I had an interesting conversation with someone at a recent art show opening about artists and the sale of paintings. I was very excited as many of my fellow artists were getting red dots next to their paintings. A red dot equals a sale.
The person asked me why that was so important. "Why do artists need to sell their work? Don't they all just do it because they love it? Or is the main purpose of painting for the art to be sold?"
Yes some lucky people are able to paint and create just because they love it and the sale at the end of the day is a cherry on top. But for the majority of working artists that sale represents their livelihood. It is their paycheck.
Here in lies a very interesting conundrum facing the public's perception about artists. Yes, artists create because they are passionate about it, have something to say and share about the world, and have undertaken study in a particular medium - however it is also their job. Just like you have a job. It is literally " art-work".
The sales pay for bills, food, rent, and gas. Sales allow the artist to buy more materials, rent studio space, take classes, and maybe take risks on some not so commercial work that won't necessarily be for sale but will speak from the artist's soul about our world today.
The purpose of a commercial gallery is to sell art. The galleries get a commission, the artists get paid, and everyone eats. Yes, it is about the exposure of ideas, interesting images, and they are places to come in and have a look around, but they are business like any other.
I really hope that when people go to galleries they keep this thought in mind. By purchasing art you are supporting the artists' "work" and therefore their livelihood. You are keeping the money in your community.
Many galleries have layaway plans. Why buy something mass produced when you can have an original? There is art available for any budget and taste. Artists that you meet on social media are more than happy to ship their work to you.
So please keep those red dots coming! Especially at the holidays when everyone is buying gifts. A unique piece of art - be it a painting, potter, sculpture, art doll, jewelry, weaving, fiber art, print, or photograph -is a gift that lasts forever. Is something that can be enjoyed for years to come (and in some cases is a gift that will increase in value as the years go on).
A huge congratulations to everyone who made a sale last recently and an even bigger thank you to the wonderful patrons who made that purchase. Way to go! xoxo