Friday, 26 October 2012

Make it Vintage

Went to the Deira fish market today expecting it to be congested but it wasn't! We were able to park easily and in the row nearest the entrance too. Didn't see much locals or Arabs but a lot of Asians were shoppping. I guess the locals have done their shopping early and are now celebrating with their families.

I love shopping at the fresh fish market. People are so energetic selling their seafood and produce, the fish are fresh (and very affordable!) and there are so much choices. We ended up with two kilos of crabs at 60AED, two kilos of shrimps also at 60AED, two kilos of tilapia at 40AED and I got an extra kilo of small galunggong for only 5AED! A bunch of different vegetables was on the last of the shopping list and three bags full only cost us 13AED.

We went straight back to Abet & Malen's flat and started cooking lunch. By 1pm we were having a spectacular seafood fest - there was so much, I had a pack to take home with me to enjoy later. Yum. That, however, took up most of the day -  so it's 3:00pm already and I'm just starting my day.

For the last few days, I've been pouring over dozens of digital albums I've collected through the years to select photos that I will put up on OrangeJarArt Etsy shop. I can easily select photos (and artworks I like) but I try to keep one of the Etsy tips in mind: make your shop look cohesive, which I interpret as styled, which means there is a certain look to it. The items and the corresponding product shots should have a signature that when clients see them, they can identify later that it's from your shop.

That is a very good tip. And from an Etsy newbie like me - with tons of products I want to market - very challenging.

OrangeJar started about seven-eight years ago as my portal to offer caricatures online, a place where people can find my samples and get my contact details. Since the beginning I have an integration of various services there, everything I can do - illustrations, paintings, photography - but I never concentrated on marketing them. Until now, and with the addition of other products such as the sculptures and clay-themed postcards. So OrangeJar is officially a mishmash of my services - all related but still very varied.

For example, when it comes to photos, I love portraits -- family, friends, pets, random people I meet through my travels. But I cannot use those photos without a model permit. So I started collecting photos of places I've been to featuring everyday subjects that I wanted to keep forever - red boots on a wet brick road in Denmark, a rusty ship sculpture in a fisherman's wharf in Canada, camels lounging at the Dubai beach and so on and so forth.

Then the next question became, how do I offer these? Which style? "As is" doesn't seem to cut it for me. Black & white? Retro? Vintage? There are so many options. I guess the best way to go about it is to choose the ones I like best, the ones I will hang on my wall. Then the questions came flooding back again - black & white? Retro? Duochrome? Vintage? I like a lot of styles!

But if I put in a number of styles, then my shop will not look cohesive. So, decide I must.

I do have one favorite that I had printed out in canvas and stretched, it's a duochrome image of Malaysia. It's a dramatic scene of the Twin Towers taken from The Revolving Bintang Restaurant on the 18th floor of The Federal KL. It was a cloudy day and while we were waiting for the lunch buffet to start, the sky started to open on the farthest right and you can see the rain starting to pour, the middle panel only had low-hanging burdened clouds, the leftmost panel had the twin towers and beneath all three, the darkened cityscape of KL. Oh wait, why am I describing it? I can just show you:

It looks better in person (if you're wondering, The Kiss (Gustav Klimt) repro is a gift from my artist friend Ysab, you can find her works here).

So that will definitely be one style. The other is vintage. I edit my photos in Photoshop which allows more control - I can tweak it till I'm happy. So I think I've found my happy medium.

Here's a preview of what I've been working on which will soon be available on Etsy (and hint - if you're interested, before it's up, just send me a pm).

OrangeJar watermark will not be in the final print. This is a photo I took 4-5 years ago near the Hilton beach area, edited for that vintage look.

If you're interested in making any of your photos vintage, you can do it manually in Photoshop - the best way is to experiment with your saturation and color settings. You can also add grain or noise (just go to Filter on your menu). And if you want that real aged print look, add scratches and tear marks (a lot of artists offer scratch and tear photos, just Google for them and check that it's a png file so that's it's ready and easy to use. You just add it on top of your photo as another layer, tweak a little bit more and you're all set).

For quick and easy vintage style photos, here are a couple of websites I stumbled over while I was brushing up on how authentic vintage photos really look:
  • - gives you an option for vintage look, technicolor, lomo and some other tweaks
  • - haven't tried this one, but it seems as easy as upload photo and click the style you want. 
Okay, enough rambling. I seriously need to back up my files first before wading through more digital photos to edit.

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