“Your body of work is everything you create, contribute, affect, and impact. For individuals, it is the personal legacy you leave at the end of your life, including all the tangible and intangible things you have created. Individuals who structure their careers around autonomy, mastery, and purpose will have a powerful body of work.”
― Pamela Slim, Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together
Selling Your Photography, Artwork, Brand – A body of work is what separates the random lucky shot from a consistent effort of producing great images. String together a few years of “lucky shots” create from a continuous effort to improve your art and you’ll develop a serious body of work and find a style.
“Consistent impact over the course of your life on a body of work you care about deeply is legacy.”
― Pamela Slim, Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together
A body of work showcases what you can do and proves its not about luck but a dedication to one’s craft. A vision, an eye, a style and talent, all developed over time by dedication and persistence.
Finding the subjects, exploring the area, developing the models, getting up early, staying out late, returning to a location time and again to capture the best light.
“Focusing on building a body of work will give you more freedom and clarity to choose different work options throughout the course of your life, and you’ll be able to connect your diverse accomplishments, sell your story, and continually reinvent and relaunch your brand.”
― Pamela Slim, Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together
Learning your equipment, learning post processing, experimenting, testing, developing, learning, teaching, and especially looking. Looking at great images, going to shows, going to museums, looking at books, looking at magazine, looking at the world around you. All the while taking photographs, deleting photographs, editing photographs, reshooting photographs, printing photographs, selling photographs — adding to one’s body of work.
Just take those old records off the shelf
I’ll sit and listen to ’em by myself
Today’s music ain’t got the same soul
I like that old time rock ‘n’ roll
Sang Bob Seeger in the classic rock anthem “Old Time Rock and Roll”. Back in the days of old time rock and roll, when you saved up your allowance to buy records at the downtown record store, you’d spend hours flipping through the albums, looking at the artwork, reading the backs of the sleeves, making a careful selection for your meager spending money.
Back then the artwork on a record was important. Music wasn’t sold by the thumbnail on a streaming site, it was sold as an actual, physical object in which the artwork, liner note and inner sleeve were all part of the package. In college we used to flip through the used record stores looking for obscure booklegs, special releases, original pressings with all of the good sleeves full of lyrics and photos of the band. Promo “for radio play only”, not for resale, cuts out, remainders.
In my younger days I’d scan the racks at Caldor’s and Bradley’s for greatest hits music bargains and K-tel compilations of the Kinks, Beach Boys and Monkees. The vintage records in my series of old record still life’s come from a collection older than I. Albums from the 50s and 60s before I actually started paying attention to music. A such they have a mid-century modern graphic design quality.
See the entire collection of classic vinyl record album artwork by fine art photographer Edward M. Fielding including prints, museum quality framed artwork, throw pillows, tote bags, canvas, wood, metal and acrylic prints, shower curtains, t-shirts, fleece blankets and more here: https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/art/record
The comforting, nostalgic modern farmhouse style is all the rage. Not too fussy, easy-peasy look makes everyone feel at home as soon as they walk in the door.
It’s all about the simple details. Farmhouse is a decidedly American style and is in the mists of a major resurgence. Modern farmhouse style appealing to those who like the classic, comforting style of a simpler time. It’s a blend of architectural details, front porches, inherited pieces, light colors, rough-hewn finishes and of course just the right artwork.
Country theme, classic barns, cows, antique tractors and rural landscapes make for a great modern farmhouse look. Decorating with scenes of old red barns in the snow, vintage farm equipment and idyllic country scenes. Fine art photographer and artist Edward M. Fielding (www.edwardfielding.com) offers and unique and exciting collection of modern farmhouse images taken from all over rural New England.
These images capture the essence of the modern farmhouse look, easy, relaxed, not fussy, not afraid of a few muggy paw prints.
The following photographs and farmhouse artwork are available as framed prints (barnwood frames are available!), canvas prints and more. Or purchase them rolled in a tube and make your own frames.
The essence of farmhouse decorating is warm, cozy, relaxing, and full of charm and character. Bring on the charm and character with great farmhouse artwork. Eschews modern sensibilities, harken back to a simpler time, yet keep the farmhouse savvy by not sliding into country kitsch by a balance of old and new. The great photography and art in Edward Fielding’s collection of fine art photography and artwork should be clean, stylish and warmhearted.
So you’ve recently retired and are looking for something to occupy your time. Perhaps you’ve taken up painting at the local arts center and feel ready to start moving those canvases out of the garage. Or you’ve always liked to take pictures on vacation, bought yourself a fancy camera, booked some exotic vacations to the national parks, visited a Peter Lik gallery and thought, if he can do it why not me?
Did you think it would be easy? Selling artwork or photography in a global market against college trained artists with decades of practicing their craft? Did you research the market and see with the total sales of landscape photography is and how many landscape photographers are chasing the same dream? Well at least as a retiree you have several advantages over the full time artist community:
You are in it for fun, no need to make a living at this after all you are retired
You probably have a roof over your head. No need to pay thousands a month for a shoe box apartment in Brooklyn.
You have savings. No living from pay check to pay check from your bartending job.
You can afford the newest, latest and greatest equipment. No saving up for a daily camera rental for you.
You didn’t spend $150,000+ getting an arts degree. So you start $150K of the game.
But what made you think it would be easy to sell your artwork among the zillions of other people trying to sell their artwork?
It is not like the chances are great anyone makes it in the arts business and the art world is not a lucrative industry. What ever career you retired from was a lucrative career – the arts are not.
The median income of those with art degrees who made their living as artists in New York City in 2012: $25,000
The median income for an artist in Canada in 2012: $21,603
Did you think you could just make it and the sales would appear? By any measure artists of all levels of success spend most of their time promoting and marketing their work. Twenty percent of the time they are spending on actually making art. The rest of the time they are trying to keep from getting kicked out of their apartment studio or trying to sell their work.
The 80/20 rule also applies to who gets all of the financial rewards. 80% of the rewards go to the top 20%. The bottom 80% have to fight it out for the $20 left over. Who is going to fight harder? The retiree looking to make a few extra bucks for greens fees or the recent art school grad trying to make it to avoid moving back into their parent’s basement?
WOODSTOCK VERMONT – I recently sold this watercolor technique fine art photograph of Woodstock, Vermont which was ordered in this handsome frame and mat combination and is headed to a collector in Knoxville, TN.
I offer many of my fine art photographs in this style of watercolor type brush strokes. Over the years of processing my images I’ve developed this process that gives a painterly effect after a few hours of working on the image.
As always my images begin with a trip to the location. In this case the quint and beautiful village of Woodstock, Vermont.
Woodstock has a lot of attractions for visitors including fine dining, golf and spa treatments at the famous Woodstock Inn, a covered bridge tucked into the small downtown full of little shops and restaurants and of course the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park and Billing farm attractions with a working farm, museums and historic home of the Rockerfellers who had a lot of influence over the town over the years.
Nearby is Quechee gorge as well as the ski area colorfully called Suicide Six. Xcountry skiing is also available from the Woodstock Inn and nearby Mt. Tom which is connected to the National Historic Park.
The area is quite the tourist draw with the VINS bird rescue center over by Quechee, the glass blowing at Simon Pearce and the annual hot air baloon festival.
The image above was taken right downtown, across from the Woodstock Inn, across from the town green and around the corner from one of the historic and well preserved homes in Woodstock. The covered bridge is drivable but it is off from the main street.
I used the white picket fence to create a leading line up to the covered bridge in the distance and of course waited for the tourists to leave the area.
Back in the studio I started my watercolor process that creates multiple layers of “brush stocks” using the original fine art photograph as the template. It’s takes several hours building up layers and matching colors to bring about the final result.
In an interview on the One Million by One Million Blog (http://www.sramanamitra.com) Fine Art America and Pixels.com founder Sean Broihier explains why some artists on the site pull in $10K a month while others see little sales:
Sramana: What accounts for the success of some artists and the lack of success of others on FineArtAmerica?
Sean Broihier: There is a disproportionate distribution of wealth because we do not have a huge bulk of buyers relative to artists. There are some artists who are making an enormous amount of money and some who are making relatively little money. It all comes down to how the artists take advantage of the tools we give them and how they market themselves. The artists who are making $5,000 to $10,000 a month are putting in the required time and energy to generate their own sales. They are doing email campaigns, they are going to art fairs, making TV appearances, and attending trade shows. We are just doing fulfillment orders for those types of artists.
We are a marketplace that gives you tools to be successful. With so many artists on the site, we cannot provide them all with individualized sales and marketing attention. All we can do is give them tools to help them be successful. People who sit around and take the wait-and-see approach will have one or two sales a year. As for anything in life, you will not be successful unless you put effort into it.
Earlier in the interview Broihier explained how the number of artists signing up every day on Fine Art America and Pixels outpaces the number of buyers. In other words, artists on average see less sales unless they are going above and beyond with their marketing, branding and offerings.
Sean Broihier: The vast majority of orders go to non-artists who have found us through Google or Facebook. You would expect that if you had five artists, you would have 25 buyers to keep them happy. However, because we are free to join and everyone has seen how fast the business is growing, we have attracted a ton of artists. The pace of buying has not kept up currently. Obviously, we are growing quickly. If word got out that FineArtAmerica was doing incredibly well, then I could have another 200,000 artists sign up overnight. I am not necessarily going to see a correlation in the number of buyers signing up at the same time.
As an Artist Your Value Proposition Separates Your Work from the Crowd
What is it about your work that makes it deserve a sale? Think about the last time you purchased or supported another artist’s work. Why did you do it? How did it make you feel? What was the value of the purchase to you?
Consider that buying artwork is not like buying a commodity product like salt or gas. Art is not purchased because it’s the lowest price or you had a coupon.
Out of the zillions of available art works and photographs on the market that you could purchase, for some reason this particular piece of artwork compelled you to love it and purchase it.
Some of the factors involved might be:
You met the artist face to face
You saw a documentary about the artist
You read an interesting article about the artist
The artwork provoked a strong memory
The artwork was the perfect size or color for a space in your home
A friend recommend this artist
The artist reminds you of a more famous artist that you can’t afford
The artwork created a gut reaction
The art makes you happy
The art makes you think
The art sets a mood
The art matches your decor
The art matches your theme
You like the artist positions
You like what the art has to say about the world
The art is modern, the art is retro
The art gives you a positive feeling
etc, etc, etc.
One thing to remember when selling art is people buy or support art for a very different set of reasons than anything else they spend money on. Not only are they receiving a product for their money but they like to know they are supporting an artist so they can continue to create.
Support Artists To Support Your Set of Values
If you see work you like, you should support this work, even if you don’t end up owning it, because this artist is creating the kind of beauty you want to see in the world. By helping this artist survive and continue to make work, you’re helping someone change the world in the way you want it to change.
Your Value Proposition
Your value proposition as an artist sets you apart from your fellow artists and photographers.
VALUE PROPOSITION – (in marketing) an innovation, service, or feature intended to make a company or product attractive to customers.
In an never ending flood of amateur snapshots uploaded daily on social media, a professional level quality and execution. Consistently, editing, selection and subject choice can be enough to pull your work out of the masses and into the realm of quality worth spending money.
Your followers will come to expect focused images with good composition, free of dust spots, grain and poles sticking out of people’s heads.
My value proposition as a fine art photographer would go something like this:
Using professional equipment, honed post-processing skills, years of study, effort and passion for my subjects, creativity and a unique vision, I offer a unique and compelling images suitable for display in the finest homes and offices.
Further my collectors come to appreciate my style of clean and uncluttered compositions. They might also take comfort knowing that my work has been shown in galleries, on book covers and magazines around the world.
The fact that professional image buyers have selected my work to grace book covers and illustrate magazine articles doesn’t make someone love it, but it does provide affirmation that their choice is a solid one. After all, if it’s good enough for a book publisher to bet the success of a book launch on, it’s probably good enough to grace a guest room.
Abstract artwork for sale – Open edition reproductions of “Phantom Lik” by visual artist Edward M. Fielding are available for purchase in sizes up to 22 x 30 inches as matted and framed artwork, canvas, wood, acrylic, metal prints and more.
Artist Statement generated via artybollocks.com
My work explores the relationship between emerging sexualities and counter-terrorism.
With influences as diverse as Nietzsche and John Cage, new tensions are created from both explicit and implicit structures.
Ever since I was a pre-adolescent I have been fascinated by the endless oscillation of relationships. What starts out as vision soon becomes debased into a tragedy of greed, leaving only a sense of nihilism and the dawn of a new understanding.
As spatial replicas become transformed through studious and critical practice, the viewer is left with a clue to the edges of our era.
Actually this piece came about after some playful time generating fractals.
A fractal is a curve or geometric figure, each part of which has the same statistical character as the whole. Fractals are useful in modeling structures (such as eroded coastlines or snowflakes) in which similar patterns recur at progressively smaller scales, and in describing partly random or chaotic phenomena such as crystal growth, fluid turbulence, and galaxy formation.
Art Sales – Selling art is a lot like going fishing. You never know what sale might come along but there certainly are ways to increase your success rate. Think about two different Fishermen – Bob and Pablo.
Fisherman Bob sits on the dock near his house all day using the same bait. He picked the location because he didn’t want to invest in a boat and it’s easy. He catches nothing but minnows but at least he got out of the house for the day.
Meanwhile, Fisherman Pablo buys a boat and heads out to the deep end of the lake where the big fish live, he tries various lures until he finds what works, pulls in a boat load of lunkers and invites the neighborhood over for a fish fry.
Selling art is no different. It takes more effort, more investment and more experimentation to figure out what will work best for your art business.
You can sit around for years using the easiest or first sales channel you found waiting for sales to magically appear, perhaps using a bait-less hook or you can study the competitive landscape and various sales channels and figure out which will work best for your art and your promotional efforts.
Whatever sales channel you choose (or multiple), it still requires work to get noticed. You need the right bait – great artwork and you need to drop your line where the fish live. You have to offer different bait or lures for Bass then you would for Trout. You have to make your bait more attractive than the natural alternatives and often you have to make full fish hungry with offers they can’t refuse. You also have to make it easy for the fish or art customer to eat or buy your work. Let’s face it, if you are a fish or a person buying art we all like convenience.
Behind The Scenes is where you can control your sellers account on FAA an Pixels. It contains your account information, public profile, marketing, stats, sales data, sale balance, pricing, etc.
To find your own “behind the scenes” first log in to your account and then hover over your name in the upper right. A drop down menu will appear and “behind the scenes” will be the second choice. Click on that and you’ll have access to all of the behind the scenes setting to set up your account.
Spend a lot of time in Behind The Scenes and you’ll discover all you need to know about offering your work for sale on FAA and Pixels.
In the real world art pricing is based on an individual artists reputation, skill, past history, career point, show history etc. While many POD sites treat all artists the same and have fixed profit margins (typically low), FAA and Pixels allows the individual artist to set their own profit margin.
This allows a more established artist to sell at higher prices or perhaps allows for a strategy of volume selling with a lower profit margin — in any case the pricing strategy is left to the individual artist.
FAA and Pixels are a middle man between the artist and the various vendors that they use to fulfill the orders. The vendor (the one who actually prints the t-shirt, mug, or art print) gets a cut of the overall price and FAA/Pixels takes their cut for processing the orders and running the website. Then there is the artist’s cut which you determine. Will it be $5 or $500 for a 20×20 inch canvas print?
In the “behind the scenes” area you will have to put in your profit margin that will be added to the vendor cut and FAA/Pixels cut to determine the final price to the buyer.
You can add profit margins for any print size as well as for products such as mugs and phone cases. This is the amount you will receive if the item sells.
If you don’t want to sell a particular print size or a certain product – leave the box completely blank. Don’t put in a “0”. A zero means that it can still sell and you will receive nothing.
Don’t follow the suggested prices from management. They are very low and you can do better.
You can price individual images each time or set up “Default Prices” in “Behind the Scenes”
You can change your prices universally using “Default Prices” and then applying the new prices to some or all of your images.
Is it worthwhile to pay $30 a month for a Premium Account on Fine Art America and Pixels? Yes – if you are serious about running a business selling your artwork on Fine Art America and Pixels. You can set up a free account to test out the system and upload 25 images. A free account is great for seeing how everything works and getting your profile ready, but don’t expect to sell anything. 25 images is a drop in the bucket to the thousands of new images that get uploaded every day on these sites.
The chances of some buyer finding your images with only 25 is like a needle in a haystack. Consider that you will be in this for the long haul and it might take many months if not years to start selling your work. It takes time for your promotional efforts to pay off.
So any way, consider the $30 a cost of doing business that will most likely be paid off with a sale or two if you market your work.
Pixels vs. Fine Art America
Pixels and FAA look awfully similar don’t they? Except for a few logo differences and colors they are virtually the same site although Pixels has more of the product stuff such as mugs and t-shirts whereas Fine Art America sticks to the more traditional art offerings such as canvas prints and framed art. But its the same company, same artists for the most part and same vendors fulfilling the orders.
If you sign up to sell your work with one of them, you will be on the other one too. All of the “behind the scenes” stuff is shared. Make a change to a price or upload a new image on one site and it changes on the other on too.
Why do I get so many visitors from the same cities?
If you watch the visitor count in “Behind The Scenes” you see your images being visited by the same cities over and over. Especially if you promote your images on social media such as Twitter. Instantly after Tweeting you’ll see 20 or so hits from these cities.
Are these real people looking at your work? Most likely not. Most of the views are from search engine bots that constantly scan the web for new content and uses these software bots to analysis and index web pages and images. Most of what you see recorded in “behind the scenes” will be these software robots or “bots”. To get real people to see your work you have to stop wasting time looking at “views” and get out there and actively promote and market your artwork. Don’t worry about view counts, worry about attracting buyers. It only takes one view from an active buyer to make a sale or you can get thousands of bot views and not sell.
How and when will I be paid?
If you are fortunate enough to make a sale, you will receive notification via email. You can also check sales in “behind the scenes” under “sales” or under “balance”. Payments are made each month on the 15th via PayPal. But you won’t be paid right away. FAA/PIxels has a 30 day money back guarantee so you have to wait for that period to end. It could be up to two months before you are paid depending on when the order comes in. And the buyer could cancel to order, have used a bad credit card or returned the item. So basically don’t count your chickens until they are in your PayPal account. Fortunately returns are rare but they do happen and they stink!