Are you a handmade community bouncer? Or are you just letting anyone in?

I've started another 'big canvas'.

I’ve started another ‘big canvas’.

One of the guys at That Day Job mentioned he wanted to buy a painting to fill up a blank wall at his house. Now before I go any further – please know I think this guy is pretty cool.  I’d be lost without his wisdom and his sense of humour.  He makes me laugh at work every day (especially on the days where I am hating it).   One of those people who makes That Day Job not suck your soul quite so much.

So, he emailed me a couple of photos of what he was looking at on eBay.  Neither of them were my cup of tea.  And they looked like the sort of thing you see in the $2 shops  or those cheap furniture places at the shopping centre.  But, hey, if that’s what he likes, good luck to him.  One of the things that had him so excited was that the painting was only $40.  For a large original.  In oil paint.

You can see where I’m going with this, can’t you?

I reply back to him that it’s not really kind of art, but if he likes it then go for it.  And $40 is a good price. I get the little symbol on my screen telling me he has replied.  He asks me who I like and can he have the links.

This is the point where my fur is rubbed the wrong way and I come to a crossroads.

Do I just give him all the details or do I listen to my gut?  Because my gut is telling me he doesn’t get it.  And he has no clue how offensive his attitude is to something that is going to grace his walls.  That what he is buying isn’t art, it is a soul-less replica.

So I go all Gibbs on NCIS and go with my gut.

Because the girls I adore are not going to be his cup of tea based on what his taste is so far.  And I can’t bear to listen to him talk them down.  To deride their talent.  To dismiss their work.  To be horrified at their prices.

Because their small prints are half the size and twice the price of the original he is looking at.  And clearly what he is looking for is a bargain to fill a space.  Not true art that fills his heart everytime he walks past it.  Not something that he truly understands.  Not something that lights him up or that he connects with.   I even suggest at one point that maybe a mirror would be a better option to the art.

Because it feels like I will betray the girls I adore and the entire art & handmade community by letting this guy in the door to our world.  Because he is going to take one look at the price and run back out the door he came in.  Because he just.doesn’t.get. it.

How often have you read blog posts and ebooks about ‘respecting your work’ and ‘pricing ethically’?   They kind of wash over you in a vague mist.  You nod your head and store it in your memory for some day.  But this story made me see it.  Truly see what they are saying.

When you price fairly, you earn respect from the buyer.  You weed out the people who don’t care about your work.  You respect yourself.  Your talent.  Your time.  And you stand at the gates of the community, refusing to let those kind of people in the door.

We are the bouncers of the handmade community nightclub.

(You didn’t know there was a nightclub?  Hell yeah there is.  With 80’s & 90’s music blasting and sparkly disco balls included.  Just not the fashion.  For all that is good and holy, not the fashion).

And we get to say who enters.

By how we act in every moment.  By the choices we make. In the way we shop.  And, very importantly, in the way we sell.  And the way we share the community (or not) with those who aren’t a part of it.

Coral.  xo

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    2 Responses to Are you a handmade community bouncer? Or are you just letting anyone in?

    1. Nita says:

      Oh my goodness, this is a problem across all genres. The problem isn’t so much the guy who wants to buy cheap art because it’s a matter of taste. The problem is more in the artist who is happy to undercut everyone else. Here is a post I wrote on a simliar topic: http://www.nitadances.com/index.php/2011/05/25/gigging/ if you’re interested.

      • Coral says:

        There are so many things wrong with this, aren’t there? The buyer who doesn’t understand what goes into creating art. The seller who doesn’t respect themselves to price fairly for themselves. And in doing so, the seller is churning our a production line of soul less junk, not art. Surely that just sucks the fun out of it? Love the quote about the plumber in your post. I am so using that next time someone asks why art is so expensive. A perfect metaphor.

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