When you are a creator you are constantly in the process of bringing art into being. From the thinking and planning stages to the actual production phase, artists eventually create art that takes up space. Depending on one’s propensity to produce, an artist’s output can range from sparse to prodigious. Production eventually begins to pile up. The problem becomes what to do with the accumulation of work.
Visiting some artist’s studios can be like looking at a monument to a lifetime of industry. A painter friend of mine here in St. Pete, has her work festooned from floor to ceiling on every square inch of wall space in her 1000 sq/ft studio as do most of the studio’s I have seen. Who can forget the photos of Calder’s studio jam packed with a cacophony of odd works, or shots of the rooms in Picasso’s house and studio completely filled with numerous stacks of paintings leaning against every bit of wall space.
Two thoughts come to mind – either these artists are very productive, or their work isn’t selling – probably a combination of these two factors. I confess that I am guilty of boasting, “I am extremely fortunate that everything I make is eventually sold.” Which is not entirely true. While I have sold thousands of pieces over the last two decades, I continue to create at a rate greater than my sales, thus, the inevitable dilemma of the accumulation of work ensues.
While a plethora of pieces waiting to be sold can be thought of as money in the bank, I find it disconcerting. One has to be incredibly confident or egotistical to continue creating when the latest piece is destined to be added to the burgeoning collection of previous creations cluttering up the workspace and gathering dust. I think the excessive accumulation of work as a kind of artistic constipation, where the buildup can cause creative blockage. Things have to keep moving to ensure a healthy flow.
What is the solution for an artist compelled to create, but lacking the means to effectively market and sell their work? The choice is either devote much greater energy and expense towards advertising and marketing or become comfortable with being surrounded and eventually inundated with artwork.