One of the most difficult decisions facing artists is what to do with all the art that is not sold, and also how to plan for what happens to the art after the artist dies. As lawyer Amy Goldrich says in the interview I did that I am linking to, “no one wants to think about dying, but we have to prepare – or artwork can end up in the wrong hands.”
Her advice is to begin planning what happens in a will, so that you can maintain some control over how your work is cared for. She was saying in the worst case example, the artwork will go to your immediate heirs, like you parents, and if you are estanged from your parents or the closest heir, there could be big problems with how your work is handled.
However, there is another pressing issue that artists also ask me, which is about what to do with all the art that you are storing in your house or not selling.
The solution for most artists is storage. Ideally temperature controlled storage, but storage nonetheless. This might seem like a burden, financially, but it also keeps all your work organized for your will, so that in the event of an untimely demise, all your work is in one place, more or less, and protected.
For those that do not want to sell their art, or cannot sell more of their art at the moment, and need more room, and cannot afford storage, the solution needs to be more creative.
One option is to loan works to local libraries, banks, corporations, restaurants, cafes, etc. If the work is getting in your way, then get it out into the world anyway you can, so it is seen and you know where it is.
Besides selling it, I think loans to other businesses and even individuals are the best temporary solution.
Another solution is to give work away. I know most people would rather not do this, but depending on how much work you are storing, this could be a solution too. I don’t mean just giving it away as presents, I mean doing perhaps what the artist Patrick Skoff did. I mention him from time to time because I interviewed him awhile ago and he described how he gave away small works by creating a hunt for them on Twitter and Facebook in his hometown. It ended up generating press for him and increasing his followers on Twitter and other social media.
So there are two interviews for you today, one with Patrick Scoff that you can listen to by clicking here.
And here is a link to the interview I did with Amy Goldrich, art lawyer in New York, click here.