Opening night

Yesterday was the big day for us here at Stuckinplastic; we had our second group show in Seattle at the Bryan Ohno Gallery. It went so much better than we had expected! It was packed in the gallery with people looking, talking and interacting with our pictures. Shelly and I were at the …


“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” ― Heraclitus Sometimes the pace of progress is so slow its almost impossible to see. Then along comes an event, like the upcoming opening, that illuminates just how much progress has been made.


I really value Boris and his connection to Big Inc. He is always asking me the right questions when I begin to waver like: What is your ROI?  As an artist it is easy to sit in ones ivory tower creating photographs and not take the time to step back and think about ideas like “Return on Investment (ROI)”.

What is ROI? It is a business term used to measure rates of return on money invested in an economic project to determine if it is a succes and should be continued. It is a slippy formula at best and like all business ideas, I am wary of taking any of it too seriously.

Yet I can’t help but look at what I am doing and wonder if it is all worth it.

My toy photography has definitely passed beyond the realm of hobby, beyond the simple idea of passion and moved into that grey area of commerce. I spend a considerable amount of my creative energy working on this blog, keeping up to date on Instagram, trying to figuring out Facebook and creating a presence on Google+. I even manage to spend a few minutes every day editing or actually taking photos. Of course when I look at the actual money that I spend collecting the latest mini figure or money spent ordering custom mini figures, the cost is even higher.

I realize I am in pretty deep here with this toy photography project when I consider both real and creative costs. So as a responsible business person, I have to ask myself, what is my return on this investment?

Would I be taking photographs of toys and LEGO if there was not a social media platform to be posting the results too? Absolutely! Like Boris and Kristina before me, I have written that I would be doing this if social media did not exist. Would I be doing it to this large an extent and with this much passion? If I am honest with myself, probably not.

So what do I get out of all this energy and money invested in what is undoubtedly a money losing proposition?

  • A sense of self. It is a whole lot more fun to introduce myself at parties as a LEGO photographer than as a bookkeeper. Trust me the conversations that result from discussing toy photography and LEGO are far more interesting than the intricacies of QuickBooks and the best online filing systems.
  • Community. I know we have talked about this before, but it can never be stressed enough. In a world that seems to be falling apart at the seams it is wonderful to connect with like minded individuals across the globe. We have written about how amazing it was for all of us who attended the Baltic Toy Safari to meet for the first time as strangers, yet we all knew that we weren’t, not really. We had interacted enough on different social media platforms that we came together as friends. It is this community spirt of joy and friendship that keeps me coming back.
  • An opportunity to give back. Honestly I love sharing with you my experiences as a photographer, both in my distant past as well as current adventures. I love looking for interesting articles, documentaries, mini figures and photo tips to share here. I love it when I see these thoughts and ideas reflected back to me through the filter of social media.

You are probably wondering where all this ROI discussion is coming from. If you are not aware, the StuckinPlasic crew is about to open a second group show at the Bryan Ohno Gallery on November 5th. As the bills begin to come due on this next show I try to keep my eye on what is really important, the intangibles that I outlined above. I also have the thrill (and no, I do not use that word lightly) of seeing my images off the screen, printed on fine paper and framed beautifully. It is as if these five framed prints are the culmination of an entire years work. It is a heady experience.

Can an artist look to business formulas to assess whether or not an art project is successful and should be continued? In my opinion, you can and should. I think that no matter what decisions you make you have to make them looking at all the data, both financial and emotional.

No matter how successful (or unsuccessful) this next group show will be for me personally, I know I will be coming back for more. Although I may have to tweak the formula.

~ xxSJC

What return do you get from your toy photography investment that makes it worth while?

This may be one of my first successful images, but I still count it as one of my favorites.

The Dark Underbelly

I think we artists don’t talk enough about the emotional cost of putting on a show like In LEGO, We Connect. We tend to focus on the successful press, impressive sales and positive feedback but never talk about the dark underbelly. When you put your entire heart and soul into creating something meaningful out of nothing, there …

Chris Pirillo

One of the more memorable opportunities to come out of this whole experience of “In LEGO, We Connect” has been meeting and interacting with Chris Pirillo, a local and influential tech blogger here in Seattle. It seems Chris loves the LEGO mini figure as much as we do and was more than happy to meet us at the gallery for a personal tour. It seems Chris has been following Boris, Vesa and I for some time on Instagram and is one of our biggest fans.

When Kitty and I decided to reach out to Chris when we were setting up our PR plan, we had no idea we would be connecting with such a big fan and one so willing to help us spread the word about our work. Not only did Chris come to the gallery and interview all three of us, he put together this really incredible video; it is a wonderful snap shot of a moment in time. It is also a great glimpse of the work in the gallery and approximately four minutes from each of us trying to talk coherently about our work.

I hope you will give it a watch and learn a little bit more about the folks behind StuckinPlastic.

Thank you Chris for taking the time to make this awesome video and share it with your community. It is a real gift and we are forever in your debt.


You can follow Chris on Twitter, Facebook, Google and Instagram. 


The Bryan Ohno Gallery

We have talked much about the photographers behind the LEGO photography show In LEGO, We Connect, but we have not mentioned the man who has made it all possible: Bryan Ohno of the Bryan Ohno Gallery. I would like to take a moment to talk about what led to this partnership …

The Why of Editions

One thing we have not talked a lot about on the blog is selling our work. Our ultimate goal is to create a self sustaining loop of creators and collectors of amazing toy photography. Since photography is easily reproduced the concept of editions is an important one to address. All three of …

Opening Night

Opening night is an evening that is both dreaded and anticipated by any artist. I spent much of last week ignoring opening night (denial is not just a river in Egypt), but the appointed time did arrive and we all made our way to the Bryan Ohno Gallery. I am not going to …

Leap of Faith

There are not enough superlative adjectives to describe the week that just transpired: excellent, magnificent, wonderful, marvelous, remarkable, unparalleled and of course…awesome. But before any of that could transpire, a tremendous leap of faith had to be taken by all three principle members of StuckinPlastic. When I went to pick …