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docweathers

Narcissistic artists sell more art for more money

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yeah narcissistic people are often more successful because the bang their own drum and ask for more and often simply asking for more gets more and touting greatness will often translate into others thinking you are great.

Edited by Stephen

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ha ha, shows you can do research to prove almost anything.

I guess with me it comes down to personal versus business though. As a person I am working hard to constantly grow and improve as an artisan and hope people who buy my work like and enjoy owning it.

...As a business my work is the absolute best and everyone should own it.   

Edited by Stephen

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I think it's a matter of balance and delivery. Anything carried too far can become toxic. With most medications there is a therapeutic level and a toxic level. 

I think you want to appear confident in the high quality of your work but not be a blustering braggart. You want to have the posture toward your work that you hope your audience will imitate. You do this with both language and body language.

I personally take a very low-key approach. I always described myself as a beginner. However, I have licensed to do this since I generally don't. try to sell my work. I give some to charity auctions and the rest clutters up my house and yard. Being retired and not dependent upon selling my stuff for income makes this a lot easier.

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Great articles!

The way you price your work can make a big difference in whether or not it sells. Too high a price will limit sales, obviously, but so will too low a price. 'Perceived Value' is a big deal. For example, a potter friend of mine was selling her work at a small local art fair, and she had her mugs priced at $10. The potter a few booths down from her had his mugs priced at $18, and they weren't any better than hers. I told her she needed to raise her prices closer to his prices, because hers were so low that people would assume that they were inferior. So she raised hers to $16 and sold a lot more mugs.

I often raise prices bit by bit during a show season to see where sales start dropping off. Sometimes it's frustrating to find that I can't get as much as I'd hoped for a certain type of pot, and sometimes it's a good thing. For instance, I could never get the price I wanted for my pitchers. People just didn't care to spend money on them, so I stopped making them. On the other hand, I got my sponge holders up to $17, after starting at $10.

Pricing is tough.

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I don't sell art, but I have always opted to be genuine rather than strategic in professional and personal dealings and to let the quality of my work speak for me. Maybe I have missed some opportunities by not trying to figure out the rules of the game and to play them, but being myself feels better to me.

In terms of the story you share, Neil. I think that learning what the appropriate price is for something doesn't really sound either like bragging or selling yourself short. For example, the going price for something in, say, Manhattan, may be higher than the price for the same thing in Des Moines.

I remember a garage sale we had when I was a kid in LA. We really didn't like avocados, but we had a tree with huge avocados, about three times the size of a normal avocado. We priced them at a nickel, since we had no idea of what they cost in the store.

All the avocadoes sold right away.

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It is not just about price, It's also about presentation. You want  to role-play with the customer or the art critic how you want them to describe your work. to themselves. Posture how you want them to posture, touch it the way you want them to touch it etc. This will pattern their mirror neurons to more likely repeat and believe your performance as their own. 

This process is similar to why it's much easier to do something after you see someone demonstrate versus describe an action.  

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Hmm. I noticed something interesting in that first article. It talks about assessing the narcissistic traits of artists such as Van Gogh, Dali and Picasso, but it uses sale numbers from auction houses starting in 1980. Van Gogh had a reputation for being a spectacular ######## in his own community, certainly didn't earn any sort of reasonable income from his own work and died quite poor. Certainly none of those artists have been benefiting from auction sales in that time frame, so I don't think narcissism is something we ought to cultivate to try and make money for ourselves. It sure seems to benefit collectors though, so I wonder if the sales numbers are more about the romantic story of the Iconoclast Artist Making History.  

But then that brings us back to the marketing adage about people being interested in buying your story. So how interesting is the story you have to tell? According to that second study, if you're bragging or humblebragging, the answer is "not very." So what is interesting to your customers? What part of your story are they interested in hearing? What do they find exciting or romantic or otherwise compelling, and how exactly do you and your work pertain to them?

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8 hours ago, Callie Beller Diesel said:

Hmm. I noticed something interesting in that first article. It talks about assessing the narcissistic traits of artists such as Van Gogh, Dali and Picasso, but it uses sale numbers from auction houses starting in 1980. Van Gogh had a reputation for being a spectacular ######## in his own community, certainly didn't earn any sort of reasonable income from his own work and died quite poor. Certainly none of those artists have been benefiting from auction sales in that time frame, so I don't think narcissism is something we ought to cultivate to try and make money for ourselves. It sure seems to benefit collectors though, so I wonder if the sales numbers are more about the romantic story of the Iconoclast Artist Making History.  

But then that brings us back to the marketing adage about people being interested in buying your story. So how interesting is the story you have to tell? According to that second study, if you're bragging or humblebragging, the answer is "not very." So what is interesting to your customers? What part of your story are they interested in hearing? What do they find exciting or romantic or otherwise compelling, and how exactly do you and your work pertain to them?

I think this is exactly on point.

Some people can afford to be kind of awful, but that is the exception. 

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One thing I would add is that it really does matter WHERE you are selling your pots. I don't mean geo region but whether if it's a fine art show/fair or local market. The customers are much more likely to be both discerning and will to pay higher $ at the former but at a small local show or market, not so much. I think full time versus side gig also factors in.

Edited by Stephen

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15 hours ago, Gabby said:

In terms of the story you share, Neil. I think that learning what the appropriate price is for something doesn't really sound either like bragging or selling yourself short. For example, the going price for something in, say, Manhattan, may be higher than the price for the same thing in Des Moines.

My point was that pricing is an outlet for narcissism. It says a lot about how you feel about yourself and the quality of your work, and it's often the first way people get that information from you. If I've got the most expensive mugs at a show, it tells people that I think my mugs are worth more than everyone else's. I don't have to say it out loud to let them know that. I may have to convince them of it, but the price sets the stage for the conversation. If my work is underpriced, it shows that I don't have confidence in the quality of my work.

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Throwing out another thought regarding the pricing issue, the question of narcissism or naivety. I think it takes years to actually “see” a pot. It has often been brought up how many of us wish we could take back pots from friends / family / public that we made in our early years of clay. At the time I’m sure we all thought our work was great, pots sold or were appreciated as gifts which in turn validates the work. What I think this can lead to is less experienced potters basing their prices according to what they see other potters pricing at. In their eyes the quality of their mugs etc is comparable to the more experienced potters work therefore priced comparably. Is this narcissism or inexperience? Does it matter?

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3 hours ago, Min said:

What I think this can lead to is less experienced potters basing their prices according to what they see other potters pricing at. In their eyes the quality of their mugs etc is comparable to the more experienced potters work therefore priced comparably. Is this narcissism or inexperience? Does it matter?

I am glad you wrote this. I have seen this as a purchaser.

I think it is a combination of the seller's 1)not having a good eye for the difference in quality between his work and another person's, 2)wishful thinking, and 3)hoping purchasers either don't know the difference in quality or don't value the quality differential enough for that to affect their willingness to pay.

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"I think it takes years to actually “see" a pot."

That strikes a cord! Still warm out the kiln, Ooohh! ...soo beautiful! Sometime later ...what have I done? It's a monsta! Aaarrrgh! 

It's the meh, time to make more that keeps me comin' back.

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On 2/11/2019 at 11:48 AM, Stephen said:

yeah narcissistic people are often more successful because the bang their own drum and ask for more and often simply asking for more gets more and touting greatness will often translate into others thinking you are great.

At least for a while... looks like that braggart Jeff Koons is finally getting less for his productions. (Can you tell I'm not a fan?)

Most potters don't have much room for signatures , but usually, since my name is short, and I take up as much space as available, it can be taller than an inch. I just sign 

Rae

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21 hours ago, Min said:

Throwing out another thought regarding the pricing issue, the question of narcissism or naivety. I think it takes years to actually “see” a pot. It has often been brought up how many of us wish we could take back pots from friends / family / public that we made in our early years of clay. At the time I’m sure we all thought our work was great, pots sold or were appreciated as gifts which in turn validates the work. What I think this can lead to is less experienced potters basing their prices according to what they see other potters pricing at. In their eyes the quality of their mugs etc is comparable to the more experienced potters work therefore priced comparably. Is this narcissism or inexperience? Does it matter?

I think there's not much room in our field for braggadocio. The work we do basically rewards quality so the fakers are more quickly weeded out. Also, there's really not enough money in ceramics, blowhards move on to greener pastures.

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My point is that there's a lot more than the art itself the controls the perceived value. Many times I have thrown a pot in my trash barrel because I didn't like it or didn't come out like I hoped to find a similar pot by a famous artist that is selling at a high price.

This is most apparent in some of the bizarre simplistic paintings that sell for millions of dollars. It's high status to own the painting of a famous artist and there's an implicit assumption that if you are a famous artist you see beyond the rest of us to some higher plane of beauty, which is BS.

So to sell your pots for more you have to do more than make better pots.

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4 minutes ago, docweathers said:

My point is that there's a lot more than the art itself the controls the perceived value. Many times I have thrown a pot in my trash barrel because I didn't like it or didn't come out like I hoped to find a similar pot by a famous artist that is selling at a high price.

This is most apparent in some of the bizarre simplistic paintings that sell for millions of dollars. It's high status to own the painting of a famous artist and there's an implicit assumption that if you are a famous artist you see beyond the rest of us to some higher plane of beauty, which is BS.

So to sell your pots for more you have to do more than make better pots.

You see this a lot with social media. Instagram is full of people who make good-but-not-great work yet have tens of thousands of followers because of the beauty of their images, not because of the work. The question is whether or not all those followers actually translate into sales.

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