Ever since I “put my butt in the chair” and started making art dolls this year, I’ve wondered why it took me so long to do it. Several thoughts came to mind: fear, doubt, lack of confidence.
It isn’t as though I dropped the art dolls entirely after the Balombini workshop. As with many polymer clay artists I started out by making jewelry. Cute little bunny pins and carrot shaped earrings, patriotic red/white/blue earrings and pins, special pins for the nurses I used to work with.
And art doll necklaces.
Lacking confidence in my own sculpting skills, I used store bought push molds, crafted the bodies, and strung the dolls on buna cord or satin cord. They were different for sure. But not big sellers. And that led to self-doubt and a lack of confidence.
What I didn’t know of or understand when I first started selling my art is the concept of the target market. Who do you want to sell to? Who will buy your work? What are their demographics?
You mean there is a “target market?” You mean I can’t just sell my art because it is cool, different, unique, whimsical, (fill in your own adjective here)?
When you start selling your art you should think about the demographics of the people who may be interested in buying your work. Who is currently buying your work? Are they male or female? What is their age group and income level? Where do they live (urban, suburban, or rural)? How do they pay for your work?
Had I given this some consideration early on, I might have been better prepared to market the art doll necklaces. By defining who was buying my work and who I wanted to buy my work I would’ve realized that those first selling venues weren’t the most appropriate.
Doubt and a lack of confidence are not unfamiliar emotions an artist may experience. A lack of confidence may come from being told you can’t do something or that you don’t do it “well enough.” Doubt can also come from this or because of past failures. If you’re feeling either of these emotions because your work didn’t sell well, consider who you’re targeting with your art. Perhaps it is time for a change, a time to take a chance on a different venue, or different demographic group.
“To be able to doubt is a blessing; but to despise oneself is a curse.”