Saturday, October 8, 2011
Paid for My Time
Still have more to do on this Girl With A Hat; she's about 10 x 10 inches. I've got to start watching my sizes since my shelves are only so big. Wonder if I could put the two half shelves together and span the shelf? I need to put more shading in the sweater and make the hair longer on the left side, and, and.
Recently I went to an appointment to be juried into a show. Of course I brought an example of my most recent work which included some of my wall tiles and sculptures. They oohed and aahed over my wall sculptures. Then they asked how much I would sell them for. They said the wall tiles wouldn't sell at that price. I said some of the wall tile portraits take hours to hand paint and it's taken years for me to perfect the techniques. I asked if they had any oil or acrylic paintings in the show. I'm not sure they answered that question. But they did say "You can't expect to be paid for your time".
I said I realized the economy isn't doing well and perhaps the attendees don't have much money, but I can't sell pieces which take countless hours and skill and reduce the price below their worth. This particular show is billed as an artisan boutique in it's seventh year; artisan's must be juried to get into the show. But the folks running the show said from their experience most items sell for under $40. So I told them I had lesser priced items I could put in the show, small bowls, ornaments, etc. So we agreed that's what I'd do. But then they said I could try putting the wall sculptures and tiles in the show.
I got home and started thinking about what they said. Why can't artists or artisans be paid for their time. We pay the car mechanic, we pay the doctor, the painter, the lawyer, the teacher, well you know. How can someone love your work but not be willing to part with a little cash for it. And if the person doesn't have the cash, they can save up for what they want or buy something lesser priced. I can't help but wonder if these same folks don't go to the hair stylist and have their hair colored or permed for more than a piece of my art.
I said my work was ceramic art for the wall and wouldn't fade or yellow with age and could last a lifetime. I said perhaps a gallery setting would be better for my wall tiles and sculptures. I didn't get into the fact of the cost of the kiln, the tools, the mason stains, the clay, the propane torch to burnish the wood, the glue, the eye hooks, the wire, the losses to perfect the technique, the years it took me to get here. It's really foolish for me to make work if I can't sell it for more than the cost of materials. Other than the fact I happen to love making it. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.
Out of curiosity I checked wally world, a print can be purchased for less then $40 but the purchaser said it didn't come with eyes or wire so they had to purchase those separately. They could potentially see the same print at their neighbor or friend's house too.