To the Aggressor Go the Spoils

Art Business: All About Pleasant Persistence

I went to an artist’s talk the other day and was a bit taken aback when the artist admitted that she went door to door looking for a gallery, taking images to every venue she knew of and talking her way past many annoyed assistants to get a few minutes of time with a gallery owner. She once cornered one such director and got him to promise to come to her studio. When he didn’t, she brought her work to him. This was the gallerist that ended up taking her work.

Moon and Tide by Inka Essenhigh, 2010, oil on canvas, 70 x 76.
Moon and Tide by Inka Essenhigh, 2010, oil on canvas, 70 x 76.

Now, I don’t know if I recommend these tactics, but there is a bit of truth to the idea that getting a little aggressive–in a polite way–can do a bit of good for your art business. If you don’t take it too far, you can gain a lot by being aggressive because it means you are putting your art out there in the world and that you are earnest about it. You are willing to be told no, no, NO, on the off-chance that one of those people will say, “yes!”

In the end, I think it all comes down to confidence. It takes a strong belief in what you are doing to paint when you could just do something else, or put up a website and sell art online when you could just as easily stack painting after painting in your studio and never let anyone look at them.

Minor Sea Gods of Maine by Inka Essenhigh, 2009, oil on canvas, 74 x 68.
Minor Sea Gods of Maine
by Inka Essenhigh, 2009, oil on canvas, 74 x 68.

We often make choices based on our fears and insecurities, so I encourage you to be aggressive about being confident in your work. In the end, you’ll get honest feedback, which is never a bad thing, and you just might make the right impression on the right person so that your artistic star starts to rise.

To help with this, Lori McNee’s Fine Art Tips Business Bundle is available. It is a relevant and in-depth group of resources on what it means to promote, sell, and brand your art like a professional. You’ll find direct feedback from an artist who is in the position you are in as Lori shares her successful approaches to selling art, marketing art, and more. Hearing words of wisdom straight from the source makes all the difference, so you can see what approach works right for you and go for it!


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Courtney Jordan

About Courtney Jordan

  Courtney is the editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.   

One thought on “To the Aggressor Go the Spoils

  1. Hi I am the Gallery Director at Ben’s Fine Art Gallery in Prescott AZ. We love having artist come into the gallery to show us their art. We exhibit for sale over 50 arizona artisans in mediums of oil, giclee, wood, glass and bronze sculpture. An artist that comes in with framed pieces with a bio and photo is always considered for exhibit here. There are only some many hours in the day and we can’t always make all the shows so we are flexible. A lot of artists send us emails with samples of work as well.