I spent much of my free time yesterday preparing two canvasses for paint that I will be chucking on them during the course of this week.
When I have a few minutes to spare, usually in the evening before I go to sleep, I spend a lot of it dabbling about on YouTube. I have found so many artists and other people there who give of their time freely, helping a person become more proficient and skilled in what they do (artwise). There is a plethora of experts just on the topic of marketing art, for example and I've learnt a lot from these people already - it's not all bollox and worthless pre-ambles to them trying to sell you their book on selling art. There are many people who spend a lot of time and take great care in giving tips and hints that would actually take years to learn on your own. It takes a lot of the guess work out of the whole exercise.
I found a chap last night who gave very clear instructions about how to best photograph art and what not to do. He was from Saatchi, so I guess I should take note, you don't really get better experts than perps from those hallowed halls. My initial reservations about photographing my art as it hung above an expensive leather lounge suite were correct. There should be no distractions, no peripheral stuff to dress the photo with. Just the piece of art, cropped and well photographed in natural light - just as I've been doing all along. It's gratifying to know that I'm kinda on the right track.
It's also depressing, sometimes, trawling through YouTube and watching other Youber Artists display their body of work, or show you around their studio. One chap, who I admire quite a lot as an artist, doesn't have a studio per se but he has his art stacked up all over his house. And his website is full of images of completed pieces. I feel very sad, when I see that because I've dumped or destroyed a huge bulk of my artistic output over the years. I can only imagine how different it would have been for me, if there'd been YouTube when I was in my Twenties. I've also realised the importance of getting organised, even for part-time artists like me, organisation of the workplace is fundamental to producing good quality work in a reasonable timeframe. So I have to go out this weekend and get better lights and a few large plastic outdoor tables (the kind that usually come with an Umbrella and 4 garden chairs). I had these tables when we were in South Africa - large ones, as well as a big wooden bench and I'm starting to get into a right muddle when it comes to finding my materials! The garage where I'm working looks like a bomb site.
It's also surprising to me how many artists are reluctant to sell their work, or have ethical issues about it. Why? It's selfish to hang onto the stuff, specially if it's not on display in your home but stacked up in a dusty corner of your studio, or worse, in the attic or cellar. If you've spent time creating something, set it free, let someone else enjoy it and allow them to explore what you were trying to achieve when you put the piece into conceptualisation. I don't have any qualms about selling my work. I just hope that I can do the right research into the pricing and make sure that I don't sell myself cheap. I suppose that's a mistake that most artists make, or anyone starting out selling their own products ... then again, starting low you can always increase your prices. If you start too high, it's very bad business practice to reduce the price immediately afterwards. I understood that with the online adult toy shop that I ran back in South Africa. If a person really wants the product, the price is right and they have confidence in the company or individual selling it, then you've got a sale. It's not really magic, it's straight forward common sense. I always ask myself, would I pay that much for this thing? And if I wouldn't, then I'm pretty sure many other people wouldn't either.
I will have about 10 new pieces ready by the end of this month (or sooner, if I have my way). So it's going to be very interesting to see what I can sell on my first outing. I am aiming to have several 'price points' and see what does best.