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Artists Barter To Increase Their Return On Investment

By Gary Crook

An artist and arts education friend and colleague of mine responding to a recent blog, made passing mention of her use recently of barter and her artwork. More specifically, she bartered free dental care for the posting of her wonderful paintings in her dentist�s office.

At we�ve made mention of this tactic often as an excellent way to increase value for the artist by protecting or extending their cash resources. Bartering increases your return on investment (ROI) � your art career � exponentially. It does this directly by enabling the longevity of your arts practice through the conservation of cash, by bartering your art and arts services for something else you need.

Now understand this before exploring the world of barter, value in labor is a very subjective commodity for everyone. More often than not, the value you demand for your labor depends on the urgency of that demand. For example, depending on the urgency of say dental work needed, that urgency will very much dictate how much you get in exchange for your art services. Understand this also, that �urgency� goes both ways! Meeting this �need� can sometimes work to your advantage and/or disadvantage. It�s no different than a cash based exchange.

Therein lies the beauty of this particular arrangement for the artist. Because, let�s face it, material costs alone are very little value compared to the creative labor value you�d like to charge for your artworks. Therefore, �value� and price in the arts cannot be justified by product material costs alone but with the addition of the �creative time value� � which has l-o-n-g been a point of debate for artists and investors alike.

This is an excellent way to conserve precious cash dollars, for say, rent and heat which are very difficult to barter. By saving as much cash as you can for these other difficult areas, you are ensuring the longevity of your arts practice > thus increasing the awareness of your work > thus increasing your value.

Time equals you had better get to negotiating! Especially, with other expensive labor value individuals who will exchange their value for your arts-inflated time value. Go, get out there and barter! By utilizing barter extensively you�ll get more exposure for your work than you might with just cash alone. Thus, insuring your arts longevity.

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