For me, making art has always been about love, and never about money, but sadly I’d fallen into a trap that many artists find themselves in – being afraid to want to make money from their art.
Goals for selling art
This year, I’m working hard at building up my art and writing to the point where I can make a small income from it, and eventually my goal is to become self-employed. To get to this point, I’ve got to try new things, whether they scare me or not. I tried one of those this week.
I’ve never been represented by a gallery, but I’ve had work in several shows. Today, I delivered some artwork to Cupola Contemporary Art in Sheffield for something I’ve never tried – not a show, but a sale.
The Under The Bed Sale has been taking place for years, and as owner points out, despite new sales in the same format popping up around the country, Cupola’s is the original… and best! The concept is simple: it’s not a selected gallery show, but a sale. A real, cut-price, clearance-type sale for art.
This is exciting for several reasons:
It gives artists a chance to move older work which may no longer fit their current practice;
It gives artists who may have less confidence a chance to show their work without fear of rejection;
It gives art lovers a chance to find pieces they may not normally be able to afford;
It brings new audiences into galleries;
It helps the gallery to find new artists to represent.
I’m sold on the concept!
I still have prints and drawings that no longer fit neatly into the paintings I’m making now, and would look odd crammed onto my website. Some of them are about a time in my life that I’ve moved on from. Some were simply experiments, sketches or life drawings.
Choosing whether to enter
The one caveat for a sale such as this would be that there is the worry that selling any work at drastically reduced prices could undermine the perception of your work’s value, but this possibility is something you’d have to weigh up against the pros. Even the gallery’s established artists take part, so for them, it doesn’t matter.
The fact is, artists carry on making work, but most of us become sentimentally attached to pieces that we’ve consciously moved on from. We don’t want to show them, but we don’t want to throw them away – wouldn’t it be better to sell them to fund new projects and know that someone appreciates them anew?
As I was cataloguing my entries I started to panic a bit… were my prices too high? Too low? Would this backfire as a result of either? Would it even be worth it – after all, I’d have to drive a long way there and a long way back to drop off my work, and collect whatever hadn’t sold.
Ultimately, the only way I could fail was by not even trying. This year, I’m tackling art sales head on, and trying every option is the way to go.
The Under The Bed Sale 2017 runs from January 10th to
I’ve decided to get prepared early for next year’s sale, and later in the year I’ll have a good look at my older work to see what I will say goodbye to. What do you think about this concept – have you tried it?
Would you have a rummage at a gallery clearance sale?