Iggy Pop can’t make a living off his art and apparently neither can I

So if you haven’t read Iggy Pop’s recent speech, and you are an artist, you should. It’s a bleak but true analysis of the current world for musicians, but not just for musicians, its true for artists.

This weekend, my friend and I packed out bags for a local comic book convention. It was our first time as vendors. And after eight hours of selling our hand made goods, I have a mixed feeling about the whole experience.

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Not because we didn’t sell as much as we would have liked, which we didn’t, but because of how we were treated by the consumer who bartered and belittled our prices again and again.  I understand that a little good-natured bartering is a part of every con, but there become a point at which it is, well, insulting.

People offering you half and even less of the price you are selling at. What was worse, some of these people were fellow artist, fellow vendors.

And worse, if I rejected the price, there was an indignant rage? Why wouldn’t I take it? Wouldn’t I want to sell something at any cost?

No, honestly, if it means I’m going to lose half my cost, I’ll save my art for later, thank you.

Yes I  understand that Walmart and china cheapies exist.

But why and how do they exist? Because other countries have awful labor laws. They exploit people, children, ect.

It saves you money. I get that. As someone who has been dirt poor, I understand limited funds. But if that is the case. If you don’t have that much money to spend at my both, just come over, say hi, and admire my work. Don’t try to barter and then get annoyed when I say, “no I can’t do that.”

No I don’t do this to make a living. And it’s a good thing because if I did I would be hosed.But I put money and time into making each of these crafts, and I find it ridiculous that people expect to pay cents on the dollar for crafts.

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Is it all about the money, money?

Yesterday, my lovely bestie Ashy, (check out her work) and I were talking about the ups and downs of being an artist. We have both had our ups and downs and have like many artist struggle with, still can not find a happy balance between commercial prosperity and doing what you like (even if it isn’t commercially viable.)

make-money-online-now For example, I love poetry. Its probably my best craft, but even if I am amazing and well-recognized for it, it very hard to eek out a living. so what do I do? Stick with what I love most? Try and do more commercial stuff? Do a combo of both?

I am lucky that I can eek out a living as an English Professor which does give me time to write, but others aren’t as lucky.

And if that wasn’t hard enough. Ashy, a painter spent a lot of time discussing options with renting at galleries and using agents (both of which are recommended.) Between the fees each would take, she’d net around 10 percent of the profits.

We spent an hour or so pondering if its better to “sell-out” then do what you love; do what you love and find a different income; do what you love and hope it is commercially viable; or do a combo of both?

So my question to you, do you consider money when making art? How do you reconcile the economic need with your artistic soul?