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Meet J.J. Long of JJArtworks

Today we’d like to introduce you to J.J. Long.

Since childhood, J.J. has always had an inclination for art in all its forms. He loved drawing in coloring books, doing pencil sketches, and singing in the choir as a male soprano in his family’s church. J.J. continued taking art classes throughout elementary school, middle school and high school and decided to attend the University of New Hampshire where he received a bachelors of arts degree with a focus in oil painting in 2003.

After graduating from UNH, Long began surviving solely off of his oil painting in 2005. He made his living from selling his oil paintings at gallery shows, open studios, art festivals, coffee shops, and art exhibitions all over New England and also from being hired to do commission work for clients such as pet portraits and murals. In conjunction with his oil painting career, J.J. aggressively began pursuing a music career as well. In 2004 he joined the rock band “Asystole” which started a great foundation for his music career. He enjoyed performing on stages all across New England, releasing an EP, and doing a few east coast tours. When the group disbanded in 2007, Long took a year off from music to further establish his fine art career, pay off some debt, and create more stability for his art business called JJArtworks™. After J.J. had taken enough time off to stabilize his art business, he got the “band” itch again and decided to audition for other professional music groups.

In 2008 Long joined the metal band “Hell Within” based out of Lowell, MA. At the time Hell Within was already signed to German/American label Lifeforce Records which gave them great credibility in the U.S. and European markets. In 2010 the band signed with Thorp Records and in July of that year, they released their Thorp debut full-length cd entitled “God Grant Me Vengeance” which was well received by fans. During his tenure with the band, J.J. was able to participate in 3 Full U.S. Tours and a few east coast tours. Through the rigorous touring lifestyle, he was able to gain a great perspective on the evolving music industry and apply many of the marketing tactics that he learned from the music business into his fine art career as well. Due in large part to the fact that J.J. wanted to focus primarily on his oil painting career, the band disbanded on November 11, 2011.

For all of 2012, Long focused primarily again on his oil painting career seeking out more gallery representation and also touring New England relentlessly, this time with his EZ-Up Tent and paintings in hand rather than musical equipment. From May 2012 – October 2012, J.J. participated in over 50 art festivals/shows during the peak Spring, Summer, and Fall seasons. His relentless commitment to the “road show” lifestyle helped alleviate much of the financial stress he was experiencing in his life at that point. Toward the end of 2012, Long decided to refine his art style even more by branching away from traditional realism and focusing primarily on fantasy and surreal art.

In March of 2013, J.J. began pursuing a professional acting career in conjunction with his painting career. Long discovered that conveying the human emotion behind the camera lens was another creative path that sparked a transformation in his life. J.J. has performed in a number of short independent films, commercials, industrial videos, and web series. He has also done extra work for some larger networks on television such as Lifetime, HBO, and Netflix. As a natural transition from the acting world long discovered the art of voice over and took classes at Soundtrack Studios in Boston, MA.

In February of 2015, Long created a new branch of his business called “JJArtworks™ Paint Party Professionals” which specializes in social painting events. He now teaches “paint and sip” parties where people get the chance to create a painting on canvas while enjoying a cocktail or an appetizer, socializing, and relaxing in a comfortable environment. His company provides all of the art materials along with setup, cleanup, and 2 hours of painting instruction. The company specializes in private parties, corporate events, office parties, fundraisers, team building events, kid’s parties, birthday parties, date nights, and more.

In January of 2016, J.J. relocated his paint party business to the Western Avenue Studios in Lowell, MA. The company also turned into an LLC that year and began the process of expanding with the addition of new licensees, artists, and employees. J.J. decided to put a hold on his music and acting careers while he spent the necessary time building the foundation of his paint party business. His goal was to break into the National marketplace within the next 2 years.

Now in 2017, J.J. has relocated his headquarters to the Appleton Mills in Lowell, MA where he is running and operating his paint party business. This year, the company finished creating the JJArtworks™ Licensee Program which consists of over 2.5 hours of training videos, tutorial videos, and an extensive training manual to train artists across the country how to run and operate their own paint party business using the JJArtworks™ trademark, business systems, and their knowledgeable support staff. The licensee program has been a success for the company, and JJArtworks continues to hire licensee artists across the country to grow their brand and life’s mission, to spread the joy of painting to the masses.

In August of 2017, J.J. created the newest branch of the JJArtworks brand called “JJArtworks™ Fine Art”.

JJArtworks™ Fine Art consists of all of the founder’s professional artwork he has done throughout the years such as original oil and acrylic paintings, murals, and commissioned work, as well as kickstarting a new era of original paintings consisting of surreal imagery infused with elements of spirituality and fantasy concepts. Along with the reemergence of J.J.’s professional artwork, JJArtworks™ Fine Art also features a sleek looking online storefront where customers can buy prints of the founder’s work as well as original paintings. J.J. plans on hiring other artists in the future to also sell their artwork via the JJArtworks™ Fine Art network.

Now in 2018, J.J. plans to add a new music and audio branch to JJArtworks™. The company just invested money in a state of the art sound recording booth and they plan to record music, do voiceovers, and narrate audiobooks as another expansion of JJArtworks™. As J.J.’s love for art grows in all media types, so will the JJArtworks™ brand. It is with this umbrella name that J.J. and his artists seek to add value to the world, through their creative passions across all mediums.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I think the main struggle I’ve had as an artist (along with many other artists) is finding a way to earn consistent income. I feel like the whole being criticized for your work and having people dislike your art is the easy part. I have a fairly thick skin so that’s never been the issue with me. As an entrepreneur, you never know when the next commission gig is going to come your way or if you’ll make a good profit on your next art festival, gallery exhibition, event, etc.

It’s the same thing with the music scene too, you never know who’s going to come to your shows or if you’ll draw a good crowd to your next concert and sell enough cd’s at your merch table to pay rent. And the same goes for acting and voice-over work, you can audition until your blue in the face, but you’ll never know when you’re going to book that next commercial, industrial, film, etc. that can actually pay you (rather than doing free work all the time) or propel your career to the next level.

I think the feeling of uncertainty is the worst and as an artist you are always vulnerable, not knowing when funds are coming in while at the same time trying to protect your reputation, your creativity, and your voice. It’s this weird feeling where deep down inside you know that you’re doing what you’re meant to be doing, but there’s no roadmap or recipe for success and you just have to have blind faith that everything will work out. I’ve been self-employed as an artist for over 13 years now, and I think it wasn’t until a few years ago that I finally made peace with myself and came to the realization that the “fear and uncertainty” aspect of being an artist was something that will never go away.

So instead of fighting it, I’ve just learned to embrace the fear and sort of coexist with it, and as a result, my fear is more of like a white noise that is softly buzzing in the background.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about JJArtworks – what should we know?
JJArtworks, LLC is an art and entertainment business (est. 2005) that was founded by painter, actor, singer, writer, and voice-over artist J.J. Long. What once started out as an oil painting business has now grown into a social painting event company that also plans to create music, film, and voice over projects. As J.J.’s love for art grows in all media types, so will the JJArtworks™ brand. It is with this umbrella name that J.J. and his artists seek to add value to the world, through their creative passions across all mediums.

We are most known for our paint party events where we teach guests how to create a painting on canvas from start to finish. We provide the full art materials, 2 hours of painting instruction, setup and cleanup of the event, and take professional photos of the event. Our events are really fun and we pride ourselves on allowing our customers to paint whatever subject matter they want to paint. We really try to encourage people’s artistic license and freedom when it comes to our events, and we don’t expect our guests to be carbon photocopiers when they paint with us. We want them to experiment, unwind, and unleash their creativity on canvas.

We specialize in private parties and can set up our events in any location you request such as your private home, office, conference room, school, church, bar, restaurant, hall, or any other type of community space. We do adult paint parties, kids parties, fundraisers, baby showers, team building workshops, birthday parties, office parties, bachelorette parties, holiday parties, date nights, and more.

What sets JJArtworks apart from other companies is our vision. Right now we are known best for the social painting event branch of the company, but we plan on expanding into other areas of artistry such as music, voice over, film, publishing, animation, etc. We will always be fine-tuning and expanding our paint party business, but we have a dream to cater to all of the arts and add immense value through all these different art mediums.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
The qualities and characteristics that we feel are most important to our success as a company are our abilities to effectively listen to our customers. If our customers aren’t satisfied, we’re doing things wrong and we might as well through in the towel now. We do what we do because we love to do it and we want to share that experience with our customers.

When I was teaching paint parties in the beginning, I only offered three brush sizes to our customers; small, medium, and large. What I didn’t realize was that my “small” brush was actually too big for most of my customers and they couldn’t get the intricate level of details that they wanted in their paintings. After several customers gave me feedback on how the “small” brush was difficult to use, I decided to suck it up and purchase a fourth brush size, which I called the “tiny baby brush”. The “tiny baby brush” has since been a big hit with my customers because now they can paint thin straight lines and signing their paintings is a breeze.

If I hadn’t listened to my customers, they would still be having a mediocre time and I wouldn’t get as many bookings or rave reviews. So listening to our customers is one of our trade secrets, even though it’s probably the most basic thing a company could do.

Pricing:

  • Adult Paint Party – $35 per person (Includes full painting supplies, 2 hours of painting instruction, setup & cleanup of your event, and photos of your event).
  • Kids Paint Party – $30 per child (Includes full painting supplies, 2 hours of painting instruction, setup & cleanup of your event, and photos of your event).
  • Fundraiser Paint Party – $40 per person with $15 donation (Includes full painting supplies, 2 hours of painting instruction, setup & cleanup of your event, and photos of your event).
  • Blacklight Paint Party – $40 per person (Includes full painting supplies, 2 hours of painting instruction, setup & cleanup of your event, and photos of your event).
  • Custom Pet Portrait Paint Party – $35 per person (Includes full painting supplies, 2 hours of painting instruction, setup & cleanup of your event, and photos of your event).
  • Pumpkin Paint Party – $35 per person (Includes full painting supplies, 2 hours of painting instruction, setup & cleanup of your event, and photos of your event).
  • Figure Model Paint Party – $45 per person (Includes full painting supplies, 2 hours of painting instruction, setup & cleanup of your event, and photos of your event).
  • Wooden Sign Paint Party – $40 per person (Includes full painting supplies, 2 hours of painting instruction, setup & cleanup of your event, and photos of your event).
  • Ornament Paint Party – $35 per person (Includes full painting supplies, 2 hours of painting instruction, setup & cleanup of your event, and photos of your event).
  • Terracotta Paint Party – $40 per person (Includes full painting supplies, 2 hours of painting instruction, setup & cleanup of your event, and photos of your event).
  • Coaster Set Paint Party – $42 per person (Includes full painting supplies, 2 hours of painting instruction, setup & cleanup of your event, and photos of your event).

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Richard Bramante, Marissa Williams

Getting in touch: BostonVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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