Archive by Author

Scoring Your First Show

8 Sep


How to Score Your Very First Art Show

So you have an bedroom (or apartment!) full of paintings/pieces? So your sister or best friend keep saying you should totally have a show? So your big art dream is showing your work in public and maybe even selling some of it to make room (and dollars!) for future projects.

If you’ve never shown before, getting a show might seem near-impossible. Femme Cartel has helped hundreds of emerging artists get their work onto some of the yummiest art spaces around.

Here are our favorite tips for how you can get a show for yourself:

  1. Consider non-gallery locations like your favorite art bar or local cafe. Of course you likely dream of having your work in a streamlined, gorgeous gallery some day! Take the first step by getting your work out there somewhere you adore, like an art bar, salon, or cool restaurant. This will help you build your resume of shows (tip: post your show history on your badass art website!).  Since most new artists just don’t have their very first show at the SFMOMA or the Whitney Biennial, use these early shows to hone your art show time management skills and learn everything about pricing, hanging, and promoting your work. This is you gearing up to ROCK it seamlessly!
  2. Submit to group shows. Even if a solo show is your dream, many (most!) artists show a piece or two in a group show before having a whole show to themselves. Group shows can be an amazing way to meet more art community and get your foot in the door at galleries that make you swoon.
  3. Ask artists you know how they got their shows; if (and only if) you sense that the vibe is right and good, share your work with them and ask them to introduce you to their contact at the space. (If you don’t know other artists yet, look for artist friends or art community on craigslist, meetup, or via classes at your local art centers and spaces.)
  4. Submit anyways! Even if the show or venue or show seems too prestigious, big, or well-known, submit anyways. Finding hot new artists is very tricky for curators—and most find it refreshing to hear from new/emerging artists with talent! (They usually have to go hunting hard…or rely on people in their circles.)
  5. Create/keep up a solid art web site that showcases only your very best—and most current—pieces. Your web site shouldn’t be an archive of everything you’ve ever done. Use it to highlight just the very best of your talents. If you wouldn’t put a certain piece in a show today, don’t put it on your site. (See additional tips on making an art web site that ROCKS.)
  6. Approach art spaces with gusto. Ask who is in charge of changing up the art in spaces you dig. Ask for an in person introduction or for their email address. Pitch your show to them. By which we mean: if you’re meeting someone in person, flip them through your art web site on a tablet or share quality, printed photographs of your work. If you’re emailing, write a blurb about the kind of show you’ll put up (especially if your web site has more than one kind of art/theme) and attach 2-3 jpgs, plus your art site. To help the person really see your vision, state a name for the show. Commit to doing this a few spaces every week until you get a show. Most artists never hear back from most spaces. Hearing a “yes” is a rare occurrence, so…don’t lose your drive when you inevitably submit to a few without a yes.
  7. Keep it positive! Understand that getting your first show, realistically, takes a lot of work, but keep your vision and optimism front and center. When you shine, your work shines, and this will make folks want to work with you and showcase your work!

And once you get your very first show, check out Femme Cartel’s Tips on being a new artist working with an art space or gallery!


Find these tips useful? Inspiring? See the archive of Femme Cartel tips for emerging artists, sign up for the newsletter so you never miss a tip, and/or SHARE with your emerging artist pals!

Finding Your Fans

23 Jul


Find Your Biggest Fans (& Collectors).

To help you get your artwork into the hands and eyeballs of the people (collectors) who would buy it…we’ve polled some of our favorite art world pals to get their advice for you.

Before you get a gallery working for you, you should be hitting up contest watchers and Bay Area Art grind. Apply to everything. Especially New American Paintings. I got so many collectors and gallery inquiries from my feature in that publication.
-Jessica Hess, artist (art site)

Do you. Make your art visible. Be happy. Make friends. Make sacrifices. + Do you.
-Joanne Ludwig, curator, artist, and arts-events-maker (All Lady Warrior Zine + Art Show | Saturday, July 26)

…One thing Oakland likes/needs to some extent, needs, is free programing. By offering free space (in my shop/gallery) to host a free book shop, I created a “free program,” if you will, for my shoppers. They can buy and the can shop for something for free!
-Lisa Aurora Calderon, Gallery Owner (Naming Gallery Tilde vintage/contemporary boutique)


Find these tips useful? Inspiring? See the archive of Femme Cartel tips for emerging artists, sign up for the newsletter so you never miss a tip, and/or SHARE with your pals!

3 Mistakes with Galleries

28 Jun

To help you figure out the gallery world so that your work can really shine, we’ve polled some of our favorite art world folks to get their advice for you.

Tips on avoiding 3 big mistakes new artists make…with galleries:

1. (Dont get discouraged.) Submit to the right galleries. Don’t waste your time or get discouraged by approaching galleries who just don’t show your kind of work. Kristi at Rock Paper Scissors gallery says, “Be thorough! Do your research on the gallery specifics/call for art, what type of work is shown/desired.”

2. (Don’t be rude.) Be the kind of person galleries love working with! “Follow up and always punctually show for meetings,” Kristi advises, “Galleries have a tight schedule so be respectful and kind throughout the process. No gallery I know will work twice with a rude artist, no matter how great their work is.”

3. (Don’t be caught off guard by the gallery!) Know exactly what each art space expects. “Devour your contracts so there are no surprises and you are prepared for your obligations,” encourages Kristi.

 Rock on…

…and shine your art and message out there! …. Let us know in the comments if you have additional suggestions.

If you found these tips useful,

Please share this piece–we want to reach and help more emerging artists than just those in our current circle!

Sign up for our e-news so you never miss this kind of thing!

Our Printed Instagrams Show

24 Jun

For Immediate Release. Media Contact: Femme Cartel:



Opening Night: Friday August 1, 2014 from 6-9 PM. (FB invitation)

Curated by Femme Cartel. At Rock Paper Scissors Gallery (2278 Telegraph Ave. Oakland, CA).


(Photo credits: Kenny Robinson, Maija Burnett, Michelle San Agustin, Amber Schadewald)

Oakland, California- Femme Cartel is pleased to present their upcoming photography show, “Beyond Breakfast and Selfies: Instagram Shots of Everyday Life”. The show opens at Rock Paper Scissors Collective on August 1, 2014 during Oakland Art Murmur and runs through August 30, 2014.

Beyond Breakfast and Selfies is a photography show that explores the beauty, the funkiness and the sweetness of everyday life. “Selfies and food shots seem to flood Instagram feeds and we wanted to see the more artful, creative moments that people were documenting” says co-curator/producer Christina Bohn, “Instagram is such a huge part of life now and we are really only just starting to see art shows focusing on this four year old medium.” The show features Instagrammers from California as well as from around the world, some of whom are professional photographers, while many are showing their work for the first time.

The photos selected by Femme Cartel range from gorgeous, lush natural landscapes to sweet, intriguing city vignettes and a balanced assortment of everything in-between. “We knew that we wanted the show to view like a fine art photography show, but unlike our past shows, there wasn’t a theme chosen beforehand. We used our curatorial intuition, this time, so the show is a rich blend of emotionally resonant work that truly is fine art photography” says co-curator/producer Emily “Femily” Howe.  Out of around 1,300 images that were submitted, the duo narrowed down the selection to 100 pieces that will be printed as 4” x 4” squares, courtesy of Social Print Studio and framed by Tiny Mighty Frames.

sps tinymighty

The show also highlights the curatorial eye of Femme Cartel one the duo has honed since 2011. “You can see a little bit of Femily, a little bit of me, and a whole lot of the Femme Cartel girly/urban art vibe in this show” says co-curator/producer Christina Bohn.

While the quality of the art always comes first, Femme Cartel highlights female artists front and center. In June 2011, Femme Cartel formed to celebrate female artists, diversity, and contemporary urban art. “In the mainstream art world, male artists are given a disproportionate share of the press attention, financial backing, and art shows,” explains Howe, “we’re changing that by shining the spotlight on talented female and other under-represented artists and connecting emerging artists to gallery spaces.” Since their beginnings, Femme Cartel has highlighted the work of over 200 female artists (plus youth artists as well as a few male artists with strong, relevant work.).

While nearly all of their group shows have included photography, this is the third show that is exclusively focused on photography, and ninth show produced by Femme Cartel. Previous photography shows focused on the San Francisco foodie scene and Oakland as a fashion/style hub. Femme Cartel has also shown the work of mixed media artists, traditional fine artists, and sound artists.





(Photo credits: Leah Korbin, Nicole Gervacio, Antonette Streeter, Alison Millar)



  • AJ Sharkstar  |  @ajsharkstar
  • Alexandra Nazari  |  @AlexandraNazari
  • Alicia Dornadic | @adorndesign
  • Alison Millar  |  @Slightlysurly
  • Amber Schadewald  |  @aschadewald
  • Antonette Streeter  |  @Scenebystreeter
  • Brittany Ko  |  @savethelizards
  • Brittany Luby  |  @technicolorbrit
  • Brook Vanderford  |  @brook_v
  • Carmina Eliason  |  @carminaeliason
  • Caroline Egan  |  @coeurdela
  • Christopher Byrne  |  @atrophybeauty
  • Ciara Sudjian  |  @tacorosey
  • Courtney Cerruti  |  @ccerruti
  • Cristal Veronica  |  @cisforcristal
  • Dane Pollok  |  @danepollok
  • Ebony Haight  |  @ebonyh
  • Elena A. Harper  |  @elenaarielle
  • Erin Fenley  |  @erinwithan_e
  • Eyra  |  @oeyra
  • Jane C. Allen  |  @janecallen
  • Jen Firlik  |  @jenfir3000
  • Jes Espinoza  |  @Jespi78
  • Jessica Davies  |  @jdmetalworks_
  • Jose Vaca |  @mav_rik
  • Juli Elin Toro  |  @Sunfunnels
  • Juliette Spirson  |  @spirson
  • Kaitlin Trataris  |  @kaitlintrataris
  • Kato Lawton  |  @KatoPopStudio
  • Keelan Sunglao-Valdez  |  @premiumkeek
  • Kenny Robinson  |  @notkendra
  • Kris Austin  |  @kristellaface
  • Lauren Crew  |  @laurencrew
  • Leah Korbin  |  @wrinklywrink
  • Lila Kahn  |  @lilakahn
  • Madeline Wilson  |  @machiavelcro
  • Maija Burnett  |  @maijabeee
  • Maria Fatima Urbi  |  @Paloma_in_black
  • Marie Metran  |  @mcm1216
  • Michelle San Agustin  |  @quichemeesh
  • Mollie Ito Roark  |  @mollitoroar
  • Monica Palos  |  @monicamarie5
  • Nam Black  |  @handxfire
  • Naomi Thompson  |  @NaomiStrange
  • Natasha Wilder  |  @Tashiworld
  • Nicole Dargahi (NDar)  |  @ndargahi
  • Nicole Gervacio  |  @nicolegervacio
  • Rachel Escoto  |  @pixelina
  • Rachel Welles  |  @rule_of_red
  • Roselly Monegro  |  @RoxieMo
  • Sara Diamond  |  @saramyrupdiamond
  • Sarah Deragon  |  @sarahderagon
  • Sharlynn Vee  |  @sv1
  • Sherese Elsey  |  @sherese_romo
  • Sierra Hawthorne  |  @srhawtho
  • Simone Blakeney  |  @ifwenever
  • Stephanie A Lindsey  |  @steph_lindsey
  • Theresa Bruckner  |  @tea_bea
  • Tina Noren  |  @tinaisrad
  • Vivian Chen  |  @vivianchenphoto


Femme Cartel

Emily Howe & Christina Bohn

510-520-2891 (text or call)


Tips: Price Your Art to Sell

2 Jun

Price Your Art to Sell

(Don’t miss other tips on rocking your art life; sign up for the monthly Femme Cartel newsletter!)

Femme Cartel has promoted and priced hundreds of works of art to sell in cafe shows, gallery shows, and directly to art collectors. We’ve also chatted with a handful of our top-selling artists to hear what what works best for them. Here are some solid tips on what really works. Happy art-selling!

You have three good options for setting the price:

  1. Base your prices on your recent sales history. Pricing art is like being awarded a higher wage in a new job. Both are mostly based on what you earned last time. Every time you have a successful period of sales, raise those prices!
  2. Or, base it on an hourly wage + supply costs. If you are super-new to the art-selling scene or have switched mediums and don’t have much “history” selling that kind of art, you may want to calculate your prices based on an hourly wage (you pick it!) and the cost of your supplies.
  3. Ask the curator or gallery owner. “I didn’t know how to price my art, so I just asked the curator/gallery owner. She must have set good prices, because all 15 pieces sold and I got a great check.” -Artist Renee Castro, aka Ladi Reni

What not to do:

  • Don’t base it on the wrong stuff: Try not to think about how much emotion you poured into it. Or how attached to the art you are. So…see #2 for what to do. Art sales is about commerce in the real world. Save the heart-felt stuff for your artist talk!
  • Don’t devalue your work, lady! Historically, we women undervalue our work (in every field!). So…if you’re wavering between two possible sticker prices, pick the higher one. Boom!

And some savvy sales tips from artist Laura Gonzalez:

  • Make written transfer of sale documents to let your buyer know they are purchasing an original—it gives the sale a little extra touch.
  • I normally up the prices when showing at a gallery—if it takes a percentage.
  • Stay calm, selling (or lack of) can be very stressful, but try and have fun with it. Stay friendly!

(Don’t miss other tips on rocking your art life; sign up for the monthly Femme Cartel newsletter!)

Femme Cartel Announces SOLO SHOW for Elrod

29 May

Femme Cartel is beyond psyched to announce a solo show by Femme Cartel artist Elrod.





We have always been over-the-moon for her art and swoon swoon swoon for Betti Ono gallery, our incredible gallery space for art, community & culture.

(If you would like Femme Cartel to connect you to a perfect space for your solo show or to help you with the publicity, email Or just stay in the loop about opportunities by joining our monthly newsletter list.)

VaVa Vroom! Art by Elrod

A Glittering Shrine to Kustom Kulture and the Big Haired Beauties Who Love it

Opening Night: Friday July 4, 2014 from 6-9 PM

Oakland, CA – Betti Ono gallery (1427 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612) is pleased to present VaVa Vroom!, a debut solo show by mixed media artist Elrod. The exhibition opens to the public Friday, July 4, 2014 from 6-9 pm during Oakland Art Murmur and runs through August 9, 2014.

VaVa Vroom! is a contemporary art show created by Elrod as a sparkling celebration of kustom kulture and the big-haired beauties who love it. “Car culture is clearly a male dominated scene and women within this subculture are often seen as just hood ornaments or decoration. I felt compelled to show that there are plenty of ladies out there who are just as passionate and invested in the lifestyle as much as the men, and look damn good while they’re doing it” Elrod explains. “I hope to portray my version of female “custom culture” by honoring the time old tradition of getting dolled-up. This is how some of us customize ourselves- big hair, winged eye liner and maybe a little sparkle here and there.”

To glorify the female experience and give space to the women in her favorite cultures and subcultures, Elrod has assembled a show of bold, vibrant, glittery paintings about independent women, big hair, car culture, and overall exuberance of personality. While the show is a hot collection of sexy images of women, Elrod’s women are substantial, holistically interesting, not just sex objects. They balance femininity and power. With their firm eye gazes and mischievous depth of personality, they are not only gorgeous, but demanding of attention. So often are the images in the subculture created by men, it is time to show it from the perspective of a woman.

Elrod’s work sells out often before finishing it; mainly as a result of her sharing her works in progress on Instagram. Her Snooki series was highlighted in Hi Fructose: The New Contemporary Art Magazine, her low-rider art was featured in Lowrider magazine [October 2013], where she confessed her love for, “beautiful cars, gorgeous women, people with pride and sparkly paintjobs.”





Elrod will provide key opportunities for the community to engage with her work during her time at Betti Ono. The opening party on Friday, July 4th, Independence Day, will be an over-the-top celebration of all things sparkly (including glitter bombs). Guests will find a hot summer Oakland art party, full of contemporary art, independent women, kitsch, glitter, roller skates, and music. The event will serve as an over-the-top alternative July 4th celebration, toasting American cultures and subcultures that are often overlooked, such as Mexican-Americanness, lowrider scenes, and drag/femme cultures. Put simply, VaVa Vroom! is a shrine to the over-the-top, to the power and allure of culture and to powerful feminine sexiness.

Her encore/closing party on Friday, August 1, will feature Elrod’s sculptural work in a shrine to big hair and a large-scale collaborative art sculpture drawing from piñata culture.

Additionally, as a part of Oakland Saturday Stroll, Elrod will offer a glitter workshop (details to be posted on her web site) for aspiring through advanced glitter artists (aimed to teach the world how to not make a glitter mess!)



Leanne Rodriguez (b. 1985) is a contemporary mixed media artist aiming for total art world glitter domination and beyond. She spent a majority of her simple Southern California youth in solidarity and pursuing her “arts and craps” [as her older brother called them]. It was obvious to her family that her artistic interests would dominate her future. In her early 20’s, she left the states on a 2 year sabbatical to Columbia where she adopted the moniker “Elrod” and befriended a female drug lord and bordello Madame named Cha-Cha Blanco who taught her the loyal and merciless ways of the cartel underworld. Elrod returned to the states and proceeded to recruit her own underground fellowship of chubby female Hispanic art gangsters, known as 3XL or “Tres Xrazy Locas” who perform her miscellaneous illegal bidding. Currently, with a studio on the highest peak overlooking the entire Bay Area, Elrod spends her time making art and mischief and continuously expanding her arsenal of skills. She not only does specialFX makeup, glitter resin casting, silk-screening and  bedazzling but also instructs her highly popular underground glitter workshop “Glitter 101.”


Betti Ono’s mission is to inspire limitless creativity, presenting multidisciplinary arts, media and performance exhibitions, programs and experiences with a slant towards experimentation and independent thinking. The art space includes a commercial gallery, performance venue and retail shop that connects downtown Oakland with the City’s vibrant Uptown Arts & Entertainment District and was founded by Anyka Barber in 2011.


  • Interview with Betti Ono founder/curator Anyka Barber
  • Interview with artist Elrod
  • High-resolution images and artist biography all available upon request
  • Contact: Anyka Barber


Tips: Balancing Art and Life

8 May

Quotations from from Real, Working Artists:


“Sixteen months ago I left my full time job to run my own photography business. It was simultaneously the most terrifying and the most empowering experience of my life. 

I have keep reminding myself of the many years of school, bad jobs, and other prep that went into getting me to this stage. Success or no, I never stop working.”

–Photographer Flee Kieselhorst


“I often get asked how I balance working full time and painting full time and I tell them that I might not sleep much, but I am happy.

My art is my reason for living, so I HAVE to do it.

The whole point is, JUST DO IT. Don’t let a little thing like working for the man hold you back from being an artist.”

–Artist Leanne “Elrod” Rodriguez



If you found this helpful, sign up for our e-news so you never miss this kind of thing!


Artists selected for Instagram show!

7 May

Femme Cartel is thrilled to announce the artists selected for our next art show, “Beyond Breakfast & Selfies: Instagram Fine Art Photography.”

The show will take place in August 2014 at Rock Paper Scissors Collective gallery in conjunction with Social Print Studio. To make sure you get the details about the art opening, sign up for the Femme Cartel newsletter.

Selected Artists

AJ Sharkstar  |  @ajsharkstar
Alexandra Nazari  |  @AlexandraNazari
Alicia Dornadic | @adorndesign
Alison Millar  |  @Slightlysurly
Amber Schadewald  |  @aschadewald
Antonette Streeter  |  @Scenebystreeter
Brittany Ko  |  @savethelizards
Brittany Luby  |  @technicolorbrit
Brook Vanderford  |  @brook_v
Carmina Eliason  |  @carminaeliason
Caroline Egan  |  @coeurdela
Christopher Byrne  |  @atrophybeauty
Ciara Sudjian  |  @tacorosey
Courtney Cerruti  |  @ccerruti
Cristal Veronica  |  @cisforcristal
Dane Pollok  |  @danepollok
Ebony Haight  |  @ebonyh
Elena A. Harper  |  @elenaarielle
Erin Fenley  |  @erinwithan_e
Eyra  |  @oeyra
Jane C. Allen  |  @janecallen
Jen Firlik  |  @jenfir3000
Jes Espinoza  |  @Jespi78
Jessica Davies  |  @jdmetalworks_
Jose Vaca |  @mav_rik
Juli Elin Toro  |  @Sunfunnels
Juliette Spirson  |  @spirson
Kaitlin Trataris  |  @kaitlintrataris
Kato Lawton  |  @KatoPopStudio
Keelan Sunglao-Valdez  |  @premiumkeek
Kenny Robinson  |  @notkendra
Kris Austin  |  @kristellaface
Lauren Crew  |  @laurencrew
Leah Korbin  |  @wrinklywrink
Lila Kahn  |  @lilakahn
Madeline Wilson  |  @machiavelcro
Maija Burnett  |  @maijabeee
Maria Fatima Urbi  |  @Paloma_in_black
Marie Metran  |  @mcm1216
Michelle San Agustin  |  @quichemeesh
Mollie Ito Roark  |  @mollitoroar
Monica Palos  |  @monicamarie5
Nam Black  |  @handxfire
Naomi Thompson  |  @NaomiStrange
Natasha Wilder  |  @Tashiworld
Nicole Dargahi (NDar)  |  @ndargahi
Nicole Gervacio  |  @nicolegervacio
Rachel Escoto  |  @pixelina
Rachel Welles  |  @rule_of_red
Roselly Monegro  |  @RoxieMo
Sara Diamond  |  @saramyrupdiamond
Sarah Deragon  |  @sarahderagon
Sharlynn Vee  |  @sv1
Sherese Elsey  |  @sherese_romo
Sierra Hawthorne  |  @srhawtho
Simone Blakeney  |  @ifwenever
Stephanie A Lindsey  |  @steph_lindsey
Theresa Bruckner  |  @tea_bea
Tina Noren  |  @tinaisrad
Vivian Chen  |  @vivianchenphoto

Congratulations, artists!

High five, especially to those artists showing art for the first time!

See the list of all artists who have shown work with Femme Cartel.


Nearly 150 Instagrammers submit work

17 Apr

Nearly one hundred and fifty lovers of Instagram submitted more than a 1300 photographs for consideration for the photography show Femme Cartel is curating.

True to Femme Cartel’s mission,

  • 70% of the entrants are female
  • more than half identified as “artists of Color”
  • ~50% expressed another identity (such as queer, Oakland native)
  • ~50% said this would be their first time in an art show, and
  • 20 artists ID-ed as “youth”

While Femme Cartel highlights SF/Oakland-area artists, primarily, submissions came in from locations including Nigeria, Australia, Germany, Norway, Mexico, Canada, North Carolina, Texas, New York City, and LA.

On Saturday, April 19, the curators will review and select the artists for the show, which will take place at Rock Paper Scissors gallery in the heart of Oakland “first Fridays” Art Murmur. Shortly after selection, all artists will be notified via email.

Then, the Femme Cartel community and the public will be notified, first via the Femme Cartel newsletter. To find out which artists are selected for the show and to hear about other Femme Cartel shows, news, and opportunities, sign up for our old fashioned email newsletter! 

Tips: 3 Key (Online) Ways to Boost Your Art Career

31 Mar

We know you’re busy making art, rocking out, making the world a better place, and loving up your community (and maybe even still working a day job or two).

But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a rockin online art presence. And make some $$ while you’re at it. Here are our latest tips for emerging artists.

  1. Invest in high quality photos of your art. If your art is incredible but your photo quality stinks, no one will know how badass your art is! (If you can’t pay a photographer full price, try finding a new photographer who will swap photography for art!)
  2. Sell your art 24-7. Have a web page where your fans can buy your art even while you’re creating more!
  3. Befriend the right social media—for you! Find the platform(s) you feel comfortable with–and excited about! (You don’t need to be on every platform; you just need to be consistent and authentic on the ones you’re on.)

If you found this helpful, sign up for our e-news so you never miss this kind of thing!

Also, we’d love to hear what works for you: let us know in the comments below what you think!


Femily & Christina