The Bradcast

Hello and welcome to whatever it is I’m doing now.

Currently, in brief, I’ve got my own TV channel because the internet is a futuristic wonderland, and I’m using that channel to paint pictures.

And some other stuff.

It’s kind of a Winter project that has evolved from the live painting I’d been doing over the Summer.

Bradcast

The Bradcast is a show in three segments broadcast live over several hours in a night. It’s very much like traditional television with a schedule, but it’s live, interactive, and commercial free.

The first segment is live painting, music, and talk; kind of like Bob Ross, but longer and with happy little vampires instead of clouds.

Broadcasting directly from my canvas to your screen, you can tune in and watch me construct whatever image I’m working on, brush-stroke by brush-stroke in real-time. Often I’ll discuss my processes and projects as I work, and when I’m not doing that, I’m curating my favourite tunes for deep dives into the flow of painting.

Sometimes I’m on digging into big serious landscapes from session to session over a week or two. Sometimes it’s character design and concept art; sometimes experimental doodling; abstract work; or illustrations for some of my written projects.

Whatever it is that I’m working on, I’ll schedule out blocks for each in the show notes so that you can pick and choose which you’d like to tune in for.

It’s kind of what I’d be doing anyway, except now that I’ve got people from around the world dropping in over my shoulder, it keeps me at my highest level of discipline.

It’s all live, unscripted, and so far, unarchived. That means, unlike all those big evergreen podcast forests out there, this show only goes out once; fresh, unfiltered, and unedited.

I leave behind nothing but paintings.

I may begin recording sessions later for time-lapsed replays, but for now this raw, experimental state is starting to feel more like a feature than a bug.

The second segment of the Bradcast is Blanket Fort Adventure Theatre.

Blanketfort

When I was a kid, the best, most luxurious way to watch a movie was by building a blanket fort around a TV, hooking up a VCR, and blasting through a stack of rented VHS tapes with your pals over a sleepover weekend.

In the spirit of those days, I’ve added an after-hours segment to the Bradcast where you can tune in to see the movies, TV shows, clips, music videos, and other performances that I love and recommend. From pulpy action adventure films to cartoons, foreign films, documentaries, stand up comedy, and rare curiosities – I’m playing the stuff that keeps me inspired with its weird, reckless creativity.

The schedule changes every week. Set your phone reminders accordingly!

Neon

The last segment is the Neon Underground; a station break where I put in a session with some classics from the realm of video games from the 80s and 90s. Think of it as classic rock radio FOR YOUR EYES.

And yes, those are fully the Pacman Ghosts haunting that forest in the image above, and that is definitely a 1UP mushroom karate-fighting a Chanterelle.

The tree might be a cat.

Here’s how to watch:

You can tune in to the Bradcast on any device. You can watch it on the web over at www.twitch.tv/bradcollins on your computer or tablet, but you can also download the twitch app on your mobile device or game console and watch it that way.

I personally watch (when I’m not painting) by streaming it through the twitch app on my Playstation connected to a digital projector pointed at a huge screen.

It’s not as complicated as that actually sounds.

Just grab the app on one of your devices (be it console or mobile device) and then visit my profile there to watch and/or subscribe.

I post a schedule to the show notes page every Sunday so you can figure out what bits of the show you might be interested in over the course of the week. Don’t worry, if you forget, I’ll nudge you on whichever social media platforms you follow me on so you’ll know when I get started.

When all is said and done for the night, I post works in progress, lists of albums played, trailers, clips, bugs, and relevant links to things talked about to the same show notes page.

The beauty of this quasi-radio-television-internet format is that there’s lots of ways to have the Bradcast around. Here’s a few suggestions:

  • Watch and listen to it all! Hey, why not? It’s kind of like a painting lesson with some music with cartoons and movies. I’d watch that!
  • If the paintings are moving too slow for you, just minimize the video and put it in the background like it was a radio station. The music is always good, and the banter passable. Tweet the DJ if you want to make a request, shout-out, or dedication.
  • You could mute the audio and put my broadcast on one of your screens in the house as a living painting. Whatever I’m working on over the course of hours will be a one-of-a-kind live performance never to be repeated. Good, bad, or ugly, it might make an interesting/fascinating/disappointing/enchanting conversation piece for your party.
  • Build a blanket fort around your favorite screen in time for the cartoons and movies to start.
  • Put the Bradcast on a screen and paint, draw, dance, or create along with me. I’ll be your personal creative workout tape.
  • Discover new and ever more absurd ways of watching the Bradcast and send them to me so I can feature it.

Here’s how to interact:

Hey! Are you a fan of cool movies, art, and music? How about comic books? Video games? Pop-Culture? Yeah?

I mean, why aren’t we hanging out?

If you like that stuff, and particularly, if you like MAKING that stuff, then there’s a good chance that you’re my people. If you’re like me, you’ve probably got barrels full of dry powder waiting for just a spark of outside enthusiasm to make it explode. Am I right? If so, bring some of your creativity around and we’ll make fireworks as big and noisy as you like.

That’s the general. In specific, you can interact with the Bradcast in a bunch of ways.

  • Twitch: There’s a chat window built right into the side of the channel window. Remember the old IRC days? Kind of like that.
  • Twitter: Tweet at me and I’ll pass it along to the audience. Song requests? Dedications? Shout outs? Right here.
  • Instagram: Art and photo-journal. Follow for show notifications and pictures of stuff.
  • Facebook: Follow me on facebook to check out my artwork, but also join the Bradcast facebook group. That’s the place you want to be if you want to do the community fam-jam thing.
  • Tumblr: I post the schedules and show-notes to Tumblr. You can follow it directly for all the news you could want about everything going on in the Bradcast.

Here’s how to help:

I’ve been broadcasting my painting sessions intermittently since June, but I’ve only been at it in this more rigorous, structured format for a couple of weeks so far. I can use all the help I can get in terms of audience building and feedback.

Share: 
Share this article. Share the schedule. Share the links to the shows when I start blasting them out there on Twitter and Facebook.

If you’ve got friends who are interested in art, film, music, literature, comic books, video games, ninjas, technology and experimental broadcasting – send them my way. I know they can be incredibly tiring, so I will do my very best to take them off your hands and tire them out.

Interact: 
If you’re enjoying what you’re seeing and hearing, jump in and be part of it! Send me comments, questions, recommendations, dedications. Live tweet the blanket fort. Grab a sketchbook and make my broadcast your art time. Draw with me. Paint with me. Send me pictures. Send me pizzas and pizza emojis. Find other people watching along with you and send them stuff. Community!

Be My Guest:
Are you an interesting person working on interesting things? Perhaps you’d like to be a guest on the Bradcast! Contact me, and we can talk about getting you on the show to talk about you and the projects you’re working on.

If you’ve got products relevant to the show, we can talk about sponsorship as well.

Patronize me: 
Vote with your dollar to support the programming you enjoy. The Bradcast is free, live, and full to the brim with interesting content designed to teach, inspire, and entertain. You can help keep it on the air by throwing a dollar or two in my hat, or by subscribing to my projects via Patreon. This isn’t money that’s going to a big corporation, or a bunch of managers and middlemen. This is going straight to me, the artist, to keep a roof over my head and coffee in my veins. It’s a tough gig being an artist some days, but I love it. With very little help from a few people, it could be so much easier and I could love it even more.

Advise me: 
If you’re an experienced radio person, live-streamer, or social media expert, help me by making my game better. Help me grow my audience and smooth out some of the rough edges (but not all of them).

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Do Patronize Me: A Word on Art and Social Media

In my last piece of writing, I mentioned some plans I had going forward for returning my house to being a drop-in art studio, gathering place, and jam spot. In order to make moves on those designs, I’ll have to make sure I can keep the place first.

I’m a commercial illustrator, writer, and fine artist with a good portfolio. My schedule is clearer and my bank account emptier than it need be, so I’m looking for work and I’m looking for sales.

 

Okay, now that that’s out of the way…

Yeah, so freelancing is a strange gig. When it works, it’s beautiful. You get a clear brief, half pay up front, finish the work, an adjustment or two, then satisfaction, final payments, and fireworks over the castle.

The rest of the time it’s white-water rafting through trial, error, and sudden drop-offs.

It’s the same for everyone else out there trying to do it. I’m no special case; and though it’s easier than ever in some ways, it’s also bewildering to navigate these new markets that grow ever more granular even as they expand and vanish (as if beating your demons to the door every day wasn’t enough).

Fenn

A portrait study of actress Sherilynn Fenn. Not really pertinent to the article, but it’s my latest piece, it took me about three hours to paint, and I’m for hire AF.

 

New platforms, apps, networks, and techniques for making noise in the cacophonous hurricane of social media come along every day – and then there’s the challenge of making that meet the real world with shipping, printing, pricing, and trying to haul your products around in physical space.

It’s like having to reinvent your job every few months, whether you know how to or not.

It’s a strange road in a strange land, but I’ve learned a thing or two to share if you’re someone interested in supporting the artistic community, or otherwise looking for new markets and strategies for your own creative work.

1. Hire us!:
Number one with a bullet. The best way for me to keep the wolf out the door is by the sweat of my brow.

Did you know you can hire me? You can! I’m totally for hire.

If you know an artist, writer, musician or someone in an adjacent field, your best way to support them is to pay them to do the things that they do well. Money and validation go down like rocket fuel to an appreciative creator.

We know you don’t always need an article written or a graphic designed, but you might be connected to those that do. If you can’t hire, hook us up to the grapevine.

2. Buy Our Work:
I sell prints of my work on the cheaper end of the sales spectrum, and if I sell even just one in a month, I can cover most of my rent.

Two sales in a month? With a contract on the go? If I could do that every month, I’d be a grateful, happy little camper.

In this kaleidoscopic economy of gigs and makers, your dollar is your voting power. It’s your water in the garden. You get to choose what grows and what the harvest will look like after.

If, say, there’s a painter or writer you enjoy and you want to buy one of their pieces, but they haven’t quite produced something with the subject you’d like most, well, allow me to joyfully refer you to item 1 on this list.

3. Like, Share, Subscribe, Interact:
One of the major transactions in our current society is the “like”.

In the previous iteration of social media, liking something just meant you liked it. Remember that? It was just a friendly little communication directly from you to the creator of something you like that said “hey, nice!” without having to compose an e-mail or track them down in the real world to offer a congratulatory handshake.

Now? Well, that’s still true, but a “like” is also part of what drives the cream to the top. The current algorithmic paradigm grants wider access to  bigger audience pools for each like, share, retweet, or other interaction, while also signing up your account to see more of the same. Perhaps we’ve collectively become aware of this and our online interactions are now doled out sparingly like royal favour instead of friendly finger-pistols.It’s a slap on the back, but it’s also kind of an endorsement on a public ledger. I think that makes us leery whether we interact with what we enjoy or not.

You can buy likes now. And followers. In my hunting for freelance work, I could see down dark stretches of grimy digital alleys where jobs were on offer to go in on bulk reviewing, liking, retweeting, or 4 starring things. It’s part of the system now, and the independent creator needs those kind of supportive actions from people that really enjoy their work to get noticed at all amidst that kind of fog.

Long story short (well, shorter than the essay I just about saddled up for), your liking and sharing is way more important than you realize. If you can’t hire or buy from an artist you enjoy, then your likes, shares, and other interactions are just as welcome. You are the gatekeepers of the network.

Your genuine support in this regard also does wonders to combat the deeply ingrained impostor syndrome, anxiety, melancholy, and sense of defeat common to all humans.

4. Patronage:
New to the social media landscape (but not that new) is the concept of creative patronage. Websites like Kickstarter, Gofundme, and Patreon allow you to financially subscribe to your favourite creators with one-time or regular donations that help keep them focused on doing the things you want to see them doing instead of chasing down work that keeps them from it.

As a business model, it’s something that productions like vlogging, streaming, and podcasting rely on while artists, writers, musicians, and other performers, too, are finding a way to tap into it as a side revenue pool.

Usually these kind of operations grant you access to exclusive content from the creator such as behind the scenes material, works in progress, or tutorials. At higher sponsorship tiers, you might find yourself showing up in the novel you funded, or getting an invite to the album launch party of your favorite band. Throw an independent creator a big enough bone and you could be the star of their next video game. It’s pretty wild.

Again, more than ever, the audience has the power to choose exactly what kind of art they want to see thriving in the world.

It’s not charity. Charity would be just giving someone money because they need it without exchange. This is an exchange. It’s a way of supporting the general output of creators that you enjoy financially without having to make a major purchase or fill your house with their stuff. Instead of passively absorbing commercial advertising around the content delivered to you by a major publisher, you’re spending your money directly on the things you enjoy, knowing that you’re personally sliding some cash into the pocket of the people making it and not the corporate middleman.

It’s like a general employment contract you have a share in with the rest of a community of other patrons, or the subscription fee to the monthly magazine that is the output of a creator.

5. Collaboration and Cross Promotion:
I live in a town that’s so full of creative folk I can’t walk down the street without tripping over one or two that I’ve never met before, and probably a dozen more that I have. Artists, poets, writers, actors, musicians and everything in between. It’s crazy.

On the one hand, it’s wonderful to live in a place where I can collaborate and explore with like-minded people who all bring a unique vision to the table.

On the other hand, we’re all mostly broke and racing down blind alleys toward the same cheese. We’re among the most appreciative of each-other’s work, but also the least capable of buying any of it.

That’s where cross-promotion and collaboration come in.

Like the place I live in, the whole interenet is a small town full of creative people just like you looking to make a good connection.

Whatever field you or another creator inhabit, you can work together on SOMETHING together. Whatever that thing becomes, it’s something that potentially has twice the audience it might have otherwise had, and might reach into completely different markets.

If I want to do a bit of cross-promotion, I usually conduct an interview with someone in a field I find interesting. It doesn’t have to be art. If it’s good, my interview becomes part of the press materials that they can use to promote themselves, and in the process, their audience comes into contact with my work and vice-versa.

Collaborations, in addition to all the huge benefits of crossing stylistic swords with another mind, are another excellent way to foster cross promotion. It pushes both artists to stretch outward toward each-other from whatever part of the artistic spectrum they originate, and it’s a simple way for you to try on each-other’s audiences for a moment.

Also, just the notion that two individual talents are combining to produce something new is inherently exciting for everyone. It gives you a +5 curiosity bonus on all dice rolls and might draw extra buzz.

So, if you want an interview, or want to collaborate on a piece, let’s talk.

 
Personally, I’m not all that far away from having a good business on my hands. I need to stay busy producing new products to sell, while also connecting with paying clients to make it work.

I’m also not that far away from going homeless. It’s a strange place to be. A knife’s edge every month.

I’m confident that with just a few extra wins here and there, I’ll have made it to a place where it’s less about survival, and more about thriving.

If you need something painted, written, or designed by me – I’d be all kinds of grateful for the work, and I’ll do my best to make it live. If you don’t need anything custom crafted like that, have a look around my print shop and see if anything catches your eye.

If none of that is your cup of tea, then check out my Patreon account. I’m just getting the hang of it still, but I’ll have plenty to offer my patrons as exclusive content as time goes by. The more support from happy patrons I have, the more stuff I can paint, write, and design for everyone.

If you can’t do any of that, then please carry on liking, sharing, and subscribing as I release new work.

Much gratitude for all that you do already. Until next time, I’m going to stay busy making as much noise with my work as I can.

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