watercolor on paper
Katharine A. Cartwright, NWS
The Law of Averages really isn’t a “law” but a belief that balance will eventually occur. As one definition states: “ the law of averages is a lay term used to express a belief that outcomes of a random event will even out within a small sample.” This is not scientific thinking but is wishful thinking.
How does this “law” apply to being a professional artist?
We purchase art supplies, invest in some lessons, occasionally buy advertising, and consume many of our waking hours making and promoting our art with the belief that we’ll recoup that expense and, if we’re lucky, make a profit. Some artists are more successful at this than others and the balanced scales tip in their favor. They beat The Law of Averages.”
How can we do the same?
Word on the street is that typical brick and mortar galleries are struggling and closing in droves. Not all of them, of course, but nearly a third in this country last year alone. Many co-op galleries have emerged and also vanity galleries that charge the artist for space, advertising, and openings. So, we can’t look to the traditional route for marketing our art and hope to beat the odds.
The contemporary gallery exists in cyberspace: websites, blogs, Etsy et al., and Facebook just to name a few. We reach more people more often. But, who and what are they buying and at what price?
Lately, I’ve been experimenting with these cyber venues to see what will happen. Yes, I’m still represented by brick and mortar galleries (three of them) but I’d like greater exposure. So far, not much has happened.
The problem is, cyberspace has transformed the number of “galleries” from thousands (brick & mortar) to tens of millions (websites). There’s a lot more competition and it’s harder to reach patrons. Sometimes competition is healthy, and sometimes it’s just plain confusing to the consumer. In this case, competition has led to price wars and the devaluation of art in many instances.
So, how do we beat The Law of Averages?