Sunday, December 28, 2014
Thoughts About Art in 2015
The following is part of a news e-mail that I receive from the editor of a major art magazine:
"Would it surprise you that I know many artists who have become wealthy -- some incredibly wealthy -- from their art? You probably know who some of them are, but there are many more you haven't heard of who are making a killer living off their art."
This was the kind of thing that always energized me in terms of pursuing a career in art. I never even expected to become wealthy at making and selling art -- a comfortable living would be just fine.
The thing of it is -- I do know artists who do quite well, financially and emotionally. Some of them are excellent artists and others -- well, let's just say I don't connect as well with what they do.
For some reason, it hasn't turned out as well for me. Some of the problem, possibly, is that in southern California, buyers seem obsessed with impressionism and the plein air look. These people really seem to believe that this style is superior to the more photographic/classical realist look that I prefer. The blurry impressionist works "leave more for the imagination to fill in and is therefore 'better' than traditional realism." In fact, I read/hear this notion so much, it seems like it's a line that has been passed around, taught somewhere, gone viral and taken on a life of its own.
I suspect abstract expressionists feel their art is at the very top of intellectual involvement, then -- what could leave more to the imagination than artworks that don't have a subject at all?
Maybe it's a marketing thing -- the editor who wrote the above quote is selling a set of DVDs that is intended to help artists do better with the $$$. However, I know for a fact that what he said above is true -- there are artists (most are not household names like Thomas Kinkade) who sell -- even in this economy -- works that sell for much more than I ask for my pieces.
So -- where do I go from here? Well, for now I look upon my website (SouthwestSpaces.com) as more of an online portfolio than a real selling tool, although I have provided a means to sell from my site. I probably could do more with it, such as frame the paintings so they're ready to hang as soon as they arrive at the buyers' homes (as one friend suggested I do). It means shipping would be more involved, but not impossible.
Then there are galleries. I haven't had great luck with them. I think it helps if the artists already have an impressive following of buyers, but I don't have that. I find that gallery owners like my work, but they have difficulty selling it, at least in SoCal.
Outdoor art shows? Too much of a gamble. They're expensive to do and involve a lot of physical exertion. At too many of them, I had just enough sales to cover expenses (which is not the point of doing shows), or no sales at all.
In the end, not much will probably change next year. I'm painting landscapes that are not deserts in the hopes of attracting a more diverse crowd, and I'll continue to doodle along at a relaxed pace (I'm getting too tired to push like I used to). And I'll paint more holiday scenes for the book I want to put together together (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas -- maybe Hanukkah -- images). Like this:
I can't afford the guy's DVDs (even with his moneyback guarantee), so I'll have to continue on my own.
Have a great 2015!