Mint Masterpieces

Artists, art collectors, patrons and gallery owners all show up at Mint Masterpieces, this first one at the home of Linda and David Whitaker. (Photo: Charlene Uresy)

Our second art-full gala moves to Palmer Woods, where a judge who is an artist and an attorney who is a serious collector will host our party with a purpose on Oct. 19. This beautiful event features fine wine and food, fabulous music by jazz guitarist A. Spencer Barefield and violinist Jannina North, lots of art – and some surprises. Our silent auction gives guests the opportunity to take home art by professional artists and our emerging artists.

Mint Masterpieces supports Mint Artists Guild’s growth, and creates more opportunities for youth in Detroit. A limited number of tickets are available now; buy yours today:

Learn more about our hosts in this blog post and video, and watch for updates on our blog and social media.

Mint Masterpieces is sponsored by Blossoms, DET Property Management, Eric’s I’ve Been Framed Shop, Integrity Shows, Sherwood Forest Gallery – and soon other caring businesses.

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Creating a future in signs


Leo Gomez (Photo from Gomez website)

Leo Gomez creates hand painted signs for mainly small companies – from hotels to seafood restaurants to a yoga shop.

He runs a hand painted signs and murals company in St. Petersberg, FL, where he teaches classes on sign painting.

Read Gomez’ step by step tutorial on hand lettering a sign, or creating prints based on some hand lettered message.  He also offered good advice on bringing together your digitized hand lettered sign with photographs.

Sign painting may be considered a graphic design career.  U.S. graphic designers earn a median salary of $50,370 last year, and about one in five are self employed.  Since my grandfather was a sign maker who worked for Chrysler and later opened his own cheese shop, this career has always fascinated me.

Detroit has several sign painting artists / entrepreneurs.  Among them is Kelly Golden, who has painted signs professionally since 2010. Her website says she has created for Third Man Records, Habitat for Humanity, 1XRun and others. She also creates stickers such as her “Listen to women” one that we adore.

It seems that businesses and nonprofits are interested in this old fashioned, handmade way of promoting themselves.

One of our Mint alumni creates awesome signs for us. Based on our recommendation, Maddie Teece painted a sign on artist Michael Willenborg’s art bus last year during the Belle Isle Art Fair.   She also has created signs for Mint exhibits such as Summer in the City and thank you signs.

Thank yous are beautiful; this one was created by Mint alumni Maddie Teece.

Is sign painting a creative career for you? Or is it a way to earn extra income? Try it out by painting signs for friends or a local entrepreneur, or offer to create a new sign as a volunteer for Mint!

– © Vickie Elmer, 2019

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Quotable: artist Adwoa Muwzea

Artist Adwoa Muwzea with two of her prints.

“Residual income – that’s what I live for. You’re making money while you sleep.”  -artist and educator Adwoa Muwzea, at an Artist2Artist gathering in Detroit.

Artists earn “residual income” – also known as passive income – when they license their images or creativity for use by companies or individuals. Some examples: A company pays to put your popular image on a greeting card or T shirt.

Creating Beautifully lists many sites and ways artists may earn passive income.

For emerging artists, this could mean creating a limited edition print of your work, or licensing a piece of your art to a musician with an annual payment.  Greeting cards from your art sold at a gift shop also create passive income.  

Mint teaches business skills to emerging artists, and for licensing, you may need a lawyer or at least a licensing agreement / contract.  Learn more about the three forms of licensing in these posts from Digital Media Law Project.

-© Vickie Elmer, 2019, for Mint Artists Guild

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If you are an artist with a variety of work, create a small portfolio – or file – of it on your mobile phone.

Make sure it’s easy to find, and recent pieces are all in the same place. That way when you meet a potential patron or buyer, it’s very easy to openand show your work.

Too often artists think they may find the work amid a sea of photos or images, yet the attention span of many is short or they are nervous and do not locate the best images. 

 So group it all together in one place or album – and include pieces that have recently sold. A patron may want to commission something similar to the one that just was purchased.

(Photo: MorgueFile)