After various attempts at selling artwork online over the last decade plus, I’ve come to realize that I hate marketing my work. So, I’m quitting and I’m going to give my artwork away for free.
How All This Came To Be
(Alternate title: I Hate Marketing)
About a year and a half ago, I returned to college to get a degree and specialize in software development because I realized I didn’t want to make a career of selling art, though I had anticipated continuing selling while in school to try to help make ends meet. I even took some business courses as electives in order to brush up my skills so I could really put my all into it. I created a full-scale campaign that spanned multiple social media platforms, a full content calendar, and ad campaigns. I started writing posts and photographing content that could be scheduled for release (because I couldn’t possibly meet standards for posting frequency/peak-traffic release without automating the process.) I only got one week into it though before the thought of preparing the next week’s posts was making me cringe. I put the work off, and before I knew it, it’d been weeks since my last social media post. Oops.
But, honestly, that’s what I’d done the last time I’d tried to get focused on marketing. And the time before that. And the time before that one too. It’s been my pattern over the years with the online side of my business, because I can’t stand doing social media marketing and it makes me so miserable that I can only keep it up for so long before I inevitably stop. The truth is I don’t like thinking of people as numbers and cultivating “a brand” or making things to appeal to a demographic and I don’t want to judge my success on my social media stats. I want to judge my success on if I had fun making something, if I like looking at it, or if someone else likes it. I also want to start making whatever I want again without wondering if it’s cohesive or how I can use its creation as “content”. I kind of just want to have fun again, cause I’m really, really not having fun right now and haven’t been for a while.
What’s Happening Now
Well, I’ll be disassembling the website that hosts this blog in my own time to remove most semblances of business-iness and sales-talk. I’ll be keeping all my social media accounts in case anyone wants to tag me for some reason, but I’ll only post on them if I feel like it. Also, all of the artwork that I’ve made and stored in the box of “Augh-Do-I-Really-Have-To-Market-This-Now?-I’ll-Get-Around-To-It-Eventually” will be what I’m going to give away first. I’m going to start making whatever I want to from now on as well, no matter how random it is. And, because I usually have more fun making something than keeping it, I’ll give away anything else I make if I don’t want it. (Really, a person can only have SO many diorama necklaces or weird little terrain pieces sitting on a shelf. It’s just more for me to dust, honestly!)
How To Get My Art For Free
We’ll see how it plays out. I have no idea how many people will respond to an offer for free artwork. I just know that what I’d like out of it is to feel good about who I’m giving it to- like I don’t want to just give someone something who wants some shit for free, but someone who’ll feel really happy with it. I suppose we’ll figure it out as things unfold, but it’s really likely my first offer will be made on Facebook so keep your eyes open, I guess.
Will I Ever Sell Artwork Again?
aka: “OH CRAP, I was going to buy something at some point and I didn’t yet, but still want to, so how can I get a guarantee of getting my hands on something?”
I’ll probably still provide pieces to the gallery that sells my work downtown, but they don’t ship anything or have an online storefront so you’d have to physically go there to shop. I could probably very happily go to craft fairs one day when my schedule isn’t so packed because I have fun interacting with people and seeing them get excited, but that’s theoretical still. If someone REALLY wants a particular something I’m planning to give away or wants a custom thing, they could still e-mail me and ask about purchasing. I might say yes if I’m feeling particularly broke, but I might also say no if I’m busy or whatever. The whole gist isn’t to be mean, but that I get to do what I want with my art now and first and foremost is not doing businessy things around my art that make me miserable like marketing and meeting creation/building deadlines.
That’s the deal!
In time, I’ll either think out a good plan for this or I’ll refine how I go about it from learning experience and I’ll update the blog and post the link to Facebook when I’m ready to give something away. But now you know what’s going on, so if that’s something you want to get in on, now you have a general idea of what’s to come!
Thanks for 14 great years! I can’t wait to start day one of just having fun!