Here it is, Labor Day weekend, and I've had the phrase, "irrevocable deadline " on my mind a lot lately. It was a term I learned years ago in a class I took at Cal Poly University, Pomona on starting a small business. In that context, it was a reasonable date the entrepreneur would set for him/herself when the person expected to be fully self-employed.
I've done that -- several times, in fact -- but now I gave it a new meaning:
31 December 2016, midnight -- if I don't get overwhelming sales of paintings by then, at one femtosecond into 2017, I'm done with the art business. DONE!!!
I've been doing art as a business for 15 years now, full time. I'd say the quality of my artwork has improved tremendously during that time. But I'm absolutely no closer to my career goals than I was 15 years ago. I have a very small following, two or three repeat customers (who are pretty much full up on art), and an occasional sale or commission just doesn't pay the bills. I've been losing money every year until 2014, when I stopped keeping up the books because it was a waste of time.
I've done the things artists are supposed to do -- juried outdoor shows, galleries, participated in art exhibitions in California and Colorado. And spent a LOT of money and time doing that.
I offer prints on FineArtAmerica.com, but over the years, I've sold two small prints. That's it.
The only thing I haven't done is to travel wherever in the country I would need to go where my type of art sells. But I can't afford to do that, my pickup trucks have too many miles on them, and I ain't a kid anymore -- traveling is hard on me physically.
So -- I'm just DONE. I'll probably keep my website up, mostly as an online portfolio or personal art online art museum, but I may have some "BUY NOW" buttons there in case someone wants to buy a painting.
I'll keep painting -- albeit more slowly -- and I may take the time to look into other online artwork sites. I already posted images on Pinterest.com; Instagram requires images to be uploaded directly from a smart phone which I don't have; plus, I wouldn't be able to crop backgrounds out or tweak images to make them look like the real deal.
At least I'm receiving Social Security, which brings in more $$$ than I EVER made from art sales!
In the end, there's both good and bad news in this. Year's end hasn't hit yet, but frankly, I'm no longer looking for any miracles. I've had this dream of making a living in the arts -- first photography, then painting -- for 40+ years, and it appears I have to let that dream die.
In just a few short months. My irrevocable date.