Resonance by Kalie Eckerson
Resonance by Kalie Eckerson

What does it take to be a top seller at the annual MCAD Art Sale? We asked Kalie Eckerson, one of the best of the last two decades, to talk us through her experience and share her secrets.

Kalie Eckerson ’13 is an abstract painter that explores the juxtaposition of color relationships and human emotions.

What mediums do you primarily work in?

Acrylic and spray paint. 

What has MCAD meant for you in terms of launching your creative career?

MCAD was a really big step for me. Through classes and amazing professors, I’ve learned how to get myself out there, build relationships, and make connections. After that, it's just taking things one step at a time. 

Where are you now in your career/what does your primary artist practice look like?

I have an at-home studio which I'm really excited about. I've been working on small things here and there, but right now I’m currently taking a break from painting and continuing my digital work. In the meantime, I am collecting inspiration and materials to branch out into something new. After that, I may look for some galleries or events to showcase my work. Right now I have too many ideas that need to be flushed out into something solid before all that. 

Can you describe a memorable sale or moment from the Art Sale?

My first really memorable moment was my second year participating as a student. My first sale didn't go a well as I had hoped, so I decided to work this sale so I could be present for the opening night. About half an hour or so into the sale, my studio neighbor came over to tell me my biggest piece had sold within the first ten minutes and congratulated me. That moment was really huge for me, and I think it’s what motivated me to keep pushing myself.   

What do you love about making art?

I really love just losing myself in the moment. It's not always about the end result but how I get there; being caught up in the process and trying to make something bigger than myself. Some pieces take more time than others and some don't work out, so you just keep working at them until they do. Sometimes you have to destroy something beautiful to make something new.

Have you ever purchased anything from the Art Sale or done an art swap for a piece? Describe your favorite piece.

I’ve purchased work from fellow artists and have also traded work. I think my absolute favorite among them is a small piece from Kayleigh Fichten. It’s a lovely abstract painting consisting of wide overlapping lines in rich pastel colors. 

Is there any Art Sale work that has inspired you? Describe it!

I have a lot of former classmates whose work I really love, especially those that leaned more towards abstract. The greatest part was getting to know some of these artists and watching their work change and grow with them as we took classes together.

Here are just a few of the many inspirational artists from MCAD I got to know while going there:

What Art Sale advice would you give to young MCAD artists?

When it comes to pricing your artwork, you have to find a happy medium between not overpricing your work and not underselling yourself. You’ll want to take into consideration the cost of your materials as well as your time spent. Before you submit work, try putting in a variety of pieces: i.e. different sizes or styles of your art. You never know what someone may like and want to buy.

A great way to promote yourself is to have a presence at the Art Sale, even if it’s just working the event. Being there makes for an excellent opportunity to meet people, talk about your art, make and build relationships, and even gain potential future clients. One thing that can really sell it for people is getting the chance to meet the artist and get first-hand knowledge about their work. 

As well as promoting yourself, do what you can to promote your fellow artists. See a potential buyer checking out a piece of a friend of yours? Go and talk-up their work. The sale is a great opportunity for building a positive art community and making connections.

Lastly, build a website if you don’t have one already and link your social media accounts. Be sure to keep them updated as frequently as possible (especially around the time of the Art Sale). Also, don’t forget to make yourself some business cards to hand out and attach to your work. I know it can be stressful, and a lot of work, but it’s totally worth it so don’t forget to have fun with it.


Additional Top Sellers

*Note that the term "Top Seller" is defined both in sales and number of pieces sold.
**Eckerson will not have works for sale at this year's MCAD Art Sale; only current students and graduates from the past five years are eligible to participate.