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The Plight of the Undiscovered Artist – Robert Genn

The Plight of the Undiscovered Artist
by Robert Genn

Last night I met with five of the 17 million artists who currently need to sell more of their art.

Two of my visitors came originally from a sales background. Two were young and disliked the subject of selling but were eager to get on with it. The other one had read a lot and taken courses--online, on the phone and in person. These courses included art marketing, eBay sales, art blogging, display advertising, selling yourself and your art, the business of art, licensing art, portfolio building, CV writing, direct selling without a gallery, use of art consultants, corporate art sales, generating buzz and PR, working with museums, art fairs and
biennales, Tweeting and Facebooking, finding private patrons, approaching and developing relationships with commercial galleries.

This lady was a walking encyclopedia of art entrepreneurship who hadn't sold one of her paintings in seven months. We could've spent the whole evening listening to her.

All of them felt selling was key to a happy life. While it might be hard for some of our readers to swallow, they thought cash flow would probably make creativity flow.

I quoted an old friend: "Paintings are sold when they're painted, not when they're sold." This brought out some shouting. My thought was that all the suits on Madison Avenue couldn't sell substandard art. It was pointed out to me that a sliced cow with enough bull will get someone to call it art and another to pay for it.

One of the sales guys put in that he had sold used cars that weren't going to run more than a couple of blocks, and that he felt bad about it. Everybody agreed it's best to be good. The other sales guy let it drop that he had more paintings than the Louvre. He said he had made them, they were good.

Everyone left with more questions than they brought. Maybe you can answer some of them. Which is better--feeling good or getting good? What is good? Has everything already been done? Does it matter? What courses should monetarily challenged artists take? How much of the current art-poverty is due to the current recession--or does the current poverty have something to do with sliced cows?

Best regards,


PS: "Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons." (Woody Allen)

Esoterica: In times of poverty, get-rich-quick systems abound. "Take it easy," I put in. "Why not just take the time to make what you think is better art?" With all thecompetition in which the one who is catching his breath is called the listener." I cleaned up my studio. It's a nice quiet place.

Robert Genn has given artazine permission to post from his twice-weekly newsletter. For more of his artistic insights, visit his blog at www.painterspost.com.


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