The Third C – Concept – To A Successful Art Business

by Jul 6, 2016Art Versus Money, Concept, Inspiration, Make Money From Your Art, Start With Why, The Three Creating C's0 comments

The Third C – Concept – To A Successful Art/Design/Craft Business

As a goldsmith, I’m used to talking to clients about the 5 C’s to buying a diamond – cut, colour, clarity, carat and certification.

Well there’s 7 C’s I want to begin talking about that every artist/designer/maker should start thinking about in terms of their art practice. Each of these three areas is very different in terms of the revenue streams it can produce and I believe every artist needs a mixture of these to really excel at business. Equally every art practice will need different ratios of these areas to be successful both, financially and spiritually, and its up to you as individuals to work out your own ‘best mix’.

So let’s start with the third C… ‘Creating – Concept’.

This is possibly the C that most artists/designers/makers can relate to – Concept Work. I use this term to describe work that you produce from within yourself, those pieces that you truly believe are a reflection of your complete ideals and philosophical thinking’s. You could say that this is ‘egotistical’ work, pieces that you make purely to please your own self expression, pieces that satisfy your inner soul. This work is about putting across a particular ‘concept’ – maybe that’s a personal message, maybe its made to shock the viewer, maybe its pushing a particular technique to its limit, maybe its turning a conventional idea on its head, maybe its telling a narrative, maybe its about how you react to the landscape, your world, your inner world.

For most artist/designers/makers ‘concept work’ is likely to find its home in galleries and exhibitions. You could call them ‘exhibition pieces’ then. These aren’t items for general consumption like a commercial product. They’re challenging, contemporary, showcase your creativity as an artist, maybe they push the boundaries of what is ‘art’ and maybe they position you within the hierarchy of your peers.

For some of you, this may be your entire art practice. For others, you might only produce a few pieces of these as you’re busy doing other things.

So I want you to think about how ‘Concept Work’ fits into your art practice. Can you identify it, what ratio of time do you spend on it…and the big question…does it make you any money?

The image I’ve used for this post is the first piece of jewellery I made in first year at Glasgow School of Art, some 23 years ago now, which is scary biscuits. Its my first ‘concept’ piece – designed to fufill a brief at college where we had to make a ‘Poison Ring’. So not only did the piece have to hold poison, it had to be a ‘container’ form of some sort. This piece is designed on photographs of railing finials I had taken when I was doing my Foudnation Art Year, its also based on doorknobs – this was the visual inspiration behind the form – the ‘concept’ being a container to hold a substance!

poison ring 3 poison ring 2 poison ring 1

In this piece, the domed flying-saucer element spins around a post set at the top with a the blue aquamarine bullet-shaped stone. The stone at the top unscrews, to reveal that the domed flying-saucer element can be removed – as its hollow (ie the container), poison can be placed inside the dome, put back on the post and the stone screwed back in place. You can then spin the dome to release the substance!!

PS, these images are also about 23 years old lol – they were taken on slide film and then digitally scanned years later – I haven’t re-touched them as you can see all the hairs and dots that were stuck to the film of the slide – that was old technology for you!!!

I still love this piece 23 years later. It not only represents a part of my life where I was beginning to find my own handwriting as a designer-maker it also showcases a design and concept form that I have come to use many times over the years – pointy elements, spikes, containers, bud-shapes, spinners and removable parts.

Although this piece was not made ‘for sale’ – it has been showcased in exhibitions and publications and worn many times! So whats its value? In this instance its not money, yet is a priceless object that represents how I have grown as an artist over the years.

Its my beginning, the start of my story…

Where does your story begin?….

#thethreecs #concept #makemoney #changeyourmindset #mentortip

So I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below & if you liked this post then please share it with a friend and spread the love!

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