Friday, December 21, 2007

The Question of Duplicating

Tuscan Farmland, 8" x 8", Ceramic Paint on Tile, © 2005 Jennie Traill Schaeffer, Private Collection (s)

Since becoming an artist full-time in 2005, I started painting and marketing tiles used as coasters, trivets, and framed art. They were a hit and are now 18% of my profits / year, this year selling 36 tile sets all together. This isn't something to laugh at. But, for the time it takes me to paint them and for what I'm selling them at, I'm getting paid on average $16/hour. This is hardly worth it selling this quantity.

The other concern I have is the question of duplicating designs. Initially as an emerging artist I thought, "why not"? Now, I'm starting to reconsider. Yes, it's somewhat easier to paint an older image that I've already done than concept a new one, but I'm getting bored and I think my customers might be appreciative that theirs is the ONLY one. The trouble is convincing my customers to pay more, convince them to trust me to do something custom, or find a new market.

This Christmas I painted four Tuscan Farmland tiles in an assembly-line fashion. I spent about two days working on them. They came out great, but now I think as I redesign my web site for '08 I will retire designs and urge customers to go out on a limb with me to make something great!

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