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I need some help deciding where to go with my art in terms of successfully selling, while not completely changing what I am currently doing.

I am a printmaker -- I make large, multi-colored linoleum reduction prints.  Framed, these are priced between $275 and $600.  They are fairly large -- the smallest image is 10 x 14, and the largest is 20 x 25 (unframed).  Examples of most can be seen on my website

I have read in Maria Arango's Art Festival Guide (which I recommend!) that it is helpful to have some items in a lower price category (maybe $50 - 100?).  For me this would mean making much smaller prints, and probably ones that don't have as many layers and detail.  Just thinking about that makes me a bit sad.

Another option is to provide cards.  Hand printed cards are almost as labor intensive as smaller prints, but as a printmaker I'm reluctant to provide photographic reproductions of my work (at least not in the same display with the originals).  People are confused enough about printmaking as an original art form.

I would appreciate any advice, especially from the printmakers out there.  

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Hi Elizabeth

The answer to your question falls into the subjective category and is driven by the pressure of trying to drive more income. From painful experience I feel qualified to comment - remember, subjective. My background: 30 years as commercial photographer, 15 year ad agency owner-turned VP Marketing, now back to semi-retired "artist" looking at this art fair market as an outlet for the passion that got me started and income to support retirement.

My similar experience comes from waiting too long to transition from film to digital, just before a massive regional industry decline destroyed my entire commercial client base which destroyed my financial ability to spend another $30,000 on replacing/upgrading large format film to digital. Now, going from large format film for commercial work at $1,200/day plus expenses (not a NYC market) to 35mm digital just makes me sad. The answer, for me, was to work within the limitations and best use of the format and equipment which, in this case, means editorial/slice of life work that I did 30 years previously. Shooting 35mm of cars in a studio setting for annual reports simply doesn't cut it - not for me at least.

I use that only as a comparison for your situation and you comment "just makes me sad" screams volumes about your response if forced into something for which you have no passion. It will show in the work. Diamonds have no less value because of their size.

My opinion is that educating the buyer is key here. Use "original vs reproduction" as your price point difference, not size. And explain the difference very clearly to potential buyers. Having pro quality reproductions made gives you the price point difference and allows you to use size to price accordingly. Keep the originals and price them for discriminating buyers (without insulting the others.) Use the reproduction files for postcards for both sale on a rack and as marketing tools. As I said, a subjective opinion.
Thanks for sharing your experience with me David. I especially appreciate your insight on how denying what makes me passionate will show up in my work. Much food for thought.
I think this is a question we all deal with constantly, Elizabeth. I am a painter and prefer working with formats 3 x 4 feet and above. I've tried a number of different lower price point options over the years (handmade cards, smaller original works on paper matted in bins, tiny paintings). For me, I found it to not be worth the trouble. Also, as the market has shifted over the past few years, I've found that I'm making more and more sales in the upper price range and fewer and fewer at the low and mid price range.

Instead of trying to pursue smaller sales, I've been focusing on providing better service and follow up for clients looking for large fomat work and have been very happy with the results.
Hi Signe,

Thanks for sharing your experience with me about your efforts to create lower price options. I'm encouraged by your experience of focussing on your clients and promoting your larger works.
Thanks for your insights!
Hi Sara,
I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and experiences with me! I make cards for my own personal use and for each holiday, but the amount of work involved makes me think they aren't feasible as an income source. And as a printmaker, I share your squeamishness about mechanically reproducing your work... I'll need to work on some educational materials for my display!
Best of luck with your smaller series!


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