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Keeping an inventory of your work enables you to be more in control of your art practice. In one quick look you can determine which artworks are in your possession, which ones are not (and where they are) and which of your works have been sold, and to whom.
An inventory is basically a detailed list of every piece you have finished. It is easy to create an inventory and no special software is needed. You can use Excel, Google Spread Sheets and Open Office, to name just a few. A good old pen and paper system could also work (although it will be more time consuming to search through and more difficult to back up. Always back up your inventory!).
A few categories to include in your inventory are:
- Title, date, medium, dimension or durations, edition size
- Image: that way you don’t have to rely on your memory for a piece you created 10 years ago.
- Location: where the piece is now
- Exhibition history: where and when
- Framing: whether it is framed and how much it cost to fame it.
- Pricing: If it ever had a listed price or an insurance value in a show and whether it sold.
- Sale info: Who sold it, who bought it, when and how much.
- ID number: create an ID number so that it is easier to reference the piece.
Under “medium” write down all the materials used. Be as detailed as possible, in-case you need to fix, re-create or explain the work later.
Keep a separate record for each edition piece and for every artist proof.
Keep your own inventory even if a gallery keeps one for you. That way you remain in control.
Here is an example: Inventory example