State of the Studio check inAlmost every artist I know has a stash of unsold artwork. I’ve been thinking a lot about mine as I run into it at every turn in my Studio Makeover Challenge.

Where to put it all?

I can be pretty prolific when I get going in the studio. Even while I was working full time on my business VisualsSpeak, I discovered I had done over 400 drawings and paintings. I’ve got stuff stashed all over. Framed work is in the hallway. Matted work stacked on shelves. Other work in piles, boxes and drawers. I have found places to put it, some of them even have space left to stack more.

Am I asking the right question?

I wonder if I should be asking what can I do with all this unsold work?

studio
I do run studio sales periodically, but even if it is successful, I have WAY too much work to sell all at the same time. And then there is the older work. Still great stuff, but it doesn’t always show well with the current work. Not to mention all the drawings. Hundreds of them. I don’t want to frame them all up because then the storage problem gets way more complicated and space requirements grow. It all feels like a delicate balance.

It feels insane to have so much art sitting in artists studios in a world that needs more art.

Brainstorming solutions

I want to hear any and all ideas about what you do or might do with all the work that accumulates. Here my starting list:

  • Burn it all and feel the freedom of release from the past
  • give it away, maybe five free artworks a week for the price of postage
  • have a super sale
  • have a make a donation area on site for particular pieces
  • use it to make money for a cause
  • offer it for barter
  • incorporate it somehow into new work
  • glue it all together and carve into it
  • chop it up and make collages
  • chop it up for cards

What else?

Really, I need more ideas.

¬†Update: I’ve also been getting great ideas on Facebook. I’m adding them here to keep track of them and to share with others.

  • Kim Thayer: Donate them to various non-profits to hang in their headquarters. Make sure you have a card or something saying, “Generously donated by Xxxx” or something along those lines. Or give them out as presents to the professionals in your life: dentist, doctor, lawyer, etc. Chances are, they will hang it in their offices and their other clients/patients will see it and inquire. Free publicity
  • Janet Chance Cooper: Donate to non profit organizations
  • Tobi Kibel Piatek: Any ideas. Please share. I have a similar problem.
  • Tim Mammel: Take photos! Then maybe put the work on an online gallery. Then store the work away in a safe place while remembering what you have.
  • Helen Cox: several sales through the year; competitions; give aways; non profit prizes/gifts for their raffles and fundraisers…
  • Deborah Thomas: Repurpose. Create things with them.
  • Julie Stuart: I’ve been offering mine up for sale…priced very cheap and even free. I want to see it fly off into as many welcome arms as it can. It’s a one-time clearing with a limited time frame.
  • Deborah Thomas: I used to buy wallets that an artist made out of W magazine pages and clear vinyl – and an interesting button. I got comments on it everytime I pulled it out! I can imagine cool things like that.

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12 Comments

  1. What a great question. I have also been thinking about this same thing.

    One thought I have is to possibly have a party with a deep discount for that night only.

  2. What a great question. I have also been thinking about this same thing.

    One thought I have is to possibly have a party with a deep discount for that night only.

    • It does seem to be an unending challenge. Putting limits around it makes sense.

  3. Well, obviously I hide mine behind a curtain! But really it does mount up. I just destroyed some of my older work. Although I will keep a few select pieces I’m no longer working in that same way so I don’t want to show the work with my current pieces. I have cut up work and used it in new paintings as collage elements which is quite fun to do.

    • I think that’s part of why I liked your curtains so much! I’m going to play with the cutting up ideas, which will still hardly make a dent in the problem, but it’s a start.

  4. Well, obviously I hide mine behind a curtain! But really it does mount up. I just destroyed some of my older work. Although I will keep a few select pieces I’m no longer working in that same way so I don’t want to show the work with my current pieces. I have cut up work and used it in new paintings as collage elements which is quite fun to do.

    • I think that’s part of why I liked your curtains so much! I’m going to play with the cutting up ideas, which will still hardly make a dent in the problem, but it’s a start.

  5. Christine,
    I have to pipe up and tell you I love what you and your engineer have devised. I loved Jim Carpenter’s idea but could not figure out how to pull it off. I love your solution. I will consult with my personal engineer! Every artist needs one.

    The best part of a personal engineer is that they are often very tidy. I know mine is.

    GREAT work on the studio!

  6. Christine,
    I have to pipe up and tell you I love what you and your engineer have devised. I loved Jim Carpenter’s idea but could not figure out how to pull it off. I love your solution. I will consult with my personal engineer! Every artist needs one.

    The best part of a personal engineer is that they are often very tidy. I know mine is.

    GREAT work on the studio!

    • Thanks Amantha, I’m still liking how this system works.

      If yours is neat, I’m sending mine over for a Vulcan mind meld!


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