No, I haven’t joined the Facebook generation, though I am very grateful to the SBA for giving this site some publicity via their Facebook page.
Apparently the artist ‘needs to engage with their target market via social media’ these days, and several people have attempted to persuade me to start. I’m really torn in two by this and tempted to ask one of the youngsters I work with to give me some guidance. Katherine Tyrell did a good job of persuading me at the SBA exhibition in March, largely so I might benefit from the botanical artists FB group, but I still haven’t jumped in.
One reason (if I’m honest) is that the day job means I don’t actually need to make money from my art at the moment, in fact it would make life more complicated (tax etc) if I sold work, and one thing I can’t be bothered with is bureaucratic hassle.
On similar lines, I have been asked to exhibit some work locally, which is nice, but as I won’t be selling any of those pieces I am very conscious of the up-front cost of having them mounted and (potentially) framed.
I’d like to explain my financial dilemma with regard to exhibiting, especially if I attempt to exhibit at the 2017 SBA exhibition:
For one piece on A3 paper I have estimated the following:
To get a professional scan done with a proof print (so I can produce prints in future if I sell the original): £40
Mounting and framing: £50 at least.
Miscellaneous fees and packaging £10.
Travel to London (armpit of the universe) and a night at Travelodge – at least £150.
That makes £250 so far – though travel costs could be divided by the number of pieces involved.
To break even after 40% commission (even assuming I sell anything) I need to price my work at £400 – and that just to cover outgoings without any actual reward for my time.
It takes me about three full weeks to produce a piece. Let us call it two weeks if I focus and don’t suffer RSI symptoms. If I were to assume £10 an hour for my time (less than my day job pays but more than minimum wage). That makes around £800.
Add the costs to this and I am looking at selling work at £1200 per piece to make any sort of living if I only sell originals. Nobody is going to shell out that kind of money for a small piece by an unknown artist.
This can be offset by selling prints, cards etc. Though the wisdom of this is doubtful as people will often buy a card for £3 and frame it rather than fork out for a print or original, which I quite understand. Teaching would be another option, but where?
So where does this leave me? I don’t know to be honest! I can understand why some artists do their own framing and printing though.