Sometimes even a partial notion will do!
I told you recently that I was preparing to offer some of my work for sale online, and it’s time for the first revelation. I know that so many of you who read and converse with me here are also artists, writers and other creative people, and thus virtually by default are also (a) somewhat challenged by the technology and know-how of operating in businesslike fashion, promoting and marketing and selling your work; and (b) not exceedingly wealthy, as a result. So I did what I know a few of you, and many other people nowadays do, and turned to an existing, established production/marketing mechanism online and am going to let Zazzle help me with the ‘dirty work’. It means I’ve made a few business choices already, and I will share my thinking with you here because we really are all in this together!
First of all, this is far from a get-rich-quick scheme, not only because this is work I’ve spent most of my life learning to do and producing, but because as a business model it’s even less remunerative than the 30%-off-the-top commission that’s fairly typical among artist representing galleries and agents I’ve known in the past. But I am willing to take a very small amount (in many cases, the standard 10% royalty fee) from a company that will cover the grunt work I’m not willing or able to do myself. That is, of course, if they prove they can and will do it. I chose Zazzle because they have a certain established reputation and track record, easy to use interfaces, and while they are not high-end and going to capture for me any exclusive and wealthy clientele, they produce a decent quality range of products and so far have been very responsive in our interactions. This also makes me feel confident in their interactions with anyone who would come to view and buy my work, and that I can price the work as low as possible so that people like me (many being of the aforementioned impecunious creative sort) can choose from a variety of items that they might actually be able to afford without horrific trials.
I have begun posting my designs to the store fairly recently, but have made an effort to put up a reasonable representation from different sorts of my work: photography, drawing, painting and mixed-media images, and a fair range of topics from the abstract to absurdist, from factual to fantastical. There are a small few images with text (prose or poetry) on them, and many of those offered as prints can be purchased not only in different sizes but on different kinds of paper or even as stretched, ‘gallery style’ canvases, that is, with the image wrapping the sides so that the pieces can be framed but do not require a frame for hanging. I have offered a few of the designs as T-shirts, too, because it’s generally considered a good thing to wear clothes, and if we require clothes, then why not wear ones that aren’t terribly expensive? T-shirts are a pretty affordable option. But I’ve never been fond of wearing anything that advertised someone or some Thing (object or cause or concept)–if I want to promote a cause, I’d rather do it with my own words and my actions than with worn signage. So you will find very few slogans or words at all on the T-shirts, just pictures for the most part. I have made a number of them simple black-and-white images, often using my pen-and-ink line drawings, and I would encourage those who like color to consider getting a set of fabric coloring pens and having a good old time coloring the T-shirts like coloring book pages to suit taste and need. Might be a very fun thing to do with children, in fact, as the T-shirts can be ordered not only in a range of adult sizes and styles but many children’s ones as well.
I’ve configured most designs as the largest print version for which I think they’re suited, but most can be scaled smaller for your smaller space or to be more affordable. As it is, there are a great many prints under $20 a piece, and quite a few under $10, so I hope that a larger number of people can afford them without feeling a terrible pinch. There are a whole lot of other designers and artists represented in Zazzle stores, and a really wide array of objects and items that can be customized with your, my, or others’ designs and images, and I will see if and when I’m ready to branch out further with my own. For now, you should know that there is lots of work posted to Zazzle by someone under the name of ‘artspark’–pretty nice stuff, from the look of it–that’s not mine; I tried a huge number of store name options before finding one Zazzle accepted as not already in use, so I’ll just stick with this one even if it’s a bit close. I titled each of my designs KIW Sparks: [Title] to differentiate a little, hoping that helps.
Even if you have no interest in–or money for–buying anything, I invite you to spend a little time visiting my work at Zazzle. It can serve, in part, as my online gallery for now, where you can see many of the works I’ve used to illustrate my blog posts, as well as a few artworks you’ve not seen here before, and I am eager to share them all with you. I hope that you, too, are finding the courage to ‘put yourself out there’ artistically and creatively because we have this fine forum among friends in the blog-world and online businesses, because even though it’s generally a tough way to make a living, financially speaking, it’s a glorious way to make a Life.