Sunday, 21 April 2019

Compromises and the Art of taking your time

If there is one thing I am guilty of is always wanting to do everything at once and see instant gratification (aren't we all? Or maybe not). And when it comes to building my art business, it's no different, but I am learning to be patient and do one thing at a time!
I will not deny that it can be frustrating when financial situation dictates the choices I have to make, but looking at the silver lining, I do think it keeps me focused on seeing every step through.
At the end of last year, I needed to reinvest in my online presence and my new website was born. This year, I was faced with a dilemma of putting my eggs in the basket of a large art trade show, or distribute between the studio upgrade and finding some smaller exhibits. Compromises had to be made. I was torn between my strong desire of finally jumping in and exhibiting at Art Source in Dublin or staying a little more conservative and playing it slightly more safe.
In a way, a number of circumstances made the decision for me. I was delighted to be invited to show at two more local Art exhibitions and I received numerous request for Art workshops and weekly classes. So I decided to go with the flow, concentrating in building a nice collection for the shows and investing in a bigger studio space to accommodate not only my paintings but also a classroom.
I feel quite excited about these new projects!! Art Source has just been put on ice though and is already pencilled in for 2020!\jessicabaronartist

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

The weight of business decisions

Yes, it is a business...

It isn't a hobby, a past-time, it isn't even a gift. It is a job and a business, it requires over 40 hours a week to attempt to make a living out of it. There is nothing wrong with doing what you love for a living, but I am not fooling myself, it is no easy ride!

The right path

Like every other business out there, my business come under scrutiny (by me, harshest critic). I have to decide what is the best way to go, sometimes it is informed decisions, sometime it can be a shot in the dark, like my last decision...
Since setting up, I have done prints of my paintings, selling them at reasonable prices to a wide audience. It has been my bread and butter, so to speak. The fork in the road came when I had very little time left to do original paintings and the inevitable need to grow the print side of the business threw me a dilemma: I could put all my energy in expanding my "distribution" and live with the fact that there would be nothing left to grow the original painting side of things.
Or I could choose status quo, but this is a risky strategy in business.
To say that the idea of abandoning painting for printing and distribution was leaving me cold is an understatement. The feeling I get for selling one original painting is not even equalled by the sale of 500 prints. I was at a lost as to what was the right thing to do.

What ifs

That's when a business advisor threw me a curve ball. "Why don't you keep the prints just as they are, and give yourself two years putting your time and effort in building you sale of original paintings?" Is what he said to me. 
But what if it doesn't work... Then I can still pick up where I left off and expand into prints if I so wish.
I have taken that on board and I am putting everything into painting, enjoying every minute. Am I convinced? Not at all, I still question the decision everyday, but I have always, to fall back on, the fact that nothing has to be a final decision. It is a fork in the road that can either be a short cut or a detour, only time will tell.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

New look on the world "wild" web

New website, new look

It's live, after a lot of time, very little glitches (there will be time for them I'm sure), my new look website is up and running. I can't tell you the level of excitement!!
It is me, it is professional and I am proud of it and its content. I have a lot to learn yet to maximize the results, but I have learned to ask for help and I have found places where people are there to help starting businesses like mine. My local enterprise board has been very supportive and I hope to keep referring to them for further assistance.
Just in time for Christmas, one last push for the last minute shoppers before a well deserve break, even if I do say so myself 😊

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Get online they said!

Get online, they said!
This year, is the year I've put over 30% of my time on my online presence. Building a branded instagram account, expanding a facebook page and finally, working on a better website (yet to come, hopefully in the next couple of months).
It makes and awful lot of sense of course. I can reach many more people at an increased frequency on social media sites. Unfortunately, these take a lot of time to yield collectors and sales. A fully operational ecommerce website is the next step, because frankly, without sales, there is no business. It is costly and time consuming, but done at the right time in this process I think it can bring me to the next level.
Vlogging and live video post
Sorry, I had to draw the line there for now. I can write, I can post pictures or videos of painting process, I can even put photos of myself from time to time (apparently very important to put a face to the artist I'm told), but the camera is not for me. It has been with me for many years, I actually think it stems from family gatherings, at the infancy of the amateur video camera, where Christmas parties became hours of self-consciousness, being unknowingly stared at by these little black boxes people were holding. Will I change in time? I doubt it. I'll stick ti writing for now anyway!

Making Art a business

It has been a while...
Should be the start of all my posts, but here's the thing, I can only speak the truth: I am a solo worker. It takes me tremendous efforts to remember to blog, remember to post on social media, remember to keep it personal, and even harder is to talk about myself and what I'm up to.
And that is all part and parcel of making Art a business.
So as other people must drive themselves to work and maybe sit behind a desk, I must give myself some drive and sit myself behind the desk for some reflection on what will I write next. What will I announce next? And what if nothing particularly interesting happened that week, what if I've been bogged down in commissions with nothing I can show the world?
So for the past year, I have worked on making social media a habit, leaving this blog aside for a bit. But here I am to pick it up again and give it my all.
Making Art a business is no mean feat. One must accept that there is thousands of artists out there.
For me, instead of being discouraging, I get great inspiration from the journey other artists have been on and where they are now. And observing them is part of the process in determining where I want to be.
It is hard work, this business thing, hours spent on paperwork, research, account, hours spent not painting!!! But between all of that, things are getting clearer and directions are appearing to me little by little...
To be continued

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Art or Craft, are we splitting hair?

I have come to ask myself the question because, living in a small rural Irish village, I have used the outlet of "crafts markets", "Christmas crafts fairs", etc. to promote and sell my art.

The very first year, I attempted with paintings and limited edition prints, but one thing was clear, people were there to spend a few quid yes, but not to make an investment in an expensive art piece. In fact, in the several years I have taken part in those fairs, I have only ever sold 1 original framed painting. And although I used these outlet as a general promotional tool as much as anything else, it is still supposed to be a revenue making exercise. 

Being flexible and inventive is what I had to be.

I started hand painting miniatures that could be used as ornaments (and many more things I've tried, but with time, I realized that I needed to stay focus and not multi-task in other mediums and styles).
And now comes the question, are these Art or Craft?
I never do the same painting again on canvas, but for my little miniatures, I reproduce the same pictures (now they never really are exactly the same but close...) as many times as it will sell. Would that qualify as craft and not art...
I've looked up a few descriptions, some say Art is all about expressing emotions, while craft is a form of work with a tangible output...
Or that craft, historically anyway, is associated with the production of useful objects and art with useless ones!!
Others say that in craft, there is a planned, known outcome...

 I'm none the wiser really, and I'm not sure it matters.
The reason I've asked myself the question in the first place, was that my miniatures have evolved from simplistic little ornaments, to mini oil paintings deserving of their rightful place in a frame... and was I taking anything away from them by not giving the exclusivity of a "one-of" piece... and how should I price them then...

But really, it only comes down to what the customers are willing to pay. Would they pay a premium price for a 4" painting because it's a "one of". You may get two different types of customers in Art galleries, the investor (the clue is in the title) and the art lover who has money and buy because he loves what he sees. In the craft market, there is only the one who loves what he sees, maybe somewhat influenced by the fact that it is handmade. Those are my customers and my only concern when creating for them is to make something they will like at the price they will want to pay!

So call it crafty or arty, in my quest of becoming an artist (one who's actually making a living at it!), it all boils down to what is commercially viable, full stop!

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Giving back has given me even more!

Giving time for free??? Right! And where am I suppose to find that "free" time to give it?!

I won't be preaching to you, but just share one of the experience I have had recently. You see, I believe that the old cliché is quite true: giving gives more to the giver than the receiver! And I also believe it to be even more true for artists.

I might be alone in this, but yet probably not, as a "trying" artist, I live with what I will call a complex of usefulness! The need to justify what I do, the need to be useful beyond providing people with nice pictures...
And it is in that frame of mind, stumbling between that selfish need and some generosity thrown in, that I started a project this summer with people awaiting to be lawfully accepted in this beautiful country that is Ireland. We painted a mural, and what a beautiful result. I hope it gave the people who took part a great escape for self-expression, made them forget a little the situation they find themselves and their family in, and simply gave them a time to enjoy...