7 Ways to Establish That Your Art Has Value

Whether or not you have a sales track record for your art, you can still take actions to show people that your art has value. Here are seven ways.

Alyson Champ, Omelette. Oil on linen.

Alyson Champ, Omelette. Oil on linen, 20 x 24 inches. ©The Artist

1. Make great art.

I mean really great art. The kind of art that makes the heavens sing. Don’t settle for mediocre or “good enough” where your work is concerned. It’s time to stand out!

2. Treat your art with care.

One of the first newsletters I wrote back in 2002 begged you to treat your art like it belongs in a museum. I repeat this mantra often. This means keeping a detailed inventory, using high-quality materials, handling (and shipping) your art with great care, and talking about it with respect. This brings me to . . .

3. Don’t ever belittle your art.

Don’t talk disparagingly about what you have created. Don’t point out the flaws. Don’t reveal how easy it was to make.

4. Speak the words “I’m an artist” with confidence.

Learn to talk about yourself and your art like the pro you are. Spend lots of time writing your artist statement and honing the words you use to define your art. The rest of the world is waiting for you to embrace your role.

5. Keep a price list handy.

Don’t appear to be grasping for figures when someone asks you a price. Print out your price list so that you can refer quickly to the numbers. Making up prices on the spot (or not showing confidence in the number you give) doesn’t instill confidence.

6. Maintain a list of collectors and collections.

You won’t have a long list immediately, but you will steadily grow your connections. People will be impressed when you tell them you sold 24 pairs of earrings, 10 bracelets, and 14 necklaces at your recent show. But imagine if you had a list of all your buyers. That’s a visual!

Better yet: Snap photos of buyers in your booth wearing their new jewelry or showing off their new painting.

7. Mention your venues and galleries.

Potential buyers gain confidence knowing that your work has been given a stamp of approval by professionals who exhibit art.

How to Price Your Art

Practice these ideas whenever you can in order to establish value for your art. It’s not just for your potential collectors. Each one of these suggestions will help you gain confidence in your work.

How do you relate to yourself and to others that your art has value?

Find out more in the Pricing Your Art audio program >>>

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30 comments to 7 Ways to Establish That Your Art Has Value

  • Nice succinct list. Good advice for anyone. Thanks for posting it.

    Lou

  • Alyson,

    Can I take you home? Again, another simple and direct piece that offers great advice, and just takes a little work. Thanks.

    Michael
    ps. I have your emails located under your name, and I keep them all, and once in a while review them, then act.

  • nike

    While I take great care when sending artwork to exhibitions, I’ve had already several times case that my work has been damaged by the people handling the exhibitions. I have not participated in too many exhibitions yet, but I am truly discouraged to send out any original, high-value artwork to anywhere again.

  • Great list of sdvice!

  • Annmarie Vierick

    Wow, great advice! Thank you so much for this article, I’ll put it to good use!

    Ann:)

  • great tips and reminders. thanks for sharing.

  • Emma

    This seems a very timely post, particularly with the advent of Heartsy and similar!

  • Thanks Alyson

    Now I just need to follow this advice ;)
    I have a bad habit of doubting the abilities others say I have.I list vintage on Etsy but hope to add some creations in the near future. This really helps.

    Lots of Love,
    Carol

  • wow. this was exactly what i needed to read. thank you for the great tips. thank you for being bold.

    i’m encouraged to create the next piece i need to do for a gallery exhibit that i’ve been putting off! so i am grateful!

  • Thanks for that gentle ‘slap upside the head’ I think that even as we become more confident, we need reminded. I now have an independent gallery of my work online. I think, if your work is ready, a such a website or blog can help validate your identity as an artist. (Also, just the low tech matter of having your calling cards printed, and handy at all times, helps a lot.) We should all be proud to show our work. Please visit http://kbartdesigns.com

  • Wonderful words of wisdom! Taking myself seriously has made it much easier for everyone else to do the same! Great advice and new ideas to try as well.

    Aloha-

    Becky

  • I agree, this advice is not only good for how we feel about our work but also how we feel about ourselves, if we downplay ourselves so will others but if we value ourself, our time and our works of art, others will likely see them as something of value that they can treasure as much as we did in being inspired to create it. our realness sells. thats what people want is part of who we are reflected in our product.

  • I do find that some of my buyers do prefer to not be publicly listed as a buyer.

  • Great article!
    I’ve bookmarked it so I can come back and refresh these ideas in my mind. :)
    I need to work on quite a few of these points.
    Even though I love each and every piece of jewelry that I make, I have a hard time accepting that someone else will, too. It’s probably because I take my art personally, and therefore tend to communicate negative feelings… like my jewelry takes on the burden of my own insecurities. When my husband tells someone I make my own jewelry, I poo poo it and say things like, “oh, I just dabble… it’s just a hobby… it’s nothing special…”. Maybe I need to go into therapy, because I’m NOT just dabbling, it’s more than just a hobby – it’s a passion, and it’s all very special to me.
    So, thanks for listing this all out, I’m going to start turning some of these things around, today. :)

    Linda :)
    [links removed – caught by spam filter]

    • Linda: Maybe you can set an intention as you make each piece. Start picturing the person who will eventually own and wear it.

    • Carol, Renee, and Linda.
      If I could tell you how many times I have listened to artists disregard themselves! It is a huge mistake, it is unprofessional, a waste of time, screams victim, and is terribly disrespectful to anyone who has collected your work.
      Alyson, already mentioned this above. But when talking with someone about your art, and if there is time/space to share, open up! Forget everything except for the love you feel for creating, really go there in a deep and meaningful way; you are artists aren’t you?! That is the little bit of magic that other artists relate to and that collectors want to share.
      If you still have trouble with it, just think of making self disparaging remarks at an art event marks as an atrocious ill-mannered person! This is not the time or the place for it.

      • Wow, I already have an inferiority complex, and now I’m disrespectful, waste people’s time and am atrociously ill mannered… lol
        I see that you have very strong feelings about this subject, Michael. I just wish you had omitted everything in your comment but, “when talking with someone about your art, and if there is time/space to share, open up! Forget everything except for the love you feel for creating, really go there in a deep and meaningful way; you are artists aren’t you?! That is the little bit of magic that other artists relate to and that collectors want to share.” That is very wise and constructive. The rest is not.

        • Linda,
          Light/dark that is the artist way. Truthfully, do you think you forget this topic anytime soon?
          Cheers,
          Michael

          • Michael,
            Artistically, I lean towards the light… it offsets the occasional dark of real life. Maybe that’s why I’m so attracted to shiny things. ;)

            Linda :) <— note the smily face, I use it sickeningly often.

  • Joy

    I am going to make a copy of this article and read it before every show.

    Thank you for your words of wisdom

  • Clear, short and excellent post. Thx a lot!!!

  • Have been going throgh the different commentarties on several things on Esty tonight. I found some interesting things that were very helpful on photography, and posting things. Its was in German, don’t know how I got there but pictures made clear the idea, also one on the shop wondering how to increase interest. Had several truely good comments, thought would be helpful. Also made the I made the mistake lately of thinking that shareing new enterys on web sight with others was ok found this is not so, the individul that pointed out called it spam. Now I know what spam is. Never to old to learn. Like the comments and the TIPS. Thanks everyone!

  • Great tips! What I find is that after hours of laboring over my work and feel it’s good enough for the public to see, I have to defend it! As in, I must reassure people that I made it by hand. Oh, how many times have I been told I don’t make my own art. Even gallery owners insist I get my leathergoods made in China. Sheesh!

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  • June

    “Snap photos of buyers” is something artists need to be VERY careful with. As a buyer (my art field is not visual art, but I buy visual art when I can), I was completely turned off by a painter taking photos of me without permission or even any warning. You must get clear permission *before* you take any photo and you must be crystal clear with the person about how you will use their picture. Someone who is casual about this will lose me as a customer permanently.

  • […] Keep a price list. When someone asks you how much something is, you want to be able to tell them quickly and […]