Sunday, July 10, 2011
The trouble with being an artist, no.1
The idea of being an artist and making a living from what you do is very liberating is it not? You spend your days creating and people pay handsomely to possess your works. Really! I've seen it in movies!
The reality for most is quite different. When I was making dolls about 90% of sales were custom orders. Customers wanted dolls to look like their daughters, movie characters etc. They wanted to choose the colour and type of hair, the clothing style, the fabric, everything. Not a lot of artistic freedom in that. It also meant that for most orders I had to go out of my way to source materials which left me further out of pocket from the meager wage I received for making the doll.
A Tired Seamstress by Angelo Trezzini image source
As my skills progress and change I feel less and less inclined to make things to other people's specifications. The result? An Etsy shop full of creations I love and nobody wants to buy. This year I have made a grand total of $30. What is the answer here? Try to be popular by making what other people like and will buy? Or keep making what I like and accept that I'll never make a living (or even pocket money) from doing this?
Stay tuned - more thoughts to come. I'd love to hear your thoughts :)