On Friday I attended a workshop for artists and craftmakers. This workshop was about finding ways to make your work pay. Essentially. Yes. That was the gist of it and I am very thankful that this event existed and that there are things like this and groups and organisations out there with the goal of assisting artists at various stages of their careers. Apparently, I am an ’emerging artist’ which makes me feel like I am slowly releasing myself from an egg; me and my unique-to-me batch of talents breaking out into the world. Cheep cheep notice me tweets.
So. It was all very good and we learned important things like the obvious: If you don’t value yourself and your work, no one else will. We did an exercise for finding the basic costs of creating a work and what was needed to not just break even but to *gasp* earn a living through your work. Why do we as artists and makers feel so bad when we price our work according to what it and our time is worth? The next time I put a price tag on my work, a price that is fair and reflects the cost of materials and the cost of my time (as well as the expense of framing), I will not display it apologetically. I value myself. I value what I do. And I swear to God I’m not ripping you off.
So really, it’s value for money. Think of all the many hours you will enjoy this work. Think of the thought, the time, the materials and the love that has gone into this.
A good lesson learned.
Part of the workshop also dealt with how to approach galleries, which I feel fairly confident about doing by this stage of the game. Do your research. Obviously. Scope it out and make sure your’re a good fit for it and it for you. Obviously. Know the name of the person that runs the thing. Yes. Yes. All good advice and chalk full of common sense.
There was a spiel about networking that I backed away from. Networking is necessary for my type of work and it is a valuable lesson to learn that making connections is vital. What I don’t like is engineering a situation that feels false and is driven by the thought ‘what can this person do for ME?’ False and insincere: this is NOT how I roll. I prefer my connections to be organic, friendly, if there is anything I can do to help you then great and hey, if we both get something out of this then isn’t that a bonus.
I am pleased that I attended this chat, this discussion, this thing where there were about 30 of us asking questions and having them answered. There is much to think about now. Unfortunately, my brain felt it was vital to think on it last night and didn’t seem to shut off until 4am. Let’s see if we can put that thinking time into more useful hours, like, on a Sunday afternoon at a cafe with something nice and hot sitting across from me – like a hot chocolate with marshmallows.