People Are Strange
When you’re a stranger..
…and also when you’re not at all.
So, I’ve been doing some auctioning on a site called TopHatter.com. It’s a live auction. You sit and watch people bid on the item you have on the block. I enjoy it. I rarely have items that don’t sell. You never really know what people are in the mood for, however, and so sometimes they don’t sell for as much as I’d like. Sometimes it’s more than I ever could have hoped for. It’s a gamble where I get to use my art as the ante. Since I always start the bidding with at least the cost of materials, the only thing I have to lose is my time, if it sells. And I’m willing to put in a lot of time.
It’s interesting to note, however, the rise and fall of the general population. It’s always a question when watching the auctions, “What are they in the mood for today?” Since you have to schedule your auction at least 4 days in advance, you can’t know. But sometimes, you get lucky. It makes me consider people in general, and the auctioning starts to become people watching. “How much are they willing to pay?” “Why would they pay so much, or so little?” I had a sweet lady send me a picture of where one of my pieces was going to hang. It was not what I expected, but pleasantly so. She also described where a second piece she bought is going to sit, and I had the good fortune to make the piece with that in mind. However, this is rarely the case, and I wonder – “What will happen to this piece once it’s shipped?” More out of interest than anything. Auctioning has been amazing for my business, but I do feel a little put-out that I don’t get to meet my buyers. Again, I need to start attending craft shows. Until then, though, I’m making a game and a learning experience out of auctioning. Asking my questions, speculating, and then selling the thing I think most people would want to buy. Keep making the items that seem popular, and try to read into growing trends.
One thing I’ve noticed that isn’t as popular as jewelry, but fetches a much higher price, is original art. Even prints sell fairly well. Those are the people I wish I could meet the most. I’ve never been one to buy art myself, but watching and talking to the bidders who do buy it is making become more interested in purchasing some for myself. An original piece can sell in the 100’s, and I would imagine something that consistently sells that high must be worth a looking into. What can someone else’s fine art do for me? Perhaps I’ll buy some and see what happens.
As for selling it, however, I know what that does for me. I’ve never before thought of selling the art that I wanted to make. Something that wasn’t created with anyone but myself in mind. Something where I can actually express myself as freely as I want to….and people will pay for it. I’ll take it!
I sold my first mixed media altered canvas for $30. Definitely on the lower end, but then why am I so thrilled? Probably because I was basically paid to enjoy myself. Something else that has a market – fine photography prints. Well, looky there! Something else I absolutely love to do. Never before has living off of my art been an actual consideration. Artists always die poor, and usually drunk, in alleys, right? Maybe not anymore…maybe I could be an artist. With the internet came a whole new avenue of publicity, exposure, and profit. Am I being materialistic about it? Of course, because I’m trying to make a living just like anyone else, and the question on if I can do that or not has to be answered with another – will it sell? So I’m pouring into research about these people who live on doing what they love.
Wish me luck on this endeavor.