Wednesday, November 19, 2008

'Grown Up Girl' Renee Coates, Hana Artist and creator of 52 Pieces!

Call me crass, but I love stereotypes. I do. Denis Leary was just talking today on 'The View' (I haven't watched the show in years, I promise) about how we should just embrace stereotypes because, well, they exist. Plus, they're fun. Sometimes.

Take the 'starving artist' for example. Every body knows one. I know one, or five. In fact, I thought artists only came in two categories: the ones that make it big and those who starve. Picassos and waiters. You know the drill.

However, that was until I met the fabulous miss Renee Coates! (Thank you TwentySomethingBloggers!) Renee has done what so many artists dream of. She sustains a living based on her artwork and creatively delivers her art to the masses.

And she does not merely fling paint at a canvas from a five foot distance and call it art. I mean, she's amazing: vibrant colors and incredible skill celebrate even the simplest and most humble of subjects and invite each viewer to see the world around them in technicolor. My personal favorite is her 'Hana Ranch'.

But how does an artist--even a talented one at that--convert a hobby into a business? Well, Renee has made art a part of everyday life since her early days growing up in Hana-Maui.

But after graduating from high school, she took her passion to next level and got a degree in Textile and Surface Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan. That's right. Maui to Manhattan. Renee now splits her time between the peaceful hills of Chapel Hill, North Carolina and Hawaii, the source of her inspiration.

However, to really take her career to the next level, Renee saw beyond her canvas. Instead of reserving her work for only the elite customers of art galleries, Renee created ways for everyone to enjoy her creations. She knew she was worth the high prices her big clients were willing to pay for her work, but she wanted to share it with everyone.

With that, she embarked on a new endeavor of photographing and printing her paintings. Her images adorned note cards, post cards, prints, and other merchandise that were then sold in hotels and giftshops. It was an investment that paid off in the end.

Renee also wanted individuals outside the uber-rich circles to have the opportunity to own originals, not just post card copies. So she created 52 Pieces.

Every week, Renee creates an original piece that is then sold on her blog, 52 Pieces. Each piece is sold at an affordable price and everyone can have a Renee Coates original hanging in their home...if they act quickly! In fact, go to her blog now and subscribe for a chance to win a calendar featuring past images from 52 Pieces. Here's how it works:

1. 52 Pieces has a free "subscription" service where people can get each week's painting delivered to their email inbox. Subscribers are the first to see the paintings when they are posted, and never miss out on the latest artwork!

2. On November 27th at 11:52 p.m. (EST), 52 Pieces will hold a drawing from a list of new subscribers and send 25 people a free calendar.

3. Here it is!

Don't buy the same old black and white Paris calendar this year. Spring for something a little more unique. Didn't snag the original but still want one of Renee's awesome 52 Pieces? Renee's devoted followers will soon be able to order limited edition prints of her Pieces at which launches December 1st!

The moral of the story? No, you don't have to make it as a world famous artist before you can make a living doing what you love. A little investment, creativity and determination, artists can live well and devote themselves to their work. If that's what being a grown up really is, that sounds like fun to me.

(You can also get Renee's coloring book, 'The Road to Hana', at


Hannah said...

Wow, I would love one of those calendars.

Ryan said...

Renee! Always knew you were a big deal! I would also like one of those calenders. I'm proud of what you're doing and look forward to seeing you in December! Much love!