Selling Art to Parents

I’m making this entry friends-only because I know my parents read my journal and I don’t want to hurt their feelings, but I have to vent a little.

Okay, so, I give lots of art to my parents, both as gifts and just for them to display because I have a lot of glass and no place to store it. However, some trouble always arises when my parents ask to *buy* a piece.

I used to not let them buy anything I had that was for sale, but this year they were very insistent on wanting to buy some of my glass, especially from my senior show. So I sat them down and said “Okay, you can buy my art if you want to, but if you DO, then you CAN’T buy them as my parents. You have to buy them as a CUSTOMER. So, when I ask you to pay me, you can’t start pulling this ‘oh we sent you through college we payed for so much blahbity blah and you want to make us pay for this?” stuff

And they said “okay.” So I let them buy some of my work. Lately I’ve been mentioning getting paid, and there they go…”oh we are helping you buy a car we payed for your education blahbity blah and you want to make us pay for this?” ARGGGGG!! They do it in a half-jesting sort of manner, but I feel like they are serious in some way. It is even more frustrating because I had several people interested in the particular pieces my parents bought at my senior show.

The problem is, I *do* feel guilty for asking them to pay me because of all they had done for me. That’s why I made them agree to act like customers when they buy my art, not parents (that’s why I used to not let them buy my art at all). It is very very frustrating.

I’m half considering saying “Okay, if you guys don’t pay me by Conglomeration, I’m taking those pieces and selling them in the art show.”

I dunno, I wonder if Leonardo Da Vinci’s mother asked him for commissions, then guilt tripped him when he asked for payment >_< Any advice would be welcome

6 thoughts on “Selling Art to Parents”

  1. I would do as you are thinking, and if they’re not paid for by Conglomeration, take them and sell them. If they give you the “but we paid for this and this and this” song and dance, then ask them if they want you to repay what they gave you. One way or another you’ll have an answer – either they’ll pay you before you take the pieces and sell them elsewhere, or you’ll be able to deduct the price of the pieces from your debt to them, and one way or another it’ll be finished.

    Be blunt about it – it seems rude, but it’s the only way to stop such behavior with parents. I’ve had to do things like this several times.
    Don’t let them guilt you into doing things. Your art is part of your livelihood – it’s something you should be paid for.


  2. The counter to “but we paid for X” is “Well, how am I ever supposed to pay for anything myself if my customers don’t pay me first?” If they want you to pay for things yourself, they have to allow you to generate income. You probably will pay them back as you grow older and more financially stable, so it’s not like you’re trying to have your cake and eat it too. And if you don’t get to, neither should they.

  3. I think you’re going to have to write it off as a gift. Next time you have stuff to sell, just remind your folks that they need to pay *right then*..

    Consider their irritation with having the stuff they didn’t pay for put back into the art show vs. favors you might need to ask them in the future. Choose battles wisely. 😉

    With that said, much depends on the kind of people your parents are and your relationship with them. Good luck. 🙂

    Lost Dragon

  4. Take the pieces and hide them. See if they even notice first. If they do, follow any of the above plans.

    If they don’t – then you have the attack of – where is my art? When they don’t know – or worse if they point to another piece thinking it’s what you are talking about. In that scenario, you will then know the value of the art to your parents, the value of any child’s piece that their parents can hold up as a joyful trophy to memory. Your serious art is not such a thing, and you need to understand that your parents may never take your art as anything but something neat you do – that is what parents do. They either treat you like your are a genius and destroy you with their greedy ends, or they miscomprehend your talent as something neat. They do not understand necessarily the actual signigicane to you. This is much better than the first though – less involvement while still giving loving support is good. You can then just never bring back the art or attack them with your discovery.

    If they ask you where the art is, or hunt it down, then you have a new situation.

    Regardless, a deal between kin is a deal nonetheless. If your parents do not pay, they break the deal and the art is not theirs.

    If it makes you feel better, I make my parents by theatre seats. Because if they don’t pay for them, they don’t go.

  5. I live by 5 simple rules;

    1) No one ever listens to good advice.

    2) Don’t trust anyone in a fursuit.

    3) Life sucks. Get a bloody helmet.

    4) All that it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

    5) Never tell your parents ANYTHING!

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