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Dean Harte

4 Years Ago

Elephant In The Room - Maybe Your Art Just Isnt That Good...

A lot of the discussions here in the forum tend to focus on why certain artists/art are not selling. The explanations offered are many - too much keywords, not enough keywords, spend more time on FAA, spend less time on FAA, people are not buying because of Kim Kardashian's butt, people are buying because of Kim Kardashian's butt etc etc etc.

Let's face it: there is tremendous competition at FAA and on the internet in general. Your art simply not being seen because it is buried at the bottom doesn't help in terms of making sales. But there is another reason for disappointing sales, one that is rarely mentioned here. Have you ever stopped to think that maybe your work just isn't that good? That instead of worrying about marketing you should be worrying about the quality of your work?

I know I have. I can complain about the search engine being biased and lay the blame for lacklustre sales pretty much anywhere except where it really belongs: on me, and the quality of my work. When I check out the works ahead of me in the search engine here - which I rarely do anymore - I cannot help but think most of the time that other works are ahead of me for a good reason. They are simply more accomplished. Artistically, technically and/or commercially.

The notion that you can simply pick up a camera, paint brush or mouse, post your work online and market it and that the universe then somehow owes you a sale is just wrong. It takes years to master a craft, be it photography, painting or digital. Of all the photos you take, only a handful will be truly remarkable - and truly marketable. I'm sure the same goes for other visual arts as well. Thread after thread I see people asking 'why doesn't my work sell?'. When I go to check out their site, I can immediately see why. 99% of the time, the quality just isn't there for a client to spend money on. The works are not unique, not accomplished, not technically sound. Please note that I feel the same way about my work.

I am sure that this will ruffle some feathers. This is not meant as an attack on anyone, but rather a general observation based on some serious and honest soul searching on my part which I feel applies to many others here as well. If you feel that your art is beyond criticism or honest self evaluation, that you are a misunderstood genius or that the FAA search engine is at the heart of all your problems, then fine. Me, I am going to try for a long-term approach, hopefully improving my skills over the years and building up a portfolio that is worth marketing. And I know that is going to be hard, very hard work. Being a good photographer is just so much more than just turning up with a camera. The more you know, the more difficult it becomes. Well, bring it I say!

And in the process, I also hope to reconnect with why I got into photography in the first place. Remember when your art was not about dollars, but about fun, accomplishment and artistic fulfilment?

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Bob VonDrachek

4 Years Ago

I think you are on to something here. My own work used to be much better when I was comparing it to fb posts. I had about 500 images up within a month of joining, I add new stuff frequently and now after almost a year I am down to just over 200. Self critique is hard on the ego put good for your portfolio.

 

Dean Harte

4 Years Ago

You are right Bob. My portfolio needs a serious cull too. The thing is though that I have been surprised on numerous occasions by work selling that I considered 'meh' and was thinking of deleting. Maybe I will do a big clean-up when I have 100 grade-A works.

 

Loree Johnson

4 Years Ago

Every day I strive to do better. I don't worry so much about sales, instead I try to make photos better than my previous photos. I'm probably due to purge some stuff. I look at shots I made three or four years ago and think to myself--really? You call that good?

 

Jack Thompson

4 Years Ago

Thank God for the Dean's out there. Shake it up. Don't follow. Take your time be an artist. Don't be a sheep. But you have to be good. Color is great. Patience is the best.

 

Dean Harte

4 Years Ago

Loree, I think the saying 'my best photograph is the one I will take today' is very useful and valid. I don't particularly worry about sales anymore but do like them though. Going out there shooting and improving could prove more worthwhile in the long term than sitting behind a computer trying to sell some generic fluff.

It's a good thing to look back on your older work and shake your head in disbelief - I do. Along with that also comes that feeling of 'if only I had'. But hey, that means growth :)

 

Loree Johnson

4 Years Ago

I like sales too. They're nice. :)

And I hope I look back three or fours years from now and shake my head in disbelief, too. I want to continue to learn and grow as long as I'm alive.

 

Greg Norrell

4 Years Ago

Personally, I take some time once a year (for me after the autumn leaves are gone) and try and compare my images for the year to the images from the previous year. I think it's important to do a personal assessment of where one is on a regular basis. Evaluate how compositions have changed (improved?), processing, subject matter addressed, etc.

Good post Dean.

 

Chuck De La Rosa

4 Years Ago

Good post Dean!

 

Edward Fielding

4 Years Ago

It does have to be seen, though. There are a lot of outstanding artists here that are never seen.
....
As far as quality, it helps to have an outside, impartial "gatekeeper". Someone who evaluates your work from time to time. This site is basically a vanity gallery in which the artist has total control over what is presented unlike other markets I deal with where there are people who evaluate the work for quality and sales potential.

 

Mike Savad

4 Years Ago

when i make art i try to be better than the last thing i made, or at least as good. always improving is important. however you have to be able to recognize when you got better, and thats not so easy to do. you have to be able to self critique and be honest with yourself. the honesty part is the hardest because people are so used to lying to everyone, it becomes hard to say something truthful even if its your own work.

nice clothes, cute baby, have a nice day, and all that other stuff, people are overly used to complimenting each other, so much so, that they will look at things in a clouded way. and that includes their own work. i used to watch america's got talent and shows like that. and you hear the rejects all the time. they sing, dogs howl for miles. in their heads, they hear the song. out of their mouths, they don't listen to at all. and they are stunned to find out that nails across a chalk board sound better in comparison. they think they are just mean in thinking that, even though they are totally right. and if they have an introspection, it would explain why everyone leaves the room when they belt out a tune.

and its the same for art, so many post up things that i couldn't even classify as a snap shot. art they would never hang in their own house, they post here. i often have to scratch my head when i see some of it. why did they make it? who do they think will buy it? what the heck is it?

i try to offer critiques to improve the quality of art here so buyers won't think its a bad place. many ask for critiques but few give it. others simply praise the person, without even looking at the work, as to why they aren't selling. pouring on more false confidence won't help you to sell better. and if your the type to praise only, then tell people why you like something rather than - cheer up, maybe you'll get a sale tomorrow.


---Mike Savad
MikeSavad.com

 

Mary Bedy

4 Years Ago

I sometimes have the opposite experience to what you describe, Dean. Sometimes someone will ask why they are not selling and I look at their work and it's outstanding. However, they usually only have maybe the free account amount of work, like 25 pieces, or just slightly more than that if it's a paid account.

I attribute my few sales here in 4 years to the fact that I have a lot of stuff posted and people stumble over me occasionally. That said, however, I have deleted well over 400 images since I started that I would be embarrassed now to post here because I know they are crap. I think I've gotten to the point where I know what's at least good and what's simply not good. I have often uploaded a series of photos, then cringed when I tried a couple of them with a frame around them on the purchase screen, and just simply deleted them on the spot. Although I try to cull out the dogs before I upload.

I also know what you mean about searching and seeing what's sold that may be similar to what you have posted. Happens to me all the time. Mine is good, but theirs is often WAY better.

Just keep trying to improve......

 

MM Anderson

4 Years Ago

I just culled about 40 images from my account that I thought were sub-par. I think most of my pastel work is pretty good, although i can see that my work has improved over the past couple of years. I didn't do any art at all for many years between the early stuff and a few years ago. My photography has definitely improved lately. I think my problem is not knowing how or who to market my work to effectively. Oh well, maybe I'm fooling myself and all of my work really is crap. I'm planning to scale back on marketing this site and look for other income streams anyway.

 

Marlene Burns

4 Years Ago

Great topic and yes, of course there is an elephant in the room...the room is filled with all levels of artists from wanna bes to hobbyists to professionals. each has his own standards.....some high, some low, some don't even know that standards should exist.
From the get go, many years ago, we were told to always say nice things when a critique is given.....I see that as a source of the problem....a continuation of giving every child who participates in an activity, a trophy.
Just as we can ruin our children for the disappointment, defeat and rejection in the real, competitive world, so do we set up those whose work isn't any good, probably never will be.
This site is a POD site...there is little that compares to an "art gallery" in the real world. Artists whose work isn't good enough, can still sell..and do!
Dean, those who are preparing to fight the good fight in the forum, might be warming up the tar to tar and feather you shortly...it only smarts for a little bit...just run fast to cool off!

 

Georgiana Romanovna

4 Years Ago

Thank you, Dean. Very well said, I often go through images and cull out ones that make me think 'what was I thinking?!?!’

One thing that worries me is that I Mark something for deletion in my mind - then I sell a print if it!!! I find that confuses me to no end.

I'd appreciate any ideas on that one and what to deem what I think is no good and what someone else deems as worthy of buying a big print of.

 

Edward Fielding

4 Years Ago

Catch 22 - volume seems to be required to be found. Of course a volume of quality is better than dreck.

The biggest problem is believing the hype of comments, features and awards. Your work is judged not by the number of "way to go" high five comments or group features. Its judged by the buyer against the alternatives.

 

Phyllis Beiser

4 Years Ago

BINGO!!!!

 

Marlene Burns

4 Years Ago

Ed, you've touched on a salient point...too many people hang on the compliments they receive here to judge their work.....
I have 3 artists who inspire me here, none of whom frequent the threads. I look to their occasional comments for validation when I'm off in an experimental direction that few can appreciate.
On the surface, it is ironic that when they comment, few others do....but it makes perfect sense to me.

 

Edward Fielding

4 Years Ago

Definitely a comment from an artist whose work you admire counts more than the ones simply looking for "tit for tat"

 

TL Mair

4 Years Ago

I'm not going to critique anyone's work, but I will say, something that confuses me is I see some here who can really paint, beautiful things to look at, and then they post photographs that pail in comparison, sometimes I think that causes all of their images to look, well, less good.

 

Mike Savad

4 Years Ago

some people are good at creating. and some are good at seeing. usually a photographer isn't a painter, and a painter isn't a photographer. not always true though. it also depends what they started with. usually a painter will use an image as reference and then correct it in the painting. change the lighting, color, things in the shot. but a photographer has to edit it more precisely using different tools. we can't easily paint out a thing or add a thing without a lot of work. it's two different skills.


painting takes longer and so many have fewer things. so they bulk it up with photos, but unless those photos look really good, they will make everything else look bad in comparison. the same is true for a really good photographer, might be terrible in digital art.

---Mike Savad
MikeSavad.com

 

April Moen

4 Years Ago

Well said, Dean! Competition brings out the best in some people; challenges them to aim higher and improve their skills, but in others it brings out the excuses and blame-shifting. Critiques won't help them because there's nothing wrong with their work, the critics are just jealous, etc., etc. True introspection is lost on them, and more's the pity. We can all improve on something.

 

John Crothers

4 Years Ago

One of the largest threads I started was called "You WILL fail". Simply statistics show most people that try to earn a living selling art will fail to do so.

It is a competitive world. It seems everyone wants to be an artist.

It also seems everyone wants to be nice and supportive. The old "if you can't say anything nice" attitude. So when someone ask for opinions of their work most people don't say anything and a few say "it could sell".

But that doesn't help anyone. A few people here saying the work is nice, along with 100 friends and family on Facebook saying you should sell. gives some people a false sense that selling art is easy.

Some people won't lik this but I think what people SAY really doesn't matter. I don't think the opinion of friends or family matters much. The ONLY true measure of quality work is when complete strangers pay money for that work. Of course that is not the only measure, especially in a place like this with thousands of artist and millions of images but the work should be salable somewhere if not here.

I do much better at shows than I do here though I have sold enough to cover my fees here for many years. I remember the first piece I sold to a stranger. It was pretty special. Not because I made money but because it was good enough for someone to pay for it.

Actions speak louder than words and no action speaks louder than someone taking out that credit card.

 

TL Mair

4 Years Ago

To April's point, I have a brother in law whom I was talking to one day, we were looking at the sky, I made the comment that I just couldn't get good sky photographs, he reply "Really I take beautiful sky photos" he was totally serious, well the fact is no he doesn't and he never will, fortunatley for him he doesn't need to worry about it because he isn't a photographer, or involved in art of any kind but it still make the point.

John, I read an article once, I think it was by Tom Till from Moab UT. He made that point that you can't listen to your facebook followers because they will all fawn over your work weather it is good or bad. Sometimes Mike can make me cringe, but he tells the truth, I like that!!!
Terry

 

Michael Dillon

4 Years Ago

Why not just have a separate free site,put up what YOU think are your ten BEST pieces and see what happens.

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L Cecka

4 Years Ago

Quality is important. Honest critique is needed in order to improve. While we must know where we need the improvement we must also know what were doing right, what parts of great. Sometimes people pull others down because there jealous and this is the truth. However it is also true that some gloss over poor quality with excuses. Getting to the guts of what is really needed is not an easy thing. People need kindness especially when they are just not doing quality stuff. We cannot survive on constant attention to whats wrong. Its good to get awards and features to build strength and confidence. Everyone needs a trophy for something...and there can be many that all deserve first place. Among all the first placers there will still be room for ones own differences that separate one from the other that goes without saying. People buy for many reasons.....there are folks out there that want to buy from friends to help support them. You cannot improve either if you have no money for supplies etc.....So realistically there is not just one way to see or do anything and that is good

 

Jeff Sinon

4 Months Ago

Hans, do what you love, do it well, and people will find you. I think the worst thing any of us can do is change our art to please others in an effort to make it more marketable. I photograph what I love, post process the images the way I like, and if the buyers come, great. But if they don't that's ok too. I know a lot of what I photograph isn't really very marketable due to the subject matter. I really like middle of nowhere images, preferably shot in the winter, of mountain scenes that the only people who may have an emotional connection to are other people who may have hiked the mountain in the photograph. It is that emotional connection after all that more often than not gets people to break out their credit card.

But I will continue to hike into the mountains carrying all of my camera gear, followed by a long hike out in the dark, because those are the photos I want to make. To the point I made in my comment above, I will also do everything in my power to ensure that that photo is well composed, sharply focused, and shot under the best light Mother Nature has to offer, BEFORE I would ever consider offering it for sale.

 

Hans Zimmer

4 Months Ago

Hans, do what you love, do it well, and people will find you

Jeff, that is precisely my approach. :o) I just somehow had hoped to be found (more often). Funny thing is - it worked when i was new to the site but the more i upload, the more i do to promote and to advertise the less i sell - it seems. Not complaining - just mentioning.

 

Jeff Sinon

4 Months Ago

Hans, funny you should mention that. I have found that I do just as well, if not better, when I ignore this site as I've done when I first joined and used to play all the self promotion games. Which I now refuse to do. In fact, the only reason I've been so active lately is that I'm about 99% sure I'm not going to renew my Smugmug hosted site when it comes due next month, so I need to start uploading more here.

Once I do move everything worth moving over here, I will in all likelihood go back to mostly ignoring it. With the exception of the group I created the other day, and the occasional discussion. Though I will continue to avoid those discussions and groups where the sole purpose are the almost meaningless like for likes in hopes of moving up in the search rankings. Phew, that was a total off topic rant LOL!

 

Dean Harte

4 Months Ago

Wow, this is a blast from the past. To clarify: I started this discussion four years ago (I think this is correct!) because of the frequent posts appearing on the forum from people who it seemed has bought a camera two weeks before and were expecting a steady flow of sales and cash to immediately roll in. I think in one of my earlier posts that I quantified 'good' in the sense of 'accomplished', as in made with a certain level of skill. The standard reply was (and still is) that any lack of sales is due to insufficient marketing. Marketing is part of the mix, of course, but when you upload to FAA or any other such website your art basically becomes a product that needs to be able to compete with work of an extremely high level. Jeff sums it up nicely I think when he says


There simply are no redeeming qualities in a poorly composed, out of focus photograph shot in bad light, regardless of the subject. Unfortunately there is no shortage of photos being offered for sale here that check off 1, 2, or heaven forbid, all 3 of those boxes. Am I the greatest photographer to ever pick up a camera? Far from it. But I can tell the difference between a good photo and a bad one.

Might there be a market for such imagery? Maybe, but sloppy beginner's work is going to be a much harder sell than work that is the result of years of trial and error, dedication, failure and hard work. It takes years and years to become a decent photographer/painter etc. This post is meant as an invitation for people to critically self-assess their work and maybe work on improving their skills rather than wasting time and money trying to sell a subpar product. Your art is your art, period. If you want to go down to your local duck pond in horrible mid-day light to take dozens of near-identical photos and upload them in the hopes of making a sale, more power to you. But the photographer showing up at that same duck pond at dawn or dusk repeatedly until he or she has that perfect shot will have a greater chance of selling because it reflects dedication and skill.

 

Lise Winne

4 Months Ago

"out of focus photograph shot in bad light" -- I have one of those and it's my all-time favorite photo from own portfolio of photos!

Art Prints

I am a better painter than a photographer by far and away, and it is what I sell most of on this site, but I enjoy taking photos and playing with them. And I can't resist uploading them to FAA afterward just for kicks.

 

Dean Harte

4 Months Ago

That is indeed a very cool photo Lise, but this does not really fit the bill of the type of work/artist this thread is aimed at. This reminds me of Hieronymus Bosch. Out of curiosity, has it sold and would you be willing to spend money on marketing this?

 

Jeff Sinon

4 Months Ago

Dean, well said. I think one trap that beginning photographs all fall into is that they listen to their family and friends. Too often family and friends will tell you that anything just slightly better than the snapshots they're used to seeing are the greatest photos they've ever seen, and you'll be the next Ansel Adams.

Maybe there is a market for amateurish photos, but you're again spot on that a well composed photo that's been well processed going to be a much easier sell.

One thing that helped me avoid the friends and family trap was to find someone in the local art community who, to put it bluntly, was willing to look at my work and tell me I sucked. I'll be completely honest in saying that I have no idea where this idea came from. All I know is the woman who took the time to look at my work gave me a lot of excellent feedback, the most important being that my images weren't ready to be unleashed on the public. It took years of getting to know my camera like the back of my hand, making it do what I want not settling for whatever the camera thought was best. Countless 3a.m. drives to the seacoast, numerous hikes starting at midnight so I could be on top of some remote mountain for sunrise, and the willingness to do it over and over and over again until I had the photo I wanted.

In short, it's hard enough being seen, so we should all strive to post work that's good to the point where once a potential buyer stumbles upon an image they don't want to look any further.

 

Doug Swanson

4 Months Ago

It's an interesting topic. Whenever I log in here, I make a practice of scrolling through all of the recent sales, picking out one person and looking at their portfolio and numbers. In regard to their "best" stuff, of course that's a matter of taste, but, suffice to say and not mentioning names, I often see images sell that completely baffle me.

Then, when I look at the numbers and sales, I see that it's at least possible that someone just started and friends or family bought a picture or that the artist is buying their own stuff, but it's someone who has 900 page views, so it doesn't exactly establish a track record.

Then...there are people who sell consistently, who have a theme and a style. Somehow they have engineered a market...good for them.

Then, I look specifically at somewhat realistic photos that sell. From experience with our local camera club, having attended many critical and judgement sessions by "experts" (whatever that means, but they do have credentials), I see that photos that sell mainly do NOT meet the muster of people with gallery jobs or art school degrees.

So what does constitute best work or good enough, or Mom will buy a copy, or God Only Knows, or is it only a matter of numbers, search criteria and presentation sequence? It certainly isn't anything that's easily quantifiable or I would have quantified it already, but I can only see part of it being the question of being "Good".

 

Lise Winne

4 Months Ago

Dean, you asked "Out of curiosity, has it sold and would you be willing to spend money on marketing this?"

Dean, I get why you asked this question. Let's put it this way. I would try to sell this work in a gallery that was geared towards innovation or contemporary art ("art that makes a statement") ... there are galleries that cater to those kinds of clients. That would be my best bet for marketing this image: a gallery already in the business of selling work like this.

As for marketing it myself on-line? Not so likely, ever. Have I sold an FAA version of this print? No. Is it likely to sell on FAA with just the traffic that hits the site? Definitely not. Is it on the front page of my FAA site? No, it is fairly buried towards the back.

It just sits as part of my portfolio of fantasy/wacky images, but I like it because it has more grit to it (and I want potential buyers to know I am capable of more grit and messages than pure fantasy images portray).

Hope that makes sense.

 

Jacqueline Hamilton

3 Months Ago

I am new to the FAA community. I am truly honored to be among gifted and talented comrades (I used this word because sometimes it is a battle. :) It is good to have fellow artist who can provide "constructive" criticism to help each other grow. Thank you. In this profession, we must have crocodile skin because everyone will have a different opinion about our work. Take the good and use it to improve and throw out the negative part that only tears down. It is also good to receive a fresh perspective from those who are not artists. It’s amazing what we will receive from them as well. During my undergraduate years, my art teacher would make us post our work on the wall to be critiqued by the entire class. She told the class, "if something is not working or not fitting, put it aside but do not throw it away. It can be reused in another composition." This is why art is subjective and constantly evolving. Be confident in the inspirations that burst forth from your heart. Widen your tent curtains, strengthen your stakes! Don’t hold back! Someone will love it! Someone is waiting for it! I am one of them who admire you!

 

Adam Gladstone

2 Months Ago

Though I don't claim to be the best photographer around, some of the comments here remind me of some on the forums from a micro stock site I also contribute to. Like here, some folks will put up a few photos and then a week (or month or two) later, ask "why am I not selling?". Granted there is a difference between a fine arts photograph and one used for stock ( for the latter, things like copy space are important. The site makes a big deal over people whose tattoos show as they'd need a release from the person who did the tattoo, not just a model release). However there is overlap as well (Is the image well composed? Tell a story? Color balance ok? If there's a horizon present, is it level? And so forth).

One comment I recall from one of the more experienced contributors to the site (and forums) is that he he doesn't know what will sell, but knows what doesn't/won't.

As I hopefully improve, and post more images, will I go back and delete some of the "what was I thinking?" photos, maybe.

 

Cathy P Jones

11 Days Ago

Great in sight in your post Dean! Thank you so much for taking the time to say it. I am always working to improve my photography skills, and others should as well!

 

Doug Swanson

8 Days Ago

Jacquline - " I am truly honored to be among gifted and talented comrades (I used this word because sometimes it is a battle. :) It is good to have fellow artist who can provide "constructive" criticism to help each other grow."

Having witnessed and been subjected to plenty of criticism (the constructive part being debatable), I realized that you have to take it with a grain of salt and only half-believe any of it. Critics seem to come in two varieties, those that don't actually DO any art themselves but just criticize others and those that actually DO art and are willing to give you suggestions.

The weakness of the professional critic is that they don't actually do anything themselves except criticize, have no skin in the game, have seen way too much art, have become jaded, only search for the weaknesses and are looking for a quick and witty response that often belittles the art. I've seen this way too many times to count and not just on my stuff. "Plod on, would be OK but for something wrong, not bad, derivative, seen this before, good idea with weak execution, good execution of a bad idea"....all mantras of critics.

The weakness of the fellow artists is that they weight their comments based on how close you come to their version of art. Eventually it becomes how much your art looks like theirs....."what you need is more cowbell".

In either case, when it comes to posting on line like FAA, the only critic that really counts for anything is the one with the credit card.

What the art and music world needs more of is critics of critics. Subject them to glowering disapproval and see how their egos hold up.

 

Just an observation. There are millions of artists the world over trying to sell billions of images. Good luck.

And why buy Art? I can copy any image off the internet even from FAA and make a good 8x10 print ready to frame for free. I don't because I prefer high priced art books.

Then there is the in group of artists who are sponsored by high price galleries, auctions, agents, museums. Chances are you will never be invited to this in group.

I suppose if you try hard enough you can get a small gallery to show your work, but you may lose money on the deal after you pay for the framing, etc.

What's left for the average Art amateur? Local art fairs, friends, family, Then again you may be the type who promotes herself to the max at coffee shops, local pubs, etc.

My suggestion keep your day job and be a part-time artist

Or find a job as an illustrator, photographer, graphic designer. That's what I did for 25 years.

 

Becqi Sherman

8 Days Ago

"Of all the photos you take, only a handful will be truly remarkable." So true, Dean Harte.

Although I've been making photos for most of my life, I feel like I've only picked up speed in the past year or so, and I don't even feel comfortable showing images that I used to be proud of just a few years ago. It's important for us to be honest with ourselves, constantly grow, and constantly seek out opportunities to learn. I've already been inspired to up my game by seeing some of the masterful art here on FAA. And I look forward to those rare moments when I upload my photos to my big screen and know I've captured something really remarkable!

Thanks for starting this awesome thread, Dean!

 

Lisa Kaiser

8 Days Ago

Ditto post

 

Lisa Kaiser

8 Days Ago

I hate this thread, but find the responses really good.

I don't like the negativiy in the title and all the know-it-all advice at times.

My experiece of selling art has been consistent and yet still a loss. I may make money but lose quality time. I may lose money and time, but create an amazing artwork.

I am at best a bad artist and yet in the real world gallery setting, I sell. There is no rhyme or riddle or logic for this. Some extremely gifted fellow artists are much more talented than me and their paintings simply sit there unpurchased. I don't get it, but I know they're good at what they paint or capture!

I think it is a metaphysical or illogical thing. Somehow if I follow my muse, I sell and if I take a work shop and learn something on canvas, that is a guarentee no sale.

It is almost like the closer I get to learning how to paint, the less sales. Lol

 

Doug Swanson

8 Days Ago

I don't exactly like threads like this but they seem to be unavoidable. As long as there's no God-like quantifiable standard for what IS art and also what is good or great art, it will be part of the landscape that there are self appointed or hired or educated critics. It just goes with the turf....or, as a recall saying in a sarcastic huff, "opinions about art are like a*sholes...everybody has one and they all stink". Sarcasm aside, I have to get a grip on the fact that the type of images I have either sold or had comments on are some of the ones I like least or that feel like low hanging fruit. Maybe those people don't get it or maybe I don't get it...not sure.

These sort of conversations generally lead me to a thought experiment. All of the art in all of world's art museums and galleries just evaporated one day, leaving us with millions of empty rooms and buildings. Just WHAT would we use to repopulate those buildings? Would it be anything like what was there? Would we try to replicate DaVinci or VanGogh or would we move forward? Who says what goes into those buildings, especially if all the critics and experts also evaporated?

 

MM Anderson

8 Days Ago

I get a tad bit tired of seeing the threads claiming that if I don't have regular sales here then my artwork must suck. I try not to read them much of the time but then the temptation to see just what they think I'm doing wrong overrides my common sense. Still, it makes me grit my teeth whenever I see the title of this thread or a couple of similar ones here on the forum.

 

Amy Scholten

8 Days Ago

I personally don't think "good" art necessarily = a sale, or vice versa. Most buyers are looking for something that's MEANINGFUL to them....something that makes them FEEL something. Really subjective.

 

Cathy Lindsey

8 Days Ago

I've learned over time not to delete the images I don't think are worthy... because those are the ones that end up selling! Most of my best images have NEVER sold... and some of my worst images (in my opinion) have sold.

 

Abbie Shores

8 Days Ago

Good.

It is good that this thread makes you think. Or makes you look again. Or makes you actually think about it and then defend your work. It is, in my mind, doing just the thing I like about it and why, when Dean first started it, I added it to the marketing links I share

 

Roy Jacob

8 Days Ago

There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion. A diamond with a flaw is worth more than a pebble without imperfections. Sometimes we strive so hard for perfection that we forget that imperfection is happiness. Even imperfection itself may have its ideal or perfect state.

 

Robert Frank Gabriel said this,

"And why buy Art? I can copy any image off the internet even from FAA and make a good 8x10 print ready to frame for free. I don't because I prefer high priced art books."

Yeah... you can. But if the image is really made for a 60" x 40" presentation... you'll miss all the glory of the work. That is... the details.

I've come to the place where virtually everything I attempt to do with a camera is with larger scale in mind. If it fits a smaller setting that they cannot afford... they can have the 8" x 10" theft.

Falling into the trap of getting work out fast is the downfall of many. I know that it has affected me over the years. And I'm slow compared to others who set up their manipulation programs for cookie cutting and then posting as quickly as possible. The same scene from one photo to the other but 5 feet over.

I see my elephants in the room. I'm striving hard to eliminate them.

 

GLEN says...."Yeah... you can. But if the image is really made for a 60" x 40" presentation... you'll miss all the glory of the work. That is... the details."

You are correct. I was an old fashion street photographer so all my candid images of people were taken fast, and none of my images would be printed at more than 8x10.

 

David Bridburg

7 Days Ago

I have had almost no side ways comments from the public. I have had praise from people I had never met before. I have written by hand some 1000 designers, and 900 of them connected on Linkedin. I have 15,400 followers on Twitter, and I think people only drop me for one reason, a few per month, because I am not speaking their native language sometimes. I have all new people following me on Twitter as well.

But that is not making me viable sales wise.

That mainly has to do with where my focus has been. Until last November, I was making art.

Marketing is a different hat.

I do not want to wear both at the same time.

I have been here since fall 2014, my visitor count is actually on the low side. JMO

I think the elephant in the room needs to buy a 60" canvas.

I must add, my ideas on art do not match the general public's conceptions for art. Where I make derivative art, the public has been told that is taboo. Where I make fine art, the public is not buying museum art. Where I make art that is not defined, the public thinks the artist must get into extreme detail.

My ideas and art in my estimation are rare. But then again I am offering open editions.

If modern art is any indicator, the idea can sell. Does sell, and can be as extreme as seaweed in a net tacked to the wall. By that standard my art is absolutely superb.

Dave

 

Dean Harte

7 Days Ago

Good to see this thread is still going after all this time. I would like to state again that this is not me criticising anyone else, but rather an invitation to criticise ones self. And to be realistic in terms of expectations when it comes to sales. Your art is your art, if you will. But when you upload it to FAA or any other sales platform competition is just a click away. That is perhaps more so the case for photographers than it is for painters. If you are going to invest time and money in marketing, you'd better make sure your product (yes, when you are trying to sell your work it becomes a product) is up to scratch.


Ever heard of a photographer called Sebastião Salgado? He spent eight years (!) traveling the world for his photo book Exodus. I've seen his work when his exhibition came to town and almost all of it was absolutely breathtaking. He also shot it on film, so no photoshop or anything. You can see some of his images here:

https://www.google.co.th/search?q=exodus+photo+salgado&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjW9N3xx43hAhUBgI8KHTc3CnUQsAR6BAgEEAE&biw=1536&bih=715


Ever heard of Alan McFadyen? It took him 6 years, 4,200 hours and 720,000 photos to get his perfect photo. Read more here:
https://www.boredpanda.com/perfect-kingfisher-dive-photo-wildlife-photography-alan-mcfadyen/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic

Now contrast that to someone who has had a DSLR for two months, goes to the zoo for a day, uploads 300 generic photos of animals and then asks 'why am I not selling?'. I don't think that marketing is an honest or constructive answer here. Properly learning the craft of photography takes time and hard work and instead of encouraging someone to waste time and money to try and monetize something generic a better advice would be to go out and shoot whenever you can, practice, fail, learn and perhaps accept that your skill level is simply not such that you will make regular money through your art, ever.

Let's say you love food. You notice other people are making money by preparing and selling food. You go to the supermarket, buy a cheap loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter and then set up in the food truck district, with the shop to the left of you selling wonderful Korean kimchi taco's and the one to your right handmade, authentic Chinese noodles. And hey, surprise surprise you are not selling. Would the anser really be marketing?

 

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