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From: Allen Horstmanshof <allenho-15TwQBh3xOy6c6uEtOJ/EA <at> public.gmane.org>
Subject: Re: making a living
Newsgroups: gmane.culture.stone
Date: Monday 17th December 2007 23:50:46 UTC (over 10 years ago)

Adding my two bits to this thread.  This is the perennial question asked by
most artists.  How do we make a living out of pursuing our dream?

As others have already mentioned there is not simple answer to the query
that you raise.  As Don suggests it is a very personal thing, which very
often comes down to one simple premise: Do I follow my dream or do I eat?
Many years ago I decided that I wanted to produce what I wanted and not
might or might not be a commercial and  sensible product and so went into
another field to pay for my dream down the line.  That detour took 30 years
which was about 20 longer than I had planned. So one has to be a bit
of going that route. Another very fine stone carver I know has never
to get back to his stone carving and is currently making tables after
temporary careers as a prospector, jade miner and timber miller.

Another artist friend of mine and a very fine stone sculptor battled for
more than ten years before he started making any sort of  living from his
sculpture but he decided to treat it like any job and was in his studio
every day from 9 to 5 producing product that he could show in exhibitions
and to interested galleries. He also spent a quite a bit of his time on
marketing himself and his product which is not something we tend not to do
all that well.  He also taught stone carving to augment his income  I don't
have that sort of commitment anymore so tend to sell by word of mouth which
is neither a professional nor a very satisfactory approach.

Clive's suggestions make a lot of sense but doing a proper S.W.O.T.
might require more guidance than is possible to provide via this medium.
Being removed from major possible outlets is a problem that I, like you,
also face.  It is not easy to overcome but a possible way around it might
to find a niche market, perhaps something that is either typical or
representative of the community you live in and produce product for a
broader market off-island that might find that interesting.  That process
easier said than done.

I have several friends and acquaintances who have established niche markets
for their work that might prove interesting as a point from which to start.
Only one is a stone carver but it might be useful to look at others
especially Andre Vanne who has created a take on folk arts as it were.
Andre has focussed on stylised birds (see http://www.wozos.com/).  Another
sculptor who admittedly is not a stone carver creates young nude female
forms and casts these in bronze (see http://www.dmhart.com.au/  ). From
I understand he get top dollar for these.  There is one stone carver I
vaguely know who  has done very well by focussing on ecological themes like
whales and similar.  Have a look at Foot Young's website
http://www.foot.com.au/.   Foot Young 
has perfected a technique to
reproduce his marble carving in what he calls "cast marble" so as to be
to sell editions of these at competitive prices. Regrettably his technique
for producing the cast work is a closely guarded trade  secret but involves
marble dust and casting resin.  Foot has a large studio practice employing
several people although as far as I know he still carves his own stone
masters from marble.

I hope that will assist in some small way.

Regards Allen Horstmanshof
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