Ways to Help You Sell Your Art

Dollar Sign in Space - Illustration
Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

Artists are blessed in this Age of Technology as we are not limited to the old traditional ways of selling our work.

As it is currently all about Information, I want to say initially that it is vitally important to establish a presence on the Internet. It is somewhat time-consuming initially, but take the time to join Social Network platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn for example. The more you are connected the more outlets you have with which to share your art.

I would like to list a few ideas to consider in the business of selling your paintings, sculptures, photography or crafts.

  1. Galleries – it is still a good idea to get your work on display in galleries. This certainly assists in creating a name for yourself in your area and beyond, although galleries add-on a huge markup or else they take a commission as high as 60%. You can also look for an Art Agent to represent you to galleries.
  2. Private Commissions – advertise your skills in newspapers, art publications or in free online classifieds (Google “free classifieds” and follow the lists which will pop up.) You can also utilize Social Networking like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to create awareness.
  3. Art Markets & Fairs – look for events happening in your area and approach the organisers to enrol.
  4. Advertising – Create a simple advert and place it in the media publications or on free classifieds online as discussed in 3.
  5. Exhibitions – Creating an exhibition to showcase your art could be a feasible exercise, although you will need a little money to finance it. (I will do an article on how to organize an exhibition soon.) You can decide to create a solo exhibition or to join forces with another artist or a few at the same occasion to share the costs.
  6. Auction and Shopping WebsitesE-bay, Gumtree, Bid or Buy are examples of these sites that are booming on the Web. However, you can expect to receive less money for your art at sites like these than in galleries or online portals, but you can sell regularly.
  7. Online Portals – Register with Online Galleries to showcase your art, upload your photos and details of your work, set your price and link to the Social Networks like Twitter, Facebook etc. Try places like Etsy or Art Portfolios, Wet Canvas, Absolute Arts, Art RisingFine Art America or DeviantArt to mention but a few. By registering with these portals you also get the option to join art groups and forums discussing issues pertaining to art. They also hold contests and have reviewers who would be able to assess your work and create a written review.
  8. Your Own Website – Creating a personal website is indispensable for any Artist serious about selling their art. Add Paypal or another online payment service to enable buyers to purchase art directly from your site. You can add any number of e-commerce solutions to include a shopping-cart on your site, at a host of varying prices. OsCommerce is an outsourced solution and is free.
  9. Your Own Blog – It is really worthwhile to have a blog as an artist, as it not only serves as an opportunity to share your knowledge with others and thus give back a little, but it also attracts new viewers to your art and other places where you sell art. The more connections you have established with Social Networks the more exposure you will get. You can pay for a blog, or you can get free ones like at Blogger or WordPress. Alternatively, you can also post on Art Websites that sell art.
  10. Licensing Your Art – You can make one piece of art really work for you by licensing certain pieces to be sold as prints. Sites such as Saatchi (part of the Saatchi gallery in London) or Fine Art America for example offer these services, where they pay the artist 70% of the profits on sales. The artist enters a non-exclusive  agreement, (where you always hold the rights to the work) and they print the orders on demand. They handle the orders, payment, printing and delivery and you have no outlay whatsoever to pay upfront. You can register with these sites for free or subscribe for a premium account that costs about $30 per annum. You can get a website of your own on Fine Art America also. They offer art print on canvas or paper and as greeting cards. You can license your art to be printed on T-shirts mugs and other items for retail also. Websites such as Zazzle offer these services.
  11. Public Places – offering to display your art for sale in places other than Galleries can also pay off. Restaurants, Coffee Shops, Banks or Interior Design shops for example will accept your work, especially if you offer the owner a commission on any piece he/she sells and promise to replace it in the event of a sale.
  12. Art Rentals – Have you ever thought of making your art pieces work for you? By proposing to display your art in Hotels, Banks, Corporate Offices or for Film and Television sets for a rental fee has proven very profitable to some people I know. You can agree to allow the owner to sell it for a commission and promise to replace it, over and above the monthly rental, but it can also bring you piece of mind knowing your art is making money while you can continue painting and you would still have the piece to sell at a later date. It is preferable to draw up a contract to be signed by both parties on the agreement of length of lease (6 months, a year, 18 months or 2 years for example) and the insurance matters to cover your work.
  13. Open Studio – Why not offer an Open Studio day or event where visitors can freely come and view your art. You can offer lemonade or Tea/Coffee and still not have the expense of organizing a formal exhibition. You simply need to tidy up your work area and spread the word! Flyers, adverts etc can create awareness. Visitors would feel far more relaxed too, and not so much under the obligation to buy from you as much as just to meet you. Most people are fascinated with artists and it’s proven they buy more when they have actually met the artist in person. You would also be able to discount your sale by informing the prospective buyers they save on gallery commission by buying from you directly.
  14. Barter – it’s not really a sale, but to barter a piece of your art in exchange for something you need in return can work beneficially for both parties.
I hope these ideas are helpful and I look forward to hearing what works for you or if you have any other ideas of ways to sell your masterpieces!

2 Replies to “Ways to Help You Sell Your Art”

  1. Thanks Karen…I’m on track with your suggestions. It’s the getting it done that takes time and effort. What are you thoughts on giving away a painting for a charity auction?
    I’m also busy working on a whole new body of work, some very commercial for our tourist bureau and others for a local Gallery and then some for the websites that badly need fresh work. Plus I’m giving lessons as well. So busy bee’s my name right now. A blog or website is a must as well. Ebay etc sounds good too. I have done Open Studio in Howick Natal years back linked with the Midlands Meander and it was fabulous and very successful. Will do again. HomeArt. In California they used to open their homes for a weekend, share the space with other artists , have people coming and going all weekend sell well and throw in some lovely Californian wine, snacks, and friendship.It was amazing. Nice chattin’ Karen XX

  2. Thanks Maureen for your comments, it’s always nice to hear from you! I think that giving away a painting for a charity auction is great for exposure – it doesn’t have to be a big piece either. You sound busy but this is fabulous! It’s far better to be inspired and productive than sitting perturbed with what to do. I like the Californian idea of opening your home for a weekend, people do it here with their gardens so why not for art?
    All the best and happy painting Maureen!

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