“You could sell that,” is a phrase that many artists have heard time and again. It’s well meaning enough; it’s usually intended as a compliment.
Our culture is so tied to money, it’s hidden in our language. Whether you’ve been asked if you’re a “real artist,” or heard it in reference to another artist, you automatically know what it means. There is cultural inference that “real art” is earns money.
Living in a capitalist society means we value a free market. We put more value on things that can be sold for a monetary gain. And, the more we can sell if for, the more we value it. We forget about the value that extends beyond money.
Art need not be sold to be authentic.
There are many types of artists. Whether at the the professional level or not, we should not loose sight of authenticity. There are many reasons to sell art, but keep in mind that selling doesn’t make the art itself any better.
Selling your art should be a decision made with intention, not one forced upon you to validate your art making.
This website is for artists who are interested in defining prosperity on their own terms. Part of that, is an honest look at whether or not you really want to sell your art.
One type of Authentic Artist is a “Recreational Artist”
The Recreational Artist makes art for art’s sake. Often found experimenting in an art journal and playing with the latest in art materials, the Recreational Artist might not be contained within the parameters of one art form, much less one medium or style.
The Recreational Artist is not necessarily interested in financial gain as they are interested in having fun, connecting with others, or connecting deeper with their spiritual source. In truth, the Recreational artist may have extraordinary artistic talent and skill, but no interest or calling to art business.
The Recreational Artist’s Challenges:
• Recreational Artists may be overwhelmed with a plethora of various art supplies, works in process, and finished works, thus, organization can be a struggle. Because of this, these artists may desire to reduce their extraordinary collection of art pieces through sales. When this happens, the Recreational Artist may struggle with the seemingly conflicting interests of value vs. price.
• Recreational Artists may struggle with thinking that sales are the next logical step. This is often caused by friends and family suggesting (even pushing) them to sell. It can also be due to the realization that many of the pieces they are capable of creating are in fact, much better than what they see in galleries and/or art shows. This can cause an internal conflict because Recreational Artists do not wish to deal with business logistics such as presentation, marketing and accounting.
• Recreational Artists may struggle with ever-changing goals. One day, they intend to create only for personal reasons, but later, they may wish to make a living from their artworks. Although these two goals are not mutually exclusive, the Recreational Artist may take a windier path to consistent sales due to changing goals.
Art serves many needs, some of which serve the artist. Art that soothes the soul, heals old hurts, holds space for play, helps others see a new point of view or connects friends has value beyond price. Moreover, selling art does not create a “real artist” nor does it legitimize the artwork itself. A “real” artist creates art. End of Story.
If you happen to be a Recreational Artist, the next time someone asks you if you are a “real artist” tell them: “Yes, I am an authentic artist.”