A couple responses from my last blog were about selling art - that thinking about sales is the wrong thing to be concerned with. A couple of my friends would disagree with that notion. I have to say I disagree with that notion, too.
I, for one, never think about selling the piece while creating it. However, when I step out the door of my studio I am David the business man and I am thinking about sales, sales that pay the bills and allow me to return to the studio. In the 50 years I've been working as an artist, I've seen a number of talented artists toss in the towel. I know of one who committed suicide. The need to create, whether it is painting pictures or writing a novel is there inside all artists. For some, it is like breathing. When we stop breathing, we stop living. For others, it is something to do to fill their days between golf season and bowling.
I am glad for those that do not need to sell art to survive, who can decorate the walls of local restaurants and retirement homes. For some, though, sales means paying for a daughter's braces or her college tuition.
Building a name and gaining respect is a must right from the start. Going into fine art is a very difficult challenge for most artists, especially if there is no support available in times of need. I've seen marriages break up over one's desire to be an artist. I've seen very talented friends go into deep depressions and lay down their brush never to pick it up again because they did not know how to sell art. So when someone says sales are not all that important, I just think of all the artists out there who are not painting the masterpieces the world will never enjoy because they are behind the counter at McDonalds.
Why do I believe restaurants are not such a great places for showing art? If you are serious about making a living from art, you need to talk with those looking at your art, thus you need to pick a venue where you can do so. I hate being in a restaurant in the middle of a conversation to be interrupted by the waiter asking if everything is ok, so a total stranger interrupting me to ask me how I like the decor would really tick me off. Decor is what art is in a restaurant. I will admit, there are a few restaurants that it would be of some use to have one's art on their walls, but in those cases the restaurants know the value of good art and have purchased the art they show.
When I was out painting in parks, people were always coming up to me asking about my art and where they could see more. It was that personal contact that helped me. Artists at art fairs who sit behind their tents sell less than those in front of their tents chatting with people. Sales do not always come from those first meetings, but when those people are ready to buy art they'll remember the artist who took the time to chat with them. Pick places to exhibit where you can meet and talk to the people looking at your art. Should you pick a library, make a point of letting people know you will be there at certain hours of the day. Have open studio shows or backyard shows where you can do a demo. Rent a tent. Be creative. Invite other artists to show with you or form a small group and have group shows. Do you really need to spend hundreds of dollars to find out how to make it in the arts? Attend other art shows and see what will work for you. Whatever style or form of art you love doing, there are people like yourself who will see what you see. When I first started, my adviser said you will sell to friends. It took awhile to realize that I was making friends as I was talking with those looking at my art.
You can view David's original post here.
Until next time