One important part of my creative process as an artist is the part where I actually have to sell the work that I make. To me, in this day and age, selling the work is an important part of the creative cycle that initially begins with the conception of the work, then moves into the actual creation of the art work, and then finally closes upon the sale of the work, which then fuels the next creative cycle to begin.
Selling my artwork wasn’t something I became interested in until about 5 years ago around which time I realized how selling the work was actually a part of the creative process in itself.
For me, learning to sell my work has been quite an education process.
3 years ago, I started working closely with an Art Gallery which represented my sculptural work. After a few months of working with the gallery, I began spending some time on the gallery sales floor selling the work in the gallery and selling my own work. That is, if I was able to.
I was so nervous in the beginning, and still to this day, I am still very much learning the whole sales process and how to do this effectively and with integrity. But those early days, whenever a customer would walk into the gallery, immediately within myself a surge of anxiety would shoot up into what felt like my entire body, and I would freeze and go into a fear. Now from the outside you might not notice this happening, but it was quite an internal experience to have happen each time someone walked into the gallery. But during this time, I had already made a decision within myself to Learn how to sell my art and so fundamentally I understood that this meant walking through that fear/anxiety experience. In practical terms, this meant, moving myself out from behind my desk, even though there was a ball of anxiety in my chest, and walking over to greet the customer. Often times the words coming out of me initially were a bit shaky, but It was actually a cool process to walk through what seemed like such an extensive amount of anxiety to within minutes be able to be standing there chatting with customers about the work feeling much more relaxed, calm, and stable, within myself. That anxiety and fear would eventually just go away once I pushed through that initial intensity of it and just say ‘Hello’ to the customers that walked in, and then push myself to start talking them about what ever I could find or just make up to get the conversation moving. Ultimately, it was my job now to make conversation, and so I just would dive in and start talking often, having no idea what I was about to say. I remember one instance where my words were so jumbled I couldn’t even understand what I was saying, but I just smiled, and they smiled, and I just moved on, and found some other point to communicate about.
I just knew that, getting over this anxiety was something I had to do and in the moment, the only way I knew how to do that was to just walk through it and face my fear in a way.
I have become much more comfortable over the past 2 years in speaking and interacting to customers but I definitely do see still emotional reactions that I can support myself to overcome.
Ultimately, I really enjoy the whole sales aspect of creating art and would encourage any artist out there to embrace this side of the creative process.