Saturday, October 16, 2010

Prints charming

I'm allowed a few cliché post titles now and then...


I've been working on some ideas for prints and cards for the art shop, and I'm finding myself torn in a battle- What sells versus what I want to make. No one's suggesting the two are exclusive- I've proved that what I sell in jewelry does well despite not being the cookie cutter status quo. Apart from a small moment involving a crystal and a bullet shell, I've never caved to just offering 'hipster fodder', despite the doubtless rise in business that would occur.


When I first made the steps toward having a photography shop again I was firm with myself- it holds the same for it as for my jewelry, I wouldn't start peddling the same consumables that so many others do. I would offer work that mirrors my lifestyle, my aesthetic, my jewelry shop. Dark, earthy and bohemian with a touch of Dickens. There would be no polaroid format TTV carnival in Paris.


But there's no denying that when it comes to selling on Etsy, providing for demand is a good way to guarantee sales. Though the over-exposed vintage pinky/green look isn't my exact cup of tea, I do like it. It doesn't fit the core value of my shop, but as proved by many- it's a good seller.


I'm trying to come at it from a compromising point of view. I still see myself as an artist, and as such (annoying as it is) I have integrity. All my processes, ideas and themes from my exhibition days are now funnelled into jewelry. I've had talks with other artists before on the subject and I do not believe it's 'selling out' to offer retail goods rather than exhibition work - I refuse the idea that art is something ethereal and precious to be stuck on the wall and pondered over. Art- if it wants to sell- must be a little aesthetically pleasing. Aesthetics is seems is the last great taboo in 'proper' art.


My work is created by an alter ego in me, a 19th century carnival urchin who picks up trinkets on the road as she wanders, and using the simple tools in her pockets, threads the found glories together. Now instead of making curious little objects to hang on the wall, she makes wearable things.


I explore beauty and decoration from a value/condition point of view- why should a diamond brooch be any less desirable if a stone is missing? Why should an antique dresser be less valued because it's handles have been replaced, or it's legs cut down? Why are chipped china cups unwanted?


When it comes to my photography I explore much the same thing. Though the 2 shots above are clearly meant to fill the market request for Europe-centric images, it's also explored in my own way. The Eiffel tower is dirty and the model bus is in poor condition. It shouldn't make it any less valuable, or beautiful, in the eyes of people like me it only serves to improve it's desirability. To go out and buy a new London bus would remove this personal aspect of my work, leaving nothing but fodder for market demand.


What's the point of all this? Perhaps I am just trying to justify to myself that it's okay to serve up what's popular. A diner can be as independent and different as it likes, but there's no going past the fact that if you want to pay the rent, you'd be crazy not to offer apple pie.

10 comments:

Corvid Delights said...

Really nice post, extremely well written. I appreciate your artistic ruminations and humor. Your photography is beautiful, the collages with the unicorn and glove are spot on.

fanciful devices said...

GORGEOUS!
These questions yr dealing with speak to the fact that your mind is not yet 100% settled on what it wants from photography. This in turn means you are in a process of discovery, which is the essence of art. I struggled w/my love of the old vs. the overly euro-centric look of vintage and vintage inspired pieces before arriving at victorian tribal. You may arrive at something that satisfies you 100% but whatever, these pictures satisfy me already! I even love the eiffel tower one- and you know how much i despise all that eiffel tower stuff!
So amazing!!!!!

Gypsea Tree {Steam Spectre} said...

I think these photos are just wonderful! I think it is very wise to find ways to stay true to one's personal artistic integrity, but also have a good healthy grasp on the products that will find a market and allow the artist to keep creating. Your Eiffel tower piece is beautiful, already has an audience, but most importantly still reflects your lovely haunting style. Once it brings the people in, they won't want to leave! I look forward to purchasing some of your work! I especially love the collection pieces.

HouseThatCrowBuilt said...

Your photography is beautiful and I love all the old items you use in the photos. I am drawn to things that have the worn scars of use. I collect these types of things myself and cherish them more than anything that I buy new. I hardly ever buy anything new. The fact that others have used these items endear them to me in a way something new could never do. I love all the photos you've posted. I think a combination of what you want to do and a little bit of what is popular will do very well.

Gypsea Tree {Steam Spectre} said...

PS: Saw this and thought you might enjoy if you aren't already familiar...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/museoguatelli/sets/72157612966692802/

Little Brown Sparrow said...

Thanks everyone! Gypsea, I hadn't seen that before no- it's pointy! I like pointy. :)

Secret Leaves said...

I haven't been by in awhile--took a full-time job recently and have much less time to visit blogs, etc. I see you are still posting lovely and unusual things. : )

I love the photo of the toy bus. Really nice. Glad I stopped by. : )

Sharon

Sharon said...

I have in the past purchased some laces and oddds and ends from you that I am hoping to make into a cuff however I cannot find any patterns or directions on how to make these. Do you by chance do a tutorial or workshop on making cuffs? please let me know, thanks

Gillian said...

I totally understand your frustrations with the world of etsy photography...have been trying to find the fine line between what I love and what sells for a long time now and still have not worked it out!
Your images are beautiful though, and so unique, fitting perfectly with your aesthetic. I really look forward to seeing your work in your new shop (congratulations!).

Sophia said...

Μου αραίσει πολύ το λεωφορείο