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MOOve Over, Old Biz Cards

On: September 8, 2009
In: Art Biz, Studio Journal
Views: 1788
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Back in the day, when I first started thinking of myself as an artist, I ordered some business cards. They were black on white and not any more useful than the social calling cards I ordered as part of my High School Grad Package: Elizabeth Ann Hawes, engraved in a treacle-y script. (Who’s she?)

I remember fully believing that the business cards themselves proved my legitimacy. And, sadly, I have done this at least 5 to 555 times. New endeavor? New box of cards! Change of medium? More new cards! They mean I really mean it, right?

I handmade my cards in the 70s, each one lovingly inked and water-colored. Personal. Artsy. So labor-intensive I did not really get to the art.

In the 80s, I scaled the corporate ladder and was issued new cards for every promotion and different bank I represented. Commercial-Loan-Officer-Wannabe-Artist, at your service.

In the 90s, I drew a crane graphic (last name Crain!) and printed them on ivory Avery tear-apart bizcard sheets. Cheap, but rough-edged and flimsy. Fortunately only seen by a few.

I also had boys to raise. Need flash cards for your times tables? Use the backs of those old cards! How about a bookmark? A glue holder? A flip book? Something to clothespin on your bike to make your spokes rat-a-tat? A House of Cards? Here…use these.

Yet it finally has worked the other way round: I am an artist because I make art. Oh, and I guess I could probably use a biz card instead of writing on paper scraps and trying to accurately recall all the ways you can contact me or see my work/words online now. Never mind the phone and street address.

For the past few years, I have printed a small run of cards to match my annual Santa Cruz County Open Studios Art Tour postcard. That felt right: it featured fun recent art and my name, phone and email, all on the front. And last year’s card, as you can see, even had a ‘halftone screen’ of my studio on the reverse, which I used for titling/pricing in my exhibit. I thought it was pretty innovative at the time.

So much has changed in the past year, I feel like an adolescent who has grown two inches in two months. Last July I added a sticker to the back of my old cards (better than using them for flash cards) but even it was out of date sooner than I planned. The “website” will now be this blog migrating to (shhh!) WordPress…and the Etsy Shop is now open with even a few sales… and you can click from this blog to there, if you’re curious.

Enter MOO Minicards, snappy graphic snippets of your own works, which I first saw in February at Alyson Stanfield’s Hollister Workshop with the delicious art of Princess Simpson Rashid on them. I envied them mightily and bookmarked the MOO.com site.

It took six months, but I have my own delightful group of 100 MOO Minicards now and they are a joy to give out. Last weekend I hosted “Art on Bay Avenue” at my house with my work, Connie Williams’ watercolors and Annie MacHale’s weavings. (They both use MOOminis and differently than I do.)

I had a small wooden bowl of MOOcards for my visitors and it felt like offering everyone their favorite candy. No sales pushiness, just an outright gift from me to them, given and taken with love and delight.

I had also bought, assembled and displayed the MOO Mosaic Frame. It is a compelling way for visitors to take in your body of work at an informing glance. It functions quite well as a visual Interpretive Message. We just can’t expect even those who have made the effort to come to your exhibit, to ‘grok’ the totality of what you’re puttin’ out, never mind hoping they have the time to page through your portfolio or stand in front of your digital picture frame as the images glide by. All-at-Once Eye-Bites are in order and the MOO Mosaic Frame does that well.

When a dear collector bought an elegant face jug I was really proud of, I tucked both a photo greeting card AND a MOOminicard of it in the bag. It felt better than right. It felt natural: as natural as hand-lettering and watercolor-washing my cards in the 70s, but with five ways to continue the conversation with me on the back. (And S, if you’re lurking here…I dare you to leave a Comment.) Now that’s a two-way gift!

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14 Responses to MOOve Over, Old Biz Cards

  1. Keith says:

    Love, love , love the Moo cards. They show your fantastic work so beautifully!!! I've been thinking about them for myself for quite a while, and now I am sold thanks to you.

  2. Cynthia Morris says:

    What a journey the story of your business cards takes us on! I love it.
    The Moo cards work especially well for your art, and I love the piece that shows them all.
    I always think it's a good idea to have an image that people want to keep around on your business card. I have an image from Brassai on my card. After 9 years, it's time for a new one! Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Liz Crain says:

    So glad to have each and every one of you reading, commenting and following. It means a lot!

  4. Anne Fraker Studio says:

    Hi Liz,
    I've enjoyed getting to know you through the blog triage, and looking forward to your future post as I am now following your blog.
    Anne Fraker

  5. Janice Mason Steeves says:

    Hey Liz,

    I really like the new and 'comfy' look of your blog and I love this great idea of the Moo cards. I have never heard of them before and am definitely going to check them out!
    So great meeting you on Blog Triage.

  6. ASpinnerWeaver says:

    Liz- I loved the romp through the history of your business cards. And what a pitch for MOO. If I didn't have them already, I'd get some based on your recommendation. And I learned that you were once a banker. Glad to know you as an artist!

  7. Liz Crain says:

    Thanks one and all for your comments and support. I treasure our connections in all our various formats, including real and in person when we can manage it!. MOO cards for Everybody!

  8. Princess Rashid says:

    Hey Liz,

    Thanks for the mention. I love the way you organized your Moo Mosaic Frame. Your cards look great! Way to go! Moo Rocks and so do YOU!

  9. Cyd Rust says:

    I had to come over and see all the changes! WOW. The mini etsy is awesome! WTG! I have a friend who get the Moo cards too. IN fact she had them at Alyson's Estes Park wkshp, and I think she was the hit of the event. lol. They are so fun. And they give people such a wonderful choice. great thinking! I just love this blog, it is so much fun. I will be back often. 🙂

  10. Christine says:

    You got some!!! They look great, worth every dang penny. When I first saw my sample Moo cards my first thought was "delicious." Very food/candy feeling. Yum.

  11. lomaprietapottery says:

    Like this! Great use of Moo cards. Since I have little use for hang tags, my show helper and niece suggested using hole punch and ribbon to tie to bags. Will need to check with Connie about using a grommet instead of just the hole punch.

  12. Connie Williams, California, USA says:

    Liz, I love what you did with the Moo cards. Your tile display is just lovely and a perfect quick glimpse of your art for shoppers. My favorite use is to add a grommet and ribbon which turns them into a sturdy, classy hang tag. Thanks for the mention and link to my watercolor website! May you have many opportunities to offer your very impressive Moo cards to prospective collectors!

  13. Liz Crain says:

    Anonymous Art Lover: You are the Bravest and the Best!

  14. Anonymous says:

    The gorgeous face jug has already found a special place in my house, away from the clumsy cats. I love it. And my teenager loves it. I am going to frame the card and the moo card and place in a nearby spot. Thanks for lovely piece.