Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Why Make a Living When you Can Make A Loving? ( Iknow it's corney )

I will give you the advice I received when I was in Junior High, It is nothing earth shattering and certainly it is not easy; in fact it has been a hell of lot of extremely hard work!

I have found this to be the key to an absolutely excellent and totally fulfilling life. So here we go:

Find out what it is you love to do, love as in you cannot live without doing it, in fact you would do this regardless of whatever is going on in your life for free, hell you'd spend your last dime in order to keep doing it. Whatever it is; and I mean whatever; find a way to make a living at it. Doing this creates an unstoppable synergy, by nature if you do what you love with passion you are bound to become unstoppable and you will blossom as an absolute expert and eventually an authority in this field.

As you grow, this may change, this thing that makes your motor run; I say, ‘so what’, do the next thing this way, with love and passion. I swear you will never feel like you have actually worked, instead you will find that you forget to eat (at times when I paint or sculpt or noodle a catch phrase or design a great building I find that I suddenly need to take a deep breath, why? I have forgotten to Breath!), you awaken where you were at work and then you pop-up and start in again as if you were only momentarily distracted. I am NOT suggesting you do this at the cost of all else, in fact this would be very unhealthy, it took me years of trying and a great deal of loving prodding but I feel I have struck a balance and to my joy this makes when I work even more fulfilling.

Look at all the folks plodding along in their miserable lives, oh but by the grace of God go I! This is the key to life, remember you only get one spin on this rock (sorry my Buddhist Mom and friends and the like; several spins I guess for those believers). One hour commute, I have a 10 second commute, so should you if it what you like. Love to travel, get good and teach workshops all about and get paid doing it. Love video games, design them. Love Rabbits, raise them, train 'em and take your show on the road. Whatever it is you will triumph whilst your fellows slog off to their 9 to 5 two week vacation whinny kids and nagging other 'cause they are miserable 'cause guess what so are you! I tell you, this is no way to live, you do this and you are in prison. Ever wonder why bureaucrats all seem miserable, they are.

There will be doubters, look at their safe puny lives, do you take advice from a vagrant on real estate, no I thought not. All the unhappiness and judgment in the world is all bourn from the misery of others in the midst of their pity parties, don’t join in. Refuse to participate, you are an adult, you make the rules.

DON”T BE A SLOG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Remember, money is not everything (sure is a nice lubricant though); Money will follow if you lead and allow yourself to be successful. To some this may seem naive, however this has created for me as wonderful and as perfect a life as anyone could possibly deserve.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

How to price commision work

How much should you charge for a commission? You are not sure, you have a dilemma, from a marketing perspective you want to be able to "close" the sale at all times, especially at that critical point when having your commission meeting. On the other hand you don't want to either screw yourself or your patron; you must be fair to both. I have word...


Easily said, right?

So let's discuss how you get it. Obviously experience helps, lots of artist clearly have it yet still have a very difficult time with this. I'd say it's mind frame, it is how you see your work. I would venture to say you when looking at your work you see lovely incredibly beautiful finished art object. I see time. Let's look at this through my marketing guy's / painters eyes. I am a proponent of sq inch pricing, this is exactly how I price my work. I to do commissions, I charge a slight premium, but for me it usually goes something like this, "could you do this pose and with that one but in these colors cause it will match my stuff better". Hardly high brow, I just think: a) will I enjoy this (meaning do I like it, maybe I'll do 2), b) how demanding are these pose(s) going to be, c) if I made this without parameters, what would I have charged? d) how do I get on with the commissioners (exactly how demanding, difficult, fun or interesting is the patron), e) is there a particular deadline I'll need to meet? This may sound complicated, but really it is so simple, it is practically automatic. So let's do some math:

Base price per sq. inch: $2.00

a) will I enjoy this (price up per pain level) answer, not going to love this…………1.00

b) how hard is this (number of long horns) answer, lots of longhorns 1.50

c) this is the base price so lets leave this with the starting $2.00 n/a

d) These are folks who are past patrons; I really like them, soooo -1.00

e) he almost forgot their anniversary, so he needs it NOW (said I liked ‘em, didn’t say he was smart) 1.00

Price per inch =5.50

Will this exact system work for you, probably not, but you could base yours on the stuff that makes you tick and the stuff that winds your clock a bit too tight.

I hope this helps,

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Cost Of Being an Artist

Excerpt from an arts forum, this question was asked:

What does it cost to be an artist?

I am blown away that anyone even tried to answer this. This question is akin to what does it cost to live, or how much does a car cost. If I drive a Honda Civic and you drive a Hummer H-2 how is the answer correlative?

This is a question that only you can answer. You add all the material cost, studio cost (if in your home divide the sq. footage of your home by the footprint sq. footage of you studio and include that portion of your utilities), the cost of your time (what could you do to earn instead) and the employment cost of these funds (what could have been earned by employing these funds else where) and then you have your answer.

Really though who amongst us creates for the money?

I would work at Mickey D’s flipping burgers hopefully working up to French fry manager in order to afford my supplies. I consider myself truly blessed and supremely lucky to find myself making a living as a painter!

Let me add this; it’s extremely hard work. Lest anyone think it’s easy, I work 60-80 hours a week. I love it but it’s not easy. I’m not complaining just pointing this out. I usually get up at 4:30 and that’s AM. I work then rarely don’t have a lunch to promote my work, then I come back and work some more, then I write and work the phones, always pushing, I go on gallery tours and I am constantly traveling all in the name of work. I go to openings of friend’s art; I work with arts foundations and civic groups. I write for arts sections and contribute time, my work and money to various causes all to keep myself in front of folks for the sake of my stuff. There’s always a fund raiser or auction or arts community meeting to occupy my evenings. Sometimes I don’t get home till well past midnight. And my God I love it! But it is hard work. This takes dedication and the thick skin and guts to take all the critic, frustration and rejection that go with it. Just this morning I got an email that states “you are a joke”, I have had mail saying “your work is a disgrace, so are you and I hope you die slowly and in immense pain”. Yet I happily accept that some or most people won’t like my work, and I continue to toil away. It is so easy to be crushed and just give up. I have other business interest; they make me money, which is the goal. I don’t need this for the money, I need it for life, and without it I would be empty! I would be a dead vessel, floating without anchor, without destination. Painting for me is as natural as breathing. I don’t do this for money, I don’t do it for creations sake, I don’t do it for a living, I do it for fulfillment and balance, and this is the meaning of my life.

I am sorry to be so melodramatic, but I am being honest. If I were to never sell another work I still would work. Really though isn’t this true of all of us?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Latest Press

Photo by Dante Fontana
The Arts

From the December 2008 issue

Master of Acrylics
Jerry Lipp

by LeeAnn Dickson

The ancient Roman philosopher Cicero once said, “The most valuable of arts, is the art of living.” That is the best way to explain how Rocklin artist Jerry Lipp enjoys his life – he lives it to its fullest. “I am truly blessed to be able to make my living doing what I love,” Lipp says.

Between being a CEO of a local multi media advertising firm and putting in more than 60 hours a week painting, he shows an obsession for creating. “Even if I didn’t make good money in my profession,” Jerry says, “I’d be working at McDonald’s to buy materials to paint.”

He studied under and has been influenced by many local and international artists. However, he credits his grandmothers, both accomplished painters, for teaching him the basics and seeding his passion. “They tried teaching me to paint with oils,” Lipp recalls. “What six year-old kid can wait for oils to dry?” They both switched to quick drying acrylics as their media and so did Jerry. “Once they starting using acrylics,” he confesses, “I used to ‘borrow’ their supplies.”

In his painting he works with texture and lots of color. He aspires to paint women in abstract without offending or objecting them. “The female form is the essence of the piece,” Lipp says, “not the object.” His inspired process to complete each painting takes about three to four weeks. “To me, painting is like breathing…I spend most of my time painting.” And, after spending the better part of a month completing pieces of his work, according to Lipp it is hard to part with them. “To me,” Lipp admits, “selling a painting is like selling my kid.”

His personal vision, seen in his work, conveys a specific emotion of each of his subjects. He is quick to categorize himself as a painter and not an artist. “I am a painter of paintings,” he explains, “I’m not in a position to criticize my own work…that’s up to the viewer.”

This creative, dynamic man is also humble. As an accomplished businessman in all his endeavors, he knows the importance of surrounding himself with good people. “We are here for each other,” Lipp says. “Everyone in my life leaves me a better person.”

Part of Kallie Cabrera’s job as an executive administrator working for Jerry Lipp is to make sure he has everything he needs to give him more time to paint. “It’s been an incredible experience learning and growing both with him and in the art,” Cabrera says. “His work is tremendous and I love being part of his creative process.”

Noel Flynn, fellow artist and owner of Noel Flynn Gallery, works with Lipp to transform loose canvases into framed gallery-wrapped works of art. “Jerry’s depiction of the female,” Flynn says, “skillfully blends the outer fringes of reality together with the rudimentary abstraction of color and form.”

Lipp works hard creating everyday. He believes that your mindset drives you. “It is up to you,” he says, “if you are successful or not.”

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Is digitally created art ART?

Is digitally created art ART?

Let me share my experience from one of my many career paths outside the world of fine art.

As a young man, really a boy of just eight, I sold my first work of "fine art". It was a wire sculpture called "Man Pushing a Rock". The title is self explanatory, it was about 6" tall and no I did not sculpt the rock. I sold it for $9, a real boon for an eight year old then earning (yes earning) $1.25 a week allowance. I went on to sell dozens of these. So let me fast forward to when I was 13. My father had a good friend who was an architect and he hired and trained me to be a Draftsman. By the time I was 14 I was a competent Draftsman (latter to be called Draftsperson). I went on to do well as a sculptor and I continued as a Home Designer and Landscape Designer of the homes I designed as well. I found the idea of taking a weed infested lot and transforming it into a home to be a very large extension of sculpture. Needless to say I found myself in an extremely fulfilling professional life.

Then it happened. CAD was invented. Here's a fact that most people are unaware of, the motivation behind CAD's introduction into everyday design was not ease or speed of use, It is NOT faster and certainly not easier. The purpose was archival. Imagine after a thirty year career as a designer the sheer amount of space consumed just storing past work. Well needless to say, CAD became the standard. It got to the point that if you didn't work in CAD you were out of the loop. The Surveyors plot came over in CAD; the Structural Engineer required the output to be in CAD. So here I am stuck in the middle of the two without the needed training to continue doing something I truly love. It was to the point if you did not design in CAD you did not design at all.

I fought the change for about a year. I tried but found a lack of ability to see the whole on one small screen. A good friend, a Custom Home Builder kind of wrapped into a nutshell. “You are going to learn CAD and that’s that, because you need to keep designing and to keep designing you must learn CAD”. So over that long and cold winter I dove in and came out as a pretty damn good CAD designer. YIPPIE! Did it save time and was it easier, hell yes: especially with revisions, I also found that I could take all my notes and copy and paste them; actually I could go on and on, once competent, the number of things I found to make it easier, faster, more accurate and easier to archive and reference abound!

So back to the original question:

Is digitally created art ART?


Is a digitally designed Home and Landscape still a home and landscape.

OF COURSE it is!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Artist: How do you go professional

This is exactly how I would suggest you start. Join a local arts group, enter some juried competitions, and get ready for feedback. This will give you a feel for how your work will be received. People may react in an incredibly favorable way and then presto changoo you are a practicing professional artist!

Soooo, now for some reality. Speaking from my stand-point, I am very pleased to find myself in a venue where perhaps ten percent of folks find my work interesting. Out of those perhaps ten percent will like and can afford to purchase my stuff. This means that one percent of folks will find themselves and my work in a position to purchase. Some of the potential patrons will be interested but for one reason or another will not be in a position to purchase. For these folks create a way to follow your work. Start an email list, do a web site, in short, stay in touch. I have found eventually a good number of these folks will become patrons. So let’s do a little math. You do a small art show, and the stars align and you have found yourself in a great venue. Five hundred folks come through. Using the above numbers, 5 people love and want to purchase your stuff, but sixty percent of these folks can't buy today. This means forty percent are going to purchase. This equates to two sales. Not shabby. You also have a mailing list, three of these folks wanted to buy, but could not. They follow you and in the future, one of these folks buy, this makes three sales. Of course the two who purchased your work are also following you through your "reminders to check your new works" e-blast. One of these folks just saw something there that would look great in the den, you know by that ugly easy chair. Now this is four sales. Boy, this is getting good. I could go on and on, this stuff actually works. Get a load of this. I did a show about six months back. I couple walks up and tells me his brother is building a new home and he would love my work. I thank him and give him a card. Two weeks back I get an email asking me about my work. The inquirer sent his phone number and address. I could not believe it, but this gentleman lives on the same street as me. He is interested, either way; this is another opportunity that came simply by being out there.

My sister and closest friend hate my work!

Please remember, most people will NOT like your work!
This includes those closest to you. This, if you think about it is a great thing! Doing something that is all your own and is special to you, where others close to you inputs are not helpful makes this all your own; also, you end up not having to give that much stuff away!

Congrats on your future prospects and GREAT LUCK.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Maintaining profits and sales in this economy

Here's something interesting-
I actually added an entire new size of works to my portfolio in the past few months, here's why:

In the past my work was pretty much on the large to really really large sizes, I started doing some smaller works just so I could add a lower price line to my offerings. I did this at the request and under advice from three different gallery owners and managers. My concern was that I obviously have to charge some serious scratch for my big stuff. So I thought it may be a good idea to offer prints (giclee) to my offerings to offer a lower price point of entry for my work. All these folks told me considering that I am fairly prolific that at this stage in my career they felt adding prints may devalue my originals. They suggested I offer smaller works, so this is exactly what I have done.

Yesterday I did my first show with the smaller works. I was blown away by the interest and sales of these smaller works. I price by the square inch and by doing this I was able to get some pricing below $250 on the smaller stuff. I also did them as mini-series so folks can buy one and add as they collect other originals in the same series or just get one and still have it be a finished piece in and of it's self. In this economy and feel this will increase my sales and bottom line across my works platform. This creates a patron relationship and opens possible future purchases.

I actually spend about the same time, perhaps even slightly less per inch on the smaller stuff; this really could be great on every level.

By the way, I have decided never to do prints!

Pricing and negotiated price

I price by the sq. in., and this is my base and I will not go below it. I confess however that I do add a premium to a large majority of my works. If I feel the piece is really strong I'll add a substantial premium and if less strong then less premium. If the piece is average then no premium, and if the piece is less then average I paint over it. If the piece sits and doesn't sell for several months I may cut the premium. If an average piece sits for months then I maintain my pricing because it will sell ( eventually) I've seen it over and over.


I have a responsibility to my work, patrons and galleries to MAITAIN THE PRICE. I owe this to them.

Second, I raise my price. Every few years, I raise my pricing about 8-12%. Let me disclaim that I was supposed to do this this year, but who am I kidding in this economy? Normally I would have and here's why. Prices go up and probably more important this will eventually mean a substanial increase in my income.

I understand that I find myself in a different point and position in my career. The advice I am giving is from my perspective and obviously does not apply to everyone. I studied under several excellent artist, this was the advice imparted from one of them. I took his advice because I respected his career life's approach.

One thing though I can say without doubt...


It's the economy stupid

You know I wasn't gonna say anything here earlier but I changed my mind. So much of the economy, about 70%, is consumer perspective, in fact there is a major indicator called the consumer confidence index. When ever I read or hear how bad thingsare I wonder why there is no seller price index. So with this in mind and only as an illustration let me tell you a little diddy.

I met someone at an art show that was sponsored by a local publisher at an upscale shopping center three weeks ago. I did not call him the next week because I was getting ready for what has been a great fine art show in the past. This show cost $675 to get into, however my expectation was to sell around 9k. I sold $1500, no one out of the several dozen of the 275 artist present that I spoke with had anything worth bragging about. In fact by Friday night pretty much everyone had a long face. Here's the key, Friday was the first day. No wonder we all did terribly, we wrote the show off the first 6 hours.

So why did I bring up the first show which cost nothing but a couple gallons of gas and an afternoon?

No one had told me how bad my sales would be because of the economy at this show. I had the right attitude. I did better in 6 hours at the first show then 27 hours at a real show with track record. I called the guy that I met there this morning, I just got back and I'm short two of my kids (paintings), however I do have a great attitude, an attitude that has sold $4275. I believe if we keep plugging we will make it through this much better then if we don't!

Networking and gallery success

There are many ways to approach a gallery, there is something I've learned and I feel the most important point:


It's not what you know it's who you know. I am constantly talking with folks about their most exciting and interesting topic, THEM. Somewhere in there we always get around to my stuff. Meet people at the coffee shop, car wash and gym, people are interested and curious about art and artist. Try to get to know folks in the newspaper and magazine business. Yesterday I dropped a piece into a competition, I also met with a gallery owner who scheduled hanging my stuff and then I had lunch with the magazine publisher who knows both the decision makers involved and was instrumental in getting both things done. Get to know folks who know folks. Don't be difficult or more odd then is comfortable. We seem to develop a shtick regarding this, drop it; no one wants to deal with a freak.

Also be persistent.

Winston Churchill, a voluminous speaker, was once asked to give the commencement speech at his Alma matter. As everyone sat waiting for his long oratory he approached the lectern and delivered this entire speech:
Never, never, never quit!

How to maximize profits and how pricing effects this

In a capitalist society business run on many principals. One of these principals, which I've addressed in the past is pricing tolerance. This is a post from a previous thread regarding this:

I believe I used the term "pricing tolerance" let me expand by posting a portion of an article regarding this:

Random Price Testing
One basic technique to determine the Indifference Band for any give product is to quote a higher
price – e.g. $110 for any given $100 “widget” – every 20th visitor to your site (AKA randomly), and
then to compare purchase rates. If you find an increasing tolerance for the price at the high end
of the Indifference Band, you should probably consider raising the price.
Note, however, that the purpose of this exercise is to test, to gather information . . . not revenue.
In order to avoid possible negative publicity (AKA what happened to Victoria’s Secret when they
were pricing products differently to the same audience), you may wish to consider refunding the
difference as soon as the purchase order is completed by adjusting the invoice or sending a
follow-up email. “As a special customer, the $110 widget you just purchased is now only $100.
It’s our way of thanking you for your business . . . .”
Once the pricing tolerance has been identified, the price on the “widget” should be adjusted to
$110 across the board.

What I refer to is not over or under pricing. It is correct pricing. If I walk into a gallery and they are priced to the down side of my pricing this speaks to their patrons not my work. On the other hand same gallery with high side pricing may mean your work is not appropriate to hang there.

So, how to find your market position in terms of pricing:

Find what people will pay per inch x complexity of your work based solely on your market experience. Then using this simple matrix establish CONSISTENT pricing and stick to it! (I find this easy, I just look at what folks have said yes compared to no over a time period in the region I'm in) I know it sounds difficult, but look at it on the face of the issue, It Is Not. You know what people have paid in the past.

Now for the most important part. Adjust. Increase your matrix when demand calls for it, and discount as the unthinkable happens and demand diminishes and if you must sell.

How to approach a gallery

Re: Approaching a Gallery

This is the $64,000 question.

I have not done this in awhile until recently, I contacted the owner and ended up with a show and 6 month rep agreement. This recent experience differs from my past attempts so let me let me start there.

What I used to do 15 years ago:
I would go to the galleries, look around at the place as a potential patron, enjoyed the art, sometimes actually acquiring something, spoke with the staff and looked for a fit.
Does this galleries art price in my market?
Does this galleries art align with my art's style?
Does this galleries style align with my market?
Does this gallery do openings, are they promoting a mailing list?
Does this galleries staff know what the hell they are doing?
If I liked what I see, I ask when the curator / manager / owner is available to talk (assuming she isn't there). I come back (if needed) and explain how I feel about their gallery, their staff, their marketing efforts and if I purchased something, I'd certainly let that be known. I then asked PERMISSION to show them my portfolio / work as I explain my success in the past. Before I had a gallery experience to refer to I would talk about the pieces I've sold to folks who are not family and friends. By doing this the gallery rep knows I've invested time and thought into this discourse, which in turn makes them feel they ought to give me a bit of their time. Assuming the decision maker agrees we align we negotiate an agreement.

The difference today:
I know more people. There is a very affluent area in this region. I have sold several works to people who live there. In this area there are two galleries both owned by the same folks. I know a guy who is friends with the owners and is a patron of these galleries. So I checked out his web site, found some of the answers to the above questions. I called and spoke to a staff member at the gallery, got the price point answered. I mentioned that I share a friend with the owner and asked when he might be available. I called back then, spoke to the owner, we spoke about our friend and how he's doing. My intention was to set a time to meet him and duplicate the above approach. Instead he turned the conversation asking if I was an artist. He asked for my URL and looked while we are the phone. He asked me to bring some stuff up. I did and we signed an agreement a week latter after a bit of negotiating. I am convinced from other artist I know that he never would have looked at my stuff without me knowing someone he knows and respects. It was not what I know but instead as the old maxim states; who I know.

Does all this mean that to get into a gallery you must coincidently know a friend of the decision maker? NO, but it certainly does not hurt. For me it's all been networking. I could not count the number of times it's my phone ringing and NOT me dialing, all because of networking. So if I were starting out, I would do the first and continuing doing the second. People love to help, so ask.

Do you view limited editions as legitimate art product?

Do you view limited editions as legitimate art product?

Yikes - what a great question!
Is a reproduction art?
The original hand produced object is art; an artist put hand to brush, chisel, mouse (?), knife, Gatorade bottle or whatever and made something. It is unique and can never be hand replicated again. In other words there is only one. Now the image is photographed, then a print is made on some sort of support. Now we must ask is photography art? If we say yes then obviously the piece is now a photograph that is an object of art. I believe certain photographs are art, based on composition, subject, quality, production, timing and if needed certain enhancements. Following this line of reasoning, if the subject is art, the composition is the art, the uniqueness is art, timing is not an issue, and the color is correct; then it is left to quality (archival) and production. If the output is of "permanent" quality and the production is limited then it's art. If you over produce the object (posters) it becomes a commodity and is NOT art.

As a collector of objects of art I do not collect anything that is not original.
As a painter of original paintings I do not and will not allow my works to be printed. As both I do not criticize those who do, I feel it devalues ones body of work by making them widely available. From a marketing guys point of view I realize lots of folks can't pay me several hundreds or thousands of dollars to buy one of my originals. My solution (recent) as suggested by a couple of gallery owners who have encouraged me not to change the above policy I am now making some much smaller pieces; they start at $350.00. I understand that some folks can't afford this; I also accept that some folks are not in my marketplace.

Artist: How to value your work

A pieces value depends on the potential patron's willingness to purchase at the price offered. The price should not change dependent on your cost. Its value is NOT attached to the cost of production. Any article offered into a market is subject to a market force called "pricing tolerance". Price tolerance is actually more art then science. Some articles sell better, much better because of another market force called "perceived value". This is why a purse with the right label can be priced at $1000 while an extremely similar article can't be sold at $100. All articles in the market are commodities. The value of a commodity is based on supply and demand. If you sell corn, the value of corn is based on how badly the market demands it and how much supply is available.

Now let's try to nutshell this:
Your art is not widely available, which is good if this article is in demand. You then must move to price tolerance which is where percieved value rears its confusing head. If you under price your work, people will assume it's not worth much and then choose not to buy. The best way to achieve another market force called "price equilibrium" is to enter the market place and go on a price discovery mission. A mission, isn't this getting exciting? Simply put, you shop the market, find similar works and price your stuff competitively.

Here is where the nut takes root:
So now, with out caring about price of production, you have gone on your price discovery mission and you now know how the market values your work (pricing tolerance). From this you have now understood the perceived value of your work and you have your price point discovered of your work. Now with this you take a look at your cost of production. Now you have your profit margin. then you ask; "is this enough for this to be a worthwhile proposition?".

Now you have a formula, my work is worth xxx per square inch, and you sell (hopefully) consistently at this price.

Probably more info then you need, but I did my best.

Another way to look at galleries

In a forum I participate in I answered this question, "Do we need galleries anymore?":

I will admit I am fairly prolific, lucky I suppose that I can devote a lot of time to my work. With this in mind I understand this advice is not applicable to artists who are not able or willing to do several works a month (so disclaimed).

In terms of marketing my stuff, I look at galleries as partners in two ways. First they are outlets for my work, and contrary to other posts I do fairly well at gallery. Second they are great exposure, if you search Google with my name my site pops up first and the next several listings are web sites I show my work on. When someone contacts me through my site I ask where did you here about me, if they say through this or that gallery I pay them their commission. I maintain my pricing on my site. Most the traffic I get comes from one of two marketing methods, Galleries and shows. Yes I get referrals from past patrons but my goal is not to maintain but instead to grow my market.

In other words, galleries are indispensable.

Best strategy to sell work in this economic enviroment

Art work is about feeling. Feeling good and loving what you will enjoy on an ongoing basis. Most people purchase things that fit into one of two categories:

They buy things to remember, experiences (trips, vacations etc.)
They buy objects

As a rule they will value one over the other and concentrate most of their disposable income on this. Of course as the economic situation is now, the disposable portion of ones income is a major problem. However the beauty of artwork (pun intended) is that it extends over both spheres of experience and object. Art is an object that one experiences.

This said, yes people will not pay for work as they did before, but as I've said numerous times, we must "hold thy price". I do not do prints. I have though been making much smaller pieces with the obvious price point reduction.

Credit card processing- sales up?

I was at an art festival last month, I sold 3 pieces for a total of $2400. I am positive I could of sold 2 more for perhaps another $1800 if I could process credit cards. The next Monday I contacted a merchant service company and set-up my wireless account. I would not recommend the company that I went through (had problems with the terminal and the customer service sucked).

My next show is in two weeks and I will let you know how sales go. I normally sell through galleries but sales have slowed, so I am going to do more shows. It seems that folks don't carry checkbooks anymore, that's why I am going to start taking cards. Here's the deal though, these processors are snakes!

Ask merchants you know LOCALLY who does their processing, who's happy and who's not. Ask to see their statements. Find three different processors and get them bidding each other down. Last month I sold $11,747 in credit card transactions for my marketing company, My deductions were $388, that's $4656 in yearly fees if this were my average. At nearly $5000 a year, year in and year out, this is a major purchasing decision for me. I got pricing for the terminal alone between $1200-200 with monthly fees at between $42-0. I ended up with the $200 terminal and $20 monthly with an effective rate of 3.2%. These are the fees that you need to negotiate. One other thing, DO NOT SIGN A LONG TERM CONTRACT (I signed no contract), if they give you effective customer service, why would they require one? Pit each one against the other and watch them race to the bottom in terms of fees!

These folk's are snakes. let the buyer (you) beware!