We have had an excellent start to the year and carried on where last year finished. At this early stage in the summer we are considerably up on last year and July has already been our best month ever and there is still a week to go. Hopefully that will continue through to Christmas.
Trying to analyse just what we have done right and whether it is a direct result of the decisions and effort put in or merely that the economy has turned around and that people have more disposable income is a matter for conjecture. However, what is clear is people don't buy stuff they don't like.
Last year I was getting a lot of requests for contemporary work and especially seascapes, which is something we didn't have a lot of. So, I duly obliged and spent much of the winter painting large dramatic seascapes as well as my rural themed work. Well, I am pleased to say they have been extremely popular and at about a thousand pounds each they are not bought on a whim. We have also had high value successes this month with Duncan Hopkins, Nigel Banks, Margaret Johnson, Roger Ford, Margaret Bolton and Chris Edwards as well as some healthy sales amongst smaller pieces.
I think so far this year you could sum it up with the phrase 'quality not quantity', and sales are predominantly contemporary work. I think there is still a market for more traditional artwork although it seems to be diminishing. Who knows, things could change but the decisions made six months ago seem to be paying dividends.
I have an advantage over most artists in that I am on the front line, I talk to people and get their feedback. They tell me what they like and don't like. I had a lady bemusing over one of my seascapes and I could tell she was unsure if she liked it or not. She said, "It's a bit scribbly isn't it? A child could do that... they're not yours are they?!"
I laughed and confessed that they were! I actually enjoy the critique, it proves people have an opinion and that my pictures are thought provoking. Initially, I think it challenged her stereotypical view of art, she liked them but did not know why. Guess what? She bought it!
So, my tip to artists to improve sales is; step out of your comfort zone, don't opt for safe and challenge the viewer. There's an awful lot of artwork out there... be different.
Below, just some of the higher value sales last week. All very different, all very striking and powerful images.