I have been a part time shopkeeper selling my art for 14 months now and of that time 4 months of it has been in lockdown. It is not possible to plan very far ahead in much detail but I am finding that my art is starting to have more direction than previously.
Since I declared myself very hesitantly as an artist 3 years and 49 weeks ago my main philosophy and aim has been to “sell some art”. Over the following years I now have rent to pay on my half of the shop and previously rent at Purbeck Artisan Yard, which means that although I still used the same phrase I needed to sell a particular amount to cover my rent. Some months the rent wasn’t covered but in the main as I have sold more work I have covered these costs.
I have developed particular themes gradually that continue to be seen as threads through my body of work:
Santa over series
So from 2017 I have developed my series of Christmas cards based on local scenery and featuring Santa flying through over or by the feature. In each of the three years since I have expanded the range and now have 9 cards. Soon I will start to work on designs for 2021. This has been my most successful theme to date selling over 1600 cards alone.
Prints and greetings cards
Since I first started with the Swanage beach hut piece I have drawn an original piece and then for selected pieces had giclee prints and / or greetings cards made too. This year I started to look at which ones to not reorder based on their sales relative to other works as I had the information to make a balanced decision on.
My giclee prints still sell less than cards but have started to sell more since having the shop. Greetings cards are my biggest seller as a group and I have now sold over 4000 cards since I started, thank goodness with the British interest in sending cards.
I didn’t realise when I first started really that some people only want to buy original pieces and I remember the struggle to decide what to charge for an original piece of art when first asked if the original was still available. Until this time in 2020 my original art sales lagged behind cards and prints but in the last 11 months I have changed that through promoting original art in a number of different forms including – hand drawn hats (a lockdown 1 idea), original art postcards (post lockdown 1 too), wooden boxes include commissioned ones, commissions for businesses and a charity including selling the image copyright.
Non paper art
As referred to above, my drawings on wooden boxes of various sizes, my hand drawn pith helmets and fancy dress pith helmets have taken off well. My own art on my boiler suits and hat for work plus hand drawn signs outside the shop have emphasised my “fun” approach to my art. I draw because I enjoy it, I don’t draw topics to maximise sales I draw what I like. I am lucky because many of the things I enjoy so do others.
I have until now focused mainly on the landscape of Purbeck. Gradually as I have become more confident in my own drawing and ability to draw a wider variety of things I have put newer ideas out there.
Going into this new year, whatever covid and the pandemic brings us I will be drawing more:
Fun printed postcard designs – aimed at involving children in art, offered at £0.50 and used to encourage as a free gift at my discretion.
Original art postcard – more of these will be drawn as I get to try out a number of subjects and because of their £5 price point introducing new people to the idea of owning original art
Water sports – I have now enjoyed coastal gig rowing and kayaking in and around Swanage and am now going into my second year learning to sail dinghies. I love drawing water craft of all sorts. I love drawing these craft in action whether it be a fishing boat at work out off the coast, a gig crew training or a sailing race.
I am starting to put my online networking skills to use (a former interest when teaching) and making links with individuals who sail (and other water sports), crews training for the Olympics, boat classes, sailing clubs… so that I can draw a variety of crafts, events and action. Initially this week it has been small A6 postcard sized studies in pen and ink and has included a contact at a junior sailing club in Japan and an Olympic sailing pair who compete in the 49er class along with my recently finished piece of Waszp class foiling dinghies off the aisle of Wight.
Expect an increasing range of water sport themed pieces including an Andy outfit at some point in the year.
Subject to being asked of course I hope to do more work in conjunction with individuals and businesses to produce artwork for them. I enjoyed the variety of pieces I completed last year.
Art for fun
I am asked quite often in the shop if I do art classes and the answer is no. I am self taught and I draw. I do not have an experience of a range of media or techniques and honestly I did my share of teaching in education.
However, once it is possible to re- offer the Art for fun table experience at the shop I will do so on my days. I willingly sell drawing materials and pens, I will share ideas for techniques and topics, I will recommend local locations, I will draw alongside others but I will not directly teach. My advice is always to do what you enjoy and to improve do the same as I have since 2015 and even before – practise, p…
I have at last achieved the aim of having a stocked online store that can be used to sell my work. It needs work to develop it further and I hope especially in times when the shop can not be open or people are not returning to holiday here again that they can still access my work if they are interested. Hopefully as 2021 proceeds this can become a steady vehicle to sell work further away.
In conclusion then I have some ideas, I am going to draw more things, if you are reading this you have some interest in my work, for which I thank you, and 2021 will develop my art work further.
Thanks for reading
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