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Dear Marcos - The Artist FAQ
Dear Marcos de Ninguna Parte
Dear Marcos The Artists FAQ

Dear Marcos de Ninguna Parte

Please. . .

Do not confuse me with Dear Abby .
I really do have to work for a living, and I do not
always have the time to answer my own mail.

Dear Marcos

I Dear Marcos A p o l o g i z e Dear Marcos I n Dear Marcos A d v a n c e . . .

Dear Marcos

Hello Marcos,

"Thank You for contacting me. Your offer sound to good to be true. Can you tell me what the catch is ?
Or... how do you benefit and how do I benefit ? "

- Artista de Florida

Dear Artista:

Ya know... If I had a nickel everytime someone asked this question, I would not have to do graphic design work for a living. All jokes aside, this is an honest question. If you read the fine print carefully in the "Post Your Art FREE" section, I do tell you that there is a catch:

Somebody here has to like you !

I do not post all things for all artists indiscriminately. This is not that kind of artists network. You are not going to find porn, or anything that falls outside the realm of good taste and marketability. You will not find artists with competing styles here either.

Personality goes a long way in my book. You could be the most talented of artists. If you do not have the personality to match the talent --there are plenty of other places you can go !

What you really want to know is... what motivates me ?

What little I do for anyone here, I wish someone could have done for me when I started in this art business more than Twenty years ago. Keep this in mind; What little I do for anyone here is nothing compared to the mountain that they will have to climb alone. This is not an easy profession we have chosen for ourselves. Anyone that tells you different is selling something.

I do sell things --but not to other artists.

This is a dedicated server. She is wired into the backbone of the internet and the speed of this baby is the envy of the western world. She is my work horse and her name is Martha! The primary use for this server is to show my clients what I am working on --while I am still working on it !

My time is valuable to me. This server saves a lot of shipping nightmares and (God Forbid) having to show up to someones office "in person" just to go over things that can be determined in a glance. All of this all has less-than-nothing to do with the "why". This just explains the "how".

For me, I like to do the right thing --because it is the right thing to do.

Nothing more complicated than that.


P.S. Was that more than you expected? I may have gone a little long winded on this one.

Dear Marcos Art Studio 54

Dear Marcos:

"A little off the subject, but I know that from your website that you have been working and dealing with art for many years now, so I would like to ask you a question from a professional standpoint.

I have never really promoted my artwork, but I do guarantee you that it is all genuine.

So, back to my question; I have searched the internet lately for other people such as myself that can draw pencil portraits, and colored pencil portraits. Can you tell the difference between people who draw from tracing, and that are taught from books how to draw? Because it really makes me angry and discourages me to draw from drawing."

-Incensed in Indiana

¡ Hola Indy !

Before I give any advice on this subject; You are talking to the "Town Whore" of artist village here.

I am the guy who was dropped an entire letter grade in college, once my fine art professor determined I was one of those "commercial artists"... a very long story. Funny too. I may even write about it one day.

Today is not that day.

End result is what matters to the customer. How you get there, and the speed at which you can produce determines the value of your time.

From a fine art standpoint, I never like to paint anyone I do not know personally (or at the very least, we have met). Drawing a person from a single photograph is worthless. Most people are not happy with photos of themselves. It is a personality that you, the artist, must endeavor to capture.

Trace it, Shoot it and Stomp it over with your feet. The end result is what matters the most.

Not sure if that is the answer you were looking for... but it is an honest one.


a.k.a. Marcos de Ninguna Parte

P.S. Don't get discouraged over how other people do their "cooking".
If you are confident with your own technique --run with it !

Dear Marcos Artist FAQ

Dear Marcos,

I checked out your site.
Can you explain a little more how you work with other artists?
Reason I ask is because I've always thought about talking with an agent to advice me how / what to do to be able to sell paintings. I have not been into "art" since college so I'm completely out of it !!!


-Designer DiDomenico

HowD Designer !

Where to begin. . .

I am no ones idea of an agent, because I am far too lazy.

An agent would take a percentage of your action. In some cases, they will demand a higher price than you yourself would have the courage to ask. In that respect, an agent would be a good thing to do, if you have yet to solve the riddle of your time --and the amount of money you are willing to exchange for it.

Regardless of talent, you and you alone have to learn how to communicate and command the number of dollars that you require.

I am going to let you in on my favorite joke. One I started over twenty four years ago and it still makes me laugh every day:

Roll back the clock to 1984. I am standing in the office of Jim Burris. He is absolutely stunned that within two hours I was able to accomplish what he had been struggling with on his own for two months.

When he asked the fatal question; "What do you want for this?" I was thinking to myself ten, twenty dollars. . .

I was thinking ten. . . and my voice said seventy five. I could not believe I just said seventy five --and I could not believe he paid it!

He paid seventy five American dollars for my first professional logo with a big smile on his face. The next thing I know, I am being passed around to all the other seed companies in the Mid West.

That is not the joke.

Wind the clock up a few clicks to the year 1998.

I am in a five way telephone conversation with The Colt Gun Company, a package filling company, the inventor of the product, and the manufacture of point of sale displays. A 17.5 million dollar deal is on the line. A photo of the new product must be part of the Colt Gun Company catalog and the deadline for the photo shoot is only five days away.

I put my "two cents" worth into the deal.

"Guys. . . think about this one. If I owned the can company, owned the box company, they all loved me, and had nothing better to do. . . you give us a month and maybe. . . "

The Colt Gun Company did not have a month; "If the product photo is not in the catalog, we do not have a product to sell. "

I can hear the inventor and his son talking in the background; "Its going to cost us a fortune to have 5000 cans produced on a minimum run just to put 36 cans of each product inside the p.o.s. display. . ."

This is the moment I plugged myself back into the conversation;

"Guys, guys. . . you are thinking about this all wrong. It does not have to be. It only has to 'appear to be'. You only need a photo. I can build you this photo in virtual reality --and you will believe it is a real photo of the product. It will only cost you. . . Half A Fortune."

How much was the fatal question and I thru out a number like I didn't give a shit.

Dead silence.

The five way conversation just went cold.

Nobody was talking, and I knew. . . the first person who talks --loses!

I let it get uncomfortable. I said everything I needed to say. If I speak, I am talking myself out of this number. If they speak. . . they are asking questions. If they are asking questions. . . they are talking themselves into my number.

Nobody is talking.

After about ten minutes of silence, John pipes up and says; "Mark. . . we'll call you back!"

I hung up the phone and put myself to work on something else. I knew this one was blown out of the water. For some reason, I just could not bring myself to care long enough to call them back.

Fifteen minutes goes by. The phone rings again and before I could say hello; "Mark! You've got your money but I tell you this: You better dance and deliver or start packing your bags for Mexico because we will hunt you down and kill you like the dog you are!"

Try saying that whole thing without taking a breath.

This Story Has A Happy Ending:

© Copyright Colt Gun Company - Circa 1998 - All Rights Reserved

With less than three hours to spare, the final photo was uploaded to the server and I was home in time for Corn Flakes.

With all of this new computer equipment, I was now set to do a whole lot more. Virtual product rendering with a computer is so much faster than paint from an airbrush, and for me --this felt just like getting to keep the limo after the prom !


p.s. To answer your question more directly; I am a tome of worthless information and details. A word of encouragement is all I have to offer a fellow artist --that and a small chunk of space on a really cool server!

Dear Marcos

Dear Marcos,

I found another drawing of another ex-girlfriend. Can you clean this up?

It has a tear in it.

I also have a few comic drawings attached. I am actually pretty impressed with the way that the comics came out, so the only thing that I would really like fixed is the portrait.

I guess that because the detail is so light, it comes out way worse, and all smudgy. Keep in mind these are mainly from when I was 10 and 11 years old. But, I like them, and they will have to do for now.

I am just always so busy, that I do not have time to draw anything new. The only time that I usually take out to draw is when somebody wants to pay me to draw the drawing. And I have so many responses and no one follows through. I think that they change their mind when they hear the cost. Which I think is extremely low for what I do. So, hopefully your website will help me out on that aspect of it.

Oh Man . . .

Sorry for the delay in my response. For the longest time, this one has troubled me.

Example Of A "Simple" Clean Up:

Casa Huichol

Casa Huichol

There is a fine line between cleaning up an image, and putting out a blatant misrepresentation of your ability. I have no problem putting an image back into perspective. Fixing the lighting, adjusting the contrast and color to match with the original image.

Sin Embargo...

Just because we can --does not mean we should !

If you secure a project based on my ability to clean up your mistakes, my own reputation and the status of Art Studio 54 would suffer. I do not wish to make a full time job of cleaning artist's portfolios either. If an artist does not care enough about their own image, why would I risk my own ?


p.s. It pains me to come off like a jerk here, but I do have standards.

Dear Marcos

Dear Marcos - Artist Arthur DawsonDear Marcos:

Dude, you are the MAN! You are one awesome dude. I'm really feeling what you've done with the artwork.
Thanks for the gift... you are a very talented guy yourself and I will lead the campaign to make sure everyone knows it. Keep up the great work... Mark for President !!!

-Art the Artist

Hola Art!

YOU are the MAN... and you are also most welcome! :)

You may have no idea how rare you are, so take a compliment from someone who has nothing to gain by telling you the way things are.

I see a lot of artwork every day, and I mean A LOT of artwork. The day showed up on under search words; "Post Artwork Free" --I crashed a 2 GIG mail account within the hour!

The traffic trend here exponentially doubles every month, and I am sure all these fine people are NOT coming here to see little ol' me. If I may venture a guess; it is the quality of artists that have turned Art Studio 54 into a "Talent Vortex".

Now Arthur... I have actually read enough about you to know that you wouldn't let a simple compliment go to your head. Just keep this one in the back of your mind if ever you begin to doubt the position you have earned for yourself here:

Read into that what you will --and welcome to The 54!

Your Friend,

p.s. That is a terribly nice thing for you to say about my work.
It's probably true. . . but I won't be letting that one go to my head either.

Dear Marcos Art Studio 54

Dear Marcos,

I had a question, and it hit me that you might just be the person to ask.

I have been contacted by someone out of Miami, Fla. regarding contracting me for imagery to be printed on T-shirts. The imagery they want, specifically is the pen & ink style that I do on my tattoo pieces.

They have asked for my "fee".

I don't know much about their company, and frankly have no idea how to price work such as this.

Can you provide me with any insight ?

Austin Artist

Hello Austin !

A Good Rule: Always look into who brings you the news.

If the company checks out clean, then consider your options by talking with them. Never ask how the company treats other artists; i.e. asking what kind of deal every other artist gets. Most artists never learned how to ask for money, which is why most artists are stuck taking whatever anyone is willing to give them.

What you have is unique to the universe --and unique should never be cheap !

I can tell you what I used to do in two separate cases. Keep in mind that the numbers are from 1992.
I don't do this sort of artwork anymore unless it is "free" for charities wanting to do fundraising.

Number One - Work For Hire:

A micro brew paid me $450 per design as a flat fee.
I let them run with every design and they bought them up as fast as I could draw them.
Very fun and painless for the both of us !

Number Two - Take Your Percentage:

A screen printer here in Tennessee thought my $450 fee was too high.
They asked if I would gamble on my own ability and take a percentage of the action.
25 cents a shirt seemed like a good deal for me, since the micro brew would sell a hundred dozen shirts on an average run.

Well... my "little gamble" turned out to be the most popular T-shirt in the companies history
--and they paid me four times more than I asked !

This put a real damper on our relationship. :(

If Opportunity Presents - Why Not Both ?

Get a "non refundable" deposit and take a percentage. Do this only if you trust the company to keep an honest score.

Always get your "half down" deposit in any case.
A deposit is the only way to establish between both parties that you have a "real deal".

Hope this helps.


Dear Marcos Art Studio 54

Dear Marcos:
I am an Irishman living in France, you can decide if the word artist applies.
I have some of my paintings on my website.
Let me know what you think.
-Artist On The Edge

Hello Artist On The Edge!

Pure Fog Is An Excellent Work !
However... the photography does not do your artwork justice.
Take a real good look. Compare your photograph to the original art:

Dear Marcos Art Studio 54

You and I may be able to imagine what she should look like... because we are artitsts. Do not depend on the average person to adjust the light, lighting and color in their own minds.

One bad image can upset the quality of your whole presentation.

I am not saying this to be a jerk. If I did not absolutely love what I am seeing (and did not have the ability to imagine your artwork as it should look under better lighting conditions) you would not have heard from me at all.

If you are serious about your career, talk with a local printer and find out who they use for photo reproduction work. I have my own artwork photographed locally with a large format camera and then the transparencies are scanned. Should you decided to go into print production, this would have to be done anyway.

Think of it like this: Trying to show the beauty of an artists work with a bad photo is like winking at a girl in the dark. You may know what you are doing --but she sure as hell won't !

I hope to hear from you again, my friend. I sincerely do.


Dear Marcos Art Studio 54

Dear Marcos:
Your site seems to be based upon an elite group of human beings that have the necessary artistic skills to separate themselves from the sheepol. I want in on the ground floor !
I am currently visiting Germany, but for the record I am from New York City.

-An American In Germany

Hola Amigo!

Thank You... we have all worked very hard to become so !

Now, a friendly word about your artwork. If I did not see a 'hint' of personality, you and I would not be having this conversation, so please take no offence.

I went to your site, and the images were so small (approx. 200px to 300px), I could not determine what I was looking at. And then... I saw this:

"Please note that the 'top tier' of my portfolio never touches the Internet. In order to acquire one of the top tier 'custom prints' we will have to sit down in person."

Lesson Number One:
Do Not Be Afraid To Show The Best Work You Can Do
( ...and if you are going to have Any Fun in this game, you need to Learn To Relax ).

I may be repeating myself here, so to save myself a little extra typing, I am going to give you a link to Image Specifications and Quality Standards. I may not post everything, but I really do look at everything. Never take NO (or the lack of an answer) from anyone to mean NO For All Time. Just keep working.

Talent gets better with time. Allan Linder Is The Classic Example:

Artist Allan Linder - Dear Marcos !World Class Artists | Dear Marcos | Post Artwork Free Art Studio 54 |

Artist Allan Linder - Dear Marcos !
Artist Allan Linder - Poster Boy For Persistence !
Dear Marcos
A fourth generation artist with over 25 years in the business, Artist Allan Linder crossed the line into "World Class" in the year 2004 --and he has the body of work to prove it !

I have actually read enough about Allan to be comfortable calling him the "Poster Boy" for persistence. To have someone of his caliber put in an Artists Application like everyone else is quite a humbling experience for me.

OK, that's enough outa me. Hope to hear from you again real soon my friend
--and Thank You for making me laugh !


P.S. Sorry to make an "example" out of anyone here, but Allan is a good one.
I could say the same for any One of the '54.

Dear Marcos Art Studio 54

Hola Marcos,

Thanks so much! I've entered a show in NYC, will find out if I'm accepted sometime mid June; will let you know if that's the case. Love what you're doing as well.

FYI... I was contacted by one of your artists wanting to know what I thought of your site, etc., and I gave you big kudos... Hope all is Great!

-Una Artista de '54

You are most welcome, Artista!

Thats odd... you are not the first person to mention being contacted.

If the contact came from where I think, they did not pass the "personality" test. Wanted to put a gallery owner into the mix and she failed miserably too.

heheh... talented people though!

I have limited the favorites to 54 world class artists for all sorts of reasons --time and my own "limited" attention span being the most relevant factors.

Have a great week. I hope you win !


p.s. I apologize. If any member of the '54 would like to set up an E-mail address as a "buffer" from this sort of... thing, drop me a line.

Dear Marcos Art Studio 54

Dear Marcos:

Thanks for the info !

I am trying to develop my own website but once again we are talking about a huge learning curve and no budget. I am struggling with all of this and worse I cannot afford professional help. I am going to go back and experiment with some of your suggestions. If I could trouble you for more input in the future I would be most appreciative.

Thanks for your time, Mark. I look forward to corresponding in the future.

-Oakland Artist

Hola Oakland !

If you need a "Pop Up Free, Advertisement Free, No Charge because I think its Fun" Internet site, I will hook you up. Zip as many images as you like and send them to this address (as often as you like from this day forward) and we will be done before you knew we started. I can do the image resizing on this side of the screen too, just to save you the learning curve.

Above is a sample link to what I am talking about. Keep in mind, Arthur Robins did not actually need me to do this for him, since he is already established in well over 50 countries (which also makes Arthur the definition of World Famous). This will just give you an idea of how people should like to see your artwork; Simple and to the point without all the crap and clutter.

Just FYI, there are way more than 54 artists in here. Every day, I try to build at least one of these private sites for individual artists to market themselves. As of today my friend, you are the first to knock a Favorite Artist out of the Top '54.

I know... I knew... this day would come and the thought of it all pains me. On the other hand, Art Studio 15,695* just doesn't have "That Ring". For anyone who reads this, just know that if I take the time out of my day to place any artist into this network, they deserve all the time and attention of the world class.

And with that thought... we go to work !


p.s. *This number would be correct, if only I would have started this project on the day I was born... taking a little time off for bad behavior !

Dear Marcos Art Studio 54

Dear Marcos:
Arthur Robins - Dear Marcos
Thank you again for including me on your unusual site. Mark, I was wondering, what do you get out of all this? Since no money is changing hands, and no money from the artist is likely to come your way in the future, besides the kick of it all, there must be another angle you are working on.
If you don't mind sharing that with me, I would appreciate it.

Regardless, Blessings on you!

Hello Arthur !

One thing that you and every other artist here can count on from me is honesty, and I HONESTLY did not wake up one morning with a clear concept of what I was doing. Art Studio 54 is not the kind of place that could not be planned --even if we had a plan !

I absolutely love what you and I get to do for a living. I am just as thrilled when I see a new artist get their act together. I could tell you "the plan", but there is the only factor that will allow you believe it:


It may take you a few months of being here to realize that the "other shoe" is never going to drop. Art Studio 54 has become its own work of art, and I would sooner destroy a stain glass window as to have a "pop up" or some "banner ad" appear above your works.

Art Studio 54 really is... what it is, and can only be as good as the brains, talents and personalities of the individuals like yourself, who are kind enough to lend their class to this place. In my humblest of opinions, Art Studio 54 does not have to get any better than it already is. This is not to say that things will not change.

The paintings from established artists will change for their latest works (with 54 working artists, this happens about once a week). An artist "lost inside the network" might do something amazing, or a new artist with the required "great personality" may take the occasion to knock another out of the top '54.

Does that make sense, or am I laughing at my own jokes again ?

Siempre se puede,

Dear Marcos Art Studio 54
And Remember . . .
Art Studio 54 Dear Marcos
The Secret To A Happy Life:
Find Something You Like To Do And Keep Yourself Busy !
Dear Marcos The Artists FAQ