Instagram photo contest: enter to win!

You recently purchased a photo project, mug, or print from us… and now we want to see what it looks like in your home or office.  So, we’re running a little contest… and we need your help!


6 Steps for Hosting a Successful Event

36L BoothHosting an event is stressful. It’s a sleepless, thankless, hair-pulling-out experience.

There are hundreds of decisions to be made, each one seemingly critical and urgent. There are dozens of stakeholders to attend to, each one fundamental – at least in their own minds – to the success of the event. Then, there are all of the things that you can’t control (thank you, Mother Nature!). And, you’re supposed to stay calm, cool, and collected through it all. It’s enough send any sane person running for the hills.

Above all else, event organizers are looking out for the well-being and happiness of the attendees. And, from time to time, the participating artists and craft vendors can become an afterthought… even at art shows!

Having set up shop at more than 75 different events of all shapes and sizes over the last two years, we have seen both really good event management and bad. So, we’ve compiled the following list of six simple steps event organizers can take to dramatically – and at little to no cost! – improve the experience of the vendors in attendance. (more…)

Join Our Team!


36 Letters is looking to fill the following critically important positions. If you – or someone you know – are interested, email us with a 1) cover letter, 2) resume, and 3) list of three professional references. Thanks!



Don’t Forget the Art

Stories abound about the seasoned paratrooper who, after thousands of successful jumps, one day steps out of the plane only to realize too late that he has forgotten his parachute*. By contrast, it’s hard to image a novice jumper ever making the same mistake. Due maybe more to nerves than know-how, it’s safe to assume that she would check her gear meticulously, ensuring it is connected properly, free of knots, and so forth.


Like the seasoned paratrooper, however, I recently showed up at a festival in downtown Baltimore only to realize that I had forgotten to bring my art. Read that sentence again. I am an artist, one who is interested in sharing my work with others and, if the planets align perfectly, perhaps even selling a few pieces. I have hawked my wares at hundreds of shows in the last two years. And, yet, I forgot to pack my art when going to an event where people might be interested in buying it!!!

Thankfully, I had plenty of supplies with me, so was able to fashion some new pieces on the spot. It wasn’t perfect, but got me through the day. But, it got me thinking: How can you prevent yourself from showing up at your next event unprepared?  With that thought in mind, here are a few tips. (more…)



Last month, we posted an article with a few tips for how current and/or aspiring artists can adjust their process or products to make their ultimate sale more likely.  But, that’s just half the battle, right? Once you’ve found your audience, you need to figure out how to deliver the work to them in a way that enhances their appreciation of it. So, here are a few tips we’ve found helpful in doing just that. (more…)

Make Good Art… and Sell it Too!


Prince – whose tragic and unexpected death rocked the music world in April – was incomparable on-stage talent.

When asked what it was like to be the best guitarist alive, Eric Clapton is said to have responded, “I don’t know. Ask Prince.”

But, he was also an uncompromising innovator off the stage as well. And it would be short-sighted to view his career simply through the lens of the musical notes he sang and played. He also pioneered multi-media album extras, online ordering, and subscription services, to name a few, many of which became mainstream practices soon after.

From the jump, he was almost maniacally focused on ownership and worked tireless to ensure that his music remained his own. What he understood better than most was that “delivering the music was just as important as making it.”

The same, it seems, must be said for visual artists as well as performing ones. Making the art is only one piece of the puzzle, though admittedly an important one (and often the one which pulled us into this profession in the first place). Finding an audience for it and delivering it to them is equally and, at times, more, important. (more…)

Adventures in Iceland

Even photo letter artists need a vacation every now and again.  So, with a big birthday on the horizon and a weeklong spring break from my lacrosse team on the calendar, I wrangled up two friends and booked a trip to Iceland.

Iceland, you might ask?  Yes, Iceland!

At just under 40,000 sq. mi., Iceland is roughly the size of Ohio, and would register as only the 36th largest U.S. state.  And, with only about 320,000 inhabitants, the entire country’s population would count as the U.S.’s 57th largest city, in between Santa Ana, CA and Corpus Christi, TX.


So, why go to Iceland?  It’s cold there!.  Um, yes.  But, here are a few reasons: (more…)

Fill our May Day Basket

As you may know, the May Day Basket is a tradition dating back hundreds of years in which people collected flowers and candies throughout late April and then stuffed them into baskets which they then hung on the door of neighbors, friends, and loved ones.


This year, we’re bringing this delightful tradition into the 21st century, and we need your help!  We are going to build a May Day Basket filled with photos of flowers – picture wire stems blooming from a wicker basket with laminated and colorful photographs of your favorite flowers clipped to the ends.  It’s going to be fantastic, and here’s how you can contribute: (more…)

Our Collection

Some people collect stamps, others collect baseball cards.  Some collect elephants, comic books, lunch boxes, and Pez dispensers.  Some even collect toothpick boxes (really, they’re called entredentolignumologists).

We, at 36 Letters, take a different route.  We collect mantras.  We get them from leaders, writers, entertainers, athletes, and everyday folks.  We find them in books, magazines, videos, movies, podcasts, and speeches.  We save them in notes on our phone, on the whiteboard in our office, and in scribbled post-its which are stuck on the mirror.  And, we find in them inspiration, direction, of clarity of purpose.


Below is a non-exhaustive list of a few of our current favorites.  Read through them more than once.  There is often more to them than first meets the eye. (more…)

Finding inspiration, part II

Our recent post about finding inspiration got us thinking.

There may not be a single genre of today’s media mashup more geared towards this task than the modern college commencement address. The speakers are accomplished and multi-talented, the topics are expansive and pertinent, and the messages are uplifting and intoxicating (at least mentally).


But, some speakers do rattle on for far too long. And, some veer off-course or, really, seem to have no point at all. So, we wondered,  what does make a really good commencement speech?

Rather than answer this outright, however, we decided to share with you a few of our favorites, and then let you draw your own conclusions on their similarities and differences. True enthusiasts of the genre can find an exhaustive list on NPR’s website. What follows, then, is a truncated list of some of the best ones we have found. We hope you find them interesting, thought-provoking, and above all, inspiring! Enjoy. (more…)