This week I worked on a couple of fun commissions for friends. Nancy wanted a leaves and vine piece for her new privacy gate. Her house is so lovely and she has grown the most incredible Hostas! I was happy to design and weld some artful leaves that fit into a panel at the top as well as ornamental leaves for a gate topper. In both pieces I welded the sculptures to “L” brackets and will get wood screwed to the 2x4
frame. She hasn’t decided if she will let the steel patina to a natural rust or next year spray it a flat black. I think both would work. Several artist friends have confided in me that they are “rethinking” their careers as artists or how they sell (or don’t) their work. Even the
Blogs I like to read have eluded to artists rethinking their artmaking. Whitney is one such artist who is considering major changes in her artmaking by not doing wholesale any longer. The artists I spoke with on the open studio tour echoed similar sentiments. As Gallery
commissions and material expenses increase, I admit, I have also been rethinking how I sell my art, who I sell my art to and what will my “strategy” be for next year? More shows, less shows, to wholesale or not to wholesale, metal or clay or explore even more mediums (ha!). Mixing things up a bit is a good thing to keep art fresh, or at least its good to reexamine old ways of creating. For continued sales, I like to keep my art fresh for my loyal customers and sometimes that is easier said than done. I’d like to know the recipe or formula for what inspires me or gives me that jolt or spark that can kic
k out the art! After all these years as an artist, I don’t have a recipe written down anywhere, wish I knew what it was to write down and share. Keeping the faith that the inspiration will continue to flow takes a lot of dedication to my artmaking and for me, artmaking is emotional. I can’t have the incredible ups of creating without the downs or “creative blocks.” Thankfully, I have an extremely supportive family and customer base (*good to know for #’s 6 and 10 below!). I think it’s these emotions that artists have to slog through to persevere. I have been mentally stirring things up a bit but not sure how it will all shake out which is OK for now -the Fireweed hasn't gone to seed yet.
In the July/August issue of Art Calendar on page 16 there is a great article; Art Entrepreneur: 12 Ways to Survive the Recession By Ligaya Figueras and Kim Hall
- Stay positive.
- Manage your budget.
- Shop smart. (watch your expenses, especially on art supplies)
- Focus your marketing. (don’t panic and spend loads on new marketing initiatives that won’t work)
- Maintain and strengthen your brand. (your “brand” is the way people perceive you and your art)
- Identify your best prospects. (reexamine where your focus has been, the best prospects are usually past customers/collectors)
- Adjust your sales strategy. (pricing during these times is tricky, but don’t CUT prices, consider smaller pieces, or innovative ways to encourage sales)
- Help your gallery. (keep those on their mailing lists informed, promote yourself)
- Identify areas where there is a need. (offer classes, creative uses for your studio space)
- Think local. (I love this one. Instead of taking that expensive cross country trip for a show, seek opportunities more locally, reconsider expensive shipping)
- Seek alternative funding sources. (anything from grants, teaching art classes, scholarships to go back to school)
- Manage your time. (if your trimming your budget, better define the way you spend your time to be the most productive at all you do)