Collaborations are awesome in all fields, and I would say especially in the world of art. It nurtures the opportunity of different styles and ideas interacting with each other! My friend, a photographer, and I have decided to embark upon a collaboration.
I have received the photos I will be working with but have not yet started working on any. BUT, I think the project sounds promising. I hope to incorporate them into greeting/note cards if they turn out great!
I ended my last blog post with a few questions: How will I price them? Where will I sell them? How and where do I engage with folks that may be interested in purchasing my art? So on and so forth. I promised to address each of these questions in future blog posts. In this post, I will go over the thinking process of how I priced my greeting cards. Let me tell you…this was not easy. When I was younger, I refused to believe that one could attach a monetary value to works of art. Art is supposed to be priceless! I was also very attached to everything I made at that time. I had a difficult time parting with my work. As I grew up (by a few years), my perspective on this topic has evolved. I still believe that art is priceless. However, in order for me to survive in this world AND to possibly have a job that makes me happy because it consists of me doing what I love to do, I need to place a monetary value on my work. One that is fair both to me and the customer. I have been doing a lot of research on “how to price artwork” and watching youtube tutorials made by artists that sell their work. The Frugal Crafter, a youtuber, crafter, and artist, said in one of her videos that it is important to not sell yourself short. I have been told this same thing by my family and friends. I kept all of this in mind as I continued with researching. From the research that I have done, I have learned that there are a couple of (logical and reasonable) ways to price your artwork.
1. By dimensions: Charging $1.00 (or more) per square inch: (4″ by 5″ = $20.00)
2. Hourly: Paying yourself an hourly wage: (1 to 1.5 hours: = $11.25 – $16.88) *
In Ontario, Canada (where I live), the minimum wage is $11.25. My calculations above exclude packaging and shipping costs which would roughly amount between $3.05 to $5.90 depending on where my package is being sent (domestic or international?). Having done all of this research and these calculations, I have made an informed decision to charge $12.00 (+ shipping) for each card. I believe that this is a fair price both for me and future customers. Customers are getting two products for this price. A greeting card to send to a loved one which doubles as a small and handcrafted art piece that can go up on their walls. My printed cards (once that is figured out) will be a lot lower in price as they are more easily reproduced. We will cross that bridge when we get to it.
Some may argue that in this digital age, greeting cards are considered a dying form of art. I dare to disagree. To this day, a handwritten letter or card and its tangibility offers an extra special something. Maybe it’s because of the extra effort that goes into sending someone a card that makes it so special? I’m not sure. With that being said, I do understand the discussions that we should also have around the ecological footprint of cards vs. email or another form of gratitude. Writing about saving trees on a piece of paper poses that circular argument of the chicken or the egg, only the predecessor in this case is more obvious. Despite these arguments, I still see value in sending cards to loved or appreciated ones. There is obviously room for change the greeting cards industry and so, I am hoping to steer my work in a direction towards which I think it should be heading. So then, what am I doing differently and why?
1. Instead of folded booklets, my cards are double sided. The design is on one side. The flip side of the card is blank save the tiny logo I include at the back. It is shaped more like a note card but I believe it functions as a greeting card.
2. Additionally, the cards are smaller in size than your average greeting cards. They are 4″ by 5″. My goal is to reduce the amount of paper being used.
3. Thirdly, my cards have the potential to live a double life. Once their purpose as a greeting/notecard has been served, they can be framed or attached to your wall/notebook/planner, etc. as a piece of art. My hand drawn cards, although “reproduced” in a sense are all unique and thus individual and original pieces of work. They can even be cut up to be used in a collage in one of your own artworks. It really is up to you, the customer, to decide the future of the card. There are multiple options available to them before they end up at a landfill or recycling plant somewhere.
4. Although some of my cards are simply aesthetically pleasing, I have intentionally designed others to make a statement by advocating social and environmental justice or equality.
5. Besides my efforts in making the cards visually appealing, I have the option to have more than just designs on some of my cards. With my background and interests in environmental studies and social justice, I intend to incorporate those values into some of my designs to provide a wide array of content customers can choose from. Through this, my end goal is to raise awareness and initiate discussions about social and environmental issues.
6. Due to the fact that these cards would be nearly impossible for anyone to reproduce unless they know my style really well, this business is run by one person (ME!). You can be sure that each and every card will be made with love and care!
So far, all this is still a semi-formed idea. There are countless other factors that need to be taken in consideration.How will I price them? Where will I sell them? How and where do I engage with folks that may be interested in purchasing my art? So on and so forth. These questions will be dealt with in future blog posts…as I figure them out one at time.
Every idea begins with a smaller and a more incomplete idea and these smaller ideas are results of everyday experiences that inspire us. I have been told by multiple people that the type of art I create would look cool on post cards and greeting cards. I accepted them as compliments and that was the end of that.
This summer, I decided to take those words seriously and actually set up a store where I can give people the option to purchase my work. I chose greeting cards and note cards as my weapon of choice. The cards I design and individually draw out by hand. Each card is 4″ by 5″ with an intricate design at the front and a blank back save the tiny logo, I include at the back. Currently, I only have handmade/hand drawn cards available. I’m working on figuring out how to efficiently print them so there will be an update on that once that is figured out.
There is an immense amount of pressure that we…or at least I experience with first posts. What should it be about? Is it good enough? Will it set the right impression for my blog or will it taint the experience of visitors? In order to not further procrastinate my “First Post”, I though it best to document my thought process about making this post within this post. I feel this accurately captures the experience I wish to offer you through my blog posts. In this blog, I will write about the experiences, obstacles, victories that I am and will be facing in turning my passion for art into a career AND a contributor to raising awareness for social justice issues.
First, let me tell you a couple of things about me.
Lets start from the beginning… When I was in high school (around Sophomore year), I was known as one of two things.
1. A self-proclaimed artist. I had to take an art class (not by choice) to successfully fill the checklist one needs to complete to graduate. In this class, I was introduced to “the sketchbook”. Prior to this, doodles carelessly littered loose sheets of paper or notebooks for my classes. I was also (again…against my will) experiment with different media (acrylic, sculpting, etc.). I took to using pencils and would create abstract doodles using random shapes and shades. I picked out my favourites. My earlier works are far more precarious.
Fast forward two years to when I bought my first set of water colour paints…and then fine point pens. I also had the opportunity to create murals alongside very supporting friends. By the end of high school, I full on became an art addict.
My addiction continued to escalate through my four years in university. I never make new years resolutions but for 2015, I made a promise to myself. I promised to doodle one thing a day everyday. This seems like a daunting times and at times it does feel like one but with the sense of community and inspiration created by doodlersanonymous (http://www.doodlersanonymous.com) on instagram, I have managed to keep at this. Today is Day 176. This year alone, I have created at least 176 doodles. They are all available on my personal instagram (https://instagram.com/princier).
2. An environmentalist. I was that annoying friend that nagged whenever I caught someone tossing their sandwich bags on the ground. I nagged until it was picked up. “Darn you litter bugs!” became my catchphrase…seriously.
I showed interest in sustainability and the environment and tried to gear all of my assignments towards that interest. I wrote a French speech on littering, an essay on eco-terrorism, and another one on an environmental perspective on Arctic Sovereignty. When it came time to choose a discipline in University, I chose the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. I recently graduated from the Bachelor of Environmental Studies Specialized Honours Program with a focus on Environmental Politics. This program gave me the chance to learn about the environment as something broader than just plants and ecosystems. It helped me understand our human society contextualized within the larger environment (what we dominantly perceive as nature, the woods, the non-urban). I became really interested in social justice issues and also realized my drive to do something about these issues instead of simply studying about them and moping around. Allow me to summarize. So this is where I stand today: I have an art addiction that I want to make a career out of. I want to contribute to making this world a better place. I will use this blog to document how I negotiate between and within these goals as well as the processes, the obstacles, and the victories (I’m hoping there will be a few). How do I hope to achieve these goals? I will answer this question in my next blog post! Until then, if you would like a little peek into what I hope will not be a giant failure…