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Are You A Potato or an Egg?

Are you a potato, or an egg?

One of the best things about being my own boss, is that for the most part, I get to decide what I want to do, and when to do it. I can choose to take a gig or pass it on to someone else. I can decide to do more of what fills me up, and less of what doesn’t. Most self employed artists embrace and understand this, though when times get tough, we tend to forget some of our superpowers. Like we can choose to pick ourselves back up, or choose to wallow in self pity.

Lately I have seen so many of my fellow artists in one of two camps. One group is doing everything they can to remain positive, in the face of crippling financial hardship. They are using their newfound free time to do good and spread positivity, controlling what they can and letting go of what they can’t.

The other is curling up into a ball in their hole of despair, making comments like “well, I guess I’ll never paint again.” or “everything I’ve ever worked for is now completely worthless.”

I know that the state of the world is absolutely devastating to the core of us who rely on a thriving event industry for our bread & butter. My business of 25 years has come to a 100% screeching halt just like the rest of yours. What puts me into group #1, however, is that I have not given up my I’m-my-own-boss power. I am using it to not only decide whether to work in my pj’s today, but to decide that my circumstances don’t create my joy.

No, I’m not happy that I have no gigs in the foreseeable future. I am not happy that nobody else does either, and as a result nobody is ordering supplies from my shop. No, I’m not happy that my credit card debt is going to grow, and my income will not fund any family fun this summer. I’m not happy that my birthday was spent in quarantine. I’m not happy that my dad had a stroke right before the “stuff” hit the fan, and nobody is allowed to visit him in the hospital. I’m not happy, no, but I am joyful and that is what keeps me going.

I love this definition of happiness vs joy that I found via Google search:

Happiness may dwell on materialistic, worldly pleasure while joy is derived from soul satisfying, emotional well being.”

-diffen.com

What satisfies your soul? For me, it is absolutely my faith. I can’t imagine how people can get through things like this without it. For a lot of us, especially artists, it is also doing what we love to do…what we were created to do!

If you’re having trouble finding any positives in your current situation, try gratitude…yes…in ALL circumstances. Challenge yourself to find something to be thankful for every day. Sometimes a perspective shift is in order.

  • I’m thankful that I’m now forced to snuggle my boys & watch movies on my couch, while so many health care workers now can’t be close to or hug their own kids.
  • I’m thankful that I still have my talents, and can use them for so much more than my income.
  • I’m thankful that I don’t live in an abusive home
  • I’m thankful for Amazon, and my full cupboards.
  • I’m thankful for a home with multiple rooms, and a yard to play in.
  • I’m thankful for our health.
  • I’m thankful that I’m able to work from home.
  • I’m thankful for the technology that lets me see my family & friends’ faces and hear their voices.
  • I’m thankful for puzzles, perler beads and Neftlix.
  • I’m thankful that winter is on it’s way out.
  • I’m thankful for memes that make me giggle.
  • I’m thankful for our many parks that allow us to get outside while social distancing.

What are YOU doing?

“Well, I guess I’ll never paint again.” To this I say, why not? Sure, we face painters may move from painting on kids at parties to painting on practice heads, boards, and our own kids until this all passes. But the beautiful thing about painting is that you can do it anywhere! If the only reason you painted faces to begin with was to be paid at parties, it may not have been your calling after all. We don’t create our own circumstances, but our circumstances can reveal the person. Yes, even positive people are entitled to their own occasional pity party. But don’t let that be the new definition of you! Get your cry out and get back to creating!

You have control over whether you keep doing art or not. You now also have control over what you create, when and how you create it…no clients to satisfy, just yourself! Take advantage of that! I’ve seen artists sharing their huge, new design boards they’ve created this past week. I’ve seen artists painting designs to reflect their current struggles, depicting our current world through their eyes. I’ve seen artists sharing their gifts with others. Sewing masks. Decorating sidewalks. Making cards for the elderly.

What I’m Doing…

I can’t control the timing of when my income will return. But I can choose to make the most of this thing I ALWAYS seem to wish I had more of but money can’t buy: time!

The irony is not lost on me. So often I wish I had more TIME…the thing money can’t buy…because I’m so busy spending what time I do have trying to earn the money that can’t buy it, and spend what little extra time I have well. Now that we have no source of income, we find ourselves almost drowning in this elusive, priceless gift of time. Will we spend it well or waste it, only to long for it again when our work picks up?

For now I’m just taking it one day at a time. Having kids really helps because you HAVE to be positive for them. They are watching. All. The. Time. And learning from their parents how to react to tough situations. Right now we are on spring break, so I’m trying to let it be just that…a regular spring break with no strict schedules. They’ll get back to that soon enough when our district’s e-learning plans start. For now, they spend the week with mom, having fun and being creative, just less going out to movies & playgrounds…

Over the weekend I took advantage of the chance to give a little art lesson to my boys! Art imitates life, so I decided to do a still-life project with the subject being a roll of toilet paper!

Still life art lessons with Mom!

We are each creating 9 little pieces, using 9 different mediums, on little squares of paper that are exactly the same size as a sheet of TP! The boys learned about drawing cylinders, how ellipses change with perspective, how to shade, and use some fun tools they’ve never used!

We now have a puzzle table set up, which we’ve really never done. My boys are helping me cook more…

…we’ve gotten out our huge stash of perler beads and are creating a growing honeycomb art piece. My boys have even been helping me sort and organize my gem stash!!

As for my work, I’ve been able to start some projects that have been waiting on the back burner, like creating new stencils for my shop that are designed to be used with my new tutu bling, and painted tutus with 3D fairy wings! (Follow our Facebook page to find out when these stencils are available in the shop!) I’m remaining hopeful that the MN State Fair will happen, and preparing for the Glitter Glamper‘s 2nd year! And if it doesn’t happen, I’ll be super prepared for 2021!!

I’m also already working on the next issue of Wet Paint Magazine. Not because it will make me any money, because it has yet to make any profit for me…it’s purely something I create because I love to do it, and it’s mission is to uplift, inspire, and encourage my fellow artists…something we ALL need right now!

Will you let this change you for the better?

I was in a wonderful Zoom call with over 20 other artists around the country last week, put on by Lori Hurley. My favorite quote from the call was when Steve Klein said, “Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.”

The Big Question…

So, I ask you again…are you an egg or a potato? Will you choose to let your circumstances turn you into mush, or will you allow them to make you stronger than ever before? Whether you use your talents to uplift your family in quarantine, or your greater community, show the world what you’re made of! Your circumstances can’t take away your talent, or even your joy, if it comes from the right source! Stay strong painty friends! Hope and joy are just as contagious as fear! What are YOU choosing to spread?

What have YOU been doing to keep your sanity in quarantine? How are your kids keeping entertained? How are you using your art to spread hope and joy? Please share in the comments! We all could use some more ideas for the days and weeks to come!

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Use your DOWN time to UPlift: Flood your Friends’ Accounts with Positivity!

Hey entertainer friends! Let’s use our “down” time to “UPlift” our fellow small business owners! Chances are you’ve worked with many artists who have their own business. Let’s use this time we have to lift each other up by leaving positive reviews!! Not made up ones of course, but share your positive experiences working with or for your peers. Lets flood our social media and business listings with great reasons for people to hire each other, once this all blows over and people start planning events again!! I’m planning to go through this list of sites and find all my friends over the coming weeks and lift them up! Who’s with me? Please feel free to share this jpeg and include any links needed for some sites that require them for reviews! We got this!

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Coronavirus and Face Painting: Tips for Artists and Event Planners

Keeping the face painting process hygienic has always been an important concern for artists and parents alike, although it’s getting a lot more buzz lately on social media with the latest outbreak of Coronavirus.

Whether you are someone who is living in fear of contracting the virus, someone who thinks it’s all media hype, or are somewhere in between, is really irrelevant. The fact is that however real the risk is, and whether we personally react to it at all or not, it IS affecting our business as entertainers. I live in Minnesota and recently started hearing of artists having events cancelled due to Coronavirus, when we hadn’t even had a single confirmed case yet. A lot more of this is happening in other parts of the country, so it’s a topic worth discussing. I am no doctor or infectious disease expert, but here are my thoughts on this and any virus this time of year, as they pertain to our industry!

Advice for artists & entertainers

Several artists have asked me what my common sense opinion is on this current situation. I actually wrote about this topic 5 years ago, and it all still applies for artists today, and really every day. If you are a face painter, I highly recommend reading this post and evaluating your practices. Make any changes you feel are needed, and let your clients know what you are doing to prevent the spread of germs. Here are just a few simple ways you can help stop the spread of germs:

  • If you use sponges, use only one per child, whether they are disposable or you wash/sanitize them later, & don’t double-dip. (I avoid sponges almost entirely)
  • Don’t paint over lips with your brushes. There is no need; there are plenty of disposable lip application tools out there. (see my older blog post)
  • Keep your rinse water clean by changing it often. Use multiple basins to keep dirty water and fresh water separate.
  • Rinse your brushes well between kids. For an extra precaution, bring a little jar of 70% alcohol to swish them in between faces.
  • Use hand sanitizer between customers & wash hands well whenever possible.
  • Keep disinfectant wipes/sprays on hand to clean your equipment periodically.
  • Allow your paints to dry thoroughly between events.
  • Wash and sanitize all brushes, sponges, towels, etc between events.
  • Don’t paint over open wounds or on visibly sick kids.
  • For an extra precaution, wipe the area to be painted with 70% alcohol wipes before you begin. I already do this when attaching bling, so wiping a larger area is no big deal.
  • Do what you can to boost your own immune system with whatever healthy foods and supplements are available that you like!

Advice for event planners looking to hire entertainers

If you have hired a professional artist who takes hygiene seriously like I do, then I would venture to guess that kids are at greater risk interacting with each other waiting in line for painting, than they are sitting in my chair. Any time a large group of people gather in one place, the spread of germs is a given. However, here are a few things you might consider when lining up entertainment for your event:

  • Ask the artists you hire what their hygiene practices are. If anything is lacking or bothers you, ask them what they can do to alleviate your concerns.
  • Hire a real professional. Someone who’s livelihood depends on happy, healthy clients is way more likely to invest in sanitary practices and the expensive, FDA compliant products we use that contain antimicrobial properties.
  • Hire enough artists for your crowd size. Long lines means more bodies in close quarters. The quicker you can get kids through the line and back to the event, the less time they’ll be bunched up, potentially coughing on each other while they wait!
  • Provide hand sanitizer for your guests. If you are providing a volunteer line manager to help the kids form a line and choose designs, this is a great job for them!
  • If face painting still makes you or your guests really uneasy, try adding on something else that doesn’t involve touching the face, like balloon twisting or glitter tattoos. Or, request that your artist only paint on arms. Our bling bar is another great option that can be done with no brushes or sponges involved!
  • Know that we care. As artists we want all of your guests to have an awesome experience! And trust us, this is a subject we are concerned with all the time, not just during a widespread public outbreak. It is in our own best interest to keep things sanitary too! We drop ourselves right down into the center of crowds of kids on a regular basis. Kids cough and sneeze directly into our faces often, so we are always vigilant. We don’t like getting sick either, so you can rest assured we are doing everything we can to keep our stations healthy, for you AND ourselves! 😉

With any virus outbreak, you have to use your own judgement depending on your location and your own event’s setup. But, if you are an artist, I hope that this post has given you some ideas to step your sanitary practices up a notch. If you’re an event planner, I hope that this helps to ease your mind to know how hard we work any day of the year, not just cold & flu season, to keep your guests healthy and safe!

More Resources & Information

World Health Organization: The WHO has issued an event planning guide. Check it out here. It is meant to be read in conjunction with their Key Considerations for Public Health for Mass Gatherings.

The Center for Disease Control: The CDC has also issued a statement about mass gatherings as they relate to coronavirus.

They also have posted the best household cleaning recommendations for killing the virus here, and have a list of EPA approved products here.

Interactive Map: For an interactive map of the spread of coronavirus, check out this map by Johns Hopkins.

Got some of your own tips and tricks that I didn’t cover here or in my more extensive post on hygiene? Please feel free to comment and share!