why people buy artHave you sold any of your artwork? If you do, who are the people who buy it and why? If you know the answers to these questions, you will discern where to focus your efforts. There are many reasons why people buy art from artists.

Here are 7 of the top reasons:

  1. They can identify with the artwork.
  2. There is an emotional connection.
  3. Purchases for social status
  4. Decorate their home
  5. They know and follow the artist
  6. Art Investments
  7. Art as Gifts


These are discussed in detail below, along with some advice on where artists can place focus for promotional efforts.




  1. They identify with something in the artwork.

    Touch People with your Art - Click Here!There maybe something in the artwork that reminds them of something in their own life. For example, a fireman may buy paintings from an artist who paints images of fire trucks, firemen, and firemen paraphernalia.

    Such paintings may even be marketed to fire stations and firemen groups. Another example is artists who paint horses. The people who can relate to these paintings are horse lovers, ranch owners, horse groups, etc.

    If you create specific subject matter such as these, think about the people in society who are into that sort of thing. Invite them to view your art website, and also send them invites to your events.

  2. The artwork affects them emotionally.

    emotionsIt may make them happy, sad, proud, mad, or whatever. The painting may provoke a universal emotion such as love. It has been proven that people generally buy things based on emotion. They see something something in a piece that they are emotionally attached to.

    What subjects for art affects people in this way? Here are some ideas that just popped into my head:

    • A painting of a Cancer or AIDS patient in tribute
    • Soldiers in Iraq (may produce a patriotic emotion)
    • Anything that has to do with the “love” theme
    • Any artwork for a cause
    • Controversial subjects (especially those in recent news)
    • Politics (always provokes an emotional response)

  3. Social status

    There are people who buy artworks so they can brag about it, or display it prominently in their home as a conversation piece. Collectors generally buy based on social status from established and well known artists. Emerging artists will not have buyers based on social status, unless it is a well known and respected art collector who is popular for “finding” unknown artists.

  4. It will look good in their home

    painting homeMany buyers use art as a decoration for their house, and may be looking for something specific that matches their decor and furniture. This can be a certain style, color, or medium.

    Think about creating pieces that are easy to frame and hang in a home. Smaller paintings generally work better for this purpose, but some homeowners may be searching for that perfect central conversation piece.

  5. They know and like the artist

    Previous buyers sometimes turn into repeat collectors, especially if you keep them updated with new artworks, exhibitions, and events. Friends and family members also fit into this group. Always place your main emphasis on already existing followers and people you know personally. Have an open studio event from time to time, and invite them to see what you are currently working on. If you have an art blog, let your followers know you personally through your writings.

  6. Investing in art

    art investmentArt is an investment for some. If people see you as an upcoming artist who is going places, they may buy some of your work as an investment, hoping the value will increase as your art career takes off. Art collectors mostly invest in established artists, but emerging artists can enjoy investment purchases if art is presented in the right way.

    Here are some ways to influence art investing:

    • Consistently create art, display them on your art website, and talk about them on your art blog.
    • Always let your followers know about upcoming events and exhibitions.
    • Get involved with the media, and try to get your art published in newspapers, local television channels, radio, and magazines.
    • Get gallery representation and let all your followers know which galleries represent you.
    • Take part in art competitions. If you win any, inform your fans. 

  7. Art for gift giving

    Sometimes people buy art as gifts for friends and family. Art gifts are great for you because these buyers may be giving your art to someone who is a big fan, but cannot afford one of your pieces. They will certainly be appreciative, and likely to display the piece prominently in their homes, and talk about it with others. Try to convince people that art is a worthy gift, especially around holidays and celebrations.

Have you sold art in the past? Which of these are reasons for people buying your work? Are there other things not mentioned here?


  1. Good Article, I have same question in my mind "where are art buyers". I have not selling any painting so far. I gifted two paintings of mine. One Painting name "Mountains" painted for a friend as his fang sui consultant told him to decorate his wall with Mountain painting. One Birds painting i gifted to relative.

    As of my experience, we should not hold artwork, we should keep it move

  2. @Suneel Jain
    Welcome Suneel! Here is a post covering your question http://www.artpromotivate.com/2012/01/where-can-i-find-buyers-for-my-art.html

  3. I have sold paintings/drawings over these many years. I think the reasons are varied but high on the list is "art for gift giving." Some had been portraits wanted, though I am not doing portraits currently. Others may buy cause the art appealed to the person in some emotional way and the person wants to see/enjoy it being in their home.

  4. I think the main reason that people purchase artwork is for the emotional connection. If the viewer feels an emotional response to a particular work and feels it is a part of them they are more likely to want to own this part of them.


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