Saturday, May 2, 2020

Selling Art in a Stay at Home World

I’m an artist not a sales person. I’ve never worked in retail so my skills at pushing today’s special are lacking. Add to that my deeply honest soul which makes it very hard for me to do or say anything that feels false. 

With many shows cancelled and galleries closed, the way I usually show and sell my work is gone. Many artists are amping up their online sales with email campaigns, newsletters, online sale venues and social media promotions. I feel the push to get out there too.

Push and pull and respect. 

How can I call myself a working artist if I’m not out there promoting myself and my work in every possible venue? There are plenty of artists and articles and websites and online sales sites eager to get me started and sell me services. It’s so easy they say. Get started today.

But, while the pull to get my work out there is strong, I also am very aware of the worry, distress and difficulties surrounding me. Some people are out of work. Kids are out of school and missing out on graduations, scholarships, and work/study programs. Jobs are gone or changed for almost everyone.

It’s a scary time. I feel it and so do you. I want to respect and honor those feelings for you and me. I’ve written many blogs about my life and art during this crazy time. 

Selling seems frivolous.

Full disclosure: I had a career writing award-winning advertising. So I know about marketing a product. I know overexposure is bad and timing is everything. Yet, everyday my inbox is filled with retailers trying to sell me products. Some I like. Some I don’t. 

And I have a product: my art. And I have promoted and sold it for years at shows and galleries. I use all the art sales tools: a portfolio, artist statement, business cards and website. While I didn’t start my blog, facebook or instagram accounts to directly promote my work, I do put posts up with pictures of my work or upcoming shows.

But as the honest person I am, I don’t push, hawk or self promote. I just can’t especially right now. And so, I have no sales right now. I’d like to say I’m ok with that, but it’s just another layer of scary for me. 

A new question. 

What is appropriate right now? Do people still want and need gifts for their mothers, fathers, friends and children? And how can my art help them now?

I do know my work has always been about meaning because that’s who I am. Words that inspire. Colors that cheer and calm. Shapes and faces and forms that bring hope and healing. I use my own art in my own life and home on a daily basis. It brings me hope, cheer and inspiration. 

I also know that giving to my loved ones is still important to me. And I know giving a gift with meaning is even more important now.

An idea bubbles up. 

So how can I help? How can I let others know I’m here with dignity and respect? I have been struggling with all of this for years but even more so now. I want to find a way to lift us all up, to lighten our days. 

Watching the sourdough starter bubble and kneading my bread a new idea rose softly. I didn’t even see it as I arranged fresh lilacs and tulips in my vases for May Day. I just knew I needed sweet smells, spring colors and nourishment. 

I think everyone needs it right now. My clay pieces helped me. And, hopefully, this is how I can help you right now. So let me know what would brighten your day, hold your flowers, serve your bread or make a loved one feel more loved. I can help. 

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