Monday, May 17, 2010

Licking My Wounds

I want to share the outcome of this weekend's art crawl. We had quite a few people each day - 200 plus. (Which I suppose is good for the building that I am in.) However, I only sold two small pieces. Which means that I and my family "worked" for 18 hours over the weekend, and I made $56. I admit, it is embarrassing to share this. However, I figure there are those of you out there that have found or will find yourselves in the same position. I want you to know, you are not alone!

There was an "offer" on one of my pieces, that occurred while I was off running to grab some lunch on Saturday. I'm actually thankful I wasn't there. I find myself offended that art is something that people thing they can "offer" on anyways. I wrote to Jane Davila asking her what her thoughts were on the situation, and I feel so much better that it happened the way it did!

I still ran in to the issue of hearing some comments that the pieces on my walls weren't "art", they were "quilts", despite a good portion of my pieces being framed. Ironically, while I was there I read an article in my latest SAQA publication (of which I am a member) and was disappointed to see one of the authors in it, make a distinction between "fine art" and "fiber arts", clearly stating that fiber art was NOT a part of the fine arts "level". 

I have, since birth, been one of those people continuously swimming upstream against the herd. I suppose it's only fitting that I would choose fiber as my medium. Last year, I let Art-A-Whirl put me in such a depressive state I didn't create for at least six month (possibly longer). I literally did not create a single thing. I didn't even try. 

I'm struggling to find my way through the folds and threads of this "business". I am trying to explore more ways to promote my works - now that I won't have the NE Minneapolis studio, I will have to work more towards making Etsy sales. I do think I may need to give it a timeline however, as I will begin to approach the point where I am getting close to paying as much in renewals for pieces, as the pieces cost themselves. (I can't believe I am the ONLY person that finds themselves in this position on Etsy.)

For anyone who thinks being a full time artist is easy - you couldn't be further from reality. It certainly isn't all about being wrapped up in the excitement of creation. It's also rejection letters, pieces that you can't seem to sell, people wanting 40% discounts of something you worked on for days and weeks, swallowing your pride to try and promote yourself, dealing with taxes, and business licenses, trying to figure out price points, best methods of hanging/display. It's also dealing with feelings of insecurity, criticism (outward and internal). 
That being said, I can't see giving up this career, because I can't envision myself enjoying any other career. The creation of the pieces, and the random opportunity to hear someone you don't know, tell you that your work is "stunning", is too addictive. I've had tiny tastes, and I'm hooked, I want more. The struggle now, is to balance the "icky" work, with the "fun" work in this business. 

I will get there some day. I have grown already, as this time, I won't let one weekend cause me to not work again for half a year. I will try different things on Etsy to try and promote and sell my art work. I will keep working on my confidence as an artist. I will educate myself, and also share with others. I will keep going. I have to, being an artist is who I am.  You know what? You should too!


Stephanie84 said...

Don't be too hard on yourself. This economy is not helping anyone! Hang in there!!

Suzan said...

Art is definately not for the faint of heart! Thanks for sharing the real life of an artist with us.

debbi d-w said...

I've had the same thing happen with "offers" on pieces that are below the price - good for you for sticking with it! And LOVE the dragonflys in the last post!

Debra Svedberg said...

Aw Stephanie,
Don't be so hard on there something constructive you can take awy from their critizism? And there's several things you're not looking at with a positive light...
First off, part of the Art Crawl wasn't just to sell pieces, you were getting your name out there. That's very important for your future. That's something like planting the seed, and sometimes it's an acorn and it feels like forever until it's a tree.
I think you should contact Hollis Chatelain (sp?). She is a very successful quilt artist. Anyone who thinks her quilts aren't fine art has another thing comin'.

You just keep on creating the part you love. Throw yourself in it. Swim all over it. Dive in again and again.

Janet Hartje said...

Stephanie, you are such an inspiration to me. You take risks and put yourself out there, which is what an artist needs to do. You have to promote your business. You are very good at this.