Two of my pieces got into the 2017 Members Juried Art Show of the CT Women Artists, Inc. It’s a great show of mixed mediums of art – ranging from paintings, sculpture, drawings, collage, mixed media and more.
If you like to see all genres of art and what people are doing with their crafts, it’s a good show for that purpose. I’ve entered this show consistently for the past several years.
This year, I was reluctant to do it. I waited until the very last minute. I actually got a reminder on the last day. And I literally waited to the very last hour to the online deadline before I submitted my entries.
I wanted to enter these two pieces shown here, but somehow it was hard for me to do so. For one, they’re the smallest pieces I’ve ever entered into any show. Secondly, it’s a more recent style than I’ve created in the past.
But this quote came to mind and I submitted my entries.
“Real Artists Ship” – Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs is said to have said this to his software team when they were creating the very first Mac computer.
Obviously, he didn’t mean artists in the narrow sense of artists. He was talking to a software team here, so he meant creatives in general.
What he meant is this. No matter how great your creation is, there comes a time when you must let go of it. You must let others appreciate it, use it or derive value from it. You must ship your work to others.
“Art must be shared”
Why do we need to be reminded to ship? The same reason Steve Jobs reminded his team. Because letting go is hard.
When you’ve watched your work go through the stages of an idea, design and finally creation, it’s no longer a piece of work. It’s your baby. And when it’s your baby, it’s difficult to let go.
It’s Hard to Let Go of Your Baby
Have you ever seen the agony some parents go through when their teenagers are leaving home for college the first time? Pure agony!!!
When it’s your creative work, you feel the same. Whether you’re writing a blog post and it’s time to hit the PUBLISH button. Or it’s an art quilt and you’ve put the final stitch in the binding. Whatever piece of creative work it is, you want to hold on to it a little longer. You don’t want to let it out there in the world to be judged quite yet.
It’s hard to let go. Because, maybe you can add one more detail, maybe it can do with more embellishments…. Maybe it’s not yet time to ship. A need to get it all tidy and perfect will often stand in the way of showing your art.
Sometimes, it’s a need to have your creation be “worthy of you”. When you imagine the opinions and judgments of others about your work, you want them to think what a fantastic piece you’ve created. So you hold on to it a little longer. Trying your best to make it worthy of you.
But shipping is good. Sharing your work with others has many benefits. Although there’ll always be a reluctance to ship, the benefits of shipping far outweigh keeping your work to yourself.
Benefits of Showing Your Work
- Sense of Accomplishment
- Showing your work means you can finally say you’re done with it. It gives you the opportunity to move on to other things. It gives you something to show for your efforts.
- Positive Feelings (Confidence, Satisfaction, Joy, & Personal honor)
- You experience positive feelings of pride and joy when others appreciate your work. You derive more meaning when you share than when you keep it to yourself
- Feedback – Evaluate Your Art Relative to Others
- You get the benefit of feedback when you share your work
- Makes You Accountable –
- Knowing that you have to eventually share your work makes you accountable. It ensures that you will get it done and shipped. This, in turn, helps you grow as a creative person.
- Updated Portfolio – Artist Statements, Photos
- If you’re constantly showing your work, it compels you to create more. Because you don’t want to share the same old things all the time. So your work, artist statements, resumes, and photos will always be updated. Since you’re always creating and showing your work.
- Builds Your Credibility / Resume
- If building a professional art career is important to you, then the history of your shared work will serve as a solid record of your ability to create good work. It’s a resume and credibility builder.
- Opportunity to Sell Your Work
- If your intention is to sell your creative works, then sharing your work increases your chances of getting noticed by people who will be interested in buying from you. And acceptance into prestigious shows increases the value of your work.
So how do you then go about showing your work? For visual artists, there are several places and tons of opportunities for you to share your work. You should endeavor to explore as many as you can.
Opportunities for Showing Your Work
- Your Local Art Center
- Your Art and Critique Groups (Show and Tell)
- Juried Shows
- Coop- Galleries
- Alternative spaces like doctors offices, libraries, gyms, coffee shops/restaurants, airports, hospitals etc
Last weekend, when I went in to drop off my two pieces, I happened to get into a nice debate with several artists at the exhibition venue. One of the artists inadvertently started the debate by saying my work is underpriced.
In her opinion, the effort that went into creating these two pieces made them worth more than, I’d priced them – which currently is at $250 each.
It was a healthy and enlightening discussion for me indeed. And it goes to prove the point that showing your work can only benefit you.
Are you holding back on showing your work for any reason? Remember, “Real artists ship”. And shared art is meaningful art.
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Also published on Medium.
I’ve been told I underprice too. I charge $2.00 square inch, which I think is in line with what many fiber artists are charging. I’m not well known, and I haven’t won any prizes although I do show a lot.
For your 17 x 7 pieces, that would have been $238. That’s a weird number, so I would have rounded up to $250 – same as you.
I always think that I had won prizes or if I were more well known, then I would charge more.
On the other hand, I do think that maybe I *am* undercharging because almost no one balks at my prices. Only once did I have someone ask to pay less (I just made him a smaller size and charged him the same $2/inch). 0.
So, that does make me wonder. lol
In the meantime, I’ll keep charging what I do. I get a lot of commissions, and I don’t want that to change! 🙂
Clara Nartey says
Kit, I go through a similar thought process just like you on determining my prices. But the discussion at the exhibition got me thinking. Because this is not the first time I’ve been told my prices are low.
The last time was by someone I’d done commission work for. She loved the piece but expected it would have cost her more.
So it’s food for thought fo me now. Because if both my peers and collectors think I’m underpricing, I may be. And I certainly don’t want to leave money on the table either.