It started from someone offering to buy an Okinawa map that I created. Fast forward years later, as you are reading this, our Okinawa inspired products have been shipped around the world to those who love this small island I call home.
My name is Desmond Liang, co-founder and lead artist of Oki Social. I have been drawing what I call the Okinawa Experience since I moved to Okinawa in 2015. People have asked me the secret of creating artworks that will sell. My secret is simple and I am going to tell you in a moment. First I want to tell you why it is important for you to support artists.
Unlike your smartphone or your car, art doesn't speed things up nor it makes life more convenient. In fact, if you count all the artworks that have ever been created, only a few have become famous and even created movements. Most artwork never makes it to the public. Even they do, the majority of them will stay unnoticed.
Why do people still want to be artists?
People become artists because art is capable of speaking directly to a particular part of a human brain. The part where it does not understand English or any language, but it understands emotion and connection. The part that is capable of interpreting the story the artist is trying to tell us through his/her work. When we feel how the artist felt, when we extract the artist's emotion that has been weaved in the artwork, we are back to being human.
It is very difficult to create artworks that engage people. It takes time, experiments, and persistence. What I have presented to you is only 1% of everything I drew, the best 1%. The rest has never been seen because I don't feel connected with them. If they don't connect with me, I cannot connect with you through them. The questions though is will you do something if you know beforehand the success rate is 1%? I do anyway because I believe what I am doing is important. I know is important when I see people smile and keep saying "Yes" as they go through my #HappyOki series. I know it is important because someone had looked me in the eyes and told me What I am doing is very special to her and everyone she knows in Okinawa. So I keep drawing, it is worthy.
Today I want to invite you to walk with me on my journey. I am offering a fixed, low monthly cost membership that gives you access to the very best creations of mine and other Okinawa artists all year around. Most importantly, though this paid membership program, we go on a journey together for something important - creating artwork that speaks to people's heart about their greatest memory of Okinawa.
Back to my secret about creating artworks, and that is I don't draw to make a sale. I draw to make connections, and then the money follows when my audiences feel connected with me.
If you choose to support my mission by becoming a paid member today, you will soon find out what I am doing next. If decide to wait and see, I hope the next time you think of supporting an artist, I will be the one. Thank you so much for your time.