My whole life is a work in progress. My art, my family, my own mind! All constantly changing and, hopefully, evolving. When it comes to my art I never stop learning. I try things and make tons of mistakes. I am not perfect and I'm sure as hell no expert. It's more fun this way, right?!
Last week I learned another lesson, not every festival or event is going to embrace my art. Sometimes I don't sell anything, and have a really hard time getting people to connect with me (which was the case last week). I guess this is how it goes depending on the event. I'm not taking it personally, but it definitely helps to humble oneself. I even offered my art at pay-what-you-wish and still people weren't asking about it or engaging. I even saw people read my sign as they walked by and laugh.
It was really interesting to see how people reacted. I don't offer my art this way as a joke. Someone even asked sarcastically, "Well, what if I just give you a dollar?" It's not even the amount of money someone is willing to pay, it's how that question already tells me that a person doesn't value my art, or probably anyone else's art. I can easily say no to someone who will open dialogue with me that way because it's not about the money, it's about valuing the work. It's about valuing someone's work, time, and love that goes into a painting. If instead they had said, "I really love your work, but I only have a couple dollars. Would you accept that?" That right there tells me they actually value the work on a different level and really want to work with me. If someone was to pay a $1 through my online pay-what you-wish events I would hope that they would let me know why. If they didn't add a comment to their purchase about why, I would email them and get to know their situation. I am also ready to refund the offer if I feel it was done with any sort of negativity involved. (BTW that person didn't purchase a painting even for a dollar.)
I know this is one of artist's top questions to me, so I wanted to address it. I'm not a pushover. I know when someone is being sincere and genuine. I am more than willing to work with collectors through payment options and pay-what-you-wish. Lines of communication are always open with me, and I believe in my collectors. I know when there is true love and value, and I honor that completely.
My advice to other artists who want to offer their work this way is be prepared for these offers, determine if someone is sincere, and if they aren't, be willing to say no and communicate why. When the offers are sincere, be humble and work with them. We all need to make some sort of money even if the goal is to just continue producing art. Collectors who truly value your work and connect with you will understand that.
I don't need to make millions, but I also don't need to be taken advantage of. It's a learning process for sure. I can tell you I honestly don't know what I am doing most of the time. I experiment to find out what works best for me and my collectors. If something doesn't work out I am ready to make changes. Don't be afraid of making mistakes. Be flexible at times. It's okay to not know what will happen because that's when you find out what works.
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Mother of paintings & children. Both bring a connection to something bigger than myself along with a feeling of I don't know what the hell I'm doing!
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