Time Spent Notes
How artists invest their time is more important than they realize. I know many emerging artists who don’t think through their career goals carefully. I know this because I used to be one of those artists. Time is one of your best resources and believe me, before you know it you will be an old soul like me. Time becomes suddenly critical.
Emerging artists often tie themselves to wagons that aren’t really going anywhere. The wagon is all dressed up for the parade but it has no wheels. I know a few artists who are involved with coop galleries that simply don’t produce many sales. The galleries are poorly organized, open only a couple of days a week, have no marketing specialist or marketing budget. The big event for the year invites too many artists and they cheer about selling 14 paintings, out of 35 – 50 artists. Their sales run in the 100.00-300.00 range and artists are required to work there once a month with no pay as well as hanging fees. This is typical of many coop galleries who survive on free labor. Any time you have to “pay to play” you will have difficulties selling. There is no incentive for the gallery to sell your work because they can make ends meet without many sales. There are successful coop galleries but they are fewer than the poor ones. Is the time investment worth making? Would you be better served by spending that investment in your own web site or an online shop? You decide.
What about paint outs? Are you selling enough to justify the enormous time and financial resources to succeed? These days they actually charge the artist to participate. A week away from your studio, framing, a week’s worth of paint and canvas. A party to decide who will go home with money or not. If you are selling well continue, but if you are not it is a huge time suck. Think like a business person, which you are. Telling yourself it is ok to do it because it is fun is not very smart business. Go out with your friends to paint for an afternoon if you just want to have fun.
Competitions and museum shows can be another iffy use of your time and money. They are indeed fun and if you need to build your resume they will give you filler for that. The prizes are few and usually handed out by university professors, who prefer contemporary, abstract art. You have fees for applying, fees for shipping to and fro, fees for professional quality framing. It is rare to sell and even rarer to win the prizes. Aside from resume building there is not a lot of advantage, but it is good for bragging rights.
Advertising can be good use of your time and resources, in fact it is the best of these ideas, but be smart about that too. Make sure that your work is ready for scrutiny. Have a substantial body of work that is consistent and thematic and that you have a consistent brand first. Have an online page for your portfolio (web site). Investigate the best advertising platform for your money. I have found social media to be effective, particularly Facebook, for boosting posts. I am all the social media platforms but Facebook is the most useful for me. Etsy is also a good platform for small works. Shopify is excellent as well.
Membership in art centers. I have gone this route, mostly to assist the center with donations and membership fees. They are a huge time suck, with little to show for it. The members who donate the most time reap the rewards. Most of the rest are treated marginally. I donated money to an art center and paid my membership each year for some years. Running two studios doesn’t leave me with free time to volunteer. I thought by donating money, that I was doing my part. I was informed that if I could not donate time, I would reap no rewards or hanging spaces. I left with a bad taste in my mouth.
Think about every idea carefully, try them for awhile but don’t stay with a platform unless it begins to generate consistent sales. Be smart about your time and resources and research first.
More musings for artists and collectors to come….
Prepare the day before
8 ounces fresh crabmeat, drained and flaked
2 tablespoons sliced green onions
1 (2-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise or salad dressing
1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch salt and white pepper to taste
1 green leaf lettuce for garnish
1 small bunch parsley for garnish
1 lime sliced for garnish
1 maraschino cherry for garnish
Press crabmeat between paper towels to absorb excess moisture. Combine crabmeat and green onions in a large bowl; set aside. Combine cream cheese and next 6 ingredients; add to crabmeat mixture, tossing to coat. Cover crabmeat mixture and chill 8 hours. To serve, mount crabmeat mixture on a small tray. Add green leaf, lime slice and cherry. Serve with assorted crackers.
Yield: 1+ cups