Today, I drew across the street from Union Square.
Here is View Across Union Square, 5″x7″ Colored Pencil
Purchase prints of a selection of my work at http://fineartamerica.com/art/bethany+lee
Drawing on the street has been quite an experience. In New York City, unlike most other major cities in the US, it is legal to sell one’s own artwork on the street without a license. The artist still needs a sales tax number, but that just requires an on-line application and a wait of a couple weeks. So, I recently got my sales tax number, and this weekend was my first weekend selling.
No one bought anything. And I was freezing.
The freezing, I can do something about. It’s called layers. Lots of layers.
The nobody buying…well, I’m not sure what to do with that. Lots of people stopped and looked, and I passed out a bunch of business cards. There was plenty of admiration, but nobody said, “Ooo! I want that!” I need to put my thinking hat on and ponder this. I’ve logged plenty of hours on the streets and at a mall (total of about 40 hours, I think), offering my colored pencil landscapes for sale. My display is really nice now, and the landscapes are matted and ready to hang. So, I people are not buying, that must mean that the people who are passing by simply do not want the product I am offering. Or, they do not want it at the price I am offering. Today, I marked them at $20. Maybe, I am not in the right crowd of people. I mean, I have yet to sell at an actual art fair where people are going to buy art. In a few weeks, though, I will be selling at Oakland First Fridays which is an art street fair. So, I’ll have a chance to answer that question.
If people just don’t want my landscapes, period, however, then comes the question of whether it’s my landscapes in particular or colored pencil landscapes in general. Or, maybe just small landscapes. If it’s my landscapes, maybe I need to do something to improve my technique. I could take some classes, maybe. Maybe it’s the size or the subject matter. Maybe it’s the quality. Maybe only really stellar landscapes will do. Mine aren’t ugly, but I could always improve them.
However, being that the whole impetus behind this colored pencil landscape project was originally that, as a visual artist, I am going to be drawing pretty much every day anyways. So, if that is the case, why not try to draw things that would help me to support myself. So, if selling these means I need to spend another 3 years studying landscape painting, is that worth it? Should I just focus on making sculpture since that is my specialty in the first place?
People do buy art. I know this. People somewhere do buy lots of different kinds of art. I just need to find out where those people are and what kind of art I am capable of making that these people would buy.
Anybody out there who has faced these same kinds of challenges and overcome them, please, I need input!