Are you an artist who seeks more from their art than it just being a hobby? Then getting interest in your work for it to produce an income is a must. To do this you need marketing and promotional success, which will enable you to start earning a living from your artistic output.
Today we are going to talk about 10 ways you can find a market for your work and where you can learn more about what is required of you to be successful.
(1) Before you do any painting at all, afford yourself the time to do your market research. One of the biggest reasons for artists failing in their pursuit to become professional is a lack of understanding of what the market wants. Don’t be so arrogant as to assume you know everything and that what you paint is “right”.
Chances are that it isn’t, so don’t assume anything. Go out there into the World and see what’s on offer and, more to the point, what is selling. Galleries are full of pictures that don’t sell so ignore those. Ask the proprietor to show you what sells best and why and to whom?
(2) Secondly, remember that what you are seeing for sale is what was created for last season. Most galleries stock prints these days for the mass market so you need to know what is coming next rather than what is on show now. Imagine taking inspiration from a style on display only to return with a new offering to be told that is now “old hat”.
(3) You must ensure that you visit the trade shows to see what the publishers, independents and importers are offering next seasons market. Even this will meet you a step behind as the artists on display there are already working on next season’s ideas.
However, by taking guidance from the trade show you can at least sell to the galleries armed with colours and themes in current context. Most importantly, talk to the publishers about your work and ask them about the process of presenting yourself for consideration.
(4) If you are satisfied to sell your work as “original only” you will need to form relationships with good and reputable galleries. The value of art is in its perception by the viewer. For example, if you hang your work in an exclusive gallery, you will expect to command a much higher price than in your local town, side street, so aim high and get the best wall space you can.
Talk to several gallery owners and listen to what they have to say. Most will be honest about your work and tell you exactly how likely it is to sell in their establishment. Wall space is valuable so they won’t waste it. You will need a thick skin at times so be prepared for harsh criticism. No matter who you are, some will love your work while others will hate it.
(5) Discuss a fair retail price based on a fair price for you and the gallery. If you are happy with a price don’t start flinching when the gallery says they will sell it for maybe over double your price. They have to charge tax for a start, then cover all their expenses and actually find you a buyer before they see any profit for their trouble. So, don’t begrudge them their share.
(6) Wherever your work is on show, make an effort to accompany it so you can talk to prospective customers. Art buyers love to meet the artist in person and you can do yourself a great deal of good by putting in an appearance if only at weekends. Talk to the Gallery, they are sure to welcome such proposals.
(7) If you are going to sell your work yourself, make use of every opportunity to gain exposure. An excellent new way of doing this is through a fantastic new website facility called DebutDay.com (www.debutday.com).
This site is dedicated to bringing artists to the attention of the World by beating the search engine process and parading you in front of everyone searching for what is latest on the market. It’s inexpensive and you can control what you display and how you present yourself.
It’s probably the most proactive site to arrive in a long time and will do as much to find you a publishing opportunity as it will to sell to the general public. If you are serious about your art, you must make use of this site.
(8) When you create new works try and adopt a theme for a collection. Single pieces do little to help the buying public form an opinion about you or your work. Some will want to find an artist to collect, so unless they can see more than one example of your work they will find this difficult to do.
So, don’t settle for one painting, aim for at least three or four in a set, it will do much for your credibility and will considerably assist your success.
(9) Whatever you display for sale, make sure it is accompanied by a Title and a Written Explanation. The buying public love a story, it helps them to understand your work, gain more from the imagery and, believe it or not, such background information will assist them with a good subconscious reason for purchasing. Your information will make them an “informed buyer”. This will in turn allow them to impress their friends when they come to call.
(10) Finally, in my experience the biggest mistakes artists make is to try and be something they are not or to try and convince the public of such. Painting a woman with an eye on the side of her head does not make you Picasso so don’t try to be. Artists like him are famous as much for their creation of “the style” as they are for any integral artistic ability.
The first rule of creativity is to be true unto yourself, unsuppressed by the need to conform to what others expect or may perceive as “art”. If you do not allow yourself this right of expression you will rarely find joy in painting.
But then you must be able to step out of the “real you” and find a way of harnessing your talent in a commercial way that may have more chance to support you until such time as your own passions are recognised as desirable enough in their own right to earn you a living.