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Marketing,selling art

Hi Gerry, Sam, Your recent posts brought up many thoughts,
questions, and ideas, but few absolute answers. You can spend hours
creating a beautiful ring, polish it to perfection, put a decent and
fair price on it, set it in an elegant, well lighted case, then open
your gallery door and wait. Then, go home that night, turn on the TV
to your favorite shopping channel and watch 10,000 units of rings
move in an hour. (Units that are of decent quality, and priced less
than wholesale.) Every good artist, at some point in their
professional career will face a scenario similar to this. Do you make
art for the collector or do you sell to the masses? Unfortunately,
just entering into this type of dilemma sets up illusions and
invariably sends the creative to chasing imaginary solutions. More
chrome on a 57 Chevy isn’t going to make it go any faster. Marketing
Art…? To quote one of the 70’s Gurus, “Raise your consciousness UP
to the level of the problem and then just solve it.”

My suggestions for the both of you. Consider your old jewelry
teachers, why do you love and respect them? How much did they give,
how much did you get, and how much did you have to pay for that
knowledge? Now consider that your skills, and experiences are worth
MORE than the art that you create. I would be willing to PAY to
take a “Sam Patania workshop”, or a “Gerry Galarneau class”. Because,
from you guys, I know I would be getting my money’s worth. There are
a few teachers in this group that might be willing to elaborate on

By the way, I was one of the early jewelers at Arts Prescott. It
was a lot of fun, plenty of customers, and a great group of artists
to work with. However, I would not recommend a co-op to an
independent artist, especially one who doesn’t do windows, you know,
an academic. A successful co-op is a full time operation. It does not
give you more time to do art, but instead forces you to create art
that sells.

Gerry, sorry to have missed you during the Tucson Show. My move to
Bisbee and relocating our gallery there still remains a situation of
putting out fires. And Sam, it was a pleasure meeting you at the
Orchid dinner. If either of you (or any Orchidian) are in the Bisbee
area stop by the gallery, it is next to the Copper Queen Hotel.
Will Estavillo

Dear Will,

 . Do you make art for the collector or do you sell to the masses? 

My art pieces I make for myself and having said that can’t complain
if they don’t sell. It is a very special thing to have a client come
into my gallery and really love a piece I loved making, to see
through my eyes or to validate my tastes and then be willing to pay
for it. There is no better high, believe me. It’s just that after so
many years it’s a drag to struggle to maintain it. I completely agree
about giving back as a reward for my position (what ever that might
be), Teaching is the way to go, passing on what you know is another
way of immortality, which is what the work is as well. I took on an
apprentice last summer ,a student, and found a great deal of joy in
that. I want to take on an apprentice a year for a number of months
during the summer. This would be a no pay position, just knowledge
for labor. I think I have an apprentice lined up for this year but if
anyone would be interested let me know. Sam Patania, Tucson

Sam and All, I agree with teaching. A goal I have is to establish
lapidary and jewelry making as a trade. To be a trade products must
be able to be made into cash which will pay for raw materials and
saleries. I tried putting teaching before the marketing and was
unsuccessful. I ran out of money before I could get the products
sold. My experience is that anyone who is interested in lapidary and
jewelry making will sooner or latter look at it as a business.
Therefore, to make lapidary and jewelry makeing a trade marketing
must be in place before the teaching can occur. With a solid
marketing plan teaching can evolve into a solid structure which
produces products that have a viable way to sell. At that point
lapidary and jewelry making become a way to make a living, support a
family, and pay taxes. Products will make money and everyone will be
paid for their work. That is my goal. How did the Germans start? Ever
hear anyone speak badly about a German made lapidary or jewelry
product? They teach, provide a living, and have survived for many
years. My work is every bit as good, but lacks the depth of having a
group that supports the trade by providing equipment development, raw
material procurement, structured learning, product development, and
above all marketing.

Gerry Galarneau

Dear Gerry, Part of my apprenticeship includes not only marketing
but, bookkeeping and business plan development. I think it is
completely unrealistic to teach a craft in an apprenticeship
situation and not include the big picture. I also teach what I know
of photography both digital and optical. Also included are all the
supporting suppliers and how to developed contacts through such
mediums as Orchid. I don’t want a partner or employee, just someone
who will branch out and have me in their background. Don’t bother me
with apprenticeship requests unless you want it all. Sam Patania, Tucson