For the second time in just a few days, I feel that I owe you all a big thanks. Yesterday I asked about some advice I had been given by a few fellow professional artists. They had suggested to me that if I wanted to see more sales, it would be necessary for me to concentrate on only one style of painting. In a way, their argument made sense: my potential buyer would call by my site already knowing what style of painting to expect,and if that was what they liked, they would return.
I only have to glance around most stores to know this is true: I visit a certain shoe store because I like their style and sizing; I know I will find something that suits me, without having to hunt through dozens of stores. But that’s shoes. Would I use the same method when I was looking not for essential items, but simply things that were beautiful, or inspiring to me in some way?
I don´t think so. For a start, if I buy something inspiring, it´s not a planned purchase. I may be wandering around small stores in the narrow streets of Granada or Córdoba. I may simply stumble upon something so gorgeous that I want to buy it on the spot.
So how does the process work when someone decides to buy an artwork? Do they have a space on their wall, and have a very definite idea about what would look good there? I think this probably happens quite often, and if they know of an artist who paints just that style of work, they will probably visit his site first. So this would be an argument for suggesting keeping to one style would in fact increase sales.
But here is the other side of this argument: There are millions of people out there, and they all like different styles of painting, and even buy art for many different reasons. What if a buyer were looking for a nice red abstract for their room? They visit a site of an abstract artist, and sure enough there is just the painting they were looking for. However, the artist was having a bit of an experimental week and had created a stunning impressionist red and orange sunset. The buyer is enchanted by it, and buys that painting instead. So the artist still made his sale, and he will also begin to attract buyers who love abstract and impressionist work.
So he has widened his customer base. But there is another argument for painting in whichever style you feel like , and it is this: Art is for me a creative process that comes from my soul. Each piece is an experiment of sorts, and a stretch of my ability as an artist. Each piece reflects the mood and the environment I was in at the time of painting it. Art is like music, with each new song giving something different to the listner.
If I happened upon a style of painting which sold well, and I have, should I just paint variations on this painting for ever more? In my opinion if I did this I would no longer be an artist. A friend used the word artisan to describe this type of painting production line, and I think it describes it well. But I am not an artisan, getting ever better at one particular thing, I am an artist and for me there is a big difference.
I do need to make my living with my art, and I am passionate about artists being paid a fair price in the market place, but I will not sell my soul. If I can make a living from the multi styled ever changing art that I create, then all is well. My art is more important than money. That isn´t to say that I would not become temporarily more commercial if money was desperately needed. But it would be a temporary thing, and when I have enough money to live, I have enough: The joy of painting for me is the absolute freedom of expression. Without that, it would become nothing more than working on a factory production line.
For me, no amount of extra money is worth loosing that wonderful freedom to create as the mood takes me.
Enjoy the beginning of your weekend everyone,