When I first started my art business, I was absolutely clueless where to sell art, or how to go about it! In fact, I still vividly recall, just as though it was yesterday, how I hated the thought of marketing.
There were so many questions that I had no answers for: Were galleries still relevant? Could I sell by placing ads in newspapers or community newsletters? How do I find out who my market actually is? Do I need to hire a sales force?
Here are some ideas where you can promote your work. Companies that offer artists merchandising and commission based work for custom drawings and paintings, cartoons, illustrations, digital paintings, jewellery, caricatures and more can be a good start. We DO NOT endorse any of the businesses, only provide a substantial list of what is out there, so that you don't have go on an elaborate search to find those services yourself. It is up to you to further investigate which provider is the most suitable for you.
Artist & Client
COMMISSION AN ARTIST
Why is Marketing important?
Arts Marketing is a systematic method to create an awareness for your work and to succeed in selling and eventually living from your art. Because your art must be seen to be so. It is the backbone of your business.
“I have to admit that I wanted to shy away from any kind of business dealings at first, but knew that I had to walk forward and invest in learning what was crucial to survive as an artist or I could forget about being in business altogether.”
“In the end, having devoted some time into business skills and marketing was the best decision for my business I have ever made.”
I have to admit, I started my own arts marketing, grudgingly at first. In the beginning, it felt pretty mundane to me, but the more I learned the easier it became. Each morning as I got out of bed, an inner voice would say “You are an artist, a creative being…What can you do to market your artwork?” But by knocking on every door, speaking to arts organisations, attending art business discussion rounds, talking to as many art professionals as possible and some good mentorship, the ideas started flowing.
Arguments that you will loose precious time to paint is illogical, because it is likely that you will continue producing work that won’t sell and therefore need to work in other areas than art. THAT sound far more like wasting time to me.
How Do You Get Ideas?
As with everything, creativity in any area is build and strengthened by using it.
The ideas for marketing can be endless. For example when you see a vacant shop on the most prestigious street in your area, not as “just an empty shop”, but a place where your work could be displayed in the window probably for almost free, you begin to think business like! It can be a win-win for the owner and you. The shop doesn’t look so empty anymore, while your artwork draws interest to his business; and you have a prestigious address for a while to expose your art – for FREE - to a high-income clientele! I speak from experience here.
All of it just wanted to make me shy away, but I knew that I had to walk forward and invest to learn what was crucial to survive as an artist or I could forget about being in business. Having invested in business skills and marketing was the best decision for my business I have ever made.
Soon, even everyday interactions and events start appealing to you, not as ordinary occurrences, but as potential opportunities to market your artwork!
At one time, I had a terrible back problem and visited my chiropractor. It soon dawned on me that the foyer in his practice could use some “sprucing up”. So, I bartered with him. A year’s free treatment in exchange for a personalised piece of artwork that I would create for him. So, if you’re wondering where to sell art, now you know the answer – everywhere, even at a Chiropractor’s office!
The best thing i've learn about arts marketing, is that I now enjoy it. I can smell new opportunities to market, promote and sell work. Like a locomotive that starts out slowly, I have now built momentum behind my art business; and that’s how it can be for you too, once you appreciate how to market your artwork.
“I have handpicked incredible clever marketing ideas and some of the newest online tools for artists. So make sure you have a peak into my "Web Tools for Artists" section.”
Once you start selling your artwork, momentum starts building!
Arts Marketing Channels
Believe me when I say, empty shops and dull-looking Chiropractor offices aren’t the only options for selling your artwork!
Websites: The internet is a powerful channel from where to sell art. You could establish a website – either on your own or by contracting with a professional website builder – and start marketing pieces of your work
Social Media: And once you learn the basics of sellingart online through your website, the next logical progression will take you to social media marketing channels. Forums like Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook are ideal for selling your artwork online
Online Market Places: Market-makers are yet another option for how to sell art online. Market-makers like eBay or Etsy enable you to sell your artwork to a broad audience – locally, regionally and even globally…if you are up to it!
Are Galleries Still Relevant?
So, if you master the art of selling art online, the big question is: Are art galleries still relevant as viable a conduit for marketing and promoting artwork? And the answer is a resounding YES!
If you are starting out as a newly-minted, lesser-known art business, you may not be found that easily online, so you’ll find galleries still relevant to your marketing strategy. They attract a steady stream of visitors who often get introduced to new artists while they drop by to see works of other artists whom they know of.
Once you learn how to sell art online, you’ll find that you have to carry the brunt of promoting and selling your work. As opposed to that, once again you’ll find art galleries relevant for arranging to promote, display and even sell (for a commission!) your work. So, where to sell art if you are just learning how to market your work? Ideally then, artists find galleries important as part of an overall arts marketing strategy – combining online with traditional gallery-based selling approaches.
Arts marketing is a very interesting subject indeed!
If you have never created a marketing plan to sell your work before, you should download the free publication “What’s My Plan?” from the Australia Council for the Arts.
This is a great resource if you want to learn more about selling your artwork. It is not only written for artists, but it also gives great examples and speaks the language of artists. But I am not saying its painless, nonetheless worth it.