This month we look at the basics of how to sell your art, but before getting into details it’s worth thinking about why people buy art in the first place. The serious buyers willing to pay higher prices generally buy art as an investment, so it should be evident that the more future potential you offer, the higher the price you can sell for. The general public will often buy lower priced work just to hang on their walls, but they should not be ignored because of this, since they can keep you going through the tough times.
The agent will typically take around thirty percent of your profit, but a good agent will work hard for that money. However, artists who display in galleries already lose up to fifty percent of their profit to the gallery, so you can understand their reluctance to give away any more money to an agent.
An art consultant is an industry insider who will, for a fee, give you advice on your work and how to take it further. This can be extremely useful if you are not getting the success you think you deserve, but the price can be prohibitive. Talk to your fellow artists and find out if any of them know of a good local consultant.
Places to sell your work
The options of where to sell your work are really limited only by your imagination. Anywhere it can be displayed there is the potential of a sale. Galleries are obviously your first choice and we will be discussing them next month, but for now you shouldn’t be averse to other opportunities even if they don’t seem quite so prestigious.
The open studio is becoming more and more popular. It simply involves allowing the public free access to your studio where you have a range of your art on display. Some artists find it a distraction or an invasion of their privacy, but it can work very well. Even if you don’t choose to allow public access, you should still keep a clean and tidy studio with priced work hanging on the walls. If someone important shows an interest in your work it means you can invite them back to your studio to see it first hand.
The global reach of the internet makes it a tempting option for selling your work, but you should remember that selling art is different to selling goods online. Most people will want to see the art before buying, or at least know the artist’s work well enough to know what they’re getting.
Art eXposed provides an easy means for artists to get exposure on the Internet. Working with the Art eXposed professionals, artists receive different types of promotional packages that suit their needs; from the ability to catalog their artwork in searchable databases on the Internet to a Public Relations Toolkit that provides them with the resources (news releases, media alerts, letters) to reach the media and organizations that can further support/endorse their efforts.
Another option is to simply sell giclee prints of your work. They are easily shippable and relatively low cost, so can be a nice way of supplementing your income. Make sure to use a specialized giclee printer and, as ever, talk to other artists about their experience.
Cafes, restaurants, bars, hotel lobbies and the like are always looking for work to hang on their walls. There are many artists who make their living exclusively from selling in these sorts of places, so there’s no need to feel any shame. What’s important is that the work is on display, not where it is. Try to make sure that the work has your name, a price and telephone number. If not possible then at least make sure the people who work there have your contact details
You will only sell your art if you put time and effort into finding ways to sell it, but don’t become obsessed. Art shouldn’t feel like work, you should always be enjoying it no matter what you’re producing. However, if you find a certain style of painting sells well but you don’t think its worth much artistically, bite your tongue and keep producing them; in the end, you will always be judged by your best work.