My previous post was dated August 11, 2016, almost four months ago. For those of you who know me personally this wasn’t unexpected — you probably knew I was going through a crisis of artwork/blogging paralysis — not knowing what I could say or do, about or with the art I was making using polyvinyl tarp, duck tape, and sharpies. Artwork I had been calling “Tarpestry.” Artwork which I had been vigorously promoting using SEO (Search Engine Optimization, an approach that brings attention to websites). Happily I was getting plenty of attention. I even bought two new domains featuring the word “tarpestry.”
Unhappily, I also attracted attention which completely shut me down — at least in my ability to communicate about my tarp artwork. Turns out there is a commercial venture which produces blankets made of fabric with hippy-dippy designs backed by canvas tarp which are sold at music festivals and, you guessed it, they are called TARPESTRY. Actually they aren’t just called that, they are Trademarked that, and they considered my work a threat.
I’m won’t rehash the ridiculousness of their claims, but I will say that despite the myriad differences between my artwork and their commercial product the law is on their side. Because they own the trademark with the identical portmanteau word I had chosen — they win, and my SEO has rendered me SOL.
So where does that leave me? Well, I can’t call any of the artwork I create using polyvinyl tarp, duck tape, and sharpies “tarpestry” going forward. I can’t use that word in any of my domains, or promote it using SEO. I can still make the artwork, exhibit it, donate it, sell it, create books about it, catalog it on my website — but I have to call it something else.
I’m going to call it “TARPAGE.”
Tarpage — sounds like yardage, or on a bad day, garbage, and it feels appropriate as an umbrella covering the very first “tarps picadas” as well as “tarpestry.”
2016 was a brutal year for many people, and I understand that in comparison, my tarpage story is just a hitch in my git’along, so I’m not telling you this for your sympathy. I’m telling you this by way of explanation — for why you haven’t heard from me, and for why I’m going to change the way I share my “stuff” from now on.
For starters, this will be my last blog post on this website. All I’ve written previously will still be available to go back and read, I’m just not going to write anything new on this site.
My Portfolio pages will continue to be updated — some of which I often get a little chatty on — and I’ll keep my Resume up to date, have my books available, and will still be able to be contacted through my Contact Me page.
Meanwhile, I’m also closing down my (Melissa “Sasi” Chambers) Artists Page on FaceBook, but will continue my personal (Melissa Chambers) page, mostly as a link to my Instagram (sasiwasi).
I have three “resolutions” for 2017 — “Think Very Hard Before Saying Yes,” and “Streamline and Upgrade (anything and everything).” 2016 was a year of u-turns, dead-ends, and many mind-changes for me. I’ve realized I no longer feel the need to always say “yes,” and I’m not sorry about that. I don’t have to “do everything,” and it’s OK not to feel guilty about that.
Keeping up with the social media mouse race, pushing myself with SEO, agreeing to do things I don’t really want to do but have somehow managed to “own” far past the point of being a sincere and willing contributor…. I’m done with all that. And, I know you know what I’m talking about.
So here’s my third Resolution for 2017 — Respect the “No’s” without resentment or shaming, and make sure the “Yes’s” know how grateful I am for their gifts.
Thank you for all your support, and love, and good wishes. And for all of us, may 2017 be truly a Happy New Year!