Thursday, July 26, 2007

Grown Up Artist Decisions

Muse Aprille is inquisitive and always searching... her intense focus and ability to find the facts is very helpful when making important life decisions...this week is a time of fact gathering...

Good news is that I now have an Etsy shop...Cre8Tiva...to sell my art...now I have to be able to place pieces for sale...

Yesterday I made a pilgrimage into downtown Fernandina Beach...I went calling on galleries and artists...looking for a place to hang my work and glean some insight into studio space...I found both...

My first stop was Art 'n Antiques...I was not expecting to run into the gallery director...I was intending to make an appointment to see her...but she was there and saw me...I had a small book of snapshots of my murals, marbles, angels, assemblages...

She looked and advised me to do decor pieces...with my marbles and plasterwork...with a Tuscan influence...she said my angels were weak...my marbles strong...her words were, "If you can make them quickly, and keep the price down, you can sell a lot." She continued, "Go with what your strength is..."

Next I went to the Blue Door...this is where I want to have a studio...I spoke with one of the artists at length about how the Blue Door works...there are 8 artists studios...3 of them actually work there...4 of them just hang their work there...1 is the studio of a woman who has been dead for years and her husband keeps it as a shrine...he goes and sits with her paintings, but does not sell them...the people who actually work there, have to pick up the slack for those who don't, sell their work when someone wants it, and clean and pay for advertising, etc...so there are some operational problems they have not ironed out yet...I asked her to critique my angels...just for another opinion...she didn't like that they had no faces and she was bothered by them being in the center of the canvas...

Next I went to the studio of an artist I shared an upstairs over a gallery space with when I first moved to the island 6 years ago...Patricia......she had a studio/gallery room and I had a teaching studio room...she now has a gallery of her own...anyway she gave me some very good insight into having a studio/gallery space...her thoughts were:

  1. you need to be present to sell your art
  2. people buy more from an artist they meet and like
  3. you have to take credit cards
  4. you have insurance to pay for
  5. you have rent to pay
  6. you have security issues (theft, scary people, painting at night)
  7. you loose painting time schmoozing potential customers
  8. you have to collect/pay sales taxes
  9. you have to have occupancy/business licenses
  10. the slow times
She gave me a lot to consider...do I want a studio out of my home...or do I want to paint at home and have a gallery sell for me and pay them a commission to do the parts of the business I don't want to do...

I was a little bummed that my angels didn't impress anyone...I am so enamored with them...so my judgement could be clouded...to call them weak was a little much...it is difficult the tell from a small photo, I think...no faces lets you put your own expression on them...although some have faces, I prefer the blank ones...but I know that I can't take initial criticism to heart...art is subjective... (click to see more detail of face and faceless angels)

So I face the age old artist conundrum...do art quickly to sell a lot...or do my art my way...I think I would get very bored mass producing pieces of art with marble or plaster backgrounds...although I could do them since it is what I do best in my mural work...

I am also not sure I want to do decor pieces...I want to do fine art pieces...do I do what the gallery owner thinks will sell at low (under $500) prices...or do I make art that I love and feel creative and filled spiritually doing, that may not sell...

I am mixed in thinking...I have the facts now...I see the ups and downs selling art to earn a living...I know the sting of rejection...so now what???

Decisions need to be made...what type of decision maker are you? Impetuous - you act quickly without regard to consequences? Controller - you are a studied and rational person? Procrastinator - you delay the decision making process so long that the universe makes a decision for you? Rational - you are capable of reflecting correct and valid reasoning, sensible. Or are you a combination of these?

Today's aMUSEment - Let's look at a process for discernment I learned from The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola Get paper and pencil and write across the top of the page a decision you are trying make. Draw 4 lines from top to bottom of page. 1st column label For Doing It. 2nd column label Against Doing it. 3rd column label For Not Doing It. 4th Against Not Doing It. This gives you a lot to think about.

Example: Should I eat an apple?
1st - tastes good, healthy, keeps doctor away
2nd - not really hungry, may be grainy
3rd - don't need it, will save calories
4th - it might go to waste

The 3rd and 4th columns are always difficult for me, but they usually bring the most clarity to the issue. You get better at it the more you do it.

For a major life decision I take this a step further. I visualize myself as an old woman sitting on my front porch in a rocker. I really try to get into the place and feel the sensations - the smells, the sights, the noises, etc. from that porch. When I am ready and really present, from this vantage point of aged wisdom, I ask myself how I feel about this decision. I usually get the answer I need.
I hope this helps you as much as it does me.

There are many resources for The Spiritual Exercises on the Internet. Some of my favorite are:
An audio retreat by Fr. Larry Gillick, SJ at Creighton University
The Spiritual Exercises in Pictures for visual people
Spiritual Exercises for the Days of the Week simple meditations to live in a more spiritually-conscious way

U Be Creative Today!

8 comments:

Ulla said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog! You'll find the right place for your artwork, it just takes time... I've been at it for 30 years and still feel like I am constantly searching... Everyone has different needs and desires, its finding a balance thats important! Best of luck!!!

see you there! said...

The results of your outing are very interesting. I had a couple of thoughts ... 1) are there any galleries that have juried shows that you can enter? 2) our community has a couple of "studio open house" events every year. I don't know how one gets to participate but it is city wide and well advertised. That way you aren't "always" open at home.
3) consider unusual places to hang/sell - maybe a local coffee shop, a boutique clothing store, a local book store. Many will hang/sell work for a small commission. Meanwhile your work is out there!

Darla

ShabbyInTheCity said...

Darlas #3 suggestion is great!!!
I would suggest prayer to the One who loves you the most and knows what is best for you. Like my antiques just trying to match them up to the person who wants them...not always easy. I couldn't feed myself on it...just a hobby which is fun! Keep your sunnyside up. My email is pcovington270@bellsouth.net but you don't have to thank me at all!
Are you participating in the Artful Blogger Party hosted by ArtsyMama?

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Hi, Rebecca, thanks so much for stopping by my blog. How great that you are a working artist. I hope you get everything figured out & do what is best for you.

Best to you,

Rhoda

Britt-Arnhild said...

Good luck with your etsy shop.

Rochambeau said...

You should be proud of all you accomplished today rebecca! Don't worry about the comment about your angels! Not every one likes what I do either! I like what Ulla said. The Art Life is a journey, not a destiation. It will take you on path with many twists and turns! The important thing is YOU TOOK ACTION!! That is the only way to make things happen to realize our dreams!!




I'm late showing up, but I made it!

Anonymous said...
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carol said...

Rebecca, I think you should go with your gut feeling and do the type of art that stimulates and enriches you. To make some money and get your name out there right now, you could do some more "commercial" type pieces that the galleries think will sell. This will allow you to do the work you really love and build a following for that. This way... you'll have the best of both worlds... $ coming in from artwork in the interim, while you are creating a different, more personal type of art, to sell elsewhere. Keep exploring the options! xo

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