It has been a while since my last blog entry and seeing that it is cold outside, and that I have had a couple of productive days in the studio painting these little bud vases with micro designs and loading myself with caffeine and focus, I think that it is time to blog about where the creative process takes an artisan when selling to the public and about one’s ability as an artist to change or alter direction of art object in order to drive commerce and thrive. Many creative spirits seem less determined to to bending to the rules of Supply and Demand,in order to turn a profit or make a sale. In this generation of online stores popping up on the Web, the Creative community needs to take note of the way people make and sell “Handmade” works of art,design in the digital age. Those of us that choose the brick and mortar method of having a physical shop, studio or atelier, need to do a bit of research on how the new technology has altered and increased the competitive way people buy art and handmade items. Your presence, online is vital where people, followers and possible patrons can catch a glimpse of your artistic endeavors via social networks, websites or other online platforms. I am a bit “old school” as for my own operation, I prefer to sell out of my studio but use all the tools available for a limited glimpse of my endeavors to the online audience and focus on the direct approach to selling face 2 face with clients,art lovers and patrons. You might think that it is it enough? This is a question that we all have to ask ourselves when putting our work out there. How much do you really want to produce? What are the personal limits that set you up to making hand made goods without the quality starts to suffer, less then your personal potential to create. All good questions but the answer is different for each one of us in an artistic community of creatives. Sure, everyone feels great when they make a sale, but at what point do you compromise, what you do in order to make a sale…… This is a common dilemma for many and the reality of this dilemma has many answers depending on :
- what you make
- your price point
- your competition and competitors
- willingness to compromise your style or format in order to make a sale
- unwillingness to change you artistic direction in regards to format, style or more
We as creative individuals, have to make serious decisions on how our products can compete with others in order to drive sales and financial security. Trial and error is part of putting yourself out there to learn the ropes of commerce and good or bad decision making. In the art studios where I work, I often time go around and see what other artists have done to make more affordable art and the decisions they have made have been surprising. They are divided into the following groups:
- HARDCORE artisans: do what they want and try to dictate their style, color and format to their public with a take it or leave it attitude.
- Wannabe Artisans: makers of an mediocre work and worst of all make bad decisions of art reproduction that has its limits on taste, quality or style. This is a growing group of middle-road artists that are trying to compete with many online stores and chains that have made sketchy choices on how to reproduce their art relying on online vendors to cheaply reproduce their work on phone case,mugs, etc.etc.etc.
- Freestyle Artisans: Those selected few that have done their research online, in their workplace, to scout out what competitors do, at what price point? and at what quality level. Artisans that know who they compete with, and who are willing to compromise in order to stay competitive…..
Which group are you part of ? Simple question but hard to answer depending on your artistic medium. Economically, these are hard times, I do not think that we will see the glory days of the 60’s- 90’s ever again. With the costs to make art, the prices of materials, rents, technical assistance, can we make something that will not leave us in debt? A question we all need to ask ourselves as we create and when we consider the price of our artistic products. Sorry, this blog seems to stir up a lot of questions, and does not provide a lot of answers, we must all ponder in thought to come to what is the right conclusions for our work. Think about these points and reflect. Art for Art’s sake seems to take on a whole different meaning in these times. With all the political and social unrest, I see that the ability to create and defy is greater than ever. The art that is coming out of these times is quite inspiring to me, with a strong sense of purpose to creatively produce as a way to speak out about our world now, what we want and do not tolerate. An artistic approach to protest,resist and ridicule….. I am stirring up a lot of thoughts to encourage all of us as an artistic community to speak through our work and hope that the questions that are put forth in this blog have given you all some food for thought….