Friday, March 2, 2012

On Competition

There's a thing I've run across lately that I fundamentally do not understand. The idea is as follows:

As an artist, I am, by definition and necessity, in direct competition with every other artist.


I guess I didn't realize exactly how fortunate I was in my studio experience throughout undergrad, but I never really came across this. Or I never felt it, at least. I really enjoy promoting my friends' work right along side mine. I figure that if someone doesn't care for what I do, they may like someone else's work more, and then maybe they come back to me in the future. The consumer goes home with a piece of art that they're happy with, someone makes a sale, and everyone leaves happy with the possibility for more future happiness.

The reason I am comfortable with this arrangement is this: the art-audience is not a homogenized group. There's a lot of variety in the art world on the production side, and I've always operated on the assumption that there's a niche for every art object. I want people to regret NOT buying a painting of mine, rather than regret buying one. I therefore have a vested interest in making sure that you're aware of your immediate options; if I narrow the pitch down to just my works (and I know this because I've been on the opposite end of it) then you're gonna walk away post-transaction and then the buyer's remorse is gonna kick in. And then you won't come back. Which is a problem.

I do, of course, acknowledge that there are people with whom I am going to be in direct competition. I don't really know who those people are because I have yet to come across them, but it's a big world. It's kind of inevitable that if I'm thinking of doing something in a certain way, someone else is having a similar thought. I'm not really sure how I'll handle a situation like that yet.

Probably I'll just have to make sure that my product is better than theirs.

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