Saturday, October 19, 2013

Is It time To Quit Painting & Crafting?

I have heard that there comes a time in every artists lifetime where they hit the wall. The time when they have run out of ideas, their vision fails. I think all of us have hit that wall no matter what we do. It is very humiliating on a variety of levels. You question your worth as a human being, how and what you know what I mean if you're over about 21, though sometimes younger.
Spooky House

What we are not prepared for, after a few sales, is the sudden and utter rejection of your artwork. I guess it really hit me this past week when I realized that as my Halloween craft items are expiring, not one sold this year. Yet, at a very tiny flea market in my town, I sold three last year. Not only were the Halloween items not selling nothing else was either. It was as if everyone had fled my store.

My wife keeps telling me, and the wonderful notes I have received from my Etsy store buyers confirm, that you have to see and hold them in person to appreciate all the work that goes into them.

This has finally prompted me to consider starting to show my things in a gallery. I have always been afraid of the kind of criticism you open yourself up to. The juried panel process. Indeed, I left a teacher and her son for doing exactly that kind of criticism. It is easy to criticize and I do it myself, yet while it is easy to do, it is very hard to take.

I have long felt that I just wasn't up to that caliber of work for gallery selling until recently. What opened my eyes this year was the Sawdust Festival. Looking carefully at the work for sale there, talking to those artists confident enough not to feel threatened (few are I found out) I finally realized that, depending on styles, I could have shown there and not have been ashamed.

So the dilemma then is what to do about the store? A friend has offered two questions.
1. Do I enjoy my art? The painting and crafting? If I do, then why worry about the store?
2. Am I trying to run it like a business? If I am, I most likely will be sorely disappointed.

He pointed out that Etsy, unlike say Pinterest is almost a closed shop. The majority of viewers are other sellers who are checking out what is out there. Its easy or not to favor something. They are not buyers just looky-loos. If I really want to sell more, I need to break out of that as my only selling mode. For some sellers this is the perfect perfect venue but with the hundreds of thousands of sellers, its easy to get lost. Indeed I have spent hours trying to figure out why some sellers always appear on page one of a search and I am buried. Is it sales? Views? If views what are they doing that I am not to get those views?

So I have to ask myself, what am I trying to do? Yes, I do enjoy the painting and crafting. When I am working I am in another world. It is one that tries to balance shapes, colors, design. Some are more successful than others but for every failure (less than perfect creation) there is a lesson that is corrected in the next item. I am proud of what I create or I wouldn't put them there for all to see.

I don't have an answer right now. I know that I am discouraged and that creating has stopped for awhile. It isn't for lack of ideas thankfully, it is for the feeling that no matter what I create, no one is interested. If any others out there have faced this dilemma, I would like to hear your thoughts and how you overcame this.

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