What is the elephant in the room - generally this refers to something everyone knows is a problem and yet no one is talking about it.? Which one, would be my first question?
So the Elephant I want to talk about today it is one that so many artists avoid like the plague. It can be summed up in a single word, SELLING.
Many artists see/ feel that selling is a dirty word. We are "artists" not salespeople, they will tell you - RIGHT - WRONG!! Isn't it compromising our integrity as artists to go out and sell our work?
And artists have a double problem compared with other people when it comes to selling their work.
The first of these is the same as everyone else's and that is - FEAR - of rejection - which is at the bottom of it. However, add to this, vulnerability, as this is for artists an even deeper fear they have to overcome. You see, when you paint a picture and send it out there into the world it is like letting go of a piece of yourself. That makes us feel very vulnerable.
The ordinary salesperson may have a fear of rejection but if he is only selling widgets that someone else invented, he doesn't have a vested interest in the widgets. They don't have a real meaning in his life.
However, as soon as I am offering something I have created, I've entered a whole different ball game. Now it's deeply personal, the greater the struggle I've had to produce that piece and the degree of success I feel I've achieved, the more emotional investment I have in it, and of course up go the vulnerability levels.
So what does this all mean?
If you want to sell your work, there are some mindset markers you want to look at having - Here are some questions to ask yourself:
1. Why am I making the kind of art that I amm aking?
2. Do I have a longer term vision for my art practice?
3. Do I really want to sell my art?
4. Even if I do want to sell it am I really ready to sell?
5. Have I researched into what it will take to get people in front of my art so they have teh opportunity to like it and buy it?
How do I knowwhen I'll be ready? I feel like I am, you might say. You may have even sold paintings to family and friends already, however if you want to take the next step - there are a lot of things that need to be put in place eventually.
An important question is - do you realise that by selling work in a more serious way, the artist, that is you, will be starting a small business? Most of us probably fell into it by default, by a very haphazard and somewhat circuitous route.
Becoming a professional artist is a long haul business.
NEXT WEEK: What Important Lesson Does Van Gogh Have To Teach Us about selling our work?