Last third of 2017 – eBay extravaganza

Okay, I’m working towards offering you some ridiculously discounted items.  I’ve made it clear that I’m putting a fair amount of time each day into freelancing, and that the bulk of that, the most reliable and consistent segment, has been transcription work.  I also have indicated that most industry experts believe that type of work will be entirely automated by 2020.  So at this moment, I’ve got a source of steady income and know it’ll be gone in a couple years, so I’m leveraging that income as a means to set up a list of things which I *hope* can sustain my online presence and productive work after all the transcription gigs are gone.

Because I WANT to finish my videos and games and creative stuff and I WANT to get it all online for you all to enjoy.

From now until Sept. 7, there’ll be a TON of new auctions posted on my eBay shop.  They’ll all start at really low prices, typically in the $0.50-$5.00 range.  I’d like to get my ratings on eBay, currently 195, up past 250, maybe even above 300 by the end of 2017, and in pursuit of that goal, I’m willing to burn through over two hundred dollars to get there.  In other words, an average loss for me of $2 or so on every item I sell.  I’m literally buying large batches of the best value items I can find across the internet, and reselling them for around 25-35% LESS than I paid for them.  Less than any other vendor will sell them for.

That is, I’m ready to LOSE over $200 overall on my eBay storefront, in the next 3-4 months.

If the gambit works though, it just might propel me into a far stronger position by the start of 2018.

So I’ll benefit from this insofar as I’ll ideally gain ratings faster… further establishing my reputation on eBay.   Obviously, the main upside for you is that you could get some incredible-sounding but very real bargains on items that normally would be expected to cost far more.  These fall into various categories.

Category #1: Used books, some of them vintage and potentially valuable. The pricing of the currently listed books will drop even further tonight [dropping 20+% in addition to previous price drops over the past month] and some more vintage or otherwise somewhat valuable books from my personal archives, will be listed soon as well.

Category #2: Art made to order.  You all might have noticed some recent works like this one, which was a pet portrait made to order, personalized for a customer on eBay, for just 80 cents:

Pet portrait, oil pastel – 16″x20″ dog in garden.

It still amazes me how few people take advantage of auctions like these.  There are some that end with ZERO bids even though the size of the item on offer is substantial [requiring 3-6 hours’ labor on my part] and the opening bid price is below a dollar with free shipping.  I have a 100% positive feedback rating on eBay, which I suppose somehow makes me a risky person to buy from or something?  I don’t quite get it.  Maybe I’m just really bad at drawing/painting.  Everybody says my work turns out great – but not many people will pay a whole dollar for it.  It’s puzzling.

All the same, I’ll be posting a lot more such auctions over the next 2-3 weeks especially.  Around a dozen of them, a new one almost every day!

Category #3: Art supplies: Dirt cheap art supply items, flipped at a loss for me, things like pastel sets, charcoals, sketch pads, paint sets, colored pencil sets, etc.  These will mostly be $2-7 on my shop that ordinarily would be priced at nearly double that.

Category #4: Other one cent auction items: As in a single penny per item, with free shipping.  These include DVDs of ‘House Trek’ [the DVD is almost ready to launch] and the personalized made to order museum.  Even some newly 3d-modeled variants of that museum for different types of occasions are now days from release.


The one other note you should keep in mind is that traffic to my site TriumphantArtists.com has been booming over the past week.  That’s no accident – I’ve been ramping up some huge ad campaigns and they’ve yet to hit anything close to the actual expected peak.  By huge, I mean I’m now expecting 120,000 visitors to the site by the end of the year.  The site already gets about 5000 visitors per month in recent months, but that should spike to 20-25,000/month starting with this month.  So do keep in mind that there will be people looking at the site, and the auction listings. I hope a lot of these dirt-cheap items do actually sell.

Between the ad campaigns, and the active redesign of the site – the eBay page has live updated listings from my shop now, and all the pages load faster… and the articles section is being steadily filled in with some new stuff now… and ‘Another Road Taken’ goes online later this week… yeah, I’m optimistic that there’ll be some items sold, and that some of what sells will ultimately result in ecstatic ratings from buyers who are stunned at what they got for next to nothing…

Take a look at my current eBay listings!

Multi-item discounts, and ongoing website updates

As you may have noticed, the Oil Pastel art page now looks different from the other listings on the HornbostelProductions shop.

Specifically, it now includes a noticeable price reduction on larger items, and a far more staggering bargain available for any order of multiple items of the same size and medium.  It’s occurred to me that my biggest cost as a seller on all such listings is in the process of shipping and that if I offer listings with two or three items made to order at once, not just one, well, I can reduce the per-item price considerably for customers simply due to the fact that in such a situation, multiple items can be shipped together in a single container.  So, as I add this option to all my made to order art listings during this next week, think about the prospect of purchasing three items at once, for the price it’d previously cost to buy two.  Great idea especially for situations such as Christmas.  Say you’d like to order gifts in advance for a long list of family members, there’s now the option of getting handcrafted gift items, personalized in nature, focused on subjects that appeal to those specific people, an order of three of them, for a single, really stunning low price.  These artworks can depict nearly any subject you want, so long as it is not extremely disgusting/obscene/offensive content wise.

That said, you could certainly ask for things like, say, a portrait of a person you care about, a landscape, or a portrait of a pet, a view of your home, indoors or out, or a view of a place you once visited, an imaginative sci-fi or fantasy scene, or something silly or unexpected, maybe fun and oddly specific, like penguins playing with a soccer ball:

Penguins playing with a soccer ball

You probably shouldn’t ignore the opportunity to do this, as it’s a fantastic idea for holidays or other occasions, but it’s also possible to order a set of two or three items designed not as entirely individual works to split up but as parts of a larger cohesive aesthetic display – a ‘diptych’ or ‘triptych’ that can be posted together along a wall in your house, or in a set of two or three rooms, as matching decoration!

Also cool – I’ve updated a LOT of the pages on TriumphantArtists.com, but the articles section is mostly notably absent from the revised structure.  Well, that’s about to change, with a substantial overhaul of the articles area, plus new content in comics and a fun minigame all aimed for release by about the end of July.  And there’s also some video production effort going on lately, which is a long way from making it online but I’ve got plans to get things online, batch after batch – dozens of elaborate videos I’ve made over the past two decades, revised and uploaded.  Generally speaking, sales of handcrafted art are a big key to keeping those projects moving forward, so any customers who order here are greatly appreciated.

As mentioned (somewhat incessantly) I do have nearly 200 ratings now on my eBay account, all positive, and that’s a solid indicator of my integrity as a vendor.  But I’d really love to see that expanded to my Etsy shop and to this shop on HornbostelProductions, so anyone willing to take that leap will find some great deals on both and will be glad they made the decision to try out my storefronts beyond eBay.

 

Craft Fair went well

I’ve made over $250 in total at the craft fair.

Items such as the kitten artwork [colored pencil, faved a lot on Etsy but not bought by anyone there] and the Easter chick sold, so it seems my depictions of animals were well received as usual.

I’ve also sold a spectacularly large item on eBay, made to order for a customer there.

Impressionist landscape artwork

That was a colossal 5′ by 8′ item on canvas, I’ve shipped it and it’s on its way to the customer.  It cost them $108.

So – all told – I’m in good shape to push things beyond where they were before.  I’m ordering a new GPU (video card) for my computer and will try to set that up soon.  I’ve also acquired a few other smaller things that I need, and much of that is related to a virtual tour of the former Church of The Redeemer meeting location.  That’s one of a handful of Unity 3d projects being developed in tandem, so any shaders, plugins, etc, used for this will also be useful elsewhere.

The Redeemer DVDs were generally very popular and the Blu Rays less so even though they look amazing on a high-def TV.  1280×720 video may not be flawless resolution but it’s well above 720×480.  If you’re online asking for a copy, keep in mind that aside from a teaser for the virtual tour, pretty much everything on those discs is church service footage only of interest to the aging people who attended the church prior to 2011.

It’s not exactly a seat of your pants, high octane thriller.

But – it may well lead to some exciting videos making it online, ones that are shorter but way cooler looking and faster-paced, than a church service.

Right now I’m slashing prices on all of my Etsy listings by 20-35% (until May 10) so that’s worth a look.  The eBay listings also have mostly dropped by 5-10% as sales there have slowed down slightly lately.  A lot of that kind of stuff ebbs and flows.  Sometimes I see 3 or 4 people all commission unique artworks in a single week, other times I can go a month with nothing much selling.  So it’s hardly consistent and right now I’m expecting a boost in activity, partly due to the sales and reduced pricing, and partly because I have launched a bit of advertising this week.  So if you like an item I made, that you see on Etsy, buy it before it sells to someone else.

MY ETSY SHOP!

MY EBAY SHOP – OVER 180 RATINGS, ALL POSITIVE!

NOW SELLING ON ETSY, under $35:

Winter Landscape

UNDER $30!:

Fantasy Coast - gouache

UNDER $20 FOR EACH SET!:

Still Life series batch #2

Old still life series, batch #1

Lot of four old fantasy art landscapes

Set of 5 old landscape artworks

Old batch of floral artworks from 2000s onward.

There are INSANE bargains all across my network right now and you should definitely take a look if you haven’t already.

 

 

 

Crafts Fair in Houston TX and other news

Okay – a few notes.  One is that after a great deal of frustration I’ve gotten my PC working again.  I backed everything up and then it went from bad to worse, from ‘blue screen of death’ to ‘black screen of death’ in which I could not even reach the command line.  Fortunately I found a way to get back to BSOD, then from there I wiped the C: drive and reinstalled Windows, followed by copying the backed up data back onto the C drive.

The day or two after that?  Mostly spent reinstalling a long list of utilities and software packages.   Then and only then, could I resume work on a range of projects that had been unfortunately on hold while the computer was screwed up.  This has been a huge hassle and I’d like to replace the aging video card as I’ve long suspected it as the root of my PC issues.  I know what other better cards are compatible with my desktop, and I am planning to get a replacement, as soon as I’m able to factor it into my budget.  To that end:

I’ll be attending a crafts fair at 5700 Lawndale, Houston, TX, this Saturday April 22nd from 9 am to 3 pm.  This is the Redeemer Lutheran church buiilding and they’re hosting the event and organizing it, plus some Redeemer Episcopal and Missio Dei Houston members are also involved and participating.  

Anyone who wants to meet me there can do so, I’ll have a booth and will be selling handmade art and will also have some great freebies available.  Some of those free items may run out quickly so it’s advised to show up on the early side of the event, ideally during the first hour or two.

There’s a massive crafts fair there, plus garage/yard sale and bake sale, bbq, etc.  It’s basically one of those huge fundraising deals, which I’ve attended in the past.  The booth fees are $25, which gets you an 8 foot table, although it may be too late for anyone else to sign up now.

The vendors keep whatever’s raised, generally, and I am hoping to sell a few handcrafted artworks at this event.  I will also have some other stuff like stickers, pencils, prints, push pin buttons, and DVDs/BluRays which are going to go fast it looks like.  I’m still agreeing to hand them out for free on a ‘pay what you want’ basis.  My dad says they should cost $20 but I’m fine with just handing them out.

Church of the Redeemer DVDs
DVDs of closing services for Church of the Redeemer Episcopal Houston

Those are mainly of interest to people who have been a part of the Redeemer Episcopal community, but the handmade stuff has much broader appeal.

I have sold a set (triptych) of three artworks at one of these old events, at a price of $90, which was later appraised at $150 by an art dealer.  You might find similar bargains here; many items will be marked 15% lower than on Etsy, given the local nature of the event and the fact that they won’t need to be shipped, so shipping isn’t built into the pricing.

What is?  Well, materials, plus a rate of about $3 per hour for my creative work on each item.  Some items are a bit more if new, or less if old.

Worth a look for anyone in the Houston area.

 

April 10-15, 2017 – the big updates

Why is next Monday, April 10 – and every Monday after that for the next 15 weeks – going to be epic?  Here’s why:

  1. Comics.  New T4 content – the Troop 4 Uncensored, pt 4 comic book [divided into 10-12 parts] -and the first portions of Another Road Taken, which have been delayed way, way too long, will be posted during this span.  Not that anyone has complained.  Most of you either don’t know what I’m even referring to – or do know but have been really patient with me.
  2. Game news.  Spiral Skies sees actual up-to-date media content [new stuff to see on a new website specifically chosen for the project – SpiralSkiesGame.com – posted on one of these Mondays.  This is something that actually has gotten a bit of response which is great… though at this time nothing is visible on the new domain, just on PanoramicWorlds.com.
  3. The video channel.  It’ll be on TriumphantArtists.com I’ve put some substantial effort into this launch but my friends/actors mostly have yet to sign a digital document I sent them, which, in effect, stalls almost every video I really strongly want online from actually being placed online.  When they ask about the videos not being online, I turn the question around and ask them why they have been unwilling to sign the documents I sent them.  I tell them that THEY are holding back said releases.  Most of them seem genuinely surprised by this.  Perhaps once I am pulling in thousands of viewers these holdouts will actually notice, and respond to, the messages I sent.
  4.  More artworks on Etsy in the lead up to the mid-April launches.  This is the only way that some of the launch content can actually [realistically] materialize faster.  If you audience members like the items I list on Etsy then buy them, knowing that those sales [if made in the next few weeks] will finance completion of more videos, etc.  So once again, please take a look at my Etsy shop.

Here are the different videos [definitely] making it online in the next 15 weeks.  Longer projects are often split into multiple webisodes and I currently estimate between 24 and 36 videos being on the channel by the last of the 15 weeks.   24 is the likely outcome if nobody signs off on the legal documents in the next few weeks.  36, potentially, if a bunch of the signatures are collected soon.

DEFINITELY RELEASED IN NEXT 15 weeks:

House Trek: The Original Series – this is a reworking of an old video series from 2001-2004 that had a very silly take on space travel, badly going where much better sci fi series had already been before.  The fifth episode, the longest one, is now a two parter, and there’s also a short new episode tacked on to the end of the series to bridge the gap between this and the upcoming House Trek: The Next Generation.

Storm – an old 2003 art video short depicting a rainstorm.

Storm 2 – new short video two-parter in which I find myself alone in the house unprepared during a severe hurricane.

Relativity  – Escheresque 2004 art video with cool [and recently somewhat reworked] imagery that messes with your perceptions.

Send in The Clones 1, remastered  The brief first [2001] video in the aging ‘Clones’ video series.

Creativity – 2005 art video short.

Awakening  – new eerie short video in which I find myself struggling with persistently trippy and creepy nightmares which affect my judgement and sanity even when I’m awake.

Refuge – new 3-episode sci-fi short with some freaky horror-ish surprises.  It’s the year 2202, Earth is a poisoned wasteland and the surviving humans have traveled to another world to keep going.  But now people are going missing at an alarming rate!

Sheol – psychological horror/mind bender.  Brand new short.  After an internet troll interrupts a video chat, and threatens to kill me, I wake up the next morning imprisoned in a horrific death trap.

MAYBE RELEASED IN NEXT 15 weeks:

“Matthew’s Portal” (2005) a classic family mind-bender with a fun and clever story.

“Send in The Clones 2” (2002) My clones rapidly transition from laziness to rebellion.

“Duel 2030” – Recorded in 2007-2008, it’s a dark post-apocalyptic action mini-epic.

“Snow Siege” – The first of the videos I recorded with my cousins, in 2003.  A kid-friendly holiday classic.

“Tinyville Disaster” (2003) – A classic comedy made with stop-motion animation.

“Fortress Siege” – a 2009 medieval comedy that is equal parts visually impressive and wackily absurd.

 

 

Another Etsy item listed!

This 18″ x 24″ gouache original handmade artwork is now available on Etsy for $40 with free shipping within the USA and $0.99 shipping everywhere else.

A fantastic bargain!  The Etsy listing is right here.

Winter Landscape
Snowy winter landscape.

In other news:

-It looks like the Vineyard video production group may be postponed to September (assuming the church approves it)

-Ongoing revisions to the Still Art page to include new artworks as they’re finished.

-New content heading to the stock media section around end of March 2017, among other unique and exciting products soon to be posted.

Launching new items on Etsy & ArtFire this week

If you’re at all interested, over the next week I am about to start posting a batch of new listings on Etsy and ArtFire.  Just FYI, there have been a number of people with bad experiences selling & buying on these platforms, so if something goes wrong and, for example, one of these shops runs into a glitch or the shop suddenly shuts down for no good reason, just know it’s the platform’s decision and their screw-up, not mine.  I’ll do my best to handle my shops here with integrity but realistically there are some things I cannot control, like the other sellers [who may cheat you in some cases, or sell shoddy knock-off items that are mass produced in China and not really artful or ‘handmade’] and the decisions of the venue owners.  So be careful to buy carefully from vendors within these markets who you know have some sort of good track record – either positive ratings right there or elsewhere.   In my case?  I do not yet have a clear track record on these shops but I DO HAVE A SOLID 170+ RATINGS ON eBay.  And they’re all positive, 100% of them.

You should expect similar outcomes on my other shops, great items, inexpensively priced, with good customer service.  And if I do somehow screw up, and overlook something, I’ll do what I can to rectify the mistake.  This – delays in shipping or other screw-ups – can happen once in a while due not to malicious intent but simply because I am busy with many customers and things occasionally fall through the cracks.

I have actually been rated negatively on eBay a handful of times but in each case I managed to resolve the complaints involved.  I ended up refunding the sale amount, apologizing profusely for the late/damaged item which had trouble in the shipping process… or in one case an item was not quite what the customer was looking for visually.  All of these were issues I did try my best to resolve and on these rare occasions, the customers ended up retracting their negative ratings of my shop, usually replacing them with positive ones.   The same willingness to exceed customer expectations, and resolve problems even if it means I lose money on the sale, will apply on every shop I run, whether it’s Etsy or ArtFire or eBay or my own shop here on this website.

Triumphant Artists eBay shop

HornbostelProductions.com Shop

Triumphant Artists Etsy Shop

Triumphant Artists ArtFire Shop

I am also aiming to post new stuff on my own shop the week after that. This should include some really cool things that I’ve put a ton of work into.  Watch for that.  Oh – and by the way – there are a couple of amazing eBay auction this week too and they end in a couple of days.

They’re for custom made to order art and the opening bids are under $3 on both listings.  You might want to jump in on that!

UPDATE: eBay auctions relisted and the first of the new art items has been posted on Etsy.

Fantasy beach landscape with colored pebbles
Fantasy beach landscape/seascape with colored pebbles.

Two artworks added to ‘Still Art’ page and new eBay auctions posted!

Two more artworks (one from 2015 and one from 2016) were just posted on the Still Art page.  More archived stuff will be uploaded later tonight, plus a couple of alternate sorting methods will be set up soon beyond the current chronological method [images will be sortable by art medium, and by size]

If the Still Art page looks really screwed up briefly at some point around 11 pm to midnight, that’s because that’s when the HTML and JS stuff is being actively changed.

Also, three auctions just posted on my eBay shop, all priced under $4 for the opening bid.  Haven’t done actual auctions in a while so I figured now was a good time for that.  Check that out!

Incidentally, I’ve just ordered some new art supply materials.  More pastel pencils, and a few other things.  I’m ready for the next wave of orders.

I attended the Art Market at the Houston Vineyard in December 2016

Firstly, big thank you to the Houston Vineyard for putting this together, lots of artists in the area had booths, which was great, and the atmosphere was very nice, well decorated, good snacks, pastries, and hot cider, coffee, hot chocolate, etc. The live nativity was cute, some church members filling in the roles, including a baby as the baby Jesus. There were three goats and a donkey there and they handled the bright lights and music and guests well, though one of the goats was apparently a bit rambunctious and kept messing with the guy playing Joseph. The main issue here was, I think, the lack of local promotion beyond the obvious laminated banners at the building itself. Simply put, visitors were sparse, and many of the ones who were there were already church members. I think there were more vendors than visitors in the art market, at all times, only at most six or seven people browsing at any one point and most of those not interested in buying anything. I cannot say anything about foot traffic with confidence, of course, as my booth was in a dead-end section of hallway leading to a door to the main area of the church (off limits to most everyone during the event) and I didn’t notice every single person who walked into the venue. However, even though there weren’t many people looking at the arts/crafts the few who did show up at my table were awesome. Everyone commented on the art on display, many people were impressed by the Southwestern piece I did specifically for the show, and there were also many other items that drew attention. Ann Armstrong and some other local artists walked by when the pace slowed down and we chatted. Ultimately, I sold three items. One was a small pastel work on paper, of a dog, one was the NYC skyline artwork, which has been pulled off of my Etsy shop because of this event, and won’t be activated there again. The third was the Southwest oil pastel mentioned earlier, which I fortunately was able to photograph before selling it. Southwest Artwork, oil pastel I also had some people really impressed by the video reel (vfx reel and short films) that I was playing on a cheap Android tablet on the table. There was a lot of enthusiasm as there often is when people actually see my video work. I still want to get hours of that content online in the next year, and if things go well enough business wise that should be feasible. I have had a former cast member, Bradley Wallace, once say, “One day we’ll look back and say, we knew Matthew years before he became famous”. That’s something he said that I still remember, and although I’m hardly ‘famous’ and my work is still very cheap (“You’re undercharging”, say my uncle and other family members) it is sometimes valued higher later simply because it’s so cheap to start off with. A decade ago I sold a triptych (three paintings) for $90, which was later appraised at $150. That was at another crafts fair way back in the old Redeemer days. My work is *still* quite affordable, obviously, which you’ll realize once you learn that the image above was of a 36″x54″ oil pastel item, which I sold for just $45.00. I’ve probably put a total of around 6-7 hours into it, so I made more per hour with this than with the vast majority of the work I do. (My usual going rate is around $3.50-$5/hour in practice.) People say I undercharge, but in my experience this is how much my work is valued by the art market; if I aim anywhere above $5/hr the stuff usually won’t sell. (Art valuation is really screwed up, BTW, and I feel much of the modern art out there is grossly overvalued simply because the artist has a ‘name’, but maybe that’s just me.) $4/hr or so, instead, seems to be the sweet spot right now. It used to be $2-3 per hour but business has been really good lately and now it’s up to $4. And really, I’m very happy with $4/hr, even if most others wouldn’t be. It’s a type of work I love doing, and if I can line up 7 1/2 hours of work per day at that rate that’s $30/day which is not at all bad, IMO. At $30/day, if I can do that consistently, I’ll make $10,500 in the next year… enough to pay bills and recurring baseline costs, pay a bit in rent to my parents, and with an extra 4-5 hours a day free to work on my own personal projects! I could get several game productions and a couple dozen videos released online next year if this goes as well as I’m hoping. Maybe some of that will be lucrative in its own right, which would be phenomenally awesome. (By lucrative, I don’t mean I’m trapping that content behind a paywall. It will all be free but with some ads and also DVD editions available on this shop.)