Ardent Shadows
Ardent Shadows

Last Saturday I had the best show I’ve had in ages at the Alternative and Burlesque Fair in Birmingham. I firstly need to say a massive thank you to the the A&B team because it was hands down the most professional and well organised event I’ve worked at. I’m looking forward to their next event in June – which is why I’m now spending some time reflecting on my sales.

It was lovely to have a big space to fill on Saturday. It gave me the opportunity to display several large canvases alongside smaller originals of all shapes and sizes and whole plethora of prints. After four years of painting for Ardent Shadows I have certainly built up a diverse selection of work. I have often pondered whether to gain popularity and to progress as a professional artists, I should narrow my portfolio and limit aspects of my work. When I look at my contemporaries it certainly appears that artists with a very specific subject matters or techniques are those rising to fame. To have a specific and limited style is something I’ve always admired in other artists.

Hanging by a Thread
Hanging by a Thread

It’s with this in mind that I began to look over the prints and pieces that sold, and the pieces that got the most attention, but I can’t see a pattern or a theme emerging for this particular show. At some shows I can sell multiples of the same prints or prints of pieces which are

similar in subject or at least the style or medium. Across the years I have been taking my work to shows, the self titled piece ‘Ardent Shadows’ has remained one of my most popular pieces and I remember Tattoo Tea Party in 2013 was dominated by ‘Hanging by a Thread’. But at the weekend I sold pieces painted in inks, acrylics and biro studies. Paintings that were sweet and light sold alongside the darker and more oppressive pieces. If diversity of portfolio is really a bad thing shouldn’t it have hindered my sales instead of amplifying them?

I have several ideas for new pieces, all in various stages of development, and for now I’m certainly not going to be limiting myself. Perhaps portfolio diversity is something that every artist starts out with, but the success of just one aspect of their work demands the artist to concentrate on that particular style or subject. I definitely think that diversity within an art project in its youth is no bad thing. I will however continue to envy those who have already made the choices which lead to a focused portfolio, but for now I still feel the benefits of a currently diverse portfolio.