Losing Steam by Heather Goldstein

When I graduated last December and started my job full-time here at Jerry's, I was beyond motivated to make it work.  I had read somewhere that something like 90% of art school graduates do not create any art in the 2 years after graduation.  That was not going to be me!  I left school feeling refreshed and motivated about life, my job, and expecially my art.  So here it is, October 11, and I have seen my art take the back seat.

Now, productivity is definitely NOT the issue!  I have done 11 paintings on my own plus 1 in progress, 3 commissions, and 6 collaborative works with my friend Heather.  No, the real problem has been what I find to be most artists' problem...the business end. 

When I graduated, I was constantly looking for shows to enter.  I joined the Visual Art Exchange in Raleigh and was looking for as many additions to my resume as possible.  I need to get back to that.  I was so worried that I would not be able to force myself into the studio without deadlines, but the truth is that it does not take much forcing to get me there.  There is nothing I love more than to come home, pour a glass of wine, put on some music, and paint for hours.  But it's time to focus!  Time to find gallery representation.  Time to find juried shows.  Time to find my market. 

So off I go into the great blue yonder of the internet.  I'm in search, like so many, of an audience.


One of my newly finished pieces:

The Other Side

Oil, Encaustic, and Pencil on Canvas

36" x 36"


Is Art Fun? by Micah Mullen

Is art fun? Today I was asked this question at my job during a meeting for a new fledgling project. A question that I would think would have a definite YES - seemed much more difficult to answer. I spend hours and hours each week in front of my easel, at my day job I spend even more time reviewing art materials and focusing on how to better improve an artist's life, many weekends are spent at museums, galleries and shows. So... probably 90% or so of my awake life (we'll leave dreams and nightmares out for now) is spent doing art, observing art or learning and selling art materials. Shouldn't it be fun!!?? The same person that asked me this question, also later stated during the meeting that art is way for one to learn more about oneself. I certainly believe this is true. This past Saturday as I finished painting the picture that is shown on this entry, I often thought I really would rather be watching college football than sitting in a lonely, isolated room with just my thoughts and my painting. Yet something kept me there . . . perhaps it is my compulsive personality, perhaps I knew I had deadlines to meet, perhaps if I did not paint that day I thought the painting might be inferior. It never occurred to me that the reason I was alone in my studio on a sunny 80 degree day in the middle of football season was that I might be having fun!

I perplexed this question about art being fun for a few hours after it was asked. I think asking me if art is fun is asking me if I enjoy life. Like anyone I have good and bad days, but my life always gravitates back to art. To me fun seems like more of a temporary word. "I had a fun time at dinner the other night". To use "fun" as it relates to art and my life discounts the massive impact art plays in my life. In some ways it is even spiritual - One rarely describes spirituality as fun, but it is often described as positive and fulfilling.

As I sit here now with the computer in front of me and the easel behind me, there seem to be alot of fun things to do between now and when I go to sleep . . . It's already 6:30 - I should be painting by now.

(Shown) Pocosin Lakes Wildlife Refuge - 9x12" Acrylic on Canvas



The Holiday Art Market by M Theresa Brown

The next couple of months are crunch time for artists!  You hand create your art product and have time, energy, a bit of you and your creativity involved with each piece. And there is no doubt that you, along with every other merchant in the world sees the next few months of sales as critical to their finances!

So just how do you compete with all the latest electronics, clothes,toys, etc. that flood the market each fall in preparation for the Holidays? How do you get consumers to open up their wallets and spend their budgeted money with YOU and not with all the other merchants?

It's not about the price.  Most items purchased this time of year become obsolete, unused or broken within months or a few years!  A new iphone can be $500.00 . A new camera or computer can cost thousands.....and even a new, $45,000 car will be in the dump in 7 or 8 years.  New, expensive furniture becomes used furniture as soon as it enters the consumers home and every toy that is under the Christmas tree will be trashed by Easter!

 So if it is not about the price, then what is it about?

Did you realize that we just just shared two Unique Selling Features with you? Did you notice these?

1.  You hand create your art product and have time, energy, a bit of you and your creativity involved with each piece.
2. It's not about the price.  Most items purchased this time of year become obsolete or trash within months or a few years!

In your message to your prospects and collectors, you should be emphasizing at least these two unique selling features! 
You should know what they are anyway,  in comparison with another artist's similar products. 
The average cnsumer may like what you create, but you have to  market the "added value!"  People are taking far more notice of value today than 3 years ago. They want to make good decisions and they want the best for their money! It is YOUR job, as an artist, to share with them how your art will make that possible!

In all of your marketing, think like a consumer.
Think about why YOU would buy a piece of art.  I once was at a show where a man made some beautiful wooden, outdoor furniture.  For every man he must have heard tell his wife, "I can do that," he had come up with a solution.  A big sign hanging at his booth said "Sure you could do this, but will you?" and caught my attention. He had neatly and concisely eliminated the bragging men and confirmed what their wives already knew...and that was: Yes, they could  possibly make the outdoor furniture, but No, reality had shown the wives that they would not , so  they might as well buy from this seller! SMART marketing and addressing several issues at once! 

Think of why you would NOT buy from an artist for instance and see if it applies to your art product.
Then , as the woodworking artist did, fine a solution.  See your art as a benefit to the consumer. Look at it as though he/she NEEDS your product to make their life  complete. That is what every other retailer does when selling their product. You should be no different!

Be pro-active and pro-marketing and you'll discover that when you have your finger on the pulse of your buyers, you will have a GREAT Holiday season for your art sales!

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