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May 07, 2019
There have been many Artists who have inspired me in my career, but none are more important to me than those that I know personally. No, I have never met a celebrity artist even though one of my Artist friends sells in the five figures. She’s amazing and super humble.
The Artists that I love are those whom I witness pushing themselves to produce at all costs, but are not self-centered people who ignore their families and friends for the sake of their art. They love their kids, their grands, their buds, and make extra time for play.
I’m talking about those who have thrown money after that precious brush for the sheer joy of ownership or the ones who work so intensely that they can’t understand why the back of their calves ache the next day.
I’ve known of potters glazing a mug at midnight just to get it in the next firing. I’ve witnessed painters pulling sweaty weekenders trying to prepare for a show simply because they’ve come up with a better idea than they had originally planned. I’ve met artists who are framing on the floor of the gallery next to the wall they are getting ready to hang simply for the same reason…a new idea they cannot wait to share.
Artists must spread themselves thin, but still fit in art. If not, art comes last and dies away.
We all can learn from those Artists who have created before us. Think of art history as a never-ceasing tire track in which Artists have been leaving their marks since prehistoric cave paintings.
Viewers who have become Collectors by purchasing their work allow Artists to thrive in this track for a longer period and give them the incentive to keep at it.
Not only will contemporary Artists make their own indentations, but they (we) will influence those Artists who come behind us on the next turn of the tire, even though our marks may not be as extensive as O’Keeffe’s or Renoir’s.
Viewers can control Art History this simply. Isn’t that amazing? …and you thought it was the Artist who made Art History. Keep an eye out for future blog details of HOW you can keep that control!
BONUS post: Yays and Nays of the Festival Circuit
Many times, I run into fellow artists and usually talk “shop”. Thought you might like to listen in on a recent conversation:
HER: I have the opportunity to join with another artist at a weekend festival. I've really wanted to sell my art this way for a long time, and I think I’d enjoy meeting the people who attend these events. Think I should try it?
ME: Without seeing the work you have in mind to sell, it's difficult for me to say whether the festival circuit is right for you. It would be great if you could show your work to a few fellow artists to get their opinions as to whether your pieces fit together as a cohesive body of work. And, notice I suggested "fellow artists" and not family or friends. Find people who have worked the festivals already. They will be your best guides.
The responsibility of exhibiting and selling in a festival atmosphere takes more than just getting a body of work completed. You will have to prepare that work to hang, agonize over the selling prices, create title cards and inventory sheets, purchase insurance to cover the loss or damage of the work and rearrange your schedule in order to booth-sit at the fair. Luckily for you, that last chore will be softened because you have a partner artist to relieve you at times during the event. (You will have to potty, remember!)
In addition to your individual list of To-Do's, you will join your partner to pitch the tents, roll out the carpet, and bolt up the display racks and shelves. Between that initial set up and its eventual dismantling, you have to worry about chairs, tables, heaters, ice chests, cash for change, Square on your cell for Visa, dehumidifier, demonstration materials, easels, extension cords, lighting and receipt books. Think about it. You will be exhibiting and selling WORKS of art because that's exactly what art is: WORK.
The experienced festival artists can also give you an idea of price. It's difficult to predict what people will buy at these events. They are usually looking for a bargain, but that doesn't mean you have to undersell your work. Just be ready to barter. Selling at a festival is unique in that your audience may change with every venue or every city.
Artists who exhibit have worked to create unity in their pieces so that prospective customers will view them for what they are: serious artists. You could be one of them. If you do decide on the festival approach, give yourself a pat on the back for your diligence. Most artists whine about that door of opportunity never opening for them. You realize that the knob is on both sides of the door. Go for it!
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All materials used to create my original paintings are Artist Grade. I use Golden acrylic and Ampersand panels...all Artist Grade. Even with my art students and peers, I am a fanatic about them using archival materials if they plan to sell their work even if it is just to family and friends. A customer should expect their art to last for centuries and mine will.
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