Is it Sellable? I continually hear one concern/objection artists have to selling their art. They don’t want to “sell out.” In fact, they believe they have to change the kind of art they make in order to feed a market. I am often asked, “Is it sellable?”
Hi my name is Carrie Brummer and here on Artist Strong I help artists like you build your skill and develop your unique artist voice. Today, I want to offer you some considerations and alternatives to this mindset.
If you want to sell locally you will have to test your art market with trying to sell the work you create.
If you are not willing or able to sell your art online in a global market you will have to look at your local community and venues to see if people are interested in collecting what you have. And the way you test this is by trying to sell it.
Let’s be clear here: if people do not want your art this does NOT mean your art is bad. Remember that van Gogh only sold a single artwork to a family member in his lifetime. It does mean you need to consider your pricing or the theme or subject matter of your art.
Getting feedback from potential collectors through trying to sell at a local market or partnering with a local restaurant or studio can help you determine if your art is a good fit.
If this is the ONLY option and your work isn’t selling, well, this is when you might need to consider the market and what is already selling in your community. What stands out? How can YOU stand out?
It’s never been easier to set up an online shop. With a few clicks you can use shop platforms like Etsy or Shopify to offer your art to a worldwide community. Why not seek out the people who would like the art you create?
This means understanding the kind of person who might enjoy your art. For example, my mandala art would likely resonate with people who enjoy yoga. I can seek out resources or locations where people who practice yoga might see or find my art. I can learn more about yoga or meditation and talk about those topics in context of my mandala work. In this situation I’m not “selling out” by changing the kind of work I make, I’m finding places MY people hang out.
Seek out galleries
This method is more old school, but why not find a gallery nearby (or even not so nearby) cities who might be interested in your art? Pitch them your art via email and follow up with a phone call. Double check to see what rules they have about artists looking for gallery representation. And do your homework to make sure they are legit.
In this situation too many artists think only locally. What if the perfect gallery is in a city you never considered? Research galleries by city and see if any resonate with you and the kind of art you create.
With any of the options I discuss today I want to emphasize: making informed decisions doesn’t make you a sell out, it means you actually give a crap about the people investing in your art. And really, what’s wrong with that?
What IS important to acknowledge is you need to spend time understanding the kind of people who might invest in your art. This can feel really difficult in the beginning, but with time you will better understand those collectors and potential collectors, which will help you find them and better connect with the right people to sell your art.
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Now, let’s start that conversation: whats one step you can take today to move you closer to your own art goal? Comment below and tell me more.
Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next time here on Artist Strong.
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My step one is selling prints, some original artwork, handmade journals with original artwork as covers and cards this Saturday at a local-ish gift shop. I will be there for a Meet the Artist event. Thank you for the reframe that this is just a test to see if these are the right people for this artwork, and doesn’t cast any reflection on my artwork. This is only a test.
Yay Mary! Exactly – selling our work isn’t a test of our art’s worth, it’s a test of market-match. 🙂 I hope you had fun and learned all kinds of great things from your experience.