Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Did you sell or are you giving art for Christmas?

This was the subject of a posting on Making a Mark. Katherine Tyrell the author of the blog carried out a poll to find out and you can see the results of her poll by following the link to it. How about you? If you're an artist would you say this was your experience?

I personally made notebooks from recycling old prints. I turned the offcuts into book marks and gift tags. I made christmas decorations from old blind embossed prints of hearts and birds and had my flower prints turned into printed cards and a couple of them made into giclee prints. The idea behind this effort was to have a broader price range from 50p upwards to my most expensive prints at £395.

The approach I took seems to be born out by the links from Katherine Tyrell's website to The Guardian Christmas Art Guide, The Royal Academy Gift Guide by Price and The Tate Modern and National Gallery's Christmas Cards by fine artists. In other words applying art in a decorative way to other items like T-shirts, mugs, fridge magnets, etc, or making things from art as I did.

So for me the question is, what does one actually means by 'Are you selling/giving art for Christmas?' For me the examples Katherine gives does not necessarily equate to giving original art for Christmas. Rather people are buying gifts that are art related and places like The Royal Academy are gearing up for this accordingly because that's where the market is?

I'd like to know how the questions in Katherine's poll were phrased. Was the distinction drawn between original art and applied art? I do think the results of the poll might be slightly different if that distinction was made.

Top sales in the studio were my cards, followed by my notebooks, then Christmas decorations and gift tags, very few bookmarks. I sold prints in other galleries not my own studio. As a general rule I find people only buy art for themselves at Christmas time rather than for others but I'd like to know what others experience is. And if you DO sell original art as Christmas gifts for others, is there a price ceiling on that?


Katherine Tyrrell said...

Hi Carol

Thanks for the link. The questions were as phrased in the poll which is still in the side column of my blog. They're very slightly paraphrased in the blog post about the results.

To be honest I wasn't drawing any distinction between types of art as I wasn't too sure how thie one would come out.

However I can say with some confidence that I will be running another poll next year asking people what are the different ways they are marketing their art!

I'd be very interested in seeing what comments you get and I'll be linking to this post in my first "who's made a mark this fortnight?" of 2011 (on 3rd January)

Katherine Tyrrell said...

PS - forgot to say - what a nice blog!

Susanne said...

Hi Carol,

I had an Open Studio the last two weekends in November, my first since moving to Toronto last year. Very few people actually came but those who did purchased.

I had cards and some small hand pulled prints, $4.00 - $30.00 but I didn't sell many of those at all which amazed me as I thought the smaller works would be popular.

I sold larger works, mainly hand pulled framed prints at around $300.00, and yes they were for the people themselves and not purchased to be given as gifts. My largest sale was a painting at $1195.00.

I wonder if I didn't sell many of the smaller works because I didn't present them as well or because people were focused on the larger works on the walls. I had the cards and mini prints on a small table in the studio and had even framed one of the $10.00 mini prints to show how good they looked framed up but only sold one or two of those plus the one that was framed.

I too would be interested in knowing how other artists got on.

Carol's Original Prints said...

HI Susanne
Isn't it strange how things go. A couple of years ago when we staged our first open studios at christmas I made a number of smaller lower priced prints, sold none of them in favour of the bigger more expensive framed prints. I sold them mostly to couples who came to buy a Christmas gift for themselves to each other.

I know Rebecca my business partner sold her work this Christmas from the studio but I seem to sell much better elsewhere. It is really difficult to know why that is. I can only surmise that the audience who come to our studio are not the audience my work sells to. They go elsewhere in search of my work. Or perhaps they don't go in search of it but stumble upon it in other galleries.

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