Back in 2008 when I took over a failing running store, I inherited $100k worth of crappy inventory. I advertised a blowout sale and labeled more than 500 pairs of shoes at $10 each. But the sale came and went and barely any sold. A month later I marked them all up to $60 and nearly sold out in a day. Value is a funny thing.
Since selling art has never been my impetus for creating it, I’ve always had trouble pricing pieces for gallery shows. Usually I am told by collectors that I am, “selling myself short,” or even worse, “this piece would go for so much more in New York.” Art shows suck. They assume that green pieces of paper are worthy trade for something that makes your skin catch fire.
Eventually I stopped doing gallery openings, café shows, and anything else that distanced me from the folks who might actually be interested in simply taking it all in. Dealing with art “shoppers” who sipped their merlot while discussing my nuances and tendencies gradually made me sick of the whole process. So I started displaying my stuff in my front yard – where folks might drive by then stop, “because [they] had to.” I gave a bunch of pieces away and sold even more for barely the price of materials. And since I started doing this, I’ve met a lot of folks who love art for art’s sake. Not for investment purposes.
Maybe I am shooting myself in the foot by not following the rules. I guess I don’t really care. Of course like any artist, I’d like to do everything I can to keep from having to work some shitty nine-to-five to make ends meet. The mere prospect scares me to death. But these worries are outweighed by the joy I feel when someone walks away with one of my pieces because it did something to them. It made them feel something. And even better if they didn’t have to trade a child for it.
I expect that after I graduate in June I’ll get back into painting. So for now it’s out with the old. Take a look at what I’ve got. Make me an offer that you can afford.