This shop has been set up as an artwork, a DIY artist run space and an income generator for LOW PROFILE’s practice.
Why a shop? Working speculatively & precariously as artists
Like many artists we spend a good chunk of time working on speculative projects, writing funding bids and applying for different commissions. Over the last 12-18 months, this type of work seems to have occupied more and more of our time. In particular we worked on trying to make 2 big projects happen, both of which we took on with some support already in place, making our odds of success better and our willingness to spend time working for free more worthwhile. For both projects we got pretty far. We achieved more support and investment & wrote multiple funding applications. We had many many meetings, phone & skype calls, agreeing lots of partnership support along the way. In the end, for different reasons, neither project could go ahead.
Working at a loss
As artists who work in a very part-time way, we have to carefully map and plan our time months ahead. This meant that whilst working on these speculative projects we turned other paid work down, knowing that if the projects came through we wouldn’t have time to do it all.
We also fund childcare costs on the days that we work meaning that we are often working at a deficit (i.e. minus £50 per day), with the hope that we will make this money back plus a bit more when projects come in. As they say, you have to speculate to accumulate. Well, we’ve been speculating a lot more and accumulating a lot less.
We estimate that in those 12-18 months we have (at a conservative estimate) worked 35 days unpaid. We work out our joint daily (ideal) rate at £350 p/day – that is, £150 each and £50 for childcare. After tax that’s £120 each per day.
Based on this (£350 x35 days) for these 12-18 months we have worked at a loss of £12,250.
Recouping our losses
We are setting up this artist shop as a means of attempting to recoup our lost earnings. We have set ourselves the target of raising £12,250 through shop sales. We are fully aware that our odds of hitting this target are bad. If we sold everything we currently have in stock we’d make about £2500 (and that doesn’t include costs outlaid in production) but, we’re interested in seeing how far we can get.
Shop items & ebay
We are going to start by selling items that we already have in our store – badges, books, patches, prints and other small items. Alongside this, in our ebay shop we are going to sell a range of stuff that we have accumulated through the process of making art – a load of walkie talkies, emergency blankets, a panda onesie, a pair of megaphones… the usual stuff. As we sell stuff across both platforms we will update our totaliser so we can share our progress.
New artwork – a shop as an artist run space
We are going to make some new work especially for the context of this shop, to keep things fresh and to give ourselves a DIY outlet/platform for our work. The first in a series of new works will launch in Spring 2020 so watch this space!
Donate to help us hit our target
To help us hit our target, you can also make a donation to help support our work as LOW PROFILE – you can choose to do this as a one-off, or as a monthly contribution.
Some new items will be produced on demand, meaning that we will need to have achieved a number of pre-sales before we can go into production (kind of like a crowdfunding campaign). This means we won’t be spending money we are not going to get back and that we only produce what we need.
Coming soon – guest artworks from other artists
We will invite other artists who have been recently unsuccessful in a funding bid, or have been otherwise clocking up the hours working unpaid to be featured in our shop. These artists will receive 100% of their profits and, in exchange, will share this project through their network. We hope that this encourages a mutually supportive and beneficial set up, while suggesting alternative economies for artists practices that are generous in spirit & considerate towards how artists sustain, support and resource their work.
If you would like to be a featured artist please get in touch via: firstname.lastname@example.org