Do you want to sell your art because it’s fun and you want to share it with others? Or, is selling your art justification for making time and spending money on this activity you enjoy?
Hi, my name is Carrie Brummer and here on Artist Strong I help creatives like you build your skill and develop your unique artist voice. Today I want to talk about the many reasons NOT to sell your art.
Let’s start with ten great reasons NOT to sell your art:
1 Because someone told you you should.
2 Because someone told you you shouldn’t.
Let’s be clear here: Since when do we rebel creatives listen to anyone anyway? It’s important to trust our own heart when it comes to our art.
3 You need to justify expenses on materials.
If a partner, or family member, or friend asks you how you can spend so much money on art supplies, ask them how they can spend so much money on subscriptions like Netflix and Hulu and Hbo Plus when it doesn’t make them any money. Or, how about that latest golf club purchase? Don’t let other people put their baggage on you.
4 To justify your time.
I’ve caught myself doing this: feeling guilty for making time for my art.
5 Do you need to monetize everything?
Do you even like marketing or are you willing to put in the time? Selling your art requires you to be a marketer and be willing to spend half of your time managing this business you now have, because selling your art is a business.
6 To prove your Art is good enough. For what? For who?
7 It isn’t a natural next step just because you have a lot of work stored in your home.
Do you have work you want to clear out?
- Give it to charity
- Paint over it
- Give away to special people in your life
- Abandon it – I’ve linked the Abandoned art project below so you can learn more about it.
8 There is no quick win for easy money.
Don’t think selling your art is going to be some fast way to pay the bills or add to your family income. It takes patience, consistency and perseverance. All of those overnight successes you imagine had ten years of work you didn’t see.
9 Because you enjoy it for fun and selling somehow takes that away.
Making art is good for both our physical and mental health, not to mention it IS fun. There is absolutely no shame in having and enjoying a hobby.
10 Because you’re still learning and refining your unique voice.
We want to sell OUR art, not copies or studies that we used to help learn techniques and develop our voice. Too many creatives start selling too soon and they aren’t ready and their work is still derivative.
Derivative art means you can look at it and see heavy influence from the creatives who inspired the work. While there is some grey area to this definition it’s the idea that you see more of the original artist in the work than new ideas from the person influenced by them. Painting in the style of van Gogh for example, without adding anything to his techniques that makes it uniquely yours.
And our bonus reason not to sell your art:
11 Because you don’t want to!
I enjoy marketing. I geek out on marketing podcasts and enjoy sharing my work with the intention of exhibiting or selling my art. This is why it’s incorporated into my artist practice. That doesn’t mean you have to, too.
Art is important because you want to make it.
Don’t let society, culture, media, or me tell you what you should be doing with your art.
You do you.
There’s no better reason to make art.
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Now it’s your turn: do you ever feel like you have to sell your art to justify creating it? How about investing in supplies? How have you overcome these challenges to still show up for your art? Tell me more in the comments below.