By Nick Giorgini
The SAIC Holiday Art Sale was an interesting experience, as I participated in it myself. I had never been involved in any sort of art sale as a seller before, only as a viewer. There are several different strategies for these sales. Some artists created work specifically for the sale, like small pottery, laser cut jewelry or scarves. Other artists, like myself, were selling work that they had created for themselves or in exploration that they just happened to be selling. In my case I was selling paintings and sculptures that were very subjective and required a much larger interest than small pieces for someone to purchase. There were also a few strategies toward selling either of these types of work. Some artists had a spiel that they had prepared and told each passing customer, while some simply answered questions if the customers had any. I chose the latter method for my work and it seemed to work well. I was not interested in having some prepared explanation for my work but rather having individual conversations with people that were already interested. I chose this method because I think it’s more effective to increase people’s interest through explanation rather than create it by explaining everything to everyone.
It’s interesting to be involved in the selling of one’s work as the artist. As an artist, I typically don’t think about selling my work while I’m making it. My attitude is that if it sells that’s great but if it doesn’t it’s fine. Having fine art in an art sale setting is peculiar. It changes the atmosphere of art that is meant for a gallery setting. I had one person who told me my paintings were terribly underpriced and explained to him that we are all students who typically haven’t sold much of our work. Also, being at a sale changes how an artist prices their work because they are there to sell the work, whereas in a gallery typically a gallerist would handle that and is much more experienced with it.
Overall, it was a great eye opening experience of how art can be sold and how people get interested and invested in a work. The most important piece of information that I learned was how subjective art is. I was aware of the subjectivity of art, but actually seeing it in such a large setting is something entirely different than being aware of it. The vast difference in people’s opinions, from the people that walk but without so much as a glance to the people that are extremely interested is somewhat shocking to experience for the first time. The art sale was a wonderful experience that I would participate in again. It is a completely different event as a seller rather than a buyer or observer.