Selling Your Art
With art and business, know what you want and set goals.
Visualize what it is you are seeking and what you expect out of your creative business. Artists all to often enter this business environment without knowing what they want or what is possible. When you are sitting alone in your studio and you’re wondering why you’re not having any success, have you ever asked yourself how much you’re willing to sacrifice for that success? Success often requires hard work and sacrifice. The degree to which you’re willing to go will be entirely up to you. Think carefully about what you really want to accomplish and set some goals to help you get there. If, for example, you want to have four exhibitions a year, start planning for them. Make the necessary connections. Have a target and set your goals.
I’ve often wondered what arts marketing is selling, exactly. I’ve come to the conclusion that when we engage in arts marketing, we as artists are trading in transcendent experiences and altered mindsets, rather than mere objects.
Art is the business of sharing worldview, but it’s also the business of artist sales in the face of stiff competition. No business would attempt to compete without a strategy, and without a business-minded plan, both artist sales and the impact of your art suffer.
If your work is made of found objects and recycled materials, is it rubbish – and subject to rubbish art pricing? Or is it a work whose value far transcends that of which it is made? When it comes to art pricing and an audience’s willingness to value your art, education makes all the difference.
For some artists, creative arts marketing is a sort of accidental pursuit, a byproduct of the real work of making art. But in my case, an accident helped me see byproducts as art and brought a new dimension to my creative arts marketing at the same time.
The necessity of selling art can lead creative expansion to a dead end. “If I head in a new direction,” we ask, “will my audience follow?” My experience, though, is that striking out for largely unmapped territories is what makes the resulting art appealing to so many. And it’s what makes selling art so rewarding – in both financial and spiritual terms.
Art marketing doesn’t have to be a one-way communication from artist to audience, yet another “buy now” in a world flooded with them. Instead, the best art marketing is a give-and-take sharing of ideas, motivations, and passions.
Some artists believe that their ambitions, particularly when it comes to marketing in the arts, are best served by moving to a large city. If that’s what inspires you, great. But for those of us who prefer a quieter, maybe even idyllic setting, technology and easy travel make global marketing in the arts possible from anywhere.
The best fine art tip for any artist, is to look within, find the small shining truth at your centre, and never, ever let it go. My core truth – my ultimate fine art tip – is that there is no separation between artist and environment. And that insight has led to some of the finest art I’ve ever created.
Success in art can mean 100 different things to 100 different people. But for me, a large part of what makes me feel success in art lies in turning environmental blight into a colourful message of future beauty and sustainability.