Monday, December 9, 2013

Why Make Art?

Putting resist on Baochu and the Golden Phoenix
Twice a year, this question comes up for me. Why make art? Why do I make art? Why would anyone
buy art? Why would anyone buy MY art? What do I want my art to accomplish? I write pages in my journal while sailing in the summer with my Love, and again around Christmas time when I review the year.

The dream of supporting myself through my art sales kind of went by the wayside. It is so much easier to dig ditches, clean houses, or teach squirming young children, than to make a living selling my art! Still, the dream won't quite die.

Baochu and the Golden Phoenix
So, Last night I researched selling art. Two different masters at selling art, both passionate about helping artists to succeed, gave me two very different approaches to selling art, based on their different views about the purpose of art. And you know what? Both views--opposite though they are--kind of resonate with me.

Clint Watson, whose articles on selling art appear in his blog Art Marketing and Life, says the purpose of art is to amplify ideas. He advises starting and feeding conversations about art, and using your art to illustrate the conversation. Become the leader of your conversation, he advises. Build a community, a tribe, a clan of people around you who participate in the conversation. Begin with your existing fans and make them feel included in an exclusive group. Read his article, Art Marketing for Artists Who Want to Change the World,  in Fine Art News, for more on this.

Jack White writes books on selling art. I bought his book The Mystery of Making It, and began to glean some ideas from him. He says the purpose of art is decorative. If people buy your art because it goes
with their couch, don't knock it. Paint what sells. Of course, that assumes you have sold enough work to tell what people like.

1 comment: