How do artists increase the quantity and the frequency of their own art sales?
I recently received this question from a fellow artist. There are multitudes of books published on advancing an art business, art marketing, and how to increase art sales. Just search on Amazon. There are currently over 34000 book results for the keyword art business. I have published several articles here at Artpromotivate on this subject as well.
Purchasing certain books about art business may help to learn about how to increase art sales, but no amount of reading will benefit if it is not put into practice. Normally, artists do not become famous overnight. Achieving increased art sales often takes years of planning and patience. We are in competition with millions of other artists for the favour of art buyers. You should not be discouraged though. By continually creating art and perfecting the art craft, and exhibiting when possible, artists will eventually make a name for themselves. An artist’s work will steadily increase in value and demand for it will increase.
I know I am making this sound easy… but it isn’t that simple! Becoming a successful artist may take a lifetime, but it is definitely possible! I will try to summarize the process, but please realize that this is not the only way of becoming successful. Some artists may have sudden overnight success because of a celebrity endorsement, being featured on the news maybe because of a controversial artwork, or by simply having the right connections. But, this is certainly the only way for the vast majority of artists.
- Create lots of art!
Keep creating and don’t give up, even when times are tough.
- Document your art and art career!
Make a portfolio, work on an artist statement, build your resume, photograph your art, and write about important artworks.
- Market your art!
Exhibit at galleries and give presentations. Take part in art fairs, art contests, and art competitions. Get your portfolio online, connect with other artists, and build an email list.
These are the three basic steps to artistic success, which you probably already knew, since it is common sense to any artist. But there is so much extra involved with each step, so I will go into more detail as I explain how to increase quantity and frequency of art sales, taken from the perspective of an emerging artist.
Make Lots of Art
Keep making art. Many artists become discouraged because they are not constantly selling art. Achieving art sales should be secondary early in an art career. Work on building a solid foundation made up of lots of art. Hone your technical skills with your medium until it becomes second nature. Take classes, experiment more in your studio, and look online for painting tips, drawing ideas, etc. With constant practice, you will eventually master your medium. This is a very exciting time, as this will help in all stages of the creation process.
For example, when producing a painting, you will learn to envision an artwork before it is completed. You will intuitively know what palette to choose to achieve the desired result. In so doing, a painting is produced in less time and exactly how you envisioned it.
Artists today also often become side-tracked by placing too much emphasis on online promotions. This is important, but it is more important, especially at the outset, to continually create and grow as an artist. Keep art production as your main priority. People will eventually notice you as a serious artist. If you are not selling right now, find storage for completed artworks, or better - a place to display them. Get into the habit of consistently creating artwork.
Document your Art Career
In order to increase art sales, you have to show that you are a dedicated artist. Art galleries often require an art portfolio, along with an artist statement and art resume. Get a catalogue of your artworks published. Participate in group art exhibits and juried shows, and get copies of the show bulletin, with your name included. Try to get published in as many places as possible, such as newspaper reviews, local television and radio interviews.
The more tangible proof you have that you are a professional fine artist, the less convincing you will have to do. Along with documenting your art career, you should be recording every artwork. Take very good digital photographs of the paintings, drawings, sculptures, etc. Even if you do not plan on doing prints, you may decide to in the future. Periodically explain the meaning behind some of your artworks in written form as well.
Circulate your art everywhere. Get your art in the public eye as much as possible and you will eventually make a name for yourself. Contact galleries for art exhibitions and participate in art fairs and festivals. Apply for calls for entry and juried shows. Display your art in public venues such as coffee shops, restaurants, businesses, hotel lobbies, etc. Even though people do not generally go to these places to buy art, they are great for name recognition.
Today, many artists are going online to promote art. Work at creating an online presence. Create an artist website for your portfolio first, and include sharing services such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Stumbleupon, and more. Setup accounts at online gallery and print on demand websites and include a few images from your portfolio there as well. Start building your email list of buyer contacts, and those who you plan on notifying about upcoming events and exhibitions.
This topic deserves much more coverage, so I will be dedicating more articles to the subject very soon.
In the meantime, please review our previous articles on art marketing and increasing art sales.