I have been a fulltime artist for the last 47 years, my career span across Europe, North America and the Caribbean.
While browsing through some nostalgic newspaper articles from the sixties I made a startling discovery; some of my prices hadn’t changed.
When you are a fulltime artist you have to make some hard decisions, to survive ant put food on the table you have to produce some small bread and butter items; that decision was fairly easy for me as I am a potter. a craftsman and an Artist.
My ceramics were prised from $5.00 to $250.00. The wood craft from $10-(cheese knives and spreaders) to $ 300.00 ( hand carved birds, fish, hearts. trays,bowls and small touch forms and rose vases.
My pure art forms range from $250.00 to $4.000000 and has changed very little since 1970 and some selections are actually cheaper.
The circumstances surrounding my places of domicile is partly responsible; I was able to command higher prices in Europe and North America,where there was a lucrative market for art.
I returned to Barbados in 1069 and built up an attractive clientele so much so that my last exhibition in Barbados was a virtual sell out; I was adding new pieces as I completed them during the life of the exhibition.There was also a tourist and a local market, during my last bajan exhibition 75% of the work sold was to locals.
My Barbados prices were in line with my European and north American prices.
In 1988 I moved to beautiful little Anguilla and virtually had to start all over again; There were no art galleries,although a friend did try to unsuccessfully to establish on before my arrival; The tourism industry was just being developed and there was no, i mean no local market
My first outlet was a art and gift shop at the small airport where about 80% of the tourist came through, that figure is down to about 10% or less.
Since there was no local market and shipping from Anguilla was expensive, most of my production had to be small enough to carry on the plane or not too large to incur the high shipping cost.
Then theer was the problem of having to buy commercial wood since when i arrived on the Island my first question to the taxi driver was where are the trees
Anguilla did not have electricity until 1967, hence the trees were cut down to burn coals ot for building boats, I am lucky to be the proud owner a piece of the largest tree ever grown on the Island which was over 300 years old with a trunk diameter of over 6 feet.
Improvements in the postal service has made the prospects of shipping more feasible and I have shipped wood from as as far as the phillipines.I now about a 40 container of all kinds of wood, mainly mahogany and is enjoying orgasmisc sensations looking at the beauty as it is cut up in slabs for carving.
The time has come to have a second look at my pricing structure as the cost of living is rising steadily with food prices spirallinging out of control and government taxes that bears no mercy.