Art for free.

There has been a recent discussion on a creative page I’m a member of. It is about trying to get the public to understand why art costs what it does. People aren’t willing to pay the asking price for art. They want it for free.
People think they can make whatever you have made themselves for cheaper. They don’t understand the time and training necessary to create that piece of art. Or, they try to talk you down on the price. They want Tiffany quality work for Wal-Mart prices.
Now, it doesn’t help that there are a lot of people who say they are artists who put out terrible work and charge high prices. Millions of dollars for a Jackson Pollack piece? Really? It is paint, thrown at a canvas. A child could do better.
I once read a story about a jewelry designer who was dealing with a difficult customer. The customer balked at the price of a wire and stone necklace – pointing out that the price of the items was a lot less than the price on the necklace. The artist sent her a box with a spool of wire and the stones. The necklace was reduced to its parts. The customer called and complained. The artist pointed out that if she wanted it to be put together, she could do it herself, since all she was willing to pay for was the materials.
There is a lot more to art than materials. There are the years of learning and polishing the craft. There are all the mistakes and wasted supplies, learning how to perfect a new technique. There’s a lot of time and energy put into being an artist. It isn’t something that just happens. A good artist makes it look easy. It isn’t.
There are also incidental costs to art. Shipping supplies aren’t free. Marketing isn’t free. Display racks aren’t free. The same is true for pop up tents for art shows. Entry fees are rather steep. Then you have to schlep your stuff to the show and back, in containers, that again, aren’t free. There is wear and tear on your vehicle and yourself. It all adds up and has to get factored into the cost of the art.
I have found that I enjoy the transaction more if I’m selling to another creative person. S/he understands value and doesn’t haggle. So maybe that is it. We need to actively teach other people to engage with their artistic side. They will understand how much work is involved, what quality is and isn’t, and they will become artists to boot.
Perhaps some artists won’t like that idea. Perhaps they think there will be competition. Perhaps they think that if everybody can do it, then they won’t have a monopoly on art. But then I think they might make art for the wrong reason. Everybody should make art. It is healing to do.
I honestly think that if more artists taught other people to be artists, then the public would be happier to start off with, and more understanding of what goes into making quality art. Then they’d be willing to pay real prices for real art.

Empty, but not gone.

Some of you may know that I have (had?) a mirror site to BetsyBeadhead. It is (was?) called Empty Cross Community. It has (had?) only my religious writings. It is (was?) a place where I could sort out what I want to put in my first book, and also is (was?) a place where I could direct people who might be interested in just that topic.

I’m not sure what verb tense to use, though. It is a bit like Schrodinger’s cat right now. Is it alive, or not? Does it exist, or not? I hadn’t put anything new in it in a while because I was working on the book. Mostly it is sorted out, and I didn’t have anything new to put in it. For that, I’m grateful. In a way, it has served its purpose.

Yesterday I went to put a new post into it and discovered I couldn’t. I discovered that my page had been shut down for a violation of the Terms of Service. There has been no warning and no explanation. I’ve written WordPress and not heard back so far. I’ve reread the Terms of Service and I don’t know what I’ve done wrong. I also think it is a bit severe for them to shut it down without a warning or a notification. There was no chance to correct whatever error they have found.

It is kind of like trying to go home and discovering that the bank has repossessed your house because they think you are doing something illegal in it.

Fortunately, it isn’t my house, but my “vacation home”, and I have copies of everything I’ve written. So nothing is lost but time. And some links. I have a website using the same name and it has a link to the blog which is broken now. I was using the blog to give more information than I could put on the website.

Possibly there is an issue with the name itself. There is a sculpture called the “Empty Cross”. The creator has trademarked the name. The idea of the cross is in harmony with the idea of my page. I’m not saying I’m part of them, but maybe they think I am – and because I’m not, they protested.

Maybe someone thought that the second page was stealing from the first page. Because there is nothing on the Empty Cross Community page that isn’t on the Betsy Beadhead page, perhaps they thought that someone on that page was stealing and reposting my blog.

Again, I don’t know. There was no warning, and no explanation.

Perhaps I need a new name for the second page. Perhaps I need to let it go and just focus on the book. But, I do like the idea of a focused blog page just for my religious writings. I don’t want to direct someone to my vision of a new church or a Bible study, only for them to get stuck in my rants about patriarchy, or wonder about my reading list for zombie fiction.

Or maybe that is the point. I am all those things.

I am a Jesus follower who reads zombie fiction, who has tattoos, who thinks that women are getting the short end of the stick, who works in a customer service job and gets annoyed at being treated like a servant, who tutors ESL and LD kindergartners… I am a lot of things, and some of them may seem to conflict with the idea of what defines a person who follows Jesus. Perhaps that is the issue. I want people to know that they can love Jesus and they don’t have to fit the mold of “Jesus freak”. That loving Jesus isn’t about wearing long dresses and homeschooling your kids and listening to “Christian” music and reading “Christian” books.

Well, it is about those things. But it isn’t JUST about those things. You can love Jesus and do none of those. Or all of them, and other things as well. Jesus’ arms are big enough to embrace us all. He was about turning the conventional way of thinking upside down back then too. He still is.

I certainly was having a problem with posting to both pages, using one browser. It is impossible to log into one WordPress site and then post on another one. It simply will only let me log into one at a time. So I can’t check the second one to see if I’ve already posted something from the first one in an easy way. I’d thought about installing another browser, in addition to Chrome, but now I’m thinking I need to use another blog platform.

And find another name. Anybody know a good name for what I’ve been writing about? I looked at ReVision – and that name is taken. I need something about how church isn’t what we think it is – it is less, and more at the same time. I need something that is easy to remember. I need something that embraces Orthodox and Pentecostal at the same time. I need something that goes back to the roots of what Jesus said and strips it all down. I need something that takes away all the pomp and puffery of two thousand years of humans getting in the way of God. We’ve put so much onto and into Jesus that we can’t see him anymore.

I need a name for that. I’m open to suggestions.