I really don't know why, but I have been trying and following a lot of suggestions and alternatives to earn some money with what I like to do, at least enough to pay for it expenses. But it seems nothing at all works for me.
I tried use different websites, I changed my own website several times, I tried every possibility I know of internet marketing, I tried galleries. I also tried sell in the streets, many people really like what they see but nobody think my work is worth their money. Everybody tells me what works for them but nothing at all seems to work for me.
And there are more than 3 years that I have being trying.
Is there anybody else feeling pathetic like I am feeling now?
yes. I do feel like that too. Fine art is very very hard to sell, I don't make a lot of money with graphic design but its more then I make on Fine art. I got no answers other then to keep producing great work while at the same time you keep trying to think of original ways to sell it.
It's hard...it's not an easy business. There's a lot to learn...and then when we learn rules, we have to figure out which ones to break. What is right for us versus what is right for others.
When I don't sell for awhile...it gets me down on art. Then I remind myself I don't do it for money, but because I love it. It is an assuring thing when others buy it, it's like "ok, what I am doing is effecting other people" and then I don't feel like I'm wasting my time and energy working on it constantly.
But whether or not it sells, I would be doing it anyway.
yep, know the feeling. Especially hard in photography, which is so oversaturated. Im going to try a new approach, where I try to produce one great work instead of loads of generic, easy-to-copy stuff. Regardless of sales, this will hopefully give me artistic satisfaction and if it does sell should command a higher price.
To cheer you up a bit: you definitely have the eye and the talent, but your work is simply not seen because there is sooo much work out there, not just on FAA but in general. Like Angelina said: try not doing it for the money, but for the love of art.
Also, give yourself some more time, youve only been here a very short time :)
This is a sad perspective but you have to focus on why you want to be an artist. Is it because of the money and you really don't love creating it? Or do you really love creating it and would do it gladly for free so long as you can afford to? This is advice along the lines I gave to someone a few weeks ago I will share with you also. Maybe it will help you be happier with what you have and what you can do rather than focusing on what's missing and what you can't do. My suggestion is that if creating art makes you happy and people really like your art, try giving it away as a way of promoting yourself and your goodwill. You will come away from the transaction feeling good that you have made someone else feel very fortunate to come by your generosity and very happy to show everyone they know what a fabulous gift you gave them, now you have started viral marketing yourself as an artist. Give what you can, and when you need to pay your bills, the next time someone asks you how much for your work, be honest and tell them what you need right then and there, not some trumped up price of what you think it's worth based on someone else's experience. Art is very personal and if the person really loves it, who knows your timing and good karma of giving what you have to get what you need may be coming around at that moment. Maybe they will buy immediately, maybe they will buy the next time they see you, maybe the next person who asks "how much do you charge?" will buy when you honestly and with humility ask for your price whether it's $10 or $100. Another way I manage to keep busy is by offering commissions, people love personalized art and if you have some free time, if you're a photographer it's very easy to get almost anyone to model for you for free by offering them a couple free copies, if they want more you can charge them, or if they want retouching you can charge for that too. Why not if it will make someone happy and earn some income for yourself again, be reasonable when you charge people for your time but don't cheat yourself. If you need $100 don't ask for $10 you are only hurting yourself. Keep in mind also that happiness comes through your smile as much as sadness, neither can be completely hidden from the discerning eye. When you do things that make you happy it's contagious and people around you will also share the joy and where there is joy there is money going around in plenty! Don't worry, be Happy! =)
Unfortuneately we're all feeling the pinch right now but as Mario says it's just a matter of soldiering on with producing work that carries your personal stamp on it. The drop in sales is a worry but I have always counted myself lucky to be able to do a job I love. Look around you and see how most people have to spend their lives doing jobs that have had all the satisfaction or sense of achievement removed from them by the modern world.
As for giving your work away I would say this is a bad idea, it can only devalue it in the eyes of the public you are trying to sell to, if anything increase your price. I can see that you put your heart and soul into your work so giving it away even to charity isn't what you should be doing now, when you are rich and famous by all means be generous but I had my fingers burnt on this very thing a few years ago.
I fell for a hard luck story from a very charming lady who represented some charity or other and wanted paintings to put into an auction to raise funds. I duly donated a valuable painting which I framed and sent at my expense to their offices in London and that was the last I heard of it. No acknowledgement, no thanks, no auction! There will always be someone out there who will gladly take something for nothing so my advice is that if you can't afford it don't think it's going to make you feel better.
you have to find your niche. the websites, street etc are places to sell. but you need to find something that identifies who you are. then find subjects people want. i'm going over your store right now as a client might and i'm not really seeing a theme. i see black and white (which limits you to people that like black and white), and many random street scenes. and a bunch of portraits of people (people usually don't hang people on their wall unless it's themselves). and nature really doesn't pop well in black and white.
it's hard for me what to suggest, but you do have to ask - what kind of person would hang this? who is this targeted for? so like
this might look good in a general commercial setting or one of those modern high rises where everything is white. but it doesn't really pop. if you look at it from a distance it merges into solid gray - you want it to catch the eye.
in your bio try to describe the work you do and specialize in, and if you run into a stumbling block as to what to write - that's what you have to figure out. achievements are all well and good, but knowing what to point the camera at is better.
like whatever town you live in, get some city shots, famous landmarks in city blocks and mark them what they are. people have little interest in random people on the street but they do have more interest in their home town which they might miss.
Goodwill works Mario! And, for the record, I wasn't talking about giving away the farm. Use common sense when it comes to promotional art, too. Even volunteering to teach your art methods, might open up some sales for you, but at the very least get more exposure for your work, be sure to have promotional materials on hand at all times. People never forget someone who is generous. Don't believe the naysayers who have no faith. Art is not a science, it's a very personal industry. The people who buy your art will buy it because they love you as much as the art you create. Work on yourself as a person and the sales will come. If you follow the dollar, you may sell your work cheaply because there are millions competing for this very same rock bottom dollar the objective buyer will spend. Your best asset is yourself not any particular piece of work that you have, this is why when artists die their work instantly becomes more valuable to anyone who cares. When you are gone only your work remains as your legacy to your patrons. There is only 1 you and when you make that connection with a buyer it's for life even if they don't keep the art forever, they will never forget the connection with you as an artist. People change and you will grow as an artist too. They may actually prefer to sell older works of yours in order to buy your new stuff if they are still connecting to you, sort of to keep up with the Jones in effect. I'm not talking about anonymous sales for $20 here on FAA that probably generate from other artists 90% of the time, I'm talking about real art collectors who are moved by your signature style. To find them you have to know what your signature is, you have to amplify it as much as you can, and you have to promote it every way you can. It's tough to get started as an artist but once you find your niche of buyers, all you have to do is supply new art periodically, your circle of collectors will grow. Stay focused, and forget about the pennies and bean counters for now. Another thing to consider which may be stalling your progress and general feeling of hopelessness is whether you have determined how to evaluate yourself as an artist and pricing your work accordingly. My blog on the process art valuation may be helpful in your decisions. http://fineartamerica.com/blogs/fine-art-vs-commercial-art-whats-the-real-valuation-mean.html
I don't know if there is a magic formula for selling our work. I wish there was. I have however, discovered something pretty interesting.
I have had several of my own art shows over the past two years. During all of those shows, I have sold pieces. All but one show, that is. That one show was a disaster, start to finish. I sold not a single piece. I mulled over in mind, time and time again, what was different about that show than all my others, besides the fact I sold nothing. I worked my tail off to try and get everything just right. The planning and execution went into it, just like the others. I had so many people there, just like the others. In fact, maybe even more than the others before and since then. After months of searching and trying to figure it out, it hit me like a brick. In a word, it came down to one thing: "Intention". My intention. For all of my shows up to that point, my intention was to share art with others. My intention had always been to talk about the meaning of, love of, and what it means to all of us when we create a piece that resonates with our soul. It was my intention to share in the joy of it. Except for that one time. I realized that the reason that one particular show that went so badly for me, was because I wanted to "sell." That was my sole purpose for having it. Nothing else. I had nothing but financial gain as my intention. I truly think that is why I didn't sell anything.
I think everything in life comes down to "what is your intention"? I think people pick up on that. I think if our intentions are coming from a place of integrity, wanting to share the joy of art with others, and for the greater good, things will fall in line. I'm not saying that is the answer for anybody else but me, however it really made perfect sense for myself in that instance. It was, for me, a huge awakening and something that will stay with me as long as I am able to put paint to canvas or capture a photo. Again, this was my own personal experience and may not apply to anyone else, but I thought I might share it with others, just the same.
Get rid of all negative doubts in yourself or your work or what buyers will spend or the potential impact your art has on the world. It's like the lottery, yes the odds are great but if you don't play you will never have a chance to win. You have a much greater chance of connecting with art lovers than winning the lottery. That alone should be encouraging, but you must be seen, and that's where the hard work comes in. The best selling artists aren't the best selling because they are the best artists, they are best selling because they tap into a bigger audience. Marketing and visibility is key. Disregard all naysayers, no one has a crystal ball in spite of what they believe is sound advice.
Mario, I really like your work and even commented on some of it the other day but you've been a member for less than a month and only have 33 images uploaded for sale. I'm no expert but I'd say give it a bit more time and try some of the marketing ideas discussed in the FAA forums.
Melissa, thanks for sharing your blog. I will follow it.
Mike, i understand your point and I have heard the same a couple of times. The problem is that what people usually sugest me to do, like shoot nature with colours, become sticked in a particular type of photography, use more contrast in my images, are exactly what I don't want to do. I have tried but I can't.
A part of the scenic image and street, all of them from nude to nature and still have the concept, or it research, about the relation between materia and essence. What influence me are the ideas and experiences of Adouls huxley in the book The Door Of Perception, in Spinoza's Philosophy and John Berger's view about art. It means that my flowers, nature and nude images are not really about flowers, nature and nude.
I feel limited when thinking and trying to choose only one type of photography and I don't really like my images with too high contrast.
I really would like to be abble to pay my bills with my photographs but before everything else I really want to do what I really like.
I'm in the same boat. I love what I'm doing but not selling much right now. You have beautiful work and I can see the emotion of each piece of art. There are a lot of people that love black and white art....me for one. I do a lot of graphite pencil work, some of which have sold (not on FAA though). My favorite medium is colored pencil but it doesn't seem to sell, regardless of the subject or colors. I've read several articles that say do many different types of genre....others say pick one type. You have to do what YOU love doing. If that's several types of genre then do it; if not stick to what you like. One architect I'm familiar with does beautiful black and white drawings and places them in each home he decorates. That's his signature.
There are a lot of wonderful artists on this site that sell their art regularly that are willing to give pointers and suggestions that can help you improve your work. Follow your heart and your dream. When the "right" person comes along he/she will love your work and it will be just what they are looking for.
the thing you have to figure out then is - do you want to do it as art, and a study there of? or do you want to sell?
i have so many subjects that i find boring to do, but i know it sells. guns - don't like them, some are pretty, but eh. yet i have this one guy in here that seems to buy all my guns, so i'm making more.
in my case, the subjects aren't as important as the the method or presentation. so while i might not care so much about the subject, i apply my methods on it. you could do the same. but in the terms of - would someone want this on their wall. painters had the same problems. people didn't want their framed images of strangers. they wanted portraits of themselves. or big scenes on a church ceiling. they didn't do it because they loved to paint, they did it to eat.
anyway, you can tell yourself your about the art. but you have to decide what you want to do. since other people have mentioned the same things i have. there's a good chance we are all right. you can stick to your ways if you want. but if your not selling you should try other methods to see if that's the problem or not. then try to work your own type of magic to make it yours.
if you are going to stay the way you are, you have to figure out the type of person who would buy it. and push it there. you might need an agent for that. maybe corporate decor in a high end place. something that needs art, but subtle and non specific, non branded, etc. background art. that's the only thing i can think of.
people do buy from here, but it all comes down to technique and subject matter. then quantity and keywords.
I've been here a little over 5 months and had my first sale yesterday...a greeting card. I was uploading older work with new keywords....and since I'm now on Facebook (only for a week now), everything gets posted to FB that I SUBMIT here via the FAA app for Facebook, even if it's an older work. I know that's how I sold the greeting card. Hey, it might not be exciting for anyone else, but it is the start of something for me.
I see the value of promoting your work everywhere you can. It's the only way. Maybe next sale will be a print! :) Whatever happens next will be fine with me because I've crossed that line of now being someone who has sold on here :)
Mike, I agree with everything what you says.
I want to do what I like. Even if I try to do what I don't like I think I am not able, not only with my photographs but with everything. If I am not enjoying I get distracted, I lose focus, I didn't reach the proper result or I don't finish the job.
But at the same time I would like to be able to at least earn some money from my photos to pay it costs.
About finding an agent it might be very difficult or almost impossible when the artist doesn't show some income from his art already.
then you have a tough road ahead of you. sometimes you have to bend to at least meet half way. do what you like, but make image that people want.
like you live in ireland, and while this may just be fantasy in my head, aren't there castles, pubs, and interesting streets? if you can apply your type of photos with those locations you would spread yourself out more. it's just like big arm john selling NY prints. you would sell ireland related ones. you can still keep the muted tones, etc, but with a different touch. the more generic stuff would probably help more.
usually agents will work for free because they get a cut of the profits. but you have to have work they think will sell, and enough of it to have a choice. people in your shots would need a model release, etc. but i would go for the scenery you already have.
good advices from people here... anyway, if u were to ask me, i really dont expect anyone to buy any of my work. i just do it for the fun of it. like its fab to have a websites, people liking photos, having the opporitunity to join site like this, and... my neighbors, friends, my dad and my brothers think im great because finally i become useful lol! ... sometimes there are people who ask for the price but i dont seriously think they will buy it. i just dont... but who cares... :D
I personally like B&W art photography, street scenes, night shots, etc. so I like your work. However, look at what is selling on FAA. Mike is right, you have an abundance of beautiful scenery, castles, quaint pubs and villages available to photograph in Ireland. If you want to sell I would consider creating more color images of these popular themes for the masses. In addition, keep one or two galleries for your favorite art photography for the discerning client and to nourish your artist's soul. I've already decided that I'm going to have to expand my repertoire if I want to sell. Whatever you decide to do, keep shooting and enjoy your art!
Marcio, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you are trying to stay true to your vision and still be able to sell, without having to produce the more popular work to please the masses. Is that right? Not sure how that will work out, but I do know that if I were a wealthy collector of fine b&w photography, I would certainly purchase this one. Best of luck to you!
I have being trying to follow the advises but it is hard.
I like to take colour photograph, but of object or scenes details, which in the urban atmosphere is more interesting since it match with the dynamics of colours.
With natural sceneries and buildings, I think colour are too distractive from the beauty of form and texture. At least in my photographs.
Even if I know that the photo of beautiful flower or a nice building sells, with attractive colours and so on. The money doesn't motivate me to do this kind of photos. To be repetitive is boring to me. To photograph has to be a discovery of something new, new point of view, new feeling, new expression, new manner, at least to me. I have to enjoy to be motivated.
think of it not as money, but a way to attract viewers to see the stuff you really want them to see. get them hooked on your art, to see the rest. sometimes you just need one of those annoying sign spinner guys to get someones attention. or a free sample in a store to get you hooked on something.
I think you have your answer. It's important to stay true to yourself and not compromise your artistic integrity. If you have the luxury of waiting I'd suggest you continue to take the photos you like and can be proud of rather than producing work for the masses. Eventually you will build a following that appreciates your work as it is and you will begin to sell. In the meantime identify your potential client base, start working the social media sites and marketing focused on your customer base.
It is very hard waiting for a buyer to come knocking on your door and can be very discouraging. To broaden the horizon in hopes of connecting with a buyer through FAA I've delved into all mediums and posted some art that I don't think are that great but I look at what's selling and am not quite sure why they are.....but it's all in what people are looking for or what catches their eye. Color pencil is still my favorite and that's what I do the most of. Staying true to my first passion of art....Praise God....I got another commission for a pet portrait...in color pencil! Mike has a good point and he sells a lot of his work. I think it's wonderful that someone so experienced tries to help us "newbies".
Good luck, Marcio. I agree with Mike; but I also doubt if you can be successful with colour work if you have no feeling at all for it. It's possible - for me, anyway - to get excited about making the most trivial image when you know you are using your tools and skills to the best of your ability to create something that reflects your vision and that you think others will enjoy. If you don't feel like that when you make it, I wonder if others will be able to connect to it.
The fact is that B&W does not sell well - maybe a faux retro style would have a chance, but that still involves abandoning your ideal.
One thought: It is far better to make a living from selling photos - even if they are not your favourites - than it is to be an employee in the rat race. But that means recognising that photography is work and work involves pleasing others rather than pleasing ourselves.
often i think the comments is what sells an image. i have a few images on different sites that all seem to sell better than others based on what i wrote on the image. it puts them in the correct frame of mind and makes them proud to own the piece.
i think i sold the razor here at least once, the gun is still too new. but they both sell on zazzle all the time.
if i didn't have those comments i don't think they would have sold as well.
color will attract, but what you are really trying to do is create a variety of images to attract many different kinds of customers. it's like the free sample lures them in the store, they sell the product they were pushing, but you also buy something on the side because your there and looking at it. for you, you can make one in color, the other in B&W this way there is a choice, you can see what people like, and your still doing what you like.