Tuesday, July 31

Bang Bang

I just got an email from a happy client who installed her painting. I love seeing my work in other people's homes. Aren't those sconces sick? Great job picking this size for your space, Amy! (36x48)


Amy Huxley Design

Permanent painting


A few years ago, this guy, Jon bought my Secret Garden painting, then he bought this other painting of mine, from a long time ago that I called Barcelona. He liked it so much that he turned it into a tatoo. Yes. Its pretty cool isn't it? The tattoo artist did a stand up job!


Monday, July 30

Wanna work for me?


UPDATE: Thank you to all 80 something of you who applied. The position has been filled, and I can't wait to introduce you to our newest gal, she is so bad-ass ya'll!

Friends, my little studio is growing and I need more hands on deck. I found the amazing Kristi, and Buff through this blog, so I am reaching out to you again. Please take a look at this post and pass it along to a friend if it isn't right for you.

Listen up folks, this job is rad to the max. You get to style photo shoots, and order supplies! Also you get to cut stuff out for me (oooohhhh) and create fun content for blogging and such. You also will be in charge of all shipping and customer service, which is pretty simple actually, especially because I personally take care of the bat-shit-crazy people. Sending files to the printer! Making new prints in house! Planning events, conception of new ideas for growth and PR. Oh my!

Here is the best part: you get to learn, first hand about making it on your own as an artist. I am here to teach you and guide you in your own path, so utilize this opportunity and take the plunge. I need a person who will stay with me long term, who will grow their position, become indispensable and get paid much more! Starting pay is decent, and I can divulge the juicy details when I get your mind-blowing response email.


Requirements:

1. Detail oriented. Extremely Organized.
2. Adaptable/Self Reliant person who is a flexible and fast learner.
3. Photoshop/Illustrator knowledge. Basic photography/styling skills. Internet research skills, with experience in blogging, or other social media.
4. At least 20 hours a week is required but please be willing to be flexible.


Tasks include:
1. Processing shipping labels and managing all shipping domestic and international.
2. Maintaining prints both in house and through our vendors.
3. Managing customer service via email, both individual clients and vendors.
4. Maintaining, and ordering supplies, keeping the studio running smoothly doing whatever task might be necessary.
5. PR skills may include managing events, researching new opportunities, organizing events for the studio and growing visibility through social media.
6. Tasks may evolve, and include physically packing up orders, running errands and some graphic design.
7. Styling photo shoots, art directing online material.

I need someone who can handle change at short notice and go with the flow. You must be proactive and extremely organized (if anyone has described you as anal, we want you!) I need a person I can depend on to go above and beyond for our clients and for the us. Potential for growth in salary and hours.

Position is in Decatur, Ga. Send resumes to armas.design@gmail.com with “assistant” in the subject line.

If you think you may be the right person for half of these requirements, shoot me an email anyway, it never hurts to try.  

Thursday, July 26

Garden for my toes

Thank you guys so much for your encouraging words for my post yesterday. I felt so much better after I wrote it, as I knew I would. Cheers to you!

In happy news, this fall we are finally going to do some landscaping in our dismal back yard. Last fall we had a fence built, and a small deck off of our master bedroom, only about five feet deep. Before it was a dirt pit with weeds and and a decrepit old fence, so its a huge upgrade.



I have been pulling inspiration images on Pinterest for a few months, wanna see? Our deck is about that deep (up there) and I like the idea of it being an extension of our bedroom.


I really love this look. No matching set for me please. The oversized umbrella is also a must in our southern summer clime. Where can I find outdoor rattan chairs like that?


I would love to have a sexy container garden on the side deck, and use them more in general in the yard. I have to admit that this green on green is very soothing, and making me lean toward having a few glazed containers.


Of course my first thought was to do it all California modern. It is mostly in full sun, so succulents will do well. I really love the metal siding btw. P.S Check this out for amazing succulent inspiration. Thanks Jennifer!


It will be fun to "compose" the garden. I am going to draw on art school lessons about hierarchy and flow.


This is my dream urban garden. English feel of whimsy and layering but with a modern touch. I want to feel like my back yard is an oasis b/c even though we live in a neighborhood, it is a small yard, because we live in town.


I love this texture! So interesting.


We are planning on installing doors to lead out to the deck (that is just narrower than this image), but we live in the south, so we need a screen :) I can't wait to show you pictures of the real deal, once it gets started in October.

I want to see your garden inspiration!

Wednesday, July 25

On loosing your professional cool

Readers...I said fuck to a customer today.

It was the lowest point of my professional carear to date. I am so ashamed. I recount this story so we can have a chat about a common issue for all of us: unreasonable behavior, and how to avoid the throw down. I am not the heroine of this story, even though it felt really good to cuss at someone who sucks. She didn't deserve it though, and I am really not better than her now. But still, I am only human.



This is what happend to me:

A woman we will call Caroline (from the Outkast song about a woman who thinks her shit smells like Roses, no relation to a real person in my life.) Anyway, she bought a painting, yay! She bought it on Friday, it was picked up by our shipper on Thursday of the next week. It would normally have gone out on Tuesday, but I had a 103 degree fever, and was not at my best. My assistant was valiantly attempting to get everything done as fast as possible, but we couldn't hold it together to our usual standard. Before the painting was picked up, she was already threatening us with a VISA recall for the payment and blamed me for a dispute she had with a painting that was sold through another vendor of mine. 

A little voice in my head said this: "Michelle, refund her, and tell her that she isn't going to have a painting of yours. She is unreasonable, and once she gets your painting, she will just continue to be unreasonable, and then she will have your painting..." My husband talked me out of it, b/c he is tirelessly professional and diplomatic and I always listen to him b/c he is usually right. I love you baby :)

The painting went out, she filed a claim with VISA, despite the fact that she had proof of pick-up, and called my shipper five times, and I sent her many re-assuring, professional and polite emails. She knew it was on the way to her! I was naturally perplexed, and I thought wow, she must have been really scared that her painting wouldn't arrive. I wonder if I could have done anything to make her transaction with us better? 


So...I called her. I asked her if she got her painting "Yes, but its still in the crate, so I don't know if its damaged or not..." Ya'll I tried so hard to stay clam. I asked her what we could have done to make it better for her, and why she felt she needed to threaten us. I told her (calmly) that her actions were distressing. We tried our best, why didn't she just contact me? What could I do to make her stop acting so aggressively? I even apologized that my voice was shaking, I explained that I was upset. She said "I don't know what you are talking about, so I am going to hang up now." Then I lost my shit.

So I told her that every time she looked at her painting, she could know that it was "a giant fucking middle finger from me." Then I hung up on her.

Ok, now calm down. I know. I KNOW! I have no right to say she is was being unreasonable, rude and aggressive b/c I cussed her out dude! (Upon further reflection, I can see now that I really did do everything I could to give her the benefit of the doubt that her actions could be explained, which is what I wanted when I called her. She pulled a passive agressive denial strategy, perfectly fitting with her previous behavior; but I just couldn't image a grown-up acting that way!) I take full responsibility for my blow up, but I have to admit that I am no longer the least bit sorry for cursing her. Saying something rude to another person is never  almost never ok. I lept off the high road like...I don't know, a pissed off frog?



What did I learn from this? Well, don't continue to attempt to communicate with an unreasonable person in the hopes that they change their behavior. Ain't gonna happen. ALSO, Don't sell your work to a person who is unreasonable, it isn't worth the hassle

This is what I should have done before, and what I most certainly will be implementing starting right this second.

1. Come up with a guideline for what you consider "over the line" behavior. Example: threats to withdraw payment, blame for an action you are not connected with, verbal abuse of some kind, or disrespect that makes you feel icky inside. Either write it down and have your staff see it too (or your mom who is helping you out or whatever) so that they know when to red flag someone.

2. Outline a defined course of action for dealing with these people because a. you will encounter them, and b. you will be so upset that you may not act professionally or responsibly in the heat of the moment. Ahem.

3. My course of action: 
a. Send detailed explanation of events in email (in our case my exceptional assistant Elizabeth did that, she is a gem). If there is rudeness, address it head on with polite sternness.
b. If client continues with bad behavior (I should have listend to my gut, as my gut feelings are just always right!) take immediate, stern action by....
c. Send a polite email or make a polite phone call explaining that their behavior is uncalled for, and that you have decided not to continue to do business with them. Trust me, you don't need the money, in the end you will spend more just dealing with them!
d. Inform them that they are no longer welcome to buy from you. 

This is why I feel so strongly about my (new and improved) course of action: It is in line with one of my core business values: no drama...and apparently annoying punctuation.


Yes, I totally get that I acted like a drama queen, so these steps are in place to avoid a meltdown from happening again. I don't want this to happen again because I was mean to someone, and that hurts me. I really don't care about her at all if you want to know the truth. I just don't want to be a part of something negative that goes against my values. Nothing is allowed in my life that makes me angry enough to be mean. End point. She deserved to not get my painting because I paint with love and light and joy, and that is what my art is supposed to be about. She doesn't deserve to have my painting, but she really didn't deserve for me to be mean to her. 

I am sorry Caroline. 

In the imortal worlds of Outkast...

"I hope she's speeding on the way to the club
Trying to hurry up to get to some
Baller or singer or somebody like that
And try to put on her makeup in the mirror
And crash, crash, craaash.. into a ditch! (Just Playing!)"

Oh and the final irony? I named the painting Roses? which is an homage to this song which just happend to be playing in my studio when I titled it.

Tuesday, July 24

OKL sale today

Hey lovers. So if you want some prints on canvas, head on over to One Kings Lane and get them on sale!


Sale starts at 11am EST.

Monday, July 23

Girl time!

I'm BACK! I spent the whole day at the studio yesterday, it was bliss. So this happend: I walked out of my house for the first time a few days ago and I was "I just want it to be fall right now." We didn't have much of a winter last year, so I never got my cozy itch scratched, and late summer in Atlanta is gross. Like stinking squirrel carcass gross. Stink that is like crack to your sweet little terrier. I can't stop dreaming about falling leaves and cozy boots and steaming cups...So join me on a journey of sexy, cozy clothes that I can't wait to wear. Incidentally, I have been wearing these dresses non-stop in this summer. My racer-back Spanx bra fits perfectly under it, and they transition from pijama to grocery run pretty easily. Yes, I am gross and lazy. By the way, when its time to dress up I wear this dress with these.




Ok so these things I am lusting after hard core:





Pull-on boots by Maison Martin Margiela (why the long name guys, I can never remember it). These are great because the toe is leather, so it will wear better, and the heel is lowish, and stacked so super comfy. Also, they are pull-on, so the suede-leather connection makes for a thicker ankle area that doesn't buckle and do that "rain boot" thing most pull on boots do. Of course, they need to go on sale! (Here they are 50% off in brown if you wear a 6,7 or 8 (I need a 10, so sad for me).

Such a perfect long sleeve shirt. I think Vince is way over-priced but this shape is so nice, I had to share.


Have you seen these new legging-pants? I like a thicker legging for warmer southern winters. I confess that a few years ago I went into a legging phase where I wore them much more than is good for me. I don't have a long, lean silhouette.



I did find some great relaxed straight leg jeans too! Wanna see? I don't like skinny jeans on me at all, in fact on most people I don't like them. I have a very athletic body type, and my upper thighs are the kind rappers like. Anyway, these jeans look great b/c I bought them in about three sizes smaller than my normal size, b/c they stretch so much and they look like straight leg jeans on me. Maybe this will help you! I can't be the only woman with a small waist and thick thighs (but not really big hips, but a big ass...) I am not body-bashing here, its just a reality and I really like my body by the way.

Ok, now I do own this Helmut Lang sweater in black. I get crazy compliments on it, but I wear it without the belt. It must be very popular b/c I bought it on clearance last year, and here it is again! Its like a felty-wool that wears really well. It just doesn't look old, even after dragging it all around Spain last year, and sweating balls in it (very warm sweater). I just drop it off at the dry-cleaner and it is like new again. It is expensive, but why would you need another cardigan? 

Since we are fantasizing here, these shoes make me very, very happy!

I picked things that I liked, not things I am necessarily going to buy, so get off your high horse about how expensive some of these things are. I wanna know what your best pics are for the rest of the summer, or what are you excited about for fall?

Thursday, July 19

Sitting on my ass (ouch) a lot

Thank you to everyone who made my sale so great! I hope you all love your pieces. I will be having another free shipping sale soon. Probably not this year though, Cyber Monday! Stay tuned! because I have a show in October and I still don't have any!! paintings ready for it. That pretty much means I will be working like crazy until then.

I have been watching a lot of my favorite movies lately, on account of still being house bound from the poops. Y'all tomorrow will be two weeks from the date of salmonella contact! Shit! And also thats a long time to be home. I totally forgot how crazy hot Daniel Day Lewis was in Last of the Mohicans.


Right?! Crazy hot. Plus I listend to that soundtrack in high school like every single day. I used to lay on the floor in the dark and listen to it really loud. Dramatic much? Then when I couldn't take it any more I would put on some Beatles Hard Days Night.


It so hard to sit still, and be at home every day! I want to work, but as soon as I get everything ready to start painting, I get all sweaty and I have to sit down. Super bummer. I wish I could just embrace the time off, like a normal person. What do you do when you have a sick day? 

Saturday, July 14

Jessica Swift

I had the stomach flu last week. There I said it. Now you can just picture that. Nice.

Today I got an email from my friend Jessica Swift telling me that her e-book is ready. We were all supposed to hang out Friday night, Jessica included, if she hadn't up and moved to Portland...sniff...but I wasn't there of course, I was....um....being very lady like in the bathroom. Thats beside the point, I may be a little off my game here. Anyway, remember when I was writing more about how to run a business and all that stuff? I promised you a bunch more posts about it and then I got really busy? I feel like an asshole about that, btw and I promise to make it up to you.


Anyway, Jessica was all "I get a lot of emails asking me about how I do it too, and I decided to write a book about it!" She is so smart! Please do yourself a favor and stop by her shop on Monday, July 16th. She is offering a special price, and gifts for one day only!  $55 with a free gift, regular price is $67.



Here is what Jessica says about her book:

I poured my heart and soul into this e-book, and I'm so (SO!!!) happy to finally send it out into the world. I hope it reaches the eyeballs of artists at the exact moment that they most need it. (Maybe that's you right now?) We all need support, guidance, inspiration, and ANSWERS, and that's what this e-book is all about.

It's about helping other creative souls to thrive, because I truly believe that we need to stick together and help one another. We don't need to compete with each other because there's room for us all to do what truly love. It's about freely and willingly sharing information. It's about answering all the questions that I'm asked over and over, by artists who want to take the leap and take their creative businesses to the next level but don't know where or how to begin. It's about giving you permission to do things your own way. And it's about believing that trusting yourself and jumping in is the very BEST way!


Adorable Jess and her husband Ryan give it two thumbs up!

so Monday....do it.

Monday, July 2

Free Shipping


This is the time to buy that painting you have been wanting. Aziz is one of my favorites from this round, its the one I would hang in my house.

Hey, want free shipping? Here is the discount code that is valid until July 3, at 12pm.
FREESHIPPING12

If you are international, enjoy this coupon code for 20% off your order. You guys can't use these coupons together btw. INTERNATIONAL20


Carry the One is another of my favorites. 



Magic!





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