Yesterday, I start printing up some of my photographs to add to the mini shop gallery at Bullina China Shop.
Obstacle #1: I had to learn a new printing programme and wasted a few prints due to the conversion of metric from imperial measurements and fitting frames that are cut for A4, not 8x10" or 5x7" prints.
Obstacle #2: pricing. This is excruciating! If you price too high, they may not sell; if you price too low it is devaluing the work and no profit is made. Some galleries can ask up to 50% commission! - no wonder we usually hear about the starving artists. When pricing, I need to take into account the costs of the frames, mattes, printing, my time, my effort, my creative processes (we are used to paying computer/IT people for their intellectual property these days, but what about an artist's creative and intellectual property?) If I charged just $20/hour for the time spent in creating and producing the work, THEN add a margin for earnings AND then added the (up to) 50% that the gallery will take... the price hikes up. If I put a lesser price on it, then earnings could be as low as $2 per item! - for all that work! Must do it for love. This is possibly the most depressing part of trying to become a full-time (or for now, a part-time) artist. This is a whole separate debate!
Obstacle #3: This was the hardest; deciding which prints to fill the 4 frames I have. Initially, I thought this would be easy but, no... the hardest thing is trying to objectively assess and critique one's own work. I have a few photos which are my emotional favourites but these are not the best technically, nor are they possibly the most popular and saleable of my work. This process took most of the day (and night) to decide. I decided on these (right). Even then, I changed one this morning! Art is so objective; I hope I have made the right decision. It is so much easier to put up an online gallery and have people order as they decide (and a lot less expensive for overheads too) - Blatant plug for my work,available for sale, online.
This goes for any art - painting, illustration or photographic work or writing - there is an emotional attatchment; I heard it describes as 'sharing a piece of the soul'. A good description. I have several piles of old artwork (not the best) that I am loathed to throw away, because it feels like I am throwing a part of me away... even though I know it is utter crap. I have the same problem with writing; culling words that have taken me hours to produce is the hardest thing in life! I have notebooks full of words, some of them are favourites. However, half of it is dribble. My dribble. For my eyes only... even the horrendous teenage angst poetry that many of us have attempted. I think I have also mentioned my first novel, written in grade 12, in the 80s - highly derivative, tongue-in-cheek, but still has a lot of great memories for me. My best friend, at school, is one of the few who have read it (she got pissed off that I killed off her favourite character). It sits in a box, in the shed. I really should go find it...