Tuesday, March 2, 2010

An Artist's Pay

The debate among many artists historically has been how do we price our art in order for it to a) sell and b) sell enough for the rent to be paid. If you are an artist of any type you deal with this dilemma constantly. Here's how I deal with this issue.

I pay myself $20/hr or my costs times 5, whichever makes most sense. That said, I know that new designs take longer to make than the tried and true. I take into consideration when designing, how long it will take me to make the item.

I do two types of designs these days 1) Artistic expression or items I WANT to make and lean toward OOAK or 2) best seller items that are clever in design, use less materials, are less difficult to repeat and take less time.

For number 1, I just let my creative soul take over and make what I am inspired to - a key component in a successful shop, I feel, keeping you creatively inspired and motivated. If my artistic creations don't sell, I either donate them to charities for fund raising, and they really appreciate them (and they sell for higher prices than I could get) or I put those items in galleries.

For number 2, this is where I spend the most time creating, using my skills literally (the one's I learned in jewellery school) and as an artist - trying to find that clever design that is pregnant with potential of repeat selling and simple to make. I find that within a month period I only have 3 or 4 truly creative days where ideas just flow. I don't waste those days on process ie. making jewellery. I get out the sketch book and brass wire, which I use to make proto-types, and sketch and bend until I get dimensions that I know will work or don't. Sometimes I put ideas that don't work aside and come at them again later, next month or next year. Never throw away an idea - I have a box where I put all these 'stuck' ideas that didn't work that day, but later turned into best sellers. Like these happy mistakes http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=41563455 These are the ideas that turn into creations I'm happy to make again and again.

There is no time limit on creating - love what you do FIRST! I often wake up in the middle of the night with an idea, my first clue that those 3 days or so might be here, and jot down an idea. Only count the time when it becomes a job. Once you are selling regularly, THEN look at time, but until then, HAPPY CREATING. ENJOY!

All the Best