Friday, 2 April 2010

Thoughts on selling work.

I don't know if any of you out there who follow or just pass through my blog have a perspective on selling work especially original prints. The whole process puzzles me enormously. Some of my prints sell well in one place and gather dust in another. There appears to be no rhyme or reason behind it that I can discern. I don't know if it is price, the image itself or what is it that speaks to one person and not another. From my observations it does seem that in this area at any rate people like something recognisable, dare I say formulaic?

Trouble is I don't like to be pigeon holed. I like to experiment, try different things, learn and expand my practice. I would love to do more abstract work but the reality is I need to sell enough to be viable and abstract rarely sells, not here at any rate.

One could say it is simply down to economics and right now people are being more careful with how they splash their cash. Possibly ... but work is selling ... it's just figuring out what is and what isn't!

Here is my dilemma. Today for example, I spent some really enjoyable time in the new Great North Museum that has a fantastic section on Hadrian's Wall which is only just up the road from me. I saw some beautiful pieces found along the wall that I would love to use as inspiration for a new body of work. My approach to landscape is semi abstract with archaeological reference within the image to the area rather than a recognisable scene/view. But that isn't what the majority people appear to want. They want to be able to say that's Housesteads or Carrawburgh or Steelrigg. I just can't do that. I've tried and it looks contrived and IT DOES NOT sell because somehow it comes through that my heart just isn't in it.

Do I live in the wrong part of the country maybe? Are art lovers in some of the bigger metropolitan areas - London, Edinburgh, Glasgow more open to a different perspective? Is it that most people live in traditionally built houses and they aren't very adventurous in their choices? Or is the bottom line simply that my work is only ever going to have a limited appeal? If any of you have any ideas I'd love to hear them.


Printed Material said...


Although I am a 'follower' I do not leave comments that often. I think that's because I am a novice printmaker and I feel a bit intimidated about leaving comments for a professional artist but this post of yours is very heartfelt and it deserves a response.

I think you're wrestling with the eternal dilemma. Do you make what you want to make or what people will buy? All too often I see artists whose work as not evolved. They've found a little comfortable niche and they're going to stay there come what may. If you want to create I think you have to take risks some times and the Hadrian's Wall idea sounds like something you should go for. You'll never know if it's going to sell unless you do and it might not be your work that's out of kilter. Perhaps it's the medium you're using to sell them in? What about trying another way?
Reading this back I realise I have not said anything coherent really.Sorry! In a nutshell I'm saying create what you want and find the buyer for that through the right channel rather than find the buyers and make what they want!

Susan Erickson said...

selling art is tough...people respond to different things in different places but they always respond to colour. In their homes they want something that livens up their space.

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