Seriously. I mean it. Why is it necessary to have money? Why can’t I just happily go off into the great wild, and do what I want, when I want? Why do I have to sell my art?
Some would say I don’t. But here’s the thing. Currently the only source of income that I have is teaching. Which I love. But it’s VERY part time, and only pays so much. So money is an issue. Paying bills can be an un-fun activity.
Which leads me to start thinking about selling my work. And I have a hard time with this – particularly the big mural guys, who are currently my obsession, and I don’t know how to part with them, especially since they are one-of-a-kind. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
So, in my logical mind, this leads me to thinking about selling some of my other prints. I’ve got crap-tons. Old work that just sits in the closet. New photos that I take for my own personal enjoyment that collect on my computer and turn into a time-suck in Lightroom. I like them, but they are incredibly unrelated to the murals. Things like pretty pictures of trees or architectural details or landscapes from vacations, like this…..
Here’s the issue. Is this a sell out? Am I pandering to the market? Am I dumbing down what I really want to do, just to get by? But what if I can’t do what I do because I don’t have enough money, so the only way to do the “real” work is to sell the more approachable stuff?
And you want to know what’s really embarrassing, or terrifying or just plain frustrating? I, on the sly, started an Etsy store to try this out – to see if I could even sell the prints that aren’t my “real” art but maybe still make some money on something that I truly love to do. Haven’t sold a blasted one. Not one. Not even an email. So apparently my “approachable” work is still not finding the right mark.
This all is coming spewing out of me right now because I was just reading an article on “Art in the Time of Austerity” by Ben Davis on artnet. The economy as a whole is so screwed up, and the art world is this lovely little microcosm of what’s going one in the big picture – the rich are doing just hunky-dorey and everyone else is holding on by the skin of their teeth. The stat that shook me to my soul was towards the end of the article. Of the approximate 80,000 artists that live in NYC or London, only 75 are “superstars”, and an additional 300 are successful. The rest? All 79,625 of them? They are not making a living wage with their art. Even if they are showing work in a gallery on a regular basis. How’s that for chilling?
It kinda put a dark mood on my day. So, now that I’ve vented all the bile in my spleen, I’m feeling a bit better, and will continue on with making my “real” art and hoping and praying that either our society fundamentally changes and good working people can live without worrying how they’ll pay their next bill, or I’ll become an art superstar and earn that 7-figure salary. That, or I’ll win the lottery.
Wish me luck.