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So this weekend I came face to face with quite the dilemma. I was out at Bentleys Farmer's market showing some work, and this time I only brought prints and cards. One couple came up and was interested in my work but not the prints they wanted to know why I was not selling the originals. For me it was simple, I had created the illustrations for my boys, to have in their room and later in life. (I am also very attached!) My husband does not understand that I create art because I want to and need to. If I sell a painting or a print I am happy. For me it is not about the sales, I want people to see my work and hopefully it will make them smile. I don't mind commissions, and suggest them for my illustrations as well as portraits and paintings.

Maybe I am wrong and that is why I don't think I will ever make a living as an artist. I am very attached to my work and always hard to sell it. My paintings not so much because they come from another inspiration usually. I'd say 90% of my illustrations are inspired by my boys and their imagination. I struggle with not wanting to sell the originals and that is why I made prints. I was offered a good amount of money for an original, but in the back of my head it was not enough. I know that I will be creating more illustrations and can't hold onto all of them.
I guess I don't know at what point do I let go and hope the illustration is going to a good home!

Does anyone agree or am I missing the point somewhere!
Why do you create art?

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Replies to This Discussion

For my opinion, people have many different reasons to do what they do. It doesn't have to be the same reason to do in the same thing. And Inspiration comes from yourself or other pass through you depend on what is the most important thing in your life or theory of your thought. My husband attached with my works. He doesn't want me to sell them. That because he's so proud of his wife. For me, who create art, I like to sell them. I don't feel attach with my work too much after I finished it. I understand myself that I love the feeling while I'm doing it and I really concentrate what I do ,don't want to stop in the middle if it's not finish yet. Because the time that I create a thing, it's the challenge to improve myself and my artwork, keep my mind in peace, develope my own soul and spirit, sometime it makes me feel that I can reach to understanding life better. Actually I might create my own world that nobody reach to it. I have no children. I think who you are, how you feel,what you concern about or anything else ,all effect your art a lot because you are art and art is in you. Not only the painting(material) called art. Art comes from your mind and soul. Even I sold the painting to people. I don't feel that I lost my art. The painting is the result of our art. It can be anywhere in the world, but it's still with you.

For my thought, as long as we're happy what we're doing, it's good. I always think what other people think about me or how crazy I am, it's not their business. Selling your art or not depend on your situation and your willing. Just do what make you're happy! If the world have only same color how the world will be beautiful!!
I love your thinking!! I agree there is nothing in this world greater than the feeling of creating!
Well - I am not an "illustrator" per se, but I have been trying my hand at my own metal sculpting designs over the past two years - stuff outside of regular work commissions.

I create art because it is challenging. I changed careers eight years ago to become just a welder and in the course of my apprenticeships - if you will - I got the opportunity to work with Reuel Darling, a local blacksmith-artist. That kinda started the ball rolling when I saw what he and other metal artists were creating out of steel and...... then making a living on top of it.

With our fabrication businesses, I am fortunate that I have opportunities to create specific artistic things on customers’ requests. But FINALLY being able to try my hand creating my own pieces from my own inspirations, discovering my own style of metal art is the icing on the cake. I haven’t sold any of the pieces I have made (which is only two at this point) because first - I want to have something to be able to put in a show if such opportunities arise. Maybe when I have more of an "inventory" I will start putting things up for sale. The second thing is that my free time to make my personal pieces is hard to come by (usually just after hours after the paying jobs are done) so at the moment, I also have what you would call an attachment to them and want to enjoy them myself for a while! LOL

I do create what I create based on what inspires ME - I am not driven by potential dollars to be made or trying to fit into trends and such. And when I am done - if even just one other person gets something positive out of viewing what I have made - then that's great!
I would not discount you as a illustrator. I really do not feel there is a true definition. I think all art tells a story then wouldn't all art be apart of illustration. Anyway it is refreshing to see other peoples outlooks on art. Your sculptures were amazing and look forward to seeing what else you create. Thanks for your reply!
Hello Kathryn,

You are lucky in a way. You have what you can call an original. With my chosen medium (digital art/ digital photography) I have to explain to people that the print IS the original unless they wish to come to my house and use my computer. I have never really found a great way to explain to people that there is no real original in my artwork. That it exists at creation as a bunch of binary bits of information composed in a very unique order and only when it is printed or posted out here can I share it with many people.

This all reminds me of something I read back in undergrad studies: Walter Benjamin's The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. If you like stuffy academic writing it might turn on a lightbulb; Or you can get the jist of it here:

For me, painting and illustrating are largely experimental, expressive, expository, and cathartic (pretty much in that order). I want to keep most of my work simply because they're like footprints or fossil impressions leading back to the moments of inspiration and conception. They are also pregnant with experiences, perceptions, and mental associations, so in that way they're like journal entries or love letters (oh the sentimentality). Sometimes they're just extremely descriptive of a subject/concept or they remind me of some part of my psyche, or even just a mood which has since dissipated.

Yet, having to be pragmatic I will sell originals for the sake of supporting the process of art. I would prefer to sell giclee, and will generally explore all other options--and especially since I'm not anyone important an original is usually no more desireable to a buyer than a print. I have actually never sold a pencil/chalk drawing nor a pen and ink original. I think we are truly in the day and age where the (to borrow Benjamin's term) aura of art is waning--alive, but only so much as a candle in the wind--and I don't think it necessarily has to do with the quality of art, as much as the overabundance.

The singularity of an individual artwork is rarely breathtaking as, say a Vermeer in somebody's boudoir in 17th Century Netherlands, or a freshly engraved printing block by Gustave Dore. So when people ask to see or purchase original works, I tend to suspect that they are merely speculators, in which case I've got some very rare pieces that I couldn't possibly let go for less than $5,000!;-)

I guess in a roundabout way, Kathryn, I'm saying it is perfectly alright to value your work with a tenderness and caution that echo how much you love your children. Because your works are in fact your beloved creations. Just think how crazy it would sound if you were handing out your kids latest school pictures, and a neighbor or somebody said, "How much do you want for the kids themselves?"

And G. Jones, I've never actually had anybody ask me that, except on the occasion I've had people ask to buy the original sketch, or even a sketchbook. I think the wonderful thing about digital art is (to paraphrase Benjamin again) its completely emancipated from the ritual of being physical. We have control of how its going to "be" in the world: as a print, a shirt embroidery, a sticker, a billboard, a flipbook, a projection, or whatever our imaginations and technology can conceive.

I suppose the reason I spend my free time painting and working on kids books is because it is fun to create. In a world that is filled with so much turmoil it is great to focus on things that are edifying. I find pleasure in selling my work when I think that they are enjoying in their home something that I have created. Neat thought!


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