Jerry Gray: Keep it real … cheapWritten by Jerry Gray | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Many people have the misconception that creating artwork for the purpose of enjoyment and sale is a costly endeavor. But there are ways to create multiple solid, sleek, enjoyable and purchase-worthy pieces from neighborhood dollar stores and discount retailers for between $5-$10, perhaps even less.
I recently went to a local “dollar store” and spent $5.36 on a few supplies that my friends and I have turned into several saleable or at least gift-worthy pieces of art (one of which is pictured below). The supplies consisted of one pack of washable markers, one pack of colored pencils, one pack of six 11×14 poster boards, one pack of ball point pens and a spiral bound book of 3×5 index cards.
Some of these supplies are nothing new to parents who have purchased school supplies for their children, but the simplest things often draw the least consideration from artists who are looking to cut the cost of creation and add to potential profit or inexpensive preliminary work.
Whether you are creating something loose and airy such as an ambiguous figure sketch or creating textured abstracts, professionally presenting finished pieces is one of the key factors in selling and presenting the work, at least to most aesthetically conscious patrons. With that said, working from standard size substrates is immensely important for turning cost into profit. You can find a wide selection of standard size frames at your local retail and resale stores. Pricing for these frames varies and you can spend as much or as little as you like, but remember the point and keep it real … all you need is something clean and sharp for display. A lot of people who buy artwork have it reframed anyway.
So, you have created your work on the 11×14 (standard size) poster boards and you have a group of 3×5 (standard size) cards that are solid enough but nothing that you’ve grown emotionally attached to. You’ve framed them at a realistic price of $5 each for the 11x14s and maybe $10 for a contemporary collage frame for four or five of the 3×5 (photo size) index cards.
Now you price them. I have enough trouble pricing my own work so that is on you. Keep in mind your cost. You spent $5 or so on supplies for multiple works and you still have leftovers for further projects. You spent approximately $5 per frame. If you are fairly confident in your work, you should be able to sell these pieces between $30 and $50. Of course that depends upon what you want to charge hourly for labor and the commission percentage of your display space (or simply post them on Facebook or other free outlets), but you get the point. Keep creating, and keep it real … cheap.
Jerry Gray is an artist, writer, vocalist, bartender, gallery owner and advocate of the Toledo Potential, including the retaining and featuring of artistic talent and culture in our city.
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