Thursday, October 15, 2009


I was originally thinking of writing a blog post about pricing artwork. But then I came across a post in a blog written by a local artist who, like many of you, supports herself through the sales of her original artwork and so has art on commission in several shops on island. One shop (she didn't give the name) hadn't sent her a check in awhile, so she went there to see if any of her stuff had sold. She noticed that A LOT of her artwork was gone and when she asked the shop's owner why she hadn't been paid, the owner gave her the sob story that she'd had a lot of bills to pay, business was slow, and her only choices were to close the shop or use the artists' commissions to pay her bills. So, she'd done the latter: she'd paid her bills with the money that she should have paid to the artists for their commissions (not a thought about how the artists were going to pay THEIR bills). Now I would have been shocked after reading this tale but I wasn't .. why? BECAUSE I'D HEARD IT BEFORE from one of our own Palletteers to whom this exact same thing had happened last spring. I'm not sure if it was the same shop.. but if it was, this lady had been getting away with this for awhile!
This morning I also was reading the new entries from my FaceBook "friends" and one of them, a well-known Florida artist who makes her living selling her original artwork, had posted that she'd found out that someone had gotten into her Twitter account and impersonated her. We all hear about identity theft where people use stolen credit cards, but this is a new one to me! This artist has put a lot of effort through showing her work in galleries plus she's gotten her own website, sends out a newsletter, and keeps all us FB people current on her painting process as well as what she's working on. She goes to paint outs and plein air events all over Florida and shares her experiences with us and depends a lot on both word of mouth and internet sales. In other words, she's a working artist, just like the two STX artists I've talked about here, and she depends on selling her artwork to pay her bills.
All of these artists are trying to make an honest living in that same poor economy that the shop owner was complaining about. Did my mother raise me wrong to think that this is what we're supposed to do? We live on a small island so I don't understand how a shopkeeper can get away with these kinds of dealings! But apparently, that's what happened. Our artist community has to support each other by sharing these experiences so that this kind of thing doesn't continue! Otherwise we'll think that it's just an isolated case and when it happens to us, be happy with getting the money we're owed. That kind of thinking might be good for the artist involved, but it doesn't help all the other artists who come along afterwards, assume that this shopkeeper is to be trusted, and get cheated by her too. So let's get the word out.. stop this kind of theft in its tracks!
Also for those of you who use the various channels open to you on the net to market your artwork.. be careful because now we know that artists are being targeted by unscrupulous hackers who want to benefit from some else's honest efforts.

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