Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Art market stucks

Are you an artist searching the way to sell your artwork? Probably at first you hit the web, because it really looks like place of fulfilled dreams. Whole world is your playground there. But soon you keep only question in your mind: Why then the buyers hide? Where did they all go? Why art does not sell?

Many artist try the eBay as first place to break through and become art work power sellers. We all want very simple thing: to have all day free to work in our studio, painting paintings, drawing illustrations, creating awesome universe of our fantasy. We need just one bothering thing - regular income.

Michal Splho art market drawing

Illustration by Michal Splho

Many see the eBay as their ultimate vision for managing their regular income. But, surely, you are probably not the first person who noticed slowing tempo of art market. Particularly on eBay. Searching in it's different categories you may probably experience a shock. Look closer at category with cars and yachts. The prices are huge numbers, you cannot find that high prices in the art category. In spite of that, each second car or yacht has 10 to 30 bidders, the phenomenon you can hardly experience in the art category. That one seems to be death right now. One of 20 items gets hardly 1 bidder. The prices within 100 USD scope. Do you still see your future there?

As many eBay members remember it was not like that in 2003. That was a time when this was much less competitive market. In 2003 you didn't have 65 000 oils out there competing with one another. Many say that eBay just isn't as much fun anymore. There are items that just a year ago would have sold, maybe with multiple bids, that pass by not sold today. There is an opinion too that the loss of sellers and buyers drain on word of mouth advertising and enthusiasm for eBay on top of a slow economy is disaster for a lot of eBay sellers.

Well, the economy is actually so bad that people are just cutting down on the little luxuries they used to buy. In spite of that you should not give it up. Surely there is a way how to turn upside down the stucking art market, and not only on eBay. That's why I write that article. Read, act and have a fun. You can be the one who wins the market. Where to begin?

First, what you are recommended to do is probably NFAC competition and also a few ACEOs to get your name and work noticed.

Second, you should think about minimum time/money frame. Give yourself enough time - tell yourself OK I have X amount of months (at least 12) and X amount of dollars to give eBay - don't give up until you've put in what you have decided to be your investment. Your investment will be different from other artist's investment - it's a personal decision regarding how much you feel you want or can invest.

Third, many have noticed their sales improved when they self promote. One can't expect eBay to do that. A blog is a good start, but there is so much more that can be done for free.

One vintage clothing seller had noticed that he get more traffic & sales to his store by making sure his items are on Googlebase. To get on Google Base you have to have your item for sale at a set price, like a Buy It Now, or a set price as a store item. Google base doesn't pick up auctions.

The next place that brings you more traffic is Twitter. Twitter is easy & free, I highly suggest it. Then there is Myspace, another place to promote & bring traffic to your art for sale. Some sellers use Facebook. You can't list your store name as an account, but you can make a profile under your real name & promote your items for sale.

Both Myspace & Facebook have these things called "widgets" from eBay....they contain HTML code generated by you put that code on your Myspace or Facebook profile & it will show your running auctions with photos, so a person can click on it & come to your items on eBay.

There are also many art oriented websites to promote on for free. Just Google one of your favorite successful artists & you will see where they are on the web, most likely they are using lot of free places to promote too & you can sign up as well.

Very few businesses are successful without promotion. Don't forget to include a business card in your package to your customer. If you have an eBay store, eBay allows you to send newsletters to your customers that will give them a sneak peek at your week's upcoming sales etc.

Another good way for anyone to self-promote is to think about branding, your logo, your own template. These things make you memorable on eBay & the web so buyers see you as set apart form all the many sellers here.

As you had noticed you are actually starting an on-line form of business, so I believe it is good to learn something about it. From my own experiences I can recommend you visit pages of Gyutae Park, where you can find lot of tips and tricks and download free ebook about internet selfpromoting strategies - it is excellent source of knowledge.

And the last one - there are lot of other places to list your art, and most of them are free to list. Just search and try. A good tip is Main Street Mall Online or AARTi

Surely there are plenty of other tips and tricks how to build a solid foundation in the market, surely I will post some in the next posts here. Just keep coming and practice what you learn. Then come back and leave comments, how it worked for you...

To be continued >>

My listings on eBay can be viewed here

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Still life - awesome universe of imagination

There are painters who make yellow spot from the sun, but there are others who - thanks to their art and creativity - make the sun from the yellow spot.

P. Picasso

Art is not a copy of the real world. One of the damn things is enough.
From the Nelson Goodman's book Languages of art

Original still life with bottles oil painting Michal Splho
Michal Splho - Still life, oil painting

I was discussing a lot that topic with friends and people drawn in art. What is art? What is good painting? What is good still life painting particularly? Is the main criterium for the "good still life painting" to reflect perfectly the reality? To be an exact copy of the real things used in the composition (as can be found in flemish historic and contemporary still life paintings)? Shall the painting surface be perfectly flat and the painting be "superreal"?

So many questions for the problem which seems to be so simple and easily answered. The answers can be many - and for different people the different statements - even contradictory - could be the solution. It is not easy with art at all. I have been facing these questions when intensively dealing with still life paintings. I painted a lot of still lives at that time, and actually I sold a lot of them too. People like them for many reasons.

I visited many shows featuring still lives too. The flemish painters seemed to me to put their focus on producing photographic paintings. That is one point of view, one approach to the problem. It can be accepted.

Of course, there is another realm of understanding art and painting the still life. I am not sure if I can define it better than the quotes at the beginning of that text. They talk for hundred words. That is what I believe in. That is my faith. Art as creating of the universe on it's own, independent from the reality and generating objects known to us - in other words the reality - from the red and blue and green spots of paint.

I believe Giorgio Morandi was one of the painters. Picasso and many others too - just search the web and see. Creating an universe on it's own is what I try to accomplish when holding a brush in my fingers.

I am listing here on the eBay auction one of the pieces - they sell well and not many left in my workshop. You can view it among my listings. It can be part of your collection. Feel free to comment and ask. It will be appreciated and answered.