Thursday, April 3, 2008

Bad Moon on the Horizon...?

Hawaii, it now appears, is entering stormy seas economically speaking... Last week, the largest single land holder on the island of Molokai announced that it was ceasing all operations, laying off all employees and shutting down it's two resorts, ranch, and small shopping village. This week, Aloha Airlines, one of the two longest operating interisland flight services in Hawaii, stopped all passenger flight services. Today I hear on the news that another mainland air service, ATA, has shut down also. ATA was a major discount airline that provided service to Maui and the rest of the state from several mainland cities. I'm hearing from friends that this spring break/easter holiday (traditionally one of the busiest times statewide for the tourism industry) was exceptionally weak. Does this mean that a major economic downturn is on the horizon? Only time will tell, I suppose. In the meantime, interisland flight airfares have already doubled and more overnight, gas prices, while holding steady for the past couple of weeks here on Maui, still hover just a few cents below the $4.00/gallon mark, food prices have been rising steadily for several months...

For me... this potential downturn means I really need to step up my marketing and I need to do it in the most cost effective manner possible. Does that mean resorting to email blasts to potential art buyers? I have mixed feelings about this approach. While certainly the most affordable solution (not to mention "green" method as no use of paper is involved), I fear that recipients find email spam more annoying than direct mail pieces. A secondary concern is that (and maybe this is changing in the new, modern, electronic world) we work to produce images that are primarily destined for the printed page. A direct mail piece is a tangible page that you can hold in your hand and can potentially showcase your work as it is intended to be viewed.

The above image is a new direct mail piece I was working on yesterday as part of my ongoing annual campaign. I am certainly no photoshop expert, having barely the skills to be considered dangerous. Neither am I a graphic designer. I am a big fan of design & designers. I firmly believe that good design can elevate imagery and visa versa. Great design when combined with great imagery can become something greater than the sum of it's parts.

In these uncertain times, cost effectiveness becomes a major consideration in almost every undertaking. My feeble attempts at self-design ended up being something I think may be useable. I must admit that I also enjoyed the process of putting the thing together. I have made attempts at this sort of thing before, but this is the first time I've ended up with something I think is good enough to send out. Now... to resolve this issue of how to distribute it.

It's raining steadily here this morning. I have an assignments to shoot outdoor environmental portraits of eight corporate executives at a major resort on the upper west side of the island. I'm waiting to hear if the shoot is still a go...

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