Jigsaw Puzzles – art becomes a family event

I am proud to introduce a new line art limited edition jigsaw puzzles to the global marketplace. My Artful Living Puzzle collection features 4 distinct images from 504 to 1000 pieces for art lovers and puzzle enthusiasts alike.

Puzzle pieces have a high gloss finish and are easy to handle. The images present challenging family fun. Add them to your regular family game night or start one to create family time. It’s a great way to connect with your spouse, partner and children.

Our puzzles come in a stylish black box and are cellophane wrapped.

 

Here are the available puzzles. More will be introduced at a later date:

504 piece – Botanica ; Finished size 16″ x 20″

756 piece – Austin ; Finished size 16″ x 30″

1000 piece – Desert Wind or Jambalaya; Finished size 20″ x 28″

Order on my merchandise tab on jeffferst.com or on my merchandise site artfullivingbyjeffferst.com.

Again as I said these are very original and special jigsaw puzzles that are not mass produced. In purchasing you are supporting an artist and small business person. For many in the Tucson area who know me and my art this is a way to help further my career and support local art.

Thanks, Jeff

 

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Thanks for the memories

Huge SALE on now! Up to 70% off.
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Thanks

It is hard to believe that it is two years since Artful Living Gallery & Studio began. What was a dream of mine –  born out of 40 years as an artist – became reality when I decided to blend my studio with a showroom to showcase my art along with artful products created by some manufacturers in home decor and clothing I licensed my artwork to.

Since I opened my doors at the gallery on Broadway, and then moving it to Plaza Colonial I have learned a lot about the world of retail and about my customers, supporters and friends. Most of all I have learned a lot about myself.

It was my desire to create a unique gallery experience where people who had a love of colour could go to view my art and enjoy browsing and shopping for artful accessories and clothing.From the beginning I made a decision to not represent other artists and instead take the gallery in a completely different direction. I advertised, received lots of wonderful press coverage, and found a connection to those who could appreciate my vision and work.

I knew building a business is a slow process. I’ve done it before. Sometimes with some luck you can develop a clientele quickly. Most often it takes years along with money and hard work. And of course the right location! I have devoted a lot of time and money to this project and have worked tirelessly to turn plans into reality. I had a strong marketing plan and worked to build a solid social media following.

Coming up for a breath of air I can see that it will be many more years and many more dollars of investment before this business in its present form can stand on its own. I also had some issues with location which on the surface and at the time all seemed right but in fact were not the best choices or presented the best circumstances.

I have considered my options going forward and come to the realization that even though I have tried my best to make this business work, it just is not growing as anticipated. I consider it successful in that I have been able to connect with far more people than I ever did in my secluded work-only studio. I also know those people who have supported me and the business have truly understood my concept and appreciate the quality of my products and the sincerity of my art. And those relationships I hope will continue.

Bottom line: I have decided to close the doors to my brick and mortar business unless something changes to convince me otherwise. I will continue to create art from a studio space here in Tucson and am looking to renew/continue my relationships with galleries here and beyond. And I may even maintain some inventory of some of my best selling products at the studio…we will see. I will of course continue to promote and sell my art through my website and work with those companies that feature my artwork on their products. I also intend to forge new relationships when they build on my brand and artful philosophy. And you will see my products here and elsewhere in small independent retailers I can develop partnerships with. One of them you already know well – Old Town Artisans.

So for now I want to thank you and all my supporters, friends and community for being a part of Artful Living Gallery. It’s been a total joy to connect with so many new people over the last two years. I will certainly miss the gallery here in Plaza Colonial as I miss my gallery on Broadway. It’s been fun.

Most of all I am not gone…..I will let you know when I have a closing date. For now plans are to continue here through the end of June. The gallery will be closed for the last 3 weeks of May and my huge sale of art and merchandise NOW ON WITH UP TO 70% off will continue through June or while inventory lasts. IF THERE IS SOMETHING YOU HAVE YOUR EYE ON PLEASE COME IN AND GET IT NOW. I AM EAGER TO REDUCE INVENTORY AND THE SALE IS ONLY ON MERCHANDISE AND ART IN MY GALLERY. Online merchandise is at regular prices.

Thanks for your support and for the great memories. I hope you can make it to the gallery before the end of June. After that I will be in touch about the next chapter for me and Artful Living.

Again thanks for your support and let’s keep in touch.

Jeff

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The story of Artful Living

It all started with an idea to make my art more accessible by printing images of my paintings on everyday items like pillows and shower curtains. Then I had the notion to open my own showroom and studio to the public so Artful Living Gallery was born in March 2015.

Over the last 2 years I moved from downtown Tucson to my current location in Plaza Colonial in the foothills. Through it all I have developed a loyal following of people in the community and visitors alike who get the concept of a place where color rules and art and artful things intersect.

Creating art is my passion and has been my entire life. My goal and concept for Artful Living has always been to create beautiful and functional things from my art. Through licensing my images to different manufacturers I get to see my art placed in on variety of home goods and apparel. Each colorful example is another piece to my puzzle of creating works of art out of every day objects. And while doing so I also make art more affordable to a wider audience who may not understand art or have the resources to purchase it.

Then being in retail myself has not been as easy a ride as I anticipated. Not just the competition or the expense of maintaining it (renting the space alone is costly). It’s also the emotional toll it takes being creator, seller and promoter. Some days I am not sure which direction to go in….and some days I feel pulled in all three. But when someone walks in the door for the first time and their eyes light up….or a customer returns to tell me how much they love (or the recipient of their gift loves their purchase) – well that is the best ever. It confirms everything I have been doing to create this environment.

Let’s face it most people walk into a gallery to view art. They don’t expect to see a variety of products – clothing & home decor. If they enjoy color and get the concept – boom it’s instantaneous. But if they don’t and I get that too, well they walk in one of my 2 doors and walk through and out the other door.

In the end it helps to remember that everyone is different and not everyone loves color  (and my world contains big color). And I have to remember that not everyone likes my choice of subject matter. We get a lot of visitors looking for “southwest” art. Mine is southwest I tell them but they are looking for the cowboy mystique – not southwest landscape images per say. And even my abstractions while inspired and depicting the desert fauna & flora, are not always welcomed by some visitors. And that is OK I tell myself because everyone has their own tastes and likes/dislikes and my world caters to those that appreciate color and the joy it brings to them.

So at this juncture I feel blessed for the support of family, friends and my supporters who have helped me achieve my dream and make Artful Living a reality. For what happens next – who knows. Recently I started working with ceramics and painting platters which I carry in the gallery. I have also dabbled in mosaics and have the interest to pursue that as either garden sculpture or more 2 dimensional work.

And I continue to create new work in my studio. This year I have started work on 5 paintings so far and 2 are near completion. The process can be quick or lengthy to complete a painting – it all depends on my time, emotional connection to the work, etc. This year with the political situation and gallery traffic I am less motivated to create. In the last 2 weeks I have gotten back to the easel on a more regular basis so work progresses.

 

One final note: March is customer appreciation month at the gallery. There are sales throughout the gallery on art and merchandise. March 17th is my open house from 5-8 to help celebrate 2 years in business and it’s my thank you to my customers. And I am holding a raffle for a painting. Tickets are $10 and all proceeds go to the Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th for youth in our community. Contact the gallery for details.

Best

Jeff

 

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Welcome to 2017

It’s a new year full of promise and uncertainty. We have an incoming President in the US who is ill informed and unprepared for the tasks and diplomacy that the post requires. Ever since the election in November I have been frozen and unable to paint. I know I have continued to apply myself at the easel but the work is laborious and my concentration – more importantly my imagination – is gone.

I am in constant worry and fear for those less fortunate and less educated…and thus the ones who put him in a position to destroy what little safety net there is for them.

I worry for women, the LGBTQ community, minorities of every stripe and colour and America as a whole.

With continued innuendo of a relationship between those in the Trump camp and Russian officials it is clear the election was stolen and there are genuine concerns of a treasonous campaign.

I am thinking of a painting “The Sun Gives Way to Golden Showers”.

Oh America how did you end up here? And what will happen to democracy.

Time will tell.

 

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A Holiday Message

I write this as I sit at my reception desk in my gallery waiting for the Christmas shoppers. They aren’t coming.

I moved from my downtown location to my new location at Plaza Colonial during the summer. I found in the first year of business my art buying customers were those coming downtown from the foothills and they were not keen on the parking and the traffic. And my walk by traffic was not what I had expected it would be. Yes I know it takes time to build a business, build clientele and build loyalty but there were evident signs that made me consider and then move the gallery.

The new space provided a great environment. It has parking right outside my door. The grounds of the plaza are beautiful and very picturesque with the mountains right next door. My fellow merchants are warm and accepting and very supportive. My gallery is colorful, fun and offers a great selection of quality merchandise and original art. Even my working studio is on premises.

At first I had good traffic flow and my customers came to see the new space. I had reasonable sales and all signs pointed to a bright future and a confirmation that the move was the right thing to do.

Then the election hit and things seemed to grind to a halt.

Since then traffic has died down and there has been NO shoppers. Not even the occasional walker by. I sit and I wait. I advertise and I call. I email and I do social media. Nothing, nothing, nothing.

It’s a very humbling experience starting a new business. It takes talent, money and energy but also luck and support. I have done the best I can and have no regrets. There is no time to re-consider the move or the business model. I still believe in both. But as they say location, location, location.

The plaza while beautiful has no identity. Yes it has small local merchants catering to an upscale clientele but management has made absolutely no effort to build the brand or promote its merchants. Everyone scrambles to maintain and manage their own shop but the camaraderie does not extend to a team effort to market and build the plaza as a go to destination.

I saw the need when I first considered moving here and felt I could take on the effort to help the plaza build a brand and develop its clientele. So we started work on a website and it is developing toward the look that will help get us on the right track. Hopefully in the new year we will be able to build a coalition of merchants who all agree to work together to build this brand. Time will tell.

So for now I wait. It’s not all a bed of roses. Looking forward to a brighter 2017.

Jeff

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New beginnings

Hello and welcome to Artful Living Gallery

We are currently stocking up for the holiday season and thought it might be a good time to reflect back on our beginnings here a few months ago…..so here goes

Coming soon – our new line of long sleeve men’s shirts, shower curtains and duvet covers.


Check out our YouTube channel for more videos.

Jeff

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The business of art

Or how to make your fine art gallery more SEO friendly.

Fine Art Gallery Opening

So here I sit in my fine art gallery watching over my clothing, home decor & gifts. I’m throwing up my hands trying to figure out why my gallery does not come up on the google search. I’m on page 30. Where am I. I hear about SEO and visibility. And everywhere I look there is another company looking for me to pay them $$ to boost my ranking.

It’s become a racket. Just another way for companies to take small business upside down and shake out the last of the pennies from my pocket. How can I cough up any more cash for this crap. It seems simple enough – I’m on the web so why don’t I come up in the rank?

It’s all very frustrating. Do I pay or do I sit back. What to do?

PL Sign F2

entrance to fine art gallery

Its tempting to just not pay and sit back but then do I risk losing further ground. That’s the question. Like insurance it’s play or stay.

Hmmm

Jeff

 

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Open and A Look Ahead

The shop has been open for a month now and the response has been phenomenal. I am so happy people liked the space when we held our open house on the 16th of September. It was a huge success and people enjoyed the food, music and great selection of art & merchandise. Shoes were a popular item that night.

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So now we begin our Thursday evening Artwalks. There are a number of great galleries in the area and having them open for a few hours on Thursday evenings makes for a community event everyone can participate in. We look forward to seeing our friends and new supporters come out for these wonderful evenings.

November 5th – Xmas Open House

On Saturday, Nov 5  11am-5pm come out for our popular open house to start off the holiday season. Great food & music to enjoy while you browse our showroom and gallery for great ways to freshen up your home and wardrobe for the holidays. Surprise sales and great gift items for those art lovers on your holiday list.

 

Nov 5th & 6th – Tucson Fall Open Studio Tour

In conjunction with our open house we will also be on the open studio tour. Come see whats happening in my studio, talk to me about process and living the life of an artist. Learn about the gallery, and check out my line of home decor, gifts & clothing created from my art. Sat & Sun 11-5.

Hope to see you at the gallery.

Jeff

Artful Living Gallery & Studio

2840 E Skyline Dr #160 Tucson, AZ 85718 US

Phone: 520-203-7004 Website: https://jeffferst.com/

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Our new home at Plaza Colonial NOW OPEN

Come visit us Wednesday thru Saturday 11am – 5:30pm for a colorful experience.

PL Sign F2

We are excited to show you our new home. The gallery space is intimate and grand. Merchandise and art co-mingle among sculpted walls and cubbies to create a very inviting space. And we have added some new items including duvet covers, door mats and shirts and canvas shoes.

PL4sm

PL8sm

PL2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also have a great selection of art and tapestries – all colorful – all wonderful examples to help you make your home more artful and inviting for you and your guests. Come in for a visit today and see what’s new!

Artful Living Gallery & Studio

Plaza Colonial

2840 E Skyline Dr #160

Tucson, AZ 85718

Artful Living Gallery & Studio

2840 E Skyline Dr #160 Tucson, AZ 85718 US

Phone: 520-203-7004 Website: https://jeffferst.com/

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Moving to a new home

Moving Sale

Its the end of June and I am sitting at the computer working on my next blog post. But my mind is on this big move I am making from my current studio space in downtown Tucson. I love what I have created here but it is time to find another location. Traffic is not good in the downtown core although there is construction and buzz about the revitalization here. The proof is in the pudding. Businesses still come and go here and while I am fortunate to go unscathed and to a new location, many of the business who have started up since I opened my shop have disappeared overnight.

Really while things are changing, there is still very little traffic for retail downtown so as a businessman I have to understand the signs and make a move to place my business on firmer ground. Those businesses who have folded have found out the hard way. I do not want to end up like them.

My customers are from the north & east of the city and that’s where I am going. I want to be near and accessible to them.

So now to find that perfect spot. Not easy and not always what you think it will be. But I must prevail.

You find a location, you view it, you negotiate and then things come out in the negotiations that are new, once they get to paper even more surprises and all of these items need to be discussed and decided on before any deal can be signed.

So for now I am moving out of my space on July 11 and where I end up….stay tuned. I have 3 spots I am working on and who knows which one will win in the end. I do have a favorite and let’s hope that comes together.

In the meanwhile come to my Moving Sale – until July 8 at the gallery. Lots of great items on sale.

See you soon.

Jeff

 

 

Artful Living Gallery & Studio

2840 E Skyline Dr #160 Tucson, AZ 85718 US

Phone: 520-203-7004 Website: https://jeffferst.com/

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