In this picture: Text: “As Yet Untitled Dino Game; 2021-2022 TAIP Funded Project; Suzanne Skaar.” Background art: screen capture of black and white pixel art dinosaur peering over green brick wall in underground environment. Different colored pipes form networks throughout the foreground and background of the picture. Pink No, Mine! Studios logo is in the bottom right corner.
I’ll be presenting at the next Tacoma Arts Commission meeting!
Join us online on Monday, September 12, 2022 at 5 p.m. I’ll be talking about my experience as part of the 2021-2022 Tacoma Arts Initiative Program Funded Cohort and progress on my first game. Information is available on the City of Tacoma’s website.
“If all the other galleries charged submission fees to jump off a bridge, would you?”
“How much is the normal submission fee to jump off the bridge? Will artists have to pay for the bungee cords and protective gear on top of the application fee? Would it be during Art Walk? Will there be a no-host bar?”
An online discussion over the weekend about the ethics of charging artists submission fees led to some misogynist and ableist attacks on my intelligence, mental health, and character, as well as what would seem to be a not-so-veiled threat. So of course, I decided to talk about the practice here.
Artists shouldn’t pay submission fees to have work considered.
Not if the work will be seen by “so many people,” not if “other galleries are charging fees,” and not if accepted artists will receive some kind of perk that can be purchased from that business any other time of the year for the same amount of money as the submission fee.
Other authors have already done excellent jobs on explaining how submission fees frontload the risk of shows onto artists. Martha Knox gives a detailed breakdown on the subject, particularly how the charging of fees maintains the status quo of who is represented in the art world. Please read her article, aptly named “Stop Charging and Paying Artist Submission Fees.” The site Art Business Info. for Artists covers the phenomenon of “vanity galleries” — galleries which make their money off of artists and not actually selling artists’ work. If you’re just starting out as an artist, or if you know someone who is struggling in this field, please, please read their page for a great list of red flags.
Instead of repeating the information found on these sites, here are resources for finding arts organizations that don’t charge submission fees.
Seattle-based Artist Trust recently revised their opportunities website to list whether an organization charges submission fees up front. They also have a number of grants available for Washington-based artists, as well as assistance for those interested in learning how to apply for said grants.
Submittable’s advanced search option allows creators to exclude results with fees. If you haven’t used it before, click the “Sign In” button to create a free account.
An international site that I have had luck with in the past for writing opportunities is the UK-based Writers HQ. Not only do they list the compensation writers can expect to receive, “Writers’ HQ will now only be accepting listings from organisations offering accessible submission opportunities for low-income writers.” Many of the opportunities listed are free.
Submission fees are exploitative. Stop normalizing them, and start creating spaces for more artists to thrive.
I try to share resources as I find them. If this kind of advice is helpful, please let me know either in the comments or by email (email@example.com), and I’ll make it a more regular feature on the blog.
Stop by and test the latest progress on the as-yet-untitled dino game.The last public demo was at the October 2021 Arts at the Armory event. There’s still so much to do, but I am excited to share the progress made since then!
For those interested in being included in the game as an NPC, I’ll have audio recording equipment and permission forms on hand as well. 🙂
I received support for the research and development of game background art from the Tacoma Arts Commission through the 2021-2022 Tacoma Artist Initiative Program. (While the Kickoff Party will mark the completion of my participation in the program, I’ll definitely be working on the game for the foreseeable future.) For those who would like to learn more about this program, I’ll be talking about my TAIP experience at the September 12 Commission meeting.
You can help support this small, Tacoma-based business by liking, following, and sharing @nominestudios on the following platforms:
I have been invited to talk about my project at the September 12 Tacoma Arts Commission meeting which will be recorded and posted for the public. If you would like to check out what’s been going on in Tacoma, you can find the Arts Commission meetings here. The new Tacoma Arts Initiative Program (TAIP) application should be up in a couple of months, and these meetings are a great way to gather insight into what Commissioners look for in project proposals.
In the next few weeks, I’ll also be able to share more information about a free all-ages arts party in Tacoma that No, Mine! Studios will be a part of. Mark your calendars for the evening of October 5! Although I still have a lot more that I plan to do in terms of game development, this event will be the final component of my TAIP 2021-2022 Project.
As always, thank you for your support! If you haven’t yet done so, you can like and follow No, Mine! Studios for more frequent updates on the following social media platforms:
My next live demo is at Grit City Comic Show’s Artist Alley in October, & I’ll be announcing my TAIP artist talk soon, so I’ve been hard at work on background art, secondary character design, & animations.
I’ve been looking up the history of cool Tacoma buildings I want to reference in my game and did some digging into what used to be an old theater in the Lincoln District.
When it was first built, the owner made it so that women (not men, mind you) could have a separate nursery area for caring for their kids and still see the screen. It closed in 1958, became a theater not at all appropriate for kids, then a church. It’s been boarded up for a while, now.
While I usually change the names of buildings/ businesses to dinosaur/prehistoric puns, I think I’ll keep the original name in this instance.
A challenge with drawing from historical references for this game has been to not be too literal in the design process. I’ve taken some liberties with background art design for the purpose of keeping with the game’s overall style. For example, looking at my illustration and the historical photo of Rex Theatre side by side, it’s easy to see that my version is a little taller and less rounded on the top than the original. Another difference is that while the original theater had 650 seats, I don’t think 650 dinosaurs could fit into the original theater.
At least not 650 adult T-Rexes. The building itself is only 6,000 square feet, and T-rexes could grow up to 40 feet long and 12 feet high, and that’s not accounting for width…
So rest assured, my overthinking friends who also get caught up in historical details, I am overthinking this, too, and we’re just going to let some things slide. And the other details I can’t let slide will be dealt with in the game as awkwardly as possible. Like what happens when you try to jam as many dinosaurs as you can into a theater.
I’m grateful to the Tacoma Arts Commission for supporting this part of the game research process through the Tacoma Artist Initiative Program (TAIP). You can learn about other TAIP projects by clicking here.
Social media reminded me that 11 years ago today, I made the announcement that I was expecting my Junior Tester, a.k.a. “Kiddo,” and 9 years ago today, I started this website, nominestudios.com, borrowing the then 1.5-year-old’s favorite phrase.
The development of this website inspired me in many ways to make the switch from painting to digital art. The need to keep two cats and a toddler out of my ink and paper supply also provided a lot of motivation to this end. I started off doing animations using a mouse and an old MacBook that kept dying. I was finally able to update my equipment two years ago to a computer capable of running current forms of Windows and a Wacom tablet after the pandemic once again necessitated a shift in work styles.
And now, I’m fortunate enough to be developing a game, experimenting with music and sound effects, and doing research/ background art with support of the Tacoma Arts Commission Artist Initiative Program.
Here’s a look back on some of my work through the years. Apparently WordPress is still glitching on mobile apps with some of the animations :(, so if you can view this on desktop, it will hopefully work better.
Thank you all for your support!
Click on any photo below to expand to slide show view.
My 43rd birthday is on July 26. While many people use their birthdays on social media these days to solicit funds for charity, I am collecting impressions of dinosaurs.
In 2021, my indie game was accepted into the Tacoma Artists Initiative Program for support while I focus on research and designing the background art. One of my other goals for this project is to include as many voices from the Greater Tacoma Community as I can in the game. As such, I want to include others’ best (and even worst) dinosaur impressions in the game’s soundscape.
QUESTION: Is there pay for participating? No, there is no pay. But if your audio clip is used, you have the choice whether you will be included in the credits or not.
Don’t live in Tacoma but want to participate anyway? Not a problem!
If you are under 18, please get permission from your parent or guardian prior to participating.
If this sounds like fun, please check out the application form for complete details(Word/ PDF). Submissions are due July 26, 2022.
Please note that submissions may be shared on social media. If you don’t want your submission shared, please don’t send it! And if you do share your submission on social media, please tag @nominestudios!