pricing evidence

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This is the first evidence I’ve seen of a price on a painting that was/is owned by someone who bought it from me.

With this painting (48 x 30″) being 3.5 times larger than the $100 USD series (11 x 14″) that puts the $100 USD painting value at $550 USD (by size) which is still too low, but should go towards establishing a higher value. 5.5 times higher.

This is a fairly random sale, but it is based in the reality that I did sell the painting to the person who may be using this service. $1950 USD looks like a “reduced price”. Who knows what the original price was?

All debatable depending who wants to chime in, but I’m still of the if it ain’t broke don’t fix it school of thought. Others regularly tell me to raise my prices.

“Add a zero.” – culture maker in the know

FaceBook album of $100 paintings currently available

Update: solo art show

I’ve dropped a few hints about my solo art show in the spring, but we’re not quite ready to officially announce it! Here are a few more hints, but I’m not going to confirm or deny anything in comments

The city in question: I can safely say that I may have sold more paintings to people living in this city than any other.

The yet to be named gallery is supportive of the Free Artist Residency for Progressive Social Change. I believe they see the benefit of cultural activists of our ilk having a place (outside of the USA) to work on projects that intend to change the world. I hope they see it’s in their / our best interest on many levels.

Mecca Normal will perform at the opening.

We’ll be doing a newsletter / press release email soon to tie a buncha things together. David’s graphic novels, my art show, online painting sales milestone (900 sold with 300 in stock = 1200 paintings in 4 years), playing Bikini Kill shows, the Free Artist Residency, and last year’s live album from the mid-90s — Riot Grrrl era.

We’ve always done our own press / publicity for our music and book projects (D-I-Y since 1984)*, but I haven’t spent much time looking for press for the paintings. Early on I contacted The Jealous Curator and I’m still, some years later, savouring her appreciation of my work.

“Oh my word, I love these portraits so, so, so much.” September, 2017

I’ve done a couple of email interviews, but a press release is basically David and I compiling content that can be reproduced by the media in advance of coming events.
In the past four years, I’ve focused on painting (and not so much the push required to escalate exposure / sales). I completely love the way this situation on FB works. I get to paint lots, I have an enthusiastic audience and appreciative buyers. File under: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Yet, I have 300 paintings here, I may need to move out of Vancouver, and I want to get going with the Artist Residency.

So, yes I am hinting at a plausible inevitability that when more people see my paintings, you’ll wish you’d bought a few. Also, this week’s near record sales (18 ?) remind me that post-sale production, packaging and shipping take time and adding rehearsals, art / music events, purchasing property, moving, potentially more interaction with the media, and getting the artists residency up and running. I only have so much time and there may be both scarcity and upheaval in how paintings are sold (and for how much).

As with Mecca Normal’s trajectory, the wildness of the ride depends on factors beyond our control, but the essence of our adventures can be applied to our other projects in a myriad of ways.

* Mecca Normal has appreciated and benefited greatly from publicity generated by the record labels we’ve been on including K Records, Matador Records, Kill Rock Stars and Artoffact Records.

$100 USD paintings currently available

0188 cx

photo: 2020 selfie

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Solo Show in the Spring

With a solo show in a proper gallery in the spring, I admit I kinda winced when these two all-time favorites sold this past week. I haven’t held any back for myself (or the show), but if I was doing that, these two would have been marked not for sale.

“The Scarf #2” is from 2018 and “No Hat #705” is from October 2019.

The Scarf #2 800

No Hat #705 800

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How I made $90,000 selling paintings online

 

I’m living my dream. After years of living other dreams (singer, novelist) I’m now living my original dream. To make a living as a painter. I always imagined this would require a gallery, but, as it turns out, it doesn’t.

I started painting faces in my room as a young teenager. 11 x 17″ watercolor self-portraits in the mirror. Over the years, I showed them to special people in my life, but then, when color laser copying became viable, I showed them in a limited way at events I sang at with my voice and guitar rock duo.

What was more important than being technically incredible was the emotion on the faces. My face. My emotions.

My parents were both painters and I picked up a lot from them in terms of composition and technique, but neither of them painted people. All of this is uniquely complicated in the way that every teenager feels overwhelmed by their relationships as they emerge from childhood. I went to art school for a while, but I was so keen to leave home that I opted for a full time job in a newspaper production department and painted in my spare time. Life unfurled for the next 40 years, twisting and turning in ways that I had not expected! Releasing albums and touring with my band. Which brings us to now.

How I Made large NEW 1200 Word Press

“I’ve sold 900 $100 USD paintings (11 x 14″) online in 4 years.” – Jean Smith

I don’t have a million followers, but of the ones I do have really appreciate being able to buy good art for an affordable price. I have 2667 friends on FaceBook, 815 followers on Twitter and 1161 followers on Instagram.

It certainly helps that I am in a band that has a reputation for creating work that intends to create progressive social change, but I’d say most of my customers didn’t know my band before they started collecting my paintings.

Dealing with elderly parents and housing issues while painting almost every day has resulted in me revealing what is going on in my personal life. This came easily enough to me because I’m a writer and a public person. I would say that allowing people to know me is part of the appeal for a buyer of work online.

The housing issue I’m facing isn’t unique. As the economy changes and drives artists away from urban centers cities become less culturally vital. This is very unfortunate, yet it holds potential for structuring life in places that are conducive to creativity that doesn’t necessarily rely on external stimuli. Often where there is peace and quiet, there is less pressure to earn the astronomical amounts that city-living requires. Maybe lowering overhead results in being able to quit a part-time joe job.

The possibility that I may have to leave my rental unit and find a place in uncharted territory in western Canada has become something of a group project, which is perfect, because once I’m set up I don’t want to sit alone in some small town where I don’t know anyone. I want artists (painters, film makers, writers, musicians) from all over to come and stay for free while they work on projects that intend to change the world.

Friend me on FaceBook to see paintings first. It would be great if you mentioned seeing this article.

Below this example – my most recent painting are tips for selling  paintings online

No Hat #754 800

“No Hat #754″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) December 8, 2019
$100 USD plus shipping

1. I paint and post new work almost every day (4 years in January, 2020).
2. The work has always been good, but is advancing by leaps and bounds.
3. The price is low at $100 USD (11 x 14″) and has never gone up.
4. I ship for a flat rate of $15 that includes tracking and insurance.
5. The theme is consistent: emotions on women’s faces.
6. My personal stories allow customers to know me.
7. I emailed one pitch and got lucky when the Jealous Curator posted my paintings saying: “First, oh my word I love these portraits so, so, so much. Second, Canadian rocker turned painter Jean Smith sells these paintings on Facebook for $100 a pop. WHAT? Yes, true story.” This promotion tripled sales (to 50) that month before settling at about twice what they were before.
8. I track my sales by month and post how many have sold (which has been a gradual increase aiming for 30 a month) to create engagement in the process.

9. Once I was earning more than I needed I created a goal for what I intend to do with the money from sales above my expenses.
10. My paintings are inherently collectable (size, price, theme) and I encourage owning more than one by creating a repeating post called “There’s something about these three together.”
11. I always show the painting again when it sells and say where it’s going and sometimes to whom.
12. I maintain albums of currently available, all paintings, SOLD, various themes (astronauts, scuba divers, aviators, angry women in rock, ruff collars) that allow viewers to engage in ways that suit their viewing proclivities.
13. I post new work around the same time every day.

Scuba # 800

“Scuba #6″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) October 24, 2019
$100 USD plus shipping

help me

I have gone out to community events like Art Walks and Car Free Days, but this didn’t really pay off in an way as far as sales. I’m on the left. Met some very nice people though!

I’ve tried a bit of what I can glean about SEO (following bits of random advice including adding the phrase “contemporary portrait painting” to my blog posts), but it hasn’t changed anything noticeably. I try to let go of ideas that aren’t working (direct emails to interior designers) and stick with what does work. Paint every day and post on FaceBook. Some people tell me to raise my prices, but I think I’d just sell fewer paintings. I like the pace of painting every day and selling about half of what I do. I’m working on increasing that, but as I’m doing this alone, I need to make sure I keep painting, and then there’s the packaging and shipping. All very time consuming.

There are elements that would be difficult for anyone else to re-create, such as being in a band that has put out records and toured a lot (mostly in the 80s and 90s) as well as having an existing ease with revealing my personal life due to having done a ton of interviews over the years. I imagine that a painter could use social media to let people get to know themselves, but there’s also something to be said for being private and mysterious. I probably don’t need to tell you that cultivating an image of some sort might be helpful.

Mecca Normal (Jean Smith & David Lester)

My band Mecca Normal rocking out at a literary event at the library.


TERRY

Fantastic display by one of my customers, an interior designer in Ontario.

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Gift Certificates

800

Gift Certificates available for snail mail or as a jpg to email.

meccanormal@hotmail.com

$100 USD Paintings Currently Available

Friend me on FaceBook to see new paintings almost daily.

Sales above my monthly expenses ($1000 USD) go towards opening the Free Artist Residency for Progressive Social Change.

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Melissa Tvetan’s collection in LA

At some point, Melissa decided to pay an extra $50 USD for my $100 USD paintings, which I find subversive and inspiring! She works at Sundance Institute, so of course I imagine her (eventual) stay at the residency will involve film and possibly a film about the residency and/or how to subvert the flow of funds in creative ways, how (and why) to buy property to make available to artists working on projects that intend to change the world! See? I told you she inspires me!

“This time last year I was really struggling & could only daydream about collecting. Your spectrum of work (writing, music, painting) has motivated me on a number of levels & sincerely makes the lives of my household better everyday.” – Melissa

All sales above my expenses ($1000 USD a month) go towards opening the Free Artist Residency for Progressive Social Change!. $750 USD has been raised so far this month.

Amidst the Waves #8 800

Amidst the Waves #8

No Hat #483 800

No Hat #483

no hat #543 800

No Hat #543

Ruff Collar #19 800

Ruff Collar #19

No Hat #466 800

No Hat #466

No Hat #390 800 a

No Hat #390

On Stage #5 800

On Stage #5

No Hat #662 800

No Hat #662

No Hat #509 800

No Hat #509

Owl #3 800

Owl #3

Fox #18 800

No Hat #360 800

Ruff Collar #8

No Hat #706 800

No Hat #706

Cherry Sari #2 800

“Cherry Sari #2” added to the collection November, 2019

No Hat #130 800

“No Hat #130” added to the collection January, 2020

No Hat 158 800

“No Hat #158” added to the collection January, 2020

No Hat #785 800
“No Hat #785” added to the collection January, 2020

No Hat #795 800

“No Hat #795” added February, 2020

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Favorite Parts

I circled my favorite parts of this painting.

The Hat #98 800

$100 USD Paintings for Sale Online: October Sales

sold OCT

43 $100 USD paintings sold in October! Incredible!

All sales above my $1000 USD monthly expenses go towards opening the Free Artist Residency for Progressive Social Change. $3300 USD raised in October.

Ideal spex: Outright purchase. No mortgage. Not in a mobile home park or any other type of leased land. Within 3 hours of Vancouver. Room for artist residency and accommodation and studio in the house or in a separate structure (large shed, converted garage, trailer, converted school bus).

I’m monitoring house price reductions and assessing whether new listings are any lower than higher seasons. So far it doesn’t seem like it. The longer I wait, the more funds I’ll have = fewer structural problems, closer to Vancouver and better weather.
Painting sales are always slow at the end/beginning of months making this the least competitive time to buy.

$100 paintings for sale online

Follow my $100 USD paintings for sale online on Instagram, but they are always posted on FaceBook first.

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