In this post we will navigate the steps to confidently make an informed decision as to whether you are ready to sell your art.

A good place to start is to ask yourself…

 

What Is Your Motivation For Showing and Selling Your Art?

Or better still – what is your real intention for being an artist?

For example…

Before I started selling my work many years ago, I was of the mindset I had to first satisfy my ability to produce good work before I established any intention of selling it.

To be honest, at the time I sold my first piece of work, I didn’t feel ready.

I didn’t actually think my work was good enough.

In fact, even after selling a few pieces, I still didn’t think my work was good enough.  

As you’ll always be evolving, developing and changing your path as an artist, you can get caught up in the belief that you’ll never be good enough – but only if you let that belief dominate.

You may go two years into having successfully sold your art and still wonder if your art is good enough.

Which is okay.

Try to avoid putting too much emphasis on whether you personally feel your art is good enough to sell.

 

Selling Your Work Can Be Rewarding and Also Challenging

Selling your art begins to move you beyond your little creative corner of the world.

You have to start factoring in things like marketing – which requires time, knowledge, expense and implementation.

Assess whether you feel selling your art is something that motivates you.

If the idea of selling your work does not motivate you – it could be a key indicator you are not ready.

If you are motivated, one of the best ways to move everything one step forward is to request feedback.

I don’t just mean have friends and family, or even other artists tell you what they think.

I mean – get them to provide specific details as to why they like it.

Ask them how your work makes them feel. What memories does it conjure up – what ideas does it give them?

Consider asking them…

“Is this piece of work something that you’d proudly hang on a wall in your home of office?”

If you feel they are saying yes because they care for you, and would rather not upset you than tell you the absolute truth – then go ask your next door neighbour that same question.

If your neighour say yes, then you know the real truth.

To be more specific, it may even a good idea to ask…

“Is this piece something you would pay money for and hang on a wall in your home of office?

Just because someone really likes what you do, does not always mean they’ll pay money for it.

I’ve had many people approach me at a exhibit – which is an environment where I am actively selling my work – and they would remark how much they loved my work.

However, they did not make a purchase.

Likewise – if you are getting likes, shares and comments on your social media – know this is not real currency.

They are vanity metrics.

However, it is an indication your art is good enough to sell. So at least take notice of that as a good indicator.

Ask your friends and family if there is anywhere in the piece they gravitate towards the most.

Additionally, is there a part that doesn’t inspire them at all?

The whole purpose of this exercise is to validate that your work has the ability to communicate something to someone else.

If it does, then you know you are ready to get your art out there for sale.

If you create art in a niche market (i.e. pet portraiture) then consider getting on a few some social media forums specific to your niche.

Post images of your work without the intention to sell.

Simply ask them for their feedback.

If you hang out with other artists, be sure to get their feedback as to whether you may be ready to start selling your work.

Other artists are great for adding little subtle tips and ideas that can help you with the composition of your work.

These tips can sometimes provide a basic pricing guide to help you get started.

If they can give you a price for any given piece you’ve produced, it means you are ready to start selling your work.

If you need a quick shallow dive into pricing your art for the first time, I’ll post a video link here…

 

 

Am I Ready To Sell My Art?

Another way to help address your question as to whether you are ready to sell your art is – have a look at how freely you produce your current work.

Do you find that you are still wrestling with your work, and can you freely explain your work to other people?

If you are at that point and feel you can begin to start explaining your work with relative ease, then you are probably ready to start selling your work.

Another way of trying to establish if you are ready to start selling your artwork is if you are working with a certain level of unity.

This means you work with a regular theme and you have fairly good consistency in your work.

Could a potential buyer pop their head into your studio, see a piece of your work, then see another piece of you work somewhere else and quickly determine it was yours also?

If they can recognise the second painting as yours, then you are ready to sell.

 

How Good Does Your Art Have To Be To Sell?

If you are really keen to seek some advice locally, consider arranging to see your local gallery.

I know of an artist who did this and made no request for representation, but simply to request feedback on how she was progressing.

If this is something you’d feel comfortable doing, then take a few pieces of your work so the gallery can help you determine where your strong points are and what pieces of work stand out the most.

You may even strike up a relationship with the gallery and one day have your work represented by them.

A key point to remember is that good art won’t sell itself.

If you’ve received validation your art is good enough to sell, you then have to actively go out and sell it.

 

Art Is Not Bought, Art Needs To Be Sold

Art needs to be sold

There is a very good reason why big companies spend fortunes on advertising their products and that is because nothing sells itself, it has to be actively sold.

Even the iPhone, for which almost a billion people worldwide have in their back pocket, needs to be sold.

They still advertise on billboards, TV and online.

It could be that you are producing very good art but simply not ready to start slotting into other people’s schedules – such as doing commission work, or exhibiting your work.

Commission work could well be a driving factor for you to sell your art because you enjoy the thrill of working to a schedule or in accordance to someone else’s input and guidance.

This is when it becomes a dual path for you, becomes you are not just dealing with the artistic creative aspect of what you do, you are also now dealing with the business side of what you do.

The business side then starts to require your input in terms of marketing – SEO, paid advertising, copywriting, bookkeeping, client relationship management software, and a digital selling platform – which requires maintenance and upkeep.

So as you can see, your vision needs to start expanding to factor in all the other components of operating as a selling artist.

As I mentioned previously, assess your intent and motivation.

If you are making art for the pure purpose of selling it, then chances are you probably won’t be too concerned about whether you feel it is ready or good enough to sell, because you are operating from a completely different mindset.

However, if you genuinely focus on producing a good result before you ever consider as to whether it would be something that would or could sell, then chances are you are ready to start selling your art and making a career of it.

The main thing is you are always focused on developing and making sure, that what you are trying to portray in your work, is the major driver in what you do as an artist.

As you enter the world of selling your work, you’ll know with integrity that what you are producing is valid and relevant in the eyes of the public.

If you are ready to start selling your art, learn to sell your art.

It is a skill like any other skill – and can be learnt.

Art is not bought, art needs to be sold.

If you have clearly identified you are not ready to start selling your art, then at least know that it does not invalidate you as an artist.

However, if you feel you may be ready…

 

Takeaway Tips

Make sure you have confidence in the products and materials you use.

I remember selling a big painting when I first started doing commission work, and the client commissioned another piece a year later.

When I went to visit them I looked at the first piece I produced for them only a year earlier with disappointment, because I could see the vibrancy had gone in the paint colours.

 

Lesson learned – pay for good quality paint.

Another experience I produced a two metre canvas piece. When I went back to visit my client a month later I could see the canvas had warped.

Another lesson learned – make sure you are using strong sturdy products.

If you feel excited and proud by what you produce, then get it out there in the open and start selling it.

Your art buddy,

Carl
Artist/Teacher/Captain Of Multi-Asking

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