Jes Liberty is a professional artist and illustrator who sells her work under the name One Sugar Hill. We asked Jes to tell us a little more about her business and share her knowledge…
Did you train as an artist, and when did you start selling your work?
Yes, I went to art school as an illustration major. Although I value and learn a lot from artworks and artists that are ‘untrained’. I started selling my work seriously only a few years ago.
How do you sell your work?
Right now, the selling of my work is done primarily from my market-stall gallery that I share with another artist called Soozy Lipsey. It’s located in an East London market called The Tea Rooms, part of the Truman Brewery buildings off of Brick Lane, and I sell my work on Folksy, of course.
Have you got a method for setting your prices?
Yes, most of my pricing is gauged by the idea of merely how much I’m willing to part with something for, which takes everything into account – materials, time, effort. With things like prints, because I get them professionally printed, my cost is an even bigger factor in pricing.
How do you promote yourself and your work?
Luckily the area my market-stall gallery is located in is a huge tourist area in London and I’ve been fortunate to meet and sell pieces of work to people from all over the world that way. I also cut out all of my business cards by hand, which I know sounds ridiculous to some, but I find that if the least someone leaves with is a business card, it’s more memorable than just another rectangle in your pocket! I also try to keep my website as up to date as possible and Instagram, insta-up-to-date – which has proved to be really useful.
Do you work as an artist full-time?
How do you balance selling your work with being creative? How much time do you think you spend on each?
I basically spend my whole week like a recluse, painting. So by the weekend I am ready to meet and talk to people about my work. It works out well. Although I’d be lying if I said it was easy because it is hard work and it’s emotional sometimes as it’s so personal. But it’s worth it. Lately I’ve been working on a larger body of work, and it’s taking me several weeks to finish one piece. But on average if I have a great idea I can usually complete a medium-sized painting or a couple of small paintings from start to finish in one week.
Country Woman, a print of the original painting is available in Jes’ Folksy shop
Is there anything you’ve learned along the way that you wish you’d known when you started?
I definitely think I’ve lost out here and there, but I consider everything an experiment and I try not to have any expectations. Usually figuring out what works out for you is a process of elimination. I guess that can be applied to all areas of life.
Do you have any big plans for 2014?
Yes. I’m submitting a painting to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in June. I also have a few big commissions underway already.
Finally, have you got any tips for other makers?
Always raise the bar on the standard of your work and don’t be afraid to learn new skills and experiment with different mediums. It’s the best way to keep the creativity flowing.