How To Get Someone To Buy My Art
As the first entry in my new collection of articles, “How To Be An Artist”, I hope you use this article as a resource to help your journey as a paid artist. To receive new resources in your inbox, sign up to my newsletter while you’re here.
In this article, I’ll list some of the best tips I’ve learned over the years on how to sell my art. Although I have worked with agents in the past, I have successfully managed my own client list since 2018 and have collected resources and advice to help new artists sell their work without a gallery or agent.
For this week’s featured artist, Janaina Oliviera’s, ideas on selling artwork– keep reading!
1. Share Your Work
This may seem obvious, but the first step to selling your work is to share it. Social media is a great place to start selling your pieces because friends and family will almost always be the first to support your work. Facebook, Instagram,Tiktok, are all great places to promote your art. If you are just starting out, I hope you are not deterred by how many followers you have. It isn’t important when it comes to selling your work. I sold an entire collection in 10 days of launching, without having 1000+ followers. I used platforms that were familiar to me, but more importantly it worked because they were also the ones MY buyers were using. In my case, Facebook (without ads) and my personal email list did the trick.
2. Take Good Photos
Good lighting, clear images, and white backgrounds are ideal for showcasing art. This allows the piece to stand out. If you are taking the image yourself, use natural lighting to showcase your work and don’t use filters if it will change the colours and feeling of the art piece. Taking images in the home environment helps buyers envision their home with your work on their walls.
3. Don’t Sell, Listen
When a client approaches you, it is because they like your work. Hooray! This is great– but before you send them all of your available work, take the time to ask a few questions to continue the conversation. Here are my favourite conversation starters:
- Where will the piece be displayed?
- Can I see photos of the space?
- Do you know what colours you are drawn to?
- What kind of work do you enjoy?
- Have you come from a trip or recently experienced something new in your life? Did you see any visuals you would like to commission?
These answers will help you suggest the right artwork for the client.
4. Build Trust With Clients
My philosophy has helped me build relationships with clients on trust– I will not sell you the painting if I do not think it is the right one for your home! One client of mine, a school friend, decided she wanted to purchase a painting for her home. The first thing I did was not show her all of the unsold pieces– it was to ask her why she wanted the artwork.
She gave me a tour of her home and she explained to me how exhausted she was. I knew that I had to guide her towards happy colours, ones to bring joy into her home. She liked some of the abstract pieces but wanted a large panel. I could have sold her several paintings in my stock to place together as panels, but it would have taken away from the individual paintings. Instead, I guided her towards a commissioned painting that would be the perfect size with lively colours for her space.
As an artist, it’s important to not take the easier sell, if you feel it won’t serve the client in the long run. When you build that trust with the client, they know you have their best interest at heart and that they will buy a piece that will connect with them for life. They will come back for more. I have several collectors for whom I have personally curated a piece and they have ended up coming back for multiple pieces. These are the clients that will continue to support you.
5. Keep in touch with past clients
In my experience, previous buyers are the best buyers to contact when you have new collections ready to exhibit. If you have spent the time to find the right piece for the right person, they’ll remember it. If I know there’s a buyer who likes a certain style or might like a new piece I’m working on, I like to share it with them first. This makes them feel important. They are made aware that their investment in you is sound and more often than not because you have once again taken the time to curate the pieces to send to them, you will end up selling a piece.
6. Don’t Be Afraid To Reach Out To People Who Inspire You.
When I was working on the spice collection, I was inspired by someone who cooks and takes the loveliest photos of their spices. I reached out, just wanting to share my work with them, and the person ended up buying several of the pieces! I had no intention of selling to her, but the experience taught me that reaching out– when done tastefully– can lead to new inspirations and customers.
7. Don’t Be Afraid To Hold On To Your Work.
If a piece doesn’t sell right away– No. Problem. You must have confidence that the right person will discover your artwork when it is the right time for it to be purchased! I am fine holding on to a piece for a year or two, because I know that it will find the right person when it does. For artists who have unsold collections and multiple old pieces, stay tuned here, I have so much more to share on how these can be revitalized or marketed differently. It’s a fun and creative process!
8. Online Resources
Canva is a free editing software that is easy to use for beginners. Use the image of the space the potential client wants to have your art in and overlay an image of your piece into it. This may inspire the potential client to envision your work in their home, or it may help narrow down their choice.
Another great resource is ArtVisualizer, an app that places your art virtually in the room of your potential client.
9. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Testimonials
New clients feel comfortable when they see that you have experience and a track record. Not sure what to ask? Contact previous clients and ask if they would be willing to give you a good review.
- Ask if they would be willing to write a few sentences on why they fell in love with the piece and what it was like working with you.
- If you have an online store or website, ask them to leave a 5 Star Google Review if they feel you deserve it. This helps people discover your site in the future.
- Ask them to send you a clear photo of your work in their home (Don’t forget to ask for permission to post it on your social media/website)
Meet Janaina Oliveira
Janaina Oliveira is a mixed media expressive artist who is inspired by nature and bright colors.
Here is what she had to say about selling her artwork:
What are the emotions you feel when you sell your artwork, and why?
“I get very excited first to know someone is taking a piece of art I made to have in their own personal space, because my hope is that the piece will bring them the same happiness it makes me feel to create them.”
What do you wish you knew when you first started selling your work?
“To have more focus on the kind of customers we want to attract and be focused on producing content that will bring them value, the concept of giving and not just receiving (selling) is an important thing to grasp early on.”
Discover some of Janaina’s beautiful work here.
The key to selling my art has been to make sure that the person purchasing my work is the right person. My clients are happier, my work is more appreciated, and I don’t spend energy selling work to someone who doesn’t truly want the piece.
Your work deserves to be in a space where it will be loved. If this is achieved, the rest will come naturally.
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