dirndl skirt's doings:

some thoughts, some memories, some art

dirndl skirt

dirndl skirt
Beacon, New York, USA
May 25
Top Cat (sometimes)
Sharon Watts ...Creative
I'm an illustrator in my day job, but I keep leaking with other things that need to get out. I compiled a book "Miss You, Pat: Collected Memories of NY's Bravest of the Brave, Captain Patrick J. Brown" which enables me to die knowing I did one good thing. But I have more up my sleeve!


MAY 1, 2012 4:34PM

The Dichotomy of Me

Rate: 37 Flag

GIRL - homepage 72dpi

My avatar here is only one side of me. It is the part that says “Hey! Look at me!” and represents my illustration style. Kind of girly and fun, whimsical and retro-chic. It’s on my website and business card, and I guess you could call it part of my “brand licensing,” although that phrase never existed when I was in my real heyday. It suggests not only that the glass is half-full but probably fizzing over. 


     If you look behind the confident pose, the red skirt, you’ll see a truer picture of who I am. And the way I am choosing to live a creative life.


     This would be done in a slower time, with quiet materials. Lost trinkets, loose threads, bits of packaging that once protected fragile items. Strands of wire, shards of glass, backdrops of chipboard. Old family photos, fading memories, passed along to me, the human reliquary who finds meaning in far too many things. 


     Today I received an email notice to enter an art competition. Feeling that it might finally be time to push this very personal side of me into the glare of a spotlight, out of the quiet corners, I started uploading images. I reached the end: the point where I would pay either $25 or $50. I went back and read the fine print:


Share your work with friends, family and colleagues and have them collect your artwork for a chance at the $2,500 People's Choice Award.

Just follow this checklist and you’ll be on your way to being the People’s Choice Artist:


+ Show off your profile with the share buttons on your portfolio
+ Encourage the people you know to spread the word about your entry to their friends

Get Collected

+ Have your friends hit the Collect button to collect you
+ The more collections you get into, the higher your chances of winning the People's Choice Prize
+ The highest collected artist will be the People's Choice Artist and receive a $2,500 cash grant.

Thanks for participating and good luck!

And I realized that I just can’t. I can’t hawk my work on Facebook and try to win a popularity contest. I can’t bother people this way. More importantly, I can’t do this to myself.


I am having trouble finding a real world to live in, to work in, to share in. I’ve wrestled with my attitude almost every day for the last few years, and I keep coming back to some true north in my soul. 


Sometimes I’m flying, not falling.
Mary Janes copy
Passive copy
Over Current Protection
words & art copyright Sharon Watts 

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Your stuff's very interest, but I agree that entering contests that charge fees is a losing proposition. Add in the requirement that you hassle your friends to vote and it's like running for student council president. The Dramatists Guild has a policy against entry fees and won't list competitions that charge them in its mailings to members. I'm getting the sense that a lot of little literary magazines use these things as a source of recurring revenue. Got an email the other day saying there were over 1,100 entries for a poetry prize that paid $2,500. 1,100 X $25 entry fee = $27,500. Poetry is a high margin business!
Con~ thanks for visiting. I get an entry list from NYFA (New York Foundation of the Arts) and 99% have entry fees. As you state, it's in writing too. It's like playing the lottery, and I don't do that either. If you gotta be in it to win it, I guess I'll always be a loser in some minds. Just trying to keep that thought out of my own :)
I love your work, it's very creative and different in a good way. I participate in art shows and if I see one more watercolor of flowers, I will puke. I would suggest you talk to some gallery owners in your area and see if they will show your work. Most take 50 per cent of a sale, but at least the rest is yours and it's good exposure. Also, I think it is better to spend the $25 to take a table at a local art show. Whatever you sell is all yours. I've been doing this with my folk art and while I don't sell much I have fun hanging with other artists and meeting people. Just a thought and whatever else...keep working on your art! Primarily its your way of expressing yourself, the rest is gravy. R
As you well know, some of the greatest artists were largely undiscovered in their lifetimes. Find a way to put yourself out there. OS is only one possibility.
My dear one...you are so right. Your art is so beautiful...please read my latest post to see what I think abut "relevance in art"....one of the greatest things wrong with our county.
My dear one...you are so right. Your art is so beautiful...please read my latest post to see what I think abut "relevance in art"....one of the greatest things wrong with our county.
Your work hawks itself. I especially love the one of the scissors and the mother/child photos. It speaks to me on many levels -- as a daughter, as an adoptee and a mom. I do struggle with the same thing you do though.
Sharon, great looking pieces you have presented here! Popularity contest seems like the proper label for the online contest where the artist with the most FB friends wins. I have even questioned competitions that are juried as to their fairness given some politics that I have been told about over the years that has taken place in some of these events.
I adore your art. You designed my business cards and I am delighted every single time I look at them. I just sent one of the cards you made to a friend of mine. (It was hard parting with it.) I love your art. It is beautiful and interesting and brings me so much joy.
I understand your unwillingness to "hawk" your art. Believe me, it hawks itself. ~r
One of the stationery cards, not business card... :)
I hear you loud on clear on not being able to play the game. It's been my downfall, I guess.
But, in your case, give us a chance to vote for you if you do see a legitimate contest. I'd bet many of us would jump at the chance to give you any kind of boost. I sure would.
Sharon, I love your art. I wish you were here in Portland, I'd tell you to sell your stuff at the Portland Saturday Market. There are some great artists there, actually making somewhat of a living selling their stuff. It's a judged art market (meaning the quality is high), selling everything from pottery and fine art to very cool and artistic dog collars. I don't know if there's anything similar in your area, but if your stuff was out there, someone would buy it. It's cool and interesting and wonderful. Someone will want it. I do!
Best of luck with your work. I'm shaking my head at this new world, too. So loud, so greedy. I like the ideas for the booth at the art shows and sales. I love attending them and seeing all of the stuff available.

A popularity contest on Facebook? A friend of mine actually did that for a calendar her daughter posed for. She heckled us every day to vote for the girl. She eventually won, and that was the end of it. She never told us where to buy the silly thing.
I suggested to OS mgt. last year they might like to set up a book nook where OS writers to display covers, blurbs and links for ordering. Something like that could be expanded to include other OS-generated work , such as art and crafts. It could draw interest from outside the OS community if displayed attractively and promoted on Big Salon. Salon could keep a percentage of all proceeds. Gail got back to me and said she liked the idea, and that's the last I've heard from anybody in management. Heck, Salon could sponsor an adjunct webpage for this, with a promotional corner on OS and Big Salon. A little online art community. We could design and maintain the webpage, with their startup support.

I was reminded of that idea looking at Sharon's engaging display here. We have the talent, the know-how, the everything to run a really neat and productive little side business for Salon. Would give the place a little class to balance the schlock that so often shows up on the cover.
I love your art and how you use old materials with an art of their own. All very different, and with a very different feel from your avatar. I'm sure there's a market out there if you want it. Show us more.
Your art is spectacular. I've never liked the idea of popularity contests -- they rarely operate on merit.
I admire and share your principal in not participating. Hawking one's work for numbers by pushing on friendships is something I find distasteful. Having said that, I like what I have seen of your work here, and hope that it will get the recognition it deserves on its own merit. All the best, Sharon.

I meant "principle", of course. :o)
noooooooooooo...no Facebook!

Wouldn't you rather have nice month long paid residency in Wolf Kahn's barn? http://www.vermontstudiocenter.org/residencies/

Sure you would.
I think it's great you knew you were about to cross a line! So many times you have to go there to realize you have. Good call to take a step back - and we are all glad you shared your work here. R
~nodding~ Every so often, I'll get the writing competitions with their entry fees of 25 bucks and 50 bucks, and it's like, no thanks!!

Very interesting pieces!

dirndl: No, you don't strike me as one who would hawk her art on FB and try to win a popularity contest. As I've always said popularity contests are for politicians -- and we know how that usually ends up. Beautiful work. Btw, are you the baby in the photo?
I can see how it would be initially tempting dirndl but I think your instincts were for the best. The whole thing sounds like a near scam where the real objective is to pick up FB links and then flog them for whatever they're worth. And as Con says, it's like a lottery that pays peanuts. From this non-expert, your art has an engaging, whimsical charm that should easily find an audience. I wish I had a practical suggestion.
Your work is very unique and, yes, as many have already said here, interesting. I like it when artists use mixed media to tell a story. R.
Wow~ such nice responses and OS is sluggish this evening, so I better reply while I can!

Gerald ~ all great advice, and since I love what you do, I'll take it!

Sarah ~ Funny, how OS became the unwitting venue for my art when I really was trying to write my feelings. Thank you!

Brazen Princess ~ I did read, and bravo! I know art is personal, which makes it all the harder to share. The idea of a popularity contest especially defeats, when the art is kind of subtle, like mine tends to be.

kate ~ woohoo! Yes, free on OS! Glad you enjoyed it.

Bell ~ that is one closest to me--my father and my grandmother. Glad it resonates with you.

designanator ~ I hadn't even considered rigged juries. This particular contest is called Artists Wanted, and is partially sponsored by the Times Square Alliance. Actually, I was entering the part called "Self" since my stuff is so autobiographical. I tend to respond to things on whim, and maybe it was the Times Square connection to my "Hell's Kitchen and..." series that made me think, what the heck. Until I skidded to that stop.

Joan ~ aw, that is the best testimonial! Thank you :)

fernsy ~ the scary thing is--this is a legitimate contest! It also seems to be the way the world is going. Social networking is at the helm and I just want to jump overboard into calmer, clearer waters.

froggy ~ Your feedback and that of others along the same lines is giving me an option. I am ready to say "the emperor has no clothes" with some of this corporate/art /alliances. Anything where you have to enter through Facebook makes me run in the other direction. Facebook is evil in that way. And others.

phyllis ~ yes, loud and greedy. A tweeting tower of babel.

Chicken Maaan ~ I appreciate your entrepreneurial idea here. Tho I have to say I never visit Big Salon. I used to do art for Burberry and I never patronized the store. (Well, I couldn't afford to, on what they paid me).

jlsathre ~ Yes, there is a market. Thank you. I am just weaning myself off the truly personal and stepping into the more commercial aspects of this kind of art. I know there is a big area between here and Thomas Kinkade!

emma ~ I totally agree. It's just scary how prevalent they now are. Thank you for your compliment! I added the art to make a point. I didn't expect the positive reinforcements, which are greatly appreciated.

Fusun ~ Thank you! I am glad I retrieved a principle or two as I embarked on this whim of signing up to the "new art world."

greenheron ~ oooooooh! Thank you for what looks like a tasty link!

nilesite ~ I think it was the voting even more than paying a fee that truly stopped me in my tracks. The line has moved so many times, it was good to reclaim it. Thank you for reading & rating.

tink ~ I have a collage of flattened foil chocolate candy wrappers, all of cats! Kinda looks like fun roadkill :/

Scarlett ~ The baby is my dad, from 1930. I don't copy the photos, but use the originals. Thanks for the compliments (character & art :)
You art is so fine, whimsical and nostalgic, too. Please keep making it, posting pix, and letting us know how to get it. Like Bell, I think that scissor collage calls out so nicely.
Abra ~ What I am noticing is that lately I'll be on a site and if I get more curious and want to join, or enter, it is only done through Facebook, meaning they are behind the scenes partnering with all kinds of new businesses. There was a writer's e-zine that a lot of OSers were on, and when I went to check it out, the only way to enter was thru FB. That stopped me right there. Cranky wanted to deactivate the other day, and next thing he was sucked back in. It's like the Blob. But where is a young Steve McQueen when you need him? OK, I stray...but thanks for your comment.

Deborah ~ I find I need the tactile of mixed media even more, now that computers are so prevalent. Thanks for visiting!

dianaani ~ Stitch-collage is my latest thing :) Thank you...I know you "get" me !
dirndl, that FB trap is live and well on Bog Salon. When mad Med resumed this year I tried to make a comment on Nelle's article. I could only do so if i were a paid subscriber, which I've been meaning to get around to, or if i linked up through my barely used FB account. No thanks.
I love your art. Modern with a vintage-y feel. Thanks for sharing it for free.
"Pay to play" is not worthy of a real artist. You're better than that. You don't need that. Your work stands on its own merit. Thank you for sharing it with us!
I love your mix media art especially the one with the rusted door of a lockbox (I'm guessing) R
Abra ~ was that a typo: Bog Salon? I suspect not :)

Miguela ~ Thank you so much. Showing for free is my pleasure.

Eva ~ They just keep chipping away at us until there seems to be no choice. But thank you. I will not pay to play!

Trudge ~ You guessed correctly. The photo is a tad blurry, but the cut magazine ad to the right is to "cure self-consciousness."
Good for you Sharon. I sent in a few "entry fees" for poetry when I first started. it didn't take me long to realize what a scam it was. But your work is wonderful! Here's hoping you will find the perfect outlet for it.
Sharon, I love these pieces and the work that you’re doing. I’m glad that you’ve decided to share. More please.
I'm neither an artist nor a critic but you are quite the creative spirit. I have no idea how an artist markets her work - it's got to be harder even than being a writer. I'd love to see more of your stuff. And I've always liked your avatar; every time I see it, it makes me smile.
this "other sharon" art is fascinating, and i like it as much as i do your illustrations (and you know i've long been a fan). facebook contests are crap and a lousy idea for all the reasons already stated. but facebook itself isn't the monster that some portray. it's all in how you handle it. you could have your own Dirndl Skirt Art (for instance) page where people can find out about you and what you do and where to find it or buy it. every small artist or artsy mag or seller of cool stuff that i know has one. hell, i have one just for my little website. i don't friend every tom, dick and harry on FB. i keep my friends as my friends, and i love the people i interact with there - for instance, joan haskins and others too numerous to name. the gripe that the only thing people write about is what they had for breakfast - all i'll say is whoever that person has for friends aren't like *my* friends because mine write interesting, cool stuff and i haven't a clue what they had for breakfast. someone i know who has an artisan soap business (and a FB page, no surprise) sells most of her stuff through Etsy. there is a *ton* of really cool stuff on etsy and some of it is quite exceptional art. and of course you know greenheron, a nice shoehorn into the art world. there are lots of possibilities without selling yourself short, selling out or shilling by having unprofessional contests. and your stuff *will* sell itself, sharon. it's just a matter of showing it to people, getting it in front of their eyes. (sorry for the length) :)
Beautiful work & viva la dichotomy ~ one of you at least, needs to stay sane. ( The other one can go do a job ! )
It's a sad world where talented and creative people need to pay and tout votes to have their gift recognised. I too understand your reluctance.

Hopefully there'll be a more subtle way to get your wonderful art out there. I hope research will find a way for you.
I love your artwork, that's the first thing I want to say. I would eagerly and sincerely buy some, though right now money is tight. But it has become an aspiration. I hope you know I mean all that sincerely.

Secondly, I completely understand what you've written here. It's so hard when art is a part of our soul, to think about putting a monetary value on it - or, perhaps even worse - by taking this profound part of oneself and wiggling it around for all to see and approve of and buy.

I've crossed the threshold and can promote myself and my writing (though I don't really have the occasion to in a monetary-profit-making way), but at the same time, there's always a limit. I think it's just about finding what makes you comfortable and being true to yourself. I think that's what all artists today should do. And there's no right or wrong answer, in my humble opinion. There are people who make amazing works of art - visual or written or musical or performance or so on - and don't make any money from it at all, and don't want or expect to; there are others doing the same quality of work, who have become rich with it. I think as long as they feel they've kept their artistic integrity, that's what's important. Your not feeling comfortable about this competition isn't wrong or bad or silly - it's the way you feel as an artist. I'm very, very glad, though, that you shared some of your work here. It's made my day.
Thank you for showing us your art work. It's lovely. /r
Great to see more of your assemblage work here! Wish I could see the originals.

I believe in principal in not entering any contests that charge a fee. I think it's demeaning, plus it stinks of scam. The music business is full of these things, and I'e seen a number for friends throw their money away and get nothing.
Trilogy ~ Sadly, what once would have been automatically labeled a scam is now routine: Writers Digest contests all have fees. It's become a "legitimate" way to generate revenue in an online world. Glad you enjoyed the work I shared :)

V.A. ~ I will probably set up a website soon. Or maybe I can use them in a post here and there. This one certainly bubbled up out of the blue!

Margaret ~ How sweet! As for marketing, some people have the knack, some don't. I definitely don't. Which is why the avatar is my alter ego. I have a problem drawing attention to myself. It's fun for a few minutes, then I wither in the light.

candace ~ Thank you for taking the time to consider my situation and to offer this advice! I have already used FB for my book "Miss You Pat" and "Sharon Watts Creative" which is just illustration, so as not to confuse people. One more entity of myself might be overkill. The problem is that you still have to send out "like me's" to people, and FB only lets you send to friends anyway, and I am not a voracious friend-collector. I tend to feel like a pest. I know how bombarded I feel at times on FB, and imagine others might feel the same. Etsy's search engine when I checked it out several years ago was worthless: impossible to even find a friend when I entered her name and ceramics. I am not shooting you down here, just saying I have considered things. Still trying to find a fit. I think a combo of online and brick & mortar. I do appreciate your thoughts!

Kim ~ Love your comment! Yes, the crazy lady with the wire and scissors and paper has left the building! But she'll be back :)

Linda ~ Yes: "subtle" is my milieu! Thank you for your empathy.

Alysa ~ You are such a smart cookie--I agree with everything. No right or wrong way, just looking for a fit. I love this oh-so-true observation: "taking this profound part of oneself and wiggling it around for all to see and approve of and buy." Exactly! Just shoot me first!

Christine ~ I have to say that this post evolved from such a place of bleak resignation...I literally was under the covers in life-avoidance-land when I decided to write something. So your comment and all these others are such a gift to me. Funny how life can be. And it literally is a new day :)
sharon, LOVE this. sorry I didn't get here sooner but I'm here now and I love your work. love the little drawings connecting the found objects. very evocative and very strong.

I am in complete agreement about hawking and imposing on friends and family. in fact, it seems like another scheme to use someone else's efforts to make someone else RICH. it's clever, if a little transparent, but very tempting to someone who thinks they'd like to show their work without having to muck their way through the usual.

make your work. love your work. show it here, there where ever. you know what to do.

as for shows and contests like juried shows, they usually require some fees and some self promotion if you'd like to sell, but the theme isn't about annoying your friends and family and involving them in this corporate feeling of "collecting".

I hate how everything seems to be turning into some scheme to make someone else rich on your back.
Luminous Muse ~ When I first started doing assemblage, in the late 90s, I belonged to a reputable co-op gallery in Soho, and we had juried exhibits that charged a small fee (to send slides! Nothing digital. I didn't even own a computer until 1998). So I know this is normal and has been for years, for small galleries and literary magazines and such, because of their budgets. But now, it's all corporate, and Foolish Monkey's comment that precedes mine here nails it all . I wish you could see the assemblage in reality, because photos can't capture 3D. Thanks for the pep talk!

Foolish Monkey ~ Posting this and getting so much great feedback (and now yours, which is the cherry on the icing on the cake!) has recharged my batteries and has me heading in a direction that feels more organic to who I am. I am taking a little bit of Femme's wisdom to get me out of my B&W think-mode (I am famous for cutting off my nose to spite my face :) and I am just nodding my head to all you say here, but in a pro-active way. Thank you!!!