Wednesday, April 19, 2017

If a painting is intended to be sold, especially online, then the artist must be particularly attentive to assure that the work is of the best quality of which they are capable and honestly represented since the potential buyer has nothing more than the small computer image to view and basically trusts that the artist has made the effort to assure the quality of the offered work without equivocation.
Art is an ambiguous term, however painting as an art medium is not and painting intended to be art will be, though it will not always be good art or good painting. Painting, along with other attempts towards artful expression is a thoughtful process whereby shapes, colors and values are composed and rendered striving for an image which will be pleasing, evocative and poetic as would be the case for many media, though painting alone is contingent upon the craft of brushwork, which at best is mindful yet unaffected. Brushwork is the means to an end and not the end in itself. Since there are many subtle choices, most of which are personal and intuitive with regard to any particular brush and how it is manipulated, how paint is mixed and applied there can also be an element of art to the brushwork itself, though always towards the desired goal. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Art needs to annunciate through an image with purposeful interaction. Art requires mindful activity. Even though a myriad of beautiful and intriguing shapes, patterns and objects occur in nature they are not art, yet a mindful individual could gather them and arrange them, purposely striving for an effect, a statement, beauty, illusion, they could become art. Yet if the natural items were placed for some other expression, religious or spiritual, they would not be art per se, but utilitarian talismanic. Carvings in red cedar, by the first peoples of the Canadian northwest, such as the Haida, appear to be evocative art while originally intended as spiritual totems. Were these early carvers artists even though that concept would have been completely incomprehensible to them? Were the upper paleolithic painters of the walls of the Lascaux caves in southern France artists? Or some twenty thousand years later a person quietly sits in a gallery space, seemingly motionless, on display... is this art?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

What to paint

A blog is a silent, internal conversation; a cogitation, ergo, the blogger must be a cogitator.


For the rare artist who sells their work, what to paint is more or less a simple matter; more of the same with some leeway to deviate slightly and explore, dependent upon the strength, tolerance and complexity of the fan base. In a way the majority of artists are not so constrained since there is no one they need to please ... perhaps. 
For most artists then the unsold works accumulate and gather dust, in which case the storage area might determine the size and substrate of the paintings. If the artist is producing art cards, aceo, of the 2.5 x 3.5 on paper format then the entire body of work could be stored in a shoe box. However if the artist executes pieces more on the scale of "Guernica" or perhaps, "La Danse" then the artist might require a storage space such as an old dirigible hangar.
If the artist produces small quickly painted works to maximize potential profit should something sell then storage and material costs would be kept to a minimum and thus allow the artist to continue to work and develop. The consequences of such an approach would be a size limit as well as an execution in a very specific speedy style and this seems to be a narrowly defined niche, though with obvious potential.
Size, substrate and storage are one issue while subject matter could be another though this is not a constrain for artists who produce abstract work in which case it would be an endeavor of pure design and technique with far more freedom. For representational artists subject matter is of concern. Some very skilled artists can paint ugly very well and with great appeal, but this is a rarity. Artists should feel free to paint those subjects they enjoy though they might also produce works they surmise have a broad appeal as well. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Online Presence, Selling and Promotion:

There is a ubiquity of articles extolling the virtues of the internet in all of its permutations for ultimately selling original art. By the way a copy of original art is not original art, it is no more than a copy and no matter how copious the verbiage it will remain nothing more than a machine made copy in perpetuity. Most artists seem to be asking the question, "How can I increase my sales" when they mean, how can I sell anything at all. The usually responses are comprised of  litanies of mostly know online entities such as ebay and etsy for actual sales or facebook and instagram for exposure and ambiguous advice such as stay the course. There is supposed to be much enthusiasm for the endless online possibilities, yet it always seems to be the ignorant fantasizing  that they are informing the ignorant. No one ever states that they have used ebay for years and they are selling several thousand dollars of art a month, though somewhere someone might. One way or another far more art is published on all of the various venues than is ever sold, so that it is far more likely that an artist will not sell with any regularity if at all.

The advice that an artist should be true to themselves and paint only what they deem to be a pure expression and expect to sell is moronic drivel. If an artist is selling and has a devoted following they can expand their repertoire somewhat and even then the buyers might shy away. Most art will not sell and there are no guaranties, however the artist may very well have a better chance with a cat painting than one of a toilet bowl and I am making no suggestions, but the artist should investigate and make the attempt to develop work which they surmise from observation to be appealing to the potential buyer, just short of copying Thomas Kinkade. Some artists do well enough though they are always a small minority who also produce excellent work. Artists who actually sell well do not teach or prattle or give advice. They quietly work, make art, prepare to make art and sell. If art sells then what follows is simple, make more art, however, for everyone else though does the artist continue to make art whether it sells or not and if so what art should they make if they choose to continue?

Monday, September 8, 2014



Selling and Pricing Art:

There is plethora of commentary online, some written material and some discussions on YouTube at the least, with regard to these topics. Occasionally the comments are made by an artist simply attempting to share what they have experienced. Some are useful and sincere, though more often than not gallery owner/experts use the format to promote a book or video series on how to sell art. These are self-serving and often reinforce those aspects of attempting to sell art which favors the gallery system. They will all lecture on the myriad of mistakes most artists make when approaching a gallery for representation and some of these comments are valid. However, for those artists who present themselves well the chance for attaining gallery representation is utterly remote in the extreme. Hope sells, not reality, though reality is not necessarily devoid of hope either. Though if there was one secret it might very well be, make art so appealing that potential viewers stop, completely transfixed by your work, and when they can finally breathe again they exhale a soft prolonged… wow.

Artists who produce immensely appealing work seem to sell well and never seem to have the need to speak in a public format on the subject. Beyond making the art of course they attend to the details of business, but this is usually within the context of preparing groups of pieces for their various exhibitions or occasionally doing an interview for a publication.

All art is not created equal. Like most produced work it spans the range from poorly executed and weakly conceived to brilliant, evocative and highly desirable. Any artist hoping to sell must study and be capable of discerning these differences. Seeing is paramount and seeing is honed with honest, disciplined and extensive practice. The rest is mechanics and strategy.

Experts might make a comment such as; an artist should spend eighty percent of their time on the aspects of selling and twenty percent in the studio making art, though the details are quite sketchy as to what actually constitutes marketing art. Is the artist simply supposed to pester friends and family and give out business cards to uninterested passersby? Is the artist supposed to become extremely adept at peddling a mediocre product? Most business in America is conducted in exactly that manner.

Artists can have websites, yes, but who is going to spend any substantial sum when all they can view is a rather small digital image on a glowing pixelated screen? It happens, of course, but it does not provide any intimate experience for the buyer and thus cannot produce sales in and of itself with any reliable regularity. For sales the internet is somewhat of a panacea though some artists do find a niche. Though the internet does work well enough for an artist to have an easily accessible portfolio, but not as a venue for selling per se. Of course there are exceptions for anything anyone might ever say on any subject, but the common factors hold true overall. It may be that a majority of artists are successfully selling online, but if that were the case then why is there such a large number of artists asking the question, “How can I sell my art”?

If an artist has a low enough price and no one will buy their work then the work is most likely not particularly appealing. Therefore, attempt to mitigate price as a factor and observe if the product is appealing to viewers in and of itself. So that rather than using the various approaches to pricing such as a dollar per square inch or some such arbitrary nonsense, try pricing it low enough within a particular venue. Study the prices at art shows and observe those items with the red dot, the similarities, the averages and the outliers.

The value of art is not the sum of the artist’s time and materials; it is what someone is willing to pay for it if anyone will buy it at all or even give it a glance in the first place. Very few people purchase original art to begin with and yes some purchase art of dubious quality, but in general the artist needs to produce art that is extremely appealing to even have a chance. Then it is a matter of finding venues and building contacts. 

I have even heard or read more than one expert extol, “be distinctive, stand out from the herd”. Has anyone noticed, we are the herd? Indeed, if the work of an artist is truly distinctive it is not because of some contrived gimmick, though clever niches can be exploited on occasion, but because of the acuity of their vision, the deftness of their execution and their impeccable craftsmanship.