Portrait of the artist as an entrepreneur

dog swimming in river

“Kaya in the Klamath” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on watercolor paper. It is available as a signed 11×14 digital print or a card reading “I’m here for you.” © 2015 Annette Makino

Once upon a time, in Mrs. Miller’s 12th grade English Honors class, we each had to make a persuasive speech on a topic of our choice. Like most of the talks, mine was terribly earnest, about Nestlé pushing infant formula on breastfeeding mothers in poor countries. But when it was her turn, my friend Betsy walked to the front of the classroom smacking her chewing gum, and gave a hilarious speech in favor of gum, vigorously chewing all the while.

A few decades later, she’s still fun, creative and original. These days, she and her husband run an art brand management and consulting company in San Francisco called February 13 Creative. On her blog, Betsy recently launched a series of art brand stories with various artists. I was honored to be the first in the series. I hope you enjoy this excerpt!

art brand stories: Annette Makino 

(by Betsy Cordes of February 13 Creative, reprinted with permission)

My very first interview is especially meaningful for me because it’s with someone I’ve known for a very long time—since our days together at Ukiah High School in Northern California—long before either one of us had any idea that our paths would re-intersect one day thanks to art careers that each of us took up later in life.

I’m happy to introduce you to my friend, Annette Makino, an artist and writer who combines both talents in her beautiful watercolor and sumi ink paintings. Annette is inspired by the Japanese tradition of haiga, artwork combined with haiku so the image and words deepen each other. Annette has always had a quiet, sly, Zen sense of humor and I especially love seeing that side of her pop into her artwork.

Annette Makino 2016 calendar

“2016 in Art and Haiku” is a mini-calendar measuring 5.5 x 8 when closed. Most of the Japanese-inspired art in this calendar includes my original haiku.

One thing I most admire about Annette’s story is her process of slowly switching from a career in international relations to one based on her artwork. In  2010, she began deliberately building her art brand while keeping one foot in her international relations work (as a consultant) and developing some passive income streams. Making a transition to self-employment—especially as an artist—takes a lot of discipline. It’s not uncommon to hear from folks who just want to dive straight in: devil take the hindmost, an artist’s life for me! Annette is doing it in small, thoughtful steps—an approach that I suspect will ensure a long life for her art-based business.

So, without further ado, our first Art Brand Story… Annette Makino!

Betsy: You come from a very creative and intellectually engaged family. I’ve always admired that in your home (both your childhood home and the home you’ve made with your husband and kids): that artmaking is celebrated and encouraged as much as academic pursuits. But you didn’t initially pursue college studies or a career in art, did you? How and when did your artmaking begin to play a bigger role in your adult life?

Annette: Art was always strongly encouraged in my family. Whenever my two sisters and I asked our mother what she wanted for her birthday, she suggested a drawing, painting or poem. For years up through high school, we kids created a calendar of our art that we photocopied and gave to relatives and close family friends. But other than a year of art classes in my early twenties, I didn’t do art seriously until I left the nonprofit executive world . . .

Read the rest of the story

Other art brand stories

Makino Studios News

Free Shipping: Through November 30, 2015, I’m offering free shipping on orders of $20 or more in my Etsy shop. Use coupon code FREESHIP2015.

Arts Arcata this Friday: Humboldt Pet Supply, which carries my dog and cat-themed art, including the piece above, is hosting a reception this coming Friday, Nov. 13, 6-9 p.m. during Arts Arcata. HPS is located at 145 South G Street in Arcata, CA.

Holiday cards: I’ve painted three new holiday card designs. They feature a cat stalking a mouse ornament, a naughty dog and a chili pepper wreath. They are available from my Etsy shop and in stores.

2016 calendar: wall calendar of art and haiku, featuring twelve of my paintings of landscapes, animals and flowers, is on sale in stores and online. From ocean waves to oak-covered hills, this mini-calendar provides a monthly dose of Zen wisdom.

Made in Humboldt: More than 50 card designs plus prints and calendars will be offered at this holiday sale at the Garden Shop of Pierson Building Center in Eureka, CA Nov. 17-Dec. 24.

Holiday Craft Market: Makino Studios will have a booth at this fair in the Arcata Community Center in Arcata, CA on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 12-13.

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