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May 18, 2017


I think you made the right decision, Beth. It's essential to outgrow the 'pleasing people' stage, whatever form it takes.

So here's a paradox: your work may well improve, even become your best work. But it won't be for sale. And yet the circle of your art is completed when someone acquires it and creates their own relationship with it.

Mind you I sympathise. Art demands huckstering and I tend to think I'm above that. Maybe. But what I write remains unknown. Moral: effort takes different forms.


When the web was a little more amateur (in the best way) I used to buy quite a few prints online. I don't so much now, but I hope you find a solution that works for you.


How has "the internet" convinced people that art and music are free?

I think that you've made the right decision. Brava! It's a sign of your artistic growth. I, too, "gave up" commissioned work to spend my time creating artwork for an audience of one . . . me. It's been a game changer.

Agree on everything. As a fellow artist, these are some of the reasons why I founded Print Solo: to provide an online outlet for the serious artist printmaker. ( and we use Stripe, a secure payment system )
Check it out: www.printsolo.com

Thanks to all of you who've written. I just felt that Etsy was not the right place for me, and that I needed to cut myself off from that aspect of commercialism for a while. Showing my work on my blog or on Instagram doesn't feel the same, and I'll continue to do that.

Robbie, I'm not saying my work won't be available - some of it is, and will continue to be. I agree with you that the circle is complete when others acquire and live with a work and form a relationship with it, and I don't intend to go into some sort of little enclosed space where it's just me and the work forever! Artwork is a bit different from music and writing, but I have always felt that art of all kinds is meant to be shared with others. Mainly, I don't want to do work on commission anymore, and I don't want to sell my work for less than it is worth, in a venue that feels cheap.

Gary, the internet doesn't convince anyone of anything, that was probably a poor choice of words. But ask any musician, for instance, what has happened to their ability to sell their CDs in the past ten years; ask small book publishers like myself, or bookstores or small record companies. Online retailing by mega-companies like Amazon has undercut all independents, and the ability to view art and movies and download audio for free, or very little, has had a huge impact on artist's abilities to be paid fairly for their work. On the other hand, those of us who promote and sell our work online have the advantage of being able to use the internet ourselves to reach a wider audience, without middlemen controlling the distribution or taking part of the profit. It cuts both ways, and each artist has to decide for themselves how they want to deal with it. If the goal is to share one's work, see other people's work, receive and give feedback and encouragement, and form a sense of creative community, then the internet is a blessing - it certainly has been for me.

Ilaria, I follow you on Instagram and greatly admire what you're doing at Print Solo, and wish you every success with it. As a publisher, it's clear to me how hard you are working to promote the art and artists in a totally respectful way, and to educate the public about prints and buying art. (Having been mainly a commercial designer/illustrator until recently, with a liberal arts degree rather than fine arts, I don't fit enough of your artist guidelines or I'd apply!)

Thank you Beth ! Please keep following and all the best for your practice !

Yesterday I went to Tate Modern to see the 'Radical Eye' exhibition before it closes tomorrow, and serendipitously there was an self-publishing (or small print?) book and photography fair (Offprint London) in the turbine hall with maybe a hundred stands. It was a pleasure to browse through them all and come away with a couple of books and a photography pamphlet (?) bought from the people who made or published them. The best of all worlds!

Additional thought for Gary: I see pirated copies of my out-of-print books online all the time--they come and go, and I do nothing about them because in the current climate being invisible is more of a problem with writers than any piracy. It may be more of a problem as some currently out-of-print come back into print.

Another thought: Jordan Peterson (U of Toronto psychologist) talks about the problem for the artist (painter, writer, etc.) at the moment being the need for a conjunction of stellar work of art, a network of supportive people, and hitting the market at exactly the right time such a thing is desired. He says that the probability of worldly success is so low that it's better to do something sensible, but that creative people simply can't do that because it's like asking an extrovert to live in a cell, that creative people who are not being creative "just wither and die." So what's the place of the internet in all this? The internet is not exactly that "network of supportive people." It is a more neutral sort of network that doesn't intend to help an artist--and some are more adept at using it than others.

Beth, I have found--as you seem to be finding in various ways--that putting a stop to certain practices is important. I've made both good and bad decisions in that way with writing, I have to admit, but I've been glad to free myself from certain situations.

And I hope this means we'll see your work somewhere in Montreal and also somewhere near your childhood home. Maybe the Earlville Opera House gallery? I would love to drive over for that!

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.