Art in hard times

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Dear Artist,

During the past couple of weeks this inbox has been overflowing with emails from artists concerned about the economy. “Things have been bad for a while — now they are going to get worse,” they say. “What can artists do?”

I’d like to thank those who put their trust in me to make a few recommendations. In actual practice most parts of the world have been through a relatively prolonged period of happy times. With loose money lying around, as there has been, irrational exuberance has prevailed and even sub-prime art has passed both critical and commercial muster.

Now with bank credit drying up, home values heading south and the stock market tanking, the decorative art market will suffer along with the general economy. On the other hand, it’s been my experience that in times of recession, collector and investment art can continue to thrive.

Just as unpleasant regulations had to be brought into economies rife with greed and profligacy, artists, who have no creditable regulating body, must bring in more self-regulation. This may involve longer hours, better work habits, better processes and more attention to quality. This also ties in to fair dealing and realistic but progressive pricing to go with the better art. My guess is that many borderline galleries will go under during the next while — just as many inadequate or unprepared artists will look once more to other employment.

Many years ago I had a solo show on the evening after a significant stock market crash. Fearing the worst, I showed up late only to find that the show had sold out. Fact is, when times are good people throw money at art, but when times are bad they turn to art as a possible life-enhancing investment. Funnily, it was a bunch of stock brokers who took home most of the art from that show. Funnily, I thought, people must need art more than other stuff.

Recessions are blessings. Historically, recessions and depressions have been times when “important” work gets made. Realistically, our financial outlay for equipment and art materials (unless your medium is gold) is relatively minor. In hard times artists need to get themselves as debt free as possible and invest in the joy of their vision.

Best regards,

Robert

PS: “Money is always there but the pockets change; it is not in the same pockets after a change.” (Gertrude Stein) “Live like a poor man with lots of money.” (Pablo Picasso)

Esoterica: Do not let yourself be blindsided by xenophobic myopia. Artists may act locally but are of the world and need to be on the world’s stage. Further, attitudes about art and collecting vary from country to country and even from city to city and town to town within countries. The operative word is “change.” Both adversity and good times invite change. In our case it has to come from within. Q: “How many psychiatrists does it take to change a tire?” A: “Only one, but the tire really has to want to change.”

 


Spread cheer
by Gwen Pentecost, Pinetop, AZ, USA
 

101008_gwen-pentecost-artwork

“Out of many, one”
original painting
by Gwen Pentecost

Good for you, Robert, for saying these things! I’d add further, that if one wants to embrace the abundance that can be out there in the art market, one must cheerfully assume it’s already come. I know in the gallery, that if I open up and am warm to my customers, whether or not they can buy, and know I’m going to have the money I need, the customers respond and open up. The second I think, “I’m not doing well,” my customers are out the door. Direct relationship.

 

 


Rose-coloured glasses
by Elihu Edelson, Tyler, TX, USA
 

Maybe it’s because you live in Canada that you can see with rose-colored glasses. In the U.S. things are headed toward a major collapse, and recovery will take some doing. Also there are other factors concerning what sells. Art on the leading edge has a hard time selling. Impressionism and Abstract Expressionism got off to a rough start, but a number of artists lived long enough to prosper. In fact, some of the latter had been able to hang in through federal support of the arts (the WPA).The case of van Gogh hardly selling anything is very well known. At the present moment many see a major collapse in the works, and art might well be seen as a luxury. In short, artists should have back-up forms of sustenance, especially at the present time.

 


Not the end of the world
by Denise Bezanson, Vancouver, BC, Canada
 

Interesting what you said about art shows. Last Thursday when the market was tanking I sold a painting to a stock broker who said, “I really shouldn’t be doing this,” and then he grinned his bad boy grin and said, “I often do things I shouldn’t do.” What a great attitude.

Today when the market was tanking yet again I came to my art show and the first person I saw bought a painting from me, and not a small one either. People still have money, they will still buy art. Not everyone will be able to afford art, the market will tighten, but art sales will continue. It’s not the end of the world.

 


Invest in advertising
by Carole Lyles Shaw, Laurel, MD, USA
 

101008_carole-lyles-shaw-artwork

“Letters Tell Secrets #1”
original painting, 42 x 40 inches
by Carole Lyles Shaw

I participated in a group show this weekend and your letter definitely reflected my personal experience. Our overall foot traffic was down from past years, but sales were as good as past years! We didn’t change our pricing for our work, although we did try to have a range of price points reflected in the work that was available.

Collectors are out there — what we did learn is that we have to be more attentive to general publicity and invest in more advertising. Beside email, and mailing cards, one of our best investments was in local radio!

 

 


Far from money madness
by Rosemary Kralik
 

101008_rosemary-kralik-artwork

“Red sky”
oil painting, 18 x 24 inches
by Rosemary Kralik

Far from the madness of money, I am a Yakherd who tends my creatures under an ever changing sky and this summer’s works include 30″ x 30″ acrylics of my friends. I’ve always hated acrylics but put aside my sentiments to delve into my 12 year old accrued collection of Golden materials. Thank you for breaking down unnecessary barriers, although I still love oil, my reach has broadened. After the personal experience of producing a work, it travels into the world to serve as an excuse to elicit responses from others; this I find interesting as though I’m watching a film of someone else. It is an ever expanding education.

 


Important not to worry
by Sara Spanjers, Tucson, AZ, USA
 

I am a new member and find your e-mails always relative and supportive of my art life!

On my walk this morning (before I read your e-mail) I was contemplating my upcoming shows with some of the very thoughts everyone else is concerned with. I began thinking this is exactly the fear-oriented state of mind that paralyzes our creativity as well as the economy. Thank you for your e-mail, because it is important to not worry about the future… it is like a rocking chair, you can rock (worry) as much and as long as you want but you are not going to get anywhere.

 


Opportunities meagre
by Jean Fournier, San Francisco, CA, USA
 

Recently I did a commissioned painting for a CEO. I was lucky to get the gig. There is a huge difference in selling art when you have become firmly established. You become an investment for some collectors. On the other hand if you’re not an internationally established artist, the opportunities are quite meagre. This has been a real problem for me and many other artists as well. One of the reasons I have been able to catch some sales is because my stuff is affordable, which is not making me enough money. For the past two years sales have really fallen. I work as an art teacher to pick up the slack. When writing one of your letters you have to take into account that not all artists are established as you. This of course makes a huge difference.

 


Plan for economic cycle
by Amanda Jackson, Lincoln, UK
 

101008_amanda-jackson-artwork

“A Wish and a Dream”
original painting
20 x 16 inches
by Amanda Jackson

A couple of weeks ago one of my galleries closed a showroom and laid off his only remaining framer. The same day a gallery who’d seen my work on Painter’s Keys got in touch interested in work. The energy of dealers who want to weather this one is still there. This is my first time through the bust part of the economic cycle as a painter but I have a plan: raise the quality of ideas and technical expertise ever higher, take time to learn new stuff, paint more portraits and know that work that doesn’t sell now can be part of a superb exhibition for me as times improve again down the line. Make important work in times of trouble… I’m going to let that one sink in and see what happens.

 

 


Survival mode
by Paul deMarrais, TN, USA
 

It is indeed hard times but a time for artists to get in touch with reality. People don’t need to buy art. When tough economic times hit, they quit buying it. There are some folks whose wealth puts them above market concerns but these folks are few and far between and unavailable to most beginning and mid-career painters. Is there an answer for thriving in this environment? No. Artists have to shift to the survival mode by living leaner and smarter, being more creative in their marketing. We have to dig deep and plumb our inner resources to keep positive and productive. This may mean finding new friends who aren’t depressed, anxious artists. Other adjustments may need to be considered. Under this pressure many less committed artists will leave the tribe. Many galleries will shut their doors. The storm will end at some point and the survivors will emerge from our bunkers to survey a new landscape in the art market. I hope to be one of the survivors but, as in painting, there are no guarantees.

 


Exceed expectations!
by John Ferrie, Vancouver, BC, Canada
 

101008_john-ferrie-artwork

“Aqua”
acrylic painting
by John Ferrie

In these difficult times there is only one industry that rides the storm. That one industry is a bar! People will always have money to drink. But these times can be exciting for artists. When a recession hits and the economy is tanking, artists can rise to the challenge. The best thing an artist can do is dial up their work and increase the quality of what they are creating.

Artists need to create pieces that are up and beyond what our work is about. Using fabulous colour, unique texture and new found craftsmanship, we can far exceed people’s expectations of who we are as artists. It is this new buoyancy and optimism that will lead people back to our work and make the luxury item that is art an essential.

 


Time at the easel, not the TV
by Brian Kliewer, Rockland, ME, USA
 

101008_brian-kliewer-artwork

“Blackberry Season, Vinalhaven”
oil painting, 24 x 30 inches
by Brian Kliewer

I was thinking along these lines this afternoon when I caught a couple of comments on the business channel. “The best rise to the top in times like these,” “a flight to quality” was also mentioned. That immediately got me thinking how this all applies to artists.

With the Internet, the playing field has been levelled in a lot of ways and we all have a better chance at recognition. But there are so many artists out there, how does a person decide? That “flight to quality” comment comes to mind. You’re right. We play a big part in the decision-making by the decisions we make at the easel ourselves. When the going gets tough… as they say. We just have to work harder. Maybe less CNN and more painting? As artists, we already know what it’s like to deal with a tight economy. We’re already used to the idea of making a pair of shoes last a Guinness Book length of time.

In an interview once, Jamie Wyeth was asked about a recent sale of one of his paintings to the actor Tom Arnold. He replied, “Who’s Tom Arnold?” I would say Mr. Wyeth spent much more time at the easel than in front of the TV.

 


What do we value?
by Mary Buergin, New Boston, NH, USA
 

101008_mary-buergin-artwork

“From the Deck in Santa Cruz”
pastel painting
by Mary Buergin

Art is not now, nor has it ever been an “essential item.” But we must ask ourselves, “What things do we value in our society? What do we choose to surround ourselves with?” It has been said we live in a throw-away society. The amount of goods that we produce that end up in our landfills is staggering! It is in times like these that we should be realizing how much of our income is being spent on things that will be thrown away! But art is not one of those things. It is something we will enjoy for the rest of our lives and then we will pass it on to the next generation. As our society becomes more mindful of not wasting money or resources, art may well replace what has been thought of in the past as an “essential item.”
 

 

Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for Art in hard times

 

 

From: Roberta Bragg — Oct 06, 2008

Agree with your statements with the exception of your comment on art materials costs. I do not work in gold, but I work in fiber and glass. Both are much more expensive than canvas and paints. Both, of the kind I need, are not usually found in the art store on the corner but must either be traveled for or incur large shipping costs. In hard times, I can do some work in recycled material, but other requires specific characteristics and uniformity. In hard times I can’t afford the larger studio I need, or the kiln or furnace rental. My materials cost is a much larger part of the final product than yours. Thanks for letting me add my thoughts… I love hearing from you, but please remember we are not all painters…

From: Anne Copeland — Oct 06, 2008

I am reminded of art that has survived from the last Great Depression. One example I can think of where artists took their art from place to place is the art of the tramp artists. Tramp art is highly collectible today even in these difficult times, and very pricey, but when it was being made, I think probably a lot of the tramp artists were just working for food and lodging, or perhaps whatever little money they could get. There were also other artists – painters – from the 30s, and many of those artists created work that dealt with the turbulent times, and today it is recognized as great art, though again, at the time, it might not have commanded much money.

One thing I always think about artists is how flexible and resilient we are. We struggle to survive through this crisis and that, this challenge and that, and yet, here we all are, still doing our art in some form or other. We may not be able to afford to paint or sculpt or create pottery the way we did in better times, but we will find some form of art that we will be able to create. It seems like I am seeing a lot more art created in recent times from found objects and from improvised tools and supplies.

It is easy to do art when we have everything we want or need at hand, but a major challenge when we have to think not only of our subject matter, but what we are going to use to create it. But I have a feeling that when we all get through this (and we will), that someday we will look back on some of our creative efforts now as some of the best we ever had.

From: Judi Money — Oct 06, 2008

Hard times give us the benefit of regressing , going within and visualizing, this is an opportunity for artist to create from the soul.

From: Bryan Dunleavy — Oct 07, 2008

I think it was the Canadian painter David Milne who once said he didn’t notice the 1930s depression because he was already poor. I guess I’m wondering Robert why you are getting so many anxious queries from artists worrying about their financial future. To be brutal – if you want to make money don’t aspire to become an artist. Very rarely indeed do artists such as Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst catch the zeitgeist and make millions. Most work hard for twenty years and then achieve a measure of financial comfort. A lot fall by the wayside.

If it’s money you want, give up now. If you want to make art the that will drive you and you will find ways and means.

This may be a good time for a determined young artist to start out. The economy will reshape itself in 10 or 20 years, by which time the artist will be ready to enjoy the fruits of his or her apprenticeship.

From: Cathy Harville — Oct 07, 2008

I recently had a reception, a two-day event, and sold a lot of work. I think people need soothing in this economic environment. Beautiful art provides peace and takes people away to places they now cannot afford to go. The landscapes I paint also take people back to happier times.

My work is not revolutionary, but it is easy on the eyes. I have also priced my work the lowest I can, so my materials and marketing expenses are covered.

I have also found much less traffic in the old mill where I have my studio. The general population is really afraid to explore the purchase of “luxury” items. I find these are the people who don’t normally buy art anyway. But getting them into the studio to buy a card, or small piece of pottery is a big challenge. This segment thinks of big bucks when they think of art. So I have been marketing my art as affordable. I have signs everywhere, shamelessly advertising. I even have a “kid’s corner”, with supplies for youngsters to experiment and play.

I am hopeful the holiday season will bring out even the most frugal clients. And for me, it is important to continue to paint from my heart, in order to produce authentic work. The work from my soul sells first. Peace, Cathy

From: Bobbi A. Chukran — Oct 07, 2008

Thank you! I don’t think this could have come at a better time for me and my work. It’s wonderful to see the positive side for once.

From: Gwen Fox — Oct 07, 2008

I told my students today that during financially hard times we must be aware of our vibrational energy as that determines our future. If nothing is selling take that time to work and develop your style, produce a series of work that will be ready to sell when things loosen up. This is our breathing time…a time to play and allow ourselves to do what we otherwise haven’t given ourselves permission to do because we must paint to “sell”. How lucky we are to have a profession that allows us to keep growing when times are tough.

Get in the studio and play. Put on some fabulous music and tell yourself you “get” to paint. It is amazing how our mind shifts when we change that little word “got to get”…..change your “o” to an “e” …… it works every time.

From: Debi Angilletta — Oct 07, 2008

I have to admit your letter came at a perfect time for me. I am a 53 year old “emerging artist” who two years ago made the leap from corporate America to painting full time. With the recent financial troubles I was sitting here thinking that I may have made a mistake and should have remained working full time. That thought only lasted a minute as I realized how lucky I am to get to do what I have always dreamed of doing every day – creating and playing at my art. Thank you for your positive thoughts.

From: Rick Rotante — Oct 07, 2008

I’m again amazed at how positive people can be when things turn sour economically, especially with artists. I think we artist have more that a leg up when it comes to persevering in tough times. I’ve come to know that there is always “hard times” in art. Either you can’t create to your ability or your ideas don’t seem to gel or the galleries won’t carry your work or the world refuses to understand what your painting. The creative process seems indelibly linked to struggle and strife. The world believes artists by nature are meant to suffer. Just look at all the euphemisms there are – “Starving artists”, – “suffer for your art”, or “the pain of creation”. Traditional images show artists painting in garrets with no heat or warmth, little or no light, fingers wrapped in cloth or sitting in a field being eaten by the indigenous bugs, selling our work for food or shelter.

These may be exaggerations at best but the struggle is real for many artists no matter his or her success or anonymity. And it’s as it should be. If the process of creating art were easy, everyone… you know the rest.

If our art is benign and not heartfelt, there will be little inner turmoil and this email will be dismissed as so much misinformation. But if your want to try and create art that moves the world, expect struggle and hard times most of the time. A bad economy makes it harder for some for sure, but artists will always be working in good times or bad. It’s what we do.

Take stock and while things look bad, create something you didn’t have the time to do when times were good and you were busy trying to sell you art.

Take risks ordinarily not taken. If your pallet contains nine or ten colors, use a limited pallet. Change subject matter. Most of all take the time that was allotted for other tasks.

From: Maureen O’Keefe West — Oct 07, 2008

Good advice since I would starve to death on the money I make from Art so……….I am in the Stock Market which is making me very unhappy these days. By the way, funnily isn’t really a word – strangely would have been better.

From: Edna V. Hildebrandt — Oct 07, 2008

I was watching a documentary movie last night, “The Impressionists,” artists living in poverty and hard times but they kept working on their art. Such artists as Renoir, Degas, Monet and others did not lose their creativity at those times. Perhaps I may not sell any of mine but no one can take it away from me.

From: Marie Stevens — Oct 07, 2008

I just had to say thank you for the wonderful letters, how I appreciate them, and I have shared them with many’;’

One friend lives in Scotland and just wrote me the other day to say Thank you to me for connecting your site to her, as she needed to be inspired so, and your letter had arrived just in TIME smile.

Have a most wonderful day, and thank you so for all your time and care to share so much with so many.

Vancouver BC

From: Leigh Rust — Oct 07, 2008
From: Sandra Donohue — Oct 07, 2008

I heard an interview a long time ago with Janis Joplin telling the story behind her song, “Try a little bit harder.” It was about getting out and strutting your stuff. We should just keep going, do our best to produce our best art.

A quote my mom used to say, which unfortunately I never knew the source, “Give to the world the best you have, and the best will be returned to you.”

From: Catherine Robertson — Oct 07, 2008

We made it through the mid-eighties, we’ll make it again. Keep painting, keep smiling.

From: Prem Singh — Oct 08, 2008

Art in Hard Times is indeed very topical. It raises very pertinent questions. I am a painter who has been painting for more than 4 decades. Art is expression. Expression needs Contemplation.The silence of inner voice transforming into a visual voice is indeed a journey that demands total intensity and involvement. Such Stock market cries and crunch has nothing to do with the creativity of art. It is said that Money makes the mare go but in art it is quite contrary to this proverb.

From: Albert Smathers — Oct 08, 2008

But I hope the Socialists Democrats don’t gain any more power in Congress. Already I’m paying over 30% of what I make to the Government because of being a self employed artist. If Obama gets in it could most likely increase to 50%.

From: oliver — Oct 08, 2008

I suspect that many who are not secure in their status as collector/investment grade would like additional suggestions other than your excellent – get debt free as possible.

Mine go like –

– do what you need to keep body and sole together – get another job – if you can

– apply for all the grants you can = helps that investment grade status

– be careful of scams and contests that want you to pay up front

– be efficient in the use of materials (they are expensive)

– figure out better, cheaper materials – reuse where possible – study your work flow

– learn to do it yourself when possible

– band together for mutual support

– price to sell

– price to sell

– be very careful of the bleeding edge – but understand the truly unique and solid eventually is what becomes investment grade – imitations fall away eventually.

– take advantage of opportunities or commissions (even if they aren’t normally your gig).

Am sure that you can come up with several other things. And note, many of these thoughts apply to good times as well.

From: Joyce Goden — Oct 08, 2008

Leigh, wonderful chimp art work, (you should be proud) -thanks for sharing the link.

Charities are also feeling the hard times, consider finding one that likes your art style, offer them 50% (what you would pay to a gallery), and ask if you could bring some art to their next fund raiser.

From: Andrea Sinclair — Oct 08, 2008

I realise now that I am inadvertently doing what you suggested in my own way with art – hunkering down and painting some pleasing things to make myself feel better. I know from people’s responses that my current works are making others feel good too. I am surrounding myself with my work, being prolific and feeling more and more the diversion from money issues surrounding our home. Creative avoidance!

From: Gordon Sharp — Oct 08, 2008

This one really struck a chord… For heaven sake let’s get real… Here in our so called civilised society, western economic system, 1st world – take your pick from a range of misnomers – we live in a totally artificial bubble and right now it may be bursting – though the frantic attempts to do open heart surgery on the mess that global capitalism has got us into may just keep the patient alive for a bit longer until the next seizure.

We are so addicted to and blinded by our insane way of living that we dare not look up for a minute and see that what is falling apart around us is built on totally transient values of greed, selfishness, arrogance and unquestioning belief driven by our desire for more off an endless production line of meaningless and empty commodities.

What is happening economically and environmentally will of course impact on all our lives and it will be painful, difficult and probably pretty f—-ing scary. Of course the rich will survive and just move on. Down payments/investments in hydroponic domes/condominiums on Mars anyone?

I don’t have any answers, but if I was younger I’d probably be out on the barricades (wherever they might be and whatever form or shape they might take) shouting and fighting for a revolution. But I’m too old for those kind of simple and direct responses (though still very valid and necessary) so I write emails in response to other people’s emails, try and make art that communicates something about real issues and human emotions while shaking my head in disgust and disbelief at how easily we are fooled by the stupidity, arrogance and egotism of those who call themselves ‘our leaders’.

From: Helen Opie — Oct 08, 2008

I like Gertrude Stein’s third part of that quote: “The money is always there, but the pockets change. It is not in the same pocket after a change, and that is all there is to say about money.” Ties up the subject succinctly – if more words can be said to be more succinct!

From: Joyce Barker — Oct 08, 2008

My Portfolio is shrinking every day. So with all the doom and gloom, I am thankful that I can indulge myself with art. When I work on a painting, I am so involved that it’s an escape from the news of the Dow and Presidential politics. Perhaps during this uncertainty, I can work on perfecting my style and perhaps something good will evolve from this.

From: Rick Rotante — Oct 09, 2008

Gordon — I detect that you and I are of the same age and I share your thoughts wholeheartedly. I’ve lived through a period called the sixties and was active in making changes in the way our ‘leaders’ do business. I am dumbfounded that it has taken this long for the system to implode. Maybe this is a credit and testament to what the founding fathers initially intended. It took this long to screw it up. We’ve taken what is good and perverted it to our own greedy purposes and now we live with the results.

What saddens me the most is that we’ve done this to ourselves. I look at the television and see all the ads for item that only divert and mislead and amuse us and made to subvert us from the real issues. People want the latest IPOD more that they want personal freedom and right to privacy. We diverted our attention from our leaders and what they are doing to erode our system just for want of frivolous mind numbing toys or the promise of a better life without researching what we had to give up to get it.

Now the American dream of everyone owning their own home, having an education, and a better life has disintegrated by greed and misdirection.

The future is in the hands of those who are willing take back the power and give where it belongs — to the people. The current struggle for president by the incumbents isn’t going to change much. We need true leaders and the current pick isn’t going to change much working within the system that has brought us to our present situation.

This isn’t a political site and not a forum for politics so I’ll stop here and say many feel the way you do.

From: Roger NZ — Oct 09, 2008

Wow, interesting to read the responses to the original letter. The effects are very much the same down here in NZ. The difficulty I find is because no one is buying it is extremely hard to remain positive and creative. I look back through my portfolio and see the amount of work sold over the past few years and know that right now it almost seems impossible to see that movement. I have backed out of some shows simply because with recent experiences it is a waste of time and money. I see people at shows almost shell shocked by what they are dealing with right now and short of jamming a business card down their throat it feels like a pointless exercise.For me , right now I am going to change direction, use the downtime to work on new art and reduce debt (Could be interesting!)

From: Susan — Oct 09, 2008

To Maureen O’Keefe West. Please look up funnily in a dictionary. It is an adverb and commonly used, especially in the UK. Speaking of fun….everyone remember to have some, it’s vital in these stress filled days!

From: Margot — Oct 09, 2008

The reason that the people who are buying art in this downtime, are buying it, is that they somehow understand a fundamental truth, expressed so succinctly by Rollo May

“What if imagination and art are not frosting at all, but the fountainhead of human experience?”

From: Gavin Calf — Oct 10, 2008

This came to me as I contemplated our present world fiscal crisis and what it means to us as artists: “Art is about good times as well as lean times. You can paint against the current and you can surf the wave that comes from far out at sea; ride it right in to the beach, turn around and paddle back out again. Either way you are in your element.”

From: Cooper — Oct 10, 2008

Greetings Robert, interesting that I could not find a single letter about the cyclical aspect of all this. It’s not like the markets haven’t done this before. My spouse who works in marketing, calls these events ‘corrections’, as in the market went up too big and too fast, and now it’s correcting or readjusting. I see that not just in the stock market. Look at the glut of art shows that have sprung up in the last few years. Talking about your gurus, everybody thinks they can be an art show director. Another kind of glut, how many people think that because they know how to hold a paint brush, they should make giclees of everything they paint? As the economy thins out the “get rich quick people” from the stock market, and the “I want a bigger than I can afford house people” in the housing market, and the “I want to drive a 10mpg vehicle people” from the roadways, what about artists? Are there too many of us? And amongst that number, how many are really dedicated enough? What are the odds that the division between “painting to make money” and “painting because I have to ” is going to shift in the next year? Now there’s something you can bank on! :)

From: Jeanne Rhea — Oct 10, 2008
From: Chris Everest — Oct 10, 2008

I’ve never had a portfolio. Is it Painful ?

From: Becky McMahon — Oct 10, 2008

In response to Roger of NZ, I have never backed out of a show. It requires courage to be an artist and you never know who is going to be at the shows. This has been the best year of my art life, I’ve been in over a dozen shows as well as doing demo’s and teaching workshops. By doing some ‘minor’ shows I’ve had other shows and demo’s offered or else heard of others from some of the participants. Networking has worked for me and for a couple of shows I simply got together with a couple of friends and had a mini show. I find even the shortest shows can be valuable. Don’t be afraid to go out and be seen. Art in your studio will rarely be seen by the public (at least in my studio [a closet]). Share your gift and enjoy the ride.

Surrey, BC, Canada

From: Carl Bork — Oct 10, 2008

One thing I was just thinking about is that I wonder what artists are going to have to do with pricing when hyper inflation hits us since the Federal Reserve just devalued the dollar more by creating 700 billion dollars. I wonder what would play out best, raise our prices to keep up with rising costs or keep them they way we have them in order to appeal to people as an affordable purchase? just wondering… I guess that one selling point we have is that as the dollar plunges the value of art won’t.

On another note I thought it interesting to mention that the Federal Reserve has a $300 million dollar art collection.

From: Bev Searle-Freeman — Oct 10, 2008

This global financial mess is cyclical … but thanks to the Internet and the media we are far more informed with the details of this mess which certainly adds to life’s stresses. Things will sort themselves out, they always do. In the meantime, I will do my art, listen to my latino jazz, and enjoy the calm times :)

From: Rick Rotante — Oct 10, 2008

Jeanne – I’ve known about the these issues for some time and know that the Constitution forbids personal income tax. I will email you my thought on your blog. This isn’t the site for this discussion. Thanks.

From: Constance Vlahoulis — Oct 11, 2008
From: Dayle Ann Stratton — Oct 11, 2008

This topic has triggered a couple of thoughts in particular for me. One is noticing that as people turn their lives homeward, there seems to be emerging both a stronger sense of community and a tendency to put what money people have toward making home more of a place to be, not just come back to. I wonder if this might not, in the long run, end up creating more of a market for talented regional artists. Time will tell.

The other thought is that, as an artist who isn’t even really “emerging” yet, I feel freed. I can create what I darn well want to, and explore directions I might have felt constrained for if I really had a market I felt I needed to cater to. I have a small income that gets me by (barely), so the only real limit is what materials I can afford. Painting isn’t terribly expensive in terms of materials, but I also love kilnworking glass, which has high material and equipment costs. I will probably have to forgo a “grownup” kiln and keep working with my mid-size. So… that means I get creative about using componants to build larger pieces, and make fewer of them.

The key for me is I get to be creative. I can’t imagine living any other way, even if I end up scrounging materials and making art from “found objects”!

From: Liz Reday — Oct 11, 2008

This current market financial meltdown has somehow freed me from all thoughts of buying and selling so that I can focus the energy of pure creativity – the life force burning clean. When money becomes meaningless (7 billion what?) the art we make becomes priceless. Although I’m glad that I’m somewhat of an art supply hoarder for times like this: a stack of 30″ X 40″ canvases primed with four coats of gesso glow happily expectant in a corner of my studio. My second 48″ X 36″ is almost finished (or at least not yet ruined). And although I may need to find a cheaper source for oil paint, I still have enough to last me for a month or two. I agree that in times like this the artists who paint for money may be dropping like flies, but for the “art for arts sake” lunatics like myself, we’re just getting warmed up. Grants, non-profits, artist run spaces and even museums are great for times like these. When least expected, I just sold another painting. Go figure. Keep painting and view this as an opportunity to do the work you always wanted to do, but didn’t because you thought it wouldn’t sell. Let the surprises begin!

From: Leslie Anderson — Oct 15, 2008

In 2001 I quit my day job to become a full-time artist. My transitional strategy was a part-time consulting practice in my old field (marketing for the telecommunications industry) to pay for my art studies. Things were going well — my first solo show nearly sold out. I could charge top dollar for the few hours I spent consulting to support my growing art habit. And then, the terrorist attacks of September 11 brought the consulting biz to a crashing halt. I had been planning a painting trip to Venice for the first week in October, and despite needing calming drugs to get on the airplane, I went. Venice, devoid of tourists, was magical. I divided my time between making art and viewing great art. The Tintoretto murals at the Scuola San Rocco, which depict the life of Christ but are as much a reflection of the horrors of life in Italy at the height of the bubonic plague years, resonated deeply. If anyone ever needed proof of art’s power to heal and transcend adversity, to me, this was it. Fast-forward to 2008. I opened my own studio/gallery on the coast of Maine in 2002 and have had both successes and setbacks over the years. But the work has gotten better and the marketing has gotten smarter, and this year has been my best ever, with the most sales coming since the banking crisis came to a head in August. While I doubt my work will ever approach the ability of Tintoretto’s to heal, people take solace in my landscapes that serve as reminders of happy times in favorite places.

From: Joan Brantome — Nov 17, 2008

I really LIKE your “new” word, “funnily”.

 

 

woa

101008_nancy-paris-pruden-artwork

Landscape #2

acrylic painting
by Nancy Paris Pruden, Houston,Texas, 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 Margaret Horrocks of Diss, UK, who wrote, “Your artists might like to suggest to tempted buyers that good art will hold its value and may be a better “investment” than some — and if you enjoy the art then who cares if its value goes up or down.”

And also Joe Faith who wrote, “My hope is that, with the absence of ‘loose’ money, the buyer will look to his own heart for the connection that a great piece can give and not the value that the market/dealer promises. When that happens then a purchase promotes good art.”

And also Diane Eason of Calgary, AB, Canada who wrote, “I think our soft-sell days are over. It is interesting with these terrible market crashes for everyone just how it will influence the artists’ paintings and art work. I believe that the mood swing of the world can and will play a role in today’s art. If nothing else people will be holding on to whatever is near and dear to them.”

And also Rosemary Conroy who wrote, “Thank you so much for this positive counterpoint! My sales are holding steady and I think it’s because I have been working hard at promoting myself, painting a lot and staying focused on the positive.”

And also Catherine Foster of Poulsbo, WA, USA who wrote, “As an artist, I plug on through. I am experiencing an explosion in my artwork with sales increased. For me it is focusing on adding value to the world through my art. As an artist and a healer, I am finding that people are paying high prices for my work. Actually the higher priced items are selling better than my small lower priced artworks. All I can figure is that the people who have money are feeling the value in my artwork. Here’s to all artists thriving in the world today!”

 

 

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