It sounds crude. However, to this day I can still hear one of my favorite college professors saying “Never whore yourself.” He was an art teacher who had paid his dues in art shows and endless submissions. He had worked it for many years and learned the hard way that self esteem and satisfaction to an artist comes not only from creating but also from being compensated for the effort. That’s right, creating paintings, photographs, sculpture, etc. is often challenging and difficult!
When someone buys a painting from a self representing artist, they are not just buying a product produced on a machine. Years of practice and failures have gone into that one success. College loans have been paid off (or not yet). Supply costs that continue to skyrocket have gone into it. My favorite paint is 50.00 per ounce! We use electricity, water and other resources. We think up ideas….we buy stuff…A LOT of stuff….we sweat! For me painting is very physical! So much so that often the next day I am sore as if I had done a new workout. And there is the photography, marketing, packaging and customer relations that also go into the work.
As crude as Dr. Mike was, his words could not ring more true. You cannot possibly expect others to value what you do unless you value yourself first. It’s o.k. to have sales and offer friends discounts. As long as it feels good in your soul. If you can sleep at night knowing that you have been compensated for a job well done, you are on the right track. If you lay awake belittling yourself for practically “giving” your art away, you need to rethink your strategy. Never whore yourself!
With that said…today I have a few pieces on sale….they are cheap, but they ain’t free. 😉