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Nabaroo for Artists Review

Friday, January 15th, 2016

Jim Plaxco's Nabaroo Account
Jim Plaxco’s Nabaroo Account

A few days ago I received an invitation to join an online site for artists named Nabaroo. I had never heard of them but as stated in their email, Nabaroo is a new network for artists and I was being extended an invitation "based on your exceptional work." I regularly receive unsolicited invitations from businesses marketing one service or another. In fact I recently received an invitation from another online service for artists – that one being a print on demand site. In checking them out I decided that they were not a site that I wanted to do business with. You can read my review of their service in the article A Review of Selling Art on Artist Become (

So I decided to give Nabaroo a look. In some respects, UI/UX for example, Nabaroo is similar to Pinterest. In other respects it is unique. It has a clean design and it is easy to create collections so you can organize your art into groups. They also make it very easy to add new content. Aside from being able to post/share your art and videos (in a process called nabbing), the site offers a Discussions feature and a Jobs section where artists can search for employment opportunities.

What I found particularly appealing, and unique, is Nabaroo’s Shop feature. When an artist shares their art on Nabaroo they are given the opportunity to add a link that directs viewers to the product page for that artwork, where ever that may be. Upon learning this I decided to do some fast data mining. I grabbed the first 500 artworks that showed up in my Buy Original Artwork from Nabaroo Artists stream. Following are the top print-on-demand/art products web sites that were linked to.

Online Vendor Artworks 174 68 37 17 17 11 7 6 5 5 5

I was surprised by the dominance of Society6. Notably absent from this list are such popular print-on-demand art print sites as Artflakes, CafePress, FineArtAmerica, Imagekind, and Zazzle. At this point I must offer the following supplementary information. The above is simply a count based on the number of artworks and not artists. For example, all of the 174 artworks for Society6 could have come from one artist. So these numbers should not be used to judge how popular a platform is with artists. I could have produced that number but the process of associating artists with individual artworks would have required much more work on my part. However, I can say that these 500 artworks came from 221 artists and that the number of artworks per artist ranged from 1 to 11 with an average of 2.26 artworks per artist. So it is safe to say that based on this information, it appears that the three most popular platforms for artists who are active on Nabaroo are Society6, Etsy, and Redbubble.

Also with respect to the above table, it is worth noting that a few of the artists, rather than linking to a product page, directed their "Buy on" link back to non-product web sites like their Facebook fan page or their Nabaroo account. I don’t know that this is a strategy that I would use but it is clearly an option.

Adding Art to Nabaroo

Adding art (or videos) to Nabaroo is quite simple. The dialog for adding (nabbing) art gives artists the option to either upload an image or video from their computer or from a web page (a very nice option). Artists are offered the following fields to describe their art/video:

  • caption – a text field for providing a description of the art
  • collection – a drop down list that allows an artist to add the art to a collection (or to simultaneously create a new collection to which the art will be added)
  • Buy on link – a field for providing a link to where the art can be bought
  • tags – tags for categorizing the art for improved searches

When adding (aka nabbing) art, you also have the option to share your nab on one or more social networks simultaneously.

My Nabaroo Account

In reviewing Nabaroo, I really like what I’ve seen and have created an account. While I have yet to really begin posting content you can see my account at:

Jim Plaxco’s Nabaroo Account

My only concern is with respect to their business model. At this time the site is free of advertisements and is free for artists to use. The only source of revenue I see is with respect to companies wanting to post job openings on the site – and even that is free for Nabaroo artists. As Nabaroo grows in popularity the site will require ever more computing resources to support that growth. I will be very curious to see what steps Nabaroo takes to generate the income they will need to pay their bills.

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Chicago Lake FX Summit and Expo for Artists

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Chicago Lake FX Summit and Expo for Artists

I’ll be attending the Lake FX Summit and Expo April 16-19, 2015. The expo has as its target audience artists and creative professionals working in film, music, fashion, culinary, the visual arts, and performing arts. The expo is managed by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and has Google as a presenting sponsor. The expo theme is "Improvisation and Innovation."

The Lake FX Summit and Expo is an integrated successor to three past separate expos: the Creative Chicago Expo, the Chicago Music Summit and the Chicago Film and Media Summit. This event is being billed as the midwest’s largest free conference for artists and other creative professionals. Program components are spread out between the Chicago Cultural Center, Virgin Hotels Chicago, the Gene Siskel Film Center, the Hard Rock Hotel, and the State Street Macy’s.

I have previously attended the Creative Chicago Expo and found it to be a worthwhile event. I’m not sure if trying to create a mega-event from three separate specialized expos is a smart thing to do from the perspective of the individual attendees. We’ll see.

Looking through the programming guide, as an artist I find the following presentations to be the most relevant to my interests:

Who’s Your Audience? NEA Recent Research in the Arts
Discussion of the National Endowment for the Arts research on "Public Participation in the Arts, 2002–2012" and other related topics.
How to Win at YouTube
Discussion on video creativity and review of what types of videos work on YouTube.
Self-Management Tool Kit for Artists
Discussion about the business of being an artist.
Portfolio Reviews: How to Share Your Work
A How-To on presenting your portfolio for review to curators, gallery directors, art critics, etc.
Protect Your Creative Content
Yep, all about copyright protection and trademark protection given by the group Lawyers for the Creative Arts.
Intro to Crowdfunding and Fiscal Sponsorship
A panel on using crowdfunding (think Kickstarter and Indiegogo) as a way to raise money.
Video 101 for Artists and Arts Organizations
A panel discussion for artists on the role of video as a marketing and fundraising tool.
Maker to Market
A panel on the maker scene done in collaboration with World Business Chicago.
Online Risks and Rewards: What Your Business Can and Can’t Do Online
Explores the legal aspects of doing business online.
Photoshop Basics for Artists
Okay, if I have nothing else to do I’ll attend this one just to see what aspects of Photoshop they’ll be covering.

Fortunately for me, all the programming for the Visual and Performing Arts Track and for the General Track is being held at the Chicago Cultural Center – meaning I don’t have to run back and forth between separate venues.

Note that people are encouraged to pre-register for the expo. Benefits of pre-registration include "Fast Pass" access to some of the programs being held at the Chicago Cultural Center Claudia Cassidy Theater and automatic entry into several drawings. Complete details on the expo and a link to the registration form is available from the expo’s main web page at
Lake FX Summit and Expo.

In closing, if you know an artist or a person in one of the other creative fields, please share this information with them.

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Corporate Gallery Artist’s Reception

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Geometers Dreamscape
Geometers Dreamscape digital abstract art

In July I was accepted into the Northwest Cultural Council’s Corporate Gallery Program. The Corporate Gallery Program is supported by funding from corporations in northwest suburban Chicago land and involves approximately 30 area artists whose art is on display in 9 corporate art galleries. The public may view the art during each gallery’s normal business hours. Artists display their works – oils, watercolors, sculpture, photography, mixed media (and now digital) – at the gallery sites on a rotating basis.

Upon being accepted into the program, four of my digital art works were put on exhibit at the Arlington Green Executive Centre at 2101 S. Arlington Heights Road in Arlington Heights IL. The art went on display July 21 and will remain on display until October 5. The four art works that I have in the exhibit are:

  • Finding My Center of Gravity – an abstract panoramic gallery wrap canvas giclee.
  • Geometer’s Dreamscape – the abstract shown above.
  • Butterfly Effect – another abstract panoramic gallery wrap canvas giclee.
  • Harmony of the Spheres – an abstract similar in style to Geometer’s Dreamscape

Unfortunately I have made none of this art available for sale on my web site However, I did use a small scale study of Butterfly Effect as the illustration for my blog post Mensa, Algorithmic Art, and Monty Python

2010 Corporate Gallery Artists Reception – Saturday September 12

Following is the text of the reception announcement.

The public is invited to view works by seven new NWCC Corporate Gallery artists at a reception on Saturday, September 12, 2009 from 1pm to 3 pm at Arlington Green Executive Centre, 2101 S. Arlington Heights Road, Arlington Heights, IL. There is no admission fee, and refreshments will be served. Works will remain on exhibit through October 5, 2009; the gallery is open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, Saturday 9am-Noon.

Exhibiting artists are:

  • Gail Baar of Buffalo Grove – Art Quilts
  • Liz Buckley of Mundelein – Photographs
  • Dianne Martia of Darien – Mixed Media
  • James Plaxco of Schaumburg – Digital Art
  • Donald Stillman of Buffalo Grove – Cellulose Polymer Resin Sculpture
  • Len Upin of Buffalo Grove – Ball Pen Drawings
  • Kevin Wisor of Schaumburg- Photo Collages

The Corporate Gallery Program is supported by corporations in the Northwest Corridor. The program showcases regional artists in attractive, modern corporate settings. Artists in a wide variety of media are accepted after a rigorous 2-step jurying process. The Council’s goal is to enrich the life of the community through exposure to the arts where people work and visit.

All art is for sale. A percentage of the sale price is a tax-deductible donation to support the Council, a not-for-profit community agency bringing visual art, music, dance, theater, poetry, and our unique Kids Meet Art program to the northwest suburbs.

For additional information about the reception please call the Council at 847-991-7966, or e-mail nwcc at

About the Northwest Cultural Council

The Northwest Cultural Council was established in 1988 to respond to the need for cultural enrichment and development in the northwest suburbs and covers an area with a population of 800,000. The organization’s quarterly publication Spotlights is read by over 7,000 people and includes information about cultural events held in the northwest suburban area, focus articles on artists, and the value of art in education.

In addition to their work in support of the visual arts, NWCC also has literary programs and sponsors poetry workshops. It also sponsors a classical chamber music series featuring members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with concerts presented at NWCC Corporate Gallery sites.

The NWCC Kids Meet Art program is a three day arts education program that brings professional artists into elementary, junior and high schools, to introduce students to the various art forms. It offers hands-on, one-on-one training in art, music, theater, writing, dance, and special units on the Mayan and Japanese cultures.

See you at the Artists Reception

If you would like to attend the September 12 artists reception (1:00-3:00pm), you can use the following Google map for directions to the Arlington Green Executive Centre. I hope to see you there.

Ad Astra, Jim

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