What price art? That is a thorny question. Yes, I want to to sell my collage art. Coming up with a price is tricky.... Cynics look at collage and see a few pieces of paper glued down. Those who have tried their hand at collage, quilting, mosaics, etc. know that a lot goes into assembling all those small pieces together. It begins with the hunt for materials, then more time is spent assembling and cutting various pieces for the composition. Some will be used, some not. I use archival matboard as a substrata. It is sold in big sheets and must be cut up into usable sizes.
Also needed: a sense of color, balance, design, and some sort of theme. The theme may be clear cut from the get-go, or evolve during the process. And let's not forget tools: various scissors, a paper cutter, glue, rulers. If you get into adding more media, the list is endless. I use Copic markers (the most expensive kind), colored pencils, paint. Sometimes I use stencils. For my assemblage projects, the ingredients list grows much longer and esoteric.
Perhaps the hardest thing to factor is time. Some collages come together magically with little or no fuss or agony. You sail right through and it feels like heaven. Others start easily enough, but may take hours to finish. The last few pieces are usually the trickiest for me. Knowing when to stop is a part of any creative process. And how do you measure the time that you have spent developing your craft?
Anyway, all this comes to mind as we come up into the fall and winter holiday season. Yesterday I placed a bunch of small assemblages with the Texas Art Asylum here in Houston. They have had four other larger works for months. None have sold, so it was certainly hospitable of them to take a bunch more. I checked on my labyrinth-themed art on consignment with Lucia's Garden. None have sold. Yes, the economy is much challenged right now. But I am determined to push my particular boulder uphill. I have signed up for the AIGA Annual Art Festival taking place at the Heights Theater on November 5th. My art is also for sale through taostaos.com and Saatchi Online. Caladan Gallery also still provides access to fifteen works from my Summer of 2011 solo show. Recently, I have also donated art to charity auctions. After the new year, depending how things go, I may try selling through Etsy.
It's not that I would starve unless I sell my art, it's that I'd love to get it into the hands of people that would appreciate it. I'd like to think my art matters to more people than just me. I know my life is much enriched by the art I surround myself with, and by the art I view in museums, books, etc. I find a parallel in what Adrienne Rich said of poetry, that it is: "News in verse that men and women require as much as their daily bread." Visual art, too, provides longed-for sustenance.
collage by Keddy Ann Outlaw: "Citrus 3", in homage to Jeff McKissack, creator of the Orange Show