Picture this: You have this amazing and artistic talent for everything creative, so you decide to showcase that talent by becoming an artist. Unfortunately, most jobs in the field are those that artists create for themselves. You won't find many office buildings that support artists with a salary or a wage. A majority of most artists' profit is going to come from commission sales from a store (which a large portion will be taken away) or sales from markets or shows. Most of the time, there are fees for these markets or shows. Those fees could range anywhere from $50 to $400, to put it nicely. A lot of shows are going to be more. The life of an artist isn't easy. Income can, at times, be incredibly unreliable and fluctuating. The term "Starving Artist" really is no joke.
Now, try to picture this: You just went to Michaels or A.C. Moore for materials. Every artist has a medium, but say your medium is paint. You just had to spend $20 to get three tubes of acrylic paint in primary colors (the large tubes, so you don't have to come back as soon) and $20 on a large canvas for your next piece. Now, a lot of uneducated customers who have probably never bought a real piece of art from a real artist are going to value that next painting at $40 (cost of materials). This is probably the worst and most insulting thing you could assume of an artist. If you value that painting at $40, where does the profit come from? Worse than that, what about the time and the effort it took to create that painting? The artist had to create a meaningful and inspiring idea for a painting, go to the store and get the materials, and then execute that idea onto a canvas. There is nothing more difficult than executing your ideas onto paper, better yet a canvas.
My mother has been an artist for over 10 years. The journey for her has not been easy. Her work hasn't always been valued or appreciated by passerbys and customers. When I was in middle school, she started making jewelry.
Now, believe me when I say that this woman has a natural gift for jewelry-making. She always made my jewelry for school dances, prom, and even graduation. From the time I started wearing her jewelry in the sixth grade, I always got compliments. But, the most insulting of all compliments was always, "Can your mom make me something??" I always just laughed to myself, because I knew these kids weren't going to be willing to pay $40 for a necklace. I mean, I was surrounded by girls who got their jewelry for $8 at Forever21. They were in no way prepared for a $40 price tag. So, I always just avoided the question.
The point of this article is not to bash those who buy their jewelry at Forever21, or shop at factory-made clothing stores. Trust me, this is something I'm definitely guilty of as well. The point of this article is to get people to understand that artists are there to be appreciated. They have to make money for rent and a living just like any other person. Many are working part-time jobs as well to support themselves. If you take anything away from this, it should be to support local artists. If you want to bash them for their high prices, don't ask them to lower them. Just go to the mall. I'm sure you'll find the bargains you're looking for there.
*If you're looking to support a local artist, go to https://www.facebook.com/ReinventedElegance/ to check out my mom's stuff. I'm sure she'll appreciate your patronage and support.