Sunday, November 29, 2009

Funding Art

(The 2400 I wish I had)
In school I am told that I can either sell my art in a gallery or get a grant to fund a project. Both models pay differently. Normally in a gallery model a work of art sells after it's made. In a grant based program payment is given at the beginning of a project. What about an alternative?

I was listening to NPR and caught this program by On The Media talking about the current health and future of the book publishing industry. The program is embedded after the break. And it gave me an idea.

Assume I need to pay for expenses at the onset of a project. I can not afford to wait until I have a completed body of work to market to gallery's and hope they can sell it.

So that leaves me with hoping I receive a grant. Lets assume I have a fairly solid idea for a project to be able to create a convincing argument for being awarded the grant, and I am awarded a grant for for $2400. I then work on the body and hope I can sell it later using the gallery (or whatever) to people.

Because thats what this is about. Getting my art out there into the hands of people. The grants, the gallary, thats all so I can survive long enough to realize my vision and spread my art into peoples lifes.
What if I could skip the grants and gallarys and get paid by the very people who think I have somthing worth while? I give you:

The Subscription Model
(Heavly influenced by Bob Stiens' appearance in the below media program)
Here's the plan:

I have the idea for a project. I convince a group of people who probably already like my photographs that my idea is awesome.

They 'Subscribe' to my project for the cost of $120. It's a 1 year project and I plan on a finished body of work of 12 prints. Each month I send my subscribers an 8x10 inch print in the mail (probably 6$ in materials and shipping) and in between prints they can follow the progress of the work on me through my blog.

I could make the edition of prints for the series to be x number of subscribers +10 to sell at a later date. Each would be signed, numbered and dated.

The subscribers get 12 original prints signed/numbered/dated, a personal relationship with the artists, and a view into the creative process, and a guarantee that they are holding a very limited work of art.

The artist gets about a 40-50% profit from each print before material cost. The better the artist, the more subscribers they would be able to attract and the more money they can charge. The artist gets a relationship with their target audience with the potential to sell more work or be offered a commission.

Simply, if I can attract 20 subscribers to a project at $120 I have
  • $120 x 20 subscribers = $2,400
  • 20 subscribers x 12 prints = 240 prints sold
  • 20 people who are interested in and can follow me as an artist
  • Potential revenue

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