Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Art Is A Hard Way To Make A Living--But It's Worth It...

I've been making these little 1x2" scratchboard chicken necklaces for the past month. (They may be a reward for backers of the chicken book I want to do) Meanwhile, I'm trying to 'will' this kickstarter project, Chicken Scratchin' book into being. It's hard work. I've only raised around $1200+ and need to raise $9500.00 by March 6th. So far every project I've done on kickstarter has raised the amount needed....this may be the first failure. I'm not too worried though, it can be tweeked and re-launched in March or April.  I am not getting rich doing these book projects, just a steady small stream of money(well, maybe more like a trickle). Really, that's all I need to keep going. I don't need the big bucks, I just want to contribute, bring folks a little joy, and pay my bills. When I'm not making art I'm a pretty unhappy human. Lately I've been creating a series of bird art on Ampersand Scratchboard, just to keep me busy and happy. Sold a couple already, even posted a bunch on the social networking sites, hoping for the best. Here's an example of one of the sold pieces.
I had a great time making this...left it black and white for the new owner. It's been a while since I've not used color on a piece, it was hard to restrain myself.
Ok, done for today: Here's the kickstarter plug (and let me remind you, you don't have to have chickens to back this!) Click HERE to see it.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Pricing Artwork And Other Confusing Things

Today I'm thinking about this whole 'making a living from my art sales' mystery. I do make sales, and I also give a lot of work away during my "Linda's Big Art Giveaways" on my Linda Sheets Art facebook page.  While making art I'm not thinking about how much this piece should cost, or keeping a time-clock on the hours I put into it. Mostly I'm thinking about where should the next line go and what color do I want to put here, and there, and uh oh...is that line right or wrong! I try to keep my prices consistent so that a 5"x7" at the gallery in Austin is the same as my studio in Arkansas. It's just good business to do that. Below is a 5"x5" Two Little Birds scratchboard. It's finished and ready to go out the door at $70.00.  Now considering I put about 4.5 hours (probably more because I really don't keep track) in that, and not even counting costs of materials that's about $15.00 an hour.  Above minimum wage of course, but my hours are not that consistent. I don't get a paycheck from some corporation every week, and I pay a lot of overhead out of that $15.00.
I'm on this subject today because I wonder sometimes, should I lower my prices? Will that equal more sales? Or will that undermine the value of the artwork? I know I'm not the only artist who struggles with this. I see artwork sold in stores that is a giclee or in other words a print on canvas etc...that is mass produced and sold for $59.99 or less, or more, and I get more than a little bothered. Although if I licensed my images to a big company and got a payment every time they sold a piece I would be happy. So, see the conflict for me? I'd rather folks buy original art from the artists.
 I want to be as successful with my art business as I was with my repair/remodeling business. Folks gladly paid me $50.00 an hour to fix their plumbing. Why can't I (we artists) be paid that much to bring joy or whatever we bring with our art into your lives? Is plumbing more important that art? (sometimes it is....)
This piece below is not finished yet, or maybe it is, if someone wants to buy it as a black and white scratchboard. It's a 6"x8" and it's $140.00. I've got at least 7 hours into this one...so somewhere around $20.00 an hour. Why it's the price it is? My set price for 5"x7" framed pieces, commission or not is $140.00. This one an inch more each way, no frame because it's 'cradled' so that's how I get to that number. Ok. My head hurts now. Math and numbers have never interested me.
Oh yeah, I'm still trying to fund the Chicken Scratchin' book at kickstarter. Maybe it will go, maybe not. I'll deal with it after funding ends in 27 days. See it HERE.
So what is it that most artists want? For people to see our art, love our art, (or even hate our art), and to buy our art. And to buy it because it brings something special into their lives...not because it's a good investment. (unless of course the 'investment' is one of your joy and love of the piece)