Art Fair Wrap-Up 2017

Hey there everyone.  Apologies for being incommunicado for a month or so, but we were busy getting things set up for our back-to-back art fairs this month.  These were two new festivals for us, in new cities, so there was a lot of planning to be done.

We had decided not to do the fairs we’d done in the past, for a few reasons:

  1.  We wanted to test out new areas, to see if there was more interest in our stuff
  2.  We wanted to spread knowledge of our art to other areas . . . gain new followers
  3.  Test out new art fair promoters

And the results were great!

We did, in fact, receive a lot of new interest in our artwork.  And that interest even resulted in quite a few sales!  The promoters were really nice, and there was a lot more traffic than at our previous art fairs.  We even had a couple previous purchasers show up in our booth and sing our praises to their friend(s) who’d tagged along.  So, all in all, they were great experiences on their own.

The only trouble came with the fact that they were so close together, and–since we both still have day-jobs–we didn’t have any down time between art fairs.  We’re still deciding whether or not we’ll do both of them again next year, but we’ll definitely do at least one of them, so good was the response.

And, an even better part was that we got lots of new people signed up for our newsletter!

As you may remember, we’ve held contests at our last few art fairs, for people who sign up for our newsletter at the fair to get a chance to win one of our prints.  Many people did at both locations, and we have our winners:

From the Mountain View Art and Wine Festival, the winner is Terry F!

From the Lafayette Art and Wine Festival, the winner is Gary C!

Congratulations to both our winners!  And thanks to everyone else who signed up.  We’ve got lots of new stuff coming to the site soon.  And we think a revamp of the site is in the works as well.  So stay tuned . . .


Networking: Shout out to my AI friends.

A Little about Networking, from My Perspective…

Today I want to talk a bit about networking. Particularly my perspective of it. First of all, I should explain that I’m an introvert, like a lot of fellow artists out there. Although, I don’t consider myself shy, and I love performing at karaoke, I am soft-spoken, and being in a social setting takes a lot of mental effort. I will have to recover and recuperate at home for a few days after a networking event. The ironic thing about this, is that the artist, graphic design, and animation industries rely so much on the networking model for connections and employment opportunities, yet artists as a whole are generally more inclined toward introversion, making it extremely difficult to navigate the social interactions necessary for a successful career.

Another side of the equation that doesn’t get noticed very often is how the peer-to-peer connections are affected. This is where my friends from my animation school, The Art Institute of California – SF, comes into play. I wish I was better at ‘small talk’. Once I get to know someone, I can have deep conversations about emotional relationships and relativistic physics, but the “Hi, how are you doing? How’re your kids?” conversations just don’t come naturally for me. Plus, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and all my friends who also live here can attest to the fact that you pretty much need to spend ALL your time just trying to continue existing in this community. It doesn’t leave a lot of time for arranging meets, having drinks or just hanging out playing video games. So it seems that the only time I’m contacting my friends from school and when I’m trying to cash in on the networking mechanism to try and land a job. Basically, when I need something from them.

So, this is essentially my apology to you: I really do want to be friends with you, and hang out with you doing fun stuff, and hearing about your life. I’m sorry that you only hear from me when I want something.

I also suffer from something I like to call, ‘desperation’. I was afflicted with it all through high school. Any time I wanted to ask a girl out, or even talk to them normally, I would give off waves of desperation, scaring away all but the most ardent friends. Even when I didn’t want a date, when I just wanted to have a normal conversation, It would come off to them like I was asking them for their hand in marriage.

I eventually learned how to tone myself down so I could have workable relationships. However, I’ve noticed a variation of desperation when it comes to networking. Whenever I’m at networking events, or trying to reach out to colleagues, I give off these waves of desperation. No matter what I say, all anyone seems to hear is something like “Can you give me a job?” I still have not been able to figure out how to fix that interaction.

On the flip side, I would love to be in a position to help my fellow artists. I love helping people. I can’t wait until I’m in a position to suggest one of my super talented former classmates for an opening at the company I will then be working for. I would love the opportunity to collaborate with them on cool projects.

So, AI students, if you’re out there and reading this, please feel free to reach out to me and help me get back into the swing of being social and connected. Comment on this blog, send me a random message on Facebook, text me, or even the old-fashioned phone call. I would love to hear from you.

Thank you,

Craig Smith



Something New

In the process of building a name for myself as a photographer, I’ve tried a few different things: art exhibits at local galleries; offering a piece for silent auctions; art fairs; contests and more.  Chances are I should be doing these things more frequently than I currently am, but I’m just trying each one out to see what the response might be first.

This year, the new thing I’ve tried is entering my art in county fair exhibits.

I haven’t had much opportunity to spend a lot of time on my photography lately, because other things have been getting in the way.  So, I thought that I could keep my toes in the water, as it were, by entering art exhibits in local fairs.  The entry fee is much cheaper than art fairs, and I don’t need to do anything besides drop off and pick up my art (that doesn’t sell).  I get good exposure, the possibility that someone will buy my work, and a chance to win awards and/or prize money from the exhibit judges.

I entered art in four county fairs this first year, mostly because I’d missed the deadline for applying to other ones.  Some of the county fairs allowed me to enter as many pieces as I wanted, and all of them required that the pieces be no more than three years old (some even had a one year cut off).  Craig suggested that I enter the same pieces to each fair, but I wanted to mix them up a bit, so I could offer more variety out there, and so that I might be able to use the same ones at another fair next year.  So I just entered two pieces to each of the four fairs.

It was probably a good thing that I was only able to apply to four of them, because the dropping off and picking up of art is a LOT of work when you have to drive 2 hours each way, each time.  BUT, the driving around has paid off a little bit.  I still have art in one county fair (picking it up at the beginning of August), but of the other three fairs I submitted my stuff to, I’ve won three awards!  WooHoo!!!

The first award was an “Honorable Mention” from the San Mateo County Fair for my piece titled, “Flower with Dew – BW.”  This is one of my favorite pieces, so I was thrilled that it won something.







The next art fair I entered was the Sonoma-Marin fair.  And here, BOTH of my entries won awards!

The first one was for a new piece, titled “Praying Angel” that I’d taken at a local cemetery for a photography class I took last year.  That one won Third Place!  Here I am holding the picture and award.






And here I am holding the other piece, titled “Boston Cemetery – Flag,” which won Second Place!!!  I was SO thrilled that both won something, but even more thrilled that one of them was almost good enough for 1st place!






It’ll be interesting and exciting to see if I’ve won anything from the last county fair, but it doesn’t really matter.  The fact that I’ve already won three awards out of six photos is awesome to me.  It’s another one of those moments that lets me know I actually am a talented photographer, and that others realize it.

So, while I might not do the same county fairs next year, I definitely will enter some again.  I just need to make sure I’ve got enough recent photos to meet their requirements.

Onward and Upward

You’ve probably been wondering where we’ve been and what’s going on with us for this year, regarding art fairs and festivals.  Well, wonder no more . . . we’ve got news to share!

We wanted our first forays into the art fair world to be close to home.  For one, we would be able to sleep in our own bed and be close enough so that we could run back home for something we may have forgotten (which we did a few times).  So, while Alameda was a great place for us to learn the ropes, now that we’ve got a little experience under our belts, we decided it was time to move onward and upward . . . to see what other art fairs might be out there and where else we might peddle our wares.

We spent much time looking at art fairs and trying to figure out which ones would work best for us.  We still wanted them to be close enough to home that we’re not more than a couple hours’ drive away, but we also wanted them to be in communities where art was highly regarded and sought after.  Plus, we looked into the size of the crowds each art fair brought in.  After all, the more people who attend, the more people can buy our art.

The dates are back to back, which might or might not be an issue (we’ll find out soon enough), but we’re traveling so much this summer that we didn’t have the time to spread them out further.  Plus, we’ll get a taste of what it’s like to do this full-time.

So, without further ado, here are the two art festivals we’re going to be at this year:

Mountain View Art & Wine Festival – September 9 & 10, 2017

This will be our first time with this event promoter, but the location and size of the crowd promise to be very good.  It’s the 47th year of the festival, and we can’t wait to be a part of it.

Lafayette Art, Wine & Music Festival – September 16 & 17, 2017

We’ve worked with the promoter of this festival before, so we’ll have that familiarity to help with the change.  Lafayette is a lovely town, and close enough to our home that we can still sleep in our own bed at night.  We walked this art fair last year and it was just bustling with people and lovely things to see and eat, and we’re thrilled to be part of a great event.

So there you go!  We hope you’ll come on by to see our booths and our wares.  We’ll have some new stuff this year, and it’s even Craig’s birthday during the festival in Lafayette!  So come on down and wish him a happy birthday!

See you there . . .

Introducing MAS Artwork videos and YouTube channel

Today, we’ve got something new for you. As you may or may not know, I’ve started to record myself when I work on my stipple portraits. I started doing that when I was working on my portrait of Alan Tudyk (Wash from the Sci-fi hit “Firefly”, and his ongoing web series “Con Man“.)

Well, my wife has taken all the raw footage that I shot and created an amazing video that showcases what I do, and you can see me doing it. This video will be the first video on our new YouTube channel.

That’s right! Announcing, our new M•A•S Artwork YouTube channel

Video screenshot from Alan Tudyk stippling video

Video screenshot from Alan Tudyk stippling video

I have been recording the other portraits I’ve been doing this year (Audrey Hepburn, Carrie Fisher, and Cary Grant), and they will be put on on the YouTube channel when their videos are created too.
Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel to be alerted and see those videos as soon as they are released.

In each video, I talk a bit about what I do and how I do it. But if you have any specific questions, please comment below or on our channel and I’ll answer them. I may put them in an upcoming video as well. Because if you have a question about something, you’re probably not the only one.

Thanks, I hope you enjoy it.

Craig P. Smith

Alameda On Camera 2017

It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me, I know.  Life has become VERY busy for me lately . . . so busy in fact that I wasn’t able to attend the Alameda on Camera exhibit at the Frank Bette Center for the Arts this year.  This is the first year since 2011 that I missed participating in it, and I really felt the loss in my soul.

However, I was able to help volunteer at the opening night gala for the exhibit and got to see all the lovely pieces that this year’s artists produced.  There were some old favorites (like a quilt by Susan Lea Hackett), and some new blood (this is the second year in a row that FBCA has included a “Youth” category of photos), and it was great to see people’s interpretations of whatever section of Alameda they had chosen.

For instance, Patti Cary created this very interesting sculpture, titled “Return.”  I’m not sure what section of the map she drew, so I don’t know if the leaves on the branches are the photos she took, or if the other items on the branches are things she found on the streets or sidewalks of wherever she was.  Regardless, it’s a fascinating piece.

Because the 48 sections of the map of Alameda don’t change, there are a few sections where people seem to produce the exact same image every year, no matter who the photographer is.

For example, one section includes an abandon warehouse that used to house a Del Monte factory.  This building is so long that it takes up two blocks, and its own section on the map.  It can be very hard to make a photo of such a long building look interesting and different from every other photo (as you can see in the photo to the right), but one artist, Alisha Laborico, was able to capture what was (in my opinion) the BEST aspect of this building I’ve ever seen before.  (I’ll have to update this post later when I can take a picture of her image to share with you.)


UPDATE – Alisha was gracious enough to share her image with me, so here it is.

As anyone who’s seen my work for long enough will tell, it’s no wonder I loved her image.  The repeating patterns, the unusual angle, & the curving movement are all tricks I use in my own photography.  So, when I saw Alisha’s picture of the Del Monte building, I knew I had to write about it this year.  If you compare the image above of the building to the one to the left here, they almost don’t look like the same building.  And this old factory will be renovated next year, so it won’t look the same ever again.  But I’m thrilled that Alisha found a way to make this building look more interesting (to me at least).



Anyway, even though I wasn’t able to spend a weekend in February walking around this lovely island, capturing unique photos in my section, I was glad that I was able to see the work produced this year.  And you can believe that I will do whatever I can to ensure I’m able to attend this event next year.  After all, I’ve only taken pictures in 5 sections of Alameda . . . there’s SO much more of this lovely island to explore.  :o)

Three New Images including a Gas Pump!

First Up, the Alameda Ballena Isle Marina Gas Pump

The aforementioned Gas Pump, is not your typical gas pump. I created this image during the Alameda On Camera annual event and gallery. I was assigned a section of the island of Alameda where I live, and had 48 hours to take pictures within that area. In my area is a lovely marina. I was extremely fortunate on my first morning that there was a fog that rolled in which made for some lovely photos. This particular image is of a gasoline pump that is on the docks in that marina where the boats fuel up. It made a very rustic old-world look to the pump which I think is practically an antique. Here is the stipple image I did from the photo I took.

Alameda Ballena Isle Marina Gas Pump

Alameda Ballena Isle Marina Gas Pump

The other two: Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk

You may recognize these two. I recently posted a blog announcing when I had finished these (You can see that blog here). Well, now I’d like to announce that they have finally been added to my website. Click either of the images below to be taken to my website, straight to those pages.












Thanks for checking out these images and my website. I have recently updated all the pages in my stipple gallery to include the purchasing buttons. Some of you may have noticed that some of the buttons were in the “Coming Soon” stage. Well, They’re here!

That’s it for now. Thank you all for your continued attention. More art soon.

Craig P. Smith