Stored Paintings

What To Do With Older Work

Storing old artwork can become a huge challenge, especially if you have built up many works over the years.

This can be the case even if you are only a hobby artist – what to do with all those learning brush strokes?

Studio space is at a premium, and every square inch that is taken up in storage, is a square inch that’s not available as work space. This is even more crucial if you don’t even have a dedicated studio space yet!

Idea #1Rotate Your Works – Including Older Ones In Current Inventory

  • Sometimes older work didn’t sell, not because there was something wrong with it, but because it simply didn’t wasn’t in the right place at the right time to get a buyer.
  • If your work is consistent over the years in terms of style, technique and quality, then rotating your art can be a viable option. The older work can be shown in galleries or at shows or at art festivals
  • Make sure there is no date on it and no one may realize the work is older if you don’t tell them.
  • Pay careful attention to the state of the work.  Does it perhaps need to be touched up, given a new frame or is the backing getting a little tatty? Refreshing your older work in this way allows you to leverage your existing work to bulk up your inventory.
  • Paying attention to older inventory can be particularly important if you have orders coming in for your work and you can’t fill them.

The Problems with This Approach

  • You may find that  your work has changed significantly since the older work was created. This means it may not be possible to show it with your newer work in current gallery spaces.
  • In this case, introducing older work may make your body of work feel inconsistent, or it may call into question the quality of your newer work.
  • Many artists pass through major changes in style, format, and even the medium they use over time. This can make it not feasible to reintroduce the older work.
  • The other MAJOR thing to avoid at all costs would be to avoid sending a piece to a gallery that has already had the work.  This would be a major blunder, unless of course they requested it. The only caveat to that would be if you had significantly reworked the piece.

I would like to acknowledge the expertise of Jason Horejs in the crafting of this article, as I have referenced his blog post of the same topic.  I have only used some snippets of his post here. You can find much of interest for the marketing side of your art career, at his Red Dot Blog.

At a later date I will be posting more thoughts on this subject.

This Weeks Question: What are you doing with your old paintings?  Do you have any ideas you would like to share?

Look For Next Thursday’s Post: What’s happening with the ShoreThyme Exhibition?