Flying Without A Net
Recently when discussing all things art with a group of fellow artists there was a moment when I was talking about my fears regarding sales for next year. I have sold more original works than I produced for the past several years. This has left my inventory quite depleted. Yes this is a good problem to have … it is none-the-less a “real” problem. Having my own gallery is awesome. It’s also stressful and exhausting. The only way my tiny gallery, in my tiny town keeps my lights on and my belly full is by juggling half a dozen different art related income streams. I gotta keep all the balls in the air to make it work. Drop one … say like loss of original artwork sales for a year … and it could potentially be financially serious. I’m single so it’s all on me to keep the cash flow … well … flowing.
So when trying to broach the subject with my art group I was met with jeers about “Oh poor you, selling too much art.” And I know it was in good fun. These are in fact a group of artists that I have known and consider some of my best friends for 10-15 years. They have been there and supported me during many of life’s trials. So to be clear I was not hurt by it, but it did in fact shame me just a little bit and thus put me on a bit on an introspective path.
I mean did it sound like I was bragging? Did I not include enough hand wringing to be clear it was in fact “not” about that. Or was I just over sharing?
Even now I feel compelled to place a disclaimer “Well, I am not a prolific artist so my outselling what I produce isn’t as impressive as it sounds.”
When did it become shameful to talk about money?
After spending a summer talking openly about sales with fellow art fair artists I forget sometimes that not everyone is comfortable with this kind of conversation. Many of my art fair artist friends discuss money and sales openly because the exchange of this type of information is invaluable. Speaking vaguely serves no one. My idea of what makes a successful event, and your idea and the guy down the street, will be all very different.
When talking with my art fair friends talking real monetary numbers and whether an event was successful isn’t usually seen as bragging. Merely a sharing of information. therefor shaming at least in my circles, doesn’t occur. But when talking with other artist friends, celebrating one’s success “too much” can be seen as an abundance of ego.
All this got me to thinking and curious what you guys think. As professional artists … do you talk openly about your successes or sales (successful or otherwise) with other artists?