A couple of posts ago (or maybe it was for a journal entry I wrote in my art history class), I wrote about how the artist can no longer be just a creative person - they have to be half business person too. And you cannot be turned off when someone wants to know "how much" or "do you sell your work". If you are going to be an artist, then you better get on board with selling yourself, your artwork and figuring out how to not get ripped off. I was on a live-feed Instagram story last night with a tattoo artist who's work I have long admired. She was showing a live broadcast of her tattooing a client. The audience was encouraged to "ask her anything - she's an open book". There were several questions about equipment used, products used, her process for creating a tattoo, how to get a hold of her, where she was traveling next, what projects she had in the works - the artist was very open to all these and the many compliments about her work and style. I asked the question of does she price based on design or by the hour. I heard the question being read to the artist and the dreaded silence after. Then they moved on to another comment with no answer. The live feed ended shortly after. Like abruptly ended. This raises several thoughts in my mind: why couldn't the question be answered; that adage of "if you have to ask, you can't afford me" doesn't work in this day-and-age; a simple response of "it depends on both the design and time involved" would have been both vague enough to satisfy an artist's ego (that whole you can't afford me thing) as well being polite to what could have been a potential customer. Plus she could have followed up with "please email me if you are looking to have work done", which would have been even more appropriate.
I went out into the public a couple of times this week to do plein air painting. I got asked if I sell my work. One time, I was taken off-guard and said no that I was a student at UA on break (rookie error!). The other time, I remembered to dig out a business card and give it to the person asking. I will be the first one to say, "it's not easy selling yourself". BUT...you have to get over that if you want to survive being an artist. You have to ignore the comments from uneducated people who say "oh I can paint that". You get to remember your manners and be gracious to those who are curious or complimentary. You always smile when interrupted regardless if you are in a good place with your work or not. These people are your potential customers. Or at the very least, you never know who they know and what door might open because you took a moment to make eye contact and say "thank you". It's not about the hard sell. It's about being present in the moment and being grateful. Because quite honestly, without them you really are just painting in an enclosed room with no one to see your work. I have so many paintings "in storage" at my apartment - sure I would love for them to go to happy homes. But my focus is on my voice - honing it, maturing it, and then maybe it will speak to someone else and they will want a piece in their world. And as always, I am grateful for each step in this journey.
Spring Break is over and I cannot begin to tell you how nice it was to take some time for me without worrying about having to get up by a certain time to be somewhere or which day is it and where am I supposed to be or whatever. I painted. I did a bit of collage work. I sculpted a few pieces in clay. I spent time with my son and dad. I even got in a hike. I am tanned and currently feeling very rested and ready to go back to classes. And yes.....I've made a list of stuff that needs to be done this coming week or so and am checking things off one by one. Half my list is crossed out. Not bad!!! Of course all the fun stuff (which is all the art stuff) has been crossed off and left now are the papers to write and research to be done.
I guess that's my cue that I need to get on it. I'm sending out a quiet "thank you" for those who were so kind in their smiles and hello's this week at Tohono Chul Park as I was painting. I am grateful for each of you. And a special thank you for Diana, who took my photo and shared a few words. You made my day! My dad always says "someday when you're a famous painter" - well, you made me feel like one for a brief moment. :) That's it for me. It was a good week and am hoping to positive outward, positive inward the momentum continues forward. Do good things everyone. And remember to smile at someone. You just never know....