I'm in the slow process of relocating. Sure, in my case, it's likely only a few miles that I'll be moving, but that counts! A part of that process for me is the reservation of money, something that this collector and art toy fan has precious little of. And in this particular relocation that has meant making the drastic move of putting a healthy chunk of my toys up for sale. This isn't something I'm overly comfortable doing, for a number of reasons, and I'm hoping getting my thoughts and hesitations down into words will coax some of my fellow toy hounds to either talk me off the ledge or give me a hearty push. I'm fine with either.
So my brain works like this: I can't possibly pick which of my babies to sell specifically so I'll simply put my collection out there to be picked at by those in toy-need. So to Twitter I went with a link to my Rotocasted collection page waiting patiently on the Clipboard. I posted to the world that my collection was up for sale and to contact me should anyone see something they couldn't live without. The stress I felt prior to pushing send was immense, and let me explain why.
I am, most definitely, a hoarder. But it wasn't the thought of trimming down the number of pieces I own that was terrifying me, it was how to face the inevitable situation of someone asking me to sell a piece for which I had a personal interest or tie to the artist who designed it. I've discussed before the tremendous emphasis I put on the personalities behind the art and while that is a great methodology for selecting which pieces to buy it makes selling art a royal pain in the ass. I don't so much have a problem with parting with a physical thing as I do parting with a small piece of someone I admire, care about, or at the very least, want to see succeed. I have, after all, had the pleasure of enjoying it and love the idea of giving someone else the opportunity to do the same. The few people I buy from directly I do so because I love their work. I may not love every piece put out, but I love what they do and the style with which they do it and cherish the thought of sharing the wealth.
What comes next is an admission I'm not entirely sure I should make but in the interest of full disclosure and honesty, I will, in part because I think it’s something we all do but simply don’t discuss (but should). There are a few figures in my collection that I own solely because I genuinely admire the people who created them. Money has changed hands in return for art for the sole purpose of showing confidence in an artist as a creator and as encouragement to continue. Not that were purchased in hopes of their value increasing, but because the artist is rad and I like their other works. So with that being the case, there are pieces of art in my collection that given the opportunity to sell should make this easy but instead just puts me in a terribly difficult emotional position. I am such a sappy, sentimental guy, that the thought of parting with even a lesser-liked piece of art would feel like I'm parting ways with the creator himself. On top of my own internal struggle I worry that, while I think the arguments against flipping are mostly ridiculous, I have a very real fear that one of those artists would come back to me complaining that I had flipped their art. There are also pieces that I've received either as gifts or payment for one thing or another (teehee) and what do you do about those? You can't sell them, right? Right? That would be wrong, regardless of who gave them to you or the circumstances behind the gift.
This is where my head has been for the last two weeks as I field Twitter messages and submissions through this site, to purchase my toys. A vast majority of the requests have been for pieces I had no emotional tie to and the transactions were smooth. There were only a few where I was forced to really consider the implications of the sale before deciding one-way or the other. Typically I sided with relationship and connection over money and I'm comfortable with that. I'm curious to know whether I'm alone in this kind of fear or hesitation. I can't be the only collector that wears this kind of sentimental burden, right? I'd love to hear from you if you've faced similar situations and to hear how you handled it. Do you as artists care whether a fan sells your art later, for whatever reason? Do you take it personally?
Giving a shit about the men and women behind the plastic and clay is what makes these figures worth having for me in the first place and so I'm okay with losing sales because of self-imposed barriers. The friendships and connections this scene provides me is far more valuable than getting $35, shipped, for a piece of plastic. Although, I've got quite the collection of nondescript Bearbricks available should you have a particularly Bearbrick shaped hole in your own collection.