This post is by Jason Horejs, regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. Jason Horejs and his wife, Carrie, own Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ., which they founded in 2001. Jason also publishes RedDotBlog.com, a resource for artists interested in creating and strengthening relationships with galleries, as well as those looking to sharpen their own selling skills.
I’m not sure why, but I’ve recently received a lot of questions from artists wondering what to do with older unsold artwork. Storing old artwork can become a huge challenge, especially for artists who have built up hundreds works over the years. Studio space is at a premium, and every square inch that is taken up in storage, is a square inch that’s not available as work space. I have a number of different suggestions of possible approaches to dealing with older work, their benefits and challenges, and then I would like to encourage you to share your experience with older work. Together, hopefully we can find the perfect solution to the older work challenge!
Idea #1 – Rotate Older Work Into Your Current Inventory
Sometimes older work didn’t sell, not because there was something wrong with it, but because it simply wasn’t in the right place at the right time to get a buyer. I’ve sold many works that were created years prior to the sale. For artists whose work is consistent over the years in terms of style, technique and quality, recirculating art can be a viable option. The older work can be shown in galleries or at shows or art festivals, and, as long as the work doesn’t have a date on it, no one may even realize the work is older.
The work might need to be touched up, and it may need a new frame, but refreshing your older work in this way allows you to leverage your existing work to bulk up your inventory.
The Problems with This Approach
If your work has changed significantly since the older work was created, it may not be possible to show it with your newer work. In this case, introducing older work may make your body of work feel inconsistent, or it may call into question the quality of your newer work.
Many artists pass through significant changes in style and format, and for those artists, it’s not feasible to reintroduce the older work.
You would also want to avoid sending a piece to a gallery that has already had the work, unless they expressly requested the piece back (unlikely), or unless the work was significantly modified.
Idea #2 – Repurpose the Materials to Create New Art
I’ve known of many artists who take old canvases and paint an entirely new painting over the top of an older work. Some of these pieces are totally new compositions, while some are significant modifications of the older imagery. I’ve seen abstract artists who will let glimpses of the old work show through as texture in the new piece. I’ve also known of sculptors who have melted down an old piece to cast a new work (not recommended in most cases).
The Problems with This Approach
Not all art materials lend themselves to being reused, and sometimes the effort it takes to prepare used materials isn’t worth the effort.
To read more ideas about "What to do With Older, Unsold Artwork", continue to the original full article on RedDotBlog ....
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