How did you do that?

One of the myths about being an artist is that you can create a work and sit back and reap the profits.

In reality you sit, and sit, and sit until you find yourself starving: a starving artist.

The truth is, if you hope to sell work, in addition to being an artist you have to become a marketer and sales person too. And you must hustle hard.

I'm definitely no natural salesman. So, I am constantly researching the business side of things. I regularly find myself acquiring information on +Carolyn Edlund's tremendous site ArtsyShark.

Coincidentally, she invited me for an interview on just these topics.

Check it out at the the link below (photo featuring +Tiffany Henry )

Promoting a Body of Work | Artsy Shark
by Carolyn Edlund Artist Paul Roustan has developed an incredible body painting portfolio, and published a book this year about his work. I recently spoke with

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3 thoughts on “How did you do that?

  1. Matt Lorence

    I've dabbled in steel work in the past, and once I get settled into my new house, plan on ramping that up again.

    Biggest problem I have with the whole process is deciding on a price tag.

    Sometimes I do service work. Fixing things. It's easy to decide that for the scope of work, it'll take X hours and I'll charge $80/hour.

    Throw creativity in, and I have no idea how to price something.

    I found a lady on craigslist a few years ago looking to barter a bunch of propane RV appliances in trade for whatever someone could offer that interested her. She had started a breast cancer survivor foundation, and I pitched the idea of building a steel patio firepit with her foundations logo cut into the sides.

    You can go buy a patio fire pit thing for a couple hundred dollars, if that.
    I figure if I was charging for materials and labor that was a $1700 fire pit.
    Maybe it was worth $1700, but I look at my work from the nuts and bolts side and tell myself that I'd never pay $1700 for a steel fire pit, and figure no one else would either. I guess that would be devaluing the artistic side.

    Anyway, that job worked out. She loved it, was happy to trade me the RV stuff, and if I had to go out and buy a propane fridge, range and hot air furnace, I'd be in it for over $2000 anyway.

    Here's the pit during a test burn.

  2. Paul Roustan

    +Matt Lorence yeah, pricing can be a tricky thing.

    The difference is the $200 fire pit is mass produced, yours is one of a kind. That in itself increases the value.

    I'm willing to bet there are some custom fire pits out there that cost over $10 grand catered to the 1%.

    You definitely don't want to go overboard on the pricing, but you absolutely must stick to it unapologetically once you pick a price. Ultimately, if you can't explain why something is priced so high, then it is probably priced too high.

    You are able to explain why your fire pit would cost $200. And there's someone out there who would buy it at that price. It's just a matter of connecting the two. in some cases, that's easier said than done, but it's possible.

  3. Matt Lorence

    +Paul Roustan being realistic and sticking to your decision has been the main points of the articles I've read about pricing art.
    Frustrating still, because it's so subjective. Something I make tomorrow might be worth $50, but if I established myself (even locally), that same creation might be worth $500 five years from now. Or $500 now, just by showing it somewhere other than the hills of Vermont.
    Or collectors are into X but you make a masterpiece of subject Y. Doesn't matter how skillfully something was done if it's just not a popular piece.

    Way more respect for people who make it past the starving artist phase once I put a foot into the artistic pool and saw the other side.