The Secret To Selling Art, Part One

Selling art is weird. Actually, selling art is awesome. Trying to sell it or coming up with ways to sell it is when it gets weird. Let me try that again. I think to put it more accurately, after it sells and you ask yourself how and why it sold is the weird part. The answers could be infinite and if any of the answers made any sense or were consistent we’d all be selling a lot more artwork than we are.

Take this painting for example.

I made it during the Summer of 2016. I happen to be in the very fortunate position to own a shop in the town I live, which means I have a unique opportunity most artists don’t have. I have a venue to display my work in hopes of selling it. This is a pretty amazing thing. It doesn’t take an economist to figure out that the more eyes that see your work the better chances you have of selling it. With that said, every artist should be doing whatever they can to get their work in front of as many people as possible. So, here’s the story of selling this painting and why I think it’s weird.

As soon as I finished making the painting I hung it up in my shop. It was on display from mid summer until October 10th. In that time A LOT of people saw it and yet it remained unsold. I only know I took it off the wall on the 10th of October because I was invited to hang some paintings at a restaurant in a nearby town and I made a dumb video about it. Anyway, it hung on the wall of that restaurant for two months.

Do you have any idea how many people eat at a popular restaurant on a weekend? Hundreds. That’s a lot of eyes. Obviously, people are not there for the art. They are there to eat, but you know some people have to notice the artwork on the walls. After two months and probably a couple thousand people seeing this painting it still had not found a home. After the restaurant gig I hung it back up in my shop. This would have been December, which is the biggest sales month for probably every store in America. Still, it sat. Or rather, hung. Unsold. It hung all the way until April when I removed it from the wall again. This time I was invited to display some paintings at Sally Loo’s Wholesome Cafe, which is an awesome cafe/coffeeshop in a different nearby town. While hanging at Sally Loo’s somebody, a saint, bought the painting

Obviously, I was thrilled. Like I said, selling artwork is awesome. And then it gets weird. So, consider the logistics of this. If you think about it too much your head could explode. Literally, thousands of people saw this painting in three different venues, each in a different town, spread out over the course of 9 months. That’s A LOT of effort to sell a piece of artwork. I easily drove that painting over 100 miles back and forth from venue to venue. Then consider the time of having to coordinate with the venues and hanging the artwork, promoting the art shows online, etc. It’s kind of mind boggling. And just plain weird. It only takes one person to buy the painting, but in this case it took having to be seen by 1000’s before the right person finally saw it. What if that one person would have walked into my shop in August the day after I hung it on my wall? Would they have bought it then? What if that one person went to a different coffee shop that day? Would somebody else have purchased it while it hung at Sally Loo’s? Maybe the painting would be hanging on the wall in my shop right now?

YOU NEVER KNOW.

That’s the weird. If you came here looking for The Secret To Selling Art there is no surefire guarantee to sell a painting. The best thing I can tell you is that the secret is you have to keep showing it to people. Just keep showing. That’s it. Sometimes a painting sells within the first two minutes of posting it on Instagram and sometimes it takes showing it in three different venues over the course of 9 months. You just never know. Some people buy after seeing the image on their phone and others need to see it in person while they’re eating a bowl of granola and drinking a latte at a coffee shop.

Like Dory says, just keep showing.

See ya!

– Jeff

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Share/Bookmark

Comments are closed.