Making Money with Your Art

30 Jul 2012

It's not an unreal aspiration to make money by selling your oil painting artwork or watercolors, but it will take a significant amount of work in two areas:

1)      Your art. While it is possible to make money off of art that isn't particularly good--we live in a society, remember, that paid actual money for "pet rocks" in the 1970s--it is easier on your conscience and your marketing plan if you start with a product that you know is really, really good and that you believe in. Do whatever it takes to become really, really good, while still recognizing that this is a process that never ends.

The first part of selling your art is ensuring that the art you make is really, really good. Eyrie by Steve Henderson of Steve Henderson Fine Art.

The first part of selling your art is ensuring that the art you make is really, really good. Eyrie by Steve Henderson of Steve Henderson Fine Art.

Does this sound obvious? It is, but that doesn't make it easy to see. I have talked to far too many artists who think they are better than they are, and who have huge gaps in basic skills on how to paint that they compensate for, but never admit that they have them or take the necessary steps to address the lacks.

2)      Your marketing. I know. You're an artist, not a marketer. But if you are going to get your work out in the arena where people will see it and purchase it, you will have to think about marketing. The good news is, you don't have to start out as a genius in this area and you'll get better as you go along.

As with any project that seems overwhelming upon first view, break your marketing plan down into little pieces, and start local where you know people and have contacts. Our very first marketing move--after we were sure that we had something really, really good to offer--was approaching the gallery in our small town where we knew the gallery staff, because we ran into them all the time in the grocery store (in a small town, this is a central meeting place).

I called the head staff member, made an appointment to bring by some of the Norwegian Artist's work, and answered her various questions. Because she wasn't a total stranger, I didn't feel nervous, and this one small move, in addition to securing our first gallery location, was great "practice" for the next move.

What was your first marketing move for your art? Leave a comment and let me know.

--Carolyn

 


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Comments

4Beauty wrote
on 4 Aug 2012 8:47 AM

I really appreciate this kind of advice.  I'm in the "maybe I could do this for real" phase.  Has anyone had success in local co-ops?  In our small town they have a nice location, but one artist said she doesn't make any money at it.  

Bob Murray wrote
on 4 Aug 2012 4:38 PM

I believe that in order to sell your art it is probably best to work with a gallery, a local one. They now how to price and sell the works that they display. I have worked with some  venues where you display your work and hope that visitors will be enticed to buy. I have had some success but in those cases I sell cheap.

I am about to approach a local gallery with some of my work. Wish me success.

zandri wrote
on 5 Aug 2012 1:39 AM

Hi, I decided to test the waters by organising a open air exhibition, I found a great venue with 3 restaurants and a central green area. I invited 14 artists with different styles to join me. I sent photos of some of the work to different papers and magazines (they did use them) I also printed A6 colour flyers. It was super we sold 12 paintings . Although I didn't sell that day I listened to what people said and what style sold. I have negotiated to hold these exhibitions monthly (weather permiting)

Irene

Cape Town, South Africa

zandri wrote
on 5 Aug 2012 1:39 AM

Hi, I decided to test the waters by organising a open air exhibition, I found a great venue with 3 restaurants and a central green area. I invited 14 artists with different styles to join me. I sent photos of some of the work to different papers and magazines (they did use them) I also printed A6 colour flyers. It was super we sold 12 paintings . Although I didn't sell that day I listened to what people said and what style sold. I have negotiated to hold these exhibitions monthly (weather permiting)

Irene

Cape Town, South Africa

zandri wrote
on 5 Aug 2012 1:39 AM

Hi, I decided to test the waters by organising a open air exhibition, I found a great venue with 3 restaurants and a central green area. I invited 14 artists with different styles to join me. I sent photos of some of the work to different papers and magazines (they did use them) I also printed A6 colour flyers. It was super we sold 12 paintings . Although I didn't sell that day I listened to what people said and what style sold. I have negotiated to hold these exhibitions monthly (weather permiting)

Irene

Cape Town, South Africa

on 7 Aug 2012 2:57 AM

Made one attempt at marketing my art 5 years ago, in a joint exhibition, was the only one wgo sold, but from there sold about 7 privately, then last year again 5 privately to friends. Yes, if your art is fairly good it will sell if people can get to see it. I have so much art just lying around - some fairly good, some not. Must get motivated to display it again!

4Beauty wrote
on 22 Aug 2012 9:13 PM

Thanks for the tips!  Good luck to you all!  I really like the approach of displaying at a local venue - especially if I could pull a group together.  I was in a wine tasting area and saw they had works of a local artist for sale.  I assume sales in art take a dive when the economy is depressed.  Are there any signs of that improving now?  Has anyone tried online sales?

on 21 Apr 2014 2:15 AM

Am not in art marketing yet but I suggest and I think selling art online is better.

Or what do you think about these

Topics wrote
on 4 Nov 2014 4:33 PM

[View:www.youtube.com/watch] Are you ready to sell art in galleries? Art businesses