The word “organization” can sound daunting to anyone. Why should we take time away from making our art to create an art inventory? Hi, my name is Carrie. Today on Artist Strong, I’m going to talk to you about the many benefits of creating an art inventory and how it helps you and your art.
The first benefit I see to having and maintaining an artist inventory is you’re keeping track of your art. Don’t you want to know where it is? Don’t you want to remember who has purchased from you? How do you know these things? How do you keep track of any of it? How do you remember what you’ve made if you don’t create an inventory?
Two, with an inventory, you’re going to know what you actually have for sale. If someone asks you about your art, you can open that inventory really quickly, take a look through it, and tell them what you have currently available for purchase.
You also want to keep track of the names of these people purchasing your work so that you can get in contact with them. It’s actually a lot harder to get the first sale from someone than it is to get the second. You want to be building quality relationships with your collectors and really making an effort to get to know them.
Those are details that you can make note of in an art inventory. You’ll know the kind of work they like and you can give them a little heads up when you have a new piece coming out that might suit their style or their home.
Reason number three is that you’ll know what you have for an exhibition. Some artists actually request in their contracts with collectors that they might borrow the artwork for exhibition. That’s something you could decide you want to do. If you don’t know who has your art or where it is then how could you possibly collect a series of artwork together for an exhibition?
It also, again, tells you what you have available currently in your studio that’s either for sale or for exhibition, or both. All of these details will be readily available to you if you take a little time after each artwork that you complete and put it in an inventory.
The fourth reason you should keep an inventory is you want to maintain a collection of high resolution images of your art. This is an important thing to have because if, at some point, you choose to create prints of your art or you’re lucky enough to have a book written about your work, you want to have documentation of that work. It will be much harder to obtain after you sell your work and it ships all over the world! High resolution imagery will be easy for printers to use should you want to print your art for a book or individual prints for sale.
My fifth reason an art inventory is important is it helps you document the evolution and growth of your signature style. You find your voice, and your voice will change over time. Sometimes when we talk about style, people can feel a little uncomfortable with that idea. Artists also feel nervous that it means they don’t have a style if things evolve. It’s completely normal and natural as an artist to have that experience.
When you have an inventory and it’s chronological or by a series, you can look through all of your work in that inventory and see how it’s changed, see how different art has taken you in new places. This could really help you create things like your artist statement.
My second to last reason to create an art inventory is you want to keep track of your past, present, and future art. If you’ve had work in the past in an exhibit, you’re going to note that in the inventory. If you have had work sold to someone of notable influence who’s willing for that to be public, that might be something you put on your website, or get a testimonial from them.
You want to have all of that information because it’s essentially a resume for you. Every time your art is shown in an exhibit or featured in a gallery, or even featured online, you want to document that and document it for each individual artwork as it happens. The best way to keep track of all of that is through you inventory.
Wouldn’t it be nice to actually have a track record of all the things going right about your art? So many times we focus on everything that’s not yet happening. An inventory is a celebratory space of all of the successes that you achieve through your art.
My seventh and final reason for you today to create and maintain an art inventory is you want to keep track of your pricing. Maybe it’s time for you to actually increase your prices. How will you know unless you keep track? With every artwork you have available or that’s been sold, you’re going to note those prices, you’re going to note the size of your work, you’re going to note the medium it’s in, you’re going to note where it’s been exhibited and who has it.
Keeping track of all that information is going to help you see perhaps you’ve been selling out really fast from all of the work that you have. Guess what? It probably means that you need to increase your prices. It will help you do it in a strategic way that honors your collectors AND also honors you. It also means you could have more funds to buy more supplies and make more art!
Be Creatively Courageous: How an inventory would help you? What kind of benefit would it give you to create and maintain an inventory of your art? If you have a system for creating and maintaining an inventory that’s really handy then why not share it in the comments below? Let’s spread our wealth of knowledge and give to others.
Thanks, guys, for watching. Please share this video if you feel it could help someone else grow with their art. Have a good day.
This was very helpful advice. The thought f creating an nventory system is daunting. Do you have a preferred system to use? I’m glad I found you on YouTube.
Thanks so much!
I made a system with google drive that I use myself. It’s totally free that way. It’s something I offer through my program The Circle, but I’m sure you could find some online systems or examples to help you make yours! I know a lot of artists prefer a paper print out version with a binder, but I’ve decided to go digital. I’d love to know what you end up deciding for yourself.
I catalog/inventory artists work for them and teach them how to do it themselves. I have used many different programs as I work in museums too. My two favorites are Artwork Archive which is paid yearly and is very reasonably priced. This program has helpful viedoes as well as staff available for any questions. I do teach with Zoom artists to use this. The other one that is good, but a bit harder is Collective Access, which is free, but you must be connected to a server. This program, I can teach too.
Thank you for sharing! Great resources.