How to Barter Goods Using Your Original Artwork

George Swetnam explains how many artists use their artwork in a bartering system to obtain goods or services.

| September/October 1970

Reprinted with permission from The Pittsburgh Press. 

Most artists have a feeling that their work is hampered by lack of opportunities to be shown, and by the very limited number of sales they are likely to make until they become famous. It's a vicious circle: You can't be famous without your work being seen, it seems.

The man in the street is likely to take the position that artists adopt an attitude that makes it embarrassing to ask their prices and then find them higher than anticipated.

They'd never get away with that criticism of Carolyn Thomas of Bethel Park. Both as official artist of the West Penn Kennel Club, and with portraits of people, she's a real horsetrader.

Many artists go a lifetime without ever getting a commission to do a mural. But she's done nearly a dozen, because people found out she was willing to talk trade, in terms they could afford.

One, for instance, is on the wall of a South Hills veterinarian's office. It did not cost him a cent in cash, but it has kept Mrs. Thomas in care and treatment of her numerous pets—which could become a considerable item in her budget.

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