Me an Artist? Well… Maybe…

Artist… I never considered myself an artist for the simple reason that when I think of artists I see man and woman with paint brushes and pencils. In my mind, I see people using their hands to create something on a blank canvas or piece of paper. I might even imagine someone in front of a piece of marble, ready to free whatever they see in the stone. I never once in my life imagined an artist in front of an computer, painting with a mouse or a stencil on a tablet. Never did it cross my mind to think of bits, bites, and pixels as art.

But what is art? I had art in school and learned about those old masters that painted in oil, hungered through life, and only became important when they were dead. As a kid or a teen, I could stand in front of some paintings, stare at them for an eternity and not see anything in them. At other times, I just looked at one and knew what it pictured, mostly because those were realistic drawings of things, places, or people. Most of the time I simply shook my head at the art I encountered wondering if the artist had been on drugs. If I could I would apologize to those artists today, unless of course I was right and they were on drugs while painting. In any case, I learned over the years that art is not one specific style or way of producing a picture. An artist is not just someone who studied it, or knows all the technical terms and names of styles. Art is not something inside a box that can be easily defined or explained.

Art is soul and passion. It’s heartbreak and pain, joy, and euphoria. Art is beauty in the eyes of the artist. Beauty that isn’t defined by the usual parameters we use going through life. The beauty the artists sees might seem to the next person like nothing more than a blob of paint, a smear on paper, or a clutter of material formed into something that has no definition. Art is emotion or the absence of them, it’s despair and love, it’s up and down. Art reflects life with all it’s spectrums and variations, taken to a level beyond what we see, hear, and feel daily. Art is the reflection of a soul. Most of all, art is unique as is the artist.

Sometimes I photograph, at other times I simply “doodle” until something grabs me and begins to grow into more. At other times, I create a 3D creature, scene, or person. And sometimes I mix it all together. Is it art? Yes, it’s as much art as what any other person creates. Art is creation. Taking something and making something else off it. If that is a piece of clay, a canvas or bits and pixels doesn’t matter.

Now, after all that there is one more thing I want to share my thoughts about, that’s the value of art. Realistically spoken, the exposure and prominence of the artist determine the value.  If your name is big enough, you can charge a fortune for a blob of paint on a blank canvas. It’s still art, don’t get me wrong, but the many zeroes in the dollar amount is for the name on the painting, rather than the painting itself.

To me art has no value that can be measured by money, art is priceless to those who look at it, enjoy it, or get inspired by it. Yet at the same time creating that art takes time if nothing else. Time that isn’t spend on a five to nine job with a fixed salary. Hence the fact that many artists will charge for a reproduction of their work and even more for the original. One of the wonderful things about digital art is that there is not just one of it. Unlike a canvas, that once sold is gone, digital art can be reproduced endlessly and in all forms. It can be resized, printed as photo or on a canvas, even printed in 3D if that is what one wants. Distributing art has become easy compared to twenty, thirty or a hundred years ago. Many think it should cheapen that art, that artists, especially unknown ones, shouldn’t charge much or at all for their art. Yet, one thing has not and most likely will never change when it comes to art. That’s the time consumption, the heart and soul and the emotions the artist’s pours into his/her work. And that’s what you pay for. Whenever you buy my art, you pay for a piece of my soul to share, a bit of passion and my time.

I do a lot of different work when it comes to art. I photograph, paint… well kind off, use 3D creation with Poser and DAZ, and mix it all together. I create greeting cards, patterns, and all kinds of things that I then place on platforms like Redbubble or Zazzle for you to buy in the form of a t-shirt, laptop skin or duvet cover to name but a few. Yet sometimes there is a piece, a picture or photo taken or created that I find stands out from all the others. Those go into my art gallery as well. It’s something new and I’m still working on figuring it all out, but some of my work is already available there to view and buy. So, go check it out, leave a comment or a like, and let me know what you think of my work. Better even buy some… not that you have to, but it would be highly appreciated because sadly one other thing hasn’t changed throughout the ages when it comes to art… it can’t be eaten. Well, most of the time it can’t.

 

Art to Wear

When I was in my teens, I loved going into museums, fascinated by the art exhibited there.  Once when I was sixteen our class took a several day’s long trip to Dresden (Germany) and there we visited the Gallery of the Old Masters. I was awed as we walked along the rows and rows of paintings and sculptures. More so because I knew I would never be able to do anything alike. Truly, give me a pencil and paper and the best you get is a squiggly line or some stick figure. To me the connection from my head, where beautiful pictures house, to my hand, is screwed up.

The one thing I believe about art is, that it is inside of you, like a force that motivates and drives you. That no matter what path you choose in your life, the need to create will find a way to be expressed, to show that passion, drive and need that’s inside an artist.

I know this sounds feministic and condescending, but I think women in general will understand my meaning better when I say women know how it feels to create something from nothing.  Creation is in a woman’s genes. Yes, it’s not exactly the same, but just like with a child that was created inside our body, the art someone creates is loved once it is finished and ready to be shown to the world. And just like a child, someone else might not like it, find it too squishy, ugly, or too loud. The difference is you would never tell those things to a mother, but you most likely will to an artist.

Child birth has a time limit for it’s creation, art however has not. Some people will discover their artistic outlet in a young age, like Mozart did. Others might be well into their 70s or 80s when they do, or realize that they have done art in one form or another for years.

In a way, I was always creative. As a little kid, I loved to spin tales to get out of trouble. Yes, it’s called lying, but I prefer to think of it as story telling. When my mother opened a small, home based print business I fell in love with Corel Draw and it’s clip arts, brushes and all the little gizmos. When I got my first camera I was fascinated by taking pictures, but not very good at it and it quickly got expensive. That was before digital cameras were on the market. Then later in life when I was in my twenties I began to write, despite my dyslexia. I think it was kind of a rebellious way of expressing myself, but at the same time I found joy and comfort in it, happiness even. I even did my own cover designs. Yet, I never thought of myself as an artist of any kind. I considered myself a writer and designer, but not an artist. Art is what you find in museums and galleries. Right?

Wrong! Art is everywhere and in every act of creation. When I was a cook I was an artist in the way of creating recipes, and using them to feed people. As a writer, I create worlds with words, bring joy, laughter, and pain to my readers. As a designer, I bring the ideas and concepts of others to life. As a photographer, I capture the beauty that nature paints. And I have gotten better in that department as well. In any case, art in general is filled with variations and ways of expression, of creating something. That has always been the way of art. What has changed over the centuries is how we distribute and access it.

As I said in the beginning I got my first real impression of the magnitude of art when going to the gallery of the Old Masters. Sure, I was replicas of famous art on someone’s wall, in shelves, and some people that had enough money even had originals. However, for a long-time art as in paintings, photographs and drawings, was often expensive and if you wanted something special and original, hard to find.

Today with modern technology, internet, and public domain picture collection (regard the copyright) art has not only reached a new level of opportunity, but has become easier to access and distribute. Where twenty years ago, you would have gone from one gallery to another to maybe get one piece of art exhibited, you now upload it to an art portal, or print on demand service and sell it directly. Mind you, I only discovered recently, as in two or three years ago, and it’s an ongoing process, how to utilize my artistic talents.

When my Fibromyalgia forced me to stop working as a cook, my dyslexia prevented me from taking an office job and my anxiety blocked me from doing something in customer service, I took to writing once more. First to give me something to do, then to share my stories and finally to make money with it without investing a fortune. That brought me to book cover design and from there it was a small step to creating something new and different all together.

Only when I started with digital art I wasn’t sure what to do with the finished picture/design. Remember the art gallery and museum. Most artist I think dream of at one time being exhibited in a museum. However, in my experience it’s most often the dead that get there and I don’t intent on joining their ranks any time soon. So, I no longer care about museums.

And art galleries are kind of a one-time deal. You put one picture, painting, or photograph up for sale and that’s it. Once it’s gone only one person has it. Yet I wanted to share my creations with many, and sell it more than once. It’s the business woman in me that wants to make money repeatedly.

That’s how I found Art to Wear. Yep, finally I’m coming to the point.

At first, I stumbled over Zazzle, which is a nice enough portal for distributing art, don’t get me wrong it has its benefits. However, it lacks in the graphic T department. Graphic tees are a wonderful way to share and sell art. For which I can recommend Redbubble, they have a great selection on graphic tees and a super easy platform to upload and present your work.

I guess art to wear is a very limited description, it’s more like, Art to put on everything that can be printed on. From normal shirts and graphic tees to lap top skin, mugs, and notebooks. Hell, even duvet covers and fleece blankets. Where thirty years ago, (god I’m getting old) I would have sworn to you that I’ll never be able to create anything artistic, I now offer my art on several portals for you to buy. The best is, thanks to modern technology the things I create are actually worth looking at. Sure, I still don’t use a pencil and paper, but who the hell cares? I now do anything from greeting cards you won’t find in a store, to duvet covers I would have loved to have growing up or even now. Anyone who ever wanted a piece of art on their wall, or body, can with the click of a button and a credit card.

So why not check it out? Not just my art but what those portals can do for your inner artist as well. Take a look at my website, Zazzle store and Redbubble store and the many different designs.


Introducing Peachy the happy peach.

Peachy was originally created for a crowd-sourcing competition, with a totally different context. The little guy didn’t have a face, arms, or legs at that point, just his funny hair and a tie. Still, when I looked at it I smiled and fell in love with the little feller. Once the competition was finished and lost I stared at the little guy and didn’t want to let him go.

I assume all of you know the phrase “everything is peachy”, even if it is an older saying. That phrase simply didn’t want to go out of my head. So, I did the worst thing imaginable… I started to think.

Peaches, they are soft, fruity and juicy with a thick skin and hard, strong, unwavering core. They are full of vitamins and when you look at them they have rosy cheeks like a healthy person should have. Peaches represent health, and strong, withstanding characteristics.

With those thoughts in mind, my little peach became a meaning, a soul so to speak. Then it became arms, legs, pants, and expressions. Most importantly it became a mission.

Peachy the happy peach is born and destined to spread happiness, give strength, support and let you know you matter. Peachy is immortal (no age), ASO (All Sexual Orientations or none), All or no religions, disabled or healthy, to save some time and put it simple, Peachy is everything he needs to be, filled with nothing but love and acceptance. He will stand beside and behind you, support you and hold on to you. Peachy stands for all things that are good and never discriminates. With him, everything is peachy….

Every story, every poem, every novel counts…

We live in a world where publishing has become as easy as buying a book at Amazon. Anyone who want’s to, can share their work, either for free or for a charge. Yet there are a lot of people, readers, other writers, journalists, and many more who are annoyed or even upset about the easiness of which anyone can publish.  They cry out about technicalities not regarded properly. The scream at misspelled words, at bad grammar and bad style. They complain about how a writer tells her/his story if they don’t go the usual way, whatever that is. They wage war against the unusual and out of the box or unguided and inexperienced. And that’s their right. They have a right to their opinion and to voice it. They have a right to point out all those flaws and to share their findings with everyone else.

Over the last year, I have seen and heard it all. Well maybe not all but a lot. From a one star review complaining about my spelling and grammar, of which I warned, to five star reviews that made my heart swell with pride and joy. Looking back at 2016 and the five books I published, and the countless books I read, I realize something. One of the big topics during the year was diversity, racism, and bigotry. I saw hundreds of posts on Facebook from other authors about how we need to have diversity in our stories, to promote togetherness and acceptance in our worlds of fiction and fantasy.  Something I deeply agree with. Those posts and the events of last year made me realize two things I want to share.

One:

As a writer, good or bad, known or unknown, famous or lost in the multitude of others, we have a chance and a responsibility. The saying, the feather is mightier than the sword, doesn’t come from nothing. There is truth in it. As writers, we have the chance to influence, inform and even shape others. No matter what we write, from fiction to fantasy, from biography to all the non-fictions, we reach people. With our words, we touch their minds and sometimes their souls. With the world we paint, we educate, share our opinions, emotions, and hopes. We let them into our dreams and our fears. With each word we share a part of our mind and soul with our reader. All throughout history there have been writers that inspired. Some ignited a flame inside others, leading to great inventions, pollical change, or rebellion as well as peace. With the stroke of a feather, wars rose, kingdoms fell and societies were reconstructed after being torn down. It’s scary to think about the power one writer can wield by sharing a piece of themselves. Which words will do what, nobody will know until it happened. There have been works that went utterly unnoticed, had been scrutinized and frowned upon, until they ended up in the hand of one person and changed that person. Which brings me to the second realization.

Two:

This will be something many will take as an excuse on my side for publishing my work without a professional edit, especially since I’m dyslexic and mistakes are a certainty. It’s not. An excuse I mean. Publishers, bloggers, reviews and so many others want more diversity especially  infictional work. They ask the writing community to stand up against bigotry and hatred, against racism and homophobia. Something I agree with, yet the same people are often the ones doing everything in their power to suppress the same diversity within the writing community. And no, I don’t mean that they should accept bad spelling of grammar. As often as I read articles about the writing community promoting the acceptance of diversity, I read articles condemning self-publishing authors. What I disliked (hated) the most was when those articles attacked not a specific writer, but the broad spectrum of self-publishing writers. They didn’t attack because of bad editing or poor cover design, neither for endlessly ongoing sentences that simply didn’t seem to end. What they criticized was the way the writer told their story, the style, or the topic or how explicit their sex scenes were. They complained about writers who didn’t study the craft at a college or university. They judged on experience and if that author had ever made it onto a bestseller list or not. They put all writers into a box and those who didn’t fit that box were ridiculed and condemned as bad writers.

The same people who told us to embrace diversity, rejected the very same thing within the writing community.

Writing not unlike painting is an art and as such it is subjective. Where one might find a story boring and shallow, another might find beauty and depth. Like a song doesn’t sound the same to everyone’s ear, a story doesn’t touch everyone’s soul the same way. Some styles are for a brought spectrum of people, while others are just for some. Diversity means a multitude of attributes, different ways of thinking and interpreting. It means many different ways of telling a story, of conveying one’s thoughts. It means stepping out from the box society, rules and holier then thy critiques want to keep us in.

Self-publishing opened the doors for diversity, to be embraced not just by being integrated in the stories written but by accepting the multitude of ways a story is told. Every story, no matter how it is told, has a right to exist, has a purpose and a meaning. Each one has the possibility to inspire and ignite a spark.

And when this year runs out in a few hours, I know that I touched some people with my stories, shared some of my soul with them and maybe inspired them in some way. I go into the next year knowing that I will do it all over again, with new stories and those already published. But most of all I know that I and many others, embrace diversity not just with our writing but with our acceptance of other writers who go down the same road. There is nothing more diverse than the writing community.

Two days for free

For two days The Immortal Druid will be free. Take that chance and get started with this epic saga.

free-december

 

The Immortal King now Available

first-promo~~~~~NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON~~~~
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M0KUSAK
The world Lisa and Alastair returned to is darker and more violent, changed in so many ways. Yet, within that darkness, Lisa finds love, kindness, and most of all, hope, as she connects with the planet’s endless power. It is that hope and the love she shares with Alastair that keeps her grounded, as the power tries to drag her into the darkness.
While trying to get a handle on her newly increased power and searching for King Arthur, the couple must deal with a potential pregnancy. Yet, when Lisa learns that Arthur is not just a legendary king but a potential traitor, rapist, and worst of all family, the couple’s relationship ends up on the backburner, where it slowly simmers.
When they finally find Arthur, nothing is as it seemed. Full of hidden secrets and unknown plots, the past reaches out to them, quickly the situation reaches a boiling point. Once again, the couple must face danger and win or mankind will be extinct.
Only this time, they are not alone.

New additional store with Zazzle

Some of you might have wondered where I have been, what I was doing and why the hell I haven’t written anything lately. Well, for once The Immortal King is being edited as I write this and my editor and I are working hard to have it all done by December 1st. So while I’m waiting and since I’m hating to stare at the ceiling not sure what to do with myself, I started working with Zazzle and have been designing like mad, or like bored.

And since I don’t like mixing up my writing with my designing too much, I opened up a new blog dedicated to nothing but my merchandise design. This blog http://nicolekieferdesign.blogspot.ca will show you my newest designs, inform you about special offers and promotions done by Zazzle, and give you the option to contact me to talk about custom designs.

Custom designs can be anything, from your wedding picture to your own art on any article offered by Zazzle. If you are looking for a special gift but aren’t sure how to put it on the item you want it at, or simply don’t have the software to make it fitting, let me know and I’ll help out for a small, affordable fee. If you’re an author and want to hand out pens, bookmarks, keychains, t-shirts or anything and need your cover or logo fitted to it, let me know and I’ll do it for you.

So, that’s where I have been and what I was doing. But no worry, I haven’t stopped writing or anything, just biding my time until we have The Immortal King perfect so I can work on the next book and the next idea.

Donald Trump is not the problem

Donald Trump won the elections, what a bummer. I knew he would even as I hoped he wouldn’t. It wasn’t that I thought Hillary would be a better President, but that I knew people wouldn’t use her as a catalyst for their hate and violence. Donald Trump isn’t the ultimate evil, the devil reincarnate or Hitler’s offspring. He is blunt, passionate in his opinion, stubborn and aggressive. He is what some would call a purist, without subterfuge he tells it as he sees it and believes. He is the personification of change and rebellion in the mind of many. He often shows a no bull mentality and openly and aggressively points out what he believes is wrong with the country. On top of that he is a business man, a manipulator of opportunity and the ultimate politician.

He might not come from years of experience in politics, another thing that made him so attractive to the people, but from building and tearing down, winning and losing financial empires. Business is business no matter if you’re part of the lower income class, middle stand or big league. As someone with a business myself I know that part of being successful is twisting the truth. Hence. I’m not as successful as I could be. Success often comes with a price, with losing a piece of your soul to the devil, with compromises and far too often with a cut throat attitude. In addition to the willingness to take risks no other would be willing to take. Donald Trump impersonates most if not all those trades.

The funny thing is, politicians most of the time share those trades but never, ever show them publicly.

Do I think he will make a good president? No!

Do I think he will change America? Yes! But not for the better. And not because he has nothing but wrong ideas, but because he wasn’t chosen because of his ideals, qualifications or abilities.

He was elected by people who saw him as the catalyst to their need for violence and hatred. He was elected because it gave people an excuse to act out and openly demonstrate what was there all along. Their racism, intolerance and inability to accept what in their mind is wrong or unnatural. He is a danger not just for his ideals, or the things he says.

Yes, he stroked and empowered hatred. But you know what? One person, or even a whole group can only ignite, stroke and further WHAT IS ALREADY THERE!

Donald Trump didn’t give hatred to the American people, he didn’t give them racism, intolerance or bigotry. THEY WERE THERE ALREADY, all he did was give them a open door to step through and out into the open.

Dictators and Tyrants become powerful not because they are powerful alone, but because many stand behind them and give them that power. Hitler, Stalin and so many more would have never been able to do what they did, if not for the people behind and supporting them.

I’m not scared of Donald Trump.

I’m scared of the masses that stand behind him, use his existence for their violence and hate. I’m scared of the 62.2 Million Americans who voted for those open doors. Because you can take Donald Trump away tomorrow, but those 62.2 Million will still be there. Their hate, racism, bigotry and homophobia will still exit. The anger at the establishment will still rage, and the power they think they now have will not ebb with the removal of the catalyst. Because like any transformation, once the process has started, IT CAN’T BE REVERSED.

This is why I started to support movements like #sefetypin and began to design a whole line towards that campaign. But others with the same goal, will be supported by me as well.

Stop the hate, but not by becoming a hater.

Stop the violence, but not by becoming violent.

Stop the discrimination, but not by discriminating others.

I’ll stand up for minorities, I’ll stand up for women’s rights, man’s rights, human rights. I fight for equality and freedom. But most of all I’ll do it with words and arguments, with pictures and facts. I will never hit the hitter, kick the kicker or insult the insulter.

Donald Trump is not the problem, our inability to think beyond the borders we were taught, we created and hold on to, is.

Support good causes. Support good ideals and stand beside those who are being prosecuted for their religion, skin color, disabilities, heritage, gender, or sexual orientation. SAY NO TO HATE.

 

#safetypin
#safetypin
by Nicole Kiefer

Fan Article and more

As an author, I want to offer my readers as much as I can, including merchandise that goes along with my books. As a photographer and designer, I want to share what I create with as many people as possible. However, as a human being, with human being needs, I also need to make money to live from. So if you want to support me, or simply because you love my designs, go and take a look at my shop at Zazzle and order something. A mug, or a mousepad, a pillow or a poster print of one of my photos.


View more gifts at Zazzle.

Join Readers in the Know

Thanks to a fellow author I discovered this wonderful website, which I want to quickly introduce to you. Readers in the Know is the ultimate website for readers and authors, and I just joined. Over time I will tell you how well it does in bringing in sales or connecting with your readers. For now, let me tell you why I joined and why I think you should at least give it a try.

Readers in the Know offers an all time free account for readers, they can put you and your books on a watchlist so when one of your books goes on sale, discount or you have a new release, they get an email telling them about it. They can find your Facebook author page, Twitter account, and website and connect to that way as well. No matter what you do as an author, they can get the news directly into their mailbox. An author account costs a little money per year but in my mind, it’s a fair price for what they offer. As author, you can inform your reader of events, and anything related to your brand.  It also offers advertising options, which are optional. Readers in the Know also uses Facebook and Twitter to grow and expand their readership on a daily basis.

The first 60 days are free to try, which is what I am doing now. If you want to join as well click here Readers in the Know logo sign up and try it.