Every professional artist on the planet at some point in time has asked the question, “How can I sell more art?” If you are pursuing a career as a professional artist, it is absolutely crucial that you know a thing or two about selling your own artwork. Unless, of course, you are best friends with a Guggenheim. Most of us are not. So here is a list of 8 tips for artists who want to sell their paintings.
When someone connects with your artwork, they’ll usually want to continue fostering that connection. They want to justify purchasing the painting, to continue that deep connection. When you share your personal story, you are giving so many more opportunities for collectors to connect with you personally, thus endearing them even more to your work. Share your story, talk about what led you to art, and how it has healed you. Tell people about who you are and what you stand for. This is the best way to sell your art. I know how key this is because I have been on both sides. I have been the artist, and the collector. I have bought pieces from artists that I connected with through social media, in person, at art shows, etc. Being able to connect with not only the artwork, but the artist as well, makes the experience unforgettable. There is something so beautiful about human connection that can’t be beat.
Selling art in a gallery isn't the only way to generate sales. Having your own website is a must in today’s day and age. This may seem like a no-brainer to some, yet there are too many artists that have not made this investment of time and money to start selling art online. As an artist, you have to remember you are also a business owner. You must take a sense of pride in your selling process. Having a website displaying your art for all to see on the internet, is making your work more available for a wider range of people. Audiences that never even met you, and probably won’t get to meet you will be exposed to your art. You don’t even need to have a conversation with them to sell your work. There are collectors out there that truly prefer this method! I have a collector I have never met or spoken to (although I would love to meet her!) that has bought over 5 originals from my website. A personal website, overall, is a huge asset to a successful art career. With your own digital storefront, it doesn’t matter where you sell your art.
This may seem like a silly tactic, but keeping the artwork you have sold, either on your website or in person, can actually aid in the sales of artwork. This lets the collector know that you are reputable, people have purchased your work before, and it is worth it. Leaving sold work up will also allow the collector to see what they have missed out on in the past, and it will inform them that if they want something, they should buy it now. It gives them a reason not to wait. This is honestly one of the best selling art online tips. Giving your collectors a subconscious time limit can be to your advantage.
It comes to no surprise that when your art is seen more, it sells more. Finding multiple venues and galleries to show at is going to have an obvious effect on the amount of people that see, and eventually buy, your artwork. Weekend art shows are known to bring in larger crowds, while showing your work in a month-long exhibition may have significantly less people seeing your work at a time. Either way, you’re going for different audiences at every venue. Try to find art shows and exhibitions that fit your style and brand. Doing just a handful of shows in a year could be a major game-changer.
Along with having a functioning, live website, you will also want to be promoting work under a brand that is cohesive and consistent. If you are wondering how to sell your paintings over and over again, knowing your brand and having it clearly defined is absolutely necessary. Getting a solid handle on YOUR personal brand will help with marketing to the right people, in the right way. Look into the different brand archetypes, and work on building your brand around the one you feel fits the most. Find the right words to use to entice your audience. This isn’t to say that your work can never evolve or change; quite the contrary, actually. Your brand is who YOU are, as an artist; your brand is not your work. Your work will always be a reflection of who you are, thus an extension of your brand.
Ever wonder what makes certain websites always pop up first when you do a search in google? The answer is in the SEO. Search Engine Optimization is a very simple and effective way to drive traffic to your website. In short, SEO is adding a ton of relevant words to the back end of your website to help people find you easier while they are searching the web. The better and more thorough your SEO is, the more potential customers will be finding your site and having the opportunity to purchase your work. This may take some time to research the right words, but it is totally worth it. This is something you can do yourself, or you can save a ton of time and hire it out to a pro.
Like SEO, blogging is another way to help your website pop up more often in searches on the internet. As a matter of fact, this is a double win, because blogs are also a way to connect and share with your audience. You do not have to be talking about selling your art in order to actually sell your art via blogging. A blog is just another way we can share our thoughts, connect with your audience on a different level, share events and helpful tips we think our particular audience would enjoy, and whatever else we choose. You want to always be building your relationship with your collectors, past present, and future.
Artists are dramatic. Don’t even try convincing yourself otherwise, it’s true and we all know it. We criticize our work with the sharpest knives, digging in, ripping it apart piece by piece. I believe this may go without saying, but this is not a helpful tactic when it comes to selling your artwork. Do people relate with pain and criticism? Yes. Do people want to be reminded of that pain and criticism every time they look at a painting? Most likely not. With that being said, when you talk about your paintings, whether you hate that particular piece or your best friend said he hated it, leave that out of the conversation. Instead, find every little thing you love about it, and look deep within yourself to find a positive message that you may have gotten from this piece. People want hope, and light. People want to be surrounded by things that uplift them. Let your artwork and your story be one of those things.
There are so many ways to improve your art-selling game. Whether you stick to the technical tactics, or you decide to start getting personal, you are sure to see results when you work towards your goals. A combination of great branding, story-telling, website hacks, and just staying positive are a sure-fire way to start moving some paintings. In today’s art market, anyone can become a successful professional artist. Take these tips for selling art, and continue to add on to the list with things you learn as you go along. Go after your passions, and don’t let a lack of sales get in your way!
Professional Artist & Coach at Milan Art Institute