Back in July, my editorial dealt with what then looked like general tough times, rather than the serious economic crisis that now faces us. It’s three months later and I know so many of you (and us as well, to be quite honest) are struggling to make ends meet. And in times like these, it’s hard to stay true to being an artist, particularly when it feels like you’re putting more into it than you’re getting back. Since the proposed bailout legislation failed to pass in Congress earlier today, my original post seemed particularly apt and worth dusting off. July’s editorial offered the following coping strategies:
Work smaller. This may be a no-brainer. But if you haven’t tried it yet, it’s worth doing. Smaller art often takes less time to create. Less materials go into it, generally. Smaller art is cheaper to ship. And you might be able to offer this work at a much lower price point. ATC’s (Artist Trading Cards) and OSWOA’s (original small works of art, a 4 x 6 format) are quite popular with both artists and buyers right now. This could be a great way for a new collector to jump in and get an original from you now, which could lead to a larger purchase in the future. Offer reproductions. Even if you don’t have the leisure time to crank out new work the way you used to, you can still make a fair living selling quality reproductions of your work. Imagekind does fantastic museum-quality prints at reasonable prices. You can order your own to resell at your leisure or have customers order directly through their website. It’s a great way to keep your work out there in circulation, and again, a print purchase now could lead to the purchase of an original at a later date. Make your art into something useful. Along the lines of making reproductions available, why not also make your work available as a t-shirt via Spreadshirt? Or as a mug through sites like cafe press and zazzle? And again, this is a way to keep your previous work earning you some extra income even if you’re not able to create new work right now. Try a less expensive media Now, we’re not talking about downgrading to canvas board and student-grade paint. But if you work in metal, perhaps you might want to try a less-expensive alloy and use it in a creative way so it doesn’t feel like a compromise. Or maybe move to a series of drawings on gessoed paper instead of your large oils on gallery-wrapped canvas. Or take up photography. Try working with found/recycled materials. Anything to keep you creating.
But we know our ideas are surely the tip of the iceburg. Are you creating differently because of the current economic situation? What are your coping methods for staying solvent AND staying an artist? I look forward to continuing this much-needed conversation via comments for this post.