Give it away? Who does that?
Are you an artist who sells your work?
Let me start by saying that I am an artist who sells art. I make art and I like to sell it. It makes me feel good to create something and then know that someone else appreciates it, likes it, enough to pay money for it! You can find me on the internet by searching my name, Frances Pelletier, artist, or by my business name fdp-artworks. That tells me that I am known, to a certain degree. It's kind of cool when you tell someone your name and they say they are familiar with your work.
I price my art fairly reasonably, I think. I like to make a buck (I'm being honest, here). I don't overprice the art. I try to keep it "under insanity" (hey, I like that!). Some people can afford my art, and of course there are those who can't really afford to spend much on art. I don't hold it against anyone. I like to make small pieces just for that reason, in the hopes that someone will be able to afford a bit of the art world.
Do you give or get?
My dad passed away in May, and when I think of him, I remember a caring man who never sold anything in his life (other than for his photography business). He gave things away. If you admired something in the house, he would offer to give it to you. He never wanted to be paid for anything. He lived very moderately and spent his time building and inventing and giving it away, generously. Even after his passing, he was still giving things away.
There are artists like that, too. It is hard to imagine, but there are artists who create art and essentially give it away. I have to say, I did not get it until this past week.
Low art prices - how do you compete?
It often bothers artists when another one sells their art for a ridiculously low price, at the same sale/venue. It makes the expensive pieces seem overpriced. Buyers, customers, browsers, may even believe that the low price is the reasonable price. Anything higher seems like greed or self-importance.
I don't, generally, have an issue with low priced art. In my mind, I guess, I question how someone can afford to do that, what with art supplies being so expensive and taking into account the time and soul put into a piece of art. I have come to realize that there are people who just want to share their art at a very affordable price.
Getting vs Giving
This past weekend I was hit head on with another "dad" moment. As generous as my dad was, I encountered more generosity in the art world. A fellow artist contacted me about some canvases she was giving away. Moving to a new home, she would not have room for these large canvases. I thought to myself, sure, this sounds great! I could certainly use a few more canvases. What artist would turn this down?
I made plans to stop by and pick up whatever she was giving away. I was not prepared for her generosity! Not only were there canvases, but there were A LOT OF CANVASES!. Paints, and mediums, easels and markers, more that I could fit in my vehicle. A second trip was required. Offers of payment were quickly brushed aside. She had no interest in taking payment for anything. She seemed pleased that I was so excited. I could not get over the generosity. I am still shaking my head in disbelief as I try to find room for all the new and exciting new art supplies.
After I took an inventory of the supplies, I realized that I could not possibly use all of them. I passed some of them on to my sister and plan to share the wealth with some other artists. I want to "pay it forward" a little bit.
This event happened to coincide with another. I was asked to sell a painting at a bit of a discount, due to the buyer having limited funds. My first reaction was to say that if it did not sell at the upcoming Art Walk, then definitely, I would lower the price. However, realizing that this buyer was very taken with the painting, I decided to just lower the price, as requested.
Then, I experienced the gifted art supplies. I immediately contacted the buyer who wanted my painting and gifted it. How could I not? I knew that here was someone who would appreciate that piece of art, a bit of my soul. It gave me joy to be able to do that!
I'm not going to all of a sudden price my art lower. I'm not going to go around giving paintings away to just anyone. But it is something to consider once in a while. I don't see it as setting a precedent. I could have let the painting go based on installment payments. In this case I felt the gift was reasonable
Expect no return
Don't be afraid to be a giver. Once in a while gage your customer. Maybe they really could use a break. It's within your power to give a little, and expect nothing in return.