Bartering for fun and profit


Dear Artist,

Two days ago I happened to be cruising The Painter’s Post and noticed an Artinfo item, “Bartering is an art form all its own.” The article mentioned Andy Warhol in need of a video camera, trading some self-portraits to an electronics guy. And Damien Hirst trading one of his early medicine cabinets to a willing dentist. In his speech accepting the 1995 Turner prize, Hirst thanked the doctor for “spending more time in my mouth than is healthy.”

Judging by some of the letters in this inbox, bartering for art may be making a comeback. Online barter sites are going strong. Classifieds and “Craigslist” are in the game. There’s even a course: “Barter 101.”

Apart from the usual massages and yoga lessons, there are cottage swaps and boat trips. As you read this, I’m exchanging a painting of Donegal for a trip to Ireland (and all the Guinness I can drink).

I, too, am the recipient of a pair of lovely golden molars. Dr. Mackenzie made them so much like Henry Moore’s sculptures that every time another dentist looks in there, he feels the need to maintain the high standard and charges me accordingly.

Then there was the time when a big rancher at a Calgary show purchased two of my efforts, needed another, but happened to be out of cash. A few weeks later a refrigerated truck appeared in our driveway. We couldn’t get the animal into our freezer and I was forced into butchery with my Swede saw. It was all to no avail. No matter how we cooked it, that critter was the toughest ever seen in the West. Most of it went to the neighbor’s dogs. The rancher still has my painting.

So while the bartering system has some pitfalls, it’s still a viable way of doing business. Funnily, after all these years of considering my bank balance, it’s the trades I remember the most. I once got a station wagon from a Chevy dealer for a painting that went into his closing room. The wagon lasted ten years and got me to some pretty wonderful places.

The trouble with bartering is you have to take it in as income and pretend it’s cash. This could be pretty taxing if your whole business happened to be in barter. But then again, how else are you going to help out those poor chaps at GM?

Best regards,


PS: “He traded with the milkman to get milk. He loved the game of it. He was the king of barter.” (Nancy Kienholz on her late husband, assemblage artist Ed Kienholz)

Esoterica: Very often potential barterers are reluctant to ask artists for fear they might insult them. I’ve found if I just suggest the idea, they jump on it. You need to get your terms more or less clear. You don’t want anything to spoil your fun, or theirs. Funnily as well, it’s the trades that artists remember the most. Trades feel good. In the long run, the deal generally works to the artist’s advantage.


Escape by trade
by Perry Haddock, Cloverdale, BC, Canada


“Spring Pastures”
acrylic painting, 16 x 20 inches
by Perry Haddock

Funny you should write about this as I’m sitting in Dubrovnik, trading a nice holiday in a three bedroom apartment for a painting-to-be. When I return to my less picturesque home village of beautiful downtown Cloverdale, I may search “Craigslist” for a future escape!



There are 2 comments for Escape by trade by Perry Haddock

From: Mishcka — Jun 08, 2009

Nice painting! I traded three paintings, a still life, a portrait and a landscape, altogether worth $3000 for a trip to India, Nepal and London.

From: Above and Beyond — Jun 11, 2009

Not a bad trade Mishcka. I don’t suppose you got spending money thrown in did you?


Carl Rungius and trade
by Mike Jorden, Osoyoos, BC, Canada


“Chopaka Rodeo”
oil painting, 12 x 16 inches
by Mike Jorden

The wildlife painter Carl Rungius was first invited to Banff to hunt and paint by the guide and outfitter Jimmy Simpson in 1910. The trip went so well that Rungius spent approximately half of each year in the Rockies for the rest of his life. Payment for that first trip was a large oil entitled ‘The Old Billy’ which hung in the Simpson’s lodge on Bow Lake for decades and is now in the Glenbow collection. He is known to have gifted or exchanged other works during his lifetime. Rungius secured his reputation by becoming a member of the prestigious National Academy of Design ten years later so presumably at this early stage in his career money was an issue?


Legislation on trade
by Peggy Guichu, Phoenix, AZ, USA


“Martini Anyone?”
oil painting, 36 x 49 inches
by Peggy Guichu

I, too, have in the past bartered my paintings for items I needed. But I found out recently that Arizona has passed a legislation making it illegal to trade legal work for paintings. I’m sure the law goes farther than art, but it was legal work that I was attempting to acquire. The lawyer said that their law office downtown was filled with some wonderful artwork from a local artist who traded his paintings for legal services years ago, but that due to the new law they were now unable to barter. So, not only did Arizona cut so much off their art programs that we won’t be able to take advantage of the federal match of funds, but now we aren’t able to trade valuable work for services. I wonder what other states have the same laws.


Trade during the ‘big’ depression
by Libby Jutras, Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada


“Fall colour”
acrylic painting, 16 x 20 inches
by Libby Jutras

I am aware of how the barter system kept many families alive during the “big” depression. As an ex-funeral director, I heard that during the depression in the thirties their families faired very well. They were kept in eggs, sides of beef, fresh veggies, wood to burn in the winter, handmade clothes, quilts, and anything else their customer’s next of kin could produce. I wish that art was as necessary as being buried!


There is 1 comment for Trade during the ‘big’ depression by Libby Jutras

From: Isabel Benson — Jun 09, 2009

Love your painting. I’m just trying to find my way around acrylic work did not like it much at first. That neither this or that thing. I work in watercolour now more than oils. The water in yours looks so wet I thought it was a watercolour. Beautiful. PS I’m old enough to remember the “great depression” Bartering was sometimes the only way to get by.


Barter attractions
by Maria Oppenheim, Wiesbaden, Germany


“Green picture”
acrylic painting
by Maria Oppenheim

I haven’t gone down in history yet but I have a deal with my homeopath — She has over 10 meters of my acrylic paintings and matching cups and plates to serve tea to her patients… My dentist also has some paintings and I feel very confident as far as my health is concerned.

When the doctor / artist-patient vibrations match, the paintings will also attract other patients on the same wave length. Unfortunately the time factor is unpredictable. After 8 years, a patient of my homeopath asked for my paintings and prices and actually passed on a large order. So it can work but you can’t sit and wait for it… My car is also in good shape — my mechanic once asked me for a large painting… By the way: bartering was never my idea but I found it a fun possibility and an absolute win-win situation.


Never giving up
by Betty Billups, Sandpoint, ID, USA


“Ancient guardians”
oil painting, 12 x 16 inches
by Betty Billups

Well, last time, I shared the 100% loss with some art exhibitions. Now, to counter balance that experience, I would like to share the wonderful experience of “bartering”…

To every “coin” there are two sides! I shared the rough one, as a warning, so others may not walk into the same problem! Now I would like to share the beauty of never giving up!!!

Back in 1990, the old ranch I was living on north of Sandpoint, Idaho, sold and I had nowhere to move. I spent a week checking out all sorts of places to “house set” for the winter. And each lead fell through. To make a long (interesting) story shorter, I found a home that was for sale and I was permitted to take care of it for the winter. In the spring, I had fallen in love with it, sent every penny I had (all of $500) to the owners, and said: “I have absolutely no money, but can I buy your home?” To which they said YES!??!?!

Well, over the next several years, that “empty pockets” thing followed me constantly. I’d call and apologize that I didn’t have that month’s payment, to which I was usually greeted with: “Well, you know, we saw this one painting of yours in town” LONGER… story, SHORTER… Within 10 years I had the home paid off, and perhaps 40% or more was paid for with paintings!!! My life was greatly blessed by this supportive couple!!

Yes, to all of life, there are two sides to the coin! The secret is to have a support “team” that helps “carry you” emotionally, while you are having the rough times!! We should all be so blessed!!!


Living off the grid
by Elle Hogan, USA


“Beginner’s Mind”
wool cord
by Elle Hogan

I am currently in negotiations for a floor loom. I have submitted a list of what I can offer and, currently, the list is being perused. As we are artists/ musicians/ farmers, the list is eclectic, to say the least. Up for consideration: some combination of eggs, roosters, rattlesnake (heirloom pole) beans, cocozelle (heirloom zucchini), handspun wool from our sheep, custom handknits, fiddle lessons, live music for a party, woodwork, carpentry & painting, and, finally, a painting.

This worked a few months ago when I needed emergency dental care. What is it with the price of dentistry? I traded a bathroom remodel, a painting on an antique chest, and okra for repair of a broken bridge, deep cleaning, an extraction, and a new fake tooth. The okra clinched the deal.

As self-employed people who have decided to live as far off the grid as possible, and as independent of “the economy” as possible, we aren’t in love with the cash-driven system. Barter, to us, is normal — but we’ve been making our way with our hands for a very long time now. The way things are going, more and more people will be looking at alternatives to cash. Barter is the next big thing.


Exchange for summer camp
by Cris Reverdy, Marstons Mills, MA, USA


pontoon boat
by Cris Reverdy

Last summer I was able to barter with the owners of a private summer camp on Cape Cod… this was what I produced for the exchange… bartering is a beautiful thing!





Depends on where you live
by Susan Connelly, , Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA


“After Lunch, Todos Santos”
acrylic painting
30 x 24 inches
by Susan Connelly

As the owner of a Santa Fe high quality clothing store in the ’70s, I was constantly requested to trade clothes for art, antiques, jewelry, and meals at great restaurants. It delighted me. The clothes are long gone now (unless you are into vintage) but the art, jewelry and antiques live on in our life. My sister was a noted SF artist (Constance Counter) and she traded art for practically everything, including medical and dental services. We all benefited because Santa Fe is a place where art is appreciated. It’s a great way to do business!!

We now live in the southern part of the state and it is a different story here. The only people I have found that are interested in bartering are other artists.

I have been painting for the past ten years and after several successful shows, showing with a busy and successful gallery, it seems the dentists, doctors, clothing stores are deaf to the deal. However, I have had fun trading art for art and have not only treasured paintings to show for the effort, but weavings too. So, I think it really has more do with where you live and how the art is valued.


Barter Heaven!
by Jill Wagner, Saline, MI, USA


pastel painting, 8 x 10 inches
by Jill Wagner

This economy definitely has been tough on artists, but bartering has opened quite a few new doors for me. I have already created 3 barter commissions this year. Good quality art for good quality services. The attached pastel portrait was done for a friend whose brown lab had just died. In return, she maintains my website. I’ve also bartered for search engine optimization and dog grooming! It’s a win-win situation and it keeps me painting even when I’m not “selling.” Just be sure that you receive fair value for your work. Now is not the time to devalue your art.




Just what we need
by Cathy Johnson, MO, USA


“Stone Shack on the River Road”
watercolour painting
by Cathy Johnson

Bartering just plain FEELS good. It’s nowhere near as abstract as an exchange of checks or PayPal, and you know everyone gets just what they need.

I bartered with my late husband’s cardiologist (years before he was my LATE husband!), with our attorney, and like you, with our dentist. Sounds as if I did better on the beef exchange than you did — plenty to eat for months, and discovered a wonderful cut that I didn’t know existed, a Pike’s Peak roast. Oh, my…

I’ve bartered for lodging, for meals when I was only 14, for other artwork… it’s a delight, even if you DO need to keep track of it for tax purposes!


Exchange art program
by Rhonda Bobinski, Red Lake, ON, Canada


“Northern Lights”
original painting
by Rhonda Bobinski

I also profusely agree with your perspective on bartering; I, for one, have received some amazing artwork over the years as a swap with other artists. But I think the best exchange of art happened in my classroom. Because I live in an isolated community, we are the only high school in the district. I wanted my students to have more exposure to other artists, so I set up an “art exchange” with another school about 300km away. Each student from both schools had to write up an artist’s profile. We received theirs and they received ours. We went through the profiles and tried to match like-minded people accordingly… (actually, it’s kind of like an archaic version of Internet dating with a much better product in the end… haha). The students worked diligently on a multi-medium art piece about a complete stranger and the results were fantastic! It was like Christmas in the art room when we received our art pieces from the other school. We tried to guess whose art piece was for whom, before reading the slip of paper that told us so. Some people were brutally discouraged while others were extremely delighted! And just as I write this now, it gives me an idea to start up this “exchange art program” within our community! Now that would be fun!


Modern age bartering
by Georgianne Fastaia, San Francisco, CA, USA


“Labrador coast 1”
original painting
by Georgianne Fastaia

Your post about the long tradition of artists bartering for goods and services reads like a WIN WIN to me. Here is a true, recent example of bartering in the modern age….

On May 28th, 2009, I posted the following ad on “Craigslist” under BARTER with a link to my website and a few jpegs.

Seeking a music teacher for my 2 year old daughter who loves music, banging on drums, playing harmonica and singing. A music teacher from her daycare commented on her aptitude and interest however lessons are out of my reach presently.

I am well known bay area painter with work in local galleries. It’s my hope that you will check out my art if you might consider trading your professional skills (as a music teacher) for mine as an artist…

Thanks for your interest, Georgianne

I received three replies, two were from people who liked my art but had very limited skills to trade. I was thrilled when a well known musician, who specializes in teaching toddlers music wrote back. His reply below:


My name is Andrew Skewes-Cox. I am a preschool music teacher in San Francisco. I teach at Calvary Presbyterian Nursery School, Lone Mountain Children’s Center, St. James Preschool, St. Nicholas Daycare and Preschool, and Marina Children’s Center.

I also teach privately. I also love art. And I’m very interested in your offer. I hope we can negotiate some sort of an exchange.

Let me know!


Ah, yes, the trades
by Angela Treat Lyon, Kailua, Hawaii, USA


“Heart to Heart”
oil painting, 20 x 17 inches
by Angela Treat Lyon

You’re so right — it’s the trades I remember so well. In 1978 I traded a hand painted tile-top table (4′ x 4′ with the entire detailed Mayan calendar) for a redo of every single one of my fillings and crowns; plus one of the first implants in Hawaii by the top implant guy in the country at that time. He took a beautiful hand painted porcelain vase. Those teeth have stood by me all these years, and, like your Henry Moores, they inspire every dentist to try to match their quality.

And, in the last 10 years, I traded three paintings (one at a time of course!) for each successive old clunker until I could afford a newer car. What would I have done without that collector? Not an old f*rt, either — he’s in his lower 30s! Helps he was a mechanic….

But the best trade of all was a sculpture for free rent for 6 months in Santa Fe — it would have been a mighty cold winter, otherwise!

There is 1 comment for Ah, yes, the trades by Angela Treat Lyon

From: Dorenda Crager Watson — Jun 11, 2009


I like this piece very much…checked out your website as well…nice work!




Studio idyll

oil painting
by Anders Zorn, Sweden


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 Peter Brown of Oakland, CA, USA, who wrote, “I prefer gifting to bartering. The giftee gets to chose. Otherwise, I just pay cash money. The giftees never forget the gift.”

And also Ann Hardy of Colleyville, TX, USA, who wrote, “You are reminding me that I have bartered for “stud” fee for my Arabian mare and riding lessons for me. Me or the mare, not sure who got the better deal! (I’ve just had a margarita, or I probably would not have written this.)”

And also Phil Bates of Myrtle Creek, OR, USA, who wrote, “I recently bartered a painting in exchange for a stress test with my Cardiologist. The value was $650 which was the same price as the painting. Both parties were happy.”

And also Bill Kerr of Courtenay, BC, Canada, who wrote, “Lawyers, accountants and notaries around White Rock, BC, have my work. The dentist wouldn’t go for it. A note to our American friends: Medicare pretty much takes the doctor out of the bartering picture. Apart from that, universal Medicare is great idea.”

And also Amanda Williams of Perth, Australia, who wrote, “Don’t forget that artists barter with each other too and the request can be flattering or encouraging when the idea comes from someone we admire. I remind my kids that their inheritance is hanging on the walls — they know which ones they are.”


Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for Bartering for fun and profit



From: Dwight Williams, Idaho — Jun 05, 2009

Years ago a sculptor friend of mine headed for town with a load of work to trade for various things his kids needed for school. As he left, his wife said, “Try for some cash, Idaho Power won’t trade.”

From: Susan Holland — Jun 05, 2009
From: Murray Schwartz — Jun 05, 2009

My bartering policy is simple – Something nice for something nice. I’ve never been disappointed.

From: Gail Seich — Jun 06, 2009

I love the idea of bartering and many people are willing to barter, especially in this economy.

A few years back, I was at one of many American Indian Powwows I attend each year. There was a Navajo silversmith who made these lovely earrings of turquoise, lapiz, and silver. They were about $100 more than I could afford. I asked him if he would trade them for a painting and that I would come back the next day. His wife even gave me their trader pass to enter again tomorrow without paying!

I went home…did a 5×7 watercolor of Monument Valley, heart of Navajo land, matted and framed it. I had painted this scene many times so it took no time at all.

I returned with the painting and they loved it and were willing to barter. The $120 earrings cost me $20 and my little painting.

All’s well that ends well. We were both happy.

From: Caroline Stengl — Jun 06, 2009

My wife and I recently traded logo design, business card design and a dog portrait for dog training lessons. It was a great deal! Now I’m working on a portfolio of pet portraits and a brochure so I can visit our dog trainer’s classes to promote my work to other pet owners. Bartering is great!

From: Rhonda Bobinski — Jun 07, 2009

Just some advice about tough meat… two words: crock pot. Even a hockey puck will taste ridiculously delicious with a broth in a crock pot!

From: Sam Hunter — Jun 07, 2009

Yes! I haven’t bartered much art for day-to-day services (I tend to bake in those situations) but I have traded art for more art. Now I have a lovely little collection going of works that I otherwise could not have afforded, and my fellow artists have pieces going forth into the world. I look forward to the day that I can barter for a car! ps – thank you, as always, for the bi-weekly art oases!

From: Tony Kampwerth — Jun 07, 2009

Do you know about the Barter Theater in Abington, Virginia? It opened just before the great depression, so they accepted food, chickens, etc. for admission. Probably one of the first well known instances of bartering for art. It is still going strong, but now they charge admission.

From: Jeanne Aisthorpe-Smith — Jun 07, 2009

I love the barter system…..and do it as often as I can. My neighbour swaps garden weeding with me for the loan of my car on occasion. And I swapped a couple of paintings for an above ground 24′ pool with my friend’s son. We’ve enjoyed it for several years now. I barter whenever I can.

From: Hannah Pazderka — Jun 07, 2009

…I’m reminded of the (somewhat terrible, but very memorable*) movie, the Adventures of Ford Fairlane. The quote is something like, “I must be the only detective that gets paid in gold records and koala bears.”

From: Elfrida Schragen — Jun 07, 2009

I too have bartered for years. I have three implanted teeth, parts of which are paid for by paintings. I’ve had my enormous hedges cut, my computer reorganized and a publication layed out, and some unusual pieces of art from other artists. Bartering seems particularly useful at this economic slow-down time.

From: Roslynne Steinberg — Jun 07, 2009

While showing the new pet-sitter around my humble abode, she noticed my paintings. Having lost her beloved dog, we bartered a portrait of her deceased pet for 22 days of pet sitting so that I could visit and celebrate with my family in New York…

From: Katherine Lakeman — Jun 07, 2009

I agree that bartering is a useful way to trade goods and services. It’s age old, and it works. It might not be as exciting as hard cold cash, but it can make a win/win situation happen for an artist and a person in love with an art piece. I say, “Go for it!” whenever you can; make someone happy!

From: Mary E Whitehill — Jun 07, 2009

I was having my driveway black-topped and the workmen went into my garage to hook up for some electricity. They spotted my pile of older full sheet watercolors and chose a couple of Italian Villas I’d done after a trip to Lake Garda. They begged me to trade them for the blacktop job. There wasn’t a lot of bartering necessary.

From: Jacquie Scuitto — Jun 07, 2009

Your letter on bartering reminded me of a series of stories that ran (I think) in the Saturday Evening Post back in the 1940s about a guy who started out with a few items and chain-swapped them up to some fairly valuable stuff. Unhappily I remember neither the author of the stories nor the name of the swapper, but the stories were lots of fun–even for a teen-age girl!

From: Brad Greek — Jun 07, 2009

I’ve been bartering for almost 30 years now. From tv’s and chairs, to a van (which I’m still driving today) to a couple nights stay in a luxury suite at the Emerald Grande on HarborWalk Village, Destin, Florida. One of my most favorite barter though is the artist swap with another artist.

From: Sharon Alama — Jun 07, 2009

I recently offered a painting in exchange for some professional guidance. She told me a lot of people were making the same offers to her and she couldn’t honor them all or she wouldn’t make any money. But when she visited my new website, she readily agreed! Might bring some work down the road. We’re certainly in good company!

From: Jan Ross — Jun 07, 2009

In the past, I have bartered 4 cartoons with a farrier for our mare’s four hooves, and ‘traded’ a portrait for some wonderfully handmade Native American jewelry. We all believe the deals were well-worth the investments! While one can’t live on bartering, it can be a very effective way to do business.

From: Susan McCrae — Jun 07, 2009

I love bartering. My partner, a fellow artist, and I bartered paintings for the labour on the renovation of our kitchen and powder room. We agreed on an hourly rate, he kept track of the hours and when it came time to pay up, we handed him our catalogue and he happily went ‘shopping.’ His ambition had been to exchange the reproduced art in his house with original art and ours was to have a new kitchen and bath – a great arrangement and fun for all of us.

From: Mary Carnahan — Jun 07, 2009

Years ago a friend cautioned me to be sure to barter only for things I actually wanted. Otherwise, he said, “Barter for money, and then barter the money for the things you want.” I have been painting for four years and recently bartered a watercolor for a watercolor I wanted from a more accomplished friend. I wouldn’t have been able to afford his painting easily otherwise, and it is a boost to know that my painting is displayed in his house.

From: Ruth B J Ghio — Jun 07, 2009

I have had some wonderful experiences bartering. As a young therapist I bartered with an artist and now have a wonderful collection of paintings that I love. However I made some mistakes also. I bartered with 2 other artists and found I did not appreciate their work and gave it away or sold it in a yard sale. I horribly regret that decision. Now a little bit more mature, I love those two paintings and the work by both artists. Another mistake I made was to make a trade with an artist who in retrospect was quite undeveloped and had remained so. I did not regret finding another home for his work. Now I also paint and would certainly be willing to barter if there was an opportunity to do so.

From: Marco — Jun 07, 2009
From: Adrienne Moore — Jun 09, 2009

My barter stories took place in Omagh, Northern Ireland. One of my friends, who was a too regular in the local pubs, was enjoying a pint when a hearse drove in with shiney rimmings and wonderful brasses that shone. He entered the pub, ordered a pint and announced that the hearse was for sale to the highest bidder. The group debated how it would be hard to get rid of a hearse and a few commented on the brass that might sell for a bit and then my friend Ronnie piped up and offered him fifty pounds for the hearse. It was sold for cash at once. Ronnie had no idea what to do with the hearse he had just purchased and wondered what his wife would say when he arrived home with the hearse. As the Guinness flowed and new imbibers arrived, the talk about the barter became very fiery and many joined in to discuss the numerous ways that a hearse could be useful… brass, glass memories of relatives laid to rest… before Ronnie left the bar he had sold the hearse for ten times the initial price and knowing his wife it was lucky he did not come home in it.

From: Ron Unruh — Jun 09, 2009
From: Madeleine Wood — Jun 09, 2009

Trade has an enduring impact on this artist. In return for my paintings, I have received on an ongoing basis: computer support, income tax preparation, hair styling and colouring, counselling, touch therapy and musical instruction thus far. I feel the value of my work through these exchanges differently because many can drop cash, but paying again and again asks something more from a client. I would love to do away with currency altogether, but at least I get a taste of life before cash!

From: Karen Evans — Jun 09, 2009

Bartering is a great way to collect art. Many times I have bartered a painting for a painting and now have a wonderful collection of oils, pastels, watercolors, mixed media and acrylic works! I also had some great landscaping done for a few of my oils paintings! It works for me!

From: Catherine Robertson — Jun 09, 2009

I love the idea of barter!! Sounds so fun and sensible. Haven’t been successful yet; (Bill Kerr is correct, White Rock dentists don’t seem interested) ! Anyway, I shall now start “afresh” in other areas. Does anyone out there have a clinker- built (lapstrake) rowing or sailing dinghy about 9-12 ft. they would just love to trade for an oil or acrylic painting?? Check my website to see my work. www

From: Paula Lewis Sandpoint, Idaho — Jun 09, 2009

I recently traded a photographic mixed media piece of artwork for a wonderful glass sculpture by the artist Ilene Bell of Sandpoint. We both loved each others respective pieces and are thrilled with the trade!

From: anders — Jun 10, 2009

I said to her, “I’ll give you one of my paintings if you’ll go out with me.” She took me up on it, we dated and then we got engaged and married. Then we seperated and divorced. She kept the painting and others too.

From: angela — Jun 10, 2009

He wanted badly to see my paintings and when he finally did he told me he had no money but was willing to give kayak lessons in exchange for a small abstracted boat scene. I learned to kayak in a borowed kayak. Later I noticed he had a lot of art by women in his apartment.

From: Mary Alice Buscaglia — Jun 10, 2009

In Mexico I was painting on the beach and a guy came along and offered to buy a watercolur for $50 and he said he’d throw in a drink. I let him buy me a marguerita and the next day he came back and bought another painting from me. Same deal. The next day he said he had run out of money but still had credit at the hotel. We had many drinks and a nice meal as well so I threw in another painting. Then we had a few more drinks and I gave him everything I had.

From: Richard Johnstone — Jun 10, 2009

I know a painter who exchanged an oil painting for two cats which he named “Winsor” and “Newton.”

From: Janice Robinson-Delaney — Jun 10, 2009

I’ve read stories and heard tell of some bartering. If I made a list of words I was curious about in my youth, bartering would have been one of them, and of course I think that I would be flattered by a bartering offer (and hopefully not ripped off, especially if it was about a piece of my artwork). I can’t recall having done any significant bartering. Do you think I’m missing something? At any rate I think I would like to make making art my day job!

From: Ian Jones — Apr 23, 2010

Hi, Its great to see so much enthusiasm about Barter. I work with a company cammed Bartercard, I would love to assist any artists in Australia barter their are with our members. Check me out on linked in if you like. ttp://

Please contact me on



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