How To Support Living Artists At Christmas
In my previous blog post, I talked about how you can support living artists, independent artists, the handmakers, the small local businesses. In this blog I’m going to talk more about this subject, but with relevance to everyone’s favourite holiday. Of course I’m talking about Christmas, and Christmas is an especially busy time for us. Not only are we hopefully channeling our energy into selling original pieces or custom-made products, but we’re also more often than not, the only ones in charge of marketing. We don’t have a team running our websites, our advertising, dusting our shop shelves (physical or virtual ones), so we have to do all of the leg work, from planning to preparation to selling, following up, and then having the energy to do it all again next year.
If you’re one of those wonderful people that will be looking to support a living artist this festive season, here are some top tips so that you can get what you want, and we don’t get stressed about it.
Never ask for discounts Chances are we just had a Black Friday sale or offered some kind of promotion. If you missed it, tough luck. If we have any special offers or sales on for Christmas, we’d have made sure you know about them.
Order on time! If you’re planning on surprising a loved one or a friend with a custom-made, commissioned piece of art, then please plan ahead. Painting and creating takes time, and in the case of oil paintings, drying takes time too. Requesting a pet portrait or an original painting two weeks before Christmas is almost impossible. I would recommend at least a month’s notice, so you can account for shipping and delivery times, planning and communication (what if changes are requested with no time to complete them?) and of course the time to paint. If an artist has lots of clients then there may be a waiting list, so book early.
The same goes if you’re ordering from an online shop. Depending on whether the artist runs the shop themselves or it’s a third-party site like Redbubble, shipping times will vary, especially at busy times of the year. Don’t be like that person who’s always late to the party.
Know what you want
If you’re interested in ordering a commission for Christmas, apart from the previous mention of booking in advance, I’d recommend you have a clear idea of what you want. This includes:
Knowing what the person you’re buying for likes/dislikes (eg don’t choose a background colour that they hate)
Knowing how much money you want to spend
The size, composition and overall theme of the piece (the artist can of course help you out with this, but it helps us if you have even a vague vision
If you’re looking for something special for an important person in your life, don’t grab the first thing you see. The good thing about art is that it’s so varied. There could be the perfect painting, print, handmade clock, necklace or anything for your beloved friend, if only you’d taken the time to look properly. Browse through website categories, search using keywords and do your homework.
Don’t shop beyond your budget
Following on from the point above, if you’re starting with a budget in mind, it’s best you stick to it. Don’t start browsing at items way above your price range: chances are you’ll find something you really like and a) will try to ask for discount (don’t, I repeat, don’t) or b) be disappointed when you can’t purchase it.
Are there any tips you would add? What are your experiences shopping at Christmas? Let me know in the comments.