Friday, August 29, 2008

More Thoughts on Pricing Your Work

I was at a meeting of artists last weekend and the subject of pricing came up, as it does often among artists. When I got home that evening I had an email from another artist asking me about my thoughts on pricing artwork.

My friend Sharon Kyle-Kuhn just sent me a link to this Art-Tistics post about pricing artwork. I've written about the subject before, too. And Alyson Stanfield has written about it on her Art Biz Blog several times...

The Art-Tistics author discusses the need to have consistent pricing everywhere - every gallery that sells your work, regardless of region, and even your own studio.

"But artists must be consistent in their pricing and accept the fact that if they are going to work with an art gallery or art dealer or both, then they can’t have them competing with each other and also with the artist, because a good art dealer’s job is to protect both the artist and the collector."

I know for some artists, a 50% commission (which is standard) seems really steep. But the gallery (if it's a good gallery, doing its job) will earn that amount. They will learn all they can about your work and your process and share that information with their customers. They will promote your work in the press. They will contact collectors who have purchased your work in the past. They are salespeople. They want to sell your work as much as you do, and they'll work hard to make sure that happens.

And if you don't believe in galleries and you have the energy and enthusiasm and skills to market and sell your own work, then that's great. If that's the case, the author states, "... you control prices and can do whatever you want, and hopefully won’t be having art 'sales' where you’ll be 'discounting' the work that you sold to collectors a week earlier for a specific price, to a much lower price."

So if your work is in several galleries and you sell work from your studio, please be consistent with your pricing!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Some Like It Hot

I have work in a group show that opens this weekend in Dallas. It's a show of work by members of TexasWAX/Dallas.

Some Like It Hot
Artwork by Members of TexasWAX/Dallas

Curated by Janet Reynolds

Bath House Cultural Center
521 E. Lawther Drive, Dallas, Texas

August 30 - September 27, 2008

Reception: August 30, 7-9 pm

Encaustic Demos: September 13, 2-5 pm
In conjunction with the DADA art walk

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Waxy Buildup: Cleaning House

Paintings by Trayc Claybrook and Deanna Wood

August 17 - September 28, 2008

Opening Reception:
Sunday, August 17, 2-4 pm

Center for Visual Arts
400 E. Hickory
Denton, Texas, 76201

Directions to the Center for Visual Arts

Gallery Hours:
Tues - Sun, 1-5 pm

Trayc and I collaborated on this work and we're excited that it's finally being exhibited.

You can read all about the creation of this work on the Waxy Buildup blog.

We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Creative Endeavors and Do-It-Yourself Projects

Colleen Cook, my oldest friend (and by "oldest" I mean the one that I've known the longest), was recently the featured blogger at Kidlit Central News. In her post she compares writing to do-it-yourself home renovation.

I think some of her points can be transferred to almost any creative endeavor, especially trying to "make it" as an artist.

These points resonated with me:
"Reading how-to books helps, but it won’t make you a professional."
"The only way to become a true craftsman is to slop on comfy clothes and do it every day for years and years."

Most of the other points can be applied to visual artists as well, either in building a career or just creating a single painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.

The last point reminds me of this video that I saw recently, where Ira Glass of This American Life talks about how to be a great storyteller. He's talking specifically about radio and television, but it can relate to visual art as well:

I've had that exact experience - where what I was making didn't meet the expectations that I had for it. Over the years of doing it again and again, I've gotten to the point where I can make things that meet or exceed my expectations. Well, most of the time.

On the flip side, I've also given up. I've also had the experience of wanting to be an expert at something but giving up immediately upon realizing that I truly suck at it. I don't know how many times I've borrowed my mom's sewing machine because I wanted to learn to sew. But when my first project would turn out hideous, I would give the sewing machine back. I never gave myself the opportunity to make bad things for a while until I figured it out.

I realize that it was something that I wasn't committed to. Learning to sew wasn't important enough to me, so I quit.

The late Randy Pausch said many inspirational things in his "Last Lecture," but one that applies here is: "Brick walls are there for a reason. They give us a chance to show how badly we want something."

So you have to figure out what you're committed to for the long run and be willing to make ugly things, make mistakes, break down that brick wall, and gradually get to that point where what you create is exactly what you had envisioned.