Looking at you…

Suzdal, Vladimir Oblast, Russia.

November 2014.

Photo: Alex Markovich.

Winter Sketch #7

Artist: Alex Markovich.

Vladimir, Russia.

February 2017.

Watercolor, mixed media.

Screenshots of the Universe. Part One

In 2011 I wrote a novel called “Oxi66” (the events take place in the near future). “Oxi66” is a psychovirus created by Itan Faust, professor of Memetics. In some chapters, I made so-called philosophical digressions where I compare the work of a human mind with a computer. One of the allegories I used was hyperlinks.

When you see, hear, touch, etc. your mind immediately clicks on dozens of hyperlinks which take you to your dreams, events of the past and so on. Psychology has got some other names for that phenomenon but I like the term “hyperlinks”. I purposely say “hyperlinks” (not just “links”) to emphasize the analogy with a computer.

I also applied this term to photography. In 2016 I wrote a series of posts (in Russian) called “Screenshots of the Universe” where I explain that every picture we take is not just an ordinary image. It’s a screenshot of our being and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a landscape, a girl taking a selfie in a bar or a plate of potatoes. For most people who see these photos these are just regular images, but for the one who captured that moment, it’s a hyperlink to his/her feelings, associations, etc.

The pictures presented below don’t show cityscapes, landscapes, portraits, etc. Mostly these are abstractions or objects which can only evoke feelings of the one who had captured these moments. But if we try to look at them from a different angle we will find that this is not just an image, there is an author (and his/her feelings, emotions) behind every photo.

I don’t provide any description as every image may tell the story by itself.

Logs

Museum of Wooden Architecture and Peasant Life.

Suzdal, Vladimir Oblast, Russia.

November 2014.

Photo: Alex Markovich.

Winter Sketch #6

Artist: Alex Markovich.

Suzdal, Vladimir Oblast, Russia.

February 2016.

Watercolor, mixed media.

Russian Postcards

When I was a child I collected candy wrappers (I quit it when I turned five), pocket calendars (I quit it by the age of twelve, and gave away the whole collection of 700 calendars to my schoolmates and friends) and postcards. I enjoyed signing postcards and sending them to my relatives and parents’ friends all over the Soviet Union. I quit doing that by the age of fifteen.

Phone calls substituted writing letters and signing postcards, and later on e-mail replaced phone calls. In 2019 Viber, Skype, WhatsApp, Telegram and dozens of other messengers became the number one means of communication, having pushed down live chats.

I have to say I am not a big fan of messengers and social networks. I prefer good old phone calls (a minute or two) to say when, where, what, how, etc. and then meet over a cup of tea.

By the year 2014 I had had on my hard drive, Flickr, clouds and DVDs over 100 000 images (both scanned paintings and photos from my trips). Some pictures looked like decent postcards and I thought it would be cool to make some cards.

Since 2014 I have sent over three thousand postcards to various destinations. I also had a sponsor (one of the Russian banks) which paid for cards and postal stamps.

I would like to share some thoughts from the perspective of promoting your artistic project – what benefits you may get when sending postcards.  

If you are an artist or a photographer you might definitely want to expand your audience. Instagram is OK but some artists have forgotten that many people still prefer to see artworks in museums and exhibitions, turn pages of a book with illustrations, and hold in their hands a physical image whether it is a photo, postcard, drawing, etc.

I think that postcards is one of the best ways to promote your art offline. I am not talking of making postcards for sale. I am stating that a postcard or a fridge magnet (I will write a separate post about that way of promotion) is a unique way to reach your target audience.

In 2018 I created over a dozen of watercolor postcards, printed them in bulk and sent to the places I’ve been to for the past five years: museums, libraries, cafes, restaurants, universities, theaters, etc.

I sent my postcards to almost all the museums of the cities and towns of the Golden Ring of Russia: Vladimir, Suzdal, Yaroslavl, Pereslavl-Zalesskiy, Rostov Velikiy, Sergiev Posad, etc. Some museums made posts on their social networks where they shared their impressions on how exciting it was to get a postcard. The posts included the links to my blog where I had my watercolor paintings posted.

Over 120 postcards I sent to Russian theaters to greet them with the coming year – it was stated that 2019 is the Year of Theater in Russia.

I also sent dozens of postcards to so-called twin cities of my hometown of Belgorod, the cards were sent to Germany, England and the USA.

I had a couple of interviews on “Radio of Russia” dedicated to my postcards project. I arranged four exhibitions at the libraries and cafes of Belgorod where I showed my postcards. Each exhibition lasted from two to six weeks.

I keep sending postcards for two reasons. The first reason, it is fun and nostalgia. The second reason, you do something unusual. A message about your new blog sent via e-mail as a blind copy in most cases will get into spam folder. A postcard with a bright photo or painting will evoke a genuine interest, as it really did happen with some theaters and museums – there was much feedback.

I always encourage artists, photographers and other creative people to make postcards and fridge magnets to promote their art.

Here are some types of postcards sent in 2018. One example of each kind.

Watercolor postcards.

July 2018. Belgorod, Russia.
One of the central streets of “old” Belgorod. This building will be demolished soon.

Literary postcards. Text only.

An abstract from short story “Amnesia”.

Literary postcards with watercolor illustrations.

An abstract from novel “Memoirs of Marta. Youth”. Chapter 6.

Photo postcards.

Rakitnoe. Belgorod Oblast. September 2014.

Markovich Marketing Tips:

https://suzdal.travel.blog/category/markovich-marketing-tips

Evening

Photo: Alex Markovich.

Suzdal, Vladimir Oblast, Russia.

November 2014.

MARKOVICH MARKETING TIPS. INTRODUCTION

I launched SUZDAL.TRAVEL.BLOG on February 5, 2019. I call it a dissertation (thesis) on blogging. I am pursuing two goals.

The first one is to tell my blog readers about the town of Suzdal, show original paintings, photos and postcards of Suzdal.

The second goal is to use SUZDAL.TRAVEL.BLOG in my lectures on marketing as an example of how to start an online project from zero, and how to fill it with proper content. I deliver these lectures in Russian, but I will share most of these ideas (having translated them into English) on this blog.  

February 5, 2019. Lecturing to Art College students.

First of all, let me tell you why I chose Suzdal, though I could have chosen any other Russian town or city I’ve been to. Or even any other theme or subject.

I don’t live in Suzdal. My hometown is Belgorod, Russia. But I’ve been to Suzdal four times. From each trip to Suzdal I had brought hundreds of photos and dozens of plein air watercolor sketches. But this is not the main reason why I started this blog. I chose “Suzdal” for one reason: the name of this town goes pretty well with some (if not all) .blog subdomains.

Here is the list of available .blog subdomains for the moment of writing this post. WordPress.com owns these subdomains.

I believe that these subdomains will present and describe your new project much better than the majority of basic domains (.com, .org, .xyz, .photos, .tv, .club, .wine, etc.) for which you have to pay. The good news is that these .blog subdomains are free.  

“Suzdal” is short in comparison with the names of other places I’ve been to. For example, I like very much two Russian towns (which are also included into the Golden Ring of Russia theme route): Pereslavl-Zalesskiy and Rostov Velikiy. But if you put these names with travel.blog or news.blog, you will see that “Suzdal” is a winner. Even “Saint-Petersburg” is a loser.

Who might gain from these WordPress.com subdomains? Anyone who starts a brand new project, whether it is connected with poetry, art, traveling, politics, education, etc. I think it’s much cooler to write on your business card something like USA.TRAVEL.BLOG (I registered it two years ago and uploaded there my sci-fi stories and haikus) than WeirdName.wordpress.com

I am talking this in the context of starting a new project on a free blogging platform using free subdomains.

How to get travel.blog, news.blog or any other .blog subdomain? Just type in your browser any of the subdomains and follow the registration steps.

I’ve been blogging for ten years and I think I have gained a lot of practical information which I would like to share with my blog readers. Feel free to ask any questions on blogging, arranging art exhibitions, writing texts for search engines, promoting your photo services online / offline, etc.

You may leave your questions in comments or send them via e-mail:

SuzdalBlog AT gmail DOT com

August 3, 2018. Nine years of blogging.

Markovich Marketing Tips:

https://suzdal.travel.blog/category/markovich-marketing-tips

Facts about Suzdal, Russia. #3

The only industry in Suzdal is tourism. The town avoided the industrialisation of the Soviet times and was able to preserve a great number of stunning examples of the Russian architecture of the 13th-19th century.

There are 305 monuments and listed buildings in Suzdal, including 30 churches, 14 bell towers and 5 monasteries and convents. 79 of them are federally protected buildings and 167 are regionally protected. 

Postcard #2

Suzdal, Vladimir Oblast, Russia.

Photo: Alex Markovich.