COM0015 Assignment #5 – Event Participation

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Event Name: Advanced Digital Scrapbooking: Shadowing in Photoshop with Traci Reed
(A workshop provided by CreativeLive:

Event Link

Why I chose this event:
I chose to attend this live online workshop on Digital Scrapbooking for a number of reasons:
• Digital Art is one of the courses I teach at the Ottawa School of Art. I felt that I could learn something new to add to my lessons on digital collage.
• I am a digital artist myself and it is very important to stay on top of the latest trends. Digital scrapbooking is a growing industry.
• I noticed that this workshop focuses on the most recent version of Adobe Photoshop CC (our school currently uses an older version). I wanted to see how it works, maybe learn something new, and see how the instructor teaches with it.
• The online live interaction aspect of the workshop interested me.
• I like scrapbooking!

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On the right you can see that I started asking questions right away! When they answer the question on air you can see that in the “answered” tab. Pretty neat!


Who did you meet or interact with at the event? What did you learn from that interaction and what did you contribute to the interaction?
At the event I was introduced to the instructor, Traci Reed as well as the studio audience of five students. Each student introduced themselves, telling their background and why they are in this workshop. During the live broadcast they have two ways to interact with the class online.

1. “Ask” chat box which directs questions to the instructor
2. The “Chat” box where all those logged in online can talk amongst each other. A representative of “Creative Live,” the organization which puts on these workshops, was also present in this “Chat” box.
In the “Chat” box, they further gave out how we can connect with each student in the live audience by giving their twitter handles, facebook, and blog addresses.

My first attempt in interaction was through the “Chat” box where I introduced myself. I noted that this was my first time participating in a “Creative Live” event and got a lot of responses along the vein of “you’re going to get addicted to them!” During the live broadcast the moderator stepped in just to note how many students are watching online. At which point, he said hi to me on air, noting this was my first workshop with them. Hearing my name during the lesson was pretty fun. I also asked a question for the instructor in the “Ask” box (I managed to capture it in the second photo above).

“Hi Traci! Will you be covering output (that is, best practices for getting your scrapbook printed)? Or could you give us your top tips regarding printing your digital art?”

I was pretty surprised at how quickly I got my answer from Traci. She gave the answer on air and I found out that she will be covering what I asked in a different installment of the workshop later. The creative live representative then gave me the information so I could sign up for it later (which I did). Many other related questions regarding specifics of output were asked by others online, so it was nice to see that I was not the only one wondering about this.

What ideas have you walked away with from the event?
Overall, I learned a few new things regarding Photoshop techniques, but much of it was review for me. I think one of my main takeaways was watching how the instructor structured her workshop. In some ways I can see how some concepts could have been demonstrated more simply. I found that when she went into great detail on something like hand painting shadows a particular way the chat room went quiet because I think we were losing interest. On the flip side, her free exercises files were extremely organized, unique, and “eye-catching.” This is something I would like to work on providing in the courses I teach.

Quote from event:
“Don’t try to digest it all at once. Don’t be overwhelmed because there is a lot of information. Don’t worry about it. Incorporate one tip into each new layout…master one first. Once you’ve mastered one then try another one for the next layout. Practice practice, practice. ” – Traci Reed

Will you attend a similar event again in the future?
Knowing how responsive they are with questions during their live videos I would definitely sign up for another similar workshop with Creative Live in the future. I think I would go for one that is not divided into more than one workshop however. I think I prefer a more condensed format of information delivery.

COM0015 Assignment #1: Post # 4 Out of the box

Something that I did not know about is Yik Yak:

Yik Yak is an anonymous social media app. It is available for iOS and Android and it allows people to anonymously create and view “Yaks” within a 10 mile radius. It differs from other anonymous sharing apps such as PostSecret and Whisper in that it is intended for sharing primarily with those in close proximity to the user, potentially making it more intimate and relevant for people reading the posts. All users have the ability to contribute to the stream by writing, responding, and liking or disliking yaks. (

Recently it has made it to our local news (“Yik Yak yuks raise ire of firefighters as Ottawa students use app for pranks”) where the Ottawa Fire department believes students in closely situated high schools used this app to generate support to pull their school fire alarms within a close time frame of one another.

I suppose I’ve been naive in not realizing social media could be used as a big ‘truth or dare’ game, emphasizing the ‘dare’ aspect. The worrisome part is the easy path this leads to cyber-bullying and law breaking behavior as noted in the article from the Ottawa Citizen.

Hearing about the dangerous use of apps like Yik Yak immediately made me feel like these apps should be taken down and banned. And in fact, it is banned in many cases and the company has put up “’fences” to prevent users of a younger age/geographical location from using it. (Read more about it here:

However, posting challenges or finding out opinions (‘truths’) via number of likes/votes in a specific geographical location could be very useful for marketing. Organizations can find out community sentiment on a product, event, initiative, etc. Perhaps it comes down to how the app is presented in its inception. That it is meant to be used for positive initiatives. But with the precedent of using it for pranks and cyber-bullying; I don’t know how to prevent the negatives from happening.

What would need to change in order to promote a more positive use of apps like these from the negative ones?

COM0015- Post #3 Professional networking now and in the future

Like in many professions, working as an independent artist I have found that many successes have come directly from networking. Knowing someone, who knows someone, etc. Looking back, the hardest thing was actually letting people know what I was doing. I feel like I have a pretty private personality so it was really hard to for me to actually put my artwork out there for anyone to potentially see! But gradually by putting my name out there, I was able to network with other artists, employers, and organizers which have been very beneficial for my profession.


My strategy for professional networking online involves searching similar professionals to follow, be inspired by, and communicate with. Through blogging I have connected with other creative minded people. One example is a writer who enjoyed my visuals on my blog. There may be a future opportunity to collaborate on a project.

Social platforms such as facebook, twitter, instagram, linkedin and twitter, have also been great for self-promotion and getting my name out there. These feeds also keep me up to date on arts related events in town which help lead me to in-person networking opportunities.

For in-personal networking I tend to go to art openings, artist talks, and presentations. I have an idea of who is going usually as the arts community is fairly small and I try to meet someone new each time. I have also organized meetups for events I am having such as workshops or my own art opening.

In the next 6-12 months I hope to make it out and show support for other independent artist colleagues in town, both those that I know and those I have not gotten a chance to be formally introduced yet. (Attend art openings, conferences, artist talks, meetings, etc.) I think it is a good networking practice to also be a supporter of others in your field. (And you never know, it might even lead to an opportunity.)

Another commitment I want to make is to organize my online presence to show my best work and perhaps approach some national/international online art blogs/magazines to share my creative works. Cast a wider net as it were! I’m pretty nervous, but there is no harm in trying!

COM0014 – Blog Post #2: Strong and Weak Organizations

When asked to give an example of a strong organization (in terms of social media) and a weak one I started thinking of companies that I am familiar with.  I work in the arts, so big art brands like Winsor & Newton, Golden, and DaVinci Paints came to mind.  Then I started thinking, what about the suppliers of these supplies?  If you talk to any local artist about where they get their supplies, you’ll find that many have started to do mail order after hearing about better service and prices from retailers outside of Ottawa…

Curry’s Art Store is an arts supply chain located in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. Founded in 1911 it is a name that artists are familiar with, especially those who live in Ontario.  (I’m originally from the Maritimes and even I knew about Curry’s before I moved here.)  I believe they are a strong organization because they have a long history of providing excellent service and goods.  However, after some research I have found that their social media strategy is pretty good for an Ontario based family-owned company.  Here’s why:

They picked social media platforms that make sense for an art store! Plus they keep them updated!

  1. YouTube channel:  Their YouTube channel features a variety of videos that cater to their clientele (visual artists/learners) from art lessons to supplier videos. For example: 
  2. Instagram: Again this visual platform caters their visual artist/learner customer base. Instagram is a great way to show images of what their followers can make with their art supplies, but also photos of:
    1. deals/sales
    2. student/employee/trending artwork
    3. store announcements (new locations, etc.)
  1. Twitter: They make regular tweets, but also do a fair bit of engagement with their audience by retweeting follower tweets as well as retweeting other “artsy” local events and organizations. By doing this they are likely to build community relationships by showing their support (and in turn gain new customers).
  2. Facebook: Similar to their twitter page, Curry’s makes regular posts on facebook and shares follower posts often. They respond in the comment section as well as present fun things like giveaways through facebook. Most recently they had a drawing contest, asking followers to post a drawing and the winner would win a prismacolour set.

Furthermore, their website is a community:

What I mean by this is that you can create an account and join their Artist Community. I think this is wonderful. Members can ask questions (forum style), look through newsletters, resources, etc. You can really feel a sense of being part of something and being heard as a customer with this website feature.

OK, so for the flipside…

I feel that our family-owned local supplier here in Ottawa, Wallack’s, could learn some pointers from how Curry’s is doing things.

Wallack’s currently uses Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Pinterest.  So they do have a social media presence, but it is their use of these platforms that I believe is a bit problematic:

Facebook/Twitter: Posts on both are the same pretty much, with little interaction.  Unlike Curry’s there are few comments made, reposts, or retweets. The majority of posts are specifically about the store only (sales and art classes), which could lose customer interest really fast.

Linkedin: I am not sure if a Linkedin account is even beneficial, their profile is quite bare. It just writes about their history and what they are.

Pinterest: I think the Pinterest account is a great idea.  It is a site that a lot of people use, especially the DIY/Art crowd. However their board is quite bare at the moment with only 10 pins.

Recommendations and first steps for Wallack’s:

I think Wallack’s should develop a plan that pushes them to use their current platforms more fully.  That is, make regular posts, tweets, and pins.  As well as, keep it engaging.  Make reposts and retweets and share interesting images and/or articles that are not necessarily Wallack’s related.

The objective is make their customers feel important and considered in their supply decisions. At the moment they do not really engage with their followers online, which I feel is a shame.  They could show support of other art events and organizations like Curry’s does, which I am sure would attract new customers. As well as give local customers a reason to shop locally rather than order online from elsewhere (like from Curry’s).

Once they’ve found a rhythm on the platforms they already use, I feel that creating a YouTube channel and Instagram account would be beneficial since much of their clientele are visual learners and are attracted to visual art.


COM0014 Assignment #1: Post #7 Personal Reflection

Telling stories

This season I took a course in Digital Communication in Social Media. What I really found interesting was the information about knowing your target audience, that is the people (clients, supporters, patrons etc.) you want to reach.  The methods covered include looking into demographics, psychographics, and listening tools to gather this information. I never really looked into this before and found it very helpful in my self-promotion as an independent artist. It is something that should be constantly monitored, but I feel that once I have a good grasp on who my target audience is and what they like I can move into creating engaging and interesting digital content for them.  This is where good story telling comes into play.

The value of telling a story in digital communication became more apparent to me through this course. I know that good stories hold more attention from readers.  A story is a chance to captivate, inspire, motivate, and entertain your audience. As an artist, I am often promoting new artworks and events. So in creating my content I hope to use stories to share how I came to produce what I am making or what lead to my art events. I want to create stories that are personable and yet educational, providing useful information on my artistic process.

I guess my goal is to tell stories that tell enough about what goes into the creative projects I get involved in so that my audience has an understanding and hopefully an appreciation for what I do.

COM0014 Blog #6: Do People Know Your Story?

My favorite customer story

In the Fall of 2013, Ottawa hosted its second Nuit Blanche, a city-wide art festival that runs from dusk until dawn. Nuit Blanche Ottawa holds a special place in my heart. It is an event where I feel without a doubt there is community support for the arts. I definitely felt this back in 2013.

So, leading up to Nuit blanche my friend Julie and I proposed an idea to the organizers:

Lemonjellow Luminaries – an art installation.
Paper bags display uplifting messages that light spirits up. Viewers are invited to contemplate what brings light into their lives and watch these glowing messages dance before them.

On the right is our mock-up image we sent in with our proposal. The theme for the 2013 Nuit Blanch was "Supernova"

On the right of the above image is our mock-up image we sent in with our proposal. The theme for the 2013 Nuit Blanch was “Supernova”

We got accepted! We started making callouts though social media asking our followers to send us inspirational messages to print onto our paper bag lanterns. We got many suggestions and beautiful personal quotes. Before we knew it, the date of the event was upon us. All was running according to plan! Until…

It started to downpour. We were situated outside of Arts Court, with no shelter from the continuous rainfall that started around 5pm. Thinking on our feet, we collected as many tents we could get our hands on and condensed our installation under our tiny shelters from the rain. (Originally our lanterns were meant to be interspersed throughout the area like in the mock-up photo above.) Needless to say we were very frustrated. Other areas had tents set up for them, but we were left to fend for ourselves. The attendance was dismal for hours.

A glimpse into how our set up being like. Yes, there are lanterns inside that little tent. Don't worry we used battery candles not real ones!

A glimpse into how our set up was like. Yes, there are lanterns inside that little tent. Don’t worry we used battery candles not real ones!

But around 9:30 pm our lanterns began to shine bright against the darkening sky. Small groups of people started to come into our tents to read the brightened messages. I was touched to see that people still came out despite the weather. At one point I noticed a woman who was particularly taking her time to read each lantern. I said hi to her. She then told me that she was a shut-in, but after hearing that this was happening in Ottawa she made herself come out that evening. She said that our installation made it worth it to her. And that she really needed to see those messages printed on our paper bag lanterns. This made my day and is my favorite customer story.

Here’s a look into those messages visitors got to see light up before them! (Click on any image to begin slideshow.)

COM0015 – Blog post #1 – Tools & Sources

I am interested in promoting and supporting local art, including my own art practice. So here are my favorite social media tools and sources for my field of interest!

My top two social media trend listening/monitoring tools:

  1. Hootsuite: I like this tool because it puts many of my social media networks into one place for monitoring.
    I help out with local art collectives with their social media, so this tool is really useful when seeing trends and checking up on how their pages are doing as well as my own (facebook page, twitter, and blog) all at once. I particularly like the ability to print out analytics reports to see the bigger picture of how successful you are at reaching your audience in each social media platform over a period of time. This is so much better than checking up on each one separately! Plus it’s free!
  2. Mailchimp: I know it is a newsletter service but I find its monitoring feature to be pretty neat. I’ve only recently started to use my mailchimp account to send out newsletters/campaigns, but it allows you to see how many opens, clicks, and new subscribers you get. I like it because it gives me an idea of how many individuals are actually listening to what I am saying.

My two best sources of news and updates of interest:

  1. Blogs. Particularly: This is a great site. I follow everything they have online (facebook page, blogs, pin boards, etc.) They make regular posts in the field of graphic design, illustration, branding, graphics software, and more, many of which focus on what is new in the market. This is really helpful for me as I work in the digital art field where trends and technologies are constantly changing. I check this blog at least once a week, mainly for inspiration.  I like the art that is posted on this site. It also keeps me up to date on what other artists are doing right now.  It is a great place to see what is currently on trend.

    I prefer these two blogs because I feel they gather the best out there right now. I used to follow many more, but found that these two sites would have already covered what I was reading on a different blog.

  1. Youtube, Specifically art school and art supply channels (Examples: AcademyofArtU, GoldenPaints)
    I like youtube as a source of updates because I am a visual learner so the video format works well for me. I am also an arts instructor, so seeing what other teachers/art institutions are doing keeps me up to date. Art supply companies for paints and other media are also starting to create youtube channels on their products, which is great to see to stay on top of what is available (material wise). Other video sites such as bing video and vimeo are good too, but I find youtube has the most available content to offer.

COM0014:Blog Post #5 – Personal Brand

A brand called Maya. This sounds so weird! At first I found this self-branding/analysis exercise rather uncomfortable, but after talking to some friends I realized that I needed to look at it differently. They suggested that I think about who I want to be in 5 years time. And what I am doing now that suggest that I’m heading in the right direction.

Currently I am an independent visual artist.  It is my full time profession and it is hard. I don’t have a secure 9-5 full time job with benefits. My hours are unpredictable, I live from contract to contract, I am constantly making applications and proposals for galleries, private collections, art institutions, and for funding.  I am met with rejection more than acceptance and it is an atmosphere that is full of critics.  As a full time independent artist I must wear many hats. I am a visual artist, but also an instructor, exhibiting artist, illustrator, painter, designer, business administrator, promoter, and marketer.  With all of this in mind, what my colleagues know is that I do it all because I love my job. I love being imaginative, to make visual art pieces on my own, and to share creative projects with others. It’s what makes me happy and feel fulfilled.

My clients (illustration/design clients, gallery curators, and students) know that if they work with me I conduct my business professionally. I am organized, I meet deadlines, and I am always open to the communication of ideas. I’ve had students mention how nice it is to have an instructor that makes no assumptions on skill level, who is patient, and incorporates collaborate art experiments to their lesson plans. What also sets me apart from others in my field is that I value the personal expression of my clients (both students and design/illustration customers). I will give guidance and suggestions, but will not box ideas into a specific approach or style. I have a firm belief that everyone has their own personal visual expression.  They may need help with developing it, but it is beautiful and should be cherished.  I wouldn’t want to be pigeon-holed into a narrow category of art, so why would I do that to my clientele? At the same time I am trained and skilled in what I do and people should expect consistent results from me.  I am not afraid to do live demos of myself creating art (drawing, painting, and/or designing) to assist in communicating ideas and for teaching students. You need to see it in action to learn, not just be told.

Photo of a collaborative art experiment/exercise I designed from a previous semester. Students learn how to let loose and create large drawings within minutes!

Photo of a collaborative art experiment/exercise I designed for a  drawing course. Students learn how to let loose and create large drawings within minutes!

What I am most proud of:
Lately I’ve noticed that some of my courses have started to get wait-listed. I think people are seeking me out! But, what I am most proud of is the rapid progress I see in my students, both in skill level and confidence.  I’m also proud of my artistic growth in my own work, achieving a list of solo exhibitions while still in my 20s (barely!).  I believe it speaks to how serious I am about my art and my passion to continue practicing and sharing.

So, 5 years from now. I hope my brand represents:


  • Skilled artistic professional
  • Passionate, self motivated, hard worker
  • Sought after visual artist by galleries, private owners, and illustration and design clients
  • Sought after arts instructor by students and art education institutions
  • Consistent results
  • Organized
  • Open-minded/accepting/gives you attention
  • Friendly and personable!

COM0014: B2C Case Study – The Lego Company

For my B2C (Business to Consumer) case study I have chosen the Lego company. In recent years I have noticed a growing popularity for Lego products (with both children and adults) than when I was a child.  On top of their successful Lego Movie and partnerships (Harry Potter and Star Wars to name a couple), I have discovered that the Lego Company has amazing B2C engagement on social media.

From observation I found that in the past 2 years Lego’s use of social media has changed dramatically. Although they did have shareable digital content, a new ecommerce site, and cell phone apps prior to 2 years ago, their social media accounts were rarely updated.

despite the many mentions of Lego on social media and the general affection for the brand, it didn’t seem to interact with its audience as much as some other brands.
-Graham Charlton, 2012 (

Today we see a change in how Lego uses social media, here’s what stands out:

  1. They started an Instagram channel (since November 2013): It is regularly updated with fun pictures and recently they’ve started uploading short videos. (
  2. They started a Vine Channel (since June 2014): Which consists of fun vines featuring their products in stop-motion action. (
  3. Active Youtube Channel (Since Oct 2005): Lego has a huge library of video content on their YouTube Channel, which gets regularly updated.  The uploads are varied, including web-exclusive mini-episodes, how-to videos, and music videos. There is a good mix of fun content so that there is most likely something for anyone interested. There is also a shift in the style of their videos in general which I will discuss later in this post. (
  4. Twitter (Since May 2011): Lego makes regular posts with large levels of engagement with its followers, including consistent replies to follower questions, photo shares, and fan of the week showcases. (
  5. Facebook (Dec. 2007): Again, regular posts. Not all are advertisements for their products. For example, they posted a question targeting their parent-audience this past September, which garnered nearly 300 shares and over 900 comments: “It’s not who I am underneath but what I do that defines me. What super hero secrets are you sharing with your kids?”
    I am also impressed with how responsive you see Lego is to comments on their fb page. (

A shift in style and approach: Community engagement and change of creative content

As noted above, their responsiveness to queries and general statements made by their fan base is quick, consistent, and positive in tone. However I want to note how their creative content has also changed. Originally their video content tended to look overly computerized. For example:

Compared to the trailer of their recent movie: It has a more of DIY/ stop motion feel. Appealing and relating more to their audience, children and adults, many of which create stop motion animations of Lego themselves or will be encouraged to try once they see these videos.

It is clear they that have monitored their huge creative fan base. As Christopher Ratcliff notes:

The point when LEGO got its marketing strategy dead-on is when it started treating adult and child one and the same. LEGO’s invitation to its audience is a catch-all policy: “hey come on in, we’re all the same here, we’re just a bunch of people who love LEGO.” (

They shifted their social content to topics, videos, and photos that their audience can relate to. Their use of a DIY stop motion style makes it feel like you can do the very same at home with your Lego sets. And in many cases fans already have. They now have many venues to share their videos and photos to Lego and Lego fans online. Lego directly communicates and engages with their consumers on many different social media platforms, some of which only started within the last 2 years (Instagram and Vine channels). They are responsive to inquiries and statements. They share, give thanks, give high fives, etc. on a very peer to peer level as well: “we’re all the same here, we’re just a bunch of people who love LEGO.” (

With their huge fan base, it is clear to me that their approach is working.


COM0014: Blog Post #3: Target Audiences – methods used to research the people you want to reach.

I am interested in who attends and purchases local artwork at art events (exhibits and shows) throughout the city. Where to start?!

Look at the demographics:

  1. Predominant gender: Female. But males are a close second.
  2. Education level: Varied. But leans towards post-secondary graduates. There are many art events that have an academic feel to them (with a lot of “art speak”), which I suspect interests those with higher education.
  3. Marital status: In general, those who purchase tend to be in long term relationships (married/ common law). They buy art for their house, cottage, etc. Yet, I would say a good percentage of attendees are also single. They come to see the work and mingle with like minded people.
  4. Ethnic/religious background: Overall varied, but I need to look into this more. I would say in terms of religion those who tend to go to art events are open to different belief systems.

Look at Psychographics:

  1. Lifestyle/what they do in their spare time: Trendy, social, more liberal than conservative (but conservative personalities come too), well-read, travellers, environmentalists, community supporters, social activism, often artists themselves or at least practice art as a hobby/interest.
  2. Upper/Middle/Lower class: Predominantly upper and middle class.
  3. Leaders/followers: I would say there is a mix. I haven’t figured this out yet!

So far, these are my observances of the type of people I see at the art openings and galleries I typically attend.

How to look further? Conduct research with online listening tools. Like these:

  1. Twitter/Facebook, HootSuite to consolidate info: Follow local art organizations, galleries, social meet-up groups, leaders in art communities, art critics, and arts and culture bloggers. Search for topics based on the type of art or theme of the exhibit(s) and artist names. Make lists and follow what conversations are happening.
  2. Create google alerts: To see what is happening currently in the art exhibition world, locally and some abroad to see what is generating a lot of positive or negative attention and response.

Hopefully with solid research I can build a campaign that will catch the attention of my target audience. In addition I would like to target a different audience from those who typically come to art events. I often see the same faces and never a large contingent of new ones. I’d like to research what interests those not directly connected to the art world but would be interested. That is to bring in a new group of potentially supporters. For example, I feel that highly conceptualized art is a hard to sell to the general public, but strong work, when given the chance, can really generate interest. It would be great to keep it simple and approachable when promoting the event, maybe make it funny. Right now, I think the art world often immediately turns people off with its use of “art speak.”

Off to do more research!

LESSON 3: Understanding Audience Diversity and its Impact on Communication Style, COM0014 Lesson notes, Fall 2014.