Recently Laksmi reached out with some images of her art and asked me, is my art salable? Part of me thinks she’s really asking: is my art good enough to sell?
Hi my name is Carrie and I want you to proudly call yourself Artist. Here on Artist Strong we help you build your skill and develop your unique artist voice. Today let’s talk about when it’s time to start selling your art.
Do you have work to sell?
The first thing I suggest you address is whether or not you have a body of art. In Laksmi’s case she showed me several works completed in a similar style. I have a few articles on creating a body of work I’ve also linked below.
6 Reasons to Create a Body of Art
Creating a series or group of works to offer when you sell your art gives a range of choices to your potential buyers. It also means you have more than one piece to sell at a time if people express interest.
Selling art in groups at one time instead of piecemeal (one piece at a time) as you make them is another kind of batching (essentially this saves you time and helps you make more money. I’ll link my batching article below, too).
Do you have an audience?
My second question is: Do you have an audience to sell your work to?
I started (and still sometimes do) by announcing I had a few works for sale on my personal FB wall. It was an easy, low risk way to see if people were interested. If you are on social media it never hurts to put your work up and announce it’s for sale. It’s one way to see if anyone you know is interested in your art.
I highly recommend writing a blog and/or having an email newsletter because both are great ways to build relationships with people to have an audience who is interested in your art.
Do you want a business?
My third question is: are you ready to have a business?
A lot of people who talk to me about selling their art don’t actually want to sell their art. Because listen carefully here: selling your art regularly means you are running a business.
You are not going to magically find a gallery who wants to do all the business side for you and unless you hire yourself an administrative assistant to manage the business you are both the maker and manager of your art.
You might be surprised to see that my questions have nothing to do with the quality of Laksmi’s art. And that’s because I don’t think it matters as much as we worry it does.
I also believe that selling our art to validate the work is a messy, dangerous decision. Work that doesn’t immediately sell isn’t bad and doesn’t mean you are a bad artist. It just means you didn’t find a buyer.
If you know selling your work is a way to justify to yourself that…
- your time spent is worth it,
- you are skillful enough,
- you are good enough…
I don’t think you’re ready to sell your art.
Your art is good enough to sell when YOU think your art is good enough to sell.
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Now it’s your turn:
What aha’s or questions has this conversation brought up for you? Tell me more in the comments below.
Remember: proudly call yourself Artist.
We are Artist Strong.
Thanks for watching and see you next time.
I post what I’m doing on Facebook and have sold a few painting this year without trying. I post everything, no matter how badly I think it turned out to encourage others to post theirs. I, myself, have seen work in shows that has made me wonder how they ever had the nerve to hang it in public, let alone put a price on it and that has given me more courage. The strange thing is, the pieces that people like best are not the ones I am most proud of and two of the ones that sold I was almost ashamed of, and had trouble coming up with a fair price when I was asked for them. I let the buyers have them for far less than I would have charged for the ones I thought were my best works. Part of me thinks I should not even show things like that but this experience also shows me that you never know what people will like. Your thoughts are always welcome.
Karen! I love this. Thank you so much for sharing. I LOVE that you share you show it all because you never know what your audience will appreciate most. It’s true! I have totally had the same experience. One of my favorite watercolors no one wants (I’ve tried selling it over the years) but I figure that’s okay I love it. 🙂
Love your message and reachout to all of us untrained artists. I’ve been doing artwork born of late night angst for about 15 years, and have given away but never sold anything. Now I have over 150 pieces and I want to send them out into the world. I don’t have a website, and I’ve never posted anything on social media having to do with my artwork. My question is, I work in 4 different styles. Should I be showing all styles at once or show them separately? Also, do you have to have a website before you start selling your work?
Hi Sheldon! Thanks for being here 🙂 Congratulations on making ALL of that work. So much to celebrate. There truly is no right or wrong answer but here’s my two cents: release each style as a body of work one at a time. (It would be A LOT to release all at once). And no, you don’t need a website. Here’s a recent article on starting to sell your art that I hope helps, too.