sold a handful of small works on etsy. The majority are blog readers, (many of whom are friends now) some new ~ some old. Some are 'collectors' of mine while others are newbies. A few sales were to complete strangers, one was a purchase through an amazon wedding registry that was linked to my etsy shop and the other a man in Dallas of all places who went to etsy looking specifically for metal vases for his wife's birthday. He found my work by using the keywords ' metal vases' on Etsy. I have to say that thrills me. Etsy once again comes through in ways I hadn't expected. He saw those yellow tube vases of mine and got the last set. By the way etsy has a new feature whereby you can get a 'tag report' on your shops' items, I find it useful.
I've also sold a clock on my auction that was destined for dismantling with another auction going on in the post below; I plan on auctioning one more clock that I feel I need to find a home for and after that I might start doing an auction once a month on pieces I feel I've had long enough. In giving this a lot of thought I realize that for me, at this point in my life and art career it behooves me to do whatever it takes to sell art and move it. I am not one of those artists who cannot let go of something, while my work means much to me, I have no desire to keep it. I make it and want it to find a home. That doesn't mean I can afford to make art and just give it all away. To me, that does not feel healthy. Sometimes I have been known to give something to someone but for the most part, giving away art feels like working a 40 hour week for your boss and saying 'thats okay you don't have to pay me'. Art is a job and we all know it. If you can't make it at some point you have to give up and move on. [even if i didn't need the income i think i would feel this way, i just dont want i piling up!] I was making it and I believe I can make it again. This is how I want to make my living and it is also how I keep the creative juices flowing. I get blocked up when everything starts to pile up on itself. Now that my living and art situation has changed I no longer feel [at least right now] that I should be holding on to work for some 'future show' or gallery representation. I think once the last two pieces in Vermont sell (god forbid they dont as I dont even have the extra to have it shipped back) it's safe to say I probably wont be exhibiting there again. They loved my photo mixed media pieces but weren't so keen on puzzle works ~though they sold when they exhibited there, nor my furniture or smaller functional work.
This week I also contacted a woman I barely know who bought art from me here in Huntsville and informed her of my inventory overload and let her know I have a piece that I believe she will like and I would love to bring it by for her to keep in her home should she want to live with it awhile and decide if she likes it. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little unsure and nervous about emailing her with this suggestion and I'd be lying if I didn't feel relief when she wrote back saying she was very pleased to hear from me and loved that I am an artist who wants to share my art with her. She was intrigued by the attached photos I included in the email and she wants to see the piece in person. This is good. I feel encouraged to keep making my work available and not be as stuck on price. What is most important is surviving right now. I don't see myself selling out and selling everything for peanuts. I'm not sure what I will do with those larger works that really are, to me, worth the $1 - $2000 I'm asking. Keeping in mind in the 'real art world' anything under 5K is still a joke. All of this stuff fucks with my head and I have to keep adapting to new situations as they appear.
So. I made enough money with these 'little things' to pay for rent. The little shits I used to call them. I don't anymore. Those little things have been my bread and butter and I feel that a $20 piece on Etsy is just as worthy as not. Sell five of them and thats 1/4 of my rent. I make money but more importantly I move product. Art is like a product. It is inventory. It sits there and doesn't go anywhere unless you find a way to get it going. I cannot tell you how much better I feel this week as compared to last week. I was certain I was done with the whole art world. Really, it's sometimes too much. When day in and day out you live and breathe art and nothing is happening it is enough to create a thunderous desperation. Having just 5+ years of selling and making art I know things come in cycles. I know that. But this has been the driest season yet in terms of selling art and since I am still determined to make it as an artist, THAT is not acceptable. Supplementing my income with little shit jobs at min. wage give or take, is not something I want to do but I am. And even then I'm not making it. I throw myself into art whole heartedly and taking time to do things that drain me and piss me off dont bode well but I'm doing it because I feel I have to and have no other choices or options. That in turn leads to hopelessness and lots of anger. There is a lot to sort out about doing whatever it takes to take care of yourself vs losing your sanity and soul to work that leaves you so empty you cannot create even a pile of crap.
Hence the breakdown last week. And the auction of that clock for .99. It felt good to just decide to do something. We cannot control anything. Ever. Sometimes you think you can, sometimes like a lab rat, you hit the bar and something you like happens so you hit it again and if it happens again you start to think THAT WORKS. Well, it might not keep working then what are you going to do to feel good? What if my next auction no one bids. What if I stop selling the little things, will I blame myself for doing something wrong as if I can control anything?
Honestly the fear about making it has so many layers it's crazy. There is actually a fear of people thinking you are OKAY. While I do not want to manipulate anyone or make anyone feel guilty or sad or sorry for me because I'm basically penniless right now, I can't help but worry sometimes that people are only buying to help out. What if I seem to be okay for the moment, what about next month? And the month after that? Are people really buying because they want it or feel bad? Then you can get all weird because who are you to decide what someone does with their money? Who am I to decide who and why someone should buy my art. Guess I have a lot of learning and growth to do about this. I've had some big discussions on this topic with my mentor. It's a tricky thing. What if you are doing great? Why does that scare me almost as much? I wonder about truly successful artists...do they have more fear and anxiety about having to keep up with it all? As it is I have shared with you all my concern about inundating the blog or facebook or twitter with little 'just posted on etsy' or just made this and buy this and look at that. I dont want to foist myself onto anyone. Yet I want to get it out there. It takes a certain amount of courage and fortitude just to do what little I do to 'get my work out there' right now. I get it why many artists who can just hole up and never really push to sell their art. It isn't always comfortable and it is usually very time consuming and not what many would choose to do if they had a choice. I have to admit that lately I have been enjoying meeting so many people, I have enjoyed this PUSH I'm making, granted it is online, but it has fed my soul as much as the selling. At least I am getting out there and getting feedback. People on etsy in other countries write to me and they assume I am doing very well here. Thats good to hear. That I can find an appreciative audience for my rusty crusty self taught work is priceless. Unfortunately my work is expensive to ship across the ocean. Even a 3 lb little pipe vase is too much for many.
So. Thats what is going on. If you go to my facebook fan page you will see the latest photos of my studio space. It is ridiculous. I'm still clogged with too much stuff. Nothing in that space is even ready to sell art. It is supplies for MORE art that I've yet to make. Which is why I imploded....running dry in the bank, having no space to think or work let alone a place to store new art drove me mad.
So thank you. For whatever reason you felt compelled to buy art in the last week, know that you have been a blessing to me and not just monetarily. I really appreciate that you are there, that you dig what I do enough to buy it...that many of you stay in touch with me outside of this blog and are sources of inspiration and growth. Starting a blog still has been the best decision I've made since becoming an artist. It is how I am able to share who I am and meet others who have similar passions and experiences. Those few of you who pop out of the woodwork after months or years of following my blog as well as my faithful followers are what keep me going. ♥