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Monday, September 28, 2015

After the Art Sells - Losing Control of Our Work

I had an interesting conversation with a colleague the other day. She said something that made me pause. She said she'd run into many artists that had a fear of losing control of their work. She'd found many artists that did not want to participate in various programs because it meant their art was out there in a market they were unfamiliar and they had no control over what happened to it.
Mind you that this was not even their original actual work, but images and information about that work. I admit I was a bit taken aback for a moment. But it explained something to me that has always puzzled me. I often put out offers for artists to participate in various things and usually come up with absolutely no interest. I've never been sure why this is when they are not being asked to pay anything, but merely for exposure and an added audience.

It is a simple fact that the more accomplished an artist you are, the less control you have over your work. I suppose I always took this for granted and was never put off by the fact. But on closer examination this is an issue, especially with new artists. They fear an image of their work being shown anywhere that they have not expressly permitted it to be. I can understand that credit should always be given towards an artists work, but this seems to me a waste of the artists energy.

I see this a lot with a lot of photographic artists. They plaster huge watermarks over their work and take away any chance of the work being viewed properly. This on the offhand chance that someone will use the image illegally. Trust me, the chances your image will be stolen are pretty damned small So why waste energy worrying about it? Artists who are concerned about their ideas being stolen? Well unless your a professional forger, no piece of art is going to come out looking the same. Again why waste energy on it?

I know this is a cavalier attitude, but I'd rather invest my energy and time into creating new work than worrying about the old.

But with that in mind, new artists need to face the fact that the longer they are in this business the less control they will have over their older work. This includes the originals and the prints and everything else that might go along with it.

We may mourn the fact that a piece of our work that sold for $200 at the beginning of our careers resold 30 years later for $50,000. But if you allow this to freeze you in your tracks then you won't ever even make that original $200. 

There is an element of risk in everything we do. Perhaps more so in any creative venture because our popularity and the economy are tied so closely to whether we survive or not. But don't be afraid to try new things and take a few risks with your art. What are you loosing? You make more. 

Think about it the next time you might lose control of your work. Let it go and see where it takes you. 

And yes if interested check this out and start here! 

The Artists Speaks


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