Monday, June 22, 2009
The New Economy
I feel a lot like the kitten in the picture above. Fairs are exhausting. Thankfully I am doing less of them this year. The economy made me take a long and hard look at my usual slate of fairs and delete some - the more expensive and further away.
Artists knew the economy was in recession a full year to two years before anyone in the government admitted it. It hit us first. Lots of my artist friends that existed on fair sales declared bankruptcy that first year. This year we have all pulled back severely on expenses because you cannot rely on previous sale figures to predict any given sales event.
This last weekend was a good fair. Not great but good. For this economy it was very acceptable. What I really noticed was my reluctance to spend any of what I made. Normally when a fair is good there is a lot of artists buying art or trading art. And that did not happen this fair. That extra boost on sales that comes from your fellow exhibitors in the closing hours was just not there.
I packed up and came home and ran my credit cards and prepared my deposit slip for the bank and then looked at what I "have to spend" before my next fair. It is relatively little. I need to paint a few more paintings and I already have the canvas. They will need framed and so there will be $40 to $60 for wood to make frames. And printer ink has gone up so much in price that I am going to have some cards printed instead of doing them myself. There is an Internet based company a friend has used and I should be able to get 500 done for $40. One print cartridge for my HP is $39.
I want the majority of this weekend's profits to stay in the bank. I never want another winter like last one when I had no idea where I was getting the money for the heating bills or pet food. Many of my fellow exhibitors at this weekend's event feel the same, and artists are not known for a conservative approach to the budget.
I am just thrilled that there are people who still have expendable income; money they can spend on art. They are buying at the lower price points on a whole but they are buying. And those artists that sold prints just sold prints. I have been debating prints for some time and I think I am currently on the "originals only" side of the argument.
I noticed when I was catching up with the news of the last three days last night that a recent poll reflected that most people believe Obama has improved the economy. But most also think he does not have a clear plan. Who does? We have not been this way before and I think we are all making guesses. In some cases more educated guesses. None of my artist friends have gotten past spend less as to a game plan.
Any thoughts among my readers as to what is a wise move in these days?