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finding value in your art

April 1, 2011

blessed mixed media collage

i have been mulling over this topic for a week or so now. it all started with a simple conversation. i was talking with a more seasoned artist. something she said struck me. she said that she was not able to afford anniversary gifts because her and her husband were both artists. you know the whole starving artist mentality. it’s the norm in most art communities. and i almost feel as though i would be laughed at if i disagreed.

but the truth is, i just can’t with any ounce of me agree with this mindset.

i just might be crazy. but i do believe that you can make a living with your art. and a nice one for that matter. i am not there yet, but i will be there one day.

this theme continued in a series of emails i exchanged with a fellow blogger and artist. we discussed how difficult it is to truly value what we do as artists and why we get so hung up on prices. because it really is hard to find value in our art.

so how do we get over this debilitating mindset? i have a few thoughts.

first of all, you must see yourself as a business woman. the only way you will ever make a living at your art is by being business minded. when i look at other artists who are making a living it is because they have made very smart business decisions. they have many streams of income; licensing, e-courses, selling of products, teaching and so on. the artists who just rely on their etsy shops don’t get very far.

if you don’t know anything about business, then learn. take a business class. read e-books. make a business plan. research marketing. do whatever it takes to educate yourself.

secondly, i think you have to learn how to separate yourself from your artwork. as artists, we are so attached to our artwork because it truly is an extension of our hearts. so when we fail at something, we automatically think that it is a reflection of our work. i am not good enough. my art really is not worth that much.

you have to learn how to separate yourself as the artist and yourself as the business woman. watch this train of thought. have you ever gone to this place? this is what the artist thinks.

my original piece never sold. i must be overvaluing it. no one likes it. it isn’t worth what i priced it at.

now look at this train of thought. this is what the business woman thinks.

my original piece never sold. i must not have marketed to the right audience. if i can just get it in front of the right person, it will sell.

see the difference? see how the second train of thought has everything to do with business and nothing to do with your value as a person or an artist?

so don’t take it so personally the next time your art doesn’t sell. and if you are confused about pricing your art, you should check out this amazing FREE ebook that my friend brandi wrote, the artist’s guide to pricing.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. April 1, 2011 9:32 am

    I agree 150% percent. I think the reality is that artists HAVE to be business-minded, or at least aware enough to hire someone to do that part for them.

    Thanks for the shout out, my friend! Hope my ebook can help your readers!

  2. April 1, 2011 12:10 pm

    Oh I so needed to hear this right now! Thank You!!!

  3. April 1, 2011 1:18 pm

    oh my gosh, i really need this…i have SO much trouble pricing my work! and i will definitely check out brandi’s book. thank you! 🙂

  4. April 1, 2011 11:07 pm

    Yes! I agree with all my heart and soul :]
    And it is good to know you are not alone on this subject… thank you for sharing.
    Thanks for your insight, you are valued.

  5. April 2, 2011 9:21 am

    Dearest sweet wendy, it’s wonderful to get back in the swing of things here on blogland! I love love this post so much and it’s so inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing your thooughts on thinhs with us and i totally totally agree with you! Have a lovely merry happy weekend and love to you!

  6. April 2, 2011 5:36 pm

    Thanks so much for this post! I’m at a crossroads in terms of my career at this time…and I’m trying to figure out what’s next for me (my own blog talks a lot about this journey, especially in recent weeks; please feel free to stop by and read all about it!). Your comments here offer me some much-needed perspective. At some point in the future, I’d like to pursue an art-related career path, whether it be in selling my art online, writing articles for print/online publications, opening a small business, or creating art in order to market products. The practical side of me scoffs at this idea, because it seems so impractical and risky…but another part of me wants to believe my dream could come true. You’ve offered me some hope in that regard, and I appreciate it very much.:-)

    • April 4, 2011 8:49 am

      i totally understand jenny! my practical side gets in the way too. i never would have seen myself going down this path a few years ago. but now i am having so much fun!!! you go girl!!!

      • April 4, 2011 9:53 am

        Thanks for your support! I am so glad to be able to voice my thoughts and concerns with someone who is pursuing similar goals! It means a lot, since I don’t have a lot of people in my life that understand how I feel, or my need to be creative in my work. They tend to be the more “practical” types and don’t see things the way I do. Thanks!:-)

  7. April 3, 2011 10:08 am

    You are right on! ATTITUDE is everything!

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