Selling Your Art – Part 1

Selling your art is a very different activity than creating it. The reasons for selling your work may be very different too. You will save yourself a lot of trouble and hard feelings the more clearly you understand your reasons for selling art.

Selling your art can come from an array of reasons. Your reasons could include any of the various money / material related desires. You may also enjoy the ego boost that a sale can bring. You may like to exhibit your work, be the object of attention yourself at an exhibition, or be the artist in the community.

Selling has many other possible reasons. You may have altruistic concerns of educating the public or providing beautiful pieces for the market. Some artists want sell so they can finance the acceptance of their style.

Selling art is not an easy thing to do for most people. Finding buyers, collectors, the right gallery, choosing a group of artists or a museum to align with can be time consuming and a daunting endeavor. Going to shows, art festivals, publishing ads or announcements, establishing a website, offering newspaper or television interviews, etc. are not to every artist's liking.

Occasionally you will make decisions as to how you will sell your work. You will decide which parts of selling you want to do for yourself and which parts you will leave to someone else.

Selling of art can sometimes conflict with creating of art. Besides the time spent in both activities, you may find buyers or your sellers at odds with your plans or personal taste. Buyers and Sellers may have predetermined conditions that they impose on you. Toulouse Lautrec sold work to one buyer who admitted he sign the front of the works with script instead of his logo. He finally did sign the work since his reason with the buyer that it was unnecessary.

Other buyers or sellers will have size or color constraints or requests. Some buyers need to know if a work is made of a specific material, and they may want reassurance or proof.

Many buyers and sellers want to know about the artist as a person, sometimes to establish a relationship of some kind. Buyers and sellers may become very judgmental about the artist's image or looks or manners – even their personal habits or social life. This kind of information can be passed on for
various reasons or withheld for various reasons.

The artist may need to be careful about the kinds of information that they provide, lest it be exaggerated or distorted, or simply provide a basis for completely unrelated sentences by some individuals or groups. In this respect the artist gains and loses from celebrity.

One of the artists that I have consulted with is Brad Bannister, who has a website at

  • Abstract Paintings by Brad Bannister
  • You can read quite a bit about his approach to selling art on that website.