Last night I wrote a blog that dithered around a number of subjects, one being having a "staple" piece of art to sell. I've always just blindly accepted the philosophy, or maybe it's more of an accepted business model, that you need to have low end priced items at shows. The thought process being that those are the ones that most will buy and those are the ones that will be your bread and butter.
It makes some sense for the standard show, although I think you do need to know the type buyers that come through a show also. If you're at a high end show and you have under $50 pieces you may find that you sell nothing...
However, for most artists who're doing an arts/craft type shows a large portion of those attending do so to hear the music, to have a family day out, to check out the taste of whatever city you're in, to hook up with friends, etc. They buy on impulse and aren't necessarily looking for a nice piece to take home.
I do a number of those crafty type shows. I enjoy getting out and meeting new people, hearing comments, talking with other artists, etc.
But in a blind flash of the obvious, it struck me this morning as I walked though my home, that I had quite a few pieces of pottery and art that I'd bought at shows from other artists. I usually bought the pieces because I craved one of their nicer pieces and couldn't afford to bring it to my home (where it obviously belonged). So, I bought a smaller pieces.
The sad thing is that I have a lot of those smaller pieces and I couldn't tell you the name of most of the artists. I can't attach the small "production" type piece I bought to a picture in my mind of their nicer work. I know the names of the artists whose work I still crave, or those I saved to buy...
As I reflected on that, I started thinking about how I view my own work. I started thinking about what a chore it is to me to do something over and over. I never, ever like to make two of a kind of anything and when I make myself do it just to make a dollar or two, then it's almost like I'm selling myself out.
I'm being someone that isn't me.
I'm compromising just to make a few dollars.
Money is nice, but it's never been my motivator. I could easily be one of those stereotypical starving artists (but am very happy I'm not ;-).
Continuing to think more about it as I sipped (OK, guzzled) my second cup of hot tea, it struck me that I usually don't sell the smaller pieces anyway. I may see a number of people walk into my booth and pick up a piece to see the price before someone buys, but I sell enough to be happy when I pack up most shows.
So, I've decided to say to heck with the business model. It's always been one of those little guilty twinge-types that stayed with me as I prepared for a show... knowing I need to stop doing what I really want to do so I can make some smaller stuff.
Picture me going to the studio and in my mind I'm stomping my feet throwing a tantrum because I have an idea or muse I want to follow but I hafta be good, I hafta do those stupid money-making-fillers.
Making pottery is a joyful experience most days. It's the high that runners talk about (and I used to have when I ran regularly). It clears the mind of clutter. It's better than yoga.
I needed to write that blog yesterday and I needed to clear my mind of the "hafta" clutter.
Refreshing. Freeing. Seriously. It is.