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the "and where do you sell it" question


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#1 docweathers

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 03:22 PM

Since I have gotten back into the arts I've really been taken back by one very consistent question I get. If I am at a casual social gathering of non-artists, at a garage sale or any other non-artists contact and I mention that I do welded steel sculpture and pottery I always get exactly the same question, word for word "and where do you sell it". They almost never ask anything about the nature of the stuff I do such as "is it big, little, round or square". I think this is an interesting commentary on what is meaningful in our culture ... $$$$$$

Does anyone else have this experience?

Larry

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#2 Biglou13

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 04:22 PM

yes ive heard it also many times.
they prolly don't care where you sell its what between the lines info they are seeking

...to see if your an artist that sells his work or some one that makes stuff for therapy..
...to see if any one else has bought your work to validate , and see if they should even bother looking at your work...
... they are interested in see your work, maybe buy,....more often just look
...they are so caught up in the material word they can think of anything else to say....
.... to measure you commitment to your work (or are you an actor but waiting tables)
most of the time is just small talk.... much ado about nothing......

but i also have canned answers
.....just booked a 5k job
..... my work is many private collections
.... what kind of art do you own?
... are you interested in seeing my work?
....occasionally sell at shows..... i am published.......my work can be seen here

but yes that is the problem to many people place value on cash, and your ability to make money..... the material world.....its sad
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#3 Diane Puckett

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 04:33 PM

Maybe they all hate their jobs and assume you are only creating art for the money. Or perhaps they just plain have no clue what else to ask and don't want to sound stupid. You could always just happen to have a couple photos with you so they would have more of an idea of what you do.
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#4 JBaymore

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 04:45 PM

Everything in America is about money for 99 percent of the populace. Money is the basic yardstick of American existance.

Schools are now being looked at not as educational institutions to give people broad world views and for teaching people how to think, but are looked at as only useful if they provide "vocational training".

The arts are simply not considered important. People are taught this "fact" from an early age in our educational system. Art is a luxury at the most. The REAL stuff makes lots of money.

Arts education for the general public is non-existant..... so people in general have no way to relate to art. And hence they essentially haven't a clue how to approach and interact with an "art maker". You might as well be green and have antennae. You are an alien being.

So they move to their comfort zone.... money. Of COURSE they can figure you out based on how YOU relate to generating money. If you make a lot.... you are a "good" artist. If you don't, you are not a good artist.

If you are spending your time making art and you are not making lots of money, you are a "crazy person".

As was said....... if you are selling a lot of work... then these people use that to gauge if your work is good.... and then they might consider purchasing some. They have no yardstick to measure your work BY except for money. They do not trust their aesthetic understanding... because they have had little education in developing that understanding.

It is a huger problem for America.

best,

...............john
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#5 docweathers

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 06:28 PM

I guess we're in a culture that if it doesn't impact next quarter's earnings statement, it's not part of our reality. Though I have had no art education myself, I think it's very sad to see it die. I think a lot of our cultural problems are because of our mono dimensional, $$$ value system. The research is very clear that beyond living indoors, eating regularly and not living in a totalitarian regime, more stuff does not make you happier. Maybe pretty things do make you happier.

Without any art education, I think people don't know what else to say, and someone might actually like what they do for a vocation and do it because they like it versus how much they get paid for it.

I've gotten to the point that unless directly asked, I did not mention that I do art. Mentioning that I do art almost never leads to interesting conversation beyond "and where do you sell it". When people actually asked to buy some of my stuff, I was give funny evasive answers that derails the whole conversation about selling. Most of my things I would much rather have for my own enjoyment then the money they might return

So far "my art is just for my private collection", but someday I'm going to run out of space.

Maybe should I should deal with it all by wearing an artist beret, a clay spattered T-shirt and sandals Posted Image

Larry

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#6 Chris Campbell

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 09:18 PM

OK ... confession time.Posted Image

When I meet someone and they tell me they make " x, y or z" I will admit to asking them if/how/where they sell it.
I want to hear their answer because I want to know how deep to go in the conversation.

That might sound awful, but people who are doing it for self fulfillment are not into the same things as people who are doing it to support themselves.
People who are doing it to improve their knowledge or push boundaries are into a whole different conversation.
People who do not want to be doing anything else are the best because they want to talk about everything.

So yes, I ask but it has nothing to do with how much $$ they are making.

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#7 oldlady

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 09:21 PM

Doc, don't forget to carry a pipe!
"putting you down does not raise me up."

#8 docweathers

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 10:47 PM

What I'm very careful not to do, even when I have my pipe, is to describe myself as an artist.... At least until I get my YouTube MFAPosted Image

Larry

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#9 Benzine

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 08:39 AM

In order for people to take you serious, as an artist, you just need one of the big floppy hats, a smock and those cartoonishly oversize loose bow ties.


John, I would argue that many schools, especially the elementary schools, find the arts to be very important. Don't forget, many of them added "exploratory" classes, such as art, to give the general classroom teachers more prep time......
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#10 Pres

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 10:03 AM

OK ... confession time.Posted Image

When I meet someone and they tell me they make " x, y or z" I will admit to asking them if/how/where they sell it.
I want to hear their answer because I want to know how deep to go in the conversation.

That might sound awful, but people who are doing it for self fulfillment are not into the same things as people who are doing it to support themselves.
People who are doing it to improve their knowledge or push boundaries are into a whole different conversation.
People who do not want to be doing anything else are the best because they want to talk about everything.

So yes, I ask but it has nothing to do with how much $ they are making.


Yes, and often when asked where do yo sell your work, I used to get defensive. Now I just say that I have a few standing orders every year, make pots I want to make, and go through about a ton of clay a year> I finish this with "and I'm retired". However, most people figure it is a hobby for me. It is, but that does not mean that my work is any less because of it. It just means that where I made 4 teapots in two 1/2 days, a full timer probably made 20. Each of mine started with multiple pieces, had much time put into individuality, finished craftsmanship, thought towards decoration and form. Whereas the other potter made 20 as part of a series, each much like the other. Mine will end up as sales in a local tea shop, or a gift to relative or loved one and be used for serving tea. Theirs purchased at a show where later in life they probably will not be used by 50% of the purchasers. Different strokes. . .

Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#11 Chris Campbell

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 10:44 AM

Yes Pres, some people think its a hobby or a fun pastime even when you are working six or seven days a week at it. Granted its better than office work even on the worst days, but its very often hard work under time pressures of drying clay.

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#12 Mark C.

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 11:21 AM

(In order for people to take you serious, as an artist, you just need one of the big floppy hats, a smock and those cartoonishly oversize loose bow ties.)
May as well add large red shoes and gp for the full clown effect
Plus the names are better-Bozo-Wimpy-Big Red
Mark
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#13 Benzine

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 12:17 PM

(In order for people to take you serious, as an artist, you just need one of the big floppy hats, a smock and those cartoonishly oversize loose bow ties.)
May as well add large red shoes and gp for the full clown effect
Plus the names are better-Bozo-Wimpy-Big Red
Mark


OK, now you're just being silly!
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#14 jrgpots

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 12:56 PM

OK ... confession time.Posted Image

When I meet someone and they tell me they make " x, y or z" I will admit to asking them if/how/where they sell it.
I want to hear their answer because I want to know how deep to go in the conversation.

That might sound awful, but people who are doing it for self fulfillment are not into the same things as people who are doing it to support themselves.
People who are doing it to improve their knowledge or push boundaries are into a whole different conversation.
People who do not want to be doing anything else are the best because they want to talk about everything.

So yes, I ask but it has nothing to do with how much $ they are making.


In order to talk intelligently, one needs a frame of reference. Setting up your "x, y, and zs" are absolutely needed. I like the way you framed the conversation. It's true that everything in our society is based on income. I wish it wasn't so. I just finished building a cinder block wall around my home. Everyone wants to know why I chose to build it. Most assume it was a cost driven choice. Nope! I love working with my hands making things.

#15 Mark C.

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 01:10 PM


OK ... confession time.Posted Image

When I meet someone and they tell me they make " x, y or z" I will admit to asking them if/how/where they sell it.
I want to hear their answer because I want to know how deep to go in the conversation.

That might sound awful, but people who are doing it for self fulfillment are not into the same things as people who are doing it to support themselves.
People who are doing it to improve their knowledge or push boundaries are into a whole different conversation.
People who do not want to be doing anything else are the best because they want to talk about everything.

So yes, I ask but it has nothing to do with how much $ they are making.


In order to talk intelligently, one needs a frame of reference. Setting up your "x, y, and zs" are absolutely needed. I like the way you framed the conversation. It's true that everything in our society is based on income. I wish it wasn't so. I just finished building a cinder block wall around my home. Everyone wants to know why I chose to build it. Most assume it was a cost driven choice. Nope! I love working with my hands making things.


I would think its to slow the hurricane winds as its not going to blow down, but I;m always in a functional mode.
Mark
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www.liscomhillpottery.com

#16 Wyndham

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 01:18 PM

I think the lack of art education has led to people who are in the arts to dismiss any art as non essential. With the downturn of the economy, non essentials are looked on as luxuries .

We also have a generation passing as those that valued arts& crafts, used those items, now are down sizing and their children do not value what their parents and grandparents cherished.

So the question might be "How in the heck can you be so backward in an Iphone world as to think of making a living with this".
Some days I get the feeling that they took the wrong turn and really wanted to go to the zoo(10 miles away).

Understand also in Seagrove NC,where I live, there are over 100 working potters so things work a bit different here.

All in all, I choose to be here and enjoy clay and make a living with what I enjoy. I just see a passing of certain traditions that I thought would wait till I was gone.
Wyndham

#17 Claypple

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 01:24 PM



I do not buy it when people say "Everything in America is about the money". Do you know any other country where it is not?! The money is on the back of the mind of everybody in any society and culture.

The question "And where do you sell it " would be OK if it didn't have a hidden hostility in it.

For me, this question sounds like "And who cares about your stuff?", which is more offensive.

So, for those who are absolutely disgusted with the aspect of the money: YES! There is one more thing that any artist appreciates more than the money:
it is a RECOGNITION. Selling your art is the part of that recognition.

In this respect, selling the art is the same as selling a book or selling music. It is not enough to write a good book.
You have to find your audience and market it and promote your work. In some cases you have to create the audience and you always have to educate it.

Just think of impressionists. Do you think they have not heard the question "And where do you sell it?"

#18 DAY

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 01:51 PM

Remember, most Americans do not 'create', they 'consume'. That is why the TV was invented.

#19 Claypple

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 03:34 PM

Remember, most Americans do not 'create', they 'consume'. That is why the TV was invented.


It does not prevent them from appreciating the art, good movies, good books.
Not every artist/musician/writer found the way to their valet/heart but not because the majority of Americans do not understand the art.
At least Americans have the $ to buy the art. Have you tried to be an artist in a country where the average pay is $1,000 a year?

#20 Chris Campbell

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 03:37 PM

I think many people envy us ... they picture us in an idyllic place doing exactly what we want to be doing day in and day out.
Sitting behind a wheel, centering, thinking about the form and what the pot will be.
Handbuilding an object that will be useful, or playful ... with maybe a personal twist or playful addition.
Dipping glazes to create a new surface ... opening kiln loads of finished work ... like Christmas day every time.

While they commute, ride subways, sit at desks, talk on phones, take meetings, fly to boring cities for more meetings, listen to people crab at them about service or quality, try to balance books, sell merchandise, fix crashed computers, wait for uploads, line up for lunch, miss their breaks, doze through seminars ....

Hmmmm ... maybe I'd be wondering if I could make a living with art too.Posted Image

Chris Campbell
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