Read it and weep — we’re going to wade through a bit of negative news first, but I assure you that there’s GOOD NEWS at the end of the trail — here is a list of the top 14 eBay searchwords for ART, listed in the order of their relative importance, most-popular searchword in the first place, least popular searchword in last place, thus:
- Wall Art
- Mondo Poster
- Antique Oil Painting
- Canvas Art
- Original Oil Painting
- Canvas Painting
- Metal Wall Art
- WPA (Work Progress Administration — Depression Era Art)
Now check out the top eBay ARTIST searchwords, top search first, and you’ll see what I’ve been trying to tell you about the current art market:
- Peter Max
- Shepard Fairey
- Andy Warhol
- Salvador Dali
- Keith Haring
- Bev Doolittle
- Maxfield Parrish
- Roy Lichtenstein
Like I said, there IS no art market in America at this time, none at all. It’s all decorative, and hardly that. The trend? There IS no trend. It’s posters, posters, posters, from here on in, folks, and the cruder and more abominable it is, the more likely it is to sell.
The market WAS driven by the Germans and Japanese who, during the 80s and 90s, had a distinct cash-exchange advantage, allowing them to buy art for basically half price or less, taking advantage of a doubled currency value, then taking further advantage of a very high and overpriced and artificially over-driven art market, due to Andy Warhol’s clever and successful market manipulations.
The public ate it up greedily, and begged for more punishment, which was duly dealt out, and the result is the current art market, slugging it out on the bottom end instead of the top end, looking for sales, rather than artistic breakthroughs and realizations.
But it doesn’t matter what art you have right now, none of it, even the big names and big search word guys, is selling. None. I thought, “maybe it’s just eBay”, so I made a few calls, a few inquiries, with long-time art market and art gallery director friends around the country, and in a few overseas locations, notably Western Europe and Asia, where galleries do have my art, which sometimes sells there, but not recently, with good cause.
THE MARKET HATES UNCERTAINTY.
Uncertainty is the LEAST you could say about the near future. Can you imagine the United States under a military dictatorship? Better get used to the idea, and learn how to live within the limits imposed on the population in the name of peace, love and understanding.
Absolutely 100% of the art marketing people and art gallery owners or directors to whom I spoke over the past week agreed on one thing — the art market is, at least for the duration, effectively down to zero.
That means you could own an original Rembrandt oil painting and, although there is always a market for such things, you couldn’t get nearly enough for it to cover your cost in acquiring the thing in the first place, and that is the sickness of the art market in a nutshell.
So what’s the solution?
For me, it’s “find another market” until the art market picks up again, which it always does, after the Time of Uncertainty has passed. In this case, I’d predict a market change for spring and summer of next year.
The best way I’ve found to express my art in another form is through embossed metal, which allows me to use my graphic skills to high advantage.
The USE of the product is what takes it out of the realm of ordinary art into the realms of jewelry, home or office decor, gift items and stocking-stuffers, which is where the market currently IS AT, and it’s realizable, if you can master the transition of your artforms into the metal embossing medium.
I assure you, it’s easy.
The metalwork is NOT wall-art, and trades differently. You’ll find a market for your little embossed metal goodies in boutiques, smoke shops, coin shops and anywhere that there’s a little counter space or a bit of space near the register.
You can make the most amazing key-rings or key-chains from these things, and much, much more. You can embed them into a wallet or purse, make stickers, fridge magnets, hat embellishments, belt buckles, bolo ties, small sculptures and metal wall art with them, and there’s more, lots more, you can do with them to make unique and unusual items for daily use and for personal adornment.
You will be amazed at the applications you can find for your embossed metal and, because it isn’t listed or categorized under “art”, it exists apart, and that means there’s a ready market for your product under a different category.
The biggest problem any artist or artisan has in making a living from their creative work is to actually find a market for the stuff you produce that is artistic but has no actual home or office benefit other than pure aesthetic, and informing anyone anywhere that you’re offering the stuff has become almost impossible, at ANY price, with ANY level of marketing skills and resources, and that’s strictly due to the Communication Age.
In the Communication Age, you need only a computer or hand-held smartphone to do almost anything that, in the old days, used to require tons of expensive equipment and highly skilled technicians.
Now, you merely click a button and the computer produces a video, an audio album and a book, all at the same time, and writes the copy and places the listings and puts the stuff into the social media FOR you, without you doing any more than just selecting a random subject and selecting “GO”.
In the marvelous Communication Age, Absolutely Everyone’s an artist, an art director, a publisher, a record producer, publicist, artist, cartoonist, author, editor, proofreader, reviewer, blogger, and even a public auctioneer.
We all know that it’s stone-illegal to conduct anything but a nonprofit auction without an auctioneer’s license, but since eBay came along and got away with it, everybody’s an auctioneer now, with no restrictions, no oversight, no checks and balances and very little protection for the inexperienced buyer, and hardly any recourse when there’s a fake or forgery on the block.
It’s total hell out there, and it’s going to get much, much worse.
You can stand in the middle of a screaming, shoving, pushing and trampling crowd, and scream as loudly as you possibly can, and see how far you get. That’s right, not even a ripple, not even a blow-back from the nearest screaming faces all around you.
The lack of response TO YOU and your manifestations from the crowd is very similar to the crowd’s reaction you’ll get when selling any item other than an iPhone.
In the middle of a screaming mob, your voice will be thoroughly and completely drowned out, but you might not realize this for quite some time, if ever, unless you TRY to do otherwise, to have some other outcome besides you getting trampled and drowned out by the screaming crowd of equally faceless and equally powerless people all around you.
One solution is to join the madding crowd, going with them in their urgent, driving rush to the cliffs along the seacoast, like the lemmings do — in fact, all species in nature have their own built-in drive to self-extinction, and humans are surely no exception.
So what do you do with all the art and craft work that’s piling up in your storage spaces?
First of all, you should gather everything together that’s similar — all copper bowls in one place, all paintings in another, etc., and if you paint several sizes of canvas, you should sort them by size.
Now look at each one as if it were hanging in a gallery. Is this piece worth the price of a frame? If not, put it in one pile. If you think it’s worth spending $50-$300 to frame it, put it in another pile, by which I mean that stretched canvases are front-to-back, not stacked up one on top of the other.
Do the same for all the types of art and crafts that you’ve produced and that you’ve still got hanging around.
Now go through the piles and select those pieces that you absolutely do NOT want to sell, no matter what price is offered. Those are the “NFS” or Not For Sale pile, and they do NOT get taken back out there, once in. NO price is acceptable for those, but if someone MUST have it, you can offer it as a print, and now, you can offer a real art print, using real ink on real watercolor art stock, and your print is the size of the original piece and, due to the quality of the print, you can’t tell it from the original except for the pencil signature and number!
How about THEM apples?
But, here we are again, at the exact same place.
What if those piles of artwork were not your own, but were produced by the artists I listed above? What if you had a garage-full of Keith Harings and Andy Warhols?
You’d still be in the same boat you’re in right now, because you can’t reach the buyers, not even through eBay, Amazon, Google or any other online service you could name, because THE BUYERS ARE NOT OUT THERE right now.
They’re accumulating gold and silver for the coming crash. Of course, when everyone accumulates something, it’s no longer rare, and seldom valuable, as per the collapse of the Spanish economy following the plunder of the Americas.
Too much gold results in lower gold prices. Not enough gold results in higher gold prices. No gold in private hands results in dictatorships and serfdom, which is why I never liked the 22nd century.
So how do you market art in a nonexistent art market?
You find another market, such as jewelry, fashion, personal adornment or home decor, something that IS working right now, and produce in that area, but with your own touch, your own artwork.
The alternative is road-repair, and you know it.
If you’re an artist or artisan, you’re probably also a musician or at least are able to play a guitar or piano or accordion or kazoo or didgeridoo or tom-tom or rattle.
There isn’t anyone who can’t learn to play a rattle.
You might have some skills in writing, perhaps in sports, or juggling, or animal handling, and the more skills you can combine, the more unusual will be your offerings…but wait, stop and think a moment…we’re still not getting out there.
There isn’t any other way at the moment. You’ll have to find your solutions on facebook, google, amazon and ebay, and those solutions are hard to deal with as an artist. It’s a real grind out there, and it’s a dirty, dirty game.
Artists just don’t have the stomach for the gritty game, and as the Shamans of the modern human tribe, they shouldn’t have to.
It’s the job of the Shaman Artist to bring the spirit to life in the midst of the gritty grind, but nobody has it easy in the art field, nobody, not even the ones who are currently in favor — the price is high and there is no reward for your sacrifices in the name of art, but there is some hope for your artwork even yet, if you can learn to CONVERT IT TO THE MARKET.
But what does THAT mean?
Converting your artwork to the market merely means that you need to find a product and a retail price that creates a flow in today’s marketplace.
The product is actually unimportant — that is, the nature of the product is unimportant, and the product itself, its uses and appearance, are also unimportant. What IS important is WHOSE NAME is on that product.
If you’re an artist today, you can’t hope to make your name a household word, so you’ll have to actually sell your art for what it is, not for the name attached to it and the celebrity status acquired by the owner of a celebrity art piece.
Wow, that’s a tall order.
You have to sell enough stuff per day or per week to justify doing that for a living. Selling enough to support a gallery or a shop is not enough — it has to also pay for all the folks who run it, so they can afford to continue running it, instead of working two jobs to pay for the gallery or shop.
That’s a very very tall order.
Can it be done? Not today, it can’t. You could have the very best restaurant in town, the very best and most famous boutique, the most popular hair stylist and nail shop in town today, and tomorrow be wiped out by a chain store that opens up right next to your shop, which is exactly what happened to a number of merchant friends in the past few months.
Is it all hopeless?
Technically, yes, but with the power of prayer and the force of the Work behind you, it’s possible to drive past all that…but how???
Sooner or later, a celebrity is going to get hold of one of our medallions or ammies or they’ll use an Orb, and they’ll mention it on a broadcast or in a blog or tweety-bird it to their friends and followers, and at that point, you have a chance, just a slim one, to edge into the marketplace, but you’d better act fast, because that sort of portal closes up real fast, almost as fast as it opened up.
How do you use this idea?
Every communications solution has its own problems in application. I can’t speak for high-end jewelry or articles of personal adornment, but I can say that it’s been fairly easy to sell medallions, while the art is lingering — not just my art, or the art I’ve listed, but everyone’s art.
You can see the sickness of the art market very easily by clicking “Ending Soonest” on the subject listings on eBay, then clicking “Highest to Lowest” price, and the story will be clear — there are no bids, no buyers, no sales, even at the highest levels, which is a new story for the art market, and people will not know why it’s happening, or even that it is happening.
There are other important markets that are down now. The book trade is dying out, as the download books come in, but the software books are themselves giving way to the audio books, because nobody knows how to read now, anyway.
The music trade is all copy and paste and so is the film industry. You can’t take a chance with a new name, face or plotline. The audience has to be already familiar with the title in order to even notice that there’s a new film by that name, the name of all the other films that were made by that name throughout the years.
It’s only been 100 years since film was invented, yet there are more than 10,000 remakes of previously popular films, and more being made every day, as fast as Johnny Depp can work.
So what’s the bottom line here? Is there a solution? Is there any way out of the box into which everyone has been shoved?
Like I said, the only door that’s open right now is facebook, and that’s a cruel way to go, dominated by folks who have not yet learned not to be vicious, that you don’t have to be mean, that your sour disposition and unforgiving nature just louses up life, and makes the pain worse for everybody.
You can’t reason with them any more than you can reason with a chipmunk, racoon or bear. Natural instinct says to take the honey and run.
So what IS the solution? I promised GOOD NEWS at the end of the trail, and here it is:
Every moment you spend creating those medallions, you move further and further away frm the reality where there is no art market, and work your way slowly, through the aethyrs, toward that reality where there IS a ready art market.
If you are in the world in which embossed metal exists NEARBY, not online or under discussion in an email or chat, you will travel with those items, and if you follow my design indications, schematics and diagrams even somewhat closely, your items will tend to travel in the right direction, like EMO beads seeking their Home Hue.
Wind and Water are your allies here. Every medallion you make brings you closer to Home. Every medallion you actually PLACE with a bearer, a carrier, brings you even closer.
Can you sell your medallions? Sure you can, as long as they’re not listed under “art”.
See You At The Top!!!