Festival Network Online Newsletter
Art/Craft Edition - June 2006
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Hey Artists and Craftspeople,
A note from the editor...
Hope your summer is jammin'. The Thriving Artist is a such a great resource for artists, I selected another article from Steve Popkin explaining his views on the difference between art and craft.
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Craft or Artwork?
==============================================>1. First, you have to take a step back and look at your work as from your customer's point of view. Do they see your work as homemade that they think they could do if they had the time? Alot of items that fall into the "craft" genre are items that people look at as easy to duplicate themselves. Although you may think that this is not true, I guarantee that if you ask your customers they will think that they can make it themselves with some instruction. This is not necessarily a bad thing but realize with this mentality, trying to upsell your work into a piece of "art" may be difficult. You have to craft (pun intended) a message with your work making it appear as something that is difficult to create and that you have spent years in design. If you look at your work and this can't be done...well maybe the craft market may be your outlet. Once again, there is nothing wrong with this. There are crafts people making tons of money selling their craftwork. Which brings me to the next point.
2. Why do you care if people view your work as artwork or craftwork? Sometimes this is a matter of semantics and is difficult for the artist to stomach. I'll be honest with you...as long as your art is selling for the prices you want, does it really matter? It may be difficult as far as the ego goes but you know you are an artist, you shouldn't need the affirmations of a fickle public. I know this is easier said than done because we all want to be appreciated, but in the end...does your work sell or doesn't it? I have met many "artists" that produce wonderful art but they can't sell. I have also met many crafts people that sell tons of work for big money. Which would you rather be? There is nothing wrong being a crafts person! Art is to communicate with the public and create an impact, does your work do that? That's what's important!
3. Ok, Ok already..you still want to be labeled an "artist" and not crafty...I understand. This brings me to the point... where are you currently selling your art? Are you selling at shows known for craftwork or at higher end art shows? Have you applied to go into the higher end shows and what response have you gotten? This is where you have to confront yourself a little. If you have applied to the "art" show market and have failed to get in, what can you change in your work to make it more original where it doesn't appear that it can be produced by the dozen? I would recommend doing some research and checking out other artists in your genre to see what they are doing and what works for them. Go to several high end art shows or galleries and see the type of work they are making and compare it to your own. Are they of the same quality? How is their work displayed? What marketing tools are they using to portray their work as higher quality? In other words...why re-create the wheel! If you can find other artists that are selling similar type of work that is labeled as art find out what they are doing and copy it. I am not saying copy their art but copy their methods of bringing it to the market in a professional way.
4. If your work really does fall under the heading of craftwork..go for it!! Be the best you can be!! I love craftwork and I think what you really need to do is get a clear definition of "crafts" before giving up on this identity. Crafts are what built our country. They launched many trends and socioeconomic movements throughout the years. I don't view crafts as a demeaning term but rather as a specific identity of an artist. Being a craftsperson doesn't mean you are not an artist on the contrary it is a form of art.
Well, that's how I feel on that subject. I hoped it helped somewhat in helping you sort it out. Pick the opinion above that fits your situation and build from there. Above all, be true to yourself. As an artist, you are a creative person with much to offer the world. Don't try to fit into other people's definition of art. fit into your own. You'll be happier that way!
Article provided by:
Steve Popkin, owner of the website http://www.thethrivingartist.com
Learn the secrets most artists and craftsmen will never know about selling artwork in his complimentary e-course
Newsletter editor: Julie M. Cochrane
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