The Relationship Between my Creativity and Selling my Art

The Relationship Between my Creativity and Selling my Art

There is a lot of talk online about how monetising your creative hobby might stifle the pure joy of creating. That by monetising your art you are fundamentally changing the way that you create and therefore that must be avoided or limited in some way.

Honestly I’d never really even considered this before I saw it on the internet. As a child I decided I wanted to be an artist, that my artwork held a monetary value was obvious to me even at such a young age. However, I came up against all sorts of people telling me that wasn’t a practical decision and to choose a safer and more stable career.

Fast forward to now and I’m constantly grappling with how to sell my art.

When I first started my business I naively thought it was a case of simply putting some listings on Etsy, announcing it once on social media and watching the sales roll in. So you can imagine my disappointment when for the first 3 months of my business I didn’t sell a single item.

I went away and I learnt about launching, the idea of getting a collection together, showing sneak peaks, building hype and warming your audience up before the ultimate release date where the sales did start to roll in.

This really worked for my glassware, I loved putting little collections together around a theme and eventually getting them out to the world. And I definitely got sales this way.

But right now it doesn’t feel so aligned. I create SO MUCH artwork. I love the fact that I can create something and feel such a buzz of excitement, that this fresh piece of art feels like such a breakthrough. But often I don’t know what to do after that.

Products - Stretching Cats, Rolling Hills, Mouse and Bear

Now I’m creating for all sorts of purposes. It’s no longer JUST about the shop. It’s also about building an illustration portfolio, developing a character and learning to give voice to the narratives inside my head. Sometimes it’s simply about creating something because I feel drawn to it or I want to play with some new materials.

Ultimately my art often doesn’t fit into neat collections anymore. Launching is also a huge time and energy suck for me. It takes a lot of effort to get a bunch of listings made, promote them for at least a week before they even go on sale and THEN continue to promote them until they sell.

That’s before we even talk about the pressure to have new work to promote every single month.

It’s just not sustainable for me and it’s impacting the way that I show up in my creative practice and online. I want it to feel fun promoting, sharing and documenting my journey.

Products - reading girl, Dalmatian and me, jazzy snail

Because of this friction I’m feeling I've been doing a lot of reflecting about how I would like my shop to run going forward and it's this passage in my journal that really stands out to me.

"It’s always about adding new things with you. New launches. New products. Bigger. Better. New. More, more, more. What if next year you give yourself a target for the year? What if you concentrated on just a few products and did them really well? What if you made it easier for yourself? More natural, less forced, more about your creativity, your practice and what makes you happy? What if you took the time to really focus in. To hone what you do, who you are, how you operate as a business. What would that look like? How could you make changes so that you’re still keeping things fresh but it’s not so constant?"

I also know through my latest round of market research that buying art can be a really considered choice. That a short sharp launch of a week before the piece is gone for good isn’t in alignment with allowing my customers to really curate their spaces into a joyful and peaceful sanctuary that reflect their personality.

I want to work with my creativity, to allow myself to break the launching rule book that I’ve created for myself and just add pieces of work to the shop as they’re created with no real targets or timelines pre-planned in. I want to be led by my creative practice and when I feel that buzz of excitement be able to act quickly to pop things in the shop that feel good to me.

Products - Mumma Bear, Purple Landscape, Grey Bears

Through gathering an illustration portfolio and talking to my illustration mentor recently I've realised just how much work I do have. A lot of which you’ll have seen in this blog post.

So why is none of it in my shop?!

That is the question I kept coming back to and honestly, I didn't have an answer. I've tried limited art drops for nearly 6 months now and honestly, I'm tired. So I'm giving up the sales gimmicks that everyone says I should do and I'm working towards stocking my shop with artworks that I love in time for Christmas.

I want to sell in a way that is aligned with my creative process. So from now on I'll be gradually adding new originals, prints, t-shirts and notebooks to the store as I create them. I’m going to really be embodying the quote ‘document don’t create’ with my marketing strategy and simply feeling my way through rather than planning in strict launch dates which only bring me stress.

I really hope you enjoy coming on this journey with me and I would love it if you treated yourself to a print or a t-shirt. Maybe even pop them on your Christmas list?! Your support means everything to me.

You can browse all of my artworks here.

Sending love

Amy x

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