Paper collage on 16″ x 20″ painting.
Work in progress.
The other day, bead artist Robin Atkins wrote a blog post about her recent experiences with selling her beadwork in this frozen economy. She mentioned how not making sales can damage the artists self-esteem, and she wanted to know how others are handling these tough times. Robin asked “Is the real payoff the creative process? How do you deal emotionally with a disappointing sales experience or being rejected by a gallery or for a show?”
I told her that I recently opened The Lone Beader’s Gallery Shop on Etsy – about 2 months ago – and have not made any sales yet. From what I can see, there are two main reasons for this: 1) Etsy is a very large selling venue, and it’s easy to get buried in the millions of search results. 2) Our nation’s struggling economy is not helping. Less people are searching for something to buy, and if they are, they are probably not looking to invest in original art.
Despite this, I am grateful for all the wonderful things that have been happening with my art lately. I am also trying to be realistic & optimistic about the situation. I am doing what I have always done in the past. I am using this time to complete my current piece, make business connections, enter shows, get my work published & plan future pieces. If people like my work, and want to buy something I am happy, although I will admit that it is painful for me to sell – perhaps because only I know how much effort I put into each piece. And, regarding shows, if I get accepted to one, I am thrilled! But, if not, it really doesn’t bother me. I know that it is not the same as being rejected, and I know that not everyone will like my beadwork. So, for me, yes, the real payoff IS the creative process. Finishing one of my bead paintings is always an accomplishment – one which looks great hanging on the wall in my studio!
With that in mind, I had an interesting experience yesterday. I noticed a new contemporary art gallery near Downtown Crossing in Boston called Alternate Currents. I stopped in to look at all the art. Then, I signed up for the mailing list, and the director noticed my email address. She said “The Lone Beader?? I know that name! I have seen you somewhere!…” Turns out I was following her on Twitter! We spoke about my beadwork for a bit, then she said “I’d love to carry your work!” I don’t know if that will actually happen or not, but I was thrilled that she knew my artist name! I think that means I am accomplishing something! So whether I am selling anything at the moment or not, I feel that I am still moving forward with my art on a daily basis, although it is not an easy path to follow! 😮