Category Archives: art

The Cost of Lost Art

Art and Business

My dad continued to teach me more and more about art and business.  I loved to learn what I felt like was the behind the scenes aspect of art.  My dad would share stories about how poor he and my mother were when they first got married.  They struggled to pay rent and on several occasions the power was turned off because of delinquent bills.  The worse struggles happened before I was born.  In fact, my dad told me that when mom become pregnant it helped send him into over drive and he worked harder than he ever had before.  But he told me he worked hard and smart.  Prior to that point when he was stressed about money he would focus on creating more art.

He called them having shoes on the shelf.  He thought process was if it wasn’t already made and displayed how could he sell it.  But my mom would regularly point out that his studio was already filled with dozens of unwanted art pieces and unpaid for pieces.  She did not understand how creating another one was going to change anything.  She wanted him to get a more stable job with health insurance now that she was pregnant.  More than anything  my mom wanted stability.  But she tells me know she is glad that was one of the few times she was happy my dad did not listen to him.

Learning how to Market:

During that early season of his career my dad listened to an audio tape of Zig Ziglar and he was so inspired to take action and it changed his business life.  My dad went from making dozens and even hundreds of unwanted art pieces to an art marketing machine.  It did not happen over night, but he realized he needed to created awareness and a unique market or niche for his business.  My dads brother ran his own carpet cleaning company  and a dozen or more carpet cleaners working for him.  He performed cleaning services for a higher end wealthier clientele.  He told my dad that by focusing his services on a higher end customer he was able to charge 3-5 times what he would charge a regular client.  He also told my dad that ironically the more he charged the less customers seemed to complain.  He told my dad he should create fewer pieces and charge more for them. My dad decided to try it and it happened to work.

His first high paying client came as a referral from one of his brothers clients.  He recently had a high end vase broken during a party.  When my uncle showed up to perform some carpet cleaning services this broken vase came up in the conversation and my brother made the introduction.  My dad told me that when he first sent the quote to his brother for review his brother told him to at least double it in not triple.  My dad hesitated.  He told me he felt uneasy about the price.  His brother wisely told him to start valuing his work and if it was too expensive the client would just say no, not a big deal.

The Offer:

My dad delivered the quote.  It was his first ever job that paid him 4 figures for a single art piece.  He perfected that piece and the client was so happy.  From that day on my dads business has never been the same.  He has focused on high end art pieces.  He most expensive piece being 6 figures.  This was the business he was teaching me.  I was excited and I was hooked to learn more.

 

Childhood Art

As a kid growing up my dad was an artist.  Like many artist he enjoyed creating with various tools, from simple pencil, to brushes, to his favorite clay.  When I was incredibly young my dad tried to teach me how to use a potters wheel and the creativity and flexibility that the creator could demonstrate.  The only limitations he told me were patience and creativity.  He believed a potter could make a wide range of items using the potters wheel.  Which I knew to be true with all of the pieces he had created and were around our home.  What I struggled with was the patience element.  Whenever I tried to make something on my own I struggled.  As I look back now I realize I needed to display more patience when creating something on the wheel.  I would often make the wheel spin to fast or put to much pressure on my clay and ruin what I was trying to create.  Often times I would repeat this cycle a couple of time before I eventually would give up.

My dad was great at trying to encourage me to keep trying and that they only way I would fail is if I stopped.  Unfortunately for me, stopping was all to often the end result of my efforts.  Over time it was no longer stopping that become the problem, but starting.  My dad would ask me to join him, I know he loved creating art together, but more and more I simply said no.  The picture above is a reminder of how he would try to take my hands in his and teach me the proper feel of the clay and speed on the wheel.  He knew I would figure it out if was would persevere.  At the time I was not a willing partner.

As I grew older and the years went by my dad become more well known for his art and his pieces began to sell for amounts that would have once seemed impossible.  He would get custom requests for weddings and began doing high end celebrity pieces of art.  It was during this time that my passion for art and for creating was awakened.

Because my dad was becoming renowned is his field he would be invited to various exhibits and conferences to teach, share, essentially be the key note “expert” speaker.  Some of those trips he would bring me along and I was exposed to the amazing industry and people of art beyond my own fathers studio.  What was interesting is I found myself interested in the business of art.  The way various art pieces would be valued and for a rare piece of art the auction portion of fine art.  It was they mutual passion for creating and selling art that my father and I bonded over.