Just Say “No!” To Affordable Art Shows

I am about to post something that will get some artists mad.  I want them to be mad and I want them to change.  If the artists do not change, the art market will not change in Portland, Oregon.  What I am asking artists to do is to say the word, “No!”  This is a difficult word for many to say but if artists will say “No!” when asked to do Affordable Art Shows, they will help to stop art being undersold in Portland, Oregon.

For too many years, Portland has been known as the place to purchase affordable art.  This practice has caused artists to undercharge and undersell.  There have been shows where artists sell their paintings for under $50.  Some artists say that they want to participate and they want to get their name out there in the public’s eye.  My question is which public are they trying to impress by selling their original  work for under $50?

Truthfully, I have gone to these shows and I have purchased art.  Sadly, the galleries did not include my name or contact information when they wrote the invoices. I paid cash for the pieces.  There was not even an email to share.  When I asked them if they wanted my name and address, they shrugged and said they were in a hurry to write up the next invoice.  Legally, the artists own this information and the right to know who purchased the art.  I left the shows after my purchases feeling guilty because I was contributing to the problem.

The other reason this is a bad idea for an artist is that placing their original art in the public market under $50 will affect an artist’s sales history.  This move can be a black eye for an artist for years.  For that matter, an artist always should be cautious where they sell their art or which non-profit they donate their art.  If their art sells low at auction, it is part of their art sales history.  The website http://www.askart.com tracks information on artists.  If you are not in their data base, contact them and keep them updated on your sales history.  Buyers use this resource.

The advise I have is look around at the artists you are continually showing your art next to.  Are they raising their prices beyond affordable?  If they are not, remove yourself from those shows.  Are you tracking your sales and your clients?  If you are not, start doing it.  The best clients are the clients you have sold to.  Let them know about your latest work.

If you are losing clients when you raise your prices, feel relief.  Those clients keep you down and keep you poor. If you are showing in an art gallery and they are resisting you raising your prices out of fear your sales will slow down, consider leaving the gallery.  Lastly, just say the word “No!”  Say, “No!”  to Affordable Art Shows.  Say “No!” to your best buddies at shows that refuse to raise their prices. It is up to you as an artist to change the way the world views art and artists in Portland, Oregon.  The truth is, we are one of the hottest art markets in the world and we have the most talented artists in the world. Let’s prove this by getting comfortable with the word, “No!”momsthing

2 Responses to Just Say “No!” To Affordable Art Shows

  1. David Bjurstrom January 11, 2016 at 3:55 am #

    WOW! Thank you SO much for this blog post which I ran across via the convoluted routes one often encounters on Facebook as a friend of one of your friends.

    Anyway, as a working artist, it is EXACTLY what I have always said, despite the counter-arguments of artist friends.

  2. Sharon Inahara January 11, 2016 at 7:19 am #

    Excellent post, Bonnie. I’ve witnessed this in the photo business for many years, and in many cities. Sadly, there is always someone willing to undercut the rest. It’s tough to reinforce this standard as many people are grateful for crumbs, when they could choose dinner. I still have an occasional client who offers to pay @ old rates. But it is surprisingly easy to say no. Saying NO engenders more self respect and better clientele. Thank you for bringing awareness to this self-deprecating cycle.

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