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Friday, November 30, 2012

What sells, what has sold, what do I want to sell?

 I knew these were going to sell well, because they were such a pain in the ass to make, haha! also they are inexpensive. I only have three left. I'm debating whether I should break out the clay next week and try to bust out some more or just do it later after the tour. If I make more, they will stop selling, if I don't make them, everyone is going to ask for them......aggghhhhhh......
 I do have these lovely barns all waiting to go home with someone this weekend. Starting at $150, the ones with found objects are $325, however no one seems to have any money these days.... sigh..... but after looking at some of the art at Frank last night selling for $3000-$5000 and up, I am done making apologies for my prices. My prices are fair and a bargain compared to some of the work I saw last night!
 I have about 25 stars left, I've been mailing them out all week. No doubts about them selling each year.

The reception at Frank last night was a lot of fun, nice to see all of you that came out on a very cold evening. I have found my calling. I was bartender and it seems that it suits me very well :) we had Carolina Brewery beers, yum, and I did have my share of it while pouring wine and beer for others. Quite honestly it seemed to me to be a gathering of artists that were squeezing in a tiny bit of fun and good food before going home to finish last minute details in their studios. Not a lot of the buying public came out as far as I could tell. Guess they were all over at Best Buy getting the latest greatest electronic bullshit. This selling of art is truly baffling this year. I have had conversations with gallery owners and artists all week about the business of art and it seems that we need to be cultivating a new buying public. But how is the big question. I'm not being mean here towards old folks, because I am getting to be one of them, but the Friday night reception at the CDCG show was packed with very old folks, and 99% of them were white. They were using walkers, carrying their oxygen bottles, some in wheelchairs. I mean, good for them for getting out on a cold winter night, I don't even do that unless I am forced into it, but where are they going to put more art in their retirement villages? Where was the diversity in this show, I saw very few people of other races, just a bunch of white people. Where were the young art buyers? Where was the ethnicity? Last night, same thing, I met two very cool African American men and maybe three people under the age of 40, then talked to a bunch of white artists my age or older..... what up? There were a number of folks with same sex partners, so at least there was a little diversity represented in the crowd. But still, I have been around A LOT of white people over the age of 50 this month! I'm ready for some international travel at this point!
I was talking to one artist last night about how we should be attracting the young tech people in this area, there are so many of them, thirty somethings, buying new homes, surely they need art.
I asked Wesley this morning, if she just bought a new house and had the means to fill it with great art, what would she do? Her reply was, that she would like to commission artists to make personal pieces for her. She recently did just that. There is a  young artist that takes requests for art on her website and Wesley asked her for a charcoal drawing of a vietnam soldier. The artist did one for her, it was amazing and it was $25.
Wesley also talked about how so many of her friends have been influenced by Apple, the streamlined look of the product and the stores and that many in her generation were attracted to that minimalist look.  Thankfully, she added that some of the new pieces that I am working on had that minimalist look that she is attracted to.
I have been making work that speaks to me and things from my childhood and that's fine, I have an audience for that. But I wonder, if I want to attract a younger customer, and grow my art "business", should I consider making work that attracts that customer and will I still be true to myself as an artist and not crossing the line into making work solely to make more money. There is a fine line there, art from your soul, art for making money.
I think for now, I will continue to explore things that interest me, make things I want to make, and if you find me and you like what I like, that is super cool! I figure since I am extremely immature, that a young audience should be able to relate to my work as easily as an older audience. It's just getting them to find me that is the thing I'm figuring out. Well, I have sat here and drank a pot of coffee while talking to you, so time to get going. Weaving today, I finished one scarf yesterday and hope to finish another today. I''l just leave you with this to ponder:

My friend Shannon left a post on Laura's blog the other day with these words:


What do I really, really, really want? What are my mantras? (the things you hear yourself say ALL the time in your head, good and bad) What are my happiest moments?
I have been thinking about this all week, good questions to ask yourself. After this weekend maybe I will write a post about this.......

And another thing:
I just sat down and chatted some more with Wesley, my art barometer. I asked her where she would go to buy art. Answer: the internet. She said when she goes with me into art galleries, she sees the same thing over and over and none of it interests her. When she is looking for art, she looks to online art communities like Tumblr, which I have started doing and love. She looks for artists she likes online. Scary isn't it?  My conversation with an almost twenty year old this morning is opening my eyes to how I need to start looking at doing business in the future. No outdoor shows for me next year, maybe one indoor show, and my studio tour. Then I am going to step up my online presence, work with the galleries who are treating me well, and see what happens. Or I am just going to sit at my loom and weave and watch the world pass by, haha!

9 comments:

Sandy miller said...

I am so there! I am sitting at show with over 400 artists ..... The place is packed and as predicted the freaky hats are going like hot cakes! I have not made $50 yet. Yup, know I have beautiful "stuff", thanks for telling me!
You are so right about tumbler and online! Wes is brilliant, listen to her!!
I too will do one show next year and a studio sale. Need time to dance with chickens and figure out online visibility.
One other thought..... I spend a ton on show expenses, thinking I might take the same amount of money and take a full page ad out in a collectors or fine craft magazine. Maybe split it with one of my galleries. Dunno yet but know I am not doing this again....

JUDI TAVILL said...

Demographics... Very interesting... I buy a lot of stuff on line... including ceramics...Hmmm..are people like me??? I felt original... Need a new site maybe... any good site suggestions to sell art? Ceramics, etc? Etsy is good but... over crowded with...shlock maybe... Oh and buy the way... I bought a loom about 2 weeks ago... started to use it today!!!!!!!!! Small steps...

Tracey Broome said...

Sandy I love the idea of an ad, money much better spent than traveling to non profitable shows. I know that $50 show sale all too well :(
Judi, a LOOM! go Girl! Aren't they wonderful!? Talk about stress reduction! And yes, I am sort of over Etsy, I think tumblr and website sales and like Sandy said, advertising...

JUDI TAVILL said...

and then i sold a piece on etsy tonite...

Amy said...

your wonderful daughter is onto something. i have sold almost all of my pottery via friends on Facebook... and they pass on word via online and then I get more inquiries. it's fascinating. not one show this year; of course, I'm not making the same amount of pottery you're making but next year I will have to begin to make pottery earlier for christmas..... one artist colleague today said start in July ! ugh.

Tracey Broome said...

Yeah, Judi, you just never know!
Amy, I started in August, of course I am a very slow potter, but it took that long and still I need to make more!

angela walford said...

sounds like a good decision trace, having said that markets this time of year are usually worthwhile.. hope you are weaving up a storm this wkd :))

Melissa Rohrer said...

I just read this after writing about a very disappointing show I was in recently. I appreciate Wesleys input.

Scott Garrett said...

Hey Tracey, just got around to reading these posts. Definitely need to keep it out there in the inter-ether, you just might have to go ...shhhh...."fb". I can see how it works for people. Also you have a nice patch out there by your studio, you have a daughter that creates music... young folk like a cultural mix... how about a little live music and a sale, get the youngsters connecting with the clay. |I suspect those music lovers have soul and they just might connect and start a collection. Might be worth trying something like that. I like a little live music with my art, a little bit of an acoustic vibe.