7.15.2011

Art of the TRADE - Part 1

What's a trade?
The exchange of goods, and or services, where everybody is happy in the end and no money is exchanged. Sometimes the term "Bartering" is used.
My on- line dictionary defines it this way:

barter

verb
The exchange (goods or services) for other goods or services without using money.

Artists have been doing it for years and so many stories are circulated about the impressionists paying for food or rent with paintings -
Makes sense to me.
In my days as a graphic Designer I wasn't too keen on the trade idea and wanted hard cash. None the less - I own custom designed furniture, leaded glass and some real treasures from those days when I traded design services for what ever the client offered.
I have even traded for the more mundane things- like food.
In the best of all worlds, both parties have something the other wants.

So, how does it work?
Many of my artist friends like to trade artwork for artwork. To my mind, a trade of art work is a compliment of the highest order. I don't take it lightly - and am careful and respectful about who I will approach.
My prize trade was with Stephen Quiller and the idea was brought forward by his wife. How great is that? I now own a painting of his that I LOVE and he considered my work worthy of a trade - WOW!
but I digress. . .
Trading art for art is pretty common, among artists. Where you really see the worth of your work is in the broader market place.

There are 2 basic ways a trade comes about.
We paint the masterpiece, someone sees it, has no cash, so proposes trading something they have - for the art.
A variation on this theme: We paint the masterpiece, see something WE want or need and try to use the piece as a form of currency.
There is a 3rd twist that looks like a commission - and the hardest to negotiate. This is trading work, not yet created - for whatever.
I am in the middle of something like this right now; but more about that later.

I write about this to encourage you - not to run out and try to pay bills with paintings that are laying around -
but to think about your work in a new way.
Have you ever SOLD a piece of your art? Are you currently being represented by a gallery? If you can answer "yes" to either of those questions, you know that your work has value.
Making it work for you in a new way may take courage, but is worth the consideration.
In the next post about THE TRADE, I will explain my current trade negotiations, and make some suggestions about how to approach the TRADE.

2 comments: