Five Minutes with Alan Yaffe

Alan Yaffe reflects on sales, confidence, and creative process.

Alan Yaffe

What is your inspiration when it comes to creating art? 

My inspiration to create art is a big part of who I am . I feel that I was always destined to be a creative type, even though I didn’t do anything about it between leaving school with an art A Level grade A and reaching the age of about 40, when I saw some art that made me say to myself “I can do that “.

What does your typical creative process look like? 

My creative process varies depending on whether I’m working on a piece just for me to then put on my website to hopefully sell, or if I’m working to a client’s brief for a commission . Whatever I’m doing , there are typically 5 stages:
This is going to be great
This is not going to plan
This is rubbish
This is looking better
This is good!

What does your typical creative process look like? 

My favourite art sale has to be my first one. It was a large commission and it proved to me that I was good enough to produce work that someone wanted to have in their space…and to pay me for it .  My most memorable is a more difficult question to answer as all the paintings that I have sold so far are validation that I can call myself an artist. I accept each sale as a massive compliment.

How has the last six months treated your art career? 

My art career has changed in a number of ways in recent months. Lockdown meant I wasn’t doing my part time “day job” as an optician and so I had all day every day to paint and promote. I offered a 50% discount off all existing work for two months, and I then chased up previous enquiries which resulted in a couple of sales that might not have otherwise happened . The offer generated more commissions too, especially from collectors/clients/customers who were using lockdown to renovate their homes and wanting a statement piece of art as the finishing touch. The extra time allowed me to be more active on social media and I’m now posting almost daily which is slowly helping to increase the number of followers and potential enquiries/sales.

What do you find rewarding about your art business?

My art is now a business/career and as such it has to provide an income . Whilst the income is still very slowly building, the most rewarding aspect is that with every single enquiry about my work , I take it as an enormous compliment. For anyone wanting to have my art in their space gives me such an amazing buzz. The financial reward is important, but self acceptance that I can legitimately call myself an artist is off the scale!

‘[The] self acceptance that I can legitimately call myself an artist is off the scale!’


Finally, how would you advise artists starting their career? 

Any artist who is serious about wanting to sell their work has to find the belief and confidence that he/she is good enough. This is a really tough business, especially with the current pandemic and associated uncertainties  but if there is a passion, it will find its way into an artist’s work. Most importantly, don’t give up!