Art For Art's Sake….Or Is It Just Another Job?

Last night I just completed one of my latest artistic creations. I had painted a premade silk top in varying shades of pink and fuchsia and then applied some gold patterning to the front in gutta for special effect. I then sewed it together, ironed the seams and put it on in front of the mirror. I was really thrilled with the final result, mainly because it was in my favourite colours and because it was a great fit.

My eldest son was really supportive when he saw it and assured me that other people would be interested in having one, too. So I began thinking about different ways of marketing this sort of product and how to go about it all. Then came the process of working out how much it would sell for.

Now that’s where is gets really interesting. The bottom line is that I have spent a few hours creating a beautiful work of art and in order to fully honour myself and the whole process, I have to put a price label on it that boosts my self-esteem. And yet, the average person somehow doesn’t go there with their thoughts. They see a top, work out in their head what they would pay at their favourite store, and wonder why on earth I would be charging so much more…..

I wonder why, indeed.

It’s funny when you turn it all around. If I were to ask someone how much they earn per hour, then get them to add up what they would be earning doing my work, plus the material costs, they begin to look a big sheepish when they realise that it’s all fair play.

And then of course, when someone buys a piece of art, whether in a frame or as wearable art, it is to some extent totally unique and expresses a very individual energy. This is an element which needs to be fully honoured too.

In fact, it’s a very long story when you sit down and think about it.

But at the end of the day, each artist needs to work this out for themselves. Their prices will reflect their self-worth.

Being an artist I know that you can’t but help create artwork. It’s totally inbuilt. So it’s no use pretending that you can work in a 9-5 job and find satisfaction. The resentment and the lack of fulfillment creep in at some point and burst it all open at the seams. Try forcing yourself to do something else and notice how the headaches, or the sleeplessness creep in. There’s just something really huge missing. And yet how many artists are faced with the dilemma of holding down a job they hate in order to pay the bills, while juggling with their artistry after hours or at the weekend.

I would so love to earn a very good living through my artwork and know I am not alone there. Every day all sorts of issues around this topic crop up that I need to look at. It really is an ongoing process and a journey that is fascinating. And knowing so many other artists, I see them too working their way through exactly the same questions.

Lots of food for thought. And I shall continue to document this journey and the insights I gain as I move forward.

Thanks for listening. 🙂

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3 Responses to Art For Art's Sake….Or Is It Just Another Job?

  1. Jan Billings says:

    In addition to your artistic talents Fiona, you have a unique way with words.
    You have expressed exactly how I feel about my work and the pricing dilemma.

  2. Too true! I want my work to be valued but also to sell! Unfortunately in order to keep going the money matters…pricing is definately the hardest part. I sometimes get to keep the money out of it with a nice barter though!

  3. Fiona says:

    Thanks for your comments Jand and Emily. 🙂 That’s a really interesting point you’ve made about bartering Emily and it’s something I’ve done with success. Subject of another blog post, I think.

    The pricing dilemma just keeps on rearing its ugly head until we reach a place of inner peace with it.

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