I know artists who post their artworks in countless places, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more, but rarely sell anything, or even get followers. Then, there are others who do the same, and have no trouble selling any piece.

Both may be using the exact same amount of energy, with differing results. What makes them different? What makes one artist more popular than the other?

Of course, there may be various reasons, and I'm talking about some of these here - along with plenty of sound advice.

Michael Gaudet

Painting by Michael Gaudet

Your public persona is not as interesting as the other artist

Quite frankly, I think one of the main reasons someone may not want to follow or buy from an artist is they simply don't find them interesting. In my opinion, everyone is interesting and unique - and we would do well in presenting those parts to others.

Just ask yourself, what is interesting about me, and what others will find interesting. There are online cliques and groups for just about any genre imaginable - so my advice is to, at least initially, promote to them.

This does not mean you should feel obligated to change or become more like the other artists. But, just that realization may put your mind at ease, and help you become more comfortable just being yourself.

You are and deserve to be thought of as interesting - so just find and be around others who think the same!

Andrea Fuenzalida

Solar Portal/ Sun Door
28 x 22 inches
Acrylics on Canvas

One artist is more likeable

I would say the same here as I said before - don't feel obligated to be liked, especially if the art challenges our beliefs, morals, social conditions, political structures, etc. But even for art that challenges what the majority values, there are those that can relate and show you support.

As mentioned, find those people who will show you that foundational support first - then others will follow.

Mike Filippello

Painting by Mike Filippello

Social proof

One artist has 10000 followers and the other has 10. Who do you think will have an easier time finding more followers? Undoubtedly the first, because that person already has their network built, and will receive followers just by word of mouth and sharing on social platforms.

But, the main reason someone may be more prone to following the one with more followers is actually psychological. As humans, we have been taught that following the pack brings greater and quicker rewards.

We can say that it's just human nature that we are followers, but that wouldn't be entirely true. The fact is, we have been taught to follow and conform from an early age. Think about it! Classrooms are structured in rows with a teacher at the front, which actually prepares children for automatically accepting authority and working in factories. It's called social conditioning - like in Pink Floyd's video Another Brick in the Wall.

Added to this is the fact that we see from an early age that the majority likes talking about and being like television and music stars. Subliminally, we get taught to pattern our lives around them.

What am I trying to get at here? Well, instead of striving to follow others, strive to be the followed.

Become a leader, or have a voice - someone who others look up to - that's where the real power is - and presently many are doing that!

Create a Youtube channel or blog where you help other artists or just give advice on anything you are passionate about. There are plenty of ways you can build that social proof - that you are worthy of being followed for your art.

But realize that...

Sylvia Fuller

Artwork by Sylvia Fuller

... It takes time.

The reason why one artist may not be as popular as the other may be because of a time gap. One artist may have just started at this months ago, and the others 5 years ago. Be persistent and patient, and realize that this is something that takes time to build.

You will learn more from the journey of building that following, than getting them all over night. For one thing, you will learn how to treat and respond to them, thus preparing you to handle even more followers. Most of all,...

Marietjie du Toit

Painting by Marietjie du Toit

  ...Enjoy what you do.

Yes, this sounds so cliche, but do what makes you happy. We have a limited number of years on this planet, and life can be fragile. Why waste it doing things that are not enjoyable? If you don't like commissions, why are you still doing it? I know, you may need the money right now - but think about your own enjoyments and work on finding ways to monetize where you like spending time.

A few years ago this was difficult, but nowadays with sites like Patreon, it has become much easier. This doesn't mean I'm recommending a drastic change to bring enjoyment of course. This may in itself cause more stress than it's worth, and instead steer you away from your intended goals.

But, I think if everyone focussed on what brought them enjoyment, rather than the money trail, the world would be a much better place!

Please leave a comment or opinion below.

Please support us at Patreon for exclusive access to ad free, easy to read content and early access posts. Thank-you!

Post a Comment Blogger

  1. Hi. Thanks for the relevant content. I love learning to make a bigger following. Which translates into more sales. I think I'd like to learn how to impact the world with online art classes so I can widen my audience from local to global and reach people who are shut in. What's the best software platform to do that in?

  2. I have found that abstract art sells better online rather than at instate shows.

  3. I have been buying art pieces from Nandita Albright, she's an amazing artist, not that popular but her work is amazing, so I think what matters is creation rather than popularity.


Thank-you for your comment!