I sell my work (over 2900 original paintings) and I'm represented by fine art galleries so I have only a modest inventory in my studio. I have to keep producing to keep up with the demand. Storage is not a problem.
I have sculptures Everywhere in my living room...Hanging on walls, ceilings, standing in corners, on tables and shelves...LOL 3 of them are at the fair right now on exhibit, but it looks like a gallery when everything is in there...
Oh, man... I have nowhere to put my work. Some of it's hanging on the walls, some of it lives in my portfolio... I used to put a lot of my prints up in my classroom until I had to move out of it and into a new one. This is one of those times I wish I had a gallery or studio... and then remember the cost of rent and that dream dissipates pretty quickly!
I love seeing my images as hardcopy prints -- especially if they're being offered for sale online. I like being able to see what my buyers see, and always order a big batch when any of my favorite print services offers a significant discount.
So, I have tons of prints stored in acid-free portfolios and print boxes, some at home and some in storage. Like these:
They're affordable, and safely hold a lot of pieces. Plus, having a fairly large print inventory at-hand means spur-of-the-moment opportunities to exhibit and/or sell are easy peasy.
I just like having prints around (though I hang very few); it's nice to look at and sort through them, thinking of how they came to be. It's a pleasant way to gain inspiration and to keep track of where I've been and where I'm going, creatively speaking. Also makes it simple to give small pieces away, randomly, which I really enjoy.
The digital stuff is easy to store so it just lives on hard drives, the only work printed out from these is for POD sites and cards etc. The oil paintings I produce are always photographed and become 'masters' for viewing and archive use on computers and websites, the paintings having no value after that. The paintings themselves may have some life being exhibited in galleries/ exhibitions after which the frames are taken off for further use and the paintings stacked up in piles. After a few years they get chucked away if damaged, or left outside my property for people to take, the space they take up returned to me.I prefer to have others peoples work on my walls.
I have sold most of my originals, out of a total of about three to three and a half thousand I still do have a number of canvases for sale which are mainly ex-calendar work. The bulk of my work was unrecorded but I have about a hundred transparencies and the rest are in electronic form. As soon as I finish a commission the painting is gone and it's onto the next one so there is little evidence of work in my studio.
My own work isn't on my walls, I prefer the work of other artists especially Terence Cuneo and Montague Dawson but not being a rich man their works are merely prints.
i have about 12 of my own pieces hung in my own home and about that many in other peoples homes as well, i have a stack of about 12 framed pieces in the closet along with 3 other oils, everything else has been placed in one of 2 stacks sealed in plastic under a bed, one stack is photographed, the other isnt.
Lets see, three decent sized pieces at my parents, one in Arizona that was sent as a Ordination gift, one that a friend has as payment for moving some stuff a 1000 miles for me, the various ones that have sold various places, and of course on the computer/external hard drives.
A few of my original paintings that I sold are hanging in people's houses. Most of my original paintings, however, are not very commercial, so a number of them are hanging on walls all over the house where I live - some of the better big ones not hanging are wrapped safely in cloth, and some of the smaller ones not hanging are stored, separated safely, and protected in a plastic storage bin.
During a critical life move a few years back, I had to decide what to do with a number of my least favorite original paintings. I donated those.
As for my photography, so far all of it is 35mm slides, and these are neatly placed in archival slide sleeves and plastic binder boxes (not that many, really). The digital images are mostly on portable storage drives. I have made about six calendars from the digital stuff, over the past few years.
Lately, I have been going back over my digital stuff, playing with derivative re-mixes. I will have an FAA gallery eventually that showcases some of this.
I wrote an article for a contemporary art magazine once that compares the art accumulation crises that all artists eventually face to the crisis of trash accumulation. I believe that this article is still online. SLOW ART PRODUCTIONS was the publishing company; I forgot the magazine title - DIRECT ART, maybe? - Tim Slowinsky was editor at the time.
Many of my live on the computer but a few manifested themselves into the physical world and are hanging on walls.
This really has me thinking about how "disposable" our art (all art) is. A computer crash, or even an image hidden somewhere deep inside a hard drive or an old cd, could mean an image is lost forever to the world.
The painters have physical copies but it seems many of those are in "storage" and could end up lost to the world one day.
We create and we try to watch over said creation but after we are long gone...who knows where they will end up? If they are not in some Meseum behind guards and glass it seems unlikely they will survive past the lives of the people that actually knew us well enough to watch over them.
So interesting John, I have all of my original paintings except the ones I have given away as gifts. I am so impressed by those that have said they have sold thousands and haven't kept any originals. I plan to sell mine soon and would like to start with enough to have a portfolio before I sell any of my originals....most of my paintings are on this site and I like the idea of selling prints. I did decide to download all my photographs and my photos of my paintings to disc right away as a result of reading this discussion however :). Thank you for a great question!!!
Mine is about like Harold Shull's above -- about 60 or so around the house on walls and wherever they will fit, and several places around town displaying a third of my work. Right now I'm working only small, 7" x 11", watercolors, because they are easy to file or store.
The vast majority of my photos live on my hard drive. I have several prints that are matted, framed, and hanging in my house. I occasionally have prints made and swap them out with ones that are currently hanging. I only have a small percentage online between FAA and Smugmug, but its growing.
At this time the majority of my digital photographs "live" on my computer. I do have two images framed and up on the Art on the Walls juried art show at the local hospital, I do currently have two images framed on my wall here not far from where I sit; the award winning "Yellowjacket on sunflower stalk" and the "Sunset Iris." If I had the means and the places to do it I would have my best images created in acryllic, canvas, metal, and matted/framed and on walls all over (restaurants, businesses, etc). That takes money, which I do not have at this time. I have created a Video Resume and posted it, check out my latest blog entry. Thank you.