Posted by: Cathy
on Aug 15, 2010
Tagged in: Untagged
I've had a really big realization. No, really, this is serious. ;-) I've met a whole bunch of new people recently and almost all of them have wanted me to do them a painting. Good for you I hear you say. But, the reason I mention is is that I did not even try to sell them a painting. I honestly never even mentioned it.
I have often said that to sell as an artist, you have to have face-to-face contact or have some kind of relationship with people. I've lived in a busy place where I exhibited a lot, held private shows and received many commissions. I didn't have to try hard, it just kind of happened. I thought it was coincidence, that maybe times were good and that maybe people were just trying to make me happy.
Then I moved to a very isolated place. My only contact with people was mostly online. My exhibitions stopped, I could no longer do private shows as there was no one to invite and my commissions dried up. This is also a very poor area with mainly agriculture. Very beautiful, a wonderful place for holidays but not great if you need to have a career.
Suddenly, out of the blue, I met a whole bunch of new people. Some in person and some online going way back in my past. I suddenly began to get commissions again and sold some paintings.
To further back up my theory, if you look at some famous artists and how they lived or live, you'll see there is much to this theory. Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Tracey Emmins were/are real social creatures. Andy Warhol spent most of his life partying. He was always out and people were strangely drawn to him because of his strange dress sense and peculiar manner. Tracey Emmins today is a total social butterfly.
What I've learned over the years is that selling art is as much about the personality of the artist as it is about the art. Andy Warhol, by his own admission said it was easy to copy pictures so why would he do something original since he was successful at copying. Personally, I would like to have a bi more integrity as an artist but you get my point. He was successful mainly because of his personality and because he was 'out' there.
I think it's so easy as an artist just to lock yourself in your studio and immerse yourself in your art and never come out. The key is that you have to be able to go to these extremes. You have to be able to lose yourself in your work, be solitary to think creatively but at other times, you have to be the total opposite and be out there and show yourself to the world.
This is clearly why so many famous artists lived or live in cities. Tucking yourself away in a rural part of the country is all well and good if you want to create but it's useless if you want to show off your work. Much as it pains some of us, it's the ability to show off that gets you noticed. It doesn't come easy to me. I'm always filled with self-doubt. If I want to sustain a life as a full time artist, I have to push myself in this direction and come out of my comfort zone.
It made me realize that if I lived in a more populated area, just sat in the local cafe drinking coffee all day and talking with people, I would sell paintings! I would not have to try, people would be naturally curious to know what I did just like the people that have just come into my life. How easy it is! Now I really can't wait to move!! Anyone want to buy a house in France? ;-)