Lyrical Essay




A primarily green image showing the over lap between a male and female figure

Interaction with the concept


You are more complex than a single word, a single concept.

You are more than the sum of of your parts.

You are not your parts.

Your identity is a complexity that is ever evolving.

Your self-expression is a non-Newtonian fluid,

shifting and changing based in its environment.

It is more than inherently dual

It is inherently more complex than that.

How they define you will change throughout time.

Somedays you sway one way or another.

Which side you are on isn’t the point –

the point is the swing.


When people who refuse to empathize call you on it

You have been trained not to react.

You have been told or inferred from the world

that it is easier and therefore better

Not to react.

And maybe it’s better not to.

Maybe if you are told something enough

You start to believe it.

Everyone believes it.

Then it’s true.

Maybe it’s not?

If it’s all you’ve ever heard, is it true?



You have chosen another name.

A name you haven’t heard  all your life.

Then why have you decided that your anger is unjustified?

That you are unworthy of discontent.

Who has said this so much and so loudly?

That you believe it.


Interaction with parents


Maybe because they gave you a name they don’t respect your new one.

Maybe they think you’ve disrespected their name because you don’t use it.

Maybe they disrespect you in a crowd of respect out of spite.

But that’s no way to raise a child.

That’s no way to raise a country.

Social and Civic Responsibility Research Paper


An Artist’s Guide to Choosing: What Site to Sell Your Work On


If you are at all involved in the art world you have heard of different ways to get your art to the people who want it. You might have heard about so many sites, you became overwhelmed or you might have only heard of one that you are dissatisfied with. Some sites make everything fast and easy, others give you the ability to control every aspect of what you are creating. Some sites promote an artistic community, others appeal to the masses. The key to choosing the site that best caters to your needs as an artist is to know what is offered and what is important to you, personally.

Before the days of social media, artists could only sell work in physical spaces, and therefore could only reach a local market. Galleries, craft fairs, and other in-person meet ups were the only settings artists could reach people without being contacted by the buyer directly. Now, the internet has exponentially expanded the range of customers artists can sell to directly. As the demand for unique work grows with the consumer base, supply increases even more than the demand. The amount of resources to help suppliers has grown to the point that the options are overwhelming.

The first type of sites that will be analyzed are crowdfunding sites, like Patreon. Patreon is a site where fans of content creators of all kinds can pledge a specific dollar amount each month for rewards that are made by each creator. Other crowdfunding sites, like Kickstarter, gather funding over a longer period of time for one specific project. Unless an artist needs funding for a big or long project, like a mural or a short film, Patreon is a better fit for an artist constantly creating content. This platform provides the most consistent stream of revenue out of any option. Although Patreon is well run it has some issues with the lack of members and the constant need to create. Because the whole point of Patreon is that every person is pledging at least 1$1 every month, fewer people are willing to participate in comparison to free sites like YouTube. This is an inevitable trade off; either the site is free to participate and creators have a bigger audience and make much less than a dollar per person, or participation has a price and audiences are smaller, but more money is made off each person. The second issue an artist might encounter is the need for constant creation. Most artists on Patreon send out rewards to their “Patrons” monthly and are constantly working on projects and other content to keep their Patrons engaged. If your artistic practice is already time consuming or if you lack the resources to create individual rewards, a print shop might suit your practice better. Through Patreon, creators are charged a 5% processing fee, but get to keep the rest of their income generated on that site. In a blog post entitled “One Year on Patreon”, Neil Clark, indie magazine editor, discusses his experience with the site: so far. Clark claims that  “After a year, I am still very pleased with Patreon and continue to recommend it to people. While I continue to have some issues with the service, it has built a strong foundation and they appear to have the intelligence, staffing, and resources to grow into something even more impressive.” ClarkHe mentions that discovering new creators is somewhat difficult, a common problem among art-centered sites. He also mentions some payment issues that he was able to work out, and says that their creator support team is “top-notch and easy to work with. I don’t know many who do it better” (Clark). Of course, every artist’s workflow is different, but overall Patreon is a good way to consistently fund a constant flow of artwork. Other crowdfunding sites fund one big project over time.

Some of the most popular sites for full time artists are shops that offer a “storefront” within a large “market place” contained in the site as a whole. The main site acts as the market place while each creator has their own individual store front within the whole. For example, one can buy enamel pins on Etsy from a seller called Foxuart. Foxuart is a storefront within the larger marketplace of Etsy,. (Etsy) Etsy is one of the most popular “storefront” type stores. Etsy describes itself as “the global marketplace for unique and creative goods. It’s home to a universe of special, extraordinary items, from unique handcrafted pieces to vintage treasures. In a time of increasing automation, it’s [Etsy’s] mission to keep human connection at the heart of commerce.” Because the concept of a storefront is fairly straightforward, addressing some specific problems with Etsy might be more effective in helping artists decide if the site is worth their time. Etsy is widely popular, meaning that many people search for products on Etsy. However, many also sell on Etsy and certain niches are more saturated than others. Pat Achilles, is an illustrator who composed a blog post titledruns a blog. In a post entitled For Artists: Comparing Etsy and Zazzle, she mentions how her “experience of ‘opening a shop on Etsy’ to display my Eagle Scout congratulations cards has been a very good one.” Eagle Scout cards are a unique item that many people are in need of, or know they will need in the future. On the other hand sellers who advertise jewelry, t-shirts, and other goods that are more common aren’t as successful because there is a larger supply than demand for these types of goods. Etsy, like all of the similar types of online platformssites to sell art on, is not responsible for how well your store is promoted. If an artist finds they aren’t getting a lot of traction, it’s their own responsibility to network and advertise. Etsy is huge:, “in 2015, the company had 1.4 million active sellers, nearly 20 million buyers” (NY times article) and many creators feel they get lost; they fail to realize that where there are more customers there are more sellers. It’s up to the individual to find the best customer-to-competition ratio that suits their work. Aeolidia is a company that helps business owners create a brand. On their site they have an article entitled Etsy Pros and Cons From Sellers, which is a compilation of people’s reviews of Etsy and the variety of problems they have with the site. One person vocalized their unhappiness with their lack of sales: by saying, “I feel that I am a needle in a haystack. I have even typed in a search for “personalized plates” to see if my products pop up on the list and NOPE! There are pages and pages of personalized plates and only the newest ones added to their site will show up.”  (Citation). Etsy rewards frequent uploads, and many claim the algorithm favors stores with 100 or more entries (citation). Etsy isn’t for everyone, and few make their whole living off of Etsy. Those that do find that it takes up most of their lives. Another common complaint is that Etsy has become too commercialized. Artists claim that there are too many listings for niche mass produced items. Artists also think the Etsy storefronts aren’t customizable enough. If you create items that don’t fit into a template, like small clay sculptures, or hand knit scarves with fandom themes, Etsy might be the website you’re looking for. Be prepared to compete and advertise your own wares, to take care of the shipping and packing, and to pay a few small fees.

“Printshop” is the most common type of site to sell art. Printshops can print anyone’s design on any template they happen to sell. Different sites have different options for printable item templates, different base prices, and different quality. Most sites boast over 100 different templates, the most common being t-shirts, sweatshirts, notebooks, and standard artist quality prints. All printshops set up their pricing in the same way, they have a base price of the item and then add the artist’s profits to the cost for the buyer. Some printshops say all t-shirts sold cost 25$ and the artists get 5$ in profits from each sale, others say a t-shirt’s base price is 20$ and the artist can add a custom dollar amount to the base price to determine their own profit. The quality of items sold at one specific printshop is difficult, if not impossible, to demtermine without buying an item. I suggest putting the same design up in all the printshops you are considering and ordering the same item and design from each, if you can afford it and have the time to compare. One could also read reviews. Neither of these ways are fool proof since quality can vary item to item, and the printshop company as a whole can change suppliers without notice. Printshops also make it easy to sell lots of different products without investing capital. One blogger, who goes by the pen name Goldfish and sells products as a side hobby on Redbubble, was unhappy with the large chunk Redbubble takes out of her profits and therefore tried to open an Etsy shop. She talks about how she posted a product at the same time on Etsy and Redbubble and after a month the product on Etsy has 16 views and no sales while on Redbubble the product had almost 1,000 views and 1 sale. She believes this has “to do with the fact that I can only sell prints on Etsy, whereas on Redbubble, I can sell everything from T-shirts to coffee cups to tote bags. My best sellers on Redbubble are T-shirts and stickers” (Citation). Another important point to take away from her story is that there is a lot of traffic needed to produce even one sale. This means it’s vital for someone wanting to sell through a printshop site to balance the base price of a item, the amount in profits, and the amount of traffic each site receives. This means that even if a site has a cheaper base price, the artist can make more per sale. If that site has less traffic, the artist might not make any sales at all.  Printshops best suit artists who are not looking to make their living off selling merchandise and don’t have a lot of time to make items by hand or to personalize every order.

Some shops try to combine the ease of printshops with the personalization of storefront type stores. Zazzle allows artists to sell their own creation, like a storefront; sell items with their designs printed on them, like a printshop; and make money through a referral program. The other unique feature Zazzle offers is that it allows the buyer to edit the design posted by the artist. Monogrammed phone cases allow the buyer to type in their own initials and buyers can drop in their own photos on t-shirts. This might make sense for items that need to be personalized, but every item on Zazzle has a “customize” option. Achilles understands that “While this may be attractive to buyers who want the item for a very specific purpose, as an artist I hesitate to let others adjust and modify my designs.” Because of this customize option, I hesitate to recommend this site to artists.

In the world of art, it’s important to maintain control of your own work. There are all sorts of problems having to do with artists’ work getting stolen on social media, companies asking their employees to take an image they didn’t pay for and just Photoshop the water mark out, and copyright issues with companies using artists’ work. The book Artist’s and Graphic Designer’s Market 2017, edited by Noel Rivera, has a whole section dedicated to simplified copyright information. Problems often arise when artists don’t register their copyright, don’t have “copyright” or “Ⓒ” visable, or sell off some of their divisible copyright terms. When dealing with art thieves, Rivera suggests that “If you suspect your work has been plagiarized and you have not already registered it with the Copyright Office, register it immediately. You have to wait until it is registered before you can take legal action against the infringer. ” If you are posting your work online, be sure you know how to properly address copyright terms.

The final type of site designed to sell artwork is a site custom designed by the artists themselves or custom designed by a website designer hired by the artist. Artists who choose this path will have no traffic they don’t generate themselves, but will have full control over the site. The site will look and be organized to the artist’s exact specifications, but there will be no external support of any kind. If there is some type of bug with how orders are placed, there won’t be a team working round the clock to fix the problems. The artist is responsible for all the packaging and shipping costs, but does not owe anyone extra fees. Creating a custom site from scratch is full of trade offs and should only be attempted by established artists who want selling their wares online to be their full time job.

To conclude, Patreon is best for artists who create frequently and want a guaranteed constant income. Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter help fund big, one- time projects. Etsy is good for the artist that wants to make products by hand. Printshops work best for the busy artist whose time is better spent on other projects besides printing, packaging, and mailing merchandise. The best site to sell art work on depends on the nature of the artwork and the workflow of the artist.