The term “revolution” signifies a significant occurrence in a short period of time that is directed towards making a positive change. Although it can be started by one person, it takes an entire collective to be considered a success. Such is the history of Talk Faux – one of the largest international faux finishing forums and resource sites.
Founder Kathy Boyd was looking for an online resource site that would encourage the free and open discussion of all things related to faux. “At the time, there were only specific sites and forums dedicated to single product lines. I wanted to create something I was looking for myself: a forum that was open to all decorative artists and muralists, where you could freely talk about any product, finish or school.” Talk Faux (www.talkfaux.com) was officially launched in January 2006 and although it was innovative, it was slow going. “There were times in the beginning I never thought it would make it. I did a lot of talking to myself! But slowly, one by one the artists started registering and the forum started to take shape.” To guide the artists, she implemented a sister site, House of Faux (www.houseoffaux.com), and a team of twelve permanent Global Moderator positions. The moderators, some of whom live and work as far as Sweden, are charged with encouraging interaction, involvement and a sense of community within the subject forums. One of the first moderators, Kathy Carroll of The Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes, says “I thought Talk Faux was original and wonderful. I firmly believe that what you put out there comes back to you, so the idea of freely giving and learning and networking really worked for me. I have been and still am an avid supporter.”
With an idea and an evolving team in place, Kathy set out to integrate innovative features and areas of the forum. She started by making the forum an open and pleasing place to be. Member Daniel Gangler of Chicago’s Liquid Art Design says, “Aesthetically, I like the layout and ease of use. Some other sites, frankly, can find you lost quite quickly. Also, no finish, no company, no product and no region anywhere is excluded or conversely touted above another.” In the forum, each discipline of the faux world – including airbrushing, stenciling and concrete work – is represented by having both individual categories and an artist gallery site. This attracted artists with both supreme skills in those areas and those seeking additional knowledge. Moderator Bernadette Forese of Pennsylvania’s The Faux Pro says, “The professionalism displayed on this forum can't be matched. I have enjoyed all of the product discussions, technique teaching and questions answered.” Talk Faux was also geared to welcome artists from all countries and set up chat rooms for less formal discussions. Kathy Boyd continues, “I knew it was to be an international forum so I added translation buttons and country flags. I also added the capability of each artist to create their own page, picture and video gallery. A Featured Artist of the Month also introduces new artists to all the members. The forum also has Classifieds for artists, schools and product dealers to list their industry products for sale and by putting in their PayPal number, all sales go directly to them. In my humble opinion, that is one of the coolest features among them all”.
TalkFaux evolved by also adding sections where artists could network and post job availabilities. “Talk Faux has not only been an excellent source of information and feedback, but has also been great for business. Activity on the site exposed my work to two prominent finishing schools and I will now begin teaching classes for them in the coming year,” says moderator Anthony Pinkston of Ornamentum. The forum also helps those who have just started their business. “Being in business for only a short period of time, I would not be where I am today without the unselfishness, kindness and incredible talent of the moderators and members of Talk Faux. I am truly grateful to them – they are always available with the help I need…and I need a lot!,” grins Bobby Pesare of Timeless World Design in Ocala, FL.
The Talk Faux revolution started by filling a much-needed void – but ended up being about the heart of the forum: its members. Susan Bickford of Nashville’s Singing Walls says “It feels like running into the corner coffee shop to grab your morning coffee and saying hi to the regulars!”. Patty Henning of Michigan’s Fabulous Finishes agrees: “I love the forum atmosphere – it’s such a great way for artists to connect and discuss anything and everything. It never ceases to amaze me how close we can become yet have never officially met.” She adds, “I would just feel a real loss if forums like Talk Faux weren’t available. I know it’s a place I can go, be ME and be assured that I will be welcomed and understood!” Those just might be the perfect words to describe the success of a revolution.