09/08/2008: "Confessions of a Guilty Artist"
Last week I sold a print online which set several things in motion. First of all, the print she ordered was technically out of stock, though I had ordered more prints a long time ago I had never picked them up from the printers; I had an out-standing balance that had gone woefully overdue. The truth is, it was rather a lot of money and the printer couldn't take credit and I never had the cash to get the prints out of hock. Every time I thought about it I felt a huge pang of guilt, as not paying a debt is very uncharacteristic of me.
Well, since the order came in I was forced to come clean with the printer, which was exactly what I needed to do. I "borrowed" the cash from our honeymoon account.
I was also feeling guilty about my art "business" as I had canceled my July show at the Canvas Gallery (due to getting married) and I haven't done any new work in awhile and I've been freaking out that I'll have to do my business taxes and have nothing to show for this year in terms of sales.
I do have an exhibit coming up in Anchorage in December, but I haven't done much in the way of work towards it. I have also turned down 3 commissions this year. The first two because they wanted me to paint outside of my "style" and I am unrelenting on that point. The third because it was a male nude, and though I truly wanted to feel inspired by it, I just wasn't. And I'm not going to just crank out paintings that don't inspire me in order to make a quick buck.
So, I have been feeling artistically guilty for awhile now.
However, after the sale of the print, the same person also commissioned (she'd actually asked me some time back but I was too busy) me to do a painting that I'm feeling every excited about. That is a *very* good thing, as is having a couple of sales under my belt!
So, freshly inspired and with a "paid in full" clear conscious...I started 3 new paintings this weekend. I had a bit of a breakthrough in a way...I realized that for my show in Anchorage in November, I have enough finished work already (some of it older but never exhibited in Anchorage) that I could have the show tomorrow no problem using older work.
So now I can just play, paint whatever comes to mind without it having to be perfect and without the pressure of an upcoming exhibit to stress me out. Also, Friday the state of Alaska will pump 1.3 billion dollars worth of free money into the local economy through the largest ever permanent fund dividends (PFDs). $3,269.00 will go to every man woman and child in the state this month...starting with direct deposits this Friday.
I'm considering having (as most businesses in the state do) a PFD Sale from Sept. 12th-Oct. 12th. Say, a 25% discount on specified unsold paintings and prints. That would make a $400 painting $300, a $300 painting $225...and a $100 print, only $75.
If it increased sales at all, it would help eliminate some paintings which are taking up space in my house, as well as rectify the problem with so few sales so far in 2008 and the effect that would have on my business taxes.
What do you think? Is having a "sale" on art work a good or bad idea? Is that something that makes collectors who bought at full price feel upset about? I've never held a "sale" before, so I'm pretty clueless.