Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Zero Sum Art Project: Goals.

Art is a form of alchemy, taking base materials and turning them into something precious.

How a work of art rises above the mass of everyday objects to become a valuable artifact is often a source of great interest, both in and out of the art world.

The studio practice of the artist is frequently seen as a romantic, mysterious endeavor, separated somehow from the everyday world.

The goal of the Zero Sum Art project is to create a financially isolated studio environment, in which every cost and every profit is documented and made visible to the viewer, and see if it is possible to create a self-sustaining studio practice. I have been looking for a long time for a project that would make use of eBay AS the artwork, not simply as a venue for selling artwork.

To this end, I have created an account on ebay, zero_sum_art, that will allow me to conduct the art "business" in as transparent manner as possible.

Any money spent on materials and fees and any other specifically art related expenses will be directly tied to the money brought in by the sale of the artwork, and this relationship will be accessible to the viewer at all times. The starting bids for all auctions will be based on the fees associated with the auction and the cost of materials in the artwork for sale (for purposes of this project, all of my "time" is "free"). The first artwork for sale has been made purely from free materials - mostly items that were sent as give-aways by charities requesting donations, or pens and pencils given away as promotional items. Any "profit" from sales will be spent on improving the materials that go into the artwork, or the shipping of the artwork. Should the artwork fail to make a profit, the materials used to make the next piece will remain very humble. Should the project stay in the red for several consecutive sales, the "studio" will collapse.

I will keep a running tally of costs and profits, available on the "me" page of zero_sum_art.

My target "balance" will be Zero. Anything coming in from sales will go out in expenses.

Starting solely with the most humble of scrounged materials, we will see what can be grown from them. Will a flourishing art terrarium be created, or a tank of art sea monkeys, destined to become a lifeless portfolio cluttered with little brine shrimpy corpses? Only time will tell.


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