In Part Two last week, I shared how my mini-painting brooches were born and how I re-focused on my art after spending nearly two months figuring out the brooches supply chain. Continuing from there. In Part One, I gave you the context around which I’m writing this series of blog posts. What my original plan was, how the journey began and progressed till I realized how deep I’d dug myself into an amazing art-hole!
SOME TRADITIONAL ART INTRODUCTIONS
Traditionally, ( and this is only how I understand it from whatever I’ve read and learned, so far ) how the art market has worked is that as an artist, you first paint and then you start showing at multi-artist events, art fairs and other small-scale / mass market places. You sell a few pieces, more people know about your work, you continue to paint more work. At some point, an art gallery sees your work and likes it enough to invite you to show at their gallery. Usually along with other artists who have work in a similar genre. ( In my case, my Horizons Art Series would fall under the genre of Geometric Abstraction. Although, after last week’s consultation with a senior Art Consultant in San Francisco, I’ve been told that I should leave the categorization to the critics. )
Assuming the artist accepts that invite from the gallery ( galleries charge a commission on each sale – and the percentage varies wildly – 90%, 50%, 30% – sounds like whatever a gallery wants ), and assuming one or many of the paintings are sold, the artist’s value in the art market goes up, as do the prices of their art pieces. This is assuming that everything goes well, of course. If it goes exceptionally well – if the show is sold out – the same gallery or another gallery might then invite the artist to do a “solo show”. This means that the gallery will hang up only this one artist’s paintings for this show for a limited number of days and promote their work, invite potential buyers etc.
A “solo show” is supposed to be a big feather in the cap of an artist. A milestone. Usually after some years of consistently painting and selling.
I AM NOT SO TRADITIONAL
In my case, because of all the horror stories I’ve heard about art galleries in India, I had decided to spend some of the money I’ve saved, to reach out to a venue and display my art there for a limited number of days and invite my own guests ( whether potential buyers or not ) and have a colourful party.
In the context of “sell first, show later” though, it seemed like I was going about this backwards. To sell first, I needed to first make my art available to potential buyers. Ideally, without any money investment. Publishing / launching it on social media, suddenly, became a no-brainer. Having already spent more than half of the money I had saved for creating my art, it made no sense to spend more before seeing any returns on investment. ( Don’t get me wrong, the brooches have been selling better than my wildest expectations but the return on the entire investment in my art has been about only 10% so far. From a purely business point of view, not sharing my work online, was a terrible decision. )
“Sunline” will be the first painting from my Horizons Art Series to have been shared online. The update on Instagram ( and Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn ), served as an announcement that I was indeed making paintings. That it isn’t just the brooches. And that the paintings came before the brooches.
Over the next few months, whenever one of my paintings reaches a stage where it’s ready to be varnished, I will make it available to purchase via my online shop. This will, of course, be supported by social media updates.
There will also be a lot of other behind-the-scenes content that I will now be sharing. Paintings that still don’t have a name. Paintings where the canvas is only 1/10th full. Short videos of me painting a canvas. And so many other ideas that I have for the content.
When one makes an update online, whether to announce a “solo show” or to announce a good coffee, there’s no fanfare, no loud fireworks and no “party”. The party’s in my head as I type this. I did it. This is my solo show.
The actual showing will happen as well of course, but, hopefully after I’ve sold a few first.
There is no downside to sharing creative work online. Considerations like, “But it might get copied!” are baseless, mainly because it is not like whatever anyone is doing is original anyway. We stand on the shoulders of giants. I would not have been able to do anything without the generosity of complete strangers who have shared their work and journeys online.
My goal, from the beginning, at least for my art, was not to sell it or monetize it. These are bonuses. In my head, the worst case scenario, that nothing sells, only means that I get to view this chaos of colours and the geometry of hand-drawn lines around me. It means that I might give pieces to friends and family. That my mother finally gets to pick whichever piece she likes.
Regardless of the money, which I know will come, my goal is to make more beauty with my hands. And to share it anyone who cares to take a peek.
I will be sharing another blog post where I will give a brief overview of the advice I received from the senior Art Consultant that I recently spoke with. As well as anything else that’s new in my art journey. I still have to write a brief note about this particular art series that I’m painting, as well as a few words for each piece of artwork I’m working on or have already published.
Lots of work to do. In the meanwhile, there’s also photography assignments, meetings with prospective clients, blog posts to be written, podcast episodes to be recorded and blogged and then there’s real life, on ground.
I really do need clones.
( This concludes this three-part series of Took A Chance & Quickly Launched My Art on Social Media. If you have any questions or are an artist and launched your own art online and know something I missed, leave a comment and let’s chat! )