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The Filmmakers Behind ‘Saving Banksy’ Discuss Why the Artist is a Modern Day Andy Warhol

Hello Everyone

I found this really interesting article on the enigma, Banksy I hope you enjoy it

At this point it’s no secret that Bristol artist Banksy is an enigma. Not only is his identity unknown but his work has a mysterious quality to it, which goes hand in hand with the nature of graffiti and street art in general. What’s elevated the artist to greatness is his constant commentary on society in general and politics, using his art as a way to discuss (openly, and in public) the problems we face. He is revered by almost everyone, including the few who see his popularity as a means of profit for themselves. And herein lies the convoluted, legally murky territory of who owns Banksy’s art and the moral quandary of whether it should actually be up for sale.

As often as you hear of the artist and his work, you’ll likely hear about “Banksy’s” being sold, authenticated or not. The artist himself has even weighed in on the topic, with an installation piece during his New York takeover in 2013, where a stall was selling Banksy originals under the guise of counterfeits.

A new documentary, Saving Banksy, investigates this even further. When Banksy’s “Haight Street Rat” was sighted in San Francisco and soon to be painted over by authorities, art collector Brian Greif – who acts as executive producer on the doc – felt compelled to save the artwork and have it exhibited for the public in a gallery. This process of “saving a Banksy” became the basis of the film, which also features interviews with other prominent street artists.

Ahead of the theatrical launch of Saving Banksy we had the chance to sit down with director Colin M. Day and art collector/executive producer Brian Greif to discuss why they set out to make the documentary in the first place. You can view the trailer for the documentary below.


Why did you initially set out to make Saving Banksy?

Colin: We always wanted to use this film as a way of educating the public of the do’s & dont’s to preserving street art. On one hand, you’ve got the historical aspects of this art form and the fact that 99.9% of it will eventually be lost to the sands of time. At the same time though, street art and graffiti culture have become such a worldwide phenomenon that some of these street pieces have become so valuable that people are cutting them out from the walls they were originally painted on. What made the film a great vehicle to discuss this subject, was the incredible story behind Brian Greif’s removal of Banksy’s “Haight Street Rat” in San Francisco. It was the rare case of an art collector removing a Banksy street piece (that the city was going to buff) for the sole purpose of preserving it for public display.

Brian: We set out to make this documentary because we believe “Street Art” and “Graffiti” are important art movements. We hope to accelerate public appreciation of these art forms and encourage the public and city officials to protect it. When Banksy visited San Francisco, the city had a very strict anti-graffiti ordinance, so Banksy’s pieces began disappearing within days. We wanted to document the process of saving one of his pieces for the public. Our intention was to preserve the “Haight Street Rat” for public display in a museum or gallery. Obviously, we had no idea what we were getting into, and the events following the removal of Banksy’s “Haight Street Rat”, made for an interesting documentary.

Your film explores the ownership of Banksy’s work. Who do you think his art belongs to – the artist, the general public, the owner of the physical space on which it’s painted, no one, everyone?

Colin: This is a complicated issue and in some ways, I can make arguments that it belongs to each of those groups. I personally feel that graffiti and street art, once it’s been painted,  belongs to the people within the community in which it was created. That said, I think Banksy (and all street artists) own the copyright of their images. The issue for Banksy in particular is that almost everything he paints is done illegally, so in the eyes of the law, the owner of the building that it was painted on, is the owner of the artwork. This is why you see so many “unauthenticated” Banksy’s ending up at auction. The frustrating thing for Banksy, is the fact that he doesn’t have any recourse for people removing public pieces for the purpose of profit. When these street pieces wind up at auction for large sums of money, Banksy is the one who is legally still in the wrong since he painted the works without consent from the building owners in the first place.

Brian: If the paintings are done without permission, then legally they are owned by the building owner. That’s why it is perfectly legal for art dealers to work with building owners to remove and sell these works without the artist’s permission. So, legally, it is owned by the building owner. Our film looks at the moral question of whether art that was intended for the public should be removed and sold without the blessing of the artist. Banksy intends these works for the public. Our hope is that before people make a decision motivated by profit, they consider the greater good.

What is your opinion on people who exploit Banksy’s art for personal benefits?

Colin: I am strongly against exploiting Banksy’s (or any artist’s work) for personal gain. Banksy goes out of his way to speak up for those that cant speak for themselves, so I think it’s even more deplorable when his pieces from Palestine, for example, end up selling for millions of dollars. Glen E. Freidman has a great quote in the film where he compares people profiting from removing Banksy street pieces to the poachers in Africa killing endangered animals and the business men that then put the horns in their office. I tend to agree with him in that analogy.

Brian: While art dealers may have the legal right to remove and sell Banksy paintings, we believe these works serve a much greater good if they remain “public.” In many cases, collectors are buying these works as an investment or status symbol. Removing these paintings from their original location takes them “out of context.” Buying them as an investment or status symbol takes “out of context” to a whole new level. Paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for a painting that was meant to be outside and makes a statement against greed or capitalism brings a whole new meaning to the word contradiction.

What, in your opinion, moves Banksy the most – self-expression or fighting for a good cause?

Colin: I think with Banksy, you’ve got a mix of both, but definitely in the earlier days, it was probably more self-expression. The interesting thing with Banksy though is the fact that after he gained the fame that most artists dream about, he has chosen to remain anonymous rather then become a Damien Hirst or Andy Warhol type of personality. Instead, he seems more interested in sneaking into Palestine to create works that reflect the struggles of the Palestinian people or turning a decaying plot of land on the English coast into “Dismaland“. Because of those examples, I think that currently he is motivated more by creating works supporting causes that he believes strongly in.

Brian: We think it is both. His self-expression is very much informed by the fighting for a good cause. That’s why his work has such a connection with the public.

To which level would you measure the influence of OG graffiti artists, such as Seen, Lee Quinones, DONDI, Kase on Banksy’s art?

Colin: Since Banksy used to do more traditional graffiti before moving to stencils, I’m sure there was influence from the usual suspects of graffiti pioneers (DONDI, SEEN, Doze Green). There’s also a bit of controversy regarding Banksy being inspired by Blek le Rat, who was painting rats with stencils years before Banksy’s first rat appeared. I’m sure he was influenced by Blek but he’s definitely got his own voice and style when it comes to stencil graffiti.

Brian: Most street artists began as graffiti writers. When Banksy first began painting, he was heavily influenced by OG graffiti. What set him apart was his ability to “write” in spaces no one else could access. Placing work in the most difficult spots set him apart, but to take advantage of that, he needed to paint faster. That’s where the stencil component to his work began. If you watch Banksy’s “B-Movie” he talks about how he wanted to be a “New York style” writer. He said he wasn’t very good at the style, but he was very good at placing his work in spots no one else would ever dream of accessing.

Art is often misunderstood or taken in a wrong way. What has been the most absurd or interesting explanation of Banksy’s work you’ve ever heard?

Colin: I’d have to say that the most absurd/interesting things I’ve heard regarding Banksy are all the different theories regarding his identity. The folks that become obsessed with this are usually missing the greater point behind the work. That said, I do have to admit that the conspiracy theories regarding his identity do make me laugh.

Brian: There are many absurd assumptions about Banksy. They idea that he is not a single artist, but instead a “collective” of artists is one. He does work with and support several artists, but Banksy is a single entity. One of the most interesting subjects in the movie is how Banksy protects his identity. Banksy has a team of people that set-up diversions to conceal the artist while he paints. Saving Banksy explains some of the diversions used in San Francisco. Diversions like using a U-Haul truck loaded with old mattresses to paint his street level “No Trespassing” mural on Sycamore Street in the Mission District. Banksy’s crew parked the van on Sycamore, propped the mattresses up against the wall to hide the artist. They stationed members of the team on cell phones on both sides of the van. This gave Banksy the time to complete the mural without anyone seeing him.

Banksy is often heralded as one of the most revolutionary artists of our time, at least with regards to erasing preconceptions of what art is. While some artists “sell out” so to speak, Banksy has managed to hold on to his integrity. How long do you think the Banksy buzz will remain, and what would it take to destroy it?

Colin: That’s just it, if Banksy wanted to sell out, he could’ve been one of the most dominant forces in the advertising world. Who knows, maybe if and when he gets outed, we’ll see what happens. I do think though that he is clever enough in his message that he will remain relevant for years to come. I don’t think the “Banksy buzz” will be going away anytime soon.

Brian: We think Banksy is here to stay. He is the Andy Warhol of our time, in terms of influence and impact. He has had incredible influence on the street art genre and artists within the genre. His decision not to work within the system, to avoid galleries and over-commercialization of his work makes him an enigma. He doesn’t seem to be motivated by sales or fame. His focus on events or projects like “Dismaland” or his “New York Residency” put him in an entirely new category of artist. In our opinion only Banksy could destroy Banksy at this point.

Could you elaborate on Banksy’s use of the expression “predatory art speculators”?

Colin: When Banksy and the rest of these artists began painting graffiti, they were considered criminals. They risked they lives and freedom every night they went out to paint. The provocative nature of graffiti and appealing aesthetics are partially responsible for it blowing up into a global phenomenon. When Banksy used the words “predatory art speculators,” I think what he was referring to could be what is also called “culture vampires.” These are the folks that come out of the woodwork with fat checkbooks, only after the dust has settled. They drive the costs up to a level that endangers the entire scene by making it inaccessible for the people that it’s always been intended for.

Brian: The intent of steet art is to provide a “free public gallery.” While removing and selling street art may be legal, artists consider it predatory because it is done without the artist’s consent, the artist receives nothing from the sale.

Do you think there has been any progress in lawmakers’ and officials’ understanding of street art since the graffiti boom in the ‘70s?

Colin: I think there’s been great progress since the 1970s. Shortly after we interviewed San Francisco City Supervisor London Breed, she announced a new plan to reform the city’s way of handling fines for vandalism. I was particularly surprised to see graffiti lettering on canvases in her office. City officials and developers are beginning to see the value of street art as a tool for gentrification as well. 10 years ago, the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami became the spot to paint simply because there was no pushback from the local community and the police had bigger things to deal with. It became a much different story after local local real estate mogul Tony Goldman noticed what was happening and began the Wynwood Walls. Now the neighborhood is called the Arts District and is filled with trendy shopping and specialty coffee shops.

Brian: Yes, definitely, most street artists are now commissioned to do “legal” walls. The street art movement has become so popular that building owners will now pay a premium to have a mural on their property. Many of the artists still like to paint “illegally” because it takes them back to their roots. In major cities, street art is now becoming a welcome part of the urban landscape. Projects like Wynwood Walls in Miami have opened the eyes of city officials and property owners all over the world.

There are perhaps dozens of young/up-and-coming artists who have been inspired by Banksy. Are there any notable young talents you would like to mention?

Colin: Most of my favorite artists are actually in Saving Banksy. ROA, RETNA, Herakut, Doze Green, REVOK, Risk, Mars-1, Anthony Lister and Niels “Shoe” Meulman are among the artists that I find most inspiring. They all have very unique styles and are always going bigger with each new project.

Brian: There are so many great artists in this genre it is hard to pick. While not “up and coming” we tried to feature the work of as many artists as possible in the movie. Artists like: RETNA, Rone, Tavar “Above” Zawacki, Daleast, How & Nosm and Miss Van. One artist who isn’t featured in the movie that we love is Curiot out of Mexico City. We encourage everyone to check out works by these artists.

Are there any current artists who you think share Banksy’s clout in other art forms (music, film, fashion)?

Colin: That’s a tough one to answer, but I’d say Run the Jewels or Major Lazer in the music world are comparable, simply because money isn’t the main driving force and the soul that came from this way of creating has rewarded them greatly. In fact, Run the Jewels actually performed at Dismaland, so there’s a connection there as well I guess.

Brian: What Banksy does is unique. We can’t compare it to other creative mediums. There are revolutionary artists in every creative field, but they are all distinct.

Saving Banksy hits select theaters from January 13, head here for further details

Please subscribe for more content every Tuesday at 10.00am

Joanne

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Work In Progress Part Four

Hello Everyone

This weekend was spent painting one of the garden scenes I have  been talking about over the last three weeks.  I concentrated on painting in the foreground using lemon yellow, titanium white, cobalt blue, ultramarine blue and cadmium red to paint in all the different types  of flowers in their various colours.  I painted some from memory and some from the pics i took around the Berkshire countryside, as Dinton Pastures did not have the variety of flowers I needed.  The day went pretty smooth my head was clear for a change, sometimes my thinking is clouded by too many tasks on the to do list and other things going on  in my life.  I finished the trees in the background and added in the sunshine on them and the lawn, I do need to finish the archway and tweak the trees in the background as they look one dimensional at the moment.  I did intend to do that today, which is Sunday but I did not sleep well last night and I woke up at 10.30am so half the morning and good light was gone.  It will be on the top of the list to complete the painting next weekend.

I have had a change of heart about the other four half finished, paintings, I don’t like the way some of them have turned out so far, I couldn’t get the colours right and the more paint I added the worse it got, urgh! it’s time to let go,and as the bluebell scene I did last year is really popular I am going to create more bluebell scenes, and I can’t wait to start them I am really excited to make them beautiful scenes.

Thank you for reading , don’t forget to follow me for more blogs every Tuesday at 10:00am.  Like subscribe and follow me across my social me across my social media channels, until next time.

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website: http://www.joannesberkshirescenes.com/gallery.aspx Continue reading Work In Progress Part Four

UPDATE ON WORK IN PROGRESS PART 3

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I didn’t paint this weekend due to a cold I had all week and I participated in an art exhibition on Saturday at my local shopping precinct with the art group I have joined recently.

The exhibition started at 09:00am  until 3pm, it was a really busy day and we had a lot of traffic through which was surprising to all of us because we were situated at the end of the precinct, away from the main hub of the market that takes place weekly.  It is my first exhibition with the group and I met the members once before a month ago at their regular monthly meeting, where I decided to become a member, its £30 a year.  So far so good, it is a very well organised group and the artists were considerate of each other’s work when we set up our stalls, in previous years I have had a few bad experiences where artists used my table as a dumping ground despite my paintings being on it, I was really cross about it and pretended I had sold my paintings and left at the end of the day never to return.  At the exhibition on Saturday I did not sell any originals, nobody did but the purpose of the exhibition was to promote the art group, I enjoyed the day mingling with the other members and viewing their artwork.  We have members at all different levels of painting, some people take it seriously and want to earn from their work, and others do it as a hobby.  The next meeting is at the end of August, I don’t know if I will attend yet, it depends on the week’s events, but I will certainly get back to my paintings next weekend and update you on their progress.

Here is a picture of my stall

 

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New Works In Progress 2017 Part Two

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Just a quick update on how  my five new paintings are progressing.  Before I began painting this set of new scenes I decided to only paint at the weekends and do all the business stuff during the week. It’s Monday today, blog day and a chance to reflect on how the painting went  this weekend.  I concentrated on the garden scene with the arch trellis because i felt more inspiration toward it due to a dream I had, and it is typical of how I operate.  I always have intentions to work on all five paintings from start to finish but I end up feeling more inspiration for a particular painting than the others, and once that one is nearly finished, or finished I then have more of a pull toward one of the others and I work on that one in the same way.   The reason I feel a rush of inspiration for this painting is down to a dream I had about it. I dreamed a curator of a top art gallery saw the five paintings in their half finished state and said they were really good but a bit flat and I had to work on my chiaroscuro.  I took that as my subconscious  giving me hints on how to make my work more beautiful, and I know what I am going to do next to make it a reality  but I won’t share with you just yet, you will have to wait and see.

I painted in the sky and trees on the right hand side of the painting, I know the over all scene looks really green but that is mainly down to the camera I used.  What you are seeing at the moment is the basic colours that  have been put down and I will build it up from here.  I have lots of ideas of what flowers and plants I would like to see at the sides of the painting, but I am having trouble whittling them down to about three or four different types.  The painting of the foreground went a bit wrong, I used too much water in the paint mix and on the brush, and it took off the existing paint as I applied a second layer.  After it was dry I applied another layer of paint using a dry brush and it sorted out the problem.  I painted the trees in with ease and the first application of the grass on the right went down easily, I am looking forward to putting more detail on top of it.

Thank you for reading don’t forget to subscribe to my blogs, tv channel and follow me on social media, the links are below, until next time every Tuesday at 10.00am

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New Artwork In Progress For 2017

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Two weeks ago I went back to Dinton Pastures, which is a short drive from where I live to take pictures of sections of landscapes to use in creating my own scenes later on. There have been a lot of developments to the park over the last few years such as, a new play area for children, and art exhibitions, which  now take place in the fields behind the park. These latest developments have contributed to the increased traffic to the park and it was challenging finding a free parking space. After driving around for ten minutes I managed to park in the last free space, i reckon it is was artist’s luck.
As I mentioned a minute ago with this set of new paintings I am creating a combination of quintessentially English garden scenes and pretty landscapes and general scenes.  It’s funny what can set off my imagination sometimes, I was reading a psychological thriller and In a particular chapter an English garden was described and  the main character sketching and someone she knew painted beaceh scenes.  All of that descriptive narrative was too much for my imagination. In that moment I added a book mark to the page and drove to Dinton Pastures  to snap several different types of scenes and objects.  Back at home I drew out  all five scenes in a rough sketch.     The colours I used are cadmium yellow, titanium white, cobalt blue, cadmium red, ultramarine blue. I mixed my own different shades of green which i will use on the entire painting, over using more shades of green which will unbalance the finished painting. One of the half finished paintings is attached, and it is one of my first English gardens. I am pleased with it so far, it is transforming into a beautiful and tranquil garden that you will be able to relax to. Well, that is all for now, Follow me on pinterest my user name is caravaggio2 to receive pic updates of the progression of this scene and the other scenes I am creating. There are pics of the other scenes for you to look at now, head on over.
Thank you for reading until the end, until next time20170812_131233_HDR.jpg

A How-To Guide for Artists Looking to Boost their Passive Income

Hello Everyone

I wanted to share some valuable information on how to grow a passive income for artists and anyone else who benefit from this blog post Cat Coq.  Another good way to earn is to sponsor pages containing your artwork from a link, click on this link  Landscaope Prints For sale

My goal for 2016: Maximize my passive income. I knew at the beginning of the year that I wanted to be able to spend less time working and more time exploring the world around me, so I’ve spent the last twelve months working towards that path. I took everything I learned this year about earning passive income as an artist and compiled it into this one guide. I hope it helps all of you out there who are looking to boost your income in 2017.

I recently had the opportunity to partner up with Society6 and Skillshare to teach my own class on this topic. The online class is packed with information for artists and designers looking to broaden their revenue streams. (I’ll update when it goes live in February 2017.) Consider this guide a summary of the basics. Enjoy!

What is passive income?

Passive income is money being earned regularly that requires little effort to maintain. For artists, this can mean generating regular income from the artwork you’ve created.

For example, I painted these alpacas in January, and because of strong sales, have continued earning a monthly royalty rate from them since. All the work was done upfront– now, I just promote them occasionally through social media. I use this method for nearly every piece of artwork I create. Now, I’m selling hundreds of pieces through dozens of outlets.

One of the greatest perks of passive income is the time it frees up, allowing you to focus on other avenues of life. For me, that means working as freelance designer and traveling the world for creative inspiration.

1. Print-On-Demand Sites:

PODs will print your artwork on phone cases, pillows, tote bags, apparel, notebooks, wall art, and so much more. The POD company handles the production and manufacturing, sales, shipping, returns… everything.

POD Examples:

  • Society6
  • Redbubble
  • Casetify
  • Art Crate
  • Threadless
  • Drawdeck
  • Design by Humans
  • Fine Art America
  • Zazzle
  • Saatchi
  • …and literally hundreds of others. There are new POD companies starting up every day.

POD Challenges:

  • It’s difficult to get noticed. With thousands of artists participating, it can be challenging to make a name for yourself and gain traction.
  • Loss of individual branding. When a POD sells to a customer, the branding is a reflection of their company. Sure, they’ll credit you as the artist, but you won’t have an opportunity to include your business cards or collect email addresses from each order.
  • Less control– The POD site may change at any time without notice, which could affect your store, for better or worse. (Keyword tags, search functions, uploading platform, algorithms for how featured artwork is chosen.) A POD site may be going well for you, then totally go under OR get bought out by a company that mismanages it. Bye, profits.
  • Each site has a different uploading process and template requirements. You spend time accommodating for each.
  • Success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes effort to promote your shop, gain followers, push sales. It’s a slow build.
  • Artist profit margins can seem very low. $2.40 for a $24 travel mug means you earn just 10% off each sale. However, it can be worth it if you sell in large quantities.

POD Benefits:

  • It’s easy. You don’t have to fulfill orders, handle production, or manage customer support. You can focus on creating beautiful art. They do the rest.
  • The POD site will invest a lot in marketing, which can benefit you if your work is included in campaigns, Instagram posts, e-blasts, etc.
  • Co-promotion. Society6 has nearly 300,000 Instagram followers alone. Any time they tag me in a post, I gain plenty of new followers.
  • People will notice you. I have a handful of new clients every month that have found me through my POD shops and are reaching out for custom work or wanting to sell my work through their site as well.
  • Sales will grow with time. Month 1 = $. Month 2 = $$. Month 3 = $$$.
  • No web hosting fees or custom design requirements. Everything is ready to go and maintained by the POD site.
  • PODs often promote their own sales events. This always translates into boosted sales for your shop.
  • Once your store gets traction, you get a paycheck every month. This is the reason I get to spend so much time traveling and exploring the world.

2. Art Licensing:

You work directly with an art licensor to license your designs directly to a company. An example of the latter is the work I sold through Urban Outfitters. Similar to POD, you get paid a royalty rate based on sales.

3. Content Producing:

  • Online classes or tutorials through sites like Skillshare or Lynda.com
  • Selling fonts, assets, illustrations, textures, etc. through content purchasing sites like Creative Market

Four questions to ask at the beginning stages of building your passive income:

  1. Do you have unused artwork or existing designs you could repurpose to sell online?
  2. Are you putting all your eggs in one basket? Make sure you’re diversifying your channels of income. One bad month on Society6 isn’t ideal, but it’s not going to bankrupt me. I sell through a variety of POD sites, license my work through various brands and licensors, and work as a freelance designer.
  3. Are you expecting overnight success? I grew my brand slowly over several years before I started making a living wage.
  4. What do you want your brand name to be? I use an abbreviated version of my name. Cat Coquillette = CatCoq

A quick note on contracts…

Read them. The three biggest factors I look for:

  1. Nonexclusive. Because I sell my work through a variety of platforms, I want to make sure I can sell an identical piece of artwork through all of them. This helps me maximize profits for each piece.
  2. Fair royalty rates. Your royalty percentage can fluctuate wildly, depending on the quantities sold, type of product, distribution, etc. This is my go-to guide when I’m wondering about pricing.
  3. I retain ALL copyrights. Even if you’re creating exclusive content to license, it’s vital that you own the copyrights to your work. There are occasions when I do sell my copyright, but it comes at a high price. (Example: If I create custom branding for a company, I sell them the copyright so they own their own identity.)

Deciding Where/How to Sell Your Work

Use past history to project future sales.

  • Be proactive: Create holiday artwork in advance so it’s ready to sell/promote when applicable.
  • Track what’s selling well and create more work in the vein– People like to purchase multiple pieces of artwork that pairs well.
  • Using past records, I can identify coming months with high sales (back to school, holiday) and promote heavily during those times to maximize income.
    • Here’s a snapshot of my December sales statistics with Casetify. I can see page views + sales by day, as well as individual designs that are selling well.
    • Considering where to sell certain works:

      • Know the audience of your POD. Some PODs are catered to specific products, like Casetify, which exclusively sells tech accessories. I upload designs to Casetify that translate well to their specific market and audience: blogger fashionistas who want a stylish phone case.
      • Patterns and quotes sell best on phone cases. While all-out patterns do great as phone cases, they don’t sell as well (for me) as art prints. I make a higher profit margins on art prints, but move product faster on phone cases. It’s a balancing game.
      • Observe what type of artwork sells well for you across the Big Three:
        • Art prints (highest royalty rate)
        • Phone cases (lower royalty rate, but sell in large quantities)
        • Apparel (another low royalty rate made up for with large quantities of purchases)

      Top-selling art prints:

      Common factors for a top-selling art print (for me): hand-painted watercolors or acrylic, quotes, animals, cheerful vibe, limited color palette, light backgrounds.

    • Thank you  for Reading this post and I hope you found it useful
  • Joanne

6 Pinterest Mistakes That Lose You Followers

 

Joanne