Hey everyone!

As Craig said in last month’s post, he’s bowing out of MAS Artwork for the time being, so he can focus on other things.  That said, I’ve been trying to revamp my brand & images to a new website.  I had hoped to have the new site up & looking beautiful before today’s post . . . but alas, I’m NOT a website developer.

There are plenty of videos on YouTube to try to help set up a website on WordPress, but that’s the problem . . . the sheer volume of videos.  Each of them creates a site with a different theme, which should be okay, but the videos for the themes I liked were NOT easy to follow, & the easy-to-follow videos were for themes I didn’t like the look of.

Does that matter?  Well, yes & no.  I suppose the more important part is to get my new site up & running – otherwise, people won’t know that I’ve even got images to sell.  But if I’m not happy with the look of my site, then will I even want to continue using it?  Will it become any sort of a priority for me to add new photos?

But I finally came to the conclusion that, yes, it’s more important to get the new site up & make it prettier along the way.  Since I’m NOT a website developer, this isn’t something I’ll be able to master in a month’s time.

So, I’m officially launching my new site, titled Photos By Alyx.  Right now it’s just the bare bones, but it’s coming along.  I’ve also got some new images up there, but will be adding more as time goes on.  Right now, the site is set up in a table format, to make it easier to buy the prints, but if you want more information on any image, you can simply click on it & you’ll be taken to the actual page of the photo.  I’m working on adding a lightbox gallery feature to the site, so you can just scroll through the images themselves . . . but that’s still a way off.

Anyway, I hope you like the new site.  Feel free to give me some feedback on the look of it.  It’s still in the editing phase, so any suggestions are welcome.

Bowing Out: Trials and Tribulations

Hello everyone! Craig here.

I address you today with sad news. At the beginning of the year, I gave myself an artwork challenge. One stipple portrait per month (Year-long Challenge – 2017). In that, I failed miserably. I completed three and a quarter portraits. Then things got busy. We had our summer cruise, which was fantastic. Then we came home and went right into our back-to-back weekends at art fairs. The fall and winter have been no less hectic.


I’m not making excuses as to why the artwork wasn’t done, I’m just pointing out how much stuff there is complicating my life. I’ve had to make hard choices about what’s important, and what I need to spend my time on. The conclusion I’ve come to is that I need to step away from the art fair side of things. I will not be continuing to post on this MAS Artwork blog or going to the art fairs (unless it’s to help out and support my wife Alyx while she does it).

Important! Alyx WILL continue to write this blog and do art fairs. The focus will be solely on her photography.

Although I will not be actively posting or marketing, I will nevertheless keep hosting my online presence, and prints will still available at my website for anyone who would still like to purchase my artwork.

Thank you for all your support, and I hope I will get my life in order enough to return. I’ll see you all then. Feel free to stay in touch.

Craig P. Smith


Something Else

Earlier this year I talked about trying something new with photography.  Since I was so successful at that, I thought I’d venture into another direction . . . Stock Photography!

I know a couple of photographers who have some photos up in stock photography websites, & they’re bringing in all sorts of extra cash.  I’ve also begun to read some articles about it, in the hopes of figuring out the ins & outs, as well as learning from others’ mistakes of what NOT to do when submitting photos.

And the more articles I read, the more I realize that I’ve likely been taking some great stock photos all along!  I enjoy taking photos of everyday things; especially at unusual angles.  Well, those things seem perfectly suited for these sites.

Venturing into this new realm brings some challenges, though . . . I’ve got six years’ worth of potentially viable photos that I need to look through to find which ones will be my best options.  Six years’ worth of vacations, photo classes, photo contests, etc.  So it’s gonna take me some time to weed through all my images.

It’s also going to take me turning off my artistic brain to some degree, since stock sites are often looking for straight forward images for graphic designers, & marketing people to use to help tell their own story.  But, as I said, many of my images are straight forward while still being artistic, so I think I’ll be okay.

Besides, the possible payoff will be totally worth it.  Some of these articles I’ve been reading talk about people being able to retire from their day jobs & travel the world, getting paid for taking photographs.  True, it’s taken many of them 5+ years to get to that point, but they had to start somewhere.  And I figure–if I get started now–by the time I’m ready to retire, I’ll hopefully have a nice, steady, side income to help augment my Social Security (or replace it, depending on what the future brings).

Here are some of my past images that I’m checking to see if they’d fit stock photo agency specifications:





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



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