Thursday, March 5, 2009

this marketing thing

if you look over at my sidebar under the heading literary matters, you'll see that i'm reading 2 books on art marketing.  the stanfield book I just cracked open and I'm about 1/3 through the other and not only have I not been that ambitious around selling work, but I'm questioning IF i want to be.  my goal is to sell some work and last night I asked myself how much would make me happy annually...and I thought 500 then boosted it up to 1500 because I thought I'd like to sell enough to pay for taking 1 workshop each year.  the huge change from not working in the last 4 years and the peace i made with this disability came by realizing i had the freedom to get into my own rhythms and thoughts and processes and didn't have to spend most of my waking hours in the service to others and that was okay.  Most of my adult life i held 2 jobs and sometimes 3...not to accumulate wealth but if you know anything about working in social services, no explanation is needed.  it was a big help when peter's company restructured and he went from salary to hourly allowing him to get paid for all the overtime and the last 3 years i worked i held only 1 job, many times the hours where very long but it still felt decandent to only have 1 job.  my parents were an integral part of helping out with picking up and feeding children and entertaining them but they have aged and their circumstances have changed as well and thank the lord my youngest is 17.

i had designated 2009 as a year to concentrate on marketing based on the notion that "if i'm a serious artist, i should".  for me, and i've long known this, the process of making is the I AM statement of my life.  i'm all about process!  my footprint, my archaelogical presence and identity. this is the celebration (sometimes bittersweet) i try to mark this blog by. 

this pondering about marketing has me asking how much time investment in marketing is required to sell 1500 annually?  does the time factor impede on anything else and how committed do i want to be?  can i recoup that amount by squeezing my budget (something i have more control over than the market) even more?  

the one word that triggered this line of thought was "career".  stanfield speaks of an "art career" and i shuddered.  i don't want a "career".  i don't want to run on such a traditional track.  what i do want, and this became clearer to me yesterday and i'll blog about in a few days, is a sense of artistic community (within myself and with others) and freedom and this is what i'm serious about.  possibly this is a throw-back to my idealistic leanings but all-the-more that is who i am.  being in exhibits serves the sense of community and if a piece sells that is a miraculous blessing!  my personality is more in alignment with the simple quiet peasant woman who continues to can jars of food when the her gardens and her neighbor's gardens are overflowing with abundance because she knows everything is just a matter of time ;) 

you know, there just isn't that many serious autobiographies/memoirs of women visual artists and it gets even narrower if looking for bio's of African American women artists.  It would be wonderful to frame my discussion within this body of literature...any recommendations?


  1. "i don't want to run on such a traditional track. what i do want, and this became clearer to me yesterday and i'll blog about in a few days, is a sense of artistic community (within myself and with others) and freedom and this is what i'm serious about. possibly this is a throw-back to my idealistic leanings but all-the-more that is who i am. being in exhibits serves the sense of community and if a piece sells that is a miraculous blessing!"
    This is the process I have been going through also. I have come to the conclusion that (for me)this is what it means to be an artist, and it's Ok, just fine, to allow this to just be. Yes, I'd like to sell something, (it would be wonderful!) but my art is an expression of my innermost person, and like you, if saomeone likes it and buys it, then all the better. Maybe I should blog more about this :>)

  2. I hear you. At my age, I am just sort of skating along grabbing an opportunity here and there. I don't want to take any energy from the creativity, when and if it hits. Quite sporadic right now.

  3. I agree with you about the business aspect: yuck! I just want to do what makes me happy. I hate marketing and business. One of my friends keeps offering to be my business manager, but that is just too serious for me to even consider...because then I'd have to 'work'...and that takes the play out of it!

  4. For sooth - only you would open a discussion that I have been trying to stay away from in my own world. Marketing has been downfall since 1976 when I sold four twin sized quilts for $50. and thought I was hitting the jackpot! I am no better now. Please continue with your thoughts on this - it helps many of us I am sure! Plus, I seem to still be fighting having limitations now - and have to keep working in order to have health insurance !!

  5. This was a marvelous post to read and think about. I feel like I have a book recommendation on the tip of my brain's tongue but can't quite get it articulated! Will have to think more and probably poke around in my bookshelves.

  6. I'm thinking along very similar lines too, and for very similar reasons. "If I'm an artist"..then I need to do x,y and z. The key I think is to make sure the need-to-do comes authentically from you. I'll have to check out the books you are reading to see if the advice they offer resonates for me. thanks!

  7. Don't have much to add. I think it's phenomenally important that we (as women) stay cognizant of how to apply the methods to the pace of our lives, not pace our lives to the methods. You sound infinitely sane in your way of thinking to me.
    Thought you'd find this interesting: