Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Saying "no" to slave wages paid off

Here's another work in progress. I'm trying different variations of the three squares theme. This piece would have the square of the frame, this border and a tree in the middle.

I don't buy into the "starving artist myth." I think there are many sound business options that make the choice of an art career an excellent living. Sometimes, however, a crafts person or an artist can put lots of passion into a piece but way too much time to make a profit. I know weavers who end up making a dollar a yard for their fabric, in other words a dollar an hour, which by the way is the same wage they made in the 19th century. It's possible to end up subsidising collectors or settling for less than minimum wage, which I think is really sad.
One of my pieces was going to have this fate. The average market value around here for of a 6X6" piece is around half the cost of the work I'd put into the piece. I figured nobody would see the value in it, and I couldn't bring myself to sell it for that- you know when it would hurt your heart to do so? So I decided to keep it for myself and until last week it hung in my studio.

An old client and a friend stopped by since they were in town and were curious to see what I'd been painting. I think you may have an idea of my studio right now. Lots of works in progress, and not much that was "display" worthy. Everything else has been carted out to the galleries. We chatted about some of the challenges with the pieces and the story behind them including the "it's not for sale" piece. To my shock, my client said she loved the struggle that went into making it and was going to take it. The price versus the size wasn't even an issue. She loved it and in fact prefers small pieces.

Perhaps it will never happen to me again, but saying "no" to slave wages sure paid off money wise this time although my heart's always felt much better for taking this route.


Juggling Jason said...

This is a great article!

M.Kate said...

Sorry to read about the 'slave wages', must be tough but I am sure it will do very well soon :D

love your new profile picture..hip and young :D

happy weekend :)