Let's face it - when you're just starting out, selling art can seem impossible. After a few people saying they like your art a lot but not buying any, you can start to wonder what you're doing wrong. Lots of artists come to the conclusion that they need to have a gallery do the selling while they stay in the studio and create. But, galleries don't sell art for free , a good gallery will usually take 40-60% in commission. Because...
Art galleries have a lot of expenses. They usually have high rents because they need to be in trendy areas. They have to pay for employees salaries, and utilities, and insurance, and advertising, and for things like wine and cheese for openings etc.. The list goes on. So to get into a gallery, you still have to make a sale. And, it's a tough sale to make! You have to sell a gallery owner on why they should dedicate all those expensive resources and their valuable time to sell your art. Generally people who own well established galleries are quite savvy about the art market, and they can spot an amateur a mile away. Good galleries almost always want to work with artists who have a proven record of sales.
Another thing to think about is - most galleries don't last more than 5 years. Some do, but many don't because they really don't sell that much art, and the expenses are high. If someone buys a piece of your art at a gallery that goes out of business, and they decide later they want another one, or tell someone where they got it, and the gallery isn't there anymore, chances are they might assume you're "out of business" too.
"So, what should I do to sell some of my art?"
Build a good website and social media presence. Most of my art collectors found me online, and I've never met most of them in person. Because of my strong social media presence, they're able to follow me almost every day. I can build relationships with them. I can like and comment on THEIR posts sometimes. And thanks to my website, they can buy my art when they're in their pajamas from anywhere in the world, 24/7.
Some of the people who collect my art spend thousands on one painting from me. I'd rather sell a $2000 painting directly to a collector and develop the relationship myself, than sell a $4000 painting in a gallery, where they get to build the relationship, and keep 50%, and maybe go out of business not long after anyway.
Conclusion? It's much easier to start off by selling art directly to people who like your art. To do that, build a good website and have a strong social media presence.
Are you a passionate artist trying to turn your passion into a career?
I love to coach artists who are looking for advice on how they can do that. Once I started to paint in 2011, it took me less than 3 years to quit my job and pursue art full time. Now I've been interviewed for TV, magazines and podcasts, I have my own line of clothing and products with my designs, and my art is in collections in 27 countries.
I can help you learn how to price your art, how to get commissions and attract collectors, how to make prints and products with your art, how to make money at art fairs, how to get licensing deals and earn royalties, how to best use social media, how to pack and ship art worldwide, & more! Without knowing the right combination of many simple things that make a HUGE difference, I never could have made it happen like I did. No matter how fast you run, if it's in the wrong direction, you'll never win the race.
My consultations take 90mins to 2 hours, and I ask for $90US for the time, and experience I'll share. The reason I charge is because I can't spend 2 hours with everyone, and it makes sure I'm not wasting my time with people who are not serious and probably won't take any of my advice anyway. However if you're as seriously excited as I was about being able to make a career from your creative endeavors, then let me know and we can arrange a time for a one-on-one. 🙂
I look forward to helping you on the path to creative freedom! -Adam