It’s just past Thanksgiving and thus every form of media is reminding me that there are deals to be had. In high school, I became enamored with the AdBusters magazine and their Buy Nothing Day. It was a helpful reminder to question the underlying messages of advertising and to look critically at what I buy and why I buy it. These days I end up practicing Buy Nothing Day not out of political virtue and commitment, but because I am busy, obligated to care, and would rather eat hot coals than get up early on a precious holiday morning.
This is part of the mental noise that comes up when I think about selling work at this time of year. I worry that my promotion of my work-for-sale will be one more screeching layer in the overwhelming static of the season. And yet, and yet. If I don’t promote my work and remind people that it’s available, they tend not to buy it. And I very much want to sell my work.
I like the extra money around the holidays, but more than that I like it when my work lives with people. That’s when it’s fully realized. I forget about the work when it leaves me and years later am surprised to see it when someone tells me they got something framed or moved to a new apartment and rehung a piece. Carrie Mae Weems said in a 2014 interview for Ebony magazine, “Art has saved my life on a regular basis.” I think she meant both the making of art and the living with it. She described art as the place we all turn for solace. Living with art can give us comfort. That’s no small thing.
I was thinking about all this when I posted to Instagram recently. There I wrote: I kept thinking I should discount my work to incentivize sales. And then I thought: f that! I’m tired of trying to convince people that art has value. What wonder and richness there is in art. What solace and mystery. How horrible the world would be without it. You know what’s missing in your life? More art. Also, universal healthcare, but I don’t make that currently.
And then I told people to stop giving their money to Jeff Bezos, but to instead give it to me…or any other independent artist. It felt cheeky and bold in a way that I don’t feel, but also, as I wrote: if I don’t tell anyone about all the great art I have for sale, how will they ever know about it?
So here I am again: I have great, affordable work for sale. If you see something you like and it’s beyond reach, let’s talk. I want these pieces out in the world.