How Attached Are You to Your Work? Part 2


Less professionally experienced artist who aren't willing to sell their work my think, "My art just doesn't fit. Everyone says I should do more representation work." Or "The landscape paintings won't do well in my local market like said style." In the beginning it is much easier to find surface level reasons why you can not sell your art or craft. Most artists belittle themselves in three possible pillars.

The first pillar is your skill level not being good enough. We assume we didn't sell work because we didn't paint well enough. Or they were awkward and always ruin every chance. This one, unfortunately, can be more accurate than not. When you are starting and entering your first art shows, you will be exposed to professionals who achieve a higher standard on every level. You may envy the way the audience prefers their work over yours. Sometimes, it isn't even the quality of work but the display and environment that makes the sale. Learn all you can in this area, and never stop.

The second pillar is pricing. This is the easiest to attack yourself for. This is the most subjective aspect of art and as long as art has political and social attachment, it will remain so. This is more of a testing ground. Your skill, network, location, accolades, etc. all sway this number. You can get lucky or make a deal to sell your work. It is your prerogative at the end of the day to do what makes you happiest. I usually tell artists new to selling to find a number that isn't so low, you are paying to work and a number that isn't so high it turns all customers away.

The last main pillar is doubt in your style/aesthetic. The marketplace is the most grueling of arenas to share your artwork in. But the most rewarding. I remember in design school, the highs and lows that came with a critique. Some would skip class to avoid the gut wrenching humility you face when every hates your work. They didn't realize the pain that comes along with sharing their work before. The worst part of the transition is when you fail in too many shows and it solidifies the idea that what you are doing is bad or not worthwhile. In all honesty, if it heals you and fulfills your artistic needs, you must not stop at all costs.