Today's postings

  1. [Baren 32314] Re: hanga troubles and peddlin' this stuff ("Maria Arango")
  2. [Baren 32315] Baren Member blogs: Update Notification (Blog Manager)
  3. [Baren 32316] Re: hanga troubles and peddlin' this stuff (Diane Cutter)
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Message 1
From: "Maria Arango"
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2006 19:12:22 -0800
Subject: [Baren 32314] Re: hanga troubles and peddlin' this stuff
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Oh dear, here I go...unfortunately for y'all I am currently in Tempe AZ, on
the evening of the first day of a 3-day festival and I just had a glass of
wine--okay okay!!!! two glasses of wine, but they are small hotel plastic
cups. Anyhow, this all means that I have TIME to burn and a free wireless
high-speed internet connection AND I am in the midst of going through the
plight of the "selling prints to the public who spends more on framing".

For starters, that same public will also spend more on dinner this weekend
than on art--real art, that is, not shiny things on a metal stick. Does that
bother me? A better question is: SHOULD that bother artists? The answer, of
course, is a resounding NO!
Of course people will spend more on framing than on the stuff they put in
the frame! Heavens, think of all the reproductions (pictures of art) that
are framed in $400 frames ... pause for everyone to think about that ... and
then say to yourself: "self, who cares? self, get your ass back in the
studio and MAKE art and forget about all that other stuff."

Okay, seriously? Forget about all that other stuff. If you are not having a
good time MAKING art, then forget about being an artist because that is the
ONLY thing about being an artist that you will enjoy. The reason artists
want to make art "for a living" is because we enjoy--no, make that love,
wait make that "have a passion for" MAKING THE ART. Certainly can't be the
money, which, even for those of us who are enjoying success only comes after
you have bled and bruised and cried for a few years. Certainly can't be the
glory or fame, which, even for those of us who have stuff in museums is
about as fleeting as a spring breeze. Certainly can't be anything else
except the glorious and magical feeling that we are making art for a living
and enjoying the making and enjoying the eventual rewards. But the most
enjoyable part is the art making, because all the rest is stuff we have to
put up with so that we can make art. Think about it hard because if the art
part is not pure bliss, the rest of life will be an unbearable hell.

I set off from Las Vegas on Thursday in the dark around 5 a.m. with ice on
the driveway, 30 mph gusts of frigid wind and a 6 hour trip ahead. I hit
Phoenix noon traffic, checked in at the festival and headed off to a hotel.
After a nervous nap and meal, I went back to the festival site and waited
for my set-up time 8 p.m. Around 9 p.m. we were finally allowed into the
site, dark by then, around 35 degrees. I put the tent and the panels up and
some art, leaving the rest for this morning. Friday at 5 a.m. came pretty
quick after a bedtime of midnight the prior night. I was at my booth by 6:30
and finished my little gallery. By 11 a.m. the sun finally came up over the
buildings and the weather warmed up, shoppers were out in droves and they
even bought some freshly framed woocuts, but mostly they were carrying shiny
frilly hangy things or shiny things on sticks.

I closed the booth with most of my fellow artists at dusk ("dusking" is now
an official new verb in the English language), headed off to my hotel,
cooked some noodles and here I sit, sipping wine and telling you all that
selling wooducts, including the framing, and especially including the
sitting around for 8 hours in cold weather waiting for people to quit
looking at frilly hanging shit and pay attention to real art, SUCKS. Making
woodcuts is the thing that keeps me in the business. Making woodcuts is a
blessing, pure and absolute ecstasy, the reason why I will get up in the
morning again and smile at people for 8 hours tomorrow...and the next day.
Making art is the life, selling art is just something we do.

Who cares that people will spend more money on frilly shit and frames than
on woodcuts! Why on earth would I think about that?! People will spend more
on dinner and movies than on woodcuts, even more on yet another piece of
jewelry or another hat or another pair of shoes. Who cares! Make art, make
good and laborious and wonderful art, bleed a little while you do it and put
your soul into every piece. I guarantee people will notice and I guarantee
that people will buy the stuff you make.

On the pricing thing, I really only have one suggestion: If you want to sell
art, price your art so that people will buy it. Detach ego and labor from a
piece of paper with ink on it. Detach the artist from the sales-person and
let the sales-person sell art; the artist should be making art. Really, IT
IS JUST A PIECE OF PAPER WITH INK ON IT. Think about it, price accordingly
and enjoy success. Oh, and frame it real nice because the shopper on the
street is not buying your blood and weeks of labor, they are buying a little
something to put on that spot between the fireplace and the bookshelf.
Detach yourself and your artistic ego from the artwork once it leaves the
studio. The artist will be happy and the sales-person will be prosperous.

On an absolutely candid and practical matter, I made $1200 today on a
festival where Friday is the worst day and my best Tempe festival was last
spring, where I took in just under $8000. I'm not at all bragging, just
stating what is possible...after 8 years of festivals, along with long
drives, early mornings, late nights, bruised fingers, broken nails, sore
backs, bad food, no food, noisy hotels, cold mornings, hot afternoons... Two
days to go. That's what it takes.

Humor follows.
Questions of the day:
"Where do you get your stamps?"
"Are these blots?"
"Do you actually have to carve the wood?"
and the winner, after my booth walls were down "Were you the one selling the
salsa dip?"

Good night to everyone, I think that's enough wine for me. Don't forget to
make some art tomorrow.
Chin up, good sailing (the seas are rough but the feeling of a strong wind
on a full sail is...well, get out there and find out!).


Maria Arango
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Message 2
From: Blog Manager
Date: 2 Dec 2006 04:55:12 -0000
Subject: [Baren 32315] Baren Member blogs: Update Notification
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This is an automatic update message being sent to [Baren] by the forum blog software.

The following new entries were found on the listed printmaker's websites during the past 24 hours. (25 sites checked, five minutes before midnight Eastern time)


Site Name: m.Lee Fine Art

Author: m.Lee

Author: m.Lee


Site Name: Gayle?s Woodblock Blog

Item: Ms Kate


[Baren] members: if you have a printmaking blog (or a website with a published ATOM feed), and wish it to be included in this daily checklist, please write to the Baren Blog Manager at:

For reference, sites/blogs currently being checked are:
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Message 3
From: Diane Cutter
Date: Sat, 2 Dec 2006 04:27:18 -0800 (PST)
Subject: [Baren 32316] Re: hanga troubles and peddlin' this stuff
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Maria!!! How timely was this post! I head out in an hour to sell my prints at a local Christmas show. I'd the same at the rainforest visitor's center over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Your point about 'it's only ink on paper' really hits home. I was able to sell quite well in the last one because I kept my prices reasonable. Also I have found your advice on framing them quite helpful. All the framed ones sold. I've got my fingers crossed that today is as successful; however I have no framed ones today (not a very scientific comparison). I'll keep in mind your comments on framing when customer's complain.