Thank you for raising the topic, it has been subject of many talks and discussions in our studio over the last years.
I was touched by Wolf’s remark:
> The topic is crucial, because from my experience, if artists don't sell their
> for they often don't do that well in their art either. There are exceptions
> for that, button the opposite I have very often seen creating much more
> and better art after some decent sales!
From my experience this can be really true. At some point we really got the desire to sell our work. Not primarily for the money, but we thought it would be a relevant way to build a relation with our audiences that we started to miss more and more doing. We decided to do some experiments with selling work, mainly to find out what it feels like to sell. This was more or less a form of “sketch selling”. http://souvenirzeeland.wordpress.com/. With our first small successes, we experienced it as being a big motivation and an expression of trust, when somebody decided to buy our work or even considered doing so.
From our artist perspective, especially when working in media arts, thinking about selling our work has become an integrated part of our practice and we feel it to be relevant, regardless if it is successful or not. As part of this we decided to start collecting ourselves, on a small scale, for we realized that it would be difficult to think about selling if we had no clue what it feels like to be a collector.
An other remark Wolf made also expresses a relevant angle:
> From the beginning I have approached my customers on the basis, that first of all:
> this is the future in art, second, forget about the old concepts of buying a painting
> and taking it home. Instead consider your acquisition a contribution to the artist,
> so he can work better and create better art. This kind of philosophy of marketing
> has gradually been more fruitful and it changes their views slowly.
Based on likewise thoughts, we made it custom to, whenever an academic PhD student asks if he or she can use images of our work in their thesis, (and they have never any money to pay royalties) we give permission under the condition that they promise us to buy a work of art with the first money they earn, based on the grade involved. The work does not have to be ours, as long as it is from one of the artists that truly inspired them. We don't need to know what work was picked, but at some point we want to receive an email stating that they did pay their debt to us by buying a work of art. The students react often pleased, encouraged, playful..... (but so far we never received the thrilling email stating "YES WE BOUGHT !!!!" . )
Anyway, this our contribution to seed the idea of buying media art in general, but also of collecting because the artist is important to the collector as a source of inspiration rather than wanting to posses an object of value and beauty.