General art-related discussion.
I'd never knock any specific artist's business plan, and I realize that the financial dynamics everyone finds themselves in- means that every artist has to make different decisions about how to proceed in that business.danieldanger wrote:ok, if you want an artists perspective. heres some points worth making while i eat this pizza.
one thing to keep in mind editioning is part of the nature of the medium; there is a choice, but it is also fixed into the the process. silkscreening specifically is not a infinite printing artform. silkscreening requires alot of upfront prepress setup, all of one color is done, then the next, then the next. screens break down as the runs progress, things shift, you wash out one screen to burn the next color screen, you may only have enough drying space for 200 prints. etc etc. you can logistically only print so many at a time. when you reburn screens, remix new inks, realign registration, all the things required to set up another batch of prints down the line, things are different. silkscreening is an imperfect artform by nature, one batch of 300 is theoretically different from this other batch of 300, and traditionally an edition is a specific singular printing of an image. a related good example is my friend justin myer stallers prints, he works with delicate intaglio type plates, and he might get ten prints out of a plate before it starts to break down, changing the whole image. thus, his prints are part of a small edition because he is limited by the medium, not by choice.
(side note: yes, mondo could easily get away with huge editions because they print at shops with small margins of error and output capabilities. but im pointing this out because mondo-esque companies represent a fraction of a percent of the print edition world, and this is me talking about the cultural side of the artform.)
screenprinting requires a number up front for quantity, as they are printed all at once, not on demand. each costs money to produce up front out of your operating budget. some artists can only afford to produce 100 or 200 at a time. prints produced but unsold are money lost. having hundreds of unsold prints that cost $10 each left over because you assumed 1000 people (the OPs "potentially 1000s") would buy something that only 400 actually did is something that can crash a small artist. sure, you can do a preorder, but every single audience will tell you horror stories of selling the print before the print arrives, and every collector will tell you a story about buying a print before seeing the printed version. its a gamble. so what im saying is that aiming to meet all hype/potential/theoretical demand can and likely will flop miserably (ive got a few personal experiences with this). safer to read your audience, think realistically, and let some people get shut out vs letting yourself get shut down.
plus, its simple. theres no better promotion for your club than a line outside. theres no better promotion for your shoe than a sold out sign in the window. in a way, its advertising you pay for in a different manner. if i meet all demand forever it lets customers off their toes. thats just like Commerce 101. most artists try to strike a balance between the various aspects. i generally aim to meet the demand of the first day sales, if you follow me and make a valid effort youll likely succeed in getting what youre after.
there are many variations on the things above, devils advocate concerns, counter points etc etc. my personal stance for my work is that editions are a promise. when you buy this print, you and i have an understanding. if i sell an edition "limited to 200" and you save up your hard earned dollars and buy it fairly thinking "there are only 200 of this in the world" (as art historically has a nature of investment, and because im telling you so), and then i bust out another 200 after its sold out; youre gonna feel like i kinda broke a promise to you. youre not gonna trust me in the future. and the only stability in art/business is repeat supporters who feel you will support their investment in you.
pizza. danger out.
The dynamic on that all shifted for me dramatically when I, along with Clint Wilson, built our own print shop, which significantly lowered the cost of every single print job I did, which meant that I didn't have to have immediate sell-outs to make my money back on a print job. In fact I only had to sell a dozen or so of just about anything to become profitable on any particular print. So if I sold out of a print in an hour or a day, that was in fact a huge mistake on my part. Suddenly, having an inventory on hand was no longer a liability, but an asset. I was able to set up relationships with shops and galleries locally and around the country (and a few shops/galleries in other countries) that now carry my stuff through wholesale or consignment arrangements. And because I control the means of production, I am able to give up that cut to those shops and retain a very healthy percentage for myself. And I can roll up on craft fairs and Flatstocks conventions with a fully stocked booth- something else I couldn't do if I didn't keep things in print. Instead of my Flatstock booth being 'the fudge that I couldn't sell' it now became the booth of 'stuff people want to buy'- which gave me a distinct advantage, and benefited my customers greatly. They could get what they wanted.
THAT was the stability and regularity of income that I wanted- instead of living from hit-to-hit, or the more realistic hit to mid-level to failure to hit again if I'm lucky- I now had a slow but steady- and ever-growing secondary revenue stream which not only made this artist's life tolerable for a family man, but also grew my fan base way outside of the confines of the investment-collector's community indicated by the vocal minority here. That is a lot more sustainable, in my opinion, then catering exclusively to the select few with the time to be in front of a computer for a mid-day drop. While I obviously want those customers as well, structuring my plan exclusively to them would mean financial ruin- as it has for many other artists as well.
I see many artists who I am friends with- who I believe to be much, much more talented than I- unable to make ends meet as an artist- because they are playing by the arbitrary rules established by this collector's community-and it makes me sad. In many cases they have a literal line of people with money in hand, that they are saying no to- because they don't want to offend the people here who aren't buying their work to begin with. It's silly and short sighted.
Obviously what you are doing is working great for you. What I'm doing is working great for me.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
You can have a fully stocked booth because you keep reprinting old stuff or you create new stuff? So, are you saying in that statement that you can sell it now that they are unlimited editions and you couldn't when they were limited editions? You said yourself that it is cheaper and faster for you now with your shop. I completely understand how it would save you 15 minutes reprinting instead of drawing something new.alexfugazi wrote:And I can roll up on craft fairs and Flatstocks conventions with a fully stocked booth- something else I couldn't do if I didn't keep things in print. Instead of my Flatstock booth being 'the fudge that I couldn't sell' it now became the booth of 'stuff people want to buy'- which gave me a distinct advantage, and benefited my customers greatly. They could get what they wanted.
This comes up a lot- people think that because I'm doing reprints of older popular work, then I must not be making new work. That is demonstrably false. I made something like 45 new prints last year alone. Only a fraction of those stayed in print.harrykeogh wrote:You can have a fully stocked booth because you keep reprinting old stuff or you create new stuff? So, are you saying in that statement that you can sell it now that they are unlimited editions and you couldn't when they were limited editions? You said yourself that it is cheaper and faster for you now with your shop. I completely understand how it would save you 15 minutes reprinting instead of drawing something new.alexfugazi wrote:And I can roll up on craft fairs and Flatstocks conventions with a fully stocked booth- something else I couldn't do if I didn't keep things in print. Instead of my Flatstock booth being 'the fudge that I couldn't sell' it now became the booth of 'stuff people want to buy'- which gave me a distinct advantage, and benefited my customers greatly. They could get what they wanted.
The nice thing about what I have going is that I can do both- make new work, and keep older work in print, maximizing my presence at these conventions.
Also- you might want to re-read what I said- if the prints were limited and sold-out, then I would not be able to sell them. Since they are in print- I can sell them. Most artist's Flatstock booth is stocked with merchandise that they either could not sell out of on-line, or that they held back from on-line sale, so that they could have stock for the fest. At that point, why even show up? If you could have made the same money online, but denied those customers to MAYBE find customers at Flatstock, then you've made an unnecessary gamble. You turned away people with money in hand for people that may not materialize.
Considering how many people like to scream how much a 'failure' I am, someone has to play the part of reality. Wish it didn't have to be me.hellosir wrote:You just love telling everyone how successful you are
Just an observation
Play on playa