About The Auctions...
Up until three or four years ago I hadn't really done much work smaller than 8"x10." For the most part, I started doing pieces 6"x8" and smaller about when the economy "tanked." But my thinking wasn't so much to generate sales in a "down economy" as much as to use these paintings for the World Wide Web, as a way of getting my work seen by a broader audience. The thinking was working smaller would naturally allow lower prices - which in turn would provide more buyers collectors and 'word of mouth' advertising. I had received many requests for smaller paintings over the years, since I do not offer reproductions. In that sense, they became my answer to "Giclee" reproductions, and limited edition prints, etc. So this is more or less how I came to start doing them.
When I did start doing these paintings, I made it clear to my galleries that anything smaller than 8"x10" was "my" territory; that I would be free to use paintings in these sizes for special promotions, etc. If a gallery wants to show some here and there, that's fine. But I still have my option of using them for myself for special promotions on the Internet. And that's what I'm doing.
But What If....
...horror of horrors....a painting posted for auction doesn't even get a bid?! Have you been watching artists on eBay? I've seen many paintings there with nary a view, let alone a bid. This wasn't a big concern, however. If those worries were too much for me, I never would have tried this. It's really been about feedback...to see if it could work. So far, I'd have to say that it has. And here's one point about it that might not be obvious... I've really been doing this before a small "focus group," if you will. My email list isn't huge, but I have some loyal supporters. One of the original goals was to determine how many people were actually reading the newsletters. And if you visit my site from the front page, you wouldn't even know these auctions were taking place at all. This was another part of the test...to see how many are following my blog or checking it out to begin with.
The "Good" of a Bad Economy
Many artists have taken up smaller work as a direct result of the poor economic situation. "Daily painters" are everywhere on the Internet as a result. I tried it myself with my "100 Paintings In 100 Days" project. That lasted long enough for me to realize it's not for me. That kind of painting, especially working so small day in and day out, can turn the whole thing into a chore. That's not what painting is about for me. So what's the "Good" of a bad economy? It's given me a different perspective on things. The way I work, what's important to me, etc., while at the same time, it has opened up a "window of popportunity" for those who would like to own original artwork...one that might not have existed otherwise. With respect to changing my perspective... It's also made me realize that I want to get more out of my work, and I do by trying to put more into it!
Will I continue to work so small? Frankly, I don't see it as a permanent course as I prefer to work larger. The older I get, the more challenging working so small becomes... if you know what I mean. ∞ Yes, I have to put my glasses on these days. I also find that working small brings additional challenges philosophically, compositionally/technichally as well as physically. Due to these factors, I decided to put the "boundaries" on my small paintings with galleries as I did. For the most part, I can only work this small for myself. If I thought I'd have to provide galleries with these small painting on a regular basis, I think I'd throw in the towel.
So, in this sense I guess I could say there's really never been a better time to buy my artwork than right now and there may never be again. This might sound like "hype" but it's actually true thanks in large part to the Internet and the nature of the situation as it stands.
Without Social Media?
I also have a major project planned. The goal will be to disprove the notion that you can't market artwork on the web without social media. I believe you can. In fact, I know it's possible. This will be a month to month process once it's underway. If it works as I believe it can, I should have some real results that will prove my theory true.
I have another post on this subject in the works. I'll post it when it's ready.