Every artist struggles with the tension that exists between the sacredness of their art and the commercial side of art and I am no exception. When I was an art student in college years ago I was, like many of my peers, a purist and art was all about passion and expression. I never gave thought to the wider world of marketing and brand building because my thoughts were consumed with creating meaningful art. Over the years after experiencing the pull of both worlds I've concluded that the goal of creating art at its deepest level is to share it with the world. Placing my art on quality products has ultimately allowed me to do this. I have seen this done both poorly, thus cheapening the art and I have also seen this done with integrity and class. As an artist my non-negotiables when considering showcasing my art on a gift product are these. Is the product of the highest quality? It is made in the USA? Does it represent the spirit of my art well? I have been aware that more often than not artists that pour their souls into their art and create works of excellence usually struggle to make a living with their art because the chasm that exists between their left brain and right brain seems too insurmountable to cross. Conversely I have seen much mediocre, soulless art succeed because the marketing mind behind the art understands how to navigate the high seas of marketing, branding and merchandising. At the end of the day I find comfort and encouragement in the fact that my art will reach thousands of people that I would never have the privilege to meet personally. In every one of my shirts that is worn with pride, in every one of my mugs that people choose to sip their favorite coffee out of, in every puzzle of mine that is spread across the family dining room table I am sharing myself through my art in a way that the art student I was half a lifetime ago could never have imagined.