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I feel I have learned some in participating in shows, but mostly I feel like a failure. I have literally only sold two items last year that I participated in. I've changed my prices, my sales techniques and anything else that has be suggested. I'm broke and exhausted. Finally I decided to be a part of a co-op with it's own gallery and even that was a disaster.  I think it really could be true that you just can't create works of art and hope someone will like it enough to buy it. The rejection is hard to take. I enjoy people so much but, no sales makes me feel like a loser. I haven't met anyone in my position, and I feel like I'm the only person who has had this happen.

I think this changes an artist when this sort of thing happens, I know it's changing me. I've been told by other artists that I cant be authentic, that I need to have a distant attitude. Is art really like this? Does it really come down to recreating things you see on Pintrest that people liked, because your creative voice is speechless. 

My new game plan is not a winning plan, but just a childish desire to not let my art sit inboxes in my shed. Yes I may sell my work at the lowest bidder, I may even give it away, which I have been doing. Yes, I may change me just so my hands can continue to feel clay in my hands. Today I'm actually borrowing 25.00 for a box of clay cause I am so broke from all of my efforts. I'm frustrated. The level of bad experiences are so bizarre I can't begin to understand them.

I haven't seen anyone sell an item over $300. this is even in shows like La Quinta. Is all artwork like this? does only inexpensive art sell? is this everywhere? I only can figure that I must do simple blobs to sell anything. Should I try it? should I make a mockery of this whole art thing? should I roll out some clay and virtually play out the" Emperor with no clothes". Make blobs and convince people this is great, and see if it sells. What do I have to loose? haven't I already lost everything? 

What do you think?

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You've said a lot here, and I am going to have to spend time with it. I like what everyone has said and it has been very useful. Thank you for valuing my artwork and helping me sort out what it is that has gone wrong.

I think the reason I had gotten so perplexed is because I have done nearly all of these suggestions. It's funny that the title of withered moth created such imagery, because I once wrote a story about the name withered moth. Mckenna Hallett hit the story right on the head. I'm gonna get personal for a moment and I'm sorry for those who don't find personal relevant. In my case you might change your mind. I don't feel sorry for myself and I don't want you to either, so no one say "I'm sorry" cause I'm past it. But you see I have had a great deal of life long tragedy, I have spoken of it years ago when I was trying to muster up the courage to do shows. I found the courage. I get over whelmed at times and have panic attacks but, it's been so good for me to do these shows. 

When terrible things happen I have always persevered and gotten back up. My sculptures have always been about my experiences. These experiences are very intense and when I tell people the story there is generally an emotional move in the person. What I have found is the person selected the sculpture to ask about because they relate to it. Many persons have started to cry. Not good for booth sales. I started to feel conflicted and try to turn the conversation to how it makes them feel instead of what I was feeling. I haven't gotten expert at this part yet, and maybe I should work at it.

Some of these topics are a death of a child, my first love leaving me for a man, being violently gang raped and being terrified to leave the house, being mugged, being physically attacked and beaten alcohol poured on me and almost set on fire in the middle of a city where no one would help me, being dragged by a tractor and only my foot being hooked kept me from being chopped up. I was shot in the head with a pellet gun by a stranger while on a walk and crawled to our local fire station for help, then myself and family lost everything in a fire last year, most recently my doctor  mis-diagnosed me for 4th stage breast cancer. They biopsied last week and I am currently waiting for the results. likely it's just a tumor, but the mistake sent me into a mental need to accomplish in my life and live it fully. Which is a good thing.

As you can see it is remarkable that anyone person would have so many things happen. For me it was the worse to loose my absolutely dearest true love. This happened years ago. I use to call him my flame, and when I lost him I withered. Literally my skin on my arms withered, this is where the name comes from. I was a moth to a flame. I am married to a remarkable and good man today but like so many people we suffer loss and find a way to become strengthen. I am so much stronger these days and I am no longer so full of fear. If I am facing cancer I will be fine. 

So as I read these offerings of wonderful insight, I am beginning to think there is more going on here. I'm not feeling so alone. I'm not feeling like a loser anymore, and I 'm not nearly as worried about the money after this conversation. Maybe touching people is what I get from this. Maybe sharing and talking with people can be enough. But as I accept this maybe the stress won't be felt by others. Maybe as I apply these suggestions and relax I will end up selling and it will come together.  Thank you all for your help and suggestions.

I am going to listen to those podcasts right now, while I work on my website. And if anyone else has more suggestions please keep them coming, they are helping me. 

Thank you

Lovely comments, and I wish you well after so much. You remind me of the motto: "No grit, no pearl." So, what about doing teaching, where you bring out these things for people to deal with through their art, too? Much more money in teaching than doing art right now. Online, local and foreign workshops. One artist has 2500 online students this year.

You sound like you have so much more to offer than an image for someone to hang on a wall. Help them change their lives through art. 

What you suggest was something I thought was going to happen through a co-op I was part of. I was teamed with 2 other artists that work with autistic children. The owners of The gallery where the classes were starting in just announced December 31st they were closing their doors. So what you suggest has come up. I would like to at least explore this area.

would you happen to have the name of that artist?  

Dreama Tolle Perry

Okay, so this is what I got from this discussion...

My personal opinion is, I am doing most of what has been discussed except for a few things which might be game changers. 

1. Price Points:  First main suggestion is to make smaller items that those who love my art could buy without breaking the bank. I do this, and these items don't sale much. Maybe I just need to make a different item. I make trinket boxes, but maybe become better at tiles, or beads or pendants. Maybe just make the small items primary in my booth instead of secondary, so they are more prominent. I really liked the idea of meditation coins, They would go well with my perseverance attitude through the rocky paths in life. 

2. Booth appearance. The black makes everything pop. Rearranging my booth to bring my art to the foreground. Well I haven't found the perfect arrangement, but I know my lighting must be addressed, because my booth is dark. So if anyone one has suggestions on lighting please suggest it to me. I will search the forums for this info. I do need to have sculptures that don't take up so much base space so I am able to bring my pieces more forward.

3. Art pieces: I agree with the idea to do a grand piece that will satisfy my desire to go big and then make other pieces much less costly. But in this discussion I had an epiphany, people are out having a nice time at a show. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and lowe you come across my booth. Perhaps you are out and about trying to be happy and get away from your hurts. Perhaps visiting the loss of a child at an art show isn't a good time to do it. Although it might bring that person some inner healing. They aren't going to buy a piece that reminds them of hurt. So this piece should be perhaps on my website but not at a show. Bring only celebration of life to the show, so my positive happy energy ready to sell is present. Maybe do some out door pieces, more people would have a use for. Totems

4. Website presences: I think my original intentions of doing my art on healing have severed it's purpose. I think now it's time to make things more basic and to the point. I am not sure how yet I will change my site but, I am now rearranging my pages so my gallery and just a small introduction of the artist is there. 

5. Etsy : I sell at etsy, and I sell my pieces more to unique type people. The people don't feel my emotions, and I don't talk them to death. Maybe I should use that approach at the shows. Maybe, the piece speaks for it's self, and I don't. I'm cool with that.

5.  Galleries: Galleries have been hard to find, one has approached me, but with research I found the new owner was not paying the artists their money. What was a good reputation of this San Diego Gallery has now turned sour. I searched yelp and found the names of artists who commented. These are art fair artists, that have beautiful work and are definitely well known. I contacted them and found out the decline of the gallery business practices. Although I i'll keep looking for a gallery my art would fit into, I haven't found one.

6. Education on selling: In this discussion I was directed to go to a Podcast which I had listened to before. I used some of the suggestions at my last show and felt better about the overall show even without sales. The site was I will buy this sales tool when I get some cash because, I believe my main problem is talking too much and stress.

7. demographics: I do only high end shows because of my prices. Meaning La Quinta, Sausalito, smaller shows that might reach money. But my art really isn't quite right , too free thinking, and not so decorative. This is a bit of a conflict. I think I will find a way to slightly change my work to appeal decoratively and still maintain my spirit of expression. I have some ideas that will take some time to develop but I'm excited about them.

8. Classes: Online maybe the right place, I am going to use this idea and flesh it out. This could be a great way to subsidized my shows. Patron and twitter will be my go to. I have a degree in computer science and multimedia I could finally use.

So I want to thank all that helped narrow down what adjustments that need to be made. I will get busy doing them, and at a later date post links on how I implemented the changes.

Thank you all for your help, it was a joy reading your words.

~ sincerely Kara

Hi Kara, I am retired, don't need the money, but I like when someone Loves my stuff or even buys a piece. I paint for fun, but selling is not fun... I believe 80% of people are not even interested in buying private artworks. In Florida, it is a walk in the park for most people... they are not there to buy art. I try to support a few artists who have pieces that I like, either by compliment or purchase. But always remember, PEOPLE SUCK AND LIE, others just do not know what to make of art, others have no taste... so here is my advice. Join art groups, Etsy, Art America,  Art Gallery, etc. ON LINE and post 1 piece each day. Make pieces as often as you can, or want to. Now, get a part-time or full time job to make a living. ( or die, that always makes the demand higher, now that the supply is limited ). Make art that feeds your soul and sell to a few, those who can feel it. Charge a fair price, as much as YOU would be willing to pay. The most famous art saying is "Starving Artist". So, try some other work, for money... then make art for fun, never give in or give up, your day will come. Art is a snooty world of personal references, when someone famous in the art world "discovers" you, the money will soon follow. Enter free online contests and post on artist websites, at least 1 per day. You will find, 1 by 1, patrons for your sculptures.  Most importantly, spell lose  L O S E, not LOOSE... ( see, I told you people suck! ). Just don't lose your spirit, just because people suck. Make ART, not war... keep your hands in the clay. Keep talking nicely to people who look at your stuff, because, as many have said, they are buying a piece of you. Just today, I took 40 or so pieces out of a gallery because the non-artist owner became a snooty, high and mighty bitch. Her loss... I will sell those on line and from my home.  Have a wine party for your friends and neighbors occasionally, alcohol loosens the credit cards, and sign up for Pay-pal, you can get paid fast. Just never give up... Here is one of my albums, maybe you can tell ME why I don't sell enough... stay well and smile...         Paul Sclafani / Amazing Art   954-384-0879


Most of all thank you for correcting my spelling... If I'm gonna be a loser I want to make sure to spell it correctly.

In regards to your art...The imagery is very nice, but I can't tell what the sides of the canvas looks like to be able to give you my opinion on sales. I do know that one problem I had while participating and the becoming a manager of a gallery was often the artist didn't paint on gallery thick style canvases. Also, the artists didn't paint and finish the sides of the canvases and or lastly the backs aren't finished on the back with paint and a solid paper closing off the back. Those three things in our gallery seemed to matter, great image or not. I can't tell if you are guilty of that or not because I am not given in the images at slightly side view. Maybe if you showed an image of the sides it would help.

Lastly thank you for your input. I of course have a paypal and square account and Etsy is my best source of sales. I suppose joining art groups would be a good option, I have done that but usually I receive loads of questions from the artists in the groups asking questions on how I do certain things. Perhaps I should just sale tutorials instead of art and make the best of that situation.

Once more I appreciate your ideas.


Have a great day!

Hi Kara,

First: I love your work.  It is so special! I so wish that I had that talent!

2nd:  I relate to you more for the investment you have in your art, than the art itself.  I spent 35 years in a wonderful, rewarding career. As I grew older and gradually moved away from that career, I avoided using the word "retired," as if my "SELF" was negated by retiring.  So, I'm offering some encouragement from someone much older than you, with a different sort of experience.  I encourage you to begin finding who you are no matter whether you continue in this art experience, or go in some other direction, whether you sell high end art or smaller pieces, whether you think other people understand your art or not.   It is as much of a process differentiating yourself from what you DO as it is a process differentiating yourself from your parents and family as you grow up and leave home or redefine yourself after your stop school and become a member of the labor force, or a married person, etc.

Courage! Strength! Insight! Energy! Hope!


Hi Kara, Thanks for your response... all sides and backs of boxes and canvasses are always finished. Anyway, it was really a rhetorical question... I don't need to sell art, I just need to make it. Retired, lived below my means for 30 years... have some money. Art is fun and it feeds my ego when people like it. Very selfish, I know.  I do like to sell my creations , but remember, not everyone buys art. So make art for and peace and future success...PS

Ok, another 10 cents here and I apologize if someone said this and I missed it. But maybe you are in the totally wrong group of shows. I had a friend who did beautiful graphic prints and when she went from art shows to Rock concerts her stuff took off. (with a few T shirts thrown in!)

Have you thought of Comic-Cons? That is a HUGE MARKET  that may have much more appreciation for your creativity than the tent show crowd. The west coast might be worth a couple of trips a year. It may take a little time to gain a reputation, but if it is a direction you haven't tried, and you can stay true to yourself and your art. Well I don't see a down side.


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