What happens when a piece of work is finished?
Sometimes, if I’m not ready to let it go, it stays a while. But the ultimate joy of making artwork is to see someone else fall in love with it, so much that they want to keep it and enjoy it forever.
So there is a whole other challenge that comes after making the work of how to connect with buyers who are looking for something unique and original.
There are so many options out ‘there’ now for artists as alternatives to galleries but it can be a crowded market place and hard for buyers to find what you like. Within an artist group we were discussing alternative places to show our work and someone suggested coffee shops.
But that’s not going to work… if I’m going in to buy a coffee, I’m not about to spend £xx on a painting! I don’t believe it happens. However I like experimenting and taking first steps, so I agreed to hang work at my local coffee shop and see what happened. This costs me. Not a fortune, but it’s a consideration. So I was thrilled when JUST ONE DAY after putting up the labels I had a call from someone wanting to buy a painting.
We agreed to meet, at my house, so she could see what other pieces I had, and she chose one of those. A soft misty landscape that was very peaceful… she followed a breadcrumb trail that led her to me; one step led to another.
The following week, someone got in touch to choose a painting for her husband who had arrived home, bringing one of my postcards and saying THIS is what he would like for his birthday. Happy to oblige!
And this week I took a large painting to someone’s home so that she could see it in situ. As soon as I saw the room I could see why she had picked it, and she had no doubt over her choice. What was interesting was that she mentioned she had been ‘visiting it’ in the coffee shop regularly to see if she had the same reaction. Did the feeling wear off? No, it felt right.
Although she has lived in the area for 10 years she has never visited the annual art trail I take part in each year. She wasn’t sure about the idea of going in to artists’ homes. It showed me that there are many people who prefer different ways of buying. She was more comfortable making her decision slowly, and then picking up the phone, whereas some people would prefer to browse as part of a crowd.
It’s great to see where my work ends up. This morning I was with a friend having coffee, who bought a small abstract collage from one of my first shows. It’s always good to see it at her home. At first I thought she hadn’t hung it because she wasn’t really sure or had bought it out of a sense of duty (artist fragile ego!), but one day she mentioned that she loved having it propped up because it meant she could pick it up and look closely at it whenever she liked.
Like having a cuddle! Which brings us back to the love thing:
I saw an article recently about how love sparks off chemicals in your brain and I wondered “Is this really why we buy art?”
You have an immediate emotional reaction, it’s like falling in love and if you buy the work you can get to keep it! That’s pretty powerful. If you follow this idea through you know that love also requires letting go.
Hanging work in a new space is like sending children off to university. New surroundings, you have to hope they can stand on their own two feet. By that stage you’ve done all you can. Put it out in the world and the other side of the deal is up to someone else.
This week I have hung new pieces in the coffee shop; a pair of etchings and some other work on paper. I’m delighted with the four sales that have happened so far… and from a place where people only go to buy coffee. Well, that shows how much I know!
So my point is, don’t hesitate… art has the advantage of being original. Only one exists. One. In the world. If you fall in love, you don’t want it marrying someone else! Ok, that may be a little strong 🙂 but the internet is making it easier for all of us to make connections. You can contact me anytime about work you see here using the contact form.
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What are your favourite ways to find new artists and to buy art for your collection? Add your thoughts at the bottom of the page, it would be great to know.