[Clayart] Political statements and customer base

Deborah Thuman debthuman at zianet.com
Sun Jan 8 12:41:14 EST 2017

"...if you want to make political statements on your work...you just lost
half your customer base." - MEL

Like everything else, it depends. It depends on the artist. It depends on the customer. I do make perfectly good, nicely glazed mugs. Great for coffee or tea. I do make perfectly good, nicely glazed bowls in assorted sizes - all depends on how much ice cream or M&Ms you want to eat in a given sitting. I make perfectly good earrings using crystals - the type of earrings where it’s only a matter of what color a customer wants. You want something to compliment a green sweater? I got earrings for that. You want a lidded container to hold your M&Ms? I got that, too. 

I also make what I call emotional art. It’s stuff that comes out of me. It’s anger. It’s fear. It’s loneliness. It’s perseverance. It’s not something anyone in their right mind would want in their home although most of it is displayed in my home or my yard. I’ve got a self-portrait sculpture entitled: F*** You, I’m Still Alive complete with bullet holes. There is no market for that sculpture - and when I made it, I made it for me. At the moment, I’m working on a quilt about bipolar disorder. MY bipolar disorder. With any mental illness, one size doesn’t fit all, most, or even a few. This one might actually be subtle enough to be salable although I doubt I’m going to sell it. There’s symbolism in that quilt that only someone with a decent background in botany would recognize. The quilt - in progress - is on the blog (see below my signature) if you want to see what it looks like. 

If you want to make a living as an artist, you need to find a balance between your vision, what you enjoy making, and your customers. No one says you can only have one kind of customer. There are people who enjoy political statements on their mugs. There are people who only want nicely glazed mugs with no message subtle or obvious. There’s no rule that you can’t sell to both of those customers. 

Deb Thuman
debthuman at zianet.com <mailto:debthuman at zianet.com>
https://debthumanblog.wordpress.com <https://debthumanblog.wordpress.com/>

"Don’t let anyone keep you down for silly reasons such as who you are.”
Dr. Vera Rubin

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