Let's sell some merch!

Let's sell some merch!

Call me a sell out... I want to sell out of everything I make.

It’s funny how certain messages seem to come at us in slightly different ways and from various directions.

A few weeks ago, I was part of a lively debate about why making merchandise as an artist is not only a good idea but a moral obligation of the artist to provide their work in reasonable ways so that fans of all economic situations could indulge themselves.

There’s a small group of artists who believe turning high art into merchandise is sacrilege and sin in the eyes of some elitist art gods.

Personally, I believe someone should turn their art into whatever products they feel suit their work best, yet I also believe we need to be selective about those choices. Sure, your work may look good on a shirt, mug, journal cover, iPhone case, throw pillows, and beer koozies, but should you put it on all of those things? That’s debatable.

While in the middle of that debate, I saw a YouTube Short from Jack Conte, the CEO of Patreon, where he talks about not caring about what box his art goes into.

His thought is that everything that makes our art unique and important to us goes into the box. These are non-negotiable items that do not get compromised. For me, this would be my effort to bring my art and design worlds together. It would be my intuitive approach to my art, and my impulsive nature to go after whatever project struck my fancy at any given moment. There are more things, but those are top of the list.

As long as I have those things, the box they live in does not matter. So if I’m painting on canvas or painting on walls, designing a magazine, or designing cheesy merch with a narwhal spearing strips of bacon (true story), all of those are valid as long as I’m true to the things in the box.

Selling out isn’t about the different boxes your art exists within, it’s about compromising on what belongs in the box.

Stay tuned for a new Dave Conrey Art & Design merchandise line coming soon.