You think you’re doing everything right to promote your art.
You’re getting into shows, shops, and exhibitions, you’re building your mailing list, and you have a solid Web presence. Still, the money isn’t coming.
It’s hard to keep going and to remain upbeat when your art isn’t selling.
©2002 David Hilton, You’re Sure? (Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park). Oil on canvas, 11 x 14 inches.
There are many reasons why some artists sell better than others. Let’s look at 6 of them.
1. Personal Tastes You can’t force people to like something. Remember that the more people see your art, the more likely you are to hit upon someone who falls in love with it.
2. Trends and Styles Trends don’t affect (or shouldn’t affect) most fine artists, but there are some forms of art that might sell better
Audio version of the newsletter. Your art isn’t for everyone. Once you understand this, you’ll have an easier time finding the people who appreciate your work. Likewise, the more you get your art out into the world, the more you’ll be able to direct your marketing message to the people who were meant to see it.
Artists used to depend on the Church and wealthy church patrons (whose souls needed saving!) to make a living. Then they relied on galleries. Today, anything goes. Artists can make their livings in so many different ways. See what I mean?
From my inbox:
How does one connect to the buyer agents of high-end customers? How does one get into the loop of being looked at? Performing artists have auditions and can wind up on American Idol, etc. It seems that the rest of us struggle every which way to get out there. Other than having all the necessary qualifications and Internet exposure, how do we get into that select group of artists and designers that is being considered by high-end buyers?
That’s a $10million question, isn’t it? It’s what everyone wants to know. My short answer is “persistence,” but let’s dig deeper. When people ask me a question like this, here’s what I want to know:
How long have you been promoting your art? How many people are on your mailing list, and how have you been using it? How
Artists are telling me all the time that they wish they had someone else to promote and sell their work for them. Guess what? You can get other people to sell your art quickly and easily!
All you have to do is create an affiliate program.
An affiliate program is a system for referrals. Someone refers a friend, family member or colleague to your art, and you pay them a referral fee when that person buys something from you. Instead of paying a gallery or retail outlet, you’re paying a friend–someone who is part of your artist community and someone you might like to reward.
Sherrie York, In the Shadows (Ptarmigan). Reduction color linocut. 18 x 12 inches. ©The Artist
Here are five thoughts on creating an affiliate program . . .
1. Target your fans. You want affiliates to
Priscilla Fowler, Dispersion, 2008. Sepia ink and ink wash on painted paper, 24 x 30 inch detail of 15-part drawing. © The Artist
Most galleries don’t count on a single artist to survive. Likewise, most artists can’t count on a single gallery, retail outlet, or exhibit venue for their survival.
Have you been putting too many of your eggs in one basket? Unless you are an art superstar with an exclusive New York or London gallery contract, you can’t depend on one source for promoting and selling your art. You must diversify. Got the local gallery? Great! Now, get another in a different city. And another. Don’t stand by and hope that what is currently a good thing will always be a good thing. Galleries seem to open and shut down more frequently than