Economics 101

0

Dear Artist,

A number of artists have been asking about the current economic downturn. More than anything, they want to know what’s going to happen to us creative spirits. While I’m no economist, there’s evidence of a hard truth.

Art follows money.

While art still gets made in an economic downturn, the commercial acceptance of art is neither consistent nor predictable. At the present time, the indulgences of the past decades where easy money chased anything slightly artistic have suddenly reversed.

I’m laptopping you from the economic miracle called Singapore. This city-state of skyscrapers and tree-lined boulevards is also suffering. Government workers are accepting wage reductions of 12 to 20 percent just to keep their jobs, and city fathers are looking over the horizon to find the next infusion of capital.

Yesterday I visited a factory where piece-workers hunch over grindstones cutting chips of jade and other semi-precious stones. Other workers skillfully place the stones onto composite dioramas depicting landscapes, birds, animals and historic deities. The factory shop is long on product and short on customers. Downcast salespeople stand idly by, puffing on thin Malaysian cigarettes.

In our current environment, potential customers are easily more critical of art.

Throughout history, the production of art has followed wealth and leisure. Great civilizations — Egyptian, Sumerian, Greek, Roman and, yes, the American Empire — have been built on it. Other yet-to-be-heard-from civilizations will follow.

To get an idea of when we are coming out of our current setback, you need to look next door to see when that young family thinks they have enough left over to buy season hockey tickets. A healthy, well-regulated economy is the key. When the general population is well fed and well entertained once more, there will once again be enough for art. In the meantime, just as for those workers in the Singapore factory, it’s important to keep busy.

Best regards,

Robert

PS: “Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men’s stupidity, but your talent to their reason.” (Ayn Rand)

Esoterica: Based on experience in previous recessions, three strategies are available: (1) Maintain your prices — increasingly prove the investment value of your work and honour those customers who have invested in you in the past. (2) Continue to make first-rate work. In recessions, the bottom end can fall out completely. If anything, aim to improve quality and try to produce more important and challenging work. There will always be collectors of quality work. (3) If you can afford it, grab any opportunities to improve.

 

Art flourished in Great Depression
by Kishore M Sali, India

 

Wisdom for life original painting by Kishore M Sali

“Wisdom for life”
original painting
by Kishore M Sali

I am recently looking at a lot of websites and paintings related to art in Great Depression of America. I am rather surprised to read that Art actually flourished in the Depression years. While I have already come across reasons –

1) Government initiated some programmes which gave work to Artists.

2) People were attracted to all forms of Art because they wanted to look away from Depression worries.

3) Painters depicted either happy themes or the real depressive moments in depression.

However I have a query — Art naturally, unless is bought in good numbers, cannot flourish. How did this happen when less money was around?



There is 1 comment for Art flourished in Great Depression by Kishore M Sali

From: Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki — Feb 02, 2009

Robert had some stats that out of several millions of artists in North America, 99% make less than $1000 per annum from their art. So, if that is true, only about 1% of NA artists live from art sales even in the best of times. One might speculate that the collectors who support that 1% are not the types that get affected by the depression, or that they get replaced by those who gain from depression in some way.

 

Confusing times
by Sheila Norgate, Gabriola Island, BC, Canada

 

Size matters original pastel by Sheila Norgate

“Size matters”
original pastel
by Sheila Norgate

I am sure I am not alone in feeling sometimes a bit dazed and confused by the downturn in the economy. It really is unprecedented, at least in my career. I have never seen anything like it. I was especially heartened that you listed as your #1 tip, the credo to maintain prices. There seems to be some confusion out there as to what is the best strategy. I was actually shocked that Chris Tyrell recently advised in an Opus Newsletter, that it was OK to lower them. I was also surprised when one of my galleries asked me to consider it. I have always understood that lowering prices constitutes a real disservice to the patrons who have paid full price for our work. But your point about proving the investment quality of our work really helps me feel strong and clear in my resolve to maintain them as they are. My strategy is going to be to work smaller which has the ‘effect’ of lowering prices without actually doing it.



There are 2 comments for Confusing times by Sheila Norgate

From: edie — Jan 29, 2009

I can’t help but wonder why the big deal on never lowering prices on art. Who are we kidding? Stocks have gone down, real estate has gone down, all retail establishments are having huge sales. People are loosing their homes, their pensions, their life savings. But art should never go down? I think it’s unrealistic given the present state of things.

From: Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki — Feb 02, 2009

This may be the great differentiator between the fine art and commercial art. While the prices of commercial art may follow what is happening in the market, the fine art is the most precious treasure of the humankind – it is a lasting value and can’t be affected by the market weather. It’s idealistic, but that’s exactly my point.

 

Compelled to produce
by Carl Purcell, Manti, UT, USA

 

Lighthouse II original painting by Carl Purcell

“Lighthouse II”
original painting
by Carl Purcell

When the market is unpredictable, our own output should not be. I recognize that whether anyone purchased my art or not, I would still be compelled to produce it. We still have to be working when the art spirit moves us. I have never been inspired to produce a fine painting while watching TV. It always happens while I am working. So economic downturn or not, I plan to be at my post when the wind fills my creative sails.



There is 1 comment for Compelled to produce by Carl Purcell

From: Bob Ragland — Feb 02, 2009

 

Surviving in this economy
by Linda Blondheim, Gainesville, FL, USA

 

Florida Cattle Ranch oil pastel by Linda Blondheim

“Florida Cattle Ranch”
oil pastel by Linda Blondheim

To survive in this economy, I have put aside my ego and taken steps to help myself. I have lowered my prices on 8×10 and smaller paintings, and have stopped framing work that I sell in the studio and on my web site. I am only framing paintings that go to my galleries. This plan is working fairly well for me, and I’m paying the bills. I don’t mind sitting on my larger paintings until the economy improves, as long as the small paintings are selling.



There are 2 comments for Surviving in this economy by Linda Blondheim

From: Bob Ragland — Feb 02, 2009

I have some small works under 8X10 inches that fit in a shoe box. I got one of my buyers to have a show of about thirty of these shoe box paintings in November 2008. Nothing was over one hundred dollars.

I sold six of the little unframed works. I put some of the paintings on a table and countertop.

My plan is to do this again.

I am like you, I will sit on my larger works until the economy gets better .

My bills are very low, so my intent is to still get my work in circulation.

From: Hiria Ratahi — Feb 23, 2009

 

Loyalty to supporters
by Betty Billups, Sandpoint, ID, USA

 

Sunday's reflection original painting by Betty Billups

“Sunday’s reflection”
original painting
by Betty Billups

I totally agree with you, in regards to being true to one’s price-rate. I have had many suggest I “give” my work away at prices to encourage buyers. Having not raised my prices much in the past 15 years, it is like already “reducing” my prices! But on my gallery quality pieces, I stand firm on my prices! AND I also do not sell much!!!

Instead, what I have done is opened another web address, where I sell my “less-than-gallery-quality” unframed paintings at 1/3 to 1/4 the regular price… But I refuse to sell my gallery quality for anything less than what I’ve been asking for them! …not merely for myself and my own gain, but through loyalty to those who have already supported me.



There are 2 comments for Loyalty to supporters by Betty Billups

From: Consuelo — Jan 30, 2009

I too have some ‘less-than-gallery-quality’ paintings but I affectionately call mine – ‘garbage’ and that’s where they shall reside.

From: Karen Cooper — Jan 31, 2009

A note to Consuelo, some people name their garbage bins “ebay” :) Yeah, in case you couldn’t tell, that’s a joke !

 

Worry solves nothing
by Beverly Claridge, Invercargill, New Zealand

 

Chains of Gold oil painting by Beverly Claridge

“Chains of Gold”
oil painting
by Beverly Claridge

If there is a silver lining in this economic downturn, it is contained in your Esoterica urging artists to “continue making first-rate work.” Try as I might, I simply cannot pump out high quality work quickly. So, I’m counting on this factor. I’ve also developed an improved business plan and made great efforts to network during our southern hemisphere summer. For me, it is important to remain positive and work even harder during this world money crunch. Worrying does not solve anything.

 

Time for a revelation
by Brad Michael Moore, Perrin, TX, USA

 

Android Testicle<br>computer graphics by Brad Michael Moore

“Android Testicle”
computer graphics
by Brad Michael Moore

Sober and humbling assessment. In such an economic downturn, perhaps artists will find the deepest meaning of their work by exploring in places they never took the time to mine before. When life becomes a matter of ‘one day at a time,’ and we must reach out to gather whatever inspiration we can find. It can be as if looking really hard in the mirror with the brightest lighting ever. What you will see is that this is where it all comes to you. Speak to your reflection — have a conversation you have never had before. Meditate on this a bit and go back to your work, naked to your own truth and the reality of your circumstances, including those closest to you who will be sharing this journey with you. We must put in the effort to keep well, and carry forth.

 

Economics of the Soul 101
by Janice Tanton, Canmore, AB, Canada

 

Rides in Both Worlds oil painting 40 x 40 inches by Janice Tanton

“Rides in Both Worlds”
oil painting 40 x 40 inches
by Janice Tanton

I hold an unpopular position with most of my money-driven puzzled colleagues in that thinking about the financial reward or gain generated from a work of art is just plain singular, selfish thinking and the same thinking that got the world into this mess in the first place. I never paint inspired by what the final price of a piece may be once hung in the gallery, or even care if it will sell. There was a time 10 years ago that this was true…but not now. I opt instead for what moves me at the core of my being for my community and humanity, and into a final work of art, that which is speaking to me to have life breathed into it. In turn, that raw sensibility and passion of the soul finds its way through a work to a viewer and moves him or her. If you are creating for any other reason, you’re in the wrong line of work. End of story and all that matters.



There are 2 comments for Economics of the Soul 101 by Janice Tanton

From: Janet Badger — Jan 30, 2009

Well said. Art must come from the heart, or at least the creative part of the brain, not the cold-eyed pragmatic part.

From: Cindy Revell — Jan 30, 2009

For some of us the two are able to reside very comfortably together.

 

Because we must
by Martha Faires, Charlotte, NC, USA

 

A hunting we will go oil pastel by Martha Faires

“A hunting we will go”
oil pastel by Martha Faires

All of the advice you have given is good whether in prosperity or in want. One should never be content with the quality of one’s work and, in recession or not, an artist will create because he must. I have a book on creative writing and the title says it all — Creative Writing for People Who Can’t Not Write by Kathryn Lindskoog. Perhaps you should write a parallel, “Creativity for People Who Can’t Not Create.” We will find ways to survive economic hard times that may mean working at other things, too, but dedicated artists will continue to work at their easels.

 

Fruits of plein air
by Bill Hibberd, Summerland, BC, Canada

 

Lone pine oil painting by Bill Hibberd

“Lone pine”
oil painting
by Bill Hibberd

Economics is topical in every discipline and tribe these days. We westerners, who are the top five percent of the world’s affluent, need to assess the real nature of art in our lives. Is success measurable only by monetary value and the lineup to your studio door? Are we makers of decoration or is art something deeper? It is easy to be philosophical if one isn’t dependent on a financial stream from their art making. So, if we depend on art for our survival, what to do in these days?

For myself, I have been working on a larger scale in my paintings and loving it, but because of my relative obscurity it is unlikely larger, more costly pieces, will sell well through this economic trough. So, I will spend this year focused on smaller, plein air paintings — I have so much to learn about painting from life. This period ahead may turn out to be one of my most fruitful.



There is 1 comment for Fruits of plein air by Bill Hibberd

From: Catherine Robertson — Jan 30, 2009

Bill, If you keep painting the beautiful colours I see in the above painting of the tree in snow, you should sell super-well whatever size you choose ! Its gorgeous !

 

Interesting solution by a sculptor
by Janet Roberts, Brookfield, WI, USA

 

No Dogma sculpture by Gary Gresl

“No Dogma”
sculpture
by Gary Gresl

I am a painter, and am lucky to have a significant other who is also an artist… Gary creates large assemblages. He has been very successful showing them and has received many honors and awards. Sadly, due to their size, he has sold few, and now has to rent two storage units to hold them. He finally arrived at what I think is a courageous and brilliant idea: he sent out notices to the art community in Milwaukee announcing that he would “gift” assemblages to anyone who would like one. The only stipulations were that the recipient not dismantle them to sell the objects in a piece, and that Gary retain the right to show them if the occasion arose. When he first told me of this decision, I was quite upset, but after much thought realized how much better it would be for the assemblages to be in homes or institutions where they could be seen and enjoyed, rather than crammed in a dark storage unit. The response to this notice was wonderful, and not only artists have requested pieces, but museums and schools.

I felt this was such a unique solution to a problem many artists may have that I wanted to share it with you and your readers. If you are curious about Gary’s work, you can go to his website.



There is 1 comment for Interesting solution by a sculptor by Janet Roberts

From: Diane Artz Furlong — Jan 30, 2009

What a unique and generous idea! Thank you for sharing it. I enjoyed looking at Gary’s work and forwarded the link to my former art professor/mentor to share with her 3D art students.

 

No better than this
by Jim Lorriman, Shelburne, ON, Canada

 

Turned On! spalted maple by Jim Lorriman

“Turned On!”
spalted maple by Jim Lorriman

I am almost laughingly optimistic. We, in the arts, have a very unique opportunity if we wish to take advantage of it. It may be one of those once-in-a-lifetime things. We can be reasonably certain that we are very close to the bottom and therefore the long-term direction will only be up. We can probably say this with an 80 to 90% certainty. Over the next 3 to 5 to 7 to 10 years we have a pretty good idea what the future holds.

My strategy is to keep making my high end pieces. I will inventory these for the return of better markets, selling them along the way when I can. As I have to make a living, I am also making pieces that cater to the price points that are currently viable. But when the market does return, for the first time in my life, I will have an in-depth inventory to present to it instead of always having to play catch up, as I have done in the past.

Also, as part of the strategy, I am doing professional development. I am in the process of completing the smARTist Telesummit that you suggested in your letter Second opinion. I have met many artists from across the globe and have been introduced to many new ideas. I am also taking a seminar in Philadelphia in mid-February to see if this is a good time to start building a profile in the US market.

I am excited about my work and exhilarated about my prospects. I don’t think that it gets any better than this.

 

 

World of Art Featured artist Mary Lapos, Pennsylvania, USA  

'Untitled by Mary Lapos, Pennsylvania, USA

Untitled

oil painting by
Mary Lapos, Pennsylvania, USA

 

You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013.

That includes Alex Nodopaka who wrote, “I decided to go the opposite way and am tripling prices on my artwork with bigger fish in mind. Meanwhile, while the catch is still far at sea I suggested to President Obama while he’s at it, in the process of rebuilding the American infrastructure, to make it pretty and hire a million artists.”
 

 

Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for Economics 101

 

 

From: Kris Wilson — Jan 27, 2009

What type of art sold in the great depression era? Which artists emerged during that period if any? When did art sales begin to flourish after the depression?

From: Cam Anderson — Jan 27, 2009
From: Diana Nicosia — Jan 27, 2009
From: Joyce Goden — Jan 28, 2009

Last year we sold a home for a considerable amount less than we anticipated and it took a year to do so. San Antonio Texas has not been hit too hard by the recession.

I am considering lowering my prices to a point where I was selling frequently, hopefully my higher paying customers will understand that its a temporary condition.

From: Bob — Jan 28, 2009

Joyce, sorry to say but your belief that Austin is not impacted is a delusion, your plan to drop the prices is a suicide and hope for understanding is unreasonable. Don’t do it!

From: Bruce Ervin Wood — Jan 28, 2009

Excellent Ayn Rand quote. It’s when things don’t work like they did before that we have the opportunity to do new things that work even better. In the absence of a problem, there’s less drive to find a solution. Without vision, there are neither problems nor opportunity. What we take for granted, we risk for loss. “An inconvenience is an unrecognized opportunity.” (Confucius) Right now is the greatest time in our lives.

From: Ron Andrea — Jan 28, 2009

You said we need “a healthy, well-regulated economy.” Healthy, yes, Well-regulated, no. In fact, many believe — myself and Ayn Rand among them — that well-regulated anythings are, by definition, impossible. Then you close your letter with an Ayn Rand quote. If you really know Rand’s writing, I don’t need to explain the paradox.

While I’m at it, none of those civilizations were built on their art, though in some cases the art is all we have left of them.

From: David Gillison — Jan 28, 2009
From: James Bright — Jan 28, 2009

Love the letters, love the nuggets of wisdom… and especially love the Ayn Rand quote… So very wonderful… paint man, just paint some more.

From: Tricia Syz — Jan 28, 2009
From: Roger Asselin — Jan 28, 2009

My feelings are that creative spirits do not dry up when natural resources seem to diminish. In actuality, the economics are not dry. All of the money is still there but has transferred into fewer pockets because of greed.

Like faith, which brings substance to what you desire, creativity brings reality to that which non-creative people cannot see or desire to produce, even if they can see it. The creative person looks beyond obstacles which seem to make the task impossible.

True creativity is a spirit which transcends the natural realm in all aspects. When people tell others no, the creative spirit says yes! In anticipation of results yet not seen, the creative person in spirit will plod on to victory or succumb to death; whichever comes first. You can’t kill the spirit of creativity in the real artist.

If money is the object of our creativity, we have then missed what painting is all about!

From: Peter Laudin — Jan 28, 2009

Art Economics 201: Every Winter is followed by a Spring. And so far, every economic contraction has been followed by an economic expansion, and usually the expansion ends up much larger. Produce work throughout the contraction so that you have it available for the expansion.

You will have fewer competitors for your buyer’s dollars when the expansion starts, as the contraction will squeeze out the weaker or economically unviable artists.

I cannot stress the importance of keeping yourself upbeat; do not let the gloomsters get to your mental attitude or your work will suffer.

From: Roger Cummiskey — Jan 28, 2009
From: Paol Serret — Jan 28, 2009
From: Paul Kane — Jan 28, 2009

Art thrives in bad times as well as good. There’s a freedom in poverty, and a discipline, because if you can’t find your way to the creative wellspring inside you, you can’t find your way at all.

And even in the boomest of boom times, many or most artists don’t get chased by money, and maybe the best.

From: Brad Greek — Jan 28, 2009

I feel that with the slow down in the economy, also comes a slow down in production of art and artists. Is it possible that this is a sort of brake for the overwhelming growth that we’ve seen through the internet over the past several years? It seems that most everyone with a computer became an artist and most everyone with a printer became part of the print market. This could be a “weeding out” period for those that were just in it for the quick buck. I totally agree with your view point on this issue.

From: Carol Morrison — Jan 28, 2009
From: Jon Conkey — Jan 28, 2009

It might be time to point out how Vermeer, and Rembrandt died flat broke due to turned economies…artists today are a dime a dozen, these guys were two of the best ever, and were not immune. What will artists do during this “?downturn?”, who says it’s a downturn? This could be a permanent collapse of the world monetary system. Artists are supposed to be resourceful, not craftsy, entitlement-minded whiners, w/over-inflated egos. Artists will starve if they can’t buy their bread, that is what will happen to “us creative spirits”. Furthermore, if they are asking others, such as yourself, they are already doomed.

From: Michal T. Brock — Jan 28, 2009

Economic contrarian:

As a newbie to painting, I’m thinking about two fundamental considerations before brush meets canvas: Perspective and light source.

101: Gaining Perspective

So, the client no longer comes to the gallery, the commission line fails to ring, take the gallery to the client, the commission work will then follow. An example of this theory is the local bank that has fallen out of favor, a building full of halls and walls, security and eyeballs. Cost-free to host and artist, work can be put on display for the entire community to enjoy. A press release to the local paper will stimulate traffic, an evening of cookies and tea with the artist in the lobby and suddenly the bank president is rethinking his 12th floor leap, the customers are warmed by the sense of community, and the artist is returned to the audience with renewed opportunity for patronage. The mix of art needs to speak to the community; an assortment of architectural sites of interest, street scenes, landscapes, a sprinkling of candid portrait work suggestive of the artist’s style. Surely, before the banker takes his/her leap, they’ll commission a portrait of themselves for the wall dedicated to past and present bank officers! Plant the bulbs in the Spring for the flowers in the summer. Same thing works in doctor’s offices, vet clinics, sporting goods stores, garden centers, flower shops…….a scenic road that eventually will lead back to the classic gallery. Perspective being essentially how we are looking at a subject, ie from down looking up, up looking down, head cocked with one eye closed, what an opportunity this economy gives an artist to flex his/her perspective.

201: Light Source

You, the artist, are the light source. What you put on the canvas will determine who’s eyes will widen when they view your work. Some venues, like a bank, will support a broad base of audience interest. Other’s, like a Vet Clinic or Pediatric Office, have a more specific audience appeal. Make sure you match your work with your audience. A bank brings with it certain subliminal supports such as value, credibility?, longevity, and audience diversity. A bank is a good place to have an introductory showing. It also lends a certain “seal of approval.” Churches can be interesting venues as well. When you place yourself before your audience with a variety of art that has significance in the community, the community will tell you what they can and will support. In a down economy, a down marriage, a down “anything”, its important to understand the importance of these two little words, “can” and “will.” At what price point can the potential pool of buyers support you? With what subject “will” the market patronize your work?

Symbiotic relationships are always important but never more so than during difficult economic times. Animal Rescue groups struggle to find loving homes for abandoned critters. They park their cages in front of local pet stores hoping to catch the attention of a warm heart who CAN adopt one of their charges and who WILL remain a loyal and responsible pet owner. No budget for advertising, they rely on volunteers to further their cause.

Non-profit organizations live from race to race, fundraiser to fundraiser. Every race needs a T-shirt, every fundraiser needs a poster, something visual that speaks to their cause. When without a cause, create one. “10% of all proceeds will be donated to the Mountain Animal Rescue League” will guarantee you free mention in the local paper before your bank gallery showing, and an appreciative line of viewers hoping for your success. Your art gracing the chest of 1,000 runners will get you a table to sell posters, note cards, and probably show a little more of your work.

By the time we all alter our perspective, bolster our inventory of art generated under new light, and do a little self-promotion, we may find ourselves on the train coming out of the dark economic tunnel into a landscape that has changed, for the better.

Having spent many years in retail marketing (PR and Special Events) first with a store we’ll call NM, shopping centers with roofs, leading to airline consulting, and oncology practice marketing, I hold these theories to be true if executed with a hopeful heart.

From: Jim Robertson — Jan 28, 2009

Back in the ’60s when I went to Art Center college (located at 3rd & Highland) I had an instructor who would say, of art, “If it doesn’t sell, it’s no damn good.”

From: Bertram Lewis — Jan 28, 2009

Your approach may be fine for the established artist who has been able to put aside a nest egg in order to ride out the recession but it does nothing for those at the early stages of their careers. Do you have any advice for them?

From: Gwen Fox — Jan 28, 2009

I agree, the current economy is scary but only as much as we allow it to be. Looking back we will realize it was a good thing. We will be forced to do better, become better artist, better marketers and get back to basics. Here is what I tell my students. This is the time to study, to grow professionally, try new subjects, new mediums, expand your creativity, develop a series of work so when things change, and they will, you will be ready.

Give yourself a gift….Take a workshop. Tell those you love, a gift certificate to a workshop would be fabulous for your birthday, anniversary, or just to say I love you….instead of more “stuff”. This is the time for YOU!!! Immerse yourself in creating the life of your dreams.

From: Sharon Mills — Jan 28, 2009

I believe now is the time to paint some of our finest work. After all art is a way of expressing ourselves. What other form of expression can say a thousand words with just one painting?

From: Bob Ragland — Jan 28, 2009

Real artists market harder!!!!!!!

Real artists invent new ways to survive recessions.

The recession ain’t nothing but a lesson.

Only the strong survive recessions.

Real artists practice business.

Real artists don’t stop, they ARTON!!!!

From: Joyce Goden — Jan 28, 2009

Lets talk about the true foundation of American business, higher quality and lower prices. The housing and auto market have had to cut their prices, why not the arts? Even though it sometimes feels like it we artists are not living a bubble.

I plan of surviving this recession as a artist, sitting around for 2-5 years or longer waiting for the market to come back is just not my style, nor would it be good for my ego.

Someone told me once the doctors and artists are the worst business people. Hopefully artists can take their creativity and focus it into marketing and business, and be successful in these hard times.

From: Rick Rotante — Jan 29, 2009

I don’t agree that artists stop painting just because sales fall off. Or wander around in their mind thinking on other things. You’re an artist. It’s not something you do it is who you are. If we can’t distinguish this point, better find another vocation. If one needs to get a (regular) job to make it through, so be it. You do what’s necessary. If you think about not painting at all, maybe you would be doing everyone a favor of getting out of the way of the rest of us. It may sound harsh, but if you think you can turn it on and off, you shouldn’t be painting.

p.s. John Conkey – For being such a good painter you have a nihilistic outlook in most of your letters. Buck up boy and see the cup half full once in awhile. Just a thought.

Everyone else, buckle down and paint. Nothing lasts forever, even “downturns”.

From: Loretta Puckrin — Jan 29, 2009

Yes there is a tightening of ‘mad money’ in the marketplace. But if you create something that people want they will find a way to buy it.

Case in point. My husband is a potter and at a local restaurant the server stopped us and thanked my husband for a piece she had recently bought. She works three jobs to keep her finances under control but found a way to get a hundred dollars together to buy a piece which spoke to her and doesn’t regret the money spent. Understandably paintings sell for more but the principle applies. I had a painting for $300 which sold to a family with the husband out of work and the wife only working part time.

Secondly –although we would all like to sell our creations for millions, are you painting for the market or for yourself. If it is for the market there is always a way to do something small and commercial which will sell (even if it is cards). If it is for yourself then you know you have to paint and perhaps you can control your costs while the sales are lower.

Fortunately most artists have a significant other who supplies money for daily living. The rest of us continue to work at other jobs to support our habit but sometimes the pressure of not having all day, every day to paint makes us more prolific as every moment is precious.

The more you focus on the poor economy the more your painting will suffer. It is a reality. Find out how you are going to deal with it and then forget it.

From: Toni Ciserella — Jan 30, 2009

When I don’t have enough money to buy the materials and supplies I need to create, I create the materials and supplies I need. When times are tough and things are not flowing in and out easily, I get creative. My brain gets unclogged. I start looking outside the lines and seeing opportunities in means and ways that I would never have seen in the easy times. I stretch and look and see above,beyond, beneath, below, between, beside. Some of the greatest most amazing things come when we are challenged. This is definitely the best part of being an artist–getting creative! I love a challenge. Isn’t that what we paint for?

From: Gregg Caudell — Feb 02, 2009

I study marketing as much as painting. Painting I learn from others’ paintings, marketing is more difficult. It’s all about networking is what I figure. It always amazes me that universities haven’t figured out that an artist’s curriculum needs to be interdisciplinary and needs to include marketing for the artist. Thanks for the tips.

From: Gene Martin — Feb 17, 2009

Often overlooked by today’s gloom and doomers is the fact gas was about $4 when this mortgage mess began and now is $1.75. My reading tells me this drop in gas prices amounts to about a 900 billion dollar tax stimulus. In the last 30 days I have had more opportunity, as an artist, present itself than in the last 3 years. Bad economy? I really don’t see it.

 

 

Share.

Leave A Reply

No Featured Workshop
No Featured Workshop
Share.

Robert and Sara Genn Twice-Weekly Letters

Subscribe and receive the Twice-Weekly letter on art. You’ll be joining a worldwide community of artists.
Subscription is free.