South Walton High School Art Club March 2020

How cool are we?!! I was graciously asked by the South Walton HS Art Club to come and talk about what it’s like to be an artist in our community!  Wow, did I have a lot to say!  I think I crammed an entire course in business into 40+ minutes.  My summation of what I was trying to say, is that, being an artist, is being in business.  You can create the most amazing art ever, that zillions of people will want to buy, but if you don’t have the ability to market and sell it, then you’ll just be an artist with a lot of amazing art!  Conversely, you can have super-ugly-blah-art, and sell a ton of it, if your best friend is a marketing-genius-sales-person with awesome communication skills.  I actually suggested they reach out to a few public relations people for their next meet!  

The million dollar question remains the same for many.  I get asked it from my professional students, and these inquisitive high school students wanted to know the same: How do I price my art!?  Gosh, it’s a good one with so many very good answers.  My fave answer is this: Pretend the piece of art you want to sell/price doesn’t exist.  You have to go out, gather your supplies, gather your thoughts and intuition, do some planning, sketching, prepare your piece, execute the piece, maybe go back over it a few times, sit and think about it for awhile, decide that it’s done and beautiful, then wait for your client to fall in love with it, take payment, pay taxes and insurance…you get the picture.  It’s a lot more than you think.  Whatever that number is, you’ve got to balance it with the perceived value.  What are people willing to pay for it? 

Bottom line, it takes time.  You gotta put yourself out there and see people’s reaction.  If there’s strong demand and limited supply, your prices go up!  The opposite is true too.  Simple economics!  I hated that class in college..but I get it now…

Yep, everyone got a goodie bag with Shard Shop gift cards, fun stickers and promo materials because that’s what artists do when they’re not making art….they promote themselves!

Thank you ART CLUB @SWHS!  I loved sharing with you…and I hope my daughter joins your club next year!

Mary

Postscript:  I typed up the above blog in March 2020..just as the school year was getting ready to pause for Spring Break.  My kids and I were packed up and ready to fly to Hawaii to inter my husband’s ashes at Punchbowl, National Cemetery of the Pacific.  We made it out there and we laid John to rest on a sad, drizzling-gray day.  We left right after the ceremony.  We sped home because I had the feeling that the world was about to end.  That was seven months ago, and in some respects, it did end.  I have not blogged or written any thoughts since March 2020.  I couldn’t believe what was happening to our country, to our lives, to my old industry (airlines), to my businesses, to the life I was hoping to pass on to my children.  It was so aberrant, I could hardly grasp it.  My knee-jerk reaction was to shut down.  I had no desire to blog, to share, to be a part of any conversation about anything!   I literally shut myself in my studio, put my head down, and did the only thing I knew how to do….to create!  While my kids were glued to online education, I was slapping down paint and cracking up glass.  I spent 6 weeks total cranking out over 650 pieces of art.   The cherry on top?  I didn’t spend a dime.  I had everything I needed to create a ton of art which was a good thing because if you remember, not a lot of things were available in stores or online.  I’m slowly trying to come out of my art cave.  It’s not easy.  Thanks for listening…maybe that’s the cure!