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Is your Inventory . . . Selection or Saturation?

From time to time I hear stories of working artists having hundreds of pieces of art on hand from a proliferation of creation.  Can you produce too much art?  It’s not really talked about much.  I can only say this, what seems to be the ever march to learn and love one’s craft, may also work against you in the goal of selling.

Selling anything has just the two components of supply and demand.  What does that mean actually.  Well on the demand side of things a potential client must want or need what you have to offer.  That can include, hunger, emotional, addictive, habitual, medical, aesthetic and even educational reasons, and many things you might think of become sub categories of these. The point is, there’s a connection.


On the supply side of things, you have one key word and that is rarity. When you have high demand and rarity, you have high desire.  We seem to be wired that way. There’s also the perception of supply and demand.  Take toilet paper, eggs and milk on a beautiful day. Supply is good, demand is good. Now add in the forecast for eight inches of snow and what happens?  Demand jumps through the roof, as if the snow will never stop, chickens will stop laying eggs, cows will run utterly dry and we’ll all have to poop our brains out. So, even people with plenty of food on hand, race to the store. Demand is now high, though artificially, and supply goes down. As it turns out, only one inch of snow falls and so demand for these things drops instantly.

So, how does this theory affect you and your art?  Well let’s say you passionately produce your art.  I’ll use a term I hate, “Knocking it out.”  Plein air painters, as an example and in my opinion, “knock out” a lot of work, becoming up to their ears in a bunch of 9X12 paintings.  Some are nice, maybe even some are very nice, but many are just studies.  This then happens with some studio things too and inventory builds, supply grows. What do you think happens if demand doesn’t grow too?  Or I could ask, do you think this increase in inventory helps demand?  Also, can you say that you are still focused on quality, originality, a narrative, good subject matter, or has it become quantity?

Listen, we all buy things.  We all enjoy selection, and high supply for toilet paper is met with a constant demand. But, managing and matching your inventory to demand is a good thing and trust, it is not always easy.

Live an artful life!