This Post is by Lori Woodward Simons, Regular contributing writer for
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I've noticed a disturbing trend among some of my artist friends recently. When their gallery sales seem sluggish for a month, some lose interest in painting, and find excuses to avoid the studio. However, when their gallery calls and announces a sale, suddenly these same artists get excited about painting again. Their energy and productivity rises and dips with their sales reports.
It's Dangerous To Lose Heart
I can fully understand how it feels when you don't see any sales on the horizon. However, the reality is that opportunity can strike at any time, and we artists need to be fully prepared for it. It's dangerous to let growing sales or lack of them dictate how we feel about pursuing our craft. Why should I allow my productivity level go up and down with my income?
Pursuing excellence is something that I need to do when the sun shines and when it rains
- every day, moving forward... because there are yet many folks continuing to buy art right now, and the artists who have no new work to woo them, lose.
The Economy Is Not Our Supervisor
My point: Don't let the economy dictate how you feel about making your artwork.
Keep on Keeping On. Your studio and supplies are waiting for you, and when you get in there and start a project that you're excited about, worries about the economy will melt away. Besides, none of us really knows whether the recession will ultimately affect our ability to make a living with art.
I was talking to several artists at a group paintout yesterday, and the majority of them have seen no dip in their sales
. Some of these artists do the outdoor show circuit -- and they are planning to offer incentives to their loyal collectors. In the meantime, they're ready for whatever comes their way because they've been painting as though the economy were hot.
Instead of Dropping Prices, Offer More
The artist who gives into doubt and worry - the one who stops producing will definitely not make sales - because they won't have anything to offer. I was reading Seth Godin's
newsletter this week -- he made a statement that made a lot of sense to me, "Instead of lowering your prices, offer more value." Wow! What a great concept. What Seth's words mean to me - is that I don't have to necessarily lower my prices, but I can offer larger or better paintings for the same price. That way, my collectors get a bit more for investing in my career.
Sure, I know how great it feels to make continuous sales - it sparks my interest and I begin to think of new ideas for my work and can't wait to get to my easel. But, when weeks slide by and nothing has happened, I begin to wonder why I even bother. However, when I look around and see that my colleagues are continuing to do well, and take note that I've actually sold very well this year, I realize that my worries are not based on facts, but fear. Truth is.. I need to paint no matter what the outside circumstances appear to be... so that I'm ready for any and every opportunity.
I See No Evidence That Sales Are Slipping
Here's the good news: I can think of at least 10 artist friends whose sales have actually increased this year. Kathy Anderson recently had a solo show at the National Arts Club in New York City. Folks from all over the northeast came to buy - she even sold her first $10,000 painting. Another friend, Rosemary Ladd is continuing to sell very well at her galleries in New England. Steve Previte, who has made his living doing outdoor art shows for all of his adult life, has seen his sales hold steady. He's doing a bit more legwork by contacting past collectors and making sure they see his new work. Kyle Stuckey, who had his first solo show at Monadnock Fine Art gallery, sold many works on opening night - even though his prices for larger works doubled.
So Keep On Keeping On
Yes, it's true that collectors are getting a bit pickier, so with that fact in mind, we can meet that demand by producing higher quality work but offering it at last year's prices.