View Full Version : Selling your art

07-17-2008, 06:10 AM
Hi guys and girls,

What would it take to set up some kind of business of selling (my own) art?
Is it best to do it online, or through galleries and cafes?

I know some of you do sell your art. What challenges have you found with the way you do it.

Thanks :)

07-17-2008, 09:42 AM
Beats me, but I am thinking about it too.. just thinking right now.
MY old small hometown has a little "bazar" thingy the first weekend of month and was thinking of trying that once. I think only about $35 to get a "space"

07-17-2008, 10:13 AM
My experience....

In May I had a show at a city library gallery that hosts an artist for a month. I simply approached them and gave them my business card (a good thing to have on hand) and was able to get a showing and a couple of sales. I also have an online store (etsy.com is the host site). I haven't had much business there, though. A month ago I approached 2 consignment galleries. I left 5 in one and 2 in another. The second only accepts local scenes. No sales, yet. I recently joined a local art association. They'll let me know when there's juried events, special exhibits, and so forth. I have found that it's a lot harder to sell art than I thought it would be. There's a BIG local festival around here at the end of July. I haven't got my foot in the door, yet, but maybe next year.

07-17-2008, 11:02 AM
Someday I hope to be ready to sell also. What about a show in your own garage? Flyers around town, maybe an add in the paper, or this way tooo tacky? Probably not the right clientel either. Just a thought.

ruth brady
07-17-2008, 11:24 AM

I read somewhere, where artist had an "Art on Parade". Several artist displayed works in their garages, patios, front porches, yards if weather is nice, etc. After thought. A nice garden would be great. You seem to be thinking along those lines.

Nai, I too am breaking into the market. I have my first solo scheduled, sold my first painting and have been asked to display at a local college.


07-17-2008, 07:06 PM
Hi Nai - might I suggest you also pop into the General Business forum too! Read through some threads, browse the Internet Sales Strategies subforum. There's a lot there. We're a bit of a pragmatic bunch (honest, straightforward, blunt) but don't be scared of us. :)

Generally I say go ahead and try out online places, and start local with real life venues. Look for local spaces that show work, local art societies you might be able to join, local galleries you can start talking to even if just to start going to shows and started to get to know your local art community.


07-17-2008, 07:51 PM
I know a lot of my family and friends and friends of friends have been the one's interested in my art... maybe start my letting some of your family hang it in their homes (People might start asking about it ) and then you might have a sale!!!
Just a thought

07-17-2008, 08:03 PM
A few things I've been finding:

There are more-formal galleries that are often somewhat difficult to get into; but there are also informal galleries that are quite different. Locally, there are some cafes that show one or two artists' work per month. The shows rotate once a month. Getting in is not a big deal.

These cafes do a brisk business, and I've noticed that many artists sell multiple works during the month their art is being shown. The prices typically range from about two or three hundred dollars on up to four or five or even seven hundred, with a few pieces going for more. Occasionally there is something over nine hundred, but these prices would be unusual.

I haven't yet found out what the financial arrangements are [maybe someone can tell me -- in these sorts of situations is it usually 50-50, or something else?].

There are also some smaller, more out-of-the-way cafes in very small rural towns that show art. I've seen paintings in these typically going for 75-150-200 dollars. The quality is often not as high as in the others.

And there is a local craft gallery that encouraged me to bring in some small paintings of local scenes. Five by sevens were typically priced in the 50-90 dollar range. Quality was good, prices were low, things were moving, tourists were buying....

A friend put up her own show in a small but touristy and art-oriented town. She just found a basement space for the weekend, put up flyers, and people showed up and had a look. She sold a few, and traded a few (she also invited friends, like me, and let it be known that she was hoping to trade some paintings for things on her wish list. I traded something worth about two hundred dollars for an 8x10 painting).

A couple of other friends sold (in the beginning at least) to (supportive) friends and family (who knew they were just starting out). I bought a painting mainly because I really liked it (also partly because she really needed a sale).

Personally, I rather like the informal gallery-cafes. A local collage artist said he sold more of his artwork in one of these places during the course a month than he had ever sold anywhere else in a similar time period (his collages were typically going for about 250-450).

There is also a local bookstore that shows local art.

Studio tours are another possibility.

07-17-2008, 11:21 PM
Selling itself is an art. Sometimes the road less traveled works. Selling prints of your originals online is quite popular now. ( Examples on my website ) I've had success with that. I've also sold to local dentists, doctors, offices. Mainly I sell one on one. When I hear the words " How much is that painting? ", the sale is 1/2 done. The rest depends on your selling closing skills and negotiating the price. Tried the Cafe scene, leaving your painting for 1 to 2 months hanging. I find the client likes to deal with the artists face to face. The Cafe won't sell your paintings for you. You gotta be there, you've got to sell it. They get free art hanging on their walls so if they want a percentage of your sale some work on their part would be in order, that's usually not the case. They've got their business to run and don't concern themselves with sales of your art. Reminds me of the "open mic nights" for musicians where they got free music from musicians wanting a paying gig but, have to perform for free for a while first. I do find that framed art sells faster then nonframed art. One day shows with your participation work better than a 30 day hanging in a cafe and your not there. Also make a persnal goal for yourself. Start off with trying to sell 1 piece a month. That's 12 artworks a year.......start small, think big. TJ

07-18-2008, 12:03 AM
I've been quite fortunate in the 4 years I've shown paintings for sale. Probably sold 56paintings in that time, the top price $400 for 1000x750.I also donate smaller ones for fund raisers about 8 all told .
I've been in galleries with very little success,I find they tend to overprice, and unless you're well known people won't pay the price, but the best has been in local cafe galleries. The first 2 years that cafe charged 15% and as she liked my work when she had the time would sell too, and now in another cafe where she also sells, and refuses commission, but I do give her a painting of her choice when sales are good.She says folks sit and look at the art and then come back and buy.
I live in a small rural tourist town and many have gone overseas, and the preference if definitely on gallery wrapped canvas, they can remove the stretchers to travel easily, the galleries don't want frames either, and I can keep my prices down if unframed.
I have been involved in art shows and art trails, got my name out, but few sales.
Hope this helps, I find the Aussie market somewhat different from the US market.

07-19-2008, 06:41 AM
Thanks all for your advice. I guess I could even start with more comissions from friends and family. I haven't really even started doing that too much.

The other issue is, how I don't know when I'm ready to start selling? Does it matter that I go through ebs and flows of painting? I guess I should just jump in there and see how I go.

07-19-2008, 08:07 AM
My town is fortunate enough to have a really good art association. They have many FREE or low cost opportunities to display art for sale. If you have somethiing like that near you, try to take advantage of all they offer. The encouragement and advice is a side benefit of belonging to the association. Also, try to focus on painting and enjoying the art-the selling part will follow.