So, yeah, it’s 2012. We’re nearly 5 years into this “we’re not calling it a Depression or even acknowledging we’re still in a Recession.” How are you doing? Still making art? Still buying art? Still have a roof over your head? Have things gotten better? Worse?
January is always a reflective month, and I thought now would be good time to take a look back at some of the posts we’ve produced over the past 4 years that delve into how to keep creating in this tanked economy.
From 2008: This appears to be my first blog post that expressly deals with how the economy was/is driving so many artists out of business. This was a seminal piece that explored concrete solutions to stay creative for less.
So. How relevant is the above advice to 2012? Have you taken any of the advice? Did it help? Is this a topic you want us to continue to explore? What wisdom do you have for other artists half a decade into the worst economy of many of our lifetimes? We’d love to hear from you in our comments.
We’ve been spending a lot more time than usual on Twitter the past few weeks and we’ve seen a lot of people tweeting about holding sales events, making sales, and even excitement about receiving new commissions. So we’ve been wondering: How are you doing? Are you hanging in there? What (if anything) have you changed to keep your art business afloat in this economy? Care to share your personal survival story?
Last week we announced January’s EBSQ LIVE and because we feel it is an important topic we wanted to remind everyone that tonight is the night. If you are wondering what to do to maximize your chances of getting through the tough economy, have come up with any strategies or just want to talk or listen, we hope that you will be at this evening’s LIVE!
Tonight will be an open forum gathering where all can participate. These are some rocky and scary times but they are survivable. EBSQ LIVE will be in the EBSQ Chat Room at 9PM EST and is open to everyone. Please come and join us.
Hosted by EBSQ Self Representing Artists
Monday, January 12th, at 9pm Eastern (6pm Pacific) EBSQ Chat Room
In this economy, everyone is cutting back and the first things to go are luxury items. For many, art is a luxury item. What actions are you taking to keep your art business solvent – or are you hunkering down and hoping to ride it out? Like those in other professions that provide “expendable” services, we need to adapt to survive. What can we learn from the salon owner and the restaurant owner? How do we as artists, convince people that art is necessary and worth a part of tight budgets?
Do you have questions to ask or information to pass on? This month’s LIVE is an opportunity to share and discuss how to get by and succeed in a world of tight purse strings.
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.