My friend Janice, of Doxallo Designs, and the Jewelry Artist Network forum has started a "snychroblog" where a group of bloggers all post on a chosen subject at the same time and link to each other's posts. Kind of like a virtual round-table discussion. This month's topic is "Art and the Economy" - a timely topic indeed!
We here in the US are suffering one of the worst economies in decades, and I've heard comments from friends in other countries such as Australia that their economy is beginning to take a downward turn as well. Is this affecting artists, or art as a whole? I think that art happens no matter what. It may be influenced by emotion and circumstance, but art will always be expressed in some way by those who need to create it. In fact, perhaps hard times even spur the creation of more art!
As for the economics of selling art, I would like to believe that it is quite possible to continue to sell art in a less than great economy. I have listened to many artists say that people are not buying at shows this year, and that sales in various places are down, and so on. While this may be true, I do think that when people really want something, they will find a way to buy it. Meaning that the key to being able to sell art or anything in a bad economy is to focus on improving what you have to sell, and be sure that you are trying to sell the right thing to the right people.
For me, marketing has always been very interesting. Back when I was an innkeeper selling gourmet food and luxury getaway weekends, it was fascinating to see which idea would sell and which would not. I find that selling my artisan jewelry is much the same. I actually get inspiration for new pieces by watching what people respond to and expanding that idea. When people feel a connection with your art (or food or whatever) they will want to buy it. They may forgo something else, but in the end, if they *really* want it, they will buy it. This is definitely true for me as a consumer - those things that I really want, I buy. I might have to give something else up and save for a while, but I buy it!