Posts Tagged ‘San Diego’

Dear Universe

Dear Universe,

I have been talking to you for quite awhile now. I have verbalized my thoughts, desires, needs and wants to you. I have been patient, waiting, doing what I can to stay positive. However lately I haveThe Universe had my doubts that you are listening. I know we are one, one and the same. I am in you and you are in me. My thoughts are your thoughts. Your energy is my energy. However it is not translating. What I need is not manifesting.

I am at a place where I am truly scared. I have worked very hard to get where I am at and I feel I am going to lose it all if something doesn’t happen today. It needed to happen yesterday. I need help! I need your help! I need things to fall into place. I need your energy!

Universe you are my only hope. You gave me this talent, you gave me a wonderful studio to work in. Why? If I am going to lose it all, then Why? I cannot accept that! Where is the give? I give and give and give. Where and when is it supposed to come back to me?

Universe you know it isn’t just about me. You know I do not have much. You know I do not ask for much. I just want to be able to take care of my daughters. I don’t want them to have to endure this struggle. I want them to be what they are intended to be. To be able to use their talents freely, without inhibitions. I need to be able to use my talents without inhibitions. I am not free! I have so much more to offer! What is the point of being talented if I have no means to exploit it? How can I help others if I have no means to do so? Milky Way GalaxyWhere is the confusion? What am I missing?

You have done so much for me. When I think positively it comes to me. It has so many times. Why is it so different when it comes to selling my art? I have worked so hard to this point. I have dished out thousands of dollars and lined other peoples pockets to get to this point. Where is my return? Why does this need to concern me? I shouldn’t need to worry about this at this point! Do I really need to go work at McDonald’s? Do I really need to give my energy to someone else, to those who do not care? To those who only want to further their agendas and fill their deep pockets? Who won’t give back? Do I really need to go work for someone else and be imprisoned to their ways and means for a few bucks? To deal with that just to scrape by? Is that what you have intended for me universe? Then why bother giving me talents and skills and the mind I have? I can’t do that. That doesn’t help me and it doesn’t help anybody else.

Universe hear me. Please listen. Please come to me and hear my voice. I cannot do this alone. I need your energy. I need your positivity. Let your Starry Nightpositive energy flow through me. I am at a difficult place universe. The tables have turned on me. I don’t want to lose it all. Please show me the way. I need things to fall into place now. I need things to happen now. I have been extremely patient. I have worked hard. I have been diligent. I have been humble. What more must I do? What am I doing wrong? What am I not seeing? What am I not understanding? Show me! Show me please!!!

Universe I accept your help. I know you hear me. I know you want me to succeed. You know I want to help others succeed. I feel your peace. I feel your energy flowing into me.

Thank you,

Paul W. Koester

Free Art

Yay you came here for free art. I’m glad that caught your attention.

The internet is a valuable tool for artists. It provides a means to get our work in front of many eyes. Whether it is a personal website or social media. It is good practice to post to social media on a regular basis. Not posting means that we no longer exist. As an artist you can get forgotten about very quickly.

The unfortunate side of the internet is thievery. Many feel that if they find an image on the internet it is automatically free. Free to use anyhow they please. Download it, right click on it, save it to their hard drive. It is very easy to do. For this reason many artists put gaudy watermarks on their images to help “protect” themselves. I do not watermark. I find them to be highly intrusive. I shouldn’t have to work hard creating an  aesthetically pleasing image just to plaster it with what people should already know. It’s my image, I created it, I own the rights to it forever. So instead of watermarking let’s educate. Taking an image from the internet without some form of consent is stealing.

Let me step back a little. I have had many of my images used commercially without my knowledge and/or I found them by searching or by just pure coincidence. When I confront the entities they immediately get defensive. They even go as far as ridiculing me and the image. It makes me laugh. If the image sucked, then why are you wanting to make yourself look bad? The truth is they used the image because they liked it. It spoke for them. It represented them. They tried to get something for free. My work, my time, my equipment. Nobody wants to work for free. Most people working for a corporation would not need to write a blog on this subject. Why? Because most people get compensated in a timely manner for their performance.

Another common response is, “You put it on the internet, it’s public, the whole world sees it.” Yep, it is very public. So are the city streets. This logic says that if I park my nice car on a public street it is free for the taking. It could be taken, but there are consequences. There are consequences to stealing images. There are laws against it that stand up in court just as heavily as stealing a car monetarily. Therefore regardless of justification, the law says you cannot do it. All images are protected whether there is a watermark, copyright symbol, fine print, etc. or not.

Most people wouldn’t walk into a grocery store and steal a banana. A banana seems harmless, what damage would come to the store for stealing one banana? Most people don’t think about it and wouldn’t steal period. That same logic needs to be applied to art and artists.

Artists need your support. Which means don’t take an image without consent. Don’t ask an artist for free work, yes, this applies to family and friends. Free art means someone is working hard and not getting paid. Don’t ask an artist for a discount. The art is already cheap. Not really a proud bragging right. ” I got this at a killer discount.” Insert sad face. You are investing in that artist. Every time you buy a piece of real art from an artist the value of that art and artist goes up. You can’t get that value from Ikea, Bed Bath and Beyond, or Target. There is zero value in purchasing “wall coverings” from these types of places. When you buy real art, original art, you are buying value and something that is one of a kind. Be original, buy original. Be proud you paid asking price, brag on that. Say no to free art.

Buy local. San Diego is a great art city. Start going to the many shows and open receptions. You will be amazed and pleased. If you don’t know much about art, you don’t need to. Go to a show, just look. What catches your eye? Why does it catch your eye? How does it speak to you? Art speaks, it doesn’t need to match your sofa, it needs to match you. A great place to start looking for shows is at ArtGuideSD.

I did not post any photos to this blog for fear they would be stolen.

Paul W. Koester is a San Diego based artist specializing in urban and landscape photography.

Check’s In The Mail

Like all artists I enjoy selling art. Of course I like getting paid for what I do. It’s the world we live in. Everything costs money. So when I sell a piece I am happy for two reasons. I am getting paid for what I love to do and I am making someone happy. This means that I spoke to someone through my art, it doesn’t get any better than that!

Recently I received an email from a lady in Ohio. She discovered her husband looking at my website. There are worse things you can discover your husband looking at online. So again I took that as a compliment. She wanted to know what inspired me and asked questions about a particular image that I created. I kindly and thoughtfully took the time to respond to all of her questions. We had a bit of back and forth dialogue over the last couple weeks.

Bad Check

Show Me The Money

A couple days ago I received this nice check FedEx’d to my studio. Sweet!! Right? Ummm not so fast. Let’s backup this a little bit. By the second email I knew immediately that this was a scam. I have had people try to run check scams on me in the past so I knew what was happening. I play along because I want these people busted. I loathe these people!! So in a nutshell what they do is butter you up. Try to gain your trust, ask about you, act all interested. Then comes the crazy story. I want this for my husband for our 10 year anniversary, I want it to be a surprise. He takes care of all the finances so I am having my assistant write a cashier’s check. I am moving to the Philippines, so I am having a shipping company handle all my affairs. It goes on and on. Sounds really legit actually. So here’s the part where they screw you over. The fine art print I was selling had the price tag of  $500. So that means the check is written over for the amount of $800. When I go to cash the check, the “extra money” minus my costs goes to the shipping company. When the check bounces, I am out the $800. The con artist then pockets the $800. I knew from the second email that this was the game that was being played. I contacted the credit union and verified that this was a scam. The check is counterfeit.

Most of these scams originate over seas. They are getting better at it now. Using addresses within the US. Their English is better, i.e. writing and spelling. They are using common names. So as a warning be careful. If you sense something is wrong, then something is wrong. If it is too good to be true, be careful.

As an artist I work very hard to put a quality product out there that will sell. I do this full time. This is my sole source of income. So it pisses me off being a target to a scam. It pisses me off that artists as a whole are targeted. We are targeted not just by scams but also to offer up our services for free. This happens all the time. Not just from family and friends, large companies as well.

The film industry and agencies make up all sorts of excuses and promises, “We have no budget, but we would like to place your art in several scenes.” Ummm, no budget? How is that possible. Does that mean you have no money, or so much money that you decided not to budget it? I don’t know. I just saw this today in an art community. Don’t fall for it!!! Exposure, possible future work! It never comes, it is a scam!

The point is artists need to be paid. If you like it, or love it, then pay for it! We work very very hard for very very little. Our prices are already dirt cheap. Nothing I create was free for me to create. My supplies, my rent, utilities, etc., and my time all cost me a lot of money. So how can I simply give anyone my work for free? No artist can.

Believe Tree and Believe Tree Enchanted

Believe Tree - Black's Beach Sunset

“Believe Tree” with motivational/inspirational words on Black’s Beach Sunset background

In December 2014 I came up with the idea of a tree with motivational and  inspirational words written on the branches. The original design was this powerful oak tree with a lake in the background and the words on the branches. The message was delivered by this amazing tree but the background was too busy, I wanted the tree to really stand out. To do this right I knew it was not going to be an easy task. I spent over 10 hours isolating the tree, its branches, and its leaves, creating a clean layer. The resulting image was well worth the tedious task.

The first believe tree I created was on the teal background. I loved how the silvery effect of the tree stood out in contrast against the metallic blue background. Initially I was concerned that the words would be too much. I wanted them to blend in and be part of the tree. Present but still subtle, yet strong enough to read. I wanted them to be part of the tree and flow with the branches.

From there it evolved. From the suggestions I received I made a few changes here and there. A friend suggested that I also make the tree available as a designer piece. I was way ahead of him and had already created those images, which I titled Believe Tree Enchanted. Believe Tree Enchanted is the tree alone with no words. I chose the word enchanted because the tree literally lured me in. It was captivating and beautiful and stood out from all of the other trees around me. Rick further suggested an idea that lead to my unique Paper Series. There are currently two choices in the Paper Series, brown and teal. At this point the brown paper is my favorite. I like the grungy earth tone textures I created for the background.

Another friend suggested sunsets, “Can I get one with a sunset background?” she asked. Hmmm yeah sunsets, why not? So I created the Sunset Series which are derived from San Diego sunset images I captured over the past couple years in. There are currently seven different sunset backgrounds to choose from in the Sunset Series.

There are nine original Believe Tree and Believe Tree Enchanted choices on various colors and black & white. These all look amazing when printed on metal with the silver gloss process. A metal print is the only way to go when displaying these trees.

This is one of those ideas that truly came out of no where. I was helping a friend and I realized there was a correlation. I saw a universal commonality in the ordeals that many of us are confronted with daily. The struggles we face. Many of which are derived from simply our own thoughts. The saying “I am my own worst enemy.” comes to mind. Many of the thoughts, concerns, and questions that we conjure up never cross the minds of other people when they view us or our work. As I wrote down the words that I felt were useful and helpful it began to take on the form of a tree. I then envisioned the words written across the branches of this tree. From there the idea of the Believe Tree was born.

The whole idea of confidence, success, not quitting, and improving stems directly from “believing in yourself”. Against all odds, believing in yourself. No matter what, believing in yourself. Though it may sound too simple. It really isn’t. Especially if you face challenges daily that seem to fight against you getting to that finish line.

Believe Tree Enchanted - Brown Paper

“Believe Tree Enchanted” as a designer piece on brown paper background

Life is intimidating. Taking on a new project is intimidating. Learning something new is intimidating. When I face intimidation I remind myself that I have been here before. Each time that  I faced intimidation in the past I forged ahead. I learned what I needed to learn and practiced what I needed to practice. Eventually without even realizing it, I had become good at what I was doing. So I take that with me to the next challenge. “I have been here before, everything previous to this was an intimidation at some point-in-time, but now it is not. Therefore this situation will be no different.” Again the root of this is believing in yourself. Knowing what you are capable of based on previous experiences. Even if those previous experiences were not incredibly challenging you still mastered them.

Another mindset that I keep in my arsenal is; if other people can do it, then so can I. Seeing other people accomplish something is evidence that it can be done. Or the knowledge that many people preceding you made it through. Running a marathon should be impossible, but obviously it is not. The same concept can be applied, if they can do it, then so can I. The key to this is to not overwhelm yourself with the big picture. The big picture is a goal. Accept the challenge one step at a time. What can I do right now? What can be accomplished today? Anything outside of that is out of your hands for the time being. Occupy your mind and thoughts with accomplishing the doable. Taking care of what can be done now will move you faster than you think. Soon you will see the big picture is not so big after all.

Believe Tree - Teal

“Believe Tree” with motivational/inspirational words on teal background

I have my days when I wonder if it is all worth it. Am I doing the right thing? Will I be successful? Who am I kidding? Am I a joke? I could go on and on. I am very hard on myself, many of us are. There are days I tell myself, “You should quit, you are wasting your time!!”, but what if I quit one minute before something awesome happens? We never know what awesomeness is lying just around the corner. Ready and waiting for us. There really is no such thing as an overnight success. It may seem as if someone becomes something amazing over night, but it is probably very unlikely. It almost appears that way sometimes but in reality it typically takes years. Trust me, I wish there was an easier way, a faster route. There is a lot of sacrifice, there are a lot of doors slammed, there are a lot a people laughing in your face, there are a lot of doubters, haters, and those who want you to fail. If you truly believe in yourself none of that will matter. Truly believing in yourself gives you the knowledge that all of that is nothing but lies. The truth is inside of you! If someone says “You can’t do that!” you don’t need to say anything. You instead show them that it can be done. Do it for yourself though, not for them. Don’t do it to prove them wrong. Only do it because it is your passion!  Prepare yourself mentally that the road ahead is going to be full of challenges. I have been fueled countless times by people telling me it cannot be done. Guess what? it can be done! It all begins with believing in yourself and pressing on and overcoming. When you do this those people around you will have no choice but to believe in you too whether they want to or not.

Believe Tree and Believe Tree Enchanted are available for viewing and purchasing on my website at Paul W. Koester Photography and at my Etsy shop Paul Koester Photo. Prints purchased from my website are printed at Bay Photo Labs and are high quality however I have no direct input in the production and they are shipped directly to you from the lab. Prints purchased from my Etsy shop are printed by the printers that I have specifically chosen and I have direct control over the production of these images. If you are located in the San Diego area I can deliver and sign the image if you purchase the image through my Etsy shop or by contacting me directly. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

 

2014 Comic-Con International

Red

One of the many witches representing the Lifetime television series the Witches of East End.

For the past two year’s I have gone to downtown San Diego, California to the Gaslamp Quarter and convention center area to photograph the events happening outside the convention center. Though the inside is packedfull of fun and excitement. It is the outside, the people, the fans, the cosplay that make it all truly exciting!!! Without the fans there is no Comic-Con. The fans go all out, limited budgets, pure talent and creativity with no bigmoney backing them up. Don’t get me wrong I love the hype, the celebrities, the fame, and the insanity that Hollywood brings to the table!! However as an artist I know what it takes to bring something to fruition on myown. It’s part of the joy of it all. Being able to say I did this, and then showing it off. Then when the nods of approval come along, the blood, sweat, and the frazzled nerves make it all worth while. Most can probably relate to this. The hours, the tears, the frustration, the doubt all seem to be non-existent when the product rolls out and there are the applauds. Maybe not literal audible applauds but you know what I mean. It makes it all worth it!!

Burnt

A man’s face is burnt to a crisp at Comic-Con in San Diego, California.

The camera allows me to do things I otherwise would not be able to do. I love it!! When I ask if I can take someone’s picture, instantaneously almost 99% of the time the person is more than willing. They love being photographed. Typically I don’t even need to ask, I just raise my camera and here come the smiles and the poses. The fans, the cosplayers make that part easy.

It is still a lot of work, walking around, looking, waiting for that right thing to come along. Then there is the editing portion. The editing portion is the most tedious, but at the same time the most rewarding part of the process. Though I shoot digital and I have the luxury of looking at every shot the moment I take it. I don’t. I wait until post-processing. It’s that part of film processing that I have hung onto. Waiting to open that envelope, hoping the images turned out!! Many hours are spent processing. Some images are quick others can take an hour or more. I took 650 images at Comic-Con and out of those I have shared 150 publicly. An average of 4 minutes was spent on each image. That is about 10 hours!! It gets tedious sometimes. However the end result is always worth it.

Darth

Darth Vader takes time out of his busy day to visit San Diego.

To watch a video containing the images from the event click here 2014 Comic-Con International video.  To view the images in an album format click here 2o14 Comic-Con International photo album

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Back Alley Retreat

The Offspring – Gotta Get Away

It was a “I’m not feeling it” kind of day. Not knowing where to go. Still I needed to get out and shoot. There were several types of shots I needed and still need. Images with raw emotion, stock images, and landscape. Doing all of that in one trip is a big task. Still I didn’t know what it was exactly I wanted to do. Forcing it produces crap. So I opted for emotion and some possible stock images and headed to Ocean Beach in San Diego, California.

First off I grabbed a couple of slices and an IPA at the Newport Pizza and Ale House on Newport Avenue. Great pizza, like Wow good! Now that I had the mojo I needed, I was ready to go. After walking around for a few I ducked into the alley behind HodBack Alley Retreatad’s and right then out comes this guy. What was an already gritty and grungy scene becomes one filled with the raw emotion I was looking for. It was obvious there was a lot on his mind. So I didn’t want to bother him too much. I asked to get his picture as he was, looking down, hands together and he agreed. Now the question is, will it come out as I see it in my mind? I think it did, it speaks to everything I wanted it to.

This whole scene spoke to me about our life. How there are times we need to get away. The pressures that weigh us down and try to bend us and make us buckle. It seems that there is always perpetually someone breathing down our necks for something. Sometimes we just need to check out, breathe deep, and recharge. The struggles we face can either break us or build us into someone stronger. Even if all we have is a back alley it can be a retreat from the crud that we are bombarded with.

This is a #lyricallyinspired post.

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