Thursday, April 14, 2011

Is Your Door Open or Closed?

A few weeks ago Shelly and I were apart of that initial discussion regarding bringing I Heart Art to San Francisco. While discussing what types of events might suit the San Francisco community the topic of educating the public on craft came up. It’s often a touchy subject and involves the uncomfortable areas of pricing, the value of handmade, and art versus craft.

The later topic is one that Shelly and I have been discussing amongst ourselves quite a bit lately in trying to focus our marketing efforts. As we began to discuss what it was that we really wanted to do and who we wanted to work with, we realized for us the distinction wasn’t between craft and art at all, it was between what we’ve decided to call open and closed door artists.

I don’t really want to get into the art versus craft debate; we’ll be here all day if I do, but I do want to share a bit more about who we work with. I think it not only illuminates what it is we do at Lightbox SF, but also speaks to our philosophy in general.

As we see it closed door artists are the ones who work away diligently in their studios believing that if their art is great they will get the attention they deserve. They believe marketing and branding are dirty words used by sell-outs. They rarely talk about what they do or how their passions inform their final pieces. They wait quietly behind closed doors to be discovered.

On the other hand open door artists know it’s a crowded market out there and to be seen they need to make an impression. They know that to make a living from their art they need to think of it as a business and use whatever tools are available to them. They are passionate about what they do and share it with anyone who will listen. They know they need to connect with people on many levels to broaden their reach and make a living.

It is the later that we want to work with. It is the later that we can help. We can help you find those ways of connecting, of telling your story better. We can help you build a path and take bigger and bolder steps. We can help you reach your goals and make your dreams real.

It doesn’t matter to us if you paint on canvas, use a camera, silkscreen your illustrations on t-shirts, or make jewelry out of metal and precious stones. To us it matters how motivated you are to make your talents work for you. It matters that you’re willing to put in the hard work and it matters that you understand you need to get out there and make things happen.

What kind of artist are you?

I encourage comments directly to this post, but also feel free to email me directly with questions, reactions, struggles, etc.
If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Jen from Mama's Magic Studio about joining SFEtsy!


Dena said...

I'm definitely an open door artist! I love connecting with customers, networking, and getting my work "out there".

xmoonbloom said...

i'm a very private person so i've been a closed door artist.

Jen (Mama's Magic Studio) said...

this is a really interesting distinction! i'd say my door is pretty open. it would be interesting to know, though, how much of the open door vs closed door approach is also connected to personality -- extrovert vs introvert. As an introvert myself, someone who finds great refuge in being creative, it can be hard to "turn on" my energy to getting that work out into the world.

lightboxsf said...

Great question Jen! I do think personality has a part in it, but it's also an understand the direction you want to take and the goals you have. Selling is hard for a lot of people and marketing is tied to selling. But the desire to be out there and share what you do is still held by introverted people and they find ways. There are also many extroverts that are happy to sit in their studios waiting to be discovered.

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