A few years ago when I was in Tangier, Morocco, I took this pic. It became one of my favorites I took on the trip. Something about the composition and the color.
Travel has always inspired me, and I usually come home with thousands of photos, some of which inspire artwork.
Back in September I went on a tear for a few days drawing this image over and over with oil pastels. Oil pastels take a while to dry so I had to let them dry before I could spray (fixative) them and sell them otherwise they could smudge.
Artists are always so skeptical of their own work. Me included. So of this collection of 11 small works I have my favorites. One of my art friends told me to always keep one piece from each series I create. But when I put the collection up for sale, I just didn’t expect it to sell so quickly — if at all!
All 11 drawings sold out within 12 hours. Honestly, I was shocked. I’ve sold some large paintings here and there (I haven’t put them out there very much). I’ve painted large murals. But I’ve never sold a collection out (I still have all of these paintings). I regret not keeping one of my favorites, but I’m just happy that they are all in the hands of people who will love them.
The name for the collection came to me after all the works had sold. I was putting all of the info of the work into my spreadsheet (I keep a list of all my artwork — if you are a fine artist, it’s smart to do this from the get go — I’ll write a post about it soon) and realized I needed to name the collection. Salmon Tangier came to me because that was just exactly what it was. I numbered them as they were in the group photo in the order I had hung them on my wall — which was in no particular order.
The works are going to homes in Chicago, Arizona, Delaware, Kansas City, Houston, Maine, California, DC, and Virginia. I also decided to make small prints of the photo that inspired the drawings to send to the new owners as well. Wilh all of the cheap prints and cheap art options out there, for people to purchase original work is an awesome, supportive thing. I love building my own art collection!
All of this may not seem like a big deal and worthy of a post, but it is to me. Putting your art out there is scary. You never know if it will sell, sell quickly, sell ever. And while the prices of these pieces were extremely affordable (my art friends would say way too low) it felt so amazing that people were excited to purchase them. Several of you said you’ve been waiting for them to come up for sale because you watched my Instagram stories from when I drew them back in September. Gah, I love you guys.
There wasn’t really a rhyme or reason to my release of this (but there will be in the future). The drawings were finally dry, and as I’m in the mode of clean, purge, pare down, I was looking around my office and realized — the collection is ready to go! And I thought, don’t put it off just because it’s scary, let’s just see what happens. So I put them on Instagram Stories and they were gone.
While I’m already internally motivated and would be creating work regardless, it just makes me feel amazing that people actually like it, and want it in their homes (although that doesn’t always matter, some art isn’t really sellable and/or doesn’t matter if people like it). It makes me feel better in my decision to focus on art. I know it was the right decision and it would work out once I finally did it, it just took me 34 years to get there.
This seems dramatic to me to tell you all of this, and honestly writing all of this out feels much too revealing for me, but the reason I’m doing it is because I want to encourage other people to go for whatever it is that they are holding back on. Like I said, start small. Just get started. It might something like, starting the paperwork for higher education, or signing up for your first marathon, whatever it is for you — just go for it. One small step will lead to more steps. Whatever direction your gut is telling you to go it, lean into it.
We only get this one life (I mean as far as I believe/know for sure), and it goes by in a blink. I feel like the last 5 years FLEW by. I don’t want to wait to have the life and career I want, I’m doing it now. No time to waste.
Back in September, my gut was to draw this photo over and over. So I just did it until I got it all out. I didn’t question it.
Salmon Tangier Collection — Oil Pastel Drawings
Salmon Tangier No.1
All that juicy texture.
Salmon Tangier No.2
I won’t bore you with photos of all 11 of them, but wanted to show a few of them closer up.
Once the photo prints and special shipping supplies arrive I will to ship them all out to their new homes. Before that I’ll take close-up photos of all of them and put them in my spreadsheet.
Materials & Shipping Supplies
For oil pastel (I used Sennelier on this paper) you need to let them dry for 1-2 months, then spray with a fixative. When packaging you need to cover with glassine paper to protect the artwork and then I like to tape that to sturdy chipboard so the print doesn’t move around while shipping. Plus it just provides extra stability because you can’t really trust the shipping companies to not ruin stuff nowadays.
Photos and artwork by Meg Biram. Do not use or reproduce without permission.