Do you struggle with the idea that the only way to be successful at selling portrait art is through commissions only?
Why would someone want to buy a painting of someone they don’t even know?
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 painting, sharing, exhibiting and selling portrait art.
I’ve stopped counting the number of times I’ve heard a creative person share the belief that people won’t buy portraits of people they don’t know.
I don’t know where this idea comes from, but it’s prevalent and it’s stopping people from making art they want to create.
In 2019 I created a body of work that was specifically about portraits of women who remain unidentified in the US National Archives. They were documented for the novelty of their job in the 40s as cabbies but no one took the time to write down their names.
Not only did I get a solo exhibition in the lovely Shenkman Centre for Performing Arts in Orleans, Canada, I was also granted money to help realize my exhibition.
When the exhibition opened I was informed I had more work sold than many others who exhibited in the same space.
So to be clear: my exhibition was of women that I did not know, nor did any of the people who purchased my work know those people. Yet, they still chose to invest in them.
People have spent millions of dollars on portraits created by artists like Monet or Van Gogh.
So, would people truly prefer a painting of themselves or a loved one? I don’t believe so.
People buy your work because they like you and they have embraced the story behind your art. They want a piece of that story for their home.
For some, that could mean they want a commissioned portrait for someone they love. For others, they might enjoy the original art you explore and create.
Don’t let preconceived ideas of what will work stop you from making the art you want to make! The right people can and will find it if you share it.
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