Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Art Price Mystery

Yesterday, Mark Sharp of Invermere, B.C. wrote, "I was in a gallery looking at a large painting by a living artist. With no dramatic message or spiritual awakenings, it was just a really nice painting--and it was priced at $24,000.00. It probably took the painter one or two days. On the same wall was another same-size painting by another living artist. It was equally well executed, of similar effort, but priced at $6,000.00. Both artists are the same age with similar educational backgrounds. Why the vast price difference? Is it an artist's mystique, proven sales record, better marketing, or what?"
Thanks, Mark. Art pricing has to do with control. Artists who seek professional status should not be seen selling their work irregularly or at lower prices. Dealers (and artists) who control supply are better able to control demand. Scarcity is important. That $6,000 artist may be three times as prolific as the other guy. Another consideration is location. If an artist offers work in barber shops or less prestigious galleries he cannot expect to get the same kind of prices as in high-end commercial venues. Further, artists whose work is exhibited in public museums or loaned out from significant private collections can be expected to demand more.
There's another factor that's a bit harder to quantify. The higher-priced painter may just happen to be the better painter. Artists whose work is of higher quality (or merely consistently marketable) are sought out by leading galleries. Further, dealers have a collective interest in seeing an artist's prices escalate, thus adding the sniff of investment to an otherwise mostly emotional purchasing decision. For the artist, a few years of 10-20 percent annual price increases leads to eventual high prices.
Serious artists have an obligation to themselves to secure a strong cash flow so money worries are left behind. Travel, study, challenge, exploration and even down-time can be expensive, but they are the life blood of creativity.
My democratic inbox is frequently loaded with questions on prices, marketing strategy, recession ploys, distribution and sales methodology. One might conclude that art is a branch of economics. While the burden of money will forever be with us, quality is still ahead of whatever is in second place. That's why artists need to go to their rooms. Quality needs to be made. But please don't ask me to define "quality." With the exception of markets based on unnatural spin and hype, quality (whatever it is) is often the harbinger of higher prices.

From - Robert Genn Twice-Weekly Letter
Posted by Brandt Eisner

Artist Mathew Collins

Swoon welcomes artist Mathew Collins to the Swoon Family! Stop by the gallery to see more of Mathew's work or check him out on the website at!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Learning From Failure

In Peter Sims' book, Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries, we see the value of making lots of small failures as a way to get to large successes. While Peter's book is mainly aimed at entrepreneurs, it's also of real value to us regular creative types. These days, cutting-edge gurus are passing the word around: "Fail often in order to succeed sooner."
But not everyone is pickin' up what these experts are puttin' down. Working from a dated model, many art schools currently expect foundation students to produce two or three major works per semester. The results are often big, poorly-conceived mishmashes of questionable value--either as vehicles for learning or as fine art. On the other hand, when students are encouraged to do volumes of small items they become accepting-- even proud--of their failures and are more readily able to move on to ideas that work better for them. Simply put and perhaps surprisingly, less commitment widens opportunity. In a hundred small bets, a dozen or so often ring the bells. With this shotgun effect, even beginners are seen to produce gems. As the lady said, "It's better to have a small diamond than a large piece of glass."
Here are a few ideas for artists who might wish to quicken their progress:
*Prepare a hundred or more similar-sized small supports.
*Choose a subject, motif or series you feel has legs.
*Start bashing off everything that comes into your head, no matter how glib. Stretch your mind.
*Abandon bad ideas in a timely way. Don't waste too much time or get hung-up on outright duds.
*Go from one to the other like a bee goes to flowers. Cross pollinate. Ideas breed ideas. Quality breeds quality.
*Keep your strokes fresh, creative and confident--then both you and your work will become fresh, creative and confident.
*Be always in a state of rejection and acceptance. Steadily sort your work like a deck of cards. To win--to get to the stuff that's really worth enlarging--to evolve--you gotta love the little-bets game.
Best regards,
PS: "Life is an experiment where failure teaches as much as success." (Peter Sims)

From - Robert Genn Twice-Weekly Letter
Posted by Brandt Eisner

Saturday, May 21, 2011

New Shows Opening in June!

Swoon is pleased to present three new solo shows:

Elemental Legacy - Wearable Art in Fine Silver by S.B. Borgersen

Maritime Flavour - Paintings by Dorothy Mosher

Murmurs Of Granite - Sculptures by Rosemary Metz

Opening reception - Sat. June 4th, 2pm-5pm
Show continues until July 3rd.

If you are unable to attend all the work will be on the website once the shows open!

Swoon - Fine Art, Antiques & Fashion
Facebook event/invite -