VIDEO: Showing Your Art for Free: Rad or Bad?

We asked participating Open Studio artists what it’s like when people show up to browse instead of buy.

Showing Your Art for Free: Rad or Bad? from Mission Local on Vimeo.

Filed under: Art, Front Page, Video


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  1. We have to agree with the lady that said it’s about selling your art. Our bills have all been paid for 23 years selling one painting at a time. When people say they love Liz’s art, that’s nice but it does not pay our mortgage or health insurance! Love your site, Gary

  2. Your video seems to have asked people a different question than “browse instead of buy”.
    Which is good, because that would be an odd question. All artists want to be seen and want to be browsed. It’s most disheartening when people pause at the doorway and won’t even browse.
    Of course, some came to see paintings and others to see metalwork or pottery, so you shouldn’t take it personally, but some people do instantly pan your work. And you think “There’s more to me than I have here, more than you can see from the door.” And start moving things around or setting out more cheese.
    Selling is the expectation, but even the most popular artists at the show are putting on their brave face because nobody wins big.
    Art is not commerce.

  3. Lee White

    This video is a sad misrepresentation of the open studio process. First the artists all pay excessively high San Francisco rents to be in the 1890 Bryant street studios, they pay for art supplies,food,wine etc. They pay $60 to $100 dollars in fees to participate in the event. There is an Art Span fee, promotional fees, and then there is the three days spent in the studios presenting themselves and their art to the public. To suggest that this is “showing for free” is preposterous.
    I know most of the artists in this video, and I know that these snippets of their comments are not representational of their general upbeat attitude at this fun event.
    I wish there had been a more positive light shed on this hard working bunch, this video is definitely not encouraging people to go to open studios.

  4. Leann

    I for one find the title of this piece a little confusing. Yes the art can be seen for free, but the artists pay for many things to be able to participate in the event.
    I can see that you were trying to be a little edgy with the questions put to the artists, but in the end this video makes it sound like open studios are a chore and a bore. Maybe some comments from happy buyers would have rounded it out better.
    I for one love going to open studios and all of the artists I have talked to have been warm and friendly and truly love what they do. I do not always buy, but I have never felt unwelcome because of it.

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