Making space for art buys! A Convention-goer's User Guide

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Making space for art buys! A Convention-goer's User Guide

As an artist who booths at conventions and is an art collector – there is a common theme I hear and have difficulty with as well when it comes to art purchasing.

  • “I have this amazing art. Where can I put it?”

  • “I’m out of wall space. I want to buy it, but what do I do with it?”

  • “My place is too small to collect all the prints I want!”

  • “I bought this but haven’t hung it yet!”

  • “I want art to be displayed, not stored.”

I’m also from the Seattle area, where the average apartment size is noted as 731 sq. ft as of April 2019. For World Art Day 2019, I’m sharing a few methods to making more space for awesome art. I’ll also outline pros and cons I’ve found for each method.

Custom Framing

By far this is my preference and go-to. I prioritize originals, giclée, and signed works for custom frames. If you can afford it and have space for it, great! If not, re-assess your space as well. Just because it can’t hang at eye-level doesn’t mean you can’t create an amazing salon-style display!

Frame stores also often have designers who will add a special level of elegance and heightening to the art with their frame creations. Or, if you have an idea for custom frame - you can purchase and frame it yourself.

Pros – Visible, beautiful, ideal use case
Cons – $$ to $$$, limited space

Coffee Table “Art Book”
This has been a prior go-to for me. That is, until we got rid of our coffee table.

Create this by buying an empty picture album or portfolio case of choice. Then, one by one, begin to fill in the empty slots with each convention or online art buy. A great way to get a diverse group of artworks, while keeping it all in one place for easy access and viewing. Just be sure to keep a handle on your coffee mugs!

Pros – $, visible, accessible.
Cons – Coffee table required, possible spillage in “splash zone”

Acid-Free Storage
Necessary and best for preservation unless framing is acid-free/archival. Sometimes framing art can’t be prioritized how we’d prefer. Or we want to store items for longevity.

For this, I use an acid free wedding dress box from The Container Store due to rectangular shape, with acid-free tissue paper. This allows everything to be kept with little degradation until it can be framed properly. Please only store acid-free content here, otherwise acid elements will degrade surrounding content over time. Definitely consult an archival specialist if art pieces need assured acid-free moisture-safe preservation.

Pros – $$, Stores art without acidity.
Cons – You can’t see the art. Potential surrounding degradation if some of the art is not acid free.

Travel Cases
Stickers, mostly. At one point in time my laptop cover ran out of sticker space. I live paint and attend various events, so I found my pelican case (the BEST) that I custom plucked to fit my Wacom Cintiq Touch Screen had ample room for stickers to be added.

Anytime an artist has stickers available that I like, I now have a place to add it to as a living story. So far, I’ve been collecting various stickers for over a year and the space is 1/3 covered. If you travel, play guitar, or other – this is a great approach for smaller stickers and decals.

Pros – $ to $$$, large collections. Fun to build a story of events and travels.
Cons – Not all stickers stick :/ Limited art visibility unless cases are stored in an accessible area after use.

Frames with Wire or Corkboard interiors
(Artist credit listed below)
Create or purchase a frame with wire grid or corkboard on the inside. I purchased mine from a vendor at the Fremont Sunday Market. Art can be mounted with little clasps or pins. The art set at the bottom of the frame can be inserted in to groove, providing tolerances are tight enough. That way you can add originals or other items without worrying about having to pin or clasp them. Other images can be attached with clasps or pins, but gently! Clasps or pins can leave marks on the art depending on the type of clasps and care upon hanging. Recommend testing first with sample sheets before hanging your most beloved prints!

This is a great method in that it allows you creative choice and curation. You can also show a large array of art in a single frame, resulting in a smaller space footprint.

Pros – $, visible, accessible, has character, great for limited space.
Cons – Can leave marks on prints from clasps/pins if not careful.

Awesome Artist credit for #5 Images:

  1. Print by Lois Van Baarle

  2. Art by Alix Branwyn

  3. Poem by M. Seven Brenner

  4. Art by Jessica Douglas

  5. Uniting the Heavens written by
    Emily English

  6. Print by Wendi Chen

  7. Print by @heathersketcheroos

  8. Postcard by Wendi Chen

  9. Ranger Rabbit print by @alien

  10. Paladin Rabbit print by @alien

  11. The Iron Cast series by Chris Casciano

  12. Lil Tortuga @sirencovestudios

  13. Bookmark art by Jeszika Le Vye

  14. Little Rabbit from Push/Pull Art Gallery

Art Books, Pins, and more!
Another great way to continue your collection is to direct focus to smaller highlights for your bookshelf, office desk, or wardrobe.

Artists will do limited runs for Kickstarter’s Make 100 such as Amanda Makepeace with the moth series creations. Or begin with art cards to give away or add to your work desk, or accrue various sketchbook collections.

Pros – $, space saving
Cons – None, unless you don’t want to give away your art cards to others…

Have any additional suggestions, or art collection tips that work for you from convention purchases or elsewhere? Feel free to send an email direct for future article considerations or leave a message below!

Note: No form of compensation received for writing about or directly linking to contents in this article. Article is written to help solve for a common need I found myself in, as well as others.
















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Live Paint Image from Seven Lions - Chronicles: Chapter 1


Thank you so much to everyone who attended Seven Lions - Chronicles: Chapter 1 and stopped by to say hi! The evening was full of kindness and wonderful conversations. 

I've posted the final image here for you - enjoy, and go find your name in the stars!


Link to direct download:

Additional images from the event, photography credit & special thanks to Adrian Majkrzak!




2018 Art Book, Events, & More!


FantaSea: An Art Book of Ocean Lore
@heathersketcheroos and I are so grateful for funding an amazing 41 minutes after the Kickstarter launch. THANK YOU to all who have supported the project!

 If you haven't had the opportunity to take a peek yet, take a look here!

Emerald City Comic Con
Siren Cove Studios will be attending Emerald City Comic Con in the Homegrown Section March 1-4 of 2018. We're excited to be a part of their curated list of local businesses for this section. You can find us on Level 4 in HG308! Hope to see you there!

Hyperspace XR
We are currently in the process of building out the physical space! If visiting the Pacific Science Center, stop by to see the space and learn a bit about the process of creating content for immersive experience-based realities with VR as well! 



Winter 2017 - Welcoming in the New Year

Happy Winter Wonderland of 2017! This winter in Seattle, we have been fortunate to have multiple days of Snowflakes - a rare occurrence in the region. I hope you are able to enjoy the season as well, whether it be snug with a book, hot chocolate, or other winter season tradition!

   FEATURED WORKS  Fantasea Art Book sneak peek -  Launching 2018


Fantasea Art Book sneak peek -  Launching 2018


  • Pelgrane Press
    recently released Cthulhu City, including some B&W interior illustrations I recently completed. 
  • Guide du Rôliste Galactique
    recently were kind to add a RPG Illustrator Biography of my work(s) to their site.
  • Siren Cove Studios
    Fantasea, Siren Cove Studios' art book debut, is exploring the world of fantasy and ocean delight. It will be swimming your way in 2018! It will feature the art of @heathersketcheroos and Marisa Erven. 

    Siren Cove Studios is also booking clients for 2018. Reach out to to discuss availability and project scope. 
  • Hyperspace
    Meet Hyperspace, an Extended Reality Immersive Experience that will be featured in the Seattle, WA, USA area. I have been working on Art Direction and Concept Art for the unannounced project since 2016. I look forward to sharing more with you soon! For now, here are a few videos from the Pacific Science Center, where we are a Startup-In-Residence. 

    More at:
    Where Art Meets Technology 
    Start Up in Residence: Hyperspace

Sending best wishes for the remainder of the season, as well as a happy start to 2018!
- Marisa



Offline Data Wallpaper - Gift for your use!

New data design, focused on technology driven treatment and offline status. The images are saved out for wallpapers specific sizing, so feel free to download and use accordingly.

A gift as a thank you to all of you for being awesome!

Click on the text link below the image to access full downloadable. Email info(at) if you have difficulties accessing anything, or, let me know how you put it to use!

1024x768 Wallpaper

Creative commons license - Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivatives (BY-NC-ND)



Spring 2017 - Featured Works, Latest News!

Space Docking Station, 2017

Space Docking Station, 2017

Thanks to all who stopped by to say hi at the booth this convention season, and supported the arts this year! It was a wonderful to see everyone, both new and familiar faces. 

Starting in October, we will be vending as Siren Cove Studios. Look forward to seeing you!

Artist Retreat, 2017

Spending the later part of the week working alongside other artists at an art retreat, while absorbing the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

I'm always interested to see what others bring on trips, so thought I would share with you some of my art selections for your perusal!

Some must-haves for the trip: Refillable Sketchbook, Copic Markers - held in Daiso storage containers (the BEST for affordable art storage), camera, Tombow and Blackwing pencils, Prismacolor pens, and Copic Multiliners. Also, some reading for the road! 

Hoping for sunshine - but considering we beat an 1895 rain record here in Seattle this year, I also brought a water-resistant coat! 

Interested in reading more latest news from Spring 2017 Quarterly Newsletter? Check out the full mailer here, and subscribe in the upper left corner if it is of interest to you!


The happenings of Fall 2016.


The happenings of Fall 2016.

Fall is almost here!

With it, for those of us who are Seattle locals, comes the clouds and drizzle too. But, along with all that also comes a lot of fun! While much of the conversation is currently about the Pumpkin Spice Latte...

We're all over here talking about tea! The Teacup Collection, to be precise. For those of you who have yet to be acquainted, meet Mews! 
Mews is a sweet little grey kitty that loves to snuggle inside its teacup, with plenty of toys and string nearby for playtime.




The latest quarterly Marisa Erven Art newsletter has also just released.  If you'd like to read more about the latest happenings, featured works, and more - take a gander here and enjoy!

Fall Upcoming Events
Seattle, WA
Artist Booth

Art Show (Online)




Meep finds a friend! Meet Squee, the newest member of the Teacup Collection.

Before, Meep was all by its lonesome self with its love of tea.  

Now, meet the latest new member of the Teacup Collection.  I was so happy to be approached by the team at OrcaCon to create an Orca in a Teacup! The image can be found as a part of their 2017 Kickstarter, as a t-shirt exclusive.

Meet the friendly little one below, which I have aptly nicknamed Squee! Their Kickstarter is live, so be sure to take a peek here