wikiHow to Sell Art

Three Parts:Putting Your Name out ThereNetworking within the CommunityKeeping in Touch with Clientele

Knowing how to sell art will help you learn how to appeal to your customer as well as become familiar with the business side of art. If you're a first time seller, don't feel overwhelmed; you don't need a fancy agent or an ultimate masterpiece to sell your art. Follow these tips to help all of your hard work pay off.

Part 1
Putting Your Name out There

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    Make business cards and promotional fliers. Distribute these items around local art galleries and fairs.
    • Ask local vendors if you can leave some of your business cards with them or post a flier on their community bulletin boards. Consider contacting vendors that would have the appropriate clientele for your artwork.
    • Also advertise at local restaurants and stores. This will will allow you to catch people of all interests.
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    Tell friends, family, and co-workers about your art. Those that are closest to you are your biggest advocates. Let your friends, family and co-workers know that you are selling your art.
    • Show them some of your favorite pieces so they can pass on first-hand information about your art for sale. Be sure to also give them some of your promotional materials so they can hand out your contact information.
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    Display your art at a local fair. Most communities host a variety of art fairs throughout the year. Research the various options and decide which one, or ones, would be most appropriate for the type of art you are selling.
    • For example, if you intend on selling paintings, go to one which highlights paintings in particular.
    • Keep in mind that it often costs money to have a booth at these fairs, but consider the fee an investment in your business. Putting up a little money will likely pay off once you sell a few of your pieces.
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    Take your art to interested patrons. If you know some people who may be intrigued by your work, host a small get together at your house or at one of their houses.
    • You can also host a private showing to only a handful of guests. Some people are more likely to attend an intimate event like this than an art fair. Ask all of those invited to bring a guest and, again, you are broadening your client base just by word of mouth.

Part 2
Networking within the Community

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    Hold a local exhibit at an art gallery to display your work. Art galleries host events to show off new artists' artwork that can help you get your name into the art world.
    • Local galleries enjoy loyal and steady art lovers, making them ideal places to build a following. Even if you don't grab the attention of important art folk, you'll be spreading your name to those who may know said important art folk.[1]
    • These galleries also tend to have an established network of art promoters who love to support budding artists. Because they are often small, they tend to pay special attention to individual artists. They also will focus on bringing in interested collectors, practically advertising your work for you.[2]
    • While galleries are great, know that you aren't limited to them to showcase your work. Cafes, office lobbies, schools, and other places of business often host mini exhibitions from local talent.[3] This is a great way of exposing your art to casual art fans; remember, not everyone goes to art galleries, but they do grab the occasional coffee.
    • You'll most likely have to share a portion of the profit with the gallery. They are helping market your name, which does come with a price. Don't worry; this is a small price to pay for getting to share your work.
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    Attend your fellow artists' exhibitions and art events. Showing support to your peers may prove invaluable when the time comes to host your own exhibit. It will also expose you to unique business opportunities and information.
    • When selling your art, remember it's all about who you know. Most cities have a local art council who promote and manage art events and exhibitions. These councils are known to give out funding to local talent, asking artists to partake in community projects or other such tasks.[4]
    • Your arts community may also have a website that posts regular job opportunities or small-scale commissions. They may also promote local exhibitions and shows. Stay current with these local channels to find lucrative opportunities.
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    Get in touch with local businesses. Aside from art lovers and promoters, some businesses also love to be seen supporting the arts.[5]
    • It's not uncommon for artists to be brought up at a networking event. Try attending these events held by local businesses and distribute your business cards there. You may get contacted later with an interesting project.
    • A business may also need help decorating offices, or require art prizes for their raffles. If you market yourself enough, you may also find yourself designing for websites and products that need to portray a certain image.[6]
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    Write or email your local radio stations, newspapers, and other publications. Inform your local press about your exhibitions and inquire about whom you need to contact to get an editorial feature in your local paper.
    • Local media love to feature profiles of unique characters from the area.[7] Since artists are often associated with terms like "unique" and "special," it will make sense for reporters and bloggers to cover you for a story.
    • Every time you have an exhibition, you've won an art contest, or you've completed a new project, send out a little press release to the local media. You could even offer them free tickets to your exhibition.
    • Don't be intimidated by the media. They're just normal people like you and me, and they may be eager to highlight up-and-coming talent. Being featured in local media will help you remain front-and-center in the local community's gaze.
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    Partner with a local charity to showcase your art. Having your name associated to charitable, non-profit efforts may establish you as a trustworthy, recognizable name in your community. This will open you up to profitable opportunities.
    • Find a charity whose work truly inspires you and that you connect with. For example, if you love to paint dogs, get in touch with an animal shelter. Contact them and offer to work on their next event, free of charge. You could donate art to their raffle or offer to decorate their places of business.
    • Most local charities already have a relationship with the media. Helping isn't just a nice deed, it may result in you being written up in the media as well. Giving back to the community is essential for building a loyal fan base that will continue buying and supporting your art.[8]
    • In November 2013, the Philippines was hit by a devastating typhoon in which millions of homes were destroyed. Wells Fargo began a charitable campaign in which they would donate $3 for every traced and decorated hand print they received. Many local artists took this opportunity to show their support and highlight their art in an altruistic manner.[9]
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    Sell your art online. In the digital age, most business transactions are moving from the street to the computer. Visit the following websites for showcasing your art easily and with little cost.
    • is a free gallery for selling art. Their advertised products range from sculptures to jewelry, catering to a wide spectrum of artists. Artpal offers free membership, has a user-friendly website, and offers many features for selling your art online.[10]
    • Advertise your art on popular online merchants like Amazon or eBay. You'll only have to pay a shipping fee, and you'll get to appeal to a wide range of consumers. If enough people buy your work, your items may be linked to other popular items and listed as "People who bought this, also bought..."
    • Make an offer on Craigslist advertises a broad range of things, from job opportunities to used electronics. Showcasing and selling your pieces to casual consumers will help you build confidence and turn a profit as you seek to gain exposure locally.

Part 3
Keeping in Touch with Clientele

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    Register a website or blog on your own domain. Selling art means becoming a business in-and-of yourself. Now that you've built a small following, give your fans a place where they can learn more about you and your work.
    • Use social media like Facebook or Twitter to link people back to your website. This way, your followers will know you can always be contacted at this place regardless of what online trends come and go.
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    Get the names and contact info from all of your supporters. Now that you've sold or showcased your work, establish a means of maintaining communication with important art folk.
    • Your database of supporters and investors can be your most powerful marketing tool. Make sure you have ways to inform them of your upcoming exhibitions. Acquire phone numbers, email addresses, and mailing addresses as well.
    • Avoid selling your art through other channels if you have already worked out a deal with an art gallery. Many art galleries are hesitant to even share their contact info in the first place because they fear that artists will sell behind their backs.[11]
    • Be persistent when attempting to contact new prospects. It may take many attempts before you find someone willing to sell your art.
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    Make a mailing list of all your local contacts and customers. Every time you make new artwork or hold an exhibition, notify your mailing list.
    • Be sure you ask for permission to contact to your clientele. You want to provide them with meaningful updates, not unwanted spam.
    • Contact customers personally whenever you have new artworks available, or when someone has bought a piece from you. Send letters expressing gratitude for purchasing your art. Remember, someone who has bought your art has expressed sincere interest and has made an investment in you. Failing to maintain contact with customers beyond the first transaction can come off as rude and dismissive.
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    Give your frequent supporters special perks and rewards. Once you've got a steady following, determine who the constant supporters are among your fans. Offer them special treatment like opportunities to connect with you and first shots at purchasing your work.
    • If you paint murals, offer a small, free portrait of your fan's face. If you make t-shirts, give away free t-shirts in the mail. Show your supporters that your passion for art extends beyond money, and they might reciprocate this notion.
    • Repeat customers are the foundation of a loyal fan base. They've already proven that they want to support you, and that they value your work. Show them that you appreciate their support and interest by giving them special treatment not offered to most followers.[12]
    • Remember, your best customers aren't limited to a set group of individuals. This number will inevitably grow as your following does. Don't be stingy with special perks; you want to keep as many people coming back for more.
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    Set up frequent lunch or dinner appointments with potential and current prospects. Establishing social relationships with your investors beyond the art and business world is as important as building a loyal fan base.
    • Allow your investors to get to know you on a personal level. Sometimes, becoming familiar with an artist's personality sheds interesting insight on that artist's work.
    • Don't be afraid to recommend your fellow art peers to investors. [13] Who knows, maybe those artists will return the favor and recommend you in the future.

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Categories: Art & Antiques