In this webinar, we had the privilege of sitting down with South Carolina-based artist and business owner Luis Cruz. Luis is the creative force behind “The Backroom Collection,” a website where he sells prints of his remarkable artwork. Throughout this interview, we delved deep into his experiences, artistic journey, his approach to e-commerce, the valuable insights he has to offer to fellow artists and art enthusiasts, and much more.
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Luis Cruz’s journey as an artist began in an unexpected way. He was inspired by a Facebook acquaintance who was making money selling canvases of sports imagery. Luis noticed an opportunity to provide more creative and unique choices than this individual. With a desire to explore his artistic talents and earn extra income, he embarked on a path that would ultimately define his career.
Starting as a novice, Luis began his artistic journey using Canva. However, he soon realized that to achieve the level of creativity he desired, he needed more advanced tools. He transitioned to Adobe Photoshop and committed himself to a rigorous learning process. Watching countless YouTube tutorials and dedicating six hours a day to practice, Luis honed his skills and significantly reduced the time required for his artwork.
One aspect that sets Luis apart as an artist is his deep passion for the Miami sports team. He explains that his art revolves around what he is genuinely passionate about. He conducts extensive research on players, their origins, and other details that only true Miami fans would notice. This niche focus has allowed him to connect with Miami natives on a personal level, creating a powerful emotional connection through his art.
While Miami sports remain his primary focus, Luis also accepts custom orders from clients who may not be Miami fans but still want his unique artistry. Luis has a section for “All Things Not Miami” where customers can find designs outside his usual niche. He had even created family portraits or unique requests. This flexibility and willingness to cater to diverse preferences have allowed him to expand his portfolio and provide a wider range of offerings.
Luis emphasizes the importance of finding a trustworthy vendor for dropshipping. He initially had an unsatisfactory experience with a different vendor but eventually found Lumaprints. His positive experience, coupled with our attention to detail, quality, and willingness to assist, led him to embrace dropshipping fully. By entrusting the production and shipping aspects to a reliable vendor, artists can focus more on their creativity and business growth.
Lumaprints’ gallery save feature on the website also allows Luis to create a seamless process for his store.
While artists have various avenues to sell their art, Luis shares his perspective on the advantages of e-commerce. He has tried doing sports conventions and galleries. In today’s digital age, time is of the essence, and online platforms offer artists the opportunity to reach a broader audience quickly. With the right vendor, artists can efficiently handle production and shipping, allowing them to focus on producing more art.
As a tip, Luis suggests putting your art in every medium you can. On his website, as an example, he offers a single design in t-shirts, mugs, canvas prints, etc.
Luis has shared his experience in attending sports autograph shows where athletes sign autographs and fans gather. These events provided an opportunity to showcase his art. He also reached out to vendors at these shows, offering them my designs at a discounted rate to sell alongside their merchandise. It’s a win-win because they can make a profit, and Luis gains exposure. Art shows and conventions are great for networking and learning from fellow artists.
Al Luis believes that understanding your audience is crucial for success. He advises fellow artists to pay attention to customer feedback, engage with their audience on social media, and constantly adapt to meet their preferences. Learning from both positive and negative feedback helps artists grow and refine their craft.
Running a successful art business alongside other commitments, such as a full-time job, pastoral duties, and family responsibilities, can be challenging. Luis emphasizes the importance of time management and efficient utilization of the limited time available. He recommends learning to identify what works for your audience and adjusting your focus accordingly.
During the webinar, Luis advised the viewers not to use photos without permission. Luis himself obtains permission to use the images of players and key figures in certain games by paying for and signing a contract for a specified time frame only. Once the agreed time frame is over, Luis will no longer have permission to use any image of the person in the contract.
He stressed the importance of obtaining legal rights as failure to do so may result in a ‘cease and desist’ order.
Luis Cruz’s journey as an artist is a testament to dedication, passion, and adaptability. His transition from a novice to a successful e-commerce artist, his niche focus, and his commitment to understanding his audience offer valuable lessons for aspiring artists. As he continues to thrive in the world of art and e-commerce, Luis serves as an inspiration for artists looking to make their mark in the digital age.
If you’re interested in learning more about Luis Cruz’s art and connecting with him, you can find him in the following places:
Watch this webinar through this link: https://youtu.be/B-moLsQA49w?si=yfIdNguxuoELjm4c
All previous and upcoming webinar videos are available on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/@lumaprints