celebration Hotel.  I truly enjoy working with the designer, Debbie Golding, because she is immensely talented.  Every time she designs a space I love it all — the fabrics, the textures, the furniture…I could go on.  She always finds amazing materials and products.  This was the fifth hotel we’ve worked on together — you can see the Asheville, NC project and also the one in Savannah, GA by clicking on those links.

For this hotel, we did antiqued mirrors with a metallic pearl and gold sheen for an exterior seating area.  The pearl took about 80% and the gold 20% — they were added and blended at the same time but each needed to keep their colorations intact.  You can really catch the sheen of the metallic mica powders in person.  We also did a larger mirror with the same colorations for the reception area but, unfortunately, do not have an image of that area.  Hope these will do…

Antique Mirror Patina

A close view of one of the exterior mirrors.

Antique Mirror Patinas

Mirrors in situ.

Antique Mirror Patinas

A closeup -- see the pearl and light bits of gold?

Antique Mirror Patinas

Wide angle view of part of the hotel exterior. I love all the light fixtures, accessories and colorations. The interior reflects lighter tones and more in the gold family -- it's gorgeous.

Not a big project, but I have caught guests touching the mirrors and then smiling.  Does it get any better than that?  You can see more mirrors in our other company website, Mirror Patinas.  I hope you’ve enjoyed these images. We do have a residential project that we recently wrapped and altogether spent a total of about 3 months in the home, working top to bottom.  I’ll share those soon as well.  Tomorrow, we return to our Portrait of an Artist series — an artist whom I’m truly excited for you to read about.  Have a wonderful Thursday!

23 Mar

Social Media Etiquette/Netiquette

Thought we were kidding about sharing social media info?  We’ll be doing that more in addition to sharing the decorative painting & design visuals! (It’s all about balance here at Fauxology — creating the beauties AND  running a creative business.)  Dana Tucker shares her thoughts and experiences surrounding “netiquette”, meaning, the proper etiquette to keep in mind while surfing the web. It’s a fantastic post and I hope you enjoy it!  Take it away, Dana!

Etiquette image

I have to admit that I am a digital early adopter. As soon as I heard about Twitter, I was on board and tweeting within the hour. It was so new at the time that no one really knew how to use it properly. It became clear to me very quickly that the way to use this new technology to my advantage was to LISTEN FIRST and build relationships.

Listening image with glass

My mom gave me some very valuable advice when I was in 4th grade. I was having trouble making friends and she said, “The way to make friends is to NOT talk about yourself. Ask them what they like to do, what their interests are, and what fun things they have going on in their life”. To this day , that is the most valuable advice anyone has ever given me. This advice also holds true in the social media landscape. Ronda Carman of All the Best Blog stated this point perfectly during her session at the Design Bloggers Conference.  She said, “Social Media is like a big, giant cocktail party.”

vintage cocktail party

You wouldn’t barge into a cocktail party saying, “Look at me”, “Buy products from me”, “Read my blog”, “Take my class”. You would ease into conversations, build a rapport and gain credibility. You would ask questions of the other person and then respond to questions asked of you. Keep this in mind as you navigate the social media webisphere and it will serve you well.

The absolute best reference I can offer on this topic was recently written by Chris Brogan called AN INSIDER’S GUIDE TO SOCIAL MEDIA. I would make this article required reading if you are using social media in any form. I am including some of his pointers below and have added some of my own tips for the painting/design industry.

  • Friending Do yourself a favor and “friend”  or  “follow” everyone you can find in your industry including your competition. Being friends with your competition might require you to sensor some of your posts and not tweet/post intimate details of what you are working on, but the rewards will be far greater. Not only will you be inspired by seeing and hearing about the wonderful projects and commissions that are being executed, you will be pushed to your limits to produce your best work when you know that it will be seen/heard/commented on by a jury of your peers. I have personally benefited greatly by making friends with local artists. It has led to collaboration, camaraderie, and lead sharing.social network image
  • Commenting The SINGLE BEST WAY to build relationships is by commenting on others’ posts, photos, tweets, status updates, videos, blogs, etc… Be genuine. If you see something you like, hit the “like” button. If you see something you love, leave a comment. If you see something amazing, share it with your friends. Think about it. Wouldn’t it make your day to have someone share your art, project, or profound thoughts with the world? While we are on this topic I’d like to make two points. a) ALWAYS give credit to the original poster and the source. Someone is working hard to find all the great articles and projects you see. If you like it and re-post it, give credit to the person who found it in the first place. b) If you are reading a blog post someone has posted on Facebook or Twitter, don’t just comment on Facebook or Twitter. Make sure you also leave a comment on the actual blog post itself. Think of it as giving the blogger a pat on the back. Bloggers work very hard coming up with fresh and relevant content. There is nothing more rewarding for a blogger than to see multiple comments on a post. It is validation that they are on the right track with their readers.
  • Don’t re-tweet or re-post someone’s praise of you In a real life social situation would you walk up to someone and say, “Hey, everyone says the project I just finished was gorgeous?” Uh, No! Instead make a habit of re-posting and re-tweeting the compliments that the friends in your network are receiving. Hopefully, they will return the favor and do the same for you.join the conversation
  • Interact I think the biggest opportunity people miss with social media is that they throw out a tweet, post, or status update that sparks conversation and they don’t join in. You should always be gracious, thank people for compliments and comments and “likes”.  Isn’t that how you would respond in real life? As Chris Brogan says, “You should be the #1 commenter on your blog”. I would also stretch that to include being the #1 commenter in your comment streams on your Facebook wall.
  • Linking If you are talking about someone in your blog, link to their website, blog, facebook or twitter page. If you are mentioning someone on Facebook, link to their profile. On Twitter, use the @ and their Twitter handle. This is a great way to promote your friends by introducing them to all your other friends.
  • Posting- If you have a business, a blog,  or something you are selling, promote OTHERS more than you promote yourself. The rule of thumb is 10:1. For every one thing you say to promote yourself you should say 10 things NOT about yourself.

So there you have it, some basic guidelines to winning friends and influencing people on line. Social Media BandwagonIt’s time to practice, jump in and join the conversation!

- Dana Tucker

22 Mar

Building Your Online Brand

The Future of Business.

YouTube Preview Image

(Thank for that info, Socialnomics!)

Social Media is a cultural shift and it will affect how we do business in the future. Fact. It’s been fun doing so much research, attending conferences, reading voraciously, talking to top tech experts — all to see how social media can help the decorative painting industry specificallyDana Tucker and I have been sharing some of this information with you on Fauxology and in industry articles (and we’ll be sharing more, trust) but we’ve also gone one step further.  We’re teaching a class for you called Building Your Online Brand during the IDAL conference in Hampton, VA from July 20 – 24, 2011.  The class is on Thursday, July 21st from 1:30 – 3:30 pm and registration for the conference and class is now open.  The cost for this two-hour workshop?

One Million Dollars.

Ha! I just wanted to see if you were still with me.  :D   The class workshop is only $85 and we’ve culled the best information to put together as it can be used by our industry.  During the two hours we’re going to cover the following topics:

  • Using Social Media Sites effectively
  • Search Engine Optimization for websites
  • Setting up, Maintaining and Growing a Blog
  • Creating an effective online Marketing Plan
  • Question and Answer session

A lot of ground to cover in two hours!  We’ll be giving out a folder with a resource guide and we highly suggest bringing a laptop or other tech device to use during class.  It’s going to be so.much.fun! (‘Cause I’ve wanted to fall asleep during some of the really technical conferences and I don’t want that to happen to you.)  I’m really excited to meet some of our gorgeous Readers at the conference as well, no doubts about that!  Tell me — is there anything in particular you’d like us to include in the class?  Or, include in the blog and/or our other writing efforts?  Let us know because, for us, it’s all about listening and delivering.

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